The Barchester Chronicle Tour, Sat May 14th 1994
Pre – tour moves
At 0522 exactly the 0434 Euston – Northampton left Leighton. As usual the train was quite busy with rail staff, clubbers and the dubious types that do night trains. Sadly the pre privitisation cuts saw this valuable train cut for ever a year later.
My colleague Steve joined at Wolverton, little conversation though, just doss. At Northampton the 0615 Brum was already in and we joined former GE 308161 for the power car “noise” to International. Here a good few were already aboard and well dossed for 31465 on the 0715 Holyhead. Unfortunately we could only enjoy 31465 (probably a Control fix for the 31 men) to New St as the tour was due off at 0907 so we didn’t risk a Wolves leap.
31465 at New St with the 0715 Birmingham Int’l – Holyhead on May 14th 1994
321404 0434 Euston – Northampton L.Buzzard – Northampton
308161 0615 Northampton – Birmingham Northampton – Birmingham Int’l
31465 0715 Bir Int’l – Holyhead Birmingham Int’l – Birmingham New St
The tour organised by AIA Charters
(56029 worked Preston – Stafford )
31200} 1Z40 0540 Preston – Weymouth Q Railtour New St – Weymouth Q
31145} (via St Andrews, Barnt Green, Cheltenham, Dr Days E, Westbury, Yeovil PM)
33206} 1Z40 1420 Weymouth – Preston Rtn Railtour Weymouth T – Eastleigh
33206 1Z40 1420 Weymouth – Preston Rtn Railtour Eastleigh – Salisbury
37274 1Z40 1420 Weymouth – Preston Rtn Railtour Salisbury – Eastleigh
31145} 1Z40 1420 Weymouth – Preston Rtn Railtour Eastleigh – New St
31200} (via Bas, Reading W, Oxford, St Andrews)
Ching – £34
Timekeeping – right time throughout
Stock 11 x Mk I
Photo stops – loads incl New St, Castle Cary, Weymouth Q, Weymouth streets, Weymouth Town, Eastleigh, Salisbury
Weather – Sunny am, torrential rain pm
I booked on this tour quite late as there were rumours of a slim featuring on this train. Still AIA Charters were always good, well run tours. At New St Nuclear sector 31145 and 31200 arrived with the tour, right time at 0855.
The 31’s both dud were in fine fettle being driven hard, pairs of “peds” are a world a apart from a tottering 31’4 on a Norwich. Bristol Parkway was the last pick up shack and we soon swung East at Dr Days towards Bath and then more former “Crompton” haunts to Westbury.
A photo stop at a cloudy Castle Cary saw a good few take a step back as an HST screamed past on the adjacent platform. By now the gen was it was 33206 working the return , i was well happy as this was my last Crompton for haulage but held back on celebration until she worked.
31200 and 31145 during a photo stop (remember them) at Castle Cary on May 14th 1994
Trundling down Weymouth Quay was as riotous as ever, be mused normals, cars getting out of the way quick etc, etc all in the pouring rain! 33206 had been attached at the rear of the tour near Weymouth Town and i and a good few others were refused a ride back on the ECS to Weymouth Town behind her…
33206 about to work the tour ECS from Weymouth Quay back to Weymouth Town on May 14th 1994
31145 and 31200 trundle along a very damp Weymouth tramway on May 14th 1994
33206 prior to departure from Weymouth town with the tour, May 14th 1994
So with gritted teeth i had to watch 33206 leave the Quay with the tour ECS and we all slowly walked back photting the 31s on the Quay in the process. A short break at Weymouth, then at 1415 the fun began with the 31s and 33206 climbing up to Bincombe Summit. The distinct Sulzer thrash was definitely audible to me and confirmed by Steve Wolverton, i had cleared they Cromptons after 17 years!
At Eastleigh the 31s were removed for fuelling leaving 33206 alone to take us on the back line to Romsey avoiding Soton. At Salisbury it was farewell to 33206 and the mystery engine 37274 attached for the return to Eastleigh via a still rainy Soton.
The tour atmosphere picked up even more on the return run with long spells of 90mph plus running from Reading to Leamington. “Staggering goyles” not this pair!
Unfortunately, as booked, the Leamington – Moor St all shacks unit was put out ahead of us and early arrival at New St was out the window!
At New St there wasnt time to say farewell to 31145/31200 as we were on a plus one onto the 2121 unit home….To quote Steve Wolverton “you go all that way and miss the train home by 30 seconds”…
Still in high spirits we hit the New St bar before 321431 returned us South on the 2221 Birmingham – Euston, what a day!!!