There are two steam train excursions this weekend, the first on Saturday, under the title of Dartmouth Express. The tour starts at Woking and is diesel hauled as far as Bristol Temple Meads where the LMS Black 5 number 45212 takes over for the run down to Kingswear. On the return the change back to diesel power is at Fairwater Yard Taunton which is just south of the station. The loco is being stabled at Bishops Lydeard overnight on the West somerset Railway. On Sunday the same locomotive will take over from Taunton on the Cathedrals Express tour which is diesel powered from London Paddington and again heads for Kingswear. On the return the tour is steam powered all the way back to Slough.
45212 was one of an enormous and very successful class of 842 loco’s designed by William Stanier and introduced in 1934. This particular one was built by Armstrong Whitworth at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1935 and has the distinction of being the last steam locomotive to haul a revenue earning train in 1968. It was purchased directly from BR by the Keighley & Worth Valley railway and has never been in scrapyard condition. In preservation it has worked on the North Yorkshire Moors and the East Lancs railways along with guest appearances on other preserved railways. It has also featured on the West Highland line operating between Fort William and Mallaig on the Jacobean services. It is now available for West Coast Railways on the main lines of Britain and returns to the K&WVR when not required elsewhere. It is believed to be the first occasion ever for this locomotive to travel along the Dawlish Sea Wall. The picture above is of an identical engine of the same class.
Saturday’s times booked through Dawlish are 12.43 & 18.50 The train is due to stop at Dawlish Warren from 12.28 until 12.39 to allow the passage of a Cross Country Express service to Paignton get ahead of it. It has been known for the steam tour to not stop if the service train is running very late.
Sunday’s times are 11.33 & 17.42