The “North and West” route through the Welsh Marches saw
frequent steam specials in the early days. We were spoilt
(even it did always seem to be the same three locomotives -
6000, 6201 and 35028). In recent years, there have been
So Saturday 26th November would be quite a date for the diary.
The Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre would take place - and
three special trains were to run - two of them steam-hauled (I
only found out about the third a few minutes before it passed
through...). 6024 King Edward I (entirely appropriate for a
medieval fair) would haul “The Marches Monarch” from Bristol
(the train originating at Eastleigh) and 60163 “Tornado” (just the
thing for this windy day!) would be coming from Paddington,
following in the King’s footsteps from Patchway near Bristol,
through the Severn Tunnel and up through Hereford to Ludlow.
There’s nowhere to stable or service a train at the latter, so the
steam specials would continue to Shrewsbury, where they also be
able to reverse.
I took to the country south of Stokesay for the
northbound runs, and spent a very pleasant couple of
hours. The “North and West” is a busy line these days.
As well as the specials (including the 67-hauled third
train mentioned earlier) there were a couple of freights,
and numerous diesel units on the everyday passenger
service. Every now and then, a gust of wind would whip
up the fallen leaves into little whirlwinds, which
threatened to fill camera bags and, at their worst, to get
in the way of photographs. No tornados, fortunately,
other than the A1...
I could have hung around and seen 6024 heading south.
Due to leave Shrewsbury at 4.00pm, I guessed the light
would be marginal... I decided to head for home, have a
cup of tea and a bite to eat - before returning to Church
Stretton station, with the household authorities in tow
to see Tornado (she likes that sort of thing). Perhaps
there would be enough light for some video as it passed
through the station? Perhaps even enough for stills?
Judge for yourselves...