20th May 2000
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Cheshire Cat
1Z43 : Finsbury Park - Crewe
1Z44 : Crewe - Finsbury Park
|Finsbury Park - Camden Road - Willesden Jn - WCML (via Northampton) - Rugby (1) - Nuneaton - Water Orton - Park Lane Jn - Walsall - Darlaston Jn - Portobello Jn - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Crewe|
|Crewe - Stafford - Rugeley - Walsall - Bescot Stadium - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New St - Proof House Jn - St Andrews Jn - Bordesley Jn - Lifford East Jn - Lifford West Jn - Selly Oak - Birmingham New St - Proof House Jn - Stechford - Coventry - Rugby - WCML (via Northampton) - Wembley Central - Harlesden Jn - Gospel Oak - Camden Road - Finsbury Park|
(1) At Rugby the train traversed the "down goods" line from the "down Northampton" to "down fast" lines (Trent Valley line).
Source : Gary Thornton.
(joined/left train at Northampton)
Another of those Saturdays when there were simply too many things on offer! The primary attraction for a lot of people was undoubtedly the (Adtranz) Crewe Works open weekend. Although I was 50/50 about going to it, the fact I could get there on a railtour from my local station tipped my decision to go. Even better, the tour itself was covering a required freight curve in the Birmingham area.
On the morning I easily beat my alarm clock (it was set for 07.45), had breakfast and was ready when my Father called to pick me up. We arrived at the railway station with plenty of time to spare and bumped into a mutual friend who was on his way to London for the day. Chatting with him killed the time until our train arrived. Motive power was in the shape of 66150 - a required sight for me!
On the approach to Rugby I was pleased to feel us lurch over to the left as we crossed over the fast lines - this meant we were taking the "down goods" line past Rugby station, a line I required (its the little red bit in the Baker Atlas that comes off the Northampton line). An announcement confirmed that, whilst it had not been advertised, it had been planned to cover this piece of track.
As we'd passed over the fast lines we'd also gone over the top of a freight which turned out to have 66010 at the helm. This got away from Rugby ahead of us. As we left Rugby we passed 66122, 66224, 66176 which were stabled & 86229, 66214, 86611 & 86622 - all on southbound trains! Nothing much then to Nuneaton, except we overtook 66010!
Turn left at Nuneaton was order of the day and we carried on to Water Orton after which we took the Sutton park route to Walsall. My goal for the day was reached as we traversed the Water Orton West Junction to Park Lane Junction curve - basically the last bit of track I need in the Birmingham area.
From Walsall we headed via Darlaston and Bushbury junctions, Stafford and Norton Bridge to Crewe. A real stagger from Stafford but nonetheless we approached Crewe quite a bit ahead of schedule and just a couple of minutes behind the Pathfinder railtour to Crewe. A walk to the station car park and a short queue saw us on one of the shuttle buses to Crewe Works.
Crewe Works open weekend - what was there to see? Not sure I captured every last vehicle there, but here's what I did record :-
Steam Locomotives :
5972 "Olton Hall", 6201 "Princess Elizabeth" (frames only), 7754, 9600, 48151, 60532 "Blue Peter", 60800 "Green Arrow", 70000 "Britannia", 80098
Diesel Locomotives :
D172 "Ixion", D200, D4173 (with covered nameplates), D5054, D7076, D7659, D8000, 08692, 08830, 20189, 31601 "Bletchley Park Station 'X'", 31602 "Chimaera" 37109, 45135 "3rd Carabinier", 47212, 47539, 47971, 50015 "Valiant", 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier", 56103 "Stora", 57007 "Freightliner Bond", 60012, 66011, 66502 plus one un-identified class 08 in Adtranz blue (reported to be 08699).
Electric Locomotives :
E5001, 86501 (with covered nameplates), 86631, 87027, 90030 "Crewe locomotive Works", 90147, 92005 "Mozart", 92018 "Stendhal", 92026 "Britten",
153308, 159022 (57894 only), 170523, 170638 (50638 & 79638 only), 977191
1845 (62305 & 76599 only), 1850 (76718 only)
465030 (64838 only) , 465040 (64798 & 72106 only), 466009
Coaching Stock :
1691, 6320, 10246, 10325, 10500, 10657, 10702, 10726, 12322, 35457, 35463, 35465, 99041 (plus a couple more mark 3 sleepers)
Ex-DSB sleepers 50 86 75 72 067-8, 076-9, 098-3 plus one other.
About 3pm and it started raining - we watched D200 being started up then headed for a bus back to the station. On the way we passed over a road bridge just as 37412 passed underneath on a fNW service along the North Wales Coast. Back at the station and we watched the goings-on for a while until 66150 re-appeared with our train.
An on-time departure and we headed for home via Stafford, Rugeley, Walsall, Bescot, Soho, Birmingham NS, Lifford Curve, Birmingham NS (again!), Stechford, Coventry and Rugby. A group of track workers near Proof House Junction looked a bit puzzled as we passed them for the second time in just 40 minutes!!
Baled at Northampton and watched 66150 depart - very quietly, as is normal for a shed.
Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked & Actual)
|1||57||Goods & Mineral Jn||07/50||-|
|13||02||Harrow & Wealdstone||08/14||-|
|51||37||Milton Keynes Central||08.51a||09.03|
|114||79||Water Orton West Jn||10/29||10/32|
|115||68||Park Lane Jn||10/33||10/34|
|171||62||Basford Hall Jn||12/00||11/50|
|175||30||Basford Hall Jn||16/38||16/36|
|228||57||Perry Barr North Jn||18/04||17/58|
|229||16||Perry Barr West Jn||18/05||17/59|
|231||15||Soho East Jn||18/10||18/04|
|231||48||Soho South Jn||18/14||18/05|
|233||49||Birmingham New Street||18/21||18.11a|
|234||23||Proof House Jn||18/25||18/19|
|235||20||St Andrew's Jn||18/30||18/23|
|240||13||Lifford East Jn||18/41||18/37|
|240||38||Lifford West Jn||18/43||18/39|
|245||39||Birmingham New Street||19C02a||18.50|
|246||13||Proof House Jn||19/04||19/01|
|310||74||Milton Keynes Central||20.14a||20.21|
|349||29||Harrow & Wealdstone||21/03||-|
|355||63||Kensal Green Jn||21/18||-|
|361||60||Goods & Mineral Jn||21/36||-|
a : arrival time
C : crew change
d : departure time
/ : passing time
* : operational stop
Timings from/to Northampton by myself and the others are
courtesy of Alan Costello, with the following comment :
What was surprising is, as we were stopped outside Milton Keynes, the 1830 from Manchester passed us on the fast line. It was in the station when we arrived and although it had a single amber, we left before it. So, as the fast lines were closed from at least Bletchley, we kept ahead of it to Watford. Our arrival time was the same as the scheduled Virgin train time-not bad for a Class 66!
All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken
from the timing sheet given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify
the mileages given.
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