19th July 1980
"North Wales Coast Bash"
The weekend (and a week’s holiday) kicked off with a North Wales bashing day. As it included the Friday night overnight I might as well give that a mention if only as it was quite representative of what I used to do throughout the week at this time when there were no ‘New Engines’ to go after. One point that is worth mentioning is that my Bashing life was driven in 1980 by ‘New Engines’, ie those that I had never been hauled by before. Hence I would do dozens of small mileage moves in pursuit of these. Also and I know this may be hard to believe in this day and age there were no mobile phones, “Tops” printouts or gen, other than word of mouth. So as you rarely knew what was coming, you had to cover everything!
The "8/9 Roadshow", of which I liked to consider myself a member, were out in force for the usual evening moves. They were off to Scotland this evening on the overnight for a weeks bash and I would be joining them on Sunday. So our 'standard' evening moves saw us taking 47547 on V64 (1623 Manchester - Paddington) from Birmingham to B’ham Int to cover M71 (1520 Brighton - Manchester) with 47482. Then it was 47196 (New Engine!) on V68 (1925 Birmingham - Didcot) to Solihull for 47121 back on M16 (1742 Paddington - Birmingham). The usual 'desperados' were met at New Street off this move (led by Andy Mustoe, of course) and we headed off to B'ham International for the M40 Poole - Nottingham. Unfortunately I missed that as I was upstairs playing the Astrofighter video game when it arrived! (Couldn't have been much cop, I hope!) So my fall back move was to join the South Wales mob on 47513 (V88 2042 Birmingham - Paddington) and headed off to Coventry for what we hoped would be a York 'Duff', only it turned out to be the both late and much less exciting 47532 on M01 (1901 Paddington - Manchester).
Back at New Street I must have been the only one not realise that there would be a Class 40 on the Holyhead train (D82 2208 Birmingham). I was suffering from wax in one ear and that had severely impacted my hearing (and was to play a big part in my holiday as you will see). So before the overnight really started there was still time to rake in another New Engine, 40028, on this train up to Wolverhampton and return with 85003 on V43 2137 Manchester – Newquay. After all that we finally get into the overnight proper.
To get to Crewe the move was 86010 on S19 2142 Bristol – Glasgow, a sleeper train that conveyed a portion for Edinburgh that would be detached at Carstairs. I hardly ever took it that far, tonight being no exception, as to cover more engines I would bail at Stafford for 85032 (which my notes say was my 1,100 New Engine!) on S18 2215 Euston – Glasgow and off again at Crewe (although I had to let 81001, also required, go on a Liverpool bound train). My standard North Wales move was the D02 0224 Crewe – Holyhead to Chester, tonight being yet another New Engine, 47539. (I know it’s starting to sound a bit repetitious, my notes say they are another seven to come this day!) This train did a bit of a shunting manoeuvre to get platformed so much so that I ended up with a desperate dash to make 47448 on A04 0107 Holyhead - Euston. Following this into Crewe was the train from Holyhead bringing back all the 40 Bashers that had taken 40028 to the blocks the previous evening. They all bailed at Crewe when 86012 dropped onto G00 (0125 Holyhead – Birmingham) whilst I got on as it was, yes, another Newie! Not the best of moves as they were in position to get hold of the mornings gen whilst I was going to sleep through to Birmingham and return with the 0630 Lancaster (86232).
I was joined on that by a number of friends (not everyone did overnights) and we set about getting into North Wales for the ‘start’ of a day’s bash. There were two new 40’s for me in a row. 40022 on E86 0900 Llandudno – York, that I had between Prestatyn and Chester followed by 40121 on M48 0748 Leeds – Llandudno that I took back to the Junction. Anyway you’ll be wondering by now where the Rats feature this day. Well there were a couple out on the coast the biggest being 25217, a rare cow and unbeknown to us on its last ever passenger train working. I photographed it at Abergele heading through to the Town on what I took to be the 1020 Manchester – Llandudno relief train. A check with the ‘experts’ indicated that it would run back as a 1338 Llandudno – Manchester relief train, calling at the Junction and Chester. So how was I to cover it?
Picking up from where I left off earlier, after 40121, I had 40112 J30 1130 Bangor – Manchester to Abergele (and the photo of 25217) then 40106 D11 1118 Crewe – Llandudno to the Junction and what was to be a fairly lengthy wait. It’s not clear to me now why I didn’t go through to the Town for it. Given that I was going on holiday to Scotland the following day I probably didn’t have the appropriate Railtourer ticket and was buying ‘pieces’ to cover the day’s moves. That would have meant ‘no validity’ for the Town and hence I faced an hour wait at the Junction, too long for me. Running forty or so minutes in front of ‘217 was 25133 on D17 1300 Llandudno – Nottingham. Not a particularly important loco but at that time it seemed to offer the opportunity for a move to Colwyn Bay and back again. Plus seven was what I was told by a 40 basher so I leapt on, leaving my friends to wait another forty minutes. Within minutes of me getting on it became apparent that I had misunderstood the move. My companion had no intention of bailing at Colwyn Bay and was en-route to Chester to cover 40170. I was on a minus four at the Bay for the train back and if I missed that then the next was a minus onto the Relief (if you follow me). I was gutted, I missed the connection (of course) and headed on to Chester. That’ll teach me to listen to ‘expert’ advice.
At the time, whilst I was upset it wasn’t the end of the day as I still had other New Engine’s to go for. 40170 on D41 1418 Crewe – Holyhead was taken to the junction for 40177 back to Crewe on the 1605 Llandudno – Euston. Then it was back to Birmingham for that evening’s local bash (47327 on the Didcot was also a score for me) and thence down to Cheltenham for S19, the Lickey Bankers (37236 another score) and off to join the others in Scotland.
Not a great Class 25 day but notable as a missed opportunity to get 25217 on its last working. Within five months this loco had been withdrawn. As for the rest of the moves, well it was a typical weekend in 1980 for me. In all I had nine loco hauled trains Friday evening, five on the overnight followed by thirteen more (with fifteen locos) during the day.