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This tour was from Wolverhampton with an early start of 5.56am and travelled down the Welsh Marches making eleven station stops including Shrewsbury, Hereford and Abergavenny before picking up the Great Western main line just north of Newport. It then travelled east and through the Severn Tunnel which is 4 miles 624 yards long of which two and a quarter miles are actually under the River Severn. It then turned south passing through Bristol Temple Meads and arrived at Kingswear for Dartmouth at 1.10pm. The train was being hauled by two West Coast railway Class 57’s numbers 57314 & 57601. The former was at one time a Virgin Thunderbird locomotive named “Firefly”and still has the recess in the front of the engine where the Dellner coupling used to be., This was needed to couple to and rescue Voyagers and Pendolinos that had failed in duty.

The eleven very smart Mk 2 coaches belong to Statesman Rail and are fitted out to a very high standard and include a kitchen car and some Pullman coaches for fine dining. Prices for this trip were £85 for standard class,£155 for First class, £260 for Premier Dining and £290 for Pullman Dining with small reductions for bookings for four people.Seating is tables for four with tables for two available in Pullman Class. The picture below shows the train about to enter Teignmouth station and the Parson and Clerk rock is visible at the end of the rock formation at Holcombe with the remainder of Shag rock in the sea. It lost its large head in a storm about 50 years ago but still appears on some postcards! The “Clerk” is a slender pinnacle of rock adjoining the “Parson” and is not visible from this side and not Shag rock as people often assume.

 

 

 

By the time  the 5pm return from Kingswear reached Teignmouth the light was fading and the station was in full gloom and not much better on Dawlish sea wall but the train passed Dawlish 4 minutes early at a good speed. It was not due back into Wolverhampton until 11.45pm, time to enjoy the plush seating and splendid dining for the Pullman passengers.

Tomorrow Sunday 2nd September is a steam special. 11.50am through Dawlish. Don’t miss it.