Okehampton - London trip
A good day had by all.
The report on yesterday's 'Royal Oke' Okehampton to Paddington HST special paints a more negative picture than was actually the case. From David Tozer's perspective things must have look a little disastrous when he encountered the outward train at Crediton - as it did to those of us at Okehampton monitoring progress at the same time - but the subsequent trip was actually a brilliant success, attracting nothing but positive feedback from the participants. GWR did a fantastic job to recover the situation and get the passengers to London only 38 late, and thereafter everything went like clockwork. I've put a short report on our website at http://www.dartmoor-railway-sa.org/news and I wonder if you might like to publish the link.
Dartmoor Railway Supporters' Association
Jon, I am very pleased to publish your letter in full, so glad that it all went well in the end. May there be more of these trips.
40 years ago today
Celebration of 40 years
Being a member of the Diesel & Electric Group at the time (since renamed Diesel & Electric Preservation Group) I was invited to the West Somerset Railway to participate in Hymek D7017’s first passenger train working in preservation on 19th March 1977 – 40 years ago this Sunday. D7017 has now spent over three times longer in preservation than it did in BR service! It was also the first ex-BR diesel locomotive saved for preservation by a group. For reasons now not entirely clear I travelled from Swindon to Taunton via Reading, this took me past Didcot Railway Centre (on still almost-new HST set 253001) where I noted classmate and now shedmate D7018 standing outside the depot. Unfortunately the bright and sunny conditions which had greeted the ‘Western Tribute’ final special 3 weeks earlier had long gone, but at least the rain just about held off.
Should I try to make this more relevant to Cornwall? OK, here goes….. Although D7017 has paid at least one visit to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway since preservation, it is known to have visited Cornwall on two occasions while in BR service – one day in autumn 1967 I discovered it parked in Truro’s bay platform (I was surprised, I’d expected either D7029 or D7088 – again!), and it powered the Kensington Olympia – St Austell Motorail service on 12th June 1971 (this was the closest Hymeks ever got to regular diagramming in Cornwall, for peak Summer Saturdays 1970 & 1971, with the loco stabled at St Blazey all day). Also, after being secured for preservation D7017 was towed to Taunton on 31st July 1975 via the Berks & Hants line by 25152 - as D7502 this Class 25 was used for crew training on the type between Penzance and Truro in January 1972 (as per my photo in ‘Truro – Gallery 2’). OK, I admit that’s a more tenuous link…..!
Best regards, Neil Phillips.
Many thanks Neil for a most interesting article and photographs.