Bath Sydney Gardens
According to my notes on 28th June 1975 I had hoped to travel from Swindon to Bath on the prototype HST working 1B46 for my one and only visit to Sydney Gardens, but it failed to appear – I had 50027 instead, which had been the first Class 50 into Cornwall around 15 months earlier. However it was worth the effort to capture three different Type 4s, even if the sun couldn’t stay out - I don’t recall the summer of 1975 being particularly good, although it was better than 1974 – 1976 was of course something else entirely! Following a pleasant afternoon there I returned to Swindon behind 50038 on 1A60.
It may only be early October but an early Christmas present from Neil Phillips today with his super offering of five trains passing through Sydney Gardens, Bath on Saturday 28th June 1975.
During the summer of 1975 the Wootton Bassett Junction - Westerleigh Junction stretch of the South Wales main line (also known as 'the Badminton route') was closed for major upgrade works in preparation for the arrival of the new HST fleet in 1976. This led to the diversion via Bath, Dr Day's Jcn and Filton of all traffic that would normally use that route. I have a copy of the Section PB BR Working Timetable for the period 5 May - 5 October 1975 and can identify the trains Neil recorded from their headcodes. 1975 was the last year of working headcodes; from 1st January 1976 there was no requirement to do so hence the later widespread use of 0O00 and the display of individual loco numbers in the redundant panels on classes 50 and 52.
In order, here are Neil's trains.
1) 50050 on 1B50 1215 Paddington - Bristol Temple Meads. Due Bath Spa 1414-1417
2) 47097 on 2O60 1603 Bristol Temple Meads - Weymouth. Due Bath Spa 1622 - 1624. An all time personal favourite working of mine from the mid 1970s and well into the 80s with some retiming. Likely to produce almost anything from shabby Bath Road allocated class 31s to 37s, 45s, 46s, 47s 50s and 52s. I believe a class 25 made it through to Weymouth on at least one occasion too!
3) D1059 on 5A06 1352 Swansea - Old Oak Common empty vans. Note that the headcode displayed reads 5A15 so the last two characters are each one digit out, possibly stuck? Due to pass through Bath Spa non stop at 16/37.
4) 47479 on 1C77 1450 Paddington - Swansea, due non-stop through Bath Spa at 16/35.
5) D1034 on 1A41 1447 Swansea - Paddington. Again, slightly incorrect display with a 2 almost in place of the first character which should be the partly displayed 1. Due through Bath Spa non-stop at 16/52.
Thanks again to Neil for sharing these images.
4th October 2023
Guy Vincent (with photo by Adrian)
Regards, Mike Roach.
Our sympathies to his family.
Keith Jenkin and Roger Winnen and members of the Cornwall Railway Society