Unit bashing in the snowy West, Feb/Mar 2018


Many thanks to “MIB” for the write up and phots of a memorable trip out West!


Tuesday Feb 27th


I headed down to the West Country on the Tuesday on the 0730 Padd to

Penzance with 43071 and winner 43182 as far as Exeter to do double

score 43384/43304 forward to Plymouth on the 0600 from Leeds passing

power cars 43131/43192 on Rattery with no train consist. Old Bletchley

branch junk 150127 was on the Gunnislake branch so this was flagged

for winner 150243 on the 0900 Cardiff to Penzance as far as Truro to

cover the two Falmouth Docks workings.


153333/153382 were done out to the Docks and back for the second pair

153372/153305 also out and back.

270218153333n382webr.jpg 153333 and 153382 at Falmouth docks with the 1420 ex Truro, 270218



153369/150925 produced on the 1557 Plymouth to Penzance where these were done through to the destination.

I had intended to have a meal at the Spoons but was withered as they

had a power cut so no hot food which meant having to eat a rancid

takeaway outside in the cold.


I did 150925 back to Plymouth on the 1916 to Newton Abbot which was

lukewarm to say the least. I was going to check in at the Plymouth

travelodge but abandoned that as 153380 was on the 2131 Plymouth to

Gunnislake and 2221 return which is the only booked 153 diagram on the

line. In the process I flagged 150127/153333 on the 2125 to Exeter.


Wednesday Feb 28th 2018



2802180600pzexwebr.jpg 150238 arrives at a cold Plymouth with the 0600 Penzance - Exeter 280218



It was a fine cold but sunny morning on the Wednesday denoting the calm

before the storm as I did 150246 Plymouth to Liskeard on the 0524

Bristol to Penzance to cover the Looe branch. As booked 153382 was on

diagram as it is usually one of the Falmouth carts from the previous

day. The 0850 to Looe and 0929 return are booked to stop at Coombe

Junction. Back in Liskeard winner 43040 with 43042 arrived on the 0633

Padd to Penzance. We left in sunshine but by Truro the snow was coming

down rather heavily as the wild weather arrived from the south

allegedly storm Emma, one day early, not to be confused with the east

beast elsewhere.


I bailed at St Erth in blankets of snow to do 153325 on the 1148 to St

Ives and back on the fast 1203 return. Reinforcements in the shape of

153369 paired up with 325 at St Erth or at least tried too. Like two

rutting stags they took it in turns to crash into each other trying to

couple up but to no avail. Someone had forgot to put the yellow bag

over the couplings which had now frozen. In a touch of ingenuity one

of the station staff went back to the office to boil the kettle and

returned pouring the hot water over the couplings doing the trick as

the units managed to pair up. The pair departed on the 1218 14 minutes

late and a return run past the alleged sea was made not that you could

see it with all the white stuff falling.


280218153369n325webr.jpg Wild weather at St Erth with 153369 and 153325 on a delayed St Ives service, 280218


We got back to St Erth in time for the 1257 Penzance to Newton Abbot

with 150234. I had intended to go to Par to do 153380 on the Newquay

branch but this was abandoned at Truro when my last Exeter 153,

153368, was seen departing for Falmouth. Unfortunately this turned out

to be a cold move as I endured a 75 minute fester for its return. The

1420 and subsequent xx20 departures from Falmouth were caped as

153305/372 were deemed failures. Apparently the snow had got into

their horns which meant they were reduced to 20mph for safety reasons

and they had taken 2 hours to do a return trip. Many 143's were out of

service at Exeter the next day with the same fault.


This meant festering until 1451 to have winner 153368/153361 to the

Docks and back. Back in Truro I made the minus 20 onto 150248 with the

1449 Penzance to Plymouth so did that all the way as I was heading to

Paignton to stay in the Travelodge there. Winner 43092 with 43094 was

on the 1600 Penzance to Padd and these were done to Newton Abbot where

the snow had gone but it was freezing with the strong wind.


28021870816webr.jpg 70816 with eastbound cements at Exeter, 280218


I did 150238 on the 1834 Paignton to Exeter to Dawlish for the chippy

and stuffed my face on 150232 which was 12 minutes behind 238 working

the 1852 Paignton to Bristol. I bailed at Exeter to do 43098/ 43189 to

Paignton on the 1733 from Padd. These then formed the 2135 Paignton to

Newton Abbot where the guard moved the few passengers up front into

the first class to lock the rest of the train out of use ready for its

ecs move to Laira on arrival at the Abbot. The final move was to do

143612 back to Paignton on the 2121 from Exeter Central before walking

against the hurricane down the sea front to the Travelodge.


Thursday 1st March 2018


The next morning of 1 March the sea looked vile as it battered the

pier and the snow was coming down lightly. I raked in a new Spoons the

Talk of the Town for breakfast before escaping on the 0912 to Exmouth

formed of 150202/153370. I bailed at Newton Abbot which was a good

move as my last Exeter 143, 143611, produced on the 1007 to Paignton

but I leapt at Torquay to take pics of the giraffe oly J343 BSH being

buffeted by the wind outside the station. 150121/153372 arrived with

the 1021 Paignton to Exmouth but I got off at Teignmouth as I think I

want the shack. I then picked up 143611 again to take me to Exeter on

the 1033 from Paignton.


Much to my annoyance both the buffets at St Davids closed at noon so

the staff could go home early to avoid the storm. There they are

telling us to keep warm and get plenty of hot drinks whilst telling

people to close the warm buffets and therefore no hot drinks leaving

us standing outside on the freezing platforms.




153373 came off the depot to form the 1249 to Paignton but then I got

withered as my last 159, 159004 appeared for the 1225 to Waterloo. So

I scratched the 159 up the hill bailing at Central and slalomed my way

back downhill as the snow got heavier to make the 1249. Winner 43285

had gone through to Plymouth after I had been lied too that all Cross

Country services would terminate at Exeter but as it was 45 minutes

late getting to Plymouth I thought there was no way it would leave

Plymouth at 1225 as it wouldn't arrive until 1229. So I did 153373

thinking I would easily make the minus 4 but wishful thinking as it

was just leaving Newton Abbot as we approached only 2 minutes late

which is something of a miracle in the snow.


As a result I stayed on the 153 to Paignton where by now they had

closed the footbridge as the snow got deeper so only one platforn mow

in use. I returned to Newton Abbot on the 1340 with 153373 to cover

the Torbay Express easily making the minus 38 as winner 43086 with

43153 limped in 49 minutes late on what should have been the 1035 from

Padd to Paignton. Instead it started at Newbury as Padd was closed in

the morning as unfit for human consumption so most services started

and finished at Reading.


I had enough time to go to a cafe for a bacon sandwich and slops to

bring back for the return 1454 to Padd which I did to Newton Abbot.

150238 followed on the 1513 Paignton to Exmouth but I bailed at

Dawlish Warren to cover the 1550 Exeter to Plymouth. After trudging

through the ever deepening snow to the opposite platform my train kept

losing one minute every two minutes.


010318150238webr.jpg 150238 at a wintry Dawlish Warren, 010318



Eventually 153372 appeared 16 minutes late despite leaving Exeter on time and this

was the first real sign things were starting to unravel.


Unfortunately 153372's horn had succumbed for the second day running

as snow had invaded it's private parts so we were reduced to 20mph on

the mainline limping into Newton Abbot just the 34 minutes late. I got

withered as double score 43147/063 went past on the 1400 Penzance to

Padd. I was booked on the 1600 Penzance to Padd which was allocated

43144 and winner 43145 but things were starting to get dodgy. The

driver fixed the horn on the 153 and off it went to Plymouth but I

opted to do 150244/ 150202 back to Exter or so I thought.


By now the points had frozen outside Abbot station so only trains on

platform 3 could get through to Exeter. This meant the pair of 150's

had to reverse out to Aller Junction to head east but they changed

their minds and we returned into platform 1. Next thing I know old

Bedford rubbish 150121 working to Paignton was terminated and we had

to swap trains as now the pair were going to Paignton and 150121 was

going to Exeter. So at 1730 we reversed out to Aller Junction and

passed through platform 3 non stop but that was as good as it got. We

got held outside St Davids for 20 minutes due to more frozen points so

the journey time from Newton Abbot took a staggering 67 minutes to



01031870808webr.jpg 70808 contemplates her next move at St Davids, 010318



I had planned to go to Exmouth and Barnstaple but on seeing the

blizzard like conditions flagged those moves and stuck to the mainline

so I could get home. A wise decision as GWR gave up after 4pm and

suspended all services on the Exmouth and Barnstaple branches, not

much later Paignton closed for business, and finally Exeter was as far

as you could go when the Dawlish section was closed so I got out just

in time.


I was going to do my winner from Exeter at 1905 but by now the 1600

from Penzance was 60 late and so I boarded double dud 43192/ 43131,

this time with stock, on the 50 late 1657 Plymouth to Padd. I was

still optimistic I would make my pre booked 2225 HST from St Pancras

as I had work the next day. Foolish thoughts...


All the blurb had been the severe weather was between Penzance and

Taunton so when we got to Taunton with no issues I thought I would be

ok. However, I was soon put in my place as we got diverted to Bristol

because of frozen points at Castle Cary so that was the end of the

2225 home. To make matters worse there was no food or drink on the

train as the catering staff were stranded in Torquay so didn't reach

Exter to be on duty and I hadn't eaten since Paignton. Even getting to

Bristol was of no benefit as we were meant to be non stop to Reading

but we were now right behind the 2030 Bristol to Padd stopper so more

time would be lost.


We arrived at Reading at 2200 and caught up 43147/063 on the 1400 from

Penzance running 185 minutes late but any hope of having my double

scores into London ended as they caped the train. So I had to stay on

my dud power cars to Padd arriving at 2237 exactly 2 hours late. I

dashed off to St Pancras picking up a takeaway to make the 2315 snail

Meridian home but that proved futile as the inbound working from

Sheffield was 45 late so it meant we would not depart until 2345 so I

froze to the concourse as the train gradually got later.


Eventually a frozen 222006 with blocks of ice festooned to it crawled

in and we all piled on the warmish train. However, we were in for a

further withering as the driver should have had a lengthy break but

because he was so late arriving, the law states he must have a 45

minute break so we had to sit there until 0050 before we eventually

left 95 late. That will teach me to avoid all shacks to hell 700's! I

finally got home at 0150 in a taxi just the 3 hours late so ending an

eventful trip.


Thanks again to “MIB” for the write up, epic stuff!


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