The Valley Explorer, May 86

F+W tours                                                                              B. Hol Mon May 5th 1986

Power  1Z26 Route

25057} Crewe-Stoke-Wolverhampton-BS-New St-Stourbridge Jn-Worcester SH-Cheltenham-

25109}   Bristol Parkway-Cardiff-Barry Island North

47242  Barry Island North-Cardiff

25057} Cardiff-Penarth curve-Leckwith jn-Bridgend-Margam Yd


37237  Margam Yd-Port Talbot-Cort Sart Jn-Swansea Burrow sdgns-Neath+Brecon Jn-            Bleanant-Onllwyn-Blaenant-Swansea Burrow sdgns-Cort Sart Jn-Port Talbot-Margam

25109} Margam-Bridgend-Aberthaw-Barry-Cardiff-Newport-Lydney-Cheltenham-Worcester 25057}   SH-Hartlebury-New St-Wolverhampton-Stafford-Stoke-Crewe

Stock-4899, 35309, 4866, 4960, 4944, 4952, 4822, 1709, 4932, 4824, 4924

            A reasonable start to the day for me viewing 86030 on the 0350 Euston-Bletchley “Milk Empties” staff train from Leighton to Bletchley. 310092 on the 0524 ex Leighton  saw much doss most of the way to New St. As the tour arrived here around 0830,  most of my colleagues were observed getting off having scratched the rare 25109. Rumours of the last 20’s to Skegness being a bigger attraction for some. This was a bonus as the tour was far from full and I had the luxury of a second coach bay of 4 to myself.

            The rats were soon chattering away up front Sulzer style building up the mileage. What may well have been the last ever rats to Barry Island were thwarted by a points failure on the start of the causeway to the North of the Island. After a delay of half an hour 47242 was borrowed from Barry depot to haul us back to Cardiff. As 242 was coupled a number of anti 47 men were seen doing desperate ballast leaps , this was to cost them a very enjoyable chunk of the tour. Some years later in 2001  i was to see one of  these anti duff men, joining one of the last loco hauled Cross Country services to Brighton at East Croydon, how i laughed! yes it was a 47 up front.

            With 242 quickly detached at Cardiff, the rats headed West to Margam yard where beast 37237 took over to take us onwards to Burrow Sdgns to run round before 45 minutes of awesome thrash on the ascent to Onllwyn. Under sunny skies locals in the pubs waved, traffic stopped ect to watch us pass.

From Chris Brogdale’s excellent Flickr site, heres 37237 arriving at Burrows sidings with the Valley Explorer tour

            We retraced our steps back down the Vale of Neath,  to Burrows and then Margam before the rats replaced our South Wales syphon. A good run back to Brum followed with much Sulzer sound over Hartlebury and a virtual right time arrival back at New St around 2200, a hugely enoyable tour was over. 

From Stephen Widdowson’s Flick site heres 25057 and 25109 at Worcester Shrub Hill with the returning tour

                                                            5/5/86 Bank H Mo

Pre/post tour moves and gen

86030  1A23 0350 Euston-Bletchley

092      0430 Euston-Birmingham                                                                               LB-NS

86428  1S59 0726 Coventry-Glasgow

31460  1E66 0810 Birmingham-Norwich

33034  1V20 0810 Portsmouth-Cardiff

33004  1O79 1205 Cardiff-Portsmouth

47408  1V74 0743 Hull-Cardiff

47524  2B31 1720 Swansea-Cardiff

079      2221 Birmingham-Euston                                                                               NS-LB

2 of my speed logs showing fast running from South of Gloucester to near Parkway


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