Dartmoor Railway slippage leaves HST charter to Paddington with wheelflats

A PIONEERING Class 125 charter from the Dartmoor Railway to London came to grief after slipping on the heritage line’s wet rails and being left with wheel flats.

The ‘Royal Oke’ was advertised as the first direct train from Okehampton to Paddington in 50 years and had been organised by a group of volunteers in the OkeRAIL forum and Okerail CIC.

The Class 125 charter with power car No. 43188 leading and No. 43194 on the rear waits to leave Okehampton on a wet and windy March 18 morning, conditions which proved its downfall. DAVID HUNT

The train arrived empty from Laira depot with the formation comprising Nos. 43194, 41146, 40715, 42579, 42351, 42299, 42301, 44040 and 43188, one of the two modern-day Great Western Railway sets completed in the green livery.

A total of 500 people had travelled from across the West Country to join the sell-out special.

Just before 8am on Saturday, March 18, the ‘Royal Oke’ pulled out of Okehampton bound for Crediton, Exeter and the capital, but within a few minutes, near Bow, the carriage wheels developed track adhesion problems due, it was reported, to the lack of use of the track. It was quickly decided that it could not continue.

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