15th June 2002
Past Time Rail
Deltic Anniversary Scotsman
|D9000 "Royal Scots Grey"
|3133/32/31/44/00, 1671, 21245, 1813, 4915/96
1Z55 : 08.18 London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley
1Z19 : 17.05 Edinburgh Waverley to London Kings Cross
|London Kings Cross - (via ECML) - Edinburgh Waverley
|Edinburgh Waverley - (via ECML) - London Kings Cross
Source : Ralph Barrett
(joined/left the train at Stevenage)
Stock/Headcodes used provided by Scott Spencer
(by Ralph Barrett)
Back in 1962 Gresley's pacifics were still being used for the fastest expresses on the East Coast Main Line. That all changed on 18th June 1962 when the new English Electric Deltics took over many of the fastest timings, including the Flying Scotsman. At 10 am on 18th June 1962, Haymarket's favourite machine departed Waverley for King's Cross on the inaugural accelerated Deltic-hauled Flying Scotsman. At the same moment Finsbury Park's favourite Deltic departed the Cross for Waverley. The Deltic age had started in style.
Past Time Railtours celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first Deltic hauled Flying Scotsman by running a railtour from KX to Edinburgh and back. Tour was advertised as 'fast timings requested', and D9000 as the tour locomotive. After the proposed timings had been through the Railtrack grinding mill, the outward journey had extended to almost 7 hours northbound (yuk!) and just under five and a half hours southbound (better!).
Indeed the return journey was possibly the fastest *ever* Deltic schedule from Edinburgh to King's Cross ? In latter Deltic days the Flying Scotsman was booked for five hours and thirty minutes, with one stop in Newcastle. Anniversary Scotsman was booked for stops at Stevenage, York, and Newcastle. Plus several additional stops in various loops to let the faster GNER expresses fly past.
As I was off to sunny Spain for work at 06:00 the following morning, I decided to join the train at Stevenage. Where the departure boards showed the train as calling at York, Newcastle, Drem UPL(!) and Edinburgh Waverley.
Announcements at Stevenage were excellent, and we were kept fully informed of the progress on the railtour after the slightly late start from King's Cross. Announcer also told us that the train had been put onto the slow lines at Welwyn Garden City to allow several other GNER and WAGN trains to pass. Just before D9000 arrived a GNER Eurostar Leeds train went belting through the station. Appears ECML Eurostars are now approved for running at 125mph.
D9000 could be heard before she was seen approaching Stevenage (good she's getting louder again!), and she looked very authentic with load 10 of Bound's Green's finest maroon stock in tow. Originally planned for 12 vehicles but two coaches were left at BN, not required on the day. Deltic D9000 had the expected DNLL Flying Scotsman thistle fitted to add extra realism to the scene. Shame about being on the slow lines though. Would Railtrack allow us onto the fast lines up Stoke Bank and also from York to Northallerton ? From the timings we appeared to be booked Slow Lines from Peterborough :-(
My seat was 'posh nosh' in coach 'N', which turned out to be the leading coach behind the locomotive. Once aboard I found that I was seated at the same table as two of the Deltic 9000 Locomotives Ltd. directors, which provided good opportunity for catching up with the latest DNLL news and forthcoming railtours. To the accompaniment of D9000 thrashing idly along the slow lines, we were served breakfast. How civilised.
We continued on the slow lines all the way to Holme where we waited for a final northbound GNER service to overtake. By this time we'd already been passed by the 08:30, 08:40 and late running 09:00 GNER KX to Edinburgh services ! Once given the fast lines at Connington, we said farewell to the slow lines for the remainder of the day. From now on it was pure Deltic thrash.
A feature of the down journey was the excessive number of out of course temporary speed restrictions and signal checks. In addition to the numerous TSRs we were checked approaching Peterborough presumably to give the late running 09:45 Edinburgh GNER the road north from platform 4. Also severely checked at Newark to allow another train to cross over the level crossing north of the station. Unusual to be stopped at Newark crossing, especially as we should have had a GNER Leeds service hard on our tail by then. Checked additionally at Doncaster, and then stopped at Dringhouses for the normal 5-10 minutes awaiting a platform at York.
Schedule was so lax that we still had plenty of time to disembark at York to take some piccies. Shame that we didn't get one of the main platforms under the overall roof. Whilst in York we were overtaken by our 4th GNER KX-Edinburgh train ! We were scheduled to be overtaken by two further GNER trains before Edinburgh. One day Railtrack might realise that the best way of running a railway is to let fast trains run fast on realistic schedules.
Good fast run along the vale of York followed, marred only by a couple of speed restrictions. Nice to be able to hear the locomotive thrashing away clearly for a change. First two engined field-divert now occurs at around the almost correct 51mph - used to be nearer 55mph. Stopped at a red signal at Thirsk for some time. Signal in next section was green. What could be the problem ?
Sitting on the milepost side of our seating bay was an elderly gentleman. Normally a kettle basher he'd come for a ride behind the Deltic as 'these were the only diesels with any style - a worthy successor to the Gresley pacifics'. Worked for the late, great, Gerald Fiennes (without whom BR would never had purchased the Deltics). Chap on the train was a very live wire and seemed to know everything that was going on around him. Indeed he was constantly on his mobile phone getting the 'gen' from old colleagues, explaining our various signal checks.
Our informant made inquiries and then told us that there were problems with the signal interlocking in the Thirsk area. Signal eventually turned to green and away we went again. Only to be stopped again just past Croft Spa - another unusual place to stop. Turned out that the GNER train that we'd let passed at York was in difficulty - another broken 91. We eventually overtook the stricken train at Darlington station, and we then had a clear run to Newcastle. GNER were in trouble. We were now slightly late. Anniversary Scotsman was booked to be looped twice before Edinburgh to let two northbound GNERs past.
In the event we had a storming run all the way from Newcastle to Edinburgh. Don't know who the driver was, but he can come again ! Our ex-BR man on the cushions reported that GNER northbound services had gone 'pear shaped', and that both of the following GNER Edinburgh services were running seriously late. D9000 stormed past the loops at Crag Mill and later the Drem Up Passenger Loop. Maintained approx. 80mph up the long 1-in-170 climb out of Alnmouth. That gives an estimated rail horsepower figure of 2475hp, marginally less than normal but within tolerance for a Deltic. Here was a locomotive running on the line she was designed for, still producing close to her designed horsepower rating.
We were checked at Drem as we'd presumably caught up with a slower moving train. There was a long 20mph slack approaching Wallyford due to the severe mining subsidence. Then a final stop at Craigentinny, presumably awaiting a platform at 'The Waverley'. In the event we stormed into Waverley about 20 minutes early on our very slack schedule. Driver even managed to open up onto full power between Carton tunnel and the suburban platforms. Hope somebody on the platforms got a good photograph.
Passengers had two and a half hours in Edinburgh, where there's always plenty to do. After the statutory viewing of D9000 running round and departing for Craingentinny, I departed to Princess Street Gardens for a welcome kip in the sun, on one of those nice memorial benches. I was awoken by the sounds of a Class 40 departing for Inverness passing an incoming shuttle with a 27 at each end. Hang on, I was still asleep. Finally awoken by by the sound of Deltic 22 coming off Haymarket depot to take the inaugural up Flying Scotsman on 18th June 1962.
Right locomotive. Correct headboard. Authentic looking stock. Wrong platform. As usual for Waverley, Railtrack stuck us on the suburban platforms. Doh !
How would we fare on our return journey with the tight(ish) schedule ? Five hours 27 minutes including a 20 minute stop at York. Plus a load of speed restrictions - certainly more than ever would have been allowed by Inter-City East Coast, back in those halcyon days of BR.
Departure time came and went, as is customary on Britain's railways these days. Platform staff eventually got around to blowing their whistles three minutes late, and D9000 departed to the Cross almost 40 years to the day. EWS driver ensured that plenty of clag was deposited in Carton tunnel. However things were now much quieter in coach N, as we were in the last coach.
Customary 20mph crawl for the subsidence after Wallyford was then followed by some fine running through East Lothian, only to be brought to a stand at a signal before Dunbar. Presumably we were held to let a late running GNER service leave Dunbar station loop. Some more fine running through the borders saw an arrival at Newcastle Central 6 minutes late, after a severe signal check at Heaton. Our Average speed was over 80mph from Berwick (pass) to Newcastle (stop). Not bad over this windy route, including the Morpeth curve.
After a quick crew change at Newcastle, we departed almost 10 minutes late. Despite various temporary speed restrictions including 50mph at Ferryhill, 75 at Otteringham, 80 at Pilmoor and 60 at Skelton Junction, we arrived in York in under an hour from Newcastle. An impressive average of over 80mph start to stop, and four minutes faster than our schedule. However our late start at Newcastle meant that our arrival in York was still 5 minutes in arrears.
Stop at York was to allow an Aberdeen to King's Cross HST to pass. We were overtaken by only one GNER service train on the return, a massive improvement on our pathetic outward path. Departure from York was 90 seconds late, but our driver was certainly going for it. Nice fast Deltic departure, rarely seen these days.
We had a good fast run via the Selby diversion, only to be checked slightly approaching Doncaster as usual. Stormed through the through roads at Doncaster at 86mph much to the delight of the assembled signalmen at the power box. An almost clear run ensued to Peterborough, clearing the climb from Grantham to Stoke summit at 83mph, an estimated rail horsepower of 2450hp. A flying descent of Stoke bank followed, and then the statutory check approaching Peterborough. According to the timetable we'd caught up with a Central Trains sprinter. D9000 opened up just before the power box and powered through Peterborough station at around 65mph.
More fine 100mph running ensued until Hitchin, where we were checked, presumably to allow a Cambridge flyer across the flat junction. Whatever happened to the plans for that Hitchin flyover ? Time was now almost 22:00, and it was starting to get dark. Nice to travel on a long railtour during daylight hours for a change. Arrived at Stevenage at 21:59 exactly on time.
Well done to Railtrack and our EWS driver for a spirited run from York. Quite a number of passengers baled at Stevenage. If I hadn't had to face a 6am start next morning, I would have certainly have stayed until King's Cross. However, it was nice to be able to hear D9000 powering off into the distance, long after all of the other passengers had left the platform. Has D9000's exhaust note got louder again ? Certainly louder exhaust note than Deltic 16, the Purple Peril.
An excellent railtour. One of the best railtours I've had with D9000 since 'preservation'. Long may D9000 continue to travel mile after mile at a steady 100mph. Tour was not 100% full, as there were several competing railtours that day, including the Western's third mainline outing. Would have been difficult to beat the Anniversary Scotsman Railtour.
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