This story also features Saturday's Paddington-Minehead steam charter hauled by 6233 'Duchess of Sutherland'. Following that train's passage reports were received of small lineside fires in the Somerton area. The Fire Brigade attended and the line between Cogload and Castle Cary was closed for just over an hour to allow access to extinguish the smouldering vegetation. As a result the return excursion was hastily re-planned with 6233 remaining at Bishops Lydeard and diesel 47802 running light as 0Z47 1708 Southall-Bishops Lydeard. 47802 took the charter back to London, finally departing Taunton at 2021, 86 minutes late, with arrival into Paddington at 2302, only 15 late. Ironically much of Somerset received a good soaking from early evening when a band of heavy showers passed over!
Now to the main subject. For today's 1Z27 'Torbay Express' the empty coaches were booked to run as 5Z25 1547 Eastleigh-Bristol Kingsland Road, routed via Basingstoke, Reading West, Swindon and Box and hauled by diesel 47245. This loco was declared a failure in platform 4 at Basingstoke at 1640 and the driver had to make his way to Southall to collect a rescue loco in the form of 33025. After some hours this arrived and departed Basingstoke at 2053, the type 3 diesel hauling the failed 47 and 12 carriages! En route problems developed with the 'Crompton' and it too was declared a failure in Swindon East Loop which was reached at 2226, some 253 minutes late. The option taken to get the coaches to Bristol for the fully-booked 'Torbay Express' was to send 47802 from Paddington to Swindon and take on the whole ensemble, this was achieved and departure from Swindon was at 0110, 5Z25 at this point now 387 minutes late. Arrival into Bristol was at 0152, 349 minutes late. The two defective diesels, 33025 and 47245 were subsequently deposited in the former 'Motorail' siding next to P2 at Temple Meads and the 'Torbay Express' departed platform 7 at 0822, 22 minutes late, hauled by 47802 piloting LNER 'A4' 60009 'Union of South Africa'. The diesel pilot was ruled necessary as a precaution against the starting of any lineside fires although the steam loco was certainly providing a degree of power when I first observed it passing through Bradford-on-Avon, the diesel seemingly idling ahead of it. Further delays were encountered beyond Frome due to signalling difficulties following an overnight engineering possession but the train finally made it through to Kingswear with an 'on-time' arrival recorded. This was made possible by a much reduced stop-over at Taunton and the generally easy timing schedule thereafter.
Formation of 1Z27 0800 Bristol Temple Meads-Kingswear:
47802 60009 35486 4998 4959 1691 3147 3123 3121 3149 3141 1651 3066 3068 21269
Pictures of the train arriving at Westbury plus the two diesels in the former Motorail siding at Bristol Temple Meads.
All times quoted are from Real Time Trains, reports of fires from postings on online enthusiast groups.