Class 25 Action

Aberystwyth Saturday 28th September 1985

1Z23 03:30 North Walsham - Aberystwyth "Cambrian Explorer" Railtour

The last Class 25 hauled excursion to Aberystwyth

Class 25 locomotives 25303 (front) and 25323 on arrival at Aberystwyth with the excursion train. As seen many times before on this site the locos will draw forward off the stock and run round the train before taking the coaches out of the station and this time reversing them back into the platform siding.
Class 25 locomotives 25303 and 25323 complete the parking of the excursion stock and then the pair are shiut down to await the return leg.
Class 25 locomotives 25323 and 25303 wait for to shunt the stock for the return "Cambrian Explorer" excursion back into the main platform.

(L and C) Class 25 locomotives 25323 (front) and 25303 head the return "Cambrian Explorer" excursion to North Walsham.  This was to be the last booked Class 25 working out of Aberystwyth and certainly the last excursion train.

(R) As dusk closes in at Aberystwyth the final Aber' Rat Roadshow seminar shot sees Alan Baylis (C), Dave Gee "Z51" and Mark Bennett "No.1" (R) posing in front of 25323 shortly before departure.

True Grit

Time rolls inexorably on but memories remain
Of a day spent at the coast, ‘twas always the same
Games of “Gorf”, Polar Slush and a “99”
Then racing back to the station, just barely in time
To take up our places at the front of the train
And thinking would this, the last Aber’, bring fame?

With triple pumps purring Rats came back from the dead
Plumes of smoke drifted skywards over my head
Then with a whistle, a toot, we were off on our way
Knowing excitement was still to come on this day
First DJ, then Mach’ followed by the main event
The Talerddig Incline and all that it meant

But before we got there our worst fears were confirmed
“‘303 has cut out!!”, now that’s cause for concern
All heads to the windows as we approached the bottom
Thoughts of stormin’ the bank long since forgotten
With just one Rat on this load we would be lucky to make it
And this, the last week, well I could hardly take it
At first, sound dropped off and with it our speed
Anxious glances exchanged, there was always that need
For a little hope and a prayer as the train got slower
Shouts of “We ain’t gonna make it” sent our spirits lower
With amps flat out at max, speed down to ten
For many onboard, failure’s not an if but a when

Then from reserves held deep; strength usually concealed
The engine noise changed, a throaty roar was revealed
Was this the last act of defiance or the throw of a die?
  And a sound now so overpowering, that’s barely a lie
It’s hard to imagine after what went before
We looked to have lost the battle but now we’ve won the war
Some who were there say this was their finest hour
Just to have been to Aber’ and sampled the power
In hushed tones others still speak of what it all meant
Did that really happen or was it just dreamt?
For us though '323 proved to all that when fit
Only Rats had what one might call ‘True Grit’  

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