12th May 2001

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Fenman

Locos Used 66076 & 66250
Stock Used 4977+4925+5023+5037+5027+4986+17023+1679+3114+3127+3124+1696+3150

Route :

Loco Route
66250 (1) Kings Cross - (via ECML) - Peterborough
66076 (1) Peterborough - March West Jn - Wisbech 
66250 (2) Wisbech - March - Ely
66250 (2) Ely - Kings Lynn Yard
66076 (1) Kings Lynn Yard - Middleton Towers
66250 (2) Middleton Towers - Kings Lynn Yard
66076 (1) Kings Lynn Yard - Ely - Cambridge - Hitchin - (via ECML) - Kings Cross

Notes :
(1) 66076 on rear.
(2) 66250 on rear.


66076 at Ely (photo: Robert Frise)

Sources : Alan Costello (joined/left the train at Potters Bar)
& Robert Frise

Tour Review
(by Alan Costello)

As it was very close to my wife's birthday and our wedding anniversay, we decided to splash out and travel first class. So on a sunny morning we left High Wycombe at 0740 to drive to Potters Bar to pick the train up. After an uneventful ride via M40 and M25, we arrived at Potters Bar at 0830. At about 0845 the CCTV screen on platform 3 (the fast line) indicated the next train would be for Newcastle! After 5 minutes it changed to Wisbech and Ely. So at 0858, 66250 (with 66076 at rear) arrived via the slow line at platform 4.

What appeared on paper to be an easy run of 30 minutes for the 15 miles to Stevenage actually took 31 minutes as we crawled along the slow line. Still losing time arrival at Peterborough was 12 minutes late. 1 PW train with class 66 was passed on the way-one of only 3 diesels locos seen on the day. A further delay took place at Peterborough whilst it was decided where to place the train in the platform in relation to the signals. With 66076 in charge, departure was 27 minutes down and staying that way as we took 23 minutes to cover almost 15 miles to March West Junction where we took the virtually closed line to Wisbech.

With 3 train crew operated crossings on the 7 mile route, progress was slow taking over 1 hour to get to Wisbech. Some time was spent deciding how far we could go eventually the front of the train just getting over the Weasenham Lane crossing before immediately reversing so as to clear the crossing. Another wait eschewed with the sun blazing into the train (although the curtains in first class made it bearable). After spending a few minutes at Wisbech we returned down the line to Whitemoor Junction. There, we travelled a new bit of track probably a first for passengers and probably the train crew. The East Curve that used to run round the back of platform 2 at March before joining up to the Ely line had been removed, and had been replaced by a new curve that joined the main line before platform 2.

The fastest part of the journey so far (averaging 60mph) got us to Ely 19 minutes early, which gave us 3 1/2 hours to explore Ely. In the sidings at Ely was 60074 that had worked in earlier on the Freightliner Phoenix. After a stroll by the river and a look round the town we got back to the station and watched the comings and goings by diesel unit classes 156, 158 and 170 and the arrival back (again from the Freightliner Phoenix) of 58045. This proceeded to the sidings, joined up with 60074 and they both left in the Peterborough direction. At 1700 our train arrived and 15 minutes later 66250 took us back up the line but this time to Kings Lynn.

To get on the Middleton Towers branch, we were sent through Kings Lynn Yard towards Kings Lynn Docks almost reaching John Kennedy Road. Reversal took place and Middleton Towers was reached but stopping short of the bunker. (I seem to recall an earlier trip with 2 Class 31's when we went further and allowed to get off the train - 30th September 1989 - "The Fenland Phoenix", also Hertfordshire Railtours, 31134 & 31174. I was on it too! Gary).

We then returned to Kings Lynn, reversed and with 66076 in charge went back to Ely (where there was a crew change) then continued back to London via Cambridge with arrival at Potters Bar 5 minutes down.

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(by Alan Costello/Andy Hoskins)

Train Reporting Codes:
1Z36 : Kings Cross to Buxton
1Z37 : Buxton to Kings Cross

M C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M C
0 00 Kings Cross 08.33d 08.33   21.36a 21.39 252 34
0 64 Belle Isle 08/35 08/35   ??/?? 21/37 ??? ??
1 43 Holloway South Jn 08/36 08/38   - - --- --
2 41 Finsbury Park 08/38 08/39   21/30 21.34 249 73
4 78 Alexandra Palace 08/42 08/44   21/28 21.30 247 36
12 57 Potters Bar 08.52a ~ 08.55d 08.58 ~ 09.00   21.14a ~ 21.16d 21.19 ~ 21.20 239 57
20 25 Welwyn Garden City 09/18 09/15   21/06 21/10 232 09
23 73 Woolmer Green Jn 09/21 09/23   21/03 21/06 228 41
27 45 Stevenage 09/25 09/29   20.57a ~ 20.59d 20.54 ~ 20.57 224 69
31 74 Hitchin 09/31 09/37   20/52 20/48 220 40

 

M C Location Booked Actual
44 10 Sandy 09/42 09/50
58 70 Huntingdon 09/54 10/03
69 26 Holme LC 10/03 10/14
76 29 Peterborough 10r11a 10.23

 

M C Location Booked Actual
76 29 Peterborough 10r15d 10.42
76 77 Peterborough East Jn 10/20 10/44
82 38 Whittlesea 10/26 10/50
91 02 March West Jn 10/37 11/05
91 15 Whitemoor Jn 10/38 11/06
98 20 Wisbech 11r38a 12.12

 

M C Location Booked Actual
98 20 Wisbech 12r03d 12.22
105 25 Whitemoor Jn 13/09 13.06a ~ 13.13d
105 47 March 13/12 13/16
105 54 March East Jn 13/15 13/17
119 49 Ely North Jn 13/45 13/33
121 11 Ely 13r57a 13.38

 

M C Location Booked Actual
121 11 Ely 17.12d 17.15
122 53 Ely North Jn 17/16 17/19
126 63 Littleport 17/21 17/23
136 69 Downham Market 17/32 17/33
141 55 Watlington 17/40 17/38
147 48 Kings LynnYard 17r54a 17.49

 

M C Location Booked Actual
147 48 Kings LynnYard 18r09d 18.01
150 36 Middleton Towers 18r26a 18.18

 

M C Location Booked Actual
150 36 Middleton Towers 18r43d 18.27
153 24 Kings LynnYard 19r00a 18.39

 

M C Location Booked Actual
153 24 Kings LynnYard 19r20d 19.25
159 17 Watlington 19/29 19/34
164 03 Downham Market 19/35 19/39
174 09 Littleport 19/47 19/54
178 19 Ely North Jn 19/56 19/59
179 61 Ely 19/59 20.03a ~ 20.05d
180 12 Ely Dock Jn 20/00 20/06
193 40 Coldham Lane Jn 20/15 20/19
194 39 Cambridge 20/17 20/20
197 08 Shepreth Branch Jn 20/23 20/24
207 42 Royston 20/38 20/35
217 64 Letchworth 20/49 20/45

Timings continue in first table.

Key;
a : arrival time
d : departure time
r : reverse direction
/ : passing time
* : operational stop
a time or distance 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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