16th December 2001

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
Christmas Lunch Excursion

Locos Used 47725 & 73101

Route :
1Z82 : London Victoria to Folkestone Harbour
1Z84 : Folkestone Harbour to London Victoria

Loco(s) Route
47725 (1) London Victoria - Brixton - Herne Hill - Beckenham Junction - St Mary Cray Jn - Swanley - Maidstone East - Ashford International - Folkestone Central - Folkestone East Sidings
73101 (2) Folkestone East Sidings - Folkestone Harbour
47725 (1) (3) Folkestone Harbour - Folkestone East Sidings
73101 (2) (3) Folkestone East Sidings - Folkestone Harbour
47725 (1) Folkestone Harbour - Folkestone East Sidings
73101 (2) Folkestone East Sidings - (reverse of outward route) - London Victoria

Notes :
(1) 73101 on rear.
(2) 47725 on rear.
(3) Additional round trip, not scheduled.

Source : Alan Costello (on the train throughout)

Tour Review

I started the day catching the 0908 Stansted Express from Bishop's Stortford (which actually arrived after the 0913 from Cambridge). We left the Cambridge train waiting in Platform 3 and went non-stop to Seven Sisters (the normal route via Tottenham Hale was closed for engineering works). There changed to Victoria line train through to Victoria arriving about 1015. As there was 50 minutes wait, visited the Burger King for breakfast and then went to see what was working the Gatwick Express. Saw 4 trains all new sets (numbers 04, 05, 06 & 07). On the way to Platform 2, passed the green 4-Cep unit waiting to leave for Dover.

Normally the lunch trains are brought in by a Res 47 and hauled by a Class 73. This year (I assume because of the climb out of Folkestone Harbour) the 47 was on the front with the 73 staying at the rear.

When I got to the platform 73101 The Royal Alex, still in Pullman Livery was at the rear, and a walk up to the front found 47725 Bristol Barton Hill waiting to take us out. We left 3 minutes late (following set 1592) and crossed over a number of lines, passing 73128 waiting to take our place at Platform 2 with the VSOE Christmas Special (costing about 3 times as much) before finishing up on the Chatham reversible. 73133  "The Bluebell Railway" could be seen in Stewarts Lane (probably waiting to head the VSOE). We then crossed over to the Down Chatham Fast at Voltaire Road. A slow but steady progress kept us a few minutes down. Engineering works was taking place either side of Bromley South with the green 60081 "ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL" on one train followed by 66064.At Swanley and Otford Junctions we took the Maidstone line. Approaching Borough Green we were down for a 10 minute pathing stop by being diverted onto the Loop line. We went into the loop almost 10 minutes down and crawled along it and returned to the mainline without stopping which then put us only 1 minute late. With Turkey being served a steady run from Maidstone East to Ashford at about 40mph was appreciated! Just short of Ashford we passed the new yard at Beechbrook Farm. Plenty of wagons but didn't see any activity or engines.

We slowly passed through the Ashford International building site using Platform 5 and from then on we followed the new high speed route to Dollands Moor. Locos seen there included 66014/33/47/216, 92002/27/29/33 with EWS liveried 92031 just arriving from France. There was also at least 1 Res 47 and a Mainline liveried Class 37 as well as others 66's and 92's. We soon arrived at Folkestone East and crossed over to the sidings coming to a stop at the end of track 3, 6 seconds late. All the other tracks were in place but probably out of use. 73101 then took over and we used the down line (the up line being closed) to crawl down to the Harbour Station. As the VSOE is normally the only user, the signal box and all the station signs on the down side were in VSOE colours, but the NSE signs still remained on the upside although the lines had been lifted. We were then allowed 75 minutes to look around. Since I was there last a redundant Russian Submarine had appeared and for a sum of money it was possible to go round it (for anybody collecting submarine numbers it was a Foxtrot Class number U475). As we were not due to leave Folkestone East until 1515 it was decided to go up and down the branch for a second time (I bet that confused the locals). On the second run up the slope the train came to a halt soon after crossing the Harbour Viaduct. After about a minute to take a deep breath we restarted and continued on our way.

We left Folkestone 4 minutes late and returned as outward. Nothing extra was seen at Dollands Moor on the way back apart from 92005. Ashford was approached on the down line and we passed through the station via platform 6 before crossing back to the proper Up line after Ashford B Junction. An uneventful run then took place but even with a straight run into Victoria we arrived 4 minutes late. It was then off to the Underground back to Seven Sisters to pick up another Stansted Express (after checking it stopped at Bishop's Stortford - not all do). Arrival back was at a reasonable time of 1845.

Alan Costello

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Alan Costello)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 London Victoria 11.06d 11.09   17.05a 17.09 152.26
3.14 Brixton 11/12 11/18   16/57 17/02 149.12
3.76 Herne Hill 11/14 11/19   16/55 17/01 148.30
8.53 Beckenham Junction 11/20 11/25   16/50 16/55 143.53
9.57 Shortlands Jn 11/25 11/27   16/48 16/53 142.29
12.38 Bickley Jn 11/28 11/34   16/42 16/46 139.68
13.17 St Mary Cray Jn 11/29 11/35   16/41 16/45 139.09
17.31 Swanley 11/34 11/39   16/35 16/39 134.75
24.53 Otford Jn 11/42 ??/??   16/24 16/28 127.53
29.46 Borough Green Loop 11*48a ~ 11*58d 11/59  
39.76 Maidstone East 12/11 12/12   16/02 16/06 112.30
59.17 Ashford International 12/37 12/40   15/31 15/42 93.09
70.09 Continental Jn 12/47 12/52   15/21 15/28 82.17
73.01 Folkestone Central 12/52 12/57   15/18 15/24 79.25
74.07 Folkestone East 13.02a ~ ??.??d 13.02 ~ 13.08   15.15a ~ 15.15d 15.15 ~ 15.19 78.19


M.C Location Booked Actual
75.10 Folkestone Harbour 13.15a ~ 13.16 ~ 14.29
76.13 Folkestone East - 14.34a ~ 14.38d
77.16 Folkestone Harbour ~ 14.30d 14.45a ~ 15.07d

Timings continue in first table.

Mileages taken from booklet but 2m 06chains added on return allow for extra trip on branch.

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