4th November 2000
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
Blackpool Illuminations (Merrymaker)
|Locos Used||47799, 90030|
1Z43 : Finsbury Park - Blackpool North
1Z44 : Blackpool North - Euston
|90030||Finsbury Park - Camden Road - Willesden Junction - Hanslope Jn - Northampton - Rugby - (via WCML, Trent Valley) - Crewe|
|47799||Crewe - (via WCML) - Preston - Kirkham & Wesham - Blackpool North|
|47799||Blackpool North - (reverse of outward route) - Willesden Junction - Euston|
Tour started at Finsbury Park due to engineering works at Euston.
It is understood 47799 worked the return leg throughout as the loco was required in London by EWS.
Source : Gary Thornton.
(joined/left train at Northampton)
(by Gary Thornton)
The start of a crazy week for me - eight days on trains, beginning and ending with a railtour! Day one was to be this Hertfordshire Rail Tours merrymaker then on the Sunday I was flying to Hungary for six days on a railrover, returning on the Friday evening, late. The week was to be finished off with a full posh-nosh outing to Edinburgh!
At least day one was to start off with a reasonably late start - 09.25 from my local station. I walked down and met my three travelling companions at the railway station. We wandered over to platforms 2/3 to wait for the train to join those others who had already arrived for it.
Then it was announced it would leave from platform 1
The assembled group of us wandered over the footbridge to platform 1.
Then it was announced it would leave from platform 2 !!
so, the assembled group of us wandered back over the footbridge to platform 2 !!
The train finally arrived about 20 minutes late with EWS liveried 90030 "Crewe Locomotive Works" at the head - good, a required haulage :-) There was some debate about our route to Blackpool as there was still quite a lot of problems/line closures due to the heavy flooding experienced in the few days before the tour. In the event we took the WCML direct to Preston and on to Blackpool North. A loco change was made at Crewe to 47799 "Prince Henry", one of the royal train pair of class 47's - dud for me but the Hertfordshire staff were pleased as they'd not had a "royal" spoon on one of their tours before (hmm...some people are easily pleased...).
The Trent Valley route had been a real stagger - the result of the many 20mph speed restrictions imposed after the Hatfield derailment a couple of weeks before. Crewe was reached 47 minutes down and we arrived at Blackpool North at 13.38, 44 minutes behind plan. As it was obvious the return leg would be similarly slow the decision was made to leave early - at 19.00 against the 19.27 advertised departure time. Some aboard moaned at this but it was the correct decision and still gave over 5 hours to explore the town.
We did the wander along the sea front and onto the North & Central Piers. Once it got dark there was a chance to view the illuminations and look out for some of the trams which were heavily decorated with lights. A traditional fish & chips meal was had before we returned to the station. On arrival I bumped into a crank and he said that he was there as 47799 was booked to haul the train all the way back to London.
It did - the early departure was welcomed as we did stagger back southwards. Arrival into Northampton was at 22.49, just one minute early! I now had just 5 hours (less time than we'd had in Blackpool) before having to get up again to head for Heathrow and my Hungarian railrover!
Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked & Actual)
|1||57||Goods & Mineral Jn||07/53||-|
|11||30||Harrow & Wealdstone||08/24||-||:||23/52||-|
|49||65||Milton Keynes Central||09.01a/09.04d||-||:||23.10a/23.10d||-|
|118||50||Lichfield Trent Valley||10/15||11/03||:||22/00||21/37|
|158||43||Basford Hall Jn||10/54||11/43||:||21/22||(20/45)|
|160||27||Crewe (loco change)||11.00a/11.18d||11.47/12.18||:||21.06a/21.18d||20.33/20.41|
|182||51||Acton Grange Jn||11/38||12/34||:||20/34||20/05|
|184||38||Warrington Bank Quay||11/40||12.37a/12.39d||:||20/32||20/02|
|196||18||Wigan North Western||11/58||12/58||:||20/17||19/47|
|203||69||Balshaw Lane Jn||12/03||13/05||:||20/10||19/36|
|219||56||Kirkham North Jn||12/32||13/24||:||19/48||19/14|
a : arrival time
d : departure time
/ : passing time
A time in brackets is approximate.
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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