Posted in Railways on Saturday 26th November 2005 at 9:44pm

After a couple of weeks of being unable to speak properly, incredible tired and generally sorry for myself, I was determined to get out today. Got up obscenely early just in case anything was happening, but decided that for old times' sake I'd go for the Wessex Class 31s which were heading for Southampton again this weekend. The strange mid-morning timetable for Highbridge meant heading out at 10:19 on the soon to be abolished Arriva service for Pembroke Dock and Crewe. Only half of the train had turned up, and the staff were going nuts. Languished in the vestibule as far as Temple Meads.

Had an extended wait at Bristol for the 13:40. Chatted to a few locals, out for the steam special due in around the same time we left. Had lunch and wandered around the station. A little before 13:00 31452 led the stock south through the middle road, so it looked like the trip was on. Finally aboard a freezing Mk 2 at 13:20, and off on time. As ever the stopping pattern on this service put paid to any hope of being on time, but the 31s performed pretty well - with the stops at Westbury and Salisbury mopping up most of the extra minutes. Passed the Black Five at Oldfield Park, and later 67020 on the VSOE excursion at Bradford-on-Avon. Noted 31454 stabled rather incongruously at Salisbury too. Arrived a couple of minutes late at a freezing but dry Southampton Central.

31452 prepares to haul 2V85 back to Bristol Temple Meads
31452 prepares to haul 2V85 back to Bristol Temple Meads

Not much light remaining for photographs so wandered around looking for somewhere to get hot coffee and food without queueing for ages, and finally found a 'Cafe Ritazza' which I don't remember being there before. Coffee good, but the 'breakfast panini' was pretty weird - not recommended. I was so cold I could barely taste it anyway. Front coach on the way back was at least heated. During a short wait at Bristol for the 19:15, noted 66061 on the scrap train, apparently abandoned on the middle road.

Good to get out again after what feels like a very long break indeed. Its almost a year since I got any Class 31 mileage too!

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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