Saturday 12th December 1981 turned out to be one of the coldest days on record in some parts of the country. I was travelling from Plymouth to Birmingham and had been on 45042 since mild and snow-free Taunton and just a few flakes were falling at Weston-Super-Mare. However the temperature started plummeting just west of Bristol TM with snow laying on the ground. Not thick just extremely cold even with the sun shining. What I do remember was the bitter cold on my skin as I jumped out at Temple Meads for a snowy shot in the sunshine. My recollections from the weather forecasts was that it was 12F in the Bristol area, that's minus 11C. That is extremely cold for the UK. As I headed north to Birmingham the landscape looked positively Arctic with tree branches covered in solid ice. As usual in such weather British Rail continued to run services and there was no mention on radio or TV of staying at home unless travel was essential. The railways ran and people travelled. Once I'd reached Birmingham and started to return south on 46051 on the 1V91 11.43 Newcastle - Bristol TM was when the real trouble started. As darkness had descended the temperature plummeted further, from being very cold to exceedingly cold with multiple frozen points and track circuit failures occurring. I eventually left Bristol 4 hours late on 47459 on the 1V90 Liverpool - Plymouth arriving at Plymouth over 5 hours late at 01.00. 1V82 the Manchester - Plymouth due at 16.25 had ended up terminating at Taunton some 6 hours late. Very unusual for BR back then to terminate a train.
Regards, Clive Smith. Many thanks Indeed Clive.
Philip Eden: Snowiest of 20th century | weatheronline.co.uk