Posted in Railways on Saturday 21st February 2004 at 9:45pm
Today was a strange one. I set out for my customary weekend escape, this time intending to seek new track in West Wales. Set out from Weston on the replacement bus service to Temple Meads, and thence to Newport. At this point the full effect of the disruption due to a fatality at Paddington early this morning became clear, with everything going West very heavily delayed. I was unlikely to make any sort of reasonable connection to Milford Haven now, ill-served as it is at the best of times. I pressed on to Cardiff with no clear idea of quite what to do, in a 142 full of unhappy punters who I didn't even have the energy to stare disapprovingly at!
On arrival at Cardiff I'd decided that I'd be giving up and sending for a refund on this one. Decided to try to clear up the few remaining Valley Lines branches on a One Day Ranger. Set out first to get the City Line as far as Radyr, with a thought of 37's to Rhymney later. The guard on the Radyr train asked me if I was going to the 'naming at Merthyr?'. I'd read about this but utterly failed to connect it with today...37417 was being named "Richard Trevithick" in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Penydarren's first run today. Thanked the guard for the tip, and resolved to try to get to Merthyr.
On arriving at Radyr I was one of a small group of photographers and spectators freezing quietly on the platforms. The train was working push-pull with 37406 "The Saltire Society" leading up to Merthyr, and was running as the 11:56 service train. It was reported wedged leaving Cardiff, as it was reduced to three coaches (one full of dignitaries) to fit both 37's onto the short platforms at Merthyr. Hence, it was not calling at stations south of Pontypridd. A few minutes later through the hazy winter sunshine we saw 37406 thundering off the curve. The train stormed through Radyr and disappeared up the valley. Philosophically I accepted I wasn't getting those 37's today, and set about some more Vallery wanderings, with the help of a friendly driver who promised to 'take it slow round the shed' so I could see what was at Canton Depot. Nice people up here!
Arrived back at Queen Street in time to notice that 37417's return run was due in at any time...squeezed into the rear coach and got 0.75 miles behind 37417 into Central! Finished the day with a trip out to Maesteg and then to Penarth, meaning I've finally finished the valleys, with a little history thrown in for good measure!
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.