The Severn Valley Autumn Special, November 16th 2019
This was my first tour of 2019 as i find many of the current tours on offer overpriced and boring! A 25% off offer from UK Railtours saw me booking this tour for a mere £54.
My colleague insisted the 0533 from Leighton was the only safe option to make this tour's 0807 departure from Euston due to the LNW guard's strike. 350240/257/267 arrived virtually right time and virtually empty! An odd "we are now approaching Cheddington, home of the Great Train Robbery" announcement from presumably the manager acting as guard was in poor taste.
At Euston the board was a sea of LNW cancellations, this was a farce big time! Outside Euston awaiting for the "double six" cafe to open, 1M11 arrived, the loud roars of 92014 sounding superb. A hearty breakfast then back at Euston 67004 arrived with 11 blue and grey air conditioned MkIIs. At the business end of the tour was 67006, a personal bonus as this was my last skip for the mainline, 67006 only been previously sampled at the MRC in 2018.
Slack timings meant our pace was a steady 70ish until once over Tring summit where speeds increased. Leighton was passed at 0857, 0 veg were out at a dull, cloudy Old Linslade to phot us! Northampton up sidings were awash with stored 315s these units expected to go back to Tfl in a few months to replace existing, more life expired 315s.
Speeds picked up again after Rugby, passing Coventry non stop before turning left at Galton Jn for Stourbridge and Kidderminster. Here we crossed onto SVR metals with 67004 fired up for the short distance into the SVR station.
Kettles 34027, 7714 and 43106 were all sampled on various sections of the valley with a good bit of window hanging. The river was high and angry flooded in various sections.
In virtual darkness 67006 strummed into Bridgnorth with the return tour ECS. We departed 13 late and with our lead coach M9529 now right behind 67004 we got various deep noises from what i was told was a "particularly loud skip". A protracted delay at Kidderminster Jn due dragging brakes in the buffet coach meant a 40 late departure, increased by a special stop at Kidderminster BR to pick up some clowns who had missed the connecting SVR train.
Old Hill bank was loud, very loud but i was more engrossed in LNW's twitter feed which showed getting home was going to be an issue. After Bescot, Sutton Pk and the new connection at Nuneaton South, we reached 95mph after Weedon and with no local trains to delay us on the Saturday evening twin track railway we had a clear run Hanslope-MK-Watford.
We had to bail at Watford to be sure of getting home, so it was a wedged, nasty 390132 that returned us to the Keynes. Here the 2256 LNW Euston was up as running. This was better than to Northampton where there were no trains at all. Then the 2256 was cancelled too, i asked the Virgin Doris for a taxi to Leighton to which she replied "I work for Virgin, its not up to me but i will continue to try and contact LNW" Oh isn't the privitised railway of today wonderful!
So via my colleagues app a mini cab was hailed which arrived an impressive 3 minutes later! Relieved of £16 which LNW will hopefully pay, we were soon back at a deserted Leighton station my first and last tour of 2019 over!
Power 67006, 67004
Stock 5929, 6051, 1200, 1657, 3397, 3333, 3364, 1691, 3345, 3390, 17105
Phots from the day