29th December 2001

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Lune Ranger

Locos Used 47786, 66141 & 90233
Stock Used 4925+5023+5027+4986+17023+1679+3127+3124+3150+1696+3114+3115

Route :
1Z52 : London Euston to Heysham Port
1Z53 : Heysham Port to London Euston

Loco(s) Route
90233 London Euston - (via WCML) - Northampton - Rugby - Coventry - Birmingham International - Stechford - Aston - Perry Barr North Jn - Bescot Stadium - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Basford Hall Jn - Sorting Sidings North - Salop Goods Junction - Crewe Coal Yard - Winsford - Warrington Bank Quay - Weaver Jn - Earlestown - Newton-le-Willows - Golborne Jn - Bamfurlong Jn - (via Bamfurlong Goods Lines) - Wigan North Western (using Up Pass. Loop through station) - Preston
66141 (1) Preston - Farington Curve Jn - Lostock Hall Jn - Blackburn - Clitheroe - Hellifield - Settle Jn - Clapham - Carnforth - Hest Bank - Bare Lane - Morecambe
47786 (2) Morecambe - Heysham Port
66141 (1) Heysham Port - Morecambe
47786 (2) Morecambe - Bare Lane - Morecambe South Jn - Lancaster - Preston
90233 Preston - (via WCML) - Crewe - Basford Hall Jn - (reverse of outward route) - London Euston 

Notes :
(1) 47786 on rear.
(2) 66141 on rear.

Sources : Gary Thornton (joined/left train at Northampton)
& Robert Frise

Tour review
(by Gary Thornton)

Our three tour locos:


90233 on arrival into Preston at lunchtime.


47786 attached to the rear of the train at Preston.


66141 at Heysham Port.

Always nice to finish the year off with a railtour on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. Even better when you can choose one that picks up at your local station and costs under 35!

So it was that I booked myself and two colleagues onto Hertfordshire Rail Tours "The Lune Ranger" which basically ran to Heysham Port and back from London, but with a few fiddly bits added in en-route. Although I didn't initially think I needed any track, there would be three chances to score locos for haulage with an ac electric plus top-and-tail diesels in use during the day.

One colleague offered to pick me up from home and he turned up a little before 8.30am and we were soon at the station, parked up and waiting for colleague no.3 who turned up shortly after. A few other familiar faces were also seen and pleasantries exchanged.

Departure time of 08.58 came and went with no indication of where the train was. A 321 unit rolled in to platform 2 forming the 09.13 to Birmingham....but only as far as Coventry because of signalling problems. Hmm, as that was also our booked route it could be an interesting morning!

The 09.13 duly departed then (finally) an announcement that our train would soon arrive - seems platform 3 was out of use so the tour had sat outside Northampton waiting for platform 2 to be free! The tour should of course have been in front of the dusty-bin but a delay owing to ETS problems at Euston that had delayed departure by about 10 minutes.

In rolled the train, 90233 at the head - we piled into coach H and I then checked my book to find that this was a winning 90 for me - the day was looking good already! It got even better at Rugby as we passed 66603 (dud for sight) and 66540 + 66544 - the last to being sight scores for me. only 20 minutes from home and a winning haulage and two locos copped for sight - about as much as I could expect in a whole day out! 47761, 66033, 66169, 60069 & 66232 were also noted.

The signalling problems slowed us a bit as we headed our way towards Birmingham, but not significantly. The train did the usual lean to the left as we passed through Bescot (08567, 37689, 37042, 58033, 56116, 66163, 66179, 37704, 66051, 60018, 58050 & 37116 being visible).

On our way past Stafford we were passed by three Freightliner 66's running together "light engine" - one of the stewards later suggesting they were 66511, 66514 & 66517. At Basford Hall Junction we turned in to the yard as we were booked to pass through Crewe using the "independent lines". This also gave a chance for some more Freightliner loco spotting as many are stabled close to the independent lines as they pass through towards Sorting Sidings North signal box. For the record I noted : 47301, 47377, 47354 & 47367 (all stored), 86632, 86620, 90143, 66502, 66604, 66512, 57007, 66508, & 66510 - no winners for me there, oh well. A line of 66's were missed as there were wagons in the way - looked like new ones too (well shiny roof panels). Never mind, they should be around for a while yet.... Passing the back of Crewe Diesel depot yielded 47704, 47372 and Deltic 9016, looking as purple as ever.

Now according to my Baker rail atlas I required the "down Liverpool independent" line which takes trains from Salop Goods Junction to Crewe Coal Yard. Was surprised to see that as I'm sure I have done it on some previous tour - maybe I have and just forgotten to mark it up...or maybe I did actually scored some track today?!? Either way, I can certainly mark it off now!!

Our way northwards was not that straight forward - we diverted off at Winwick Junction to take the line through Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows, rejoining the WCML at Golborne Junction. The Vulcan Foundry (birthplace of the Deltics) is a sad looking place now - disused and all boarded up.

Another diversion at Bamfurlong Junction - we took the slow lines which drop down and pass under the WCML, coming up at Springs Branch Junction....just by the EWS Component Recovery Depot. A slow pass enabled much of what was there to be captured (at least 37088, 47310, 47146, 73132, 47474, 37715, 08673, 47513, 37131, 37133, 47236, 37037, 37376 & 47331,and I know I missed a few).

Coming in this way also meant we took the Up Pass Loop through Wigan NW station and regained the right line at the junction just north of the station. A short stagger had us into Preston. All off, time for a loco change. As booked, 66141 went onto the south end and 47786 on to the north end. One winner, one dud for me (in that order).

For the desperados a one coach length set-back (to get the 66 behind the platform end signal) enabled the shed to be scratched in before the spoon had even appeared.

Off we now set, back from whence we'd arrived...but only as far as Farington Curve Junction where we turned off towards Blackburn (not one of my favourite locations....once spent a cold wet two hours there waiting for a man with a headlight for a class 56). This time we made it through unscathed and as we made our way from Clitheroe towards Hellifield we started to see some decent amount of snow - there had been some north of Crewe but pretty half-hearted.

Fairly uneventful journey now - via Settle Junction and Carnforth to rejoin the WCML, now heading south. Short run to Hest Bank where we turned right to get to Morecambe. Some people left the train here for an hours aimless wandering whilst many stayed on for the run to Heysham Port and back.

For those who left the train I understand a fairly decent snow storm passed through before the train returned! It tried in Heysham, but it didn't amount to much. Heysham Port station was interesting - we pulled into platform 3....the only platform!

Our return south was straightforward - 47786 powering to Preston for a swap back to 90233 and a straight run down the WCML (though with the Bescot diversion again) home. It almost went that smoothly....

Lancaster to Preston was a real stagger - why, don't know, but a chance to peer out into the dark to see it was snowing heavily. Loco change took place as predicted an we were away roughly on-time. We'd gained time by Weaver Junction but to no avail as we were halted to await the passage of a Virgin service off the Liverpool line. We followed this to Crewe, scuppering our booked non-stop run through.

The journey continued uneventfully until the approach to Birmingham International where we stopped at a red signal. Shortly after an announcement was made to say that a train had failed just south of International and it was in process of being towed back to the station - in all the delay wasn't expected to be too great (oh, yeah...?). In the event it actually wasn't - we passed through the station using platform 2 - in platform 5 was 87026 with its pantograph down and people baling off. In platform 4 was a cross-country rake of mark 2's with no loco...then just off the platform I noticed 47747 in the gloom, heading back onto the stock in platform 4. Looks like it had been used to tow the failed train back to the platform.

...just try attempting that when the cross-country service is formed of voyager units!

Remainder of the trip was quite fast and our arrival back into my home town was just one minute late. A good day out, cheap and entertaining. That's it, no more railtours for me in 2001.

Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked and Actual)
(by Gary Thornton/Daniel Bound)

M C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M C
0 00 LondonEuston 07.40d 07.53   22.11a 22.01 535 34
5 23 West London Jn 07/47 ??/??   21/58 ??/?? 530 11
8 04 Wembley Central 07/49 08/03   - 21/50 --- --
11 30 Harrow & Wealdstone 07/52 08/07   21/50 21/46 524 04
17 35 Watford Junction 07.58a ~ 08.01d 8.18 ~ 08.21   21.38a ~ 21.41d 21.39 ~ 21.41 517 79
31 53 Tring 08/12 08/33   21/22 21/22 503 61
38 16 Ledburn Jn 08/20 08/38   - 21/18 --- --
46 46 Bletchley 08/28 08/44   21/11 21/13 488 68
49 65 Milton Keynes Central 08.35a ~ 08.37d 08.48 ~ 08.49   21.04a ~ 21.06d 21.07 ~ 21.09 485 49
56 47 Hanslope Jn 08/43 08/57   20/56 20/56 478 67
65 68 Northampton 08.55a ~ 08.58d 09.18 ~ 09.22   20.44a ~ 20.46d 20.45 ~ 20.47 469 46
75 37 Long Buckby 09/07 09/32   20/30 20/35 459 77
84 67 Rugby 09c18a ~ 09c21d 09.41 ~ 09.43   20c05a ~ 20c13d 20.24 ~ 20.25 450 47
93 79 Coventry 09/37 10/00   19/53 20/13 441 35
104 55 Birmingham International 09/52 10/19   19/38 20/00 430 59
109 08 Stechford 09/55 10/25   19/36 19/44 426 26
112 01 Aston 10/01 10/31   19/31 19/37 423 33
114 23 Perry Barr North Jn 10/07 10/36   19/28 19/34 421 11
119 78 Darlaston Jn 10/14 10/46   19/23 19/29 415 36
122 77 Portobello Jn 10/19 10/51   19/19 19/26 412 37
125 45 Bushbury Jn 10/25 10/54   19/16 19/22 409 69
139 22 Stafford 10/37 11/05   18*56a ~ 19*04d 19.02 ~ 19.04 396 12
144 51 Norton Bridge 10/45 11/09   18/47 18/55 390 63
155 53 Madeley Jn 10/58 11/17   18/38 ??/?? 379 61
161 75 Basford Hall Jn 11/07 11/24   18/34 18/40 373 39
163 03 Sorting Sidings North 11/16 11/29  
163 52 Salop Goods Jn 11/21 11/32  
  Crewe   18/29 18.35a ~ 18.36d 371 55
164 37 Crewe Coal Yard 11/26 11/37   - - --- --
171 20 Winsford 11/37 11/44   - - --- --
180 79 Weaver Jn 11/44 (11/51)   18/12 18.11a ~ 18.14d 354 35
187 70 Warrington Bank Quay 11/49 11/56   18/06 18/03 347 44
191 26 Winwick Jn 11/51 11/58   18/02 18/01 344 08
192 62 Earlestown 11/55 12/01  
193 54 Newton-le-Willows 11/59 12/03  
194 66 Golborne Jn 12/02 12.07a ~ 12.08d   - - --- --
198 39 Bamfurlong Jn 12/06 12/16   - - --- --
199 31 Springs Branch Jn 12/16 12/20   17/56 17/56 337 13
200 60 Wigan North Western 12/19 12/25   17/53 17/55 335 64
210 34 Euxton Jn 12/25 12/35   17/42 17/47 326 10
215 70 Preston 12L34a ~ 13L06d 12.39 ~ 13.11   16L55a ~ 17L35d 17.14 ~ 17.41 320 54

 

M C Location Booked Actual
217 39 Farington Curve Jn 13/09 13/15
219 01 Lostock Hall Jn 13/13 13/18
228 01 Blackburn 13/25 13/29
228 48 Daisyfield Jn 13/26 13/31
238 79 Clitheroe 13/45 13/47
252 27 Hellifield 14/04 14/08
255 52 Settle Jn 14/09 14/14
270 54 Wennington 14/28 14/34
279 70 Carnforth East Jn 14/40 14/47
280 18 Carnforth 14*43a ~ 14*48d 14.49 ~ 14.52
283 28 Hest Bank 14/57 15/00
284 71 Bare Lane 15/07 15.06a ~ 15.07d
286 41 Morecambe 15.13a ~ 15.23d 15.09 ~ 15.22
290 79 Heysham Port 15.43a ~ 16.00d 15.35 ~ 15.59
295 37 Morecambe 16.10a ~ 16.25d 16.11 ~ 16.24
297 07 Bare Lane 16/30 16/29
297 64 Morecambe South Jn 16/33 16/33
299 56 Lancaster 16/35 16/36

Timings continue in first table.

Key;
a : arrival time
c : crew change
d : departure time
L : loco change
/ : passing time
* : operational stop
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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