1Z38, the “Valleybasher II” tour, Sat February 28th 1987 remembered
At Leighton station a short wait saw me join 310058 on the 0537 up with a few mates to doss out in the warm, comfy surroundings of a 310 unit power car. A fast walk to the Cross saw a 317 unit already well filled with bashers for the short run to Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park island platform at the early hour of 0740 was the unlikely starting point for 800 plus Crompton miles behind standards 33025 and 33062. During the on train grip after Willesden one ticketless Crompton fan was firmly but politely asked to leave the train at Clapham as the “train was full”. This seemed a bit harsh, but his spirits lifted on seeing 33008 stabled at Mitre Bridge Jn as this would work 1O66 0644 Manchester – Brighton forward.
The booked Staines stagger then a GW mainline thrash to Chippenham, then Melksham, Bath, Cardiff and onwards to Radyr. Near Bath we crossed to much flailing the rare 33048 on 1O39 1007 Cardiff Portsmouth. At Radyr the rumoured very average, dud 37/4 allocated to the tour was stabled, but newly repainted Railfreight large logo liveried 37905 “Vulcan Enterprise” was attached to the rear. At least this was required for new number, she was formerly the common 37136.
The Crompton’s thrashed on through Pontypridd and then onto the 2 mile Nantgarw colliery branch. Here we all bailed onto the coal ballast to phot the power and to enjoy chips from an enterprising local mobile chip van. 37905 was the first of the sub-class for many of us but on the descending gradient little thrash could be heard. “Sounds like a fridge” was a quote from one Crompton fan. At a very run down Cardiff Bute Road we reversed, where we viewed a few very demic looking preserved kettles. The “fridge” was detached at Queen St for much Crompton thrash on the seven mile assault up the Taff/ Bargoed valley.
We all escaped at Cwm Bargoed to stretch our legs, phot the Cromptons and the bemused train crew of 37800 (formerly 37143) here with MGR’s. A long, subdued 6 hour return journey took us to the unusual loco hauled bailing point of Willesden Jn High level, then the equally massive Alexandra Palace and Bowes Park.
The “Cromptons” just made 313004 downstairs at Willesden Jn for a whirr and growl to Watford via the “DC”. 310068 whisked us all home arriving back in Leighton around 2230 well happy with our day in the Valleys.
Valleybasher II tour phot spot
33062 and 33025 ease up for the rare booked Willesden Jn loco hauled tour pick up
37905 had worked the Valleybasher II back from Nantgarw to Cardiff Bute Road. This was long before the area became improved under the Cardiff bay developments
33062 and 33025 rest at Cwmbargoed after the long climb up the valley
37800’s crew had a good chuckle at the antics of tour participants at Cwm Bargoed
37905 at Nantgarw with the tour as tail power