25th May 2002
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
|Locos Used||66040 & 66168|
1Z66 : London Paddington - Fowey - Plymouth
1Z67 : Plymouth - Heathfield - London Paddington
|66040||London Paddington - Reading - Newbury - Westbury - Castle Cary - Taunton - Exeter St Davids - Newton Abbot - Laira Jn - Plymouth Friary|
|66168 (1)||Plymouth Friary - Plymouth - Lostwithiel - Carne Point|
|66040 (2)||Carne Point - Lostwithiel - Plymouth - Newton Abbot - Heathfield|
|66168 (1)||Heathfield - Newton Abbot|
|66040||Newton Abbot - (reverse of outward route) - London Paddington|
(1) 66040 on rear.
(2) 66168 on rear.
Source : Tony Neath (viewed the train at Plymouth)
& John Clifford (confirmed route & loco details)
(by Daniel Bound)
A railtour with three required branches and a trip to Devon and Cornwall thrown in made for an interesting, if not long, day out. All the three branches had English china clay connections, with two of the branches, Plymouth Friary and Heathfield, in danger of closing due to lack of traffic.
Beautiful sunshine greeted my dad and I as we stepped out of my flat at early oíclock, and we made our way to East Croydon for our train in to London. As the circle line was closed we changed trains at Clapham Junction for a unit into Waterloo for a Bakerloo line service to Paddington. We arrived at Paddington with 10 minutes to go, so I took a quick note of the rolling stock and the locos before taking my seat. 66015 had brought in the stock and 66040 was leading. A hot coffee to wake us both up as the shed slowly moved off and crossed onto the fast lines. After a pick up at Slough we crossed over to the slow lines at Maidenhead East to allow an HST to pass us on the fasts, before coming into platform 4 at Reading for our final stop. Virgin Voyager 220026 was opposite us, these trains are very impressive, but how impressive are they going to be on a hot Saturday when itís full and standing??
Departure from Reading was a few minutes down and we were soon on the Berks. and Hants. line storming along and by the time we were at Westbury we were running early. No class 59ís were stabled today but a large contingent of 66ís and mainline blue liveried 60078. We continued west after a crew change. The sun was still shining an hour later as our second crew change at Exeter took place; again we were running slightly early. As the time was now a more acceptable hour, photographers now lined the route, especially the sea wall sections at Starcross and Dawlish. After we had passed through Totnes, we came to a halt, after a short pause we began the ascent of Rattery Bank, which 66040 coped with quite well. We passed Tavistock yard, where I copped 09017, which was with 09013. Soon we were approaching the first branch.
We came off the main line onto the down goods line and passed Laira Depot with 57601 and Wabtecís 08669 visible outside the shed. We took the up departure line past the washer line and onto the end of the line. Here 66189 was attached on the rear, but now the front of the train. As this was my coach we would now get the thrash? all the way to Fowey Docks. Returning the same way back up towards Laira we then turned left and rejoined the main line at Lipson Jct. We soon passed through Plymouth and continued towards Cornwall, passing over the Isambardís famous Saltash Bridge the weather started to get a bit more overcast. The Cornwall countryside was very green and lush as we crossed the myriad of viaducts, with various lines being seen below. Soon we stopped at Lostwithiel to pick up the token for the 4-mile single line to Fowey Docks. The line is so picturesque, passing by little houses and villages following the river Fowey down to the estuary. Stopping at the railtrack boundary we reversed back towards Plymouth where we arrived 15 minutes early where the weather was now threatening rain! 47830 was waiting on a Paddington train, whilst 47847 was working a Plymouth to Leeds virgin service. A pleasant walk around Plymouth ensued with my dad and I stocking up on supplies for the homeward journey, including a 650g bar of dairy milk. The chocolate did not survive the trip home!!
Rejoining the train we set off back on the up main. Unfortunately 66040 did not perform very well on Hemerdon bank and struggled all the way up to the summit with the speed dropping to around 40 miles an hour, with the same thing happening on Rattery bank. We paused briefly at Newton Abbot to show the driver our token, then we headed off past the racecourse onto the Heathfield branch. Overgrown vegetation was the order of the day, having taken over at the disused Watts, Blake, Bearne ball clay sidings and Teignbridge station; although not stopping local enthusiasts standing on it to take photographs of our tour. We reached the end of the line passing Heathfield station, the ECC pigments plant and Heltor Ltdís distribution depot (now no longer rail served). It was here, just as we stopped, that the heavens opened and the threatened downpour began. Strange was that as we moved off it stopped! Hmmmm, mysterious forces at work at Heathfield. We returned to Newton Abbot almost ten minutes down because we had gone to the end of the line, but a swift loco detachment meant that we were only 5 minutes down by the time we left.
The return journey was as the outward, with more 66ís being seen at Westbury along with 58025 and 58050, both, as most of the branches we covered today being not long for this world. We arrived back into Paddington over 20 minutes early, thanks to Hertfordshire rail tours adding lots of minutes to the railtrack schedule, are they worried about late returns? A railtours not a railtour until your running an hour late or a major farce has occurred! I do wish HRT would put down the proper timings or do they not trust railtrack (they probably have a point there!!!) A nice end to a nice day, roll on the next tour!
Timings (Booked and Actual)
(by Daniel Bound)
|11.20||Heathrow Airport Jn||07/16||07/18||21/02||20/44||518.72|
|18.31||Slough||07.22a ~ 07.25d||07.24 ~ 07.26||20.52a ~ 20.54d||20.35 ~ 20.36||511.61|
|35.73||Reading||07.43a ~ 07.46d||07.50 ~ 07.52||20.29a ~ 20.31d||20.15 ~ 20.17||494.19|
|94.40||Heywood Road Jn||08/46||08/42||19/20||19/22||435.52|
|95.42||Westbury||08c48a ~ 08c50d||08.45 ~ 08.47||19c15a ~ 19c17d||19.17 ~ 19.19||434.50|
|100.18||Clink Road Jn||08/56||08/53||19/09||19/10||429.94|
|102.20||Blatchbridge Road Jn||08/58||08/55||19/07||19/09||427.72|
|172.12||Cowley Bridge Jn||10/01||09/54||18/07||18/10||358.00|
|173.32||Exeter St Davids||10c04a ~ 10c06d||09.56 ~ 10.00||18c02a ~ 18c04d||18.05 ~ 18.08||356.60|
|224.05||Mount Gould Jn||11/09||11/07|
|224.62||Plymouth Friary||11L14a ~ 11L34d||11.12 ~ 11.30|
|225.39||Mount Gould Jn||11/41||11/35|
|230.25||St Budeaux Jn||11/55||11/50|
|249.55||St Pinnock Viaduct East||12/26||12/23|
|257.59||Lostwithiel||12t36a ~ 12t37d||12.35 ~ 12.36|
|262.02||Carne Point||12.49a ~ 12.59d||12.50 ~ 12.59|
|266.25||Lostwithiel||13t11a ~ 13t12d||13.15 ~ 13.16|
|274.29||St Pinnock Viaduct East||13/31||13/30|
|293.59||St Budeaux Jn||14/15||13/57|
|296.51||Plymouth||14.24a ~ 16.00d||14.06 ~ 16.01|
|328.40||Newton Abbot||16t41a ~ 16t42d||16.39 ~ 16.41|
|332.43||Heathfield||17.02a ~ 17.08d||17.06 ~ 17.15|
|336.46||Newton Abbot||17L28a ~ 17L40d||17.37 ~ 17.45|
Timings continue in first table.
a : arrival time
c : crew change
d : departure time
t : token stop
* : operational stop
/ : passing time
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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