Posted in Railways on Saturday 25th September 2004 at 8:31pm

Set out on another try at the Wessex free Day Return ticket offer. Plan was to get to Southampton, then on to Eastleigh for a quick look at the depot. It wasn't to be. Predictably, the Portsmouth train was a single Class 158 and it was dangerously overloaded. A rather rude and unfriendly guard added to the frustration. Feeling increasingly uncomfortable, and figuring that since I hadn't paid anything I hadn't really lost anything, I bailed at Westbury.

As usual, had a reasonably long wait to get anywhere from here. A further Portsmouth service came and went, advertised as 'all unreserved accomodation occupied' - which was frankly an understatement. An equally packed Bristol service passed. I took the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch goings on in the sidings. Also bumped into a fellow enthusiast who grew up in my old home town, and chatted about the days events so far, and the stuff due this way in the afternoon.

Eventually, back to Temple Meads. Took my usual spot on Platform 5 and waited, with some likeminded souls, for the Class 50 hauled railtour to arrive. The tour deposited its passengers at Bath Spa, but the stock was to wait at Bristol for the return leg. Finally arrived with the 50s running top-and-tail, and in good shape.

50031 passes through Bristol Temple Meads
50031 passes through Bristol Temple Meads, returning to Bath Spa with railtour stock

The next event of the day was the arrival of the 'Avonmouth Adventurer' steam hauled service. This was ominously late - much to the disgust of an older gentleman who "didn't hold with all this diesel" - and I began to regret my prediction to a guard working the Severn Beach shuttle earlier in the day that he was going to get stuck behind a failed steam train! Eventually it arrived, with a bonus in the shape of 37521 on the rear. Once passengers had disembarked, the driver of 37521 thoroughly enjoyed playing to the audience with one of the loudest, fastest standing starts I've ever seen.

37521 about to shake the rafters at Bristol Temple Meads
37521 about to shake the rafters at Bristol Temple Meads

73096 at Bristol Temple Meads with the 'Avonmouth Adventurer'
73096 at Bristol Temple Meads with the 'Avonmouth Adventurer'

Hung around for the various shunting manouevres which 37521 undertook, all seemingly a little faster and louder than was strictly necessary, which was very entertaining. Headed back home on the 1725 to Weston, having had an afternoon of interesting conversation and entertaining workings, despite Wessex Trains best efforts to mess things up earlier on.

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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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