Legends For Christmas

First Great Western locomotive 43172 'Harry Patch: Last Survivor Of The Trenches' in remembrance livery leads an Intercity 125 set out of Carmarthen in glorious summer late-afternoon light.
Last post for the year: at the going down of the sun, we will remember them. 43172 heads out of Carmarthen with a Pembroke Dock to London service; Intercity 125 trains operated normal passenger services to/from Pembroke Dock for the last time in 2018.
Another year draws to a close… With just six days left of 2018, it’s high time I released another post so that I can say that ‘I made a crowd of posts in 2018’ (three’s a crowd; or so the saying goes). Unfortunately I cannot think of many noteworthy points about the past year to cover today; having already covered the handover of the Wales & Borders franchise in the year’s only non-winter post. The mainstream news has been dominated by arguments surrounding Britain’s intended departure from the European Union; I’m fed up of hearing about that. Politicians; please can we forget about it and get down to the serious business of tackling climate change?

There is a reason why my blog has been so quiet in 2018, and that is unlikely to change much in 2019. More on that (very) early next year (I hope). In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the ‘Christmas present’ I have prepared for any readers. This ‘present’ takes the form of a belatedly completed video project, featuring First Great Western’s Intercity 125 trains, which bowed out on ‘The Pembroke Coast Express’ at the end of the summer 2018 season.

First Great Western Intercity 125 train in the Carmarthenshire countryside on the 'Pembroke Coast Express'
Summer in Pibwrlwyd: the westbound ‘Pembroke Coast Express’ approaches Carmarthen in June 2016.
The Pembroke Coast Express is the focus of the video, which I originally hoped to publish during 2017 (Visit Wales’ Year of Legends). My project is therefore coming to fruition a whole year late. Still, it is a slightly better performance than Network Rail who, sadly, have missed the ‘Hendy date’ for December 2018 completion of Paddington-Cardiff electrification. My excuse is equipment failure; the computer I use for video editing died and it took me many months to find a suitable replacement part, replace it and recover the data.

I must confess that I have ‘cheated’ a little since not all the trains featured in the video are the ‘Pembroke Coast Express’. There is probably footage of the two nameless Great Western workings to/from Pembroke Dock in there and the Carmarthen – London Paddington service makes at least two appearances. There is even one shot (I think only one anyway) of a London-Swansea service and one that is not even a train to or from Wales!