Farewell - South Wales TPO

1M95, 2140 Swansea - Willesden PRDC TPO will make its final departure on Friday 25th July 2003 following Royal Mails announcement that it will cease to use rail for the distribution of first class mail by March 2004, when its new distribution network integrating road and air comes into place.  The balance working 1V44 Willesden PRDC - Swansea TPO is similarly affected, with the final arrival being at 0340 on Saturday 26th July 2003.

The consist of 1M95 / 1V44 includes NAA+NSA+NTA+NSA+NTA+NSA+NBA+NOA+NAA Royal Mail coaching stock hauled by a Class 67 locomotive. The train is serviced during the day at Margam Depot / Wagon Works and runs empty to Swansea Maliphant Sidings early evening, where the locomotive runs around its train and propels it into Platform 1 at Swansea station. The out and home workings are manned by London & Swansea TPO staff on alternate days  with 1M95 being crewed by London TPO staff on Monday / Wednesday & Friday and Swansea TPO staff on Tuesday & Thursday. Twenty six Royal Mail TPO staff including the manager normally arrive for duty just after 2000 hrs and assist in loading the mail onto their train from awaiting lorries.

1M95 calls at Cardiff, Bristol, Reading and Slough and sorts mail for Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Kent, Sussex, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Essex and London.

1V44 calls at Reading, Bristol, Newport and Cardiff and sorts mail for Somerset, Avon and South Wales.

Friday 25th July 2003 will be a very sad night and this article is a tribute to the many Royal Mail staff that I have made friendship with during the past fourteen years and I wish them and their families the very best health and happiness for the future.

And this is how it went, Friday pm / Saturday am.....

5M95 1835 Margam - Swansea ECS is photted through Briton Ferry with Margam Driver Barry Perks at the controls of 67008. 
5M95 pulls into Platform 1 and propels back out into Maliphant Sidings with a shunter in the leading NAA
67008 runs around 5M95 in Maliphant Sidings.
67008 propels the 5M95 back into Platform 1 to enable the mail to be loaded later.

67008 recesses in Platform 1 prior to 1M95 departing at 2140.

Barry Perks and Ted Llewellyn are the Margam Driver and Shunter performing the movements. ( Barry Perks takes 1M95 to Bristol where he then returns with 1V44, Ted LLewellyn undertakes the shunting movements again and rides with 5V44 to Margam Depot. )

Just waiting for the staff and mail to arrive.

London TPO staff arrive at 2100hrs and a very dejected Gorby hands the South Wales TPO Headboard to Barry, Ted and John for pictures prior to it being positioned in the locomotive cab window. ( On a personal note I am very disappointed that EWS did not provide a Class 47 for the last weeks operation as requested to management, especially in light of the fact that London staff were told by EWS that the headboard would fit the Class 67 and no adaptor bracket would be required. EWS staff were not able to fit the headboard even after attempts to source special bracketing. However, on a more positive note the 67 failed on Monday night at Bristol and a 47 was attached to the front of the train complete with headboard. )

1M95 almost ready to depart for the final time at 2140.

Thats me being interviewed by HTV Wales news team following the departure of 1M95 and several hours after completing an article for the Swansea Evening Post.
67018 Rapid brings in 1V44 for the last time at 0302 hrs, just four minutes short of a previous best time and thirty eight minutes early. Thanks to Swansea Station Manager for vacating an HST to Maliphant Sidings to enable this arrival time.
End of an Era at 0302 hrs!

Click here for details of purchasing a thirty minute video tape entitled "End of an era", showing footage of the last TPO out of Swansea.

But why.........

I find it very difficult to understand how, three years after EWS made a significant 50m investment in 125mph traction together with a commitment to support it with 125mph coaching stock to meet the needs of the Royal Mail business and with over three years remaining of the contract that they seem fit to make alternative arrangements integrating road and air when the government is actively promoting taking traffic off the roads and onto the rail. I also understand that Royal Mail will be introducing fourteen new road journeys to and from Swansea when the TPO finishes on the 25th July 2003 and a very interesting article was published in The Guardian recently, so take a look and you'll see where I'm coming from:- 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,999590,00.html

I have included some images taken during the last week of 1M95 / 1V44 and I hope you enjoying viewing them as much as I did taking them.

London Crew

Mon/Wed/Fri Swansea - Willesden, Tue/Thu Willesden - Swansea

 
  Alfie Alfie & Mike Mat Max Gorby & Tommy Bill Max

  London Crew Kojo Alfie & Gorby Gorby & Kojo Tommy Paul, Bob & Rod Gorby
           
  Alfie Gorby          

Swansea Crew

Tue/Thu Swansea - Willesden, Mon/Wed/Fri Willesden - Swansea

 

  Jamie Malcolm John Mike Cliff Paul Alan
  Swansea Crew Charlie Jack Ken John Malcolm Dai
           
  John Nigel          

Locomotives, Rolling Stock and Road Vehicles

               
  Loading 1M95 Right Away! The South Wales TPO Ted 47734 Barry 67027
             
  Unloading the Royal Mail lorry            
               
Updated 07/12/06