31st August 2002

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Three Spires

Locos Used 66025 & 66189
Stock Used 3114+5027+4977+5023+5007+5037+4925+1832+4986+17023+3124+3123+1696+3127

Route:
1Z66 : Finsbury Park to Derby
1Z68 : Derby (16.42d) to Finsbury Park

Loco(s) Route
66025 Finsbury Park - Freight Terminal Jn - Camden Road East Jn - Camden Road - (1) - Primrose Hill - West London Jn - Willesden Yard (low level goods lines)
66025 Willesden Yard (low level goods lines) - Mitre Bridge Jn - Kensington Olympia - Clapham Junction - Barnes - Kew East Jn - Acton Central - Dudding Hill Jn - Brent Curve Jn - (via Silkstream flyover) - Luton - Bedford - (via slow lines at Sharnbrook) - Kettering - (2) - Knighton South Jn
66025 (3) Knighton South Jn - Coalville - Birmingham Curve Jn - (4) - Leicester Jn - Burton-on-Trent UGL
66189 (5) Burton-on-Trent UGL - Leicester Jn - (4) Branston Jn - Wichnor Jn - Lichfield City - Brownhills
66025 (3) Brownhills - Lichfield City - Wichnor Jn - Branston Jn - (6) - Birmingham Curve Jn - Drakelow East Curve Jn
66189 (5) Drakelow East Curve Jn - Birmingham Curve Jn - (6) Leicester Jn - Burton-on-Trent - North Stafford Jn - Derby
66025 (3) Derby - Sinfin (headshunt)
66189 (5) Sinfin (headshunt) - Derby
66025 Derby - Long Eaton - Trent South Jn - Loughborough - Syston North Jn - (7) - Leicester - (via MML) - Brent Curve Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Mitre Bridge Jn - (8) - Camden Road - Freight Terminal Jn - Finsbury Park

Notes:
(1) was booked via Gospel Oak to Willesden but diverted because of "track problems" on the day.
(2) was booked to run via Corby and Leicester but diverted to catch-back on late running.
(3) 66189 on rear.
(4) Was booked to traverse the curve from Birmingham Curve Jn to Branston Jn but didn't, reportedly because Railtrack had failed to inspect the curve prior to the tour. Train reversed using the Burton-on-Trent up goods loop instead.
(5) 66025 on rear.
(6) train re-routed to cover the booked curve missed out earlier! - see note (4)
(7) was re-scheduled to run via Corby (as it had been missed in the morning) but couldn't as there wasn't a fast to slow lines crossover at Syston South Jn (the train should have crossed over from the fast to slow lines at Sileby Jn but hadn't). A reversal at Leicester was also refused thus the train simply carried on along the MML instead, missing out the Corby line.
(8) presumably "booked route" via Willesden Junction HL & Gospel Oak?

Sources : various, including PRAR, Ken Strachan & Mike Tetlow

Tour Review
(by PRAR)

I set the alarm early because getting to Finsbury Park for 0700 by way of Thameslink and breakfast does take a while. Strolling out of the house I was left to ponder why buses only run on time when you are late. Bizarrely a Connex bus came to the rescue and I was soon at East Croydon for the 0514 northbound Thameslink.  The overnight Thameslinks are not booked to stop at London Bridge so this one went via Selhurst and Herne Hill direct to Blackfriars and on to Kings Cross.  A nice early WAGN brought me to Finsbury Park, where shops (and the Station Cafe) had opened for breakfast.

After watching my last two 317/6s head into Kings Cross, 66025 came into view heading the familiar green mark ones. There seems to be a rule that the first 66 on a train is a dud one, 66025 having worked on The Red Dragon (19/6/1999). Having boarded the train an announcement came that there were track problems at Willesden and some means of bypassing them was being worked out.  As the former Southfields correspondent would say "mmm".

Twenty minutes late we set off.  The original route via Willesden Junction High Level was abandoned and at Camden Road we headed left to via the overgrown Primrose Hill station. Passing WN (or 1A in old money) we cut left and stopped on the Low Level Goods lines adjacent to the Freightliner terminal for 66025 to run round.

Heading back south we rejoined the intended route at Mitre Bridge Junction and stopped at Kensington Olympia at 0812 (33 late).  From here the swing-o-meter took a dive towards oblivion as we were first held at Latchmere (presumably to allow the train crew to arrive at Clapham Junction) and then basically staggering round the North London freight lines to Dudding Hill Junction.  Here we stayed on the freight lines bypassing Hendon and took the Silkstream flyover.

With RST approaching West Hampstead box put us on the slows and we struggled to avoid dropping more time. Arriving at the final pickup at Bedford the stewards were out with the sticky back plastic to repair a broken window.  Presumably some vandal had thrown a stone through it. To regain time the routing via Corby was postponed to the return trip and at Kettering we stayed on the main line to Knighton South Junction.

66189 joined the rear of the train at Knighton and before long we were veering off left onto the Coalville line. With a passenger line speed of 20mph it was a good time to make up for the early start and have some zzz. At the end of the Coalville line we turned right instead of left. Railtrack had neglected to inspect the Birmingham Curve and the signaller (quite rightly) had to route us into Burton-on-Trent up goods loop to reverse. There were quite a few groans at this.

66189 burst into life and we trundled out of the loop heading towards Lichfield. At Wichnor Junction we turned onto the freight line and paused briefly at Lichfield City before heading down to Brownhills. The Brownhills branch had been especially deforested for the passage of the tour, refinery traffic having ceased in 2001.  The new bridge over the North Birmingham Link Road was traversed - a double track bridge with only the left hand track laid and we ran to the end of the line adjacent to the closed terminal.

After reversal we ran back to Lichfield where we had to wait for a reversing 323 to let us out. Back on the main line to Derby we crossed over at Branston Junction and headed off back towards Coalville. HRT had been on the phone and Railtrack had sent a man to perform the necessary inspection. Reversing at Drakelow East Curve Junction we also scored a very rare crossover. By the time we had made it back out and up to Derby we were running 86 late.

Those who wanted a break in Derby had to forego the Sinfin branch and they missed out on traversing the whole line right into the headshunt. This added to the overall delay and our eventual return to Derby was 100 minutes late! A few minutes for photos, reversing and topping up the kitchen water tanks and we clawed back to only 36 late departing.

Passing the usual collection of oddly coloured stock at Derby we were then brought to a halt at Spondon. The train in front was inspecting the line after reports of debris. More delays! Beyond Trent the driver gave 66025 it's head and we had a refreshing burst of speed. With the Corby route still to traverse we all expected to turn left at Syston. But once again Railtrack intervened and we discovered there was no fast to slow crossover to allow us to access the spur. Having done this the signallers refused to allow us to reverse in Leicester so we headed back out onto the mainline. It seems that some chain of communication had fallen down and Railtrack hadn't been informed of the changed routing.

The rest of the run back passed without incident, all be it at RST. Flagging the extra miles back round to Finsbury Park I took the lazy option and bailed at Clapham. Fast VEP and tram saw me walking in the front door before 10pm. It was a shame for those people who needed Corby (and all the photographers at Harrington Viaduct) but HRT managed to get right to the end of both branches and cover the harder bits of track. Those who need Corby look out for it appearing on a tour in 2003 (or a MML HST in the Winter).

PRAR

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(by Daniel Bound)

Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual
Finsbury Park 06.57d 07.20   21.04a ?
Holloway South Jn 07/00 07/26   20/59 ?
Freight Terminal Jn 07/02 07/28   20/56 ?
Camden Road East Jn 07/09 07/29   2/53 ?
Camden Road 07/13 07/30   20/51 ?
Gospel Oak 07/18 DIV   20/48 ?
Kensal Green Jn 07/28 DIV   20/38 ?
Willesden Junction HL 07/32 DIV   20/34 ?
Mitre Bridge Jn 07/35 ?   20/30 ?
North Pole Jn 07/36 ?   20/29 ?
Kensington Olympia 07.39a ~ 07.40d ?   20.23a ~ 20.25d ?
Latchmere Jn's 07/46 ?   20/16 ?
Clapham Junction 07.48a ~ 07.50d 08.12 ~ 08.17   20.12a ~ 20.14d 21.09 ~ 21.11
Barnes 07/58 08/25   20/07 21/02
New Kew Jn 08/03 08/45   19/52 20/57
Kew East Jn 08/06 08/54   19/49 20/54
South Acton 08/08 09/02   19/46 20/52
Acton Wells Jn 08/13 09/10   19/39 20/47
Acton Canal Wharf Jn 08/15 09/13   19/37 20/45
Dudding Hill Jn 08/23 09/20   19/31 20/38
Brent Curve East Jn 08/26 09/26   19/25 20/34
Hendon 08/29 09/28   19/23 20/31
St Albans 08.45a ~ 08.47d 09.49 ~ 09.51   19.05a ~ 19.07d 20.10 ~ 20.12
Luton 08.59a ~ 09.02d 10.03 ~ 10.05   18.51a ~ 18.53d 19.56 ~ 19.58
Flitwick 09/13 10/18   18/41 19/43
Bedford South Jn 09/24 10/26   18/31 19/35
Bedford 09.27a ~ 09.30d 10.28 ~ 10.35   18.26a ~ 18.28d 19.30 ~ 19.32
Bedford North Jn 09/31 10/36   18/25 19/29
Sharnbrook Jn 09/42 10/44   18/19 19/22
Wellingborough 09/57 10/55   18/10 19/14
Kettering South Jn 10/06 11/03   - -
Kettering 10/08 11/04   18/3 19/03

 

Location Booked Actual
Kettering North Jn 10/10 11/06
Corby North Jn 10/16 DIV
Manton Jn 10/36 DIV
Oakham 10/40 DIV
Melton Mowbray 10/52 DIV
Syston East Jn 11/06 DIV
Syston South Jn 11/07 DIV
Leicester 11/17 DIV
Market Harborough DIV 11/16
Wigston South Jn DIV 11/30
Knighton Jn 11L22 ~ 11L44 11.41 ~ 12.04
Bagworth Jn 12/09 12/39
Coalville Jn 12/23 12/45
Mantle Lane SB 12/33 12/50
Lounge Jn 12/46 13/00
Moira Jn 13/02 13/09
Birmingham Curve Jn 13/17 13/23
Burton-on-Trent DIV 13.26 ~ 13.37
Branston Jn 13/19 13/40
Wichnor Jn 13/24 13/46
Alrewas SB 13/27 13/49
Lichfield TV HL 13/31 13/56
Lichfield City 13/34 14.01 ~ 14.08
Brownhills 13.49 ~ 14.10 14.31 ~ 14.46
Lichfield City 14/25 15/17
Lichfield TV HL 14/28 15/24
Wichnor Jn 14/32 15/32
Branston Jn - 15/41
Birmingham Curve Jn DIV 15/47
Drakelow East Curve DIV 15.53 ~ 15.58
Birmingham Curve Jn DIV 16/03
Leicester Jn 14/38 16/05
Burton-on-Trent 14/42 16/06
North Stafford Jn 14/47 16/12
Stenson Jn 14/48 16/13
Derby 14.54a ~ 14.59d 16.20 ~ 16.35
Melbourne Jn 15/02 16/40
Sinfin North 15/05 16/42
Sinfin Central 15.06a 16/44
(headshunt) - 16.46 ~ 16.55
Sinfin Central 15.11d 16/57
Sinfin North 15/19 16/59
Melbourne Jn 15/26 17/06
Derby 15L31a ~ 17L00d 17.13 ~ 17.34
Spondon 17/05 17/46
Sheet Stores Jn 17/11 17/52
Trent South Jn 17/12 17/53
Loughborough 17/19 18.02
Sileby Jn 17/24 18/08
Syston South Jn 17/27 18/17
Leicester 17.33a ~ 17.35d 18.29 ~ 18.31
Wigston North Jn 17/41 18/36
Market Harborough 17/43 18/48

Timings continue in first table.

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