Western Champion will retrace the steps of 1977’s ‘Western Tribute’ farewell tour.
February 26, 1977 is a date that will strike a chord for many enthusiasts, particularly those with a fondness for the hydraulics. It was on that day that Nos. D1013 Western Ranger and D1023 Western Fusilier (with its unique ‘domino’ headcode) double-headed the ‘Western Tribute’ railtour to officially bring the curtain down on the Class 52’s brief reign.
The sell-out tour started at Paddington with No. D1023 leading its classmate over the Great Western Main Line to Swindon, and on via Wootton Bassett Junction to Bristol Parkway and Severn Tunnel Junction to Cardiff and Swansea. It was then ‘Ranger’s’ turn to lead, retracing the route back to Bristol, through Temple Meads and onward to Plymouth. Finally, ‘Fusilier’ assumed the pilot role again for a dash back to Paddington while thousands flocked to stations and linesides to witness this last hurrah.
Read more in January’s issue of Rail Express