Out West, Nov 2018
Wed 31st Oct
The first class departure lounge provided an unlikely starting point for this trip. Fortified by coffee, wine and nibbles and rucksack filled with coke etc i joined the "down Midnight" sleeper stock. My immaculate refurbished coach (10601) included a double size disabled single berth which i was booked in despite not requesting it!
57603 was on the blocks with the load 8 rake, 57602 was at the business end and the "Ronnie" was soon on the move, not that you hear the beast from the well insulated, warm
cosy sleeper compartment.
Thursday 1st November
After a good night's doss i awoke in the rolling wooded country round Bodmin way, fingers of fog hung in the valleys, Cornwall was as magic as ever. A large Bacon roll and pot of coffee was served in the Lostwithel area and very nice it was too!. A right time arrival at a sunny Penzance allowed time for a few phots before buying my Ride Cornwall ride day ticket
In very untypical Cornish style the booking clerk barked "its not valid before 9am". i then joined ex Silverlink 150125 on the 0845 St Ives service. The guard was more typical laid back Cornish being more interested in talking about the good weather than petty validity issues.
I bailed at the request shack of Lelant village where 2 joined. I then followed the quiet leafy lane down to Lelant Saltings where to my surprise, a gripper appeared from a shed to check my piece! This is a busy Park and Ride shack and a good 20 were there awaiting the next St Ives service. 150125 returned me to St Erth from where a First bus trident (33236) on the A17 which was St Ives bound. I leapt at Carbis Bay high level and followed the steep road to Carbis Bay proper to watch 150125 pass non stop from the beach.
150125 arrived right time at Carbis Bay to return me to St Erth for a wedged, ridiculously under capacity 150219 on a Plymouth service, 6 Mk I's on these in better times. 66200 was on china clay duties near Par, whilst i bailed at St Germans to rake in the warm sun. The old sleeper coaches here looked a cosy place to stay.
The Looe branch in full, then a rare leap at the 2 passenger a week shack that is Coombe Jn. This on leaping appears a very remote shack in the middle of nowhere but armed with gen from "PB" it was just a 25 minute walk up a steep high banked quiet lane back to Liskeard station!
With a plastic 802 unit on the up Padd, i opted for the 1557 Plymouth - Penzance "school train" and the expected pair of 150's , this too was an 802. So 802005 was joined, these new trains are a lot better inside than expected, not bad for a modern unit. A Lostwithel bail then in the dusky light it was good to join 43079/43009 on the 1600 Penzance - Padd.
A bail at Newton Abbot to meet up with 2 of Bedfords finest , Spoons, then the long walk to the Premier inn.
Friday 2nd November
Walking to the bus station at Newton Abbot we crossed the old Heathfield branch. The track
bed looked sound but very rusty, the line currently mothballed. "TC" piped up how he did this branch back in Jan 85. He was on RESL's "Cornishman" which did the Heathfield branch
with 37189 and "March rubbish" 37088!.
After a hearty cafe breakfast it was all aboard Optare 47691 on the 88 to Totnes. After an unexpected tour of Buckfastleigh town we leapt at the garage to walk along the frost covered roadway down to Buckfastleigh station.
In glorious Autumn sun a good day of South Devon diesel day action followed, the 2 rakes of stock were soon warmed by the many bashers present. Bubble W55000, 08483, 09010, 9526 and 33002 were all sampled. The stars for many were recently arrived 25185 immaculate in blue with CW stickers, plus immaculate green 25262. Both "rats" were worked quite hard, plenty thrash, all bringing the memories back.
25185 on the 1400 Buckfastleigh - Totnes was delayed by 5 young cows on the track just South of Staverton Bridge. Once herded out of the way we proceeded South with great haste. On the return run behind 25262 the cows once again were on the track. This time they were herded into a field and proceeded to stare at us aggressively every time we passed.!
The last run for us was a good trundle from Buckfastleigh to Totnes behind visiting 08483 and resident 09010. From Totnes (BR) a reasonable pairing in 153329 and 150243 returned us to Newton Abbot, all the bashers joining at Totnes did the "tin rocket".
A repeat of the previous evening, Spoons, then the long walk back to the Premier Inn.
Saturday 3rd November
An early start allowed a provisions visit to Tesco before getting to Newton Abbot station with plenty time for the 0608 Bristol - Plymouth. We all mused about Newton Abbots past glories with factories on the land where the MPD, carriage sidings and works once stood.
A good breakfast was consumed with a good few other bashers in Totnes Signal box cafe. We just had time to stroll over the River Dart bridge on a now grey and mild morning to join the bubble W55000 for a mileage move from Totnes to Buckfastleigh and back to Staverton Bridge. The trains were even busier than Friday particularly the 08 and autocoach. 9526 followed then a fun time behind 25185 and 26262 up and down the line. The 1222 ex Totnes pair with 25185 and 25262 was superb, very loud! Good to meet up with Mr Ratty too.
Back at the BR station being on an advance, i flagged off Cross Country's 43384 and 43321 and as feared 802005 was our power back to Padd. Tube closures saw a lengthy detour via Oxford Circus but the 2107 ex Euston's 12 car 350 was still made.