16th July 1983

"A Cambrian Day"

I had been looking forward all week to my day with the 25's but I have to admit I was more than a little disappointed to see a 37066 waiting to go forward with the overnight Glasgow-Bristol sleeper train.  Perhaps it was fortunate we didn't see it until the 0625 Lancaster train (86223) was leaving New Street by which time it was too late to worry.  Well for me that was but my friends took a chance and bailed for the first train back, unfortunately just missing the 37.  That left me to carry on alone, cheered by the day's gen suggesting the midday pair would be 25201 and '224, the former an all time score for me whilst the latter loco would be cleared for 1,000 miles if I could take it out and back to Shrewsbury.

The first train of the day was headed by 25320 and '298 but our progress was extremely slow because extensive track repairs had taken place the previous weekend and several miles of speed restrictions were in place.  At Welshpool we were held to allow the DMU we would normally have passed at Newtown to cross and it soon became apparent we were going to be very late into Aberystwyth.  That realisation was shared by the railways because we never got there.  On arrival at Machynlleth the train was terminated and we waited in the sun for passengers from Aber' to arrive.

I headed back to Shrewsbury for what I hoped would be a 'new engine' and was greeted at Welshpool by the arrival of the multitude off the second pair (with 25193 and '236).  I decided they would not feature in my moves book as they were both low mileage locos but the gen arriving with the crowd was not good news.  One of the locos on their train had failed before Shrewsbury with a loco I needed ('239) and hopes of getting '224 to a 1,000 miles today were also gone as that loco had been declared a failure.  Too late to get off for the second pair now.

Things went from bad to worse.  The third pair were running two hours late because of "failure to a preceding train".  My hoped for pair had been swapped, presumably because '224 was defective and their replacements (25277 and '285) were not required.  Those PW speed restrictions meant we now passed the second pair at Welshpool and I had missed out on a possible 168 additional miles by trying to get a loco for 1,000.  A poor mileage day for me then and nothing more to do but to go through to Aberystwyth where the 1715 Aberystwyth - Shrewsbury was to return an hour late.  The speed restrictions, of course, affect trains in both directions on a single track line so by the time we got back to Shrewsbury all connections had been missed and the train was extended to Crewe for passengers.  Unfortunately I had to let it go because I couldn't have got a train home from Crewe.  It was down to a DMU to Wolverhampton and 86318 on the 1720 Glasgow to complete my day but the delays weren't over.  A points failure delayed my arrival in Birmingham by another hour.  I was not in a good mood by the time I got home!

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