The Tubular Belle, April 2nd 1988
This was to be the last mainline 40122 tour for many aboard as the final run in a few weeks an over priced, rancid Liverpool St – York “museumex” had little appeal. However after the disappointment of 40122’s performance on the “Pennine Forty farewell” a few weeks earlier, would she perform on the Coast today or would some 47’4 deputise?.
An early start saw me heading North from Leighton on the 0524 Brum on a warm, cosy 311063. A Keynes bail saw the quoted 85002 roaring in on 1M10 2215 (1/4) Glasgow – Euston. The usual semi comotose aboard M10 states were avoided and a table gained for 49.8 miles to Euston behind 85002.
At Euston i was pleased in seeing 10 x Mk I “Cobbler stock” (EN set 101) forming our tour. Front coach seats added to the buzz which increased for some when “roaring beast” 85011 was attached. 85011 was her usual fast self rattling the stock well above 100 mph at times and arriving at Crewe well early.
Here a now immaculate repainted shiny green 40122 was attached and by Beeston Castle we knew her field divert problems or whatever had been cured as she was storming! Along the coast it seemed like old times with memories of many of her long scrapped sisters similarly storming through Abergele and alike. At a wet Llandundo 47287 was used to shunt the stock out to the coach sidings, a good few of us staying on for the riot value. Then came the climb to Blaneau, we walked up to what was now the front coach for a some serious grinding, growling 40 thrash.
The rain with snow on Snowdon had all the rivers and streams in speight increasing the wildness of the lonely landscape 40122 was pounding across.
An immaculate “museum standard” 40122 escapes the rain at Llandudno
The 101 on the service train at a sleety Blaneau
What a machine, 40122 during the booked photo stop at Betws-y-Coed
A leisurely hours run round at Blaneau then a decent phot stop at Betws-y-Coed before storming West to Holyhead. The 25 minute stop here meant rushed trips to the chippie/pub as nobody was going to miss 40122’s last ever storm along the coast. She didnt disappoint either loads of good running and sounds along her classmates old stomping ground.
At Crewe, it was all over, 85006 quickly replaced the green machine and was soon roaring past Basford Hall. A railtour first for us here in that the guard came out of his cage and started gripping! On realising it was a charter and not a Holyhead – Euston relief he stopped and entertained us with his impressive WCML route knowledge! 85006 had us in Euston to easily make the 2152 Euston – Rugby home. Once 310082 was on the move we were all lost with dreamy doss of 40122’s superb performance that day but the sad reality it was all over for us too…