13th May 2000
Postponed from 1st April 2000.
|Loco Used||55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier'|
|55019||Crewe - Hartford - Warrington Bank Quay - Winwick Jn - Earlestown - Newton le Willows - Eccles - Manchester Victoria - Thorpes Bridge Jn - Castleton - Summit Tunnel - Hebden Bridge - Milner Royd Jn - Heaton Lodge Jn - Horbury Jn - Wakefield Kirkgate - Crofton East Jn - South Kirkby Jn - Moorthorpe - Swinton - Rotherham Masboro - Meadowhall - Sheffield - Dore - Edale - New Mills South Jn - Northendon Jn - Deansgate Jn - Northwich - Mickle Trafford Jn - Chester - Holyhead|
|55019||Holyhead - Chester - Mickle Trafford Jn - Frodsham - Acton Grange Jn - Warrington Bank Quay - Winwick Jn - Earlestown - Newton le Willows - Eccles - Manchester Victoria - Miles Platting - Philips Park No.1 - Ashton Moss North Jn - Stalybridge - Standedge Tunnel - Huddersfield - Mirfield - Morley - Whitehall Jn - Leeds (2)|
|55019||Leeds (2) - Engine Shed Jn - Methley Jn - Altofts Jn - Wakefield Kirkgate - Barnsley - Wincobank Station Jn - Sheffield - Dore - Edale - New Mills South Jn - Romiley - Hyde Central - Guide Bridge - Denton - Stockport - Wilmslow - Sandbach - Crewe|
(1) Originally planned to run on 1st April 2000 but postponed from then due to unspecified operational problems.
(2) Booked route was via Whitehall Jn to Engine Shed Jn curve but not possible due to an engineering possession (track lifted on the curve!!). Run-round in Leeds station instead - where we were announced as the 20.55 GNER service to Kings Cross!
Source : Gary Thornton.
(on the train throughout)
(by Gary Thornton)
Deltic 19 at Wakefield Kirkgate, first time round.
After experiencing what could have almost been described as overkill back in 1997, getting a Deltic on the mainline in 2000 has become a somewhat frustrating affair with very few railtour or service train outings. No hesitation then to book up for the DPS's first tour of 2000 - a fairly ambitious run from Crewe over the Pennines and out to Holyhead. Planned to run on April 1st it also solved a problem of what to get my Father for his birthday which was just a few days after the tour!
We were all booked up and the tickets arrived a few days before the tour - without timings. Good to find we were in coach A (thanks go to whoever in the DPS who must've noted my comment asking for "good seats" as this was a birthday present to my Father!). Then on the Wednesday evening prior to the big day I received a call to say that the tour was having to be postponed. With very few free Saturdays that meant I was unlikely to be on the re-run but, by good fortune, the re-run date chosen was my only free Saturday in April or May!
The only problem presented by this tour was the logistics of getting there - 07.34 off Crewe meant a 4am alarm call for my Father and 4.20 for me. The finish would be as bad - 23.03 back meaning a post-1am arrival home for both of us. I'd just finished breakfast when Dad appeared. A swift drive to Crewe had us there with time to spare to grab a coffee and catch up with a few others on the platform - a few for our tour and others for the class 309 farewell jaunt to London. This appeared a few minutes late, formed of 309616, 617 & 623. Had it not been for the DPS tour I'm sure I'd have opted for the 309 trip.
Deltic 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" rolled into platform 12 with about 10 minutes to go before departure time - giving the chance for a couple of photos before finding our seats in coach A (named "Alnwick"). Five of the eight carriages were Regency Rail FO's, one a buffet and the other two somewhat rancid fNW coaches (a mark 1 and mark 2). I felt sorry for these allocated seats in the fNW coaches, though the other choice was Regency Rail air-conditioned coaches, so maybe the choice wasn't so bad after all....
An on time departure and we headed north along the WCML to Winwick Jn where we turned off for Earlestown, passing the Vulcan Foundry (the Deltics birthplace) as we did so. With very slack timings it was quite a stagger to Manchester Victoria, though we still managed to arrive a minute behind schedule. A 10 minute stop allowed for more photographs - good as the Deltic was positioned perfectly for the sun (yes - the sun was actually shining in Manchester!).
Being timed for 21 minutes to Thorpes Bridge Jn we did not exactly attack Miles Platting bank with vigour - and we even experienced the embarassment of having a class 142 "nodding donkey" overtake us! Whilst we sat waiting time at Thorpes Bridge Jn I received a phone call from a friend who was still at home in Leicester - he was joining the trip at Sheffield - that'll illustrate just how slack the timings were! Our route to Sheffield was via Summit Tunnel, Healy Mills, Wakefield Kirkgate and Moorthorpe. At Wakefield we had a 15 minute stop, so more photographs were grabbed. As we ran down towards Moorthorpe we were passed by a Load-Haul liveried 37 dragging a brand-new Northern Spirit class 333 EMU. The time of the 308's is drawing to a close....
Sheffield saw another 10 minute layover (yep - more photos!) then we headed back towards Manchester by way of the Hope Valley line. Biggest booked fester of the day was at Hazel Grove HL Jn where we sat for almost 25 minutes - claimed to be because there were no available paths on the North Wales Coast. Time to wander down the train to meet some more people, including my friend from Leicester who'd had a bit more leisurely start that I had. After taking the line to Altrincham (chance there for the locals to get a phot of a Deltic and tram together) we headed for Chester and the NWC.
On leaving Chester we finally got some decent thrash - a new crew plus a fairly quick schedule both helping I assume. A chance to view the new depot as we left (one class 175 glimpsed in the shed) then we sat back and watched the scenery go past. Scenery? Well, loads and loads of mobile holiday homes go past anyway.... We also passed a class 175 (crew training?) and 37 before we arrived into Holyhead station. 30 minutes here - chance to take photos, wander about, grab fish and chips etc.
Departure was on time, a bit quieter now for those of us in coach A, now at the rear of the train. A slacker schedule back to Chester combined with being pathed behind a stopper made for a less interesting journey. Chance for a few minutes of shut-eye though! One of my colleagues who'd joined at Crewe chose to leave at Chester and by doing so he'd be home about 2 hours before we got back to Crewe - assuming we would be on time of course. So far we'd kept close to time all day - pretty good considering the route we' travelled and scope for getting stuck behind stoppers etc. Mind you, the other logic is that we had slack timings and were supposed to be staggering behind local stoppers etc!
From Chester we made our way via Helsby to Warrington where we then retraced out morning steps as far as Manchester Victoria. With some of our load of passengers detrained we made a bit more impressive attack on Miles Platting bank, though only as far as Miles Platting Station jn where we veered off right towards Stalybridge. A booked 15 minute fester here was taken, quite annoying as it could have been used to run us a bit early, or insurance against any later delays. Incidentally, you'll realise we've been going 12 hours without significant late running or any farces. See - it can be achieved on a railtour!
From Stalybridge we crossed the Pennines via Diggle and Standedge Tunnel - in my opinion the most scenic of the rail routes over the Pennines. One advantage of the tour being run 6 weeks late - it was approaching 8pm and still daylight. Past Huddersfield and we once more ran onto track already traversed earlier in the day - from Heaton Lodge East Jn. Not for long though - at Thornhill LNW Jn we veered left to make our way to Wakefield Kirkgate via Whitehall Jn, Engine Shed Jn and Methley Jn.
....or at least that was the plan....
We were stopped by a red signal at Holbeck East Jn where we sat for about 15 minutes whilst a succession of plastic DMU's whizzed past in the opposite direction. Through the trees we could also glimpse GNER services on the mainline route to Wakefield. A rumour soon circulated that we were being held because the curve between Whitehall and Engine Shed Junctions had been closed under an engineering possession. This was soon confirmed by one of the DPS stewards - a quite re-route via Leeds station and an engine run-round was now the order of the day. Frustrating as we'd loose time, but from my perspective good as that would put us back as the noisy end of the train :-)
As we passed Whitehall Junction we were amused to note that the curve in question was actually largely bereft of track and simply a curve of freshly laid ballast! A fairly large amount of men and equipment were busy working to put back new track in place of that that they had presumably lifted earlier in the day. Good forward planning by Railtrack or what - booking a train over a line that is out for replacement? And why didn't anyone apparently notice this until we were almost at the junction!?!
A relatively quick run-round was achieved in the station at Leeds but our departure was delayed slightly as we were announced as the 20.55 GNER service to London Kings Cross and got boarded by a few normals! Once on our way we soon reached Wakefield Kirkgate, now about 35 minutes late. From here we took the line through Barnsley to Sheffield. Tight timings, or stagger, or a combination of both, got us to Sheffield at 10pm exactly, 39 minutes late. Our route back towards Manchester was a repeat of the mornings as far as New Mills South Jn - but in the dark and much faster. Totley Tunnel was superb - Deltic 19 under power most of the way.
I was somewhat nervous about the route through Manchester to Stockport , our last set-down point before Crewe - a very circuitous route requiring a lot of manual signal boxes to be open. Bear in mind we were now trundling along on the approaches to 11pm - a time on a Saturday evening when most signallers would probably prefer to be at home, or out on the town. We staggered through New Mills Central, Marple and Romily before finally being stopped at Hyde North to wait the passage of a 323 through the junction ahead of us. Guide Bridge signaller then brought us forward through the station and then onto the little used line towards Stockport. I was just starting to breathe easy again when, as we approached Denton Jn, the brakes went on....hard.
We only remained stationary a minute or so, then set off again. A small debate as to the reason for our sudden stop, but nothing conclusive decided. My Father was looking forward to passing through Denton station as he lives in another Denton, the one in Northamptonshire. With the excitement (!) of seeing the island platform of Denton going past us, we soon arrived at Heaton Norris Jn from where Stockport is only a short sprint.
...or would be, if only.....
....we hadn't made a very slow approach to Stockport station. Just as we came to Stockport No.2 signalbox, 55019 was opened up.....
....and the brakes came on hard again. We ground to a stop right next to the signalbox.....
....to the sound of complete, total, Napier free, silence!
The signalman looked on disinterested - as if such an occurrence was a daily event.
So, what next? About 30 seconds later there was the deep rumble as one of 19's engines was turned over, but that came to nothing and silence again descended.
The signalman then got a bit animated - he was probably wondering when he'd now be getting off duty as he had a completely dead Deltic blocking his "up" main line into the station and what he could do to speed things up! Even the signalbox cat stirred to have a look, but decided it was nothing to get excited about, and curled up again and went back to sleep.
A few more seconds and another attempt was made to start one of 19's engines - we waited for what seemed a very long time for the characteristic rumble to turn into a roar as the engine fired up successfully. Thankfully it did! Brakes off and we made it to the platform.
What was the problem? No idea, but I'd suspect fuel starvation to one, or both, engines (after all, we'd covered well over 500 miles since leaving Crewe so must've been pretty close to the sludgy bit at the bottom of the fuel tanks). If any of the DPS committee would care to let me know the true story, I'll happily pass it on here to a wider audience.
A short stop at Stockport and we were on our way, still with just the one engine working. 27 nervous minutes to Crewe - all the time my ears were straining to pick out the sound of 19's engine, especially when we started coasting - as we did several times!
We arrived safely into Crewe at 23.53, 50 minutes behind plan. Just the two hours down the M6 and M1 to get home left now....
Can't speak for anyone else, but the late arrival back
didn't really matter to me as it had been a simply superb day out. All
congratulations to the DPS and VSOE for a well organised and executed railtour.
May there be many more!!
Timings (Booked and Actual)
(from Gary Thornton)
|Acton Grange Jn||07/53||07/52|
|Warrington Bank Quay||07/55||07/53|
|Newton Le Willows||08/03||08/04|
|Manchester Victoria||08.26a ~ 08.36d||08.27 ~ 08.38|
|Miles Platting||08/43||08.42 ~ 08.46|
|Thorpes Bridge Jn||08.51 ~ 08.57||08.48 ~ 08.56|
|Hall Royd Jn||09/24||09/26|
|Milner Royd Jn||09/40||09/45|
|Heaton Lodge East Jn||09/53||09/54|
|Wakefield Kirkgate||10.09a ~ 10.23d||10.08 ~ 10.24|
|Crofton West Jn||10/28||10/28|
|Hare Park Jn||10/36||10.32 ~ 10.34|
|South Kirkby Jn||10/43||10/42|
|Swinton||10/54||10.51 ~ 10.52|
|Holmes Jn||10/59||10.59 ~ 11.00|
|Nunnery Mainline Jn||11/07||11/10|
|Sheffield||11.09a ~ 11.19d||11.12 ~ 11.20|
|Dore Station Jn||11/30||11/27|
|Totley Tunnel East Jn||11/33||11/30|
|Chinley North Jn||12/01||12/05|
|New Mills South Jn||12/07||12/09|
|Hazel Grove HL Jn||12.14 ~ 12.42||12.17 ~ 12.41|
|Chester||13.56a ~ 13.58d||13.56 ~ 13.57|
|Holyhead||15.27a ~ 15.57d||15.23 ~ 15.57|
|Bangor||16/34||16.28 ~ 16.32|
|Chester||17.54a ~ 18.01d||17.54 ~ 18.01|
|Acton Grange Jn||18/22||18/20|
|Warrington Bank Quay||18/24||18/24|
|Newton Le Willows||18/33||18/34|
|Manchester Victoria||19.02a ~ 19.04d||18.54 ~ 19.04|
|Ashton Moss North Jn||19/15||19/13|
|Heaton Lodge East Jn||19/58||19/59|
|Leeds||DIV||20.37 ~ 20.55|
|Engine Shed Jn||20/20||20/59|
|Wakefield Kirkgate||20.38a ~ 20.41d||21.15 ~ 21.15|
|Sheffield||21.21a ~ 21.23d||22.00 ~ 22.02|
|Dore Station Jn||21/30||22/11|
|Totley Tunnel East Jn||21/33||22/14|
|Chinley North Jn||21/48||22/30|
|New Mills Central||22/02||22/42|
|Marple Wharf Jn||22/08||22/48|
|Heaton Norris Jn||22/33||23/18|
|Stockport||22.34a ~ 22.35d||23.24 ~ 23.26|
Distances not given in DPS tour literature - except in the
gradient profile provided.
Outward leg approximately 281 miles, return (not allowing for Leeds diversion) 278 miles.
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