7th October 2000

NENTA Train Tours
The Lakeland Steamer

Loco Used 47749
Stock Used 9712+6814+6810+5935+5968+5993+6034+10247+3414+10216+3351+3303

Route :
1Z?? : Norwich - Carlisle
1Z44 : Carlisle - Norwich

Locos Route
47749 (?) Norwich - Diss - Ipswich
47749 Ipswich - Bury St Edmunds - Ely - March - Peterborough - (ECML) - Doncaster - South Elmsall - Hare Park Jn - Wakefield Kirkgate - Horbury Jn - Heaton Lodge Jn - Milner Royd Jn - Hall Royd Jn - Gannow Jn - Blackburn - Lostock Hall Jn - Preston - (WCML) - Carlisle
47749 Carlisle - (reverse of outward route) - Doncaster - Decoy North Jn - Flyover West Jn - Flyover East Jn - Loversall Carr Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Ipswich
47749 Ipswich - Stowmarket (1)

Notes :
Tour ran with three options;
a) alight at Preston (stay or take scheduled train to Blackpool)
b) alight at Oxenholme (ride on L&HR plus lake Windermere)
c) alight in Carlisle (to explore Carlisle)

Under option (b), the ride from Haverthwaite to Lakeside on the L&HR was behind "Repulse" - an 0-6-0 saddle tank built by Hunslet (works No. 3698-1950). From Lakeside to Bowness the ship "Swan" was used (on a scheduled sailing). Road coaches were used for the transfers (Oxenholme to Haverthwaite & Bowness to Oxenholme)

(1) 47749 was failed by the driver at Stowmarket following a gradual power loss after the run-round at Ipswich. The train was reversed into Stowmarket loop and the remaining passengers were transferred to the following 22.30 Liverpool St to Norwich service (presumably hauled by an 86 - confirmation anyone of which one?). The Anglia "Thunderbird" (believed to have been 47488) had been sent out to rescue the train but wasn't used in the event. This information courtesy of Ray Davies of NENTA Train Tours.

Source : Gary Thornton.
(joined/left train at Peterborough and was on option "b" throughout)

Tour Review
(by Gary Thornton)

Every so often I fancy a complete change. Having recently taken over the railtour column in Rail Express.... what - you didn't know? - shame on you! As penance I insist you rush out and buy a copy of the mag as soon as you can!! Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, having recently taken over the railtour column in Rail Express I am now seeing a much greater selection of railtour "offerings" and I decided it was about time I went out and tried a few of them out for size. NENTA Train Tours have been going for some time and run tours from East Anglia to destinations all over the country, and beyond. Although primarily for the non-enthusiast market, some of them also include options to travel on preserved railways.

And so to this outing - "The Lakeland Steamer". Basically a straight out-and-back from Norwich to Carlisle, there were three possible options;

1. bale at Preston and take a service train to Blackpool.
2. bale at Oxenholme for a combined steam train/ship ride.
3. stay on to Carlisle to explore the city.

I decided it was about high time I visited the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway (required track!) and with a pick-up point at Peterborough this tour seemed as good a way as any of getting there.

I arrived at Peterborough shortly before the train - headed by 47749 "Atlantic College" (a dud one for me for haulage). The stock was a rake of Anglia Railways mark 2's with an additional restaurant car and couple of FO's. My seat was in coach G - next to one of the restaurant cars, so nice and handy for any food or drink purchases.

Leaving Peterborough there was quite a mix of traction stabled - 58031, 58021, 56068, 56098, 60002, 66203 & 66002. Our route was straight up the ECML to Doncaster where we had a booked crew change. Arrival and departure was early and we continued onwards towards Leeds. At Hare Park Junction however we branched off and headed for Wakefield Kirkgate thence towards the Pennines by way of Healey Mills yard & Brighouse. It was nice to get a commentary on the PA as we passed points of interest. Oh, I forgot to mention - there wasn't so much to see out of the window as it was raining heavily!

Onward into the murk - through Hebden Bridge and onto the Copy Pit line at Hall Royd Junction. A couple of curves here were taken quite fast and was accompanied by the sound of much breaking of glass/crockery in the restaurant car! This was followed for several minutes by the sounds of said broken glass/crockery being collected up.

We paused at Blackburn for a crew change. Now I get very nervous stopping at this particular station owing to the two hours I spent there earlier this year on a railtour owing to a defective loco headlight. On this occasion however we escaped after a very short pause. On then to Lostock Hall Junction and Preston where we bade farewell to some of our passengers. "Hope you have a wet time in Blackpool" we said. "And you too in the Lakes" came the reply.

Quick sprint up (well, down) the WCML was marred by us being stopped at Morecambe South Junction to allow a sprinter off the Heysham branch - something that is inflicted on almost every railtour at this point (why??). Arrival into Oxenholme was only a couple of minutes down and it was a short walk through the subway to the waiting coaches. About 250 of us had chosen this option and there were to be five coaches waiting for us. Except there were only four. One had been delayed in traffic. 200 of us got to wait in the dry as about 50 unfortunates had to wait in the rain for the last coach to appear. It did about 15 minutes later and we all set off to Haverthwaite, about a half hours drive away. En-route we passed a train on the L&HR (the 13.00 departure from Haverthwaite).

Our delay at Oxenholme was a blessing in disguise as there was not really much to do or see at Haverthwaite. It wasn't raining but still quite damp. In the loco shed were kettles 150 (Furness Railway) & 42085 plus diesels D5301 & 20214. The shop could only cope with about 20 people at once so I didn't venture inside.

The train appeared from Lakeside with "Repulse" in charge - no, not 50030 but a WD "Austerity" 0-6-0 Saddle tank (Hunslet No. 3698-1950 for any one so interested). It quickly ran-round and we set off for Lakeside. Outside the loco shed were a DMU (52071/52077), 7120 (LMS class 08 look-alike) and two class 03's (D2072 and "8"). With 6 fully loaded mark 1's in tow it was a hard task for the little loco and we made quite slow progress. A lot of clanking and banging suggested it may not have been in tip-top health anyway....

We arrived at Lakeside where it was drizzling heavily. Only a short wait here for out boat to Bowness - "Swan" turned up and berthed. Like many I headed for the upper deck - it was covered but, as we all soon discovered, somewhat leaky! Despite the dismal weather the 40 minute trip to Bowness was quite enjoyable. At least it was calm - I am renowned for not sailing well and didn't fancy the prospect that this might be the first railtour on which I was sea-sick!!

It was a damp hour at Bowness before the coaches left to transport us back to Oxenholme. I went exploring in a soaking drizzle-turning-rain. The most amusing thing for me about this very highty touristy place is that most of the signs are bi-lingual - in English and Japanese! And, yes - there were quite a few Japanese tourists wandering about in the rain.

Back at Oxenholme and the train (47749 still) arrived about 10 minutes early. Back on and settle down for the run home. The route was the reverse of the outward and not much of note as it got dark very early. We escaped from Blackburn (again) after a 3 minute wait for the crew change. Passing Hall Royd Junction there was a repeat performance of crashing glass/crockery! Departing Doncaster just ahead of a GNER service we were routed along the slow then via Flyover West and East Junctions to rejoin the ECML at Loversall Carr Junction. We never got looped and stayed on the fast which was quite a surprise. Arrival into Peterborough was bang on time at 21.11, where it was still trying to rain :-(

Verdict : A reasonable outing, despite the weather. In such dismal conditions I should say that travelling in an air conditioned coach is actually not at all bad.

Gary Thornton.

Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked & Actual)

No timing sheet was supplied but the times below were taken from limited pass timings given in an information sheet and personal observation. Booked times are shown in brackets, all others are actual. Only mileage given was for full round trip (Norwich to Norwich) at 762 miles.

Location Outward Return
Norwich (05.00d) (00.45a)
Diss (05.24d) (00.23a)
Ipswich (06.14d) (23.33a)
Stowmarket (06.27d) (23.18a)
Bury St Edmunds (06.53d) (22.56a)
Ely (07.23d) (22.18a)
March (07.47d) (21.42a)
Peterborough (08.12d)
Tallington 08/21 20/59
Stoke Junction 08/32 20/49
Grantham (08/37)
Barkston South Junction 08/39 20/39
Newark North Gate (08/53)
Retford High Level (09/08)
Loversall Carr Junction 09/08 20/07
Doncaster (09.24a/09.30d)
South Kirkby Junction 09/29 19/42
Hare Park Junction (10/00)
Wakefield Kirkgate (10/07)
Horbury Junction 09/51 19/24
Thornhill LNW Junction 10/00 19/17
Heaton Lodge Junction 10/03 19/14
Brighouse (10/20)
Milner Royd Junction 10.18a/10.20d 19/06
Hebden Bridge (10/40)
Hall Royd Junction 10/35 18/55
Burnley Manchester Road (10/57)
Accrington (11/07)
Blackburn (11/15)
Lostock Hall Junction 11.36a/11.38d 17/57
Preston (11.38a/11.40d)
Lancaster (11/58)
Morecambe South Junction 12.05a/12.07d 17/28
Carnforth North Junction 12/11 17/24
Oxenholme (12.20a/12.23d)
Penrith (12/50) (16/44)
Carlisle (13.18a) (16.21d)

a : arrival time
d : departure time
/ : passing time

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