5th August 2000
The Anglian Capitalist
|Locos Used||20307 & 37609|
|Stock Used||5732+5630+5647+5276+5322+5025+5030+17159+3125+3122+3188+3181+6310 (2)|
1Z50 : Preston to Ipswich
1Z80 : Ipswich to Preston
|20307 + 37609||Preston - (via WCML, Trent Valley & Northampton) - Wembley Central - Harlesden Jn - Kensal Green Jn - Gospel Oak - Camden Road Jn - Camden Road East Jn - (via No.1 line) - Dalston Jn - Channelsea Jn - Stratford - (via GEML) - Ipswich|
|20307 + 37609||Ipswich - (reverse of outward route) - Preston|
(1) This tour was originally booked for three DRS class 20's and should have travelled via Kensington Olympia, New Kew - Kew East Jn's, Harringay Curve and Cambridge. Loco and route changes took place before the tickets were issued, resulting in a number of cancellations by those originally booked on it. Many still used it as a cheap way to get from the North West to London for the EWS Old Oak Common open day.
(2) Generator van 6310 was in the train consist (rearmost coach) from Preston to Dalston Junction No.1 signal, but was detached here because of a seized wheelset.
Sources : Gary Thornton
(joined/left train at Nuneaton) & Kevin Stroud
(by Gary Thornton)
When this tour was first advertised I immediately saw two reasons to be on it - the prospect of no less than three DRS class 20's at the helm and also some quite rare and required track in the London area. The trip originated at Preston and was aimed primarily as a way to get people to London for the Old Oak Common EWS open day. The train itself however would wend its way through London and on to Ipswich for those not fussed about dragging around a depot open day.
Long before the tickets were issued the route had changed and, for me at any rate, there was only one piece of required track still being done. Decided to stick with it all the same, even when I subsequently heard that the loco choice had changed to 2x 20 and 1x 37 (all still DRS). When the tickets arrived however it transpired that the train had been re-routed again (now all dud track for me) and the locos were 1x 20 and 1x 37. I was ready to throw the towel in and ask for a refund however my travelling companion needed some of the track being covered and we'd been allocated seats in coach A so, perhaps against my better judgement, I stuck with it.
Gen on the Friday gave the locos as 20307 & 37609 - the chopper was required but not the tractor. Oh, well - at least I'd score a loco for haulage if nothing else.
I met up with Tony in the morning and his first comment was worrying - he'd seen the 20/37 pairing on the previous afternoon heading north with a rake of stock - including several mark 2 air-conditioned examples ("coffins"). God forbid we'd find ourselves cocooned in an air-con and not be able to hear the thrash!
In rolled the train (37609 leading 20307) and we soon realised our worst fears - coach A was at the front...and was a coffin!!!
Leaving Nuneaton the ride was, as expected, rather quiet - unless you got up and stood in the end vestibule in which case there was a lot of thrash to be heard. At least the air-con was working very well and the coach interior was nice and cool (something to be grateful for then). Trying to find a working toilet was a bit of a challenge though, with a number of them marked out of use.
Passing Rugby and couple of sheds were noted - 66207 & 66223. 47789 was the "thunderbird" stabled in Rugby station. We were routed via Northampton (frustrating - two hours after leaving home and I was back within a mile of home!). The thrash out of Northampton and through Hunsbury Hill Tunnel was quite superb.
Between Rugby and Willesden all I noted were sheds, on
a mix of trains and stabled. The list was (in order) :
66039, 210, 124, 233, 102, 035, 046, 237, 248, 246, 120 & 129
We stopped at Wembly Central to allow (most) of the passengers off to go to Old Oak Common, or whatever plans they had for the day (some were headed for the Great British Beer Festival at Kenny O!). We picked up quite a few new passengers too.
At the south end of the yard at Wembley was 37261 (shorn of nameplates) and 67020 plus 67026 were at the PRDC. We turned off the WCML at Harlesden Junction and skirted past Willesden Junction onto the North London Line. The NLL was a stagger (as always). A treat for track bashers though as, at Camden Road East Junction, we were routed on to the "freight" line that runs parallel to the passenger lines (for those so inclined it is referred to as the "No.1" line). We only however made it a short way (to Barnsbury Junction, where the "No.1" track goes into a bi-directional single line) before we were halted at "D1" signal - Dalston Junction No.1 signal. We sat for an age, actually glad of our air-conditioning as it was very warm! A walk back to the buffet car showed our coffin was possibly the only one that was providing a comfortable environment, all the others were rather too warm inside to be comfortable. Slowly it became clear we were stopped for a reason and that reason was to do with the train - various bods in orange vests were to be seen towards the back of the train and the brakes were let off and re-applied several times. During this time we had a series of 313's and a couple of Anglia Railways 170's pass us, but still we got bored.
We eventually (after about 45 minutes) got the gen - a seized wheelset on the generator car was the cause of our delay. It had been decided to abandon it where we were standing in order that we could proceed. Arrgghh - having positively NOT welcomed being in a coffin (not possible to enjoy thrash), then been glad of it as it was a hot day and we were cool, now we were to get the very worst case scenario - a journey in a coffin with no air-con!
We finally set off about 80 minutes down - and, as expected, the coach soon began to heat up...and up...
After winding our way round past Stratford we got a good thrash along the GE to our destination, Ipswich, where we arrived 40 minutes late. A booked 20 minute fester at Ingatestone was abandoned - partly because we were late and partly because the "DPL" was already occupied - 86218 on a rake of Anglia Railways coaches. I later heard that this had been sat there since Thursday! Despite our late arrival into Ipswich we still had about two and a quarter hours to fill before departing for home. In my case I was after my last 86/2 for haulage, 86235. I viewed all the possible Anglia Railways turns I could have caught (and still got back to Ipswich for the tour) but, alas, no sign of 86235. I did get my last Anglia 170 for sight though, so the time wasn't completely wasted. Wandered off "up town" then, having a look at the freight lines to the docks at the same time.
When the stock returned to the station we found our coach was rather unpleasantly warm. At least when the train was on the move there was some amount of cooling breeze passing into the coach. Not much to report on the return leg to London - a reasonable thrash down the GE and slack NLL timings put us somewhat early (about 15 minutes) so we ended up with a long fester at Harlesden Junction before finally getting to Wembley Central - five down! After the exchange of passengers was completed we were on our way again. A good run north saw us about five early by Bletchley but a stop approaching Milton Keynes Central and a stagger into Northampton put us behind again.
Bizarre move of the day next - for some unknown reason we were routed across and through platform 1 at Northampton (normally used for southbound departures) then along the down slow past Spencer Bridge/Martins Yard before regaining the down main at Market Harborough Junction. Why this routing? No idea!
All this put us further behind, compounded even more by being halted north of Rugby to allow 87028 past on a Carlisle service (it was in the platform as we passed the station). Arrival back into Nuneaton was 20 down - we were just glad to escape the stifling atmosphere in the coach! Oh, and the lights didn't work in our coach either! An infrastructure train in the station was noted and it was topped-and-tailed by "Freds" - 66506 & 66507 - the latter being a sight score for me.
Verdict : A pity that Pathfinder were jacked about so much over the route and traction - I know quite a few people cancelled there bookings over this as it had turned an otherwise excellent potential tour into just "a good day out". The day out was still however quite an enjoyable one - but only if you can ignore the coaching stock used (not so easy in the circumstances!) - it was really a rancid ragbag of vehicles and, in my opinion, hardly fit for use on a preserved railway, let alone mainline charter. I had noticed one of the raffle prizes was a box of Chocolates - I hate to think what they were like considering the temperatures experienced! Pathfinder - please do yourselves (and your customers) a favour and DO NOT USE these coaches again!! I for one would think twice before knowingly booking myself on another tour using this stock....
Timings (Booked and Actual)
(from Gary Thornton, David Clark & Tony Neath)
|1.49||Farington Curve Jn||06/29||?||?||?||281.17|
|15.10||Wigan North Western||06.42a ~ 06.45d||?||22.53a ~ 22.56d||?||267.56|
|16.39||Springs Branch Jn||06/47||?||22/51||?||266.27|
|26.70||Warrington Bank Quay||07.05a ~ 07.08d||?||22.38a ~ 22.41d||?||255.76|
|28.57||Acton Grange Jn||07/17||?||22/34||?||254.09|
|51.01||Crewe||07.40a ~ 07.43d||?||22.09a ~ 22.15d||?||231.65|
|52.65||Basford Hall Jn||07/49||?||22/06||?||230.01|
|75.38||Stafford||08.13a ~ 08.14d||08.09 ~ 08.14||21.41a ~ 21.43d||?||207.28|
|92.58||Lichfield Trent Valley||08.36a ~ 08.45d||08.36 ~ 08.45||21.17a ~ 21.19d||?||190.08|
|111.71||Nuneaton||09.06a ~ 09.08d||09.06 ~ 09.09||20.48a ~ 20.52d||21.08 ~ 21.10||170.75|
|145.40||Northampton||09/49||09/46 [UM]||20/09||20/14 [P1] [DS]||137.26|
|161.43||Milton Keynes Central||10/10||10/04||19/52||19/49||121.23|
|199.78||Harrow & Wealdstone||10/55||10/46||18/57||19/11||82.68|
|203.24||Wembley Central||11.01a ~ 11.04d||10.55 ~ 11.03||18.50a ~ 18.53d||18.59 ~ 19.07||79.42|
|206.27||Kensal Green Jn||11/15||11/15||18/42||18/27||76.39|
|211.42||Camden Road Jn||11/28||11/30||18/27||18/16||71.24|
|211.67||Camden Road East Jn||11/30||11/32 [No.1 Line]||18/25||18/15||70.79|
|214.30||Dalston Jn||11/37||13/05||18/18||18/09 [Down No.2]||68.36|
|218.10||Stratford||11*49 ~ 11.54||13/17||18/02||18/00||64.56|
|219.70||Forest Gate Jn||11/58||13/24||17/58||17/55||62.76|
|237.47||Ingatestone Loop||12*21 ~ ??.??||13/46||?||17/35||?|
|252.55||Witham||13/02||14.02 ~ 14.03||17/25||17/18||30.11|
|252.75||Witham Down Loop||13*04 ~ 13*09||14/03|
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