17th November 2001
Past Time Rail
The Edinburgh Explorer
|90028||Euston - Milton Keynes - Northampton - Rugby - Coventry - Stechford - Aston - Perry Barr North Jn - Bescot - Portobello Jn - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - (via WCML) - Carstairs South Jn - Carstairs East Jn - Haymarket - Edinburgh Waverley|
|90028||Edinburgh Waverley - (reverse of outward route) - Bescot - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - Stechford - (reverse of outward route) - Euston|
Source : Gary Thornton.
(joined/left the train at Northampton)
Tour review :
(by Gary Thornton)
90028 "Vrachtverbinding" at Stafford.
Another November and another Past-Time Charter to Edinburgh to enjoy. Per normal practice I did this one in premier class in the company of my parents and sister. Seems the after-effects of Hatfield still linger on with the finalised timings seeming to offer a longer day with less time in Edinburgh than on previous years, not that that really bothered us as we had the "full dining experience" to keep us entertained there and back.
We were at Northampton station in plenty of time and the train arrived a few minutes early behind Belgian Railways liveried 90028. A disappointment to have this loco again as it had hauled the same tour in 2000. A friend was also hoping for 90035 and we knew that particular Skoda was "in position" in London. Fired off an sms message to my friend to tell him not to bother heading for the tour then the phone went off for the day so as not to spoil the atmosphere in the premier class.
Due to engineering works, our routing north on this occasion was via the West Midlands rather than Trent Valley, the main reason we were ending up with a longer day with less time at our destination. Approaching Bescot we passed a pair of 37's on another railtour - Pathfinders "The Catherine Wheel". No chance to catch the loco numbers - but I knew from Friday night exchanges of e-mails that it was perm two from 37674, 37685, 37704, 37706 or 37710. Of all those only 37704 & 37706 were of interest as I'd had the others for haulage previously. 706 had dropped out of the equation early leaving a reported choice of 37674 + 37685 or 37704 + 37710. In the event I later heard it was 37685 & 37710 so at least I didn't miss out on a winner on this particular occasion.
A little annoying to arrive into Stafford to an announcement that we were running some 25 minutes early, beinga booked pick-up we couldn't translate our good run through the West Midlands into extra time in Edinburgh. At least that gave a chance to photograph our train and chat to a few acquaintances on the platform. Having just finished breakfast (see details at bottom of Page) it was a chance to walk some of it off too!
The remainder of the journey northwards was quite uneventful....until the run up Beattock when we were slowed severely. Turns out we'd caught-up the Northern Belle railtour which was also headed to Edinburgh. That was finally passed at the summit as it had been looped there - a RES 47 on the rear (47774) plus a royal one on the front (47798)! Apparently train heat problems had dictated each as heating part of the train. Presumably the additional 118.7 tonnes on the rear had taxed 47798 "Prince William" on the climb up Beattock. A fast run as far as Slateford then the normal stagger to Waverley ensued, arrival however only being two minutes later than booked. The Northern Belle was pretty close behind us, soon arriving on the adjacent platform.
My time in Edinburgh was spent sampling a couple of reasonable bars with a fellow Euro-crank who had come over from Glasgow to meet up with me. We were joined by another (Northampton-based) crank once he'd finished his Christmas shopping! The subject of conversation was mainly about the potential for a rail-based holiday in India in late 2002....watch this space!
Little to report about the return leg of the tour - I was too busy being fed and watered to really notice anything going on outside. The only thing of any real note was that we were sent from Bescot to Stechford via Soho and Birmingham New Street rather than the more normal routing via Aston. Not really sure why this happened but at least it was different!
Arrival back at base was 6 minutes early, marking the end of another good day out.
Route, Distances and Timing's (Actual only)
No timing sheet was supplied to passengers so the tabulation below is solely actual passing timings as recorded by myself.
|Northampton (booked : 06.58d/22.33a)||06.52a ~ 06.58d||22.27a ~ 22.30d|
|Birmingham International||07.44a ~ 07.47d||2.40a ~ 21.42d|
|Birmingham New Street||---||21/26|
|Soho South Jn||---||21/20|
|Stafford||08.32a ~ 08.55d||20.36a ~ 20.38d|
|Crewe||09.20a ~ 09.32d||20.09a ~ 20.11d|
|Warrington Bank Quay||09/49||19/49|
|Wigan North Western||09/58||19/40|
|Oxenholme Lake District||10/36||18/48|
|Carlisle||11.15a ~ 11.17d||18.06a ~ 18.10d|
|Carstairs South Junction||12/23||17/08|
|Edinburgh Waverley (booked : 12.55a/16.40d)||12.57a||16.42d|
a : arrival time
d : departure time
/ : passing time
--- : not routed this way
Great British Breakfast
Fresh Orange Juice
Your choice of
Breakfast Fruit Compote
(with a selection of citrus fruits & melon)
Cornflakes, Bran Flakes, Muesli, Porridge
The Grill Tray :
Grilled Back Bacon, Pork Sausage, Fried Egg, Mushrooms,
Tomato, Hash Browns, Fried Bread and Black Pudding
The Bread Basket:
Croissants, White or Wholemeal Toast, Crispbreads,
Selection of Marmalade, Fruit Preserves, or a pot of Honey
Dairy Butter or Sunflower Margarine
Freshly Brewed Tea
(Breakfast lasted from somewhere about Coventry to Stafford!)
Served with Crusty Bread
Freshly Brewed Tea
Haggis and Neeps
Chef's Soup of the Day
Loins of Lamb Noisettes
With Cranberry, Mint and Brandy Sauce
Cream Filled Profiteroles
With Chocolate Sauce
And a Selection of Cheeses, served with celery, grapes and biscuits.
(Dinner lasted from somewhere around
Carstairs to Crewe!)
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