8th October 2002
|Locos Used||Steam : 35005 "Canadian Pacific"
Diesel : 37308
1Z86 : London Victoria to Portsmouth Harbour
1Z87 : Portsmouth Harbour to London Victoria
|35005 (1)||London Victoria - Stewarts Lane - Longhedge Jn - Clapham Junction - Brentford - Chertsey - Woking - Guildford - Haslemere - Havant - Fareham North Jn|
|37308 (2)||Fareham North Jn - Cosham - Portcreek Jn - Portsmouth Harbour|
|35005 (1)||Portsmouth Harbour - Cosham - Fareham Botley - Eastleigh - Winchester - Basingstoke - Woking - Chertsey - Twickenham (3) - Clapham Junction - Longhedge Jn - Stewarts Lane - London Victoria|
(1) 37308 on rear.
(2) 35005 on rear.
(3) Booked route was via Brentford.
Source : John Clifford
(by John Clifford)
I had not been on a steam hauled tour for over 4 months so I decided that a "Cathedrals Express" would do the trick. The great thing about these is that they generally start at a civilised hour and don't mean getting up in the middle of the night.
On the day I caught the 0943 from Hatfield (313055). It left about 8 late but a quick connection into the Victoria line meant that I got to Victoria about 1035. There was no sign of the stock and platform 2 was occupied by a 465. This left and the stock duly appeared behind 37308 with Merchant 5 on the back.
Having bought a ticket I got on and found that the train was reasonably well filled but with a number of spare seats. We left on time but had an 8 minute signal stop at Longhedge Junc. At Clapham Junc. we did not show any sign of stopping at first but did eventually with the engine & 4 coaches passed the signal. We learned later that the Railtrack timing showed us as stopping but that EWS's did not! Anyway, off we went round the Hounslow loop with a signal check at Brentford and a further one at Egham. The one positive point about getting checks is that you can hear the engine working hard. Between Stains & Virginia Water we passed a couple of 4BEP's on Reading line trains so I made a mental note to do them soon. We stopped for water at Chertsey and left there 12 late at 1222. The hourly shuttle to Weybridge was due at 1218 so the locals may not have been too happy.
Next it was round the now rare curve to Byfleet and on through Woking to the Portsmouth direct line. There were checks at Farncombe, Liss, Sheet Crossing and just before Petersfield so more noise and then a superb climb up to Buriton Tunnel. My notes for this include just the word "LOUD". (I was sitting in the 5th coach). On to Fareham via Havant where we reversed at Fareham North Junc. with 37308 hauling the train slowly to Portsmouth Harbour reached about 7 late.
What to do at Portsmouth as we had 3 hours there? I had thought about a trip to the Isle of Wight but there was no sailing for about 50 mins. so I went round to the new shopping centre at Gunwharf Quays. I've got to say that if you have seen one new shopping centre you've seen them all. So it proved to be: mainly clothes shops with a music/video store. I returned to the Harbour station and spent the rest of the time there & at Southsea & Fratton just watching the trains.
Our return journey left on time at 1739. The start out of the Harbour is not an easy one for steam especially with the sharp curve but we got going until we reached Portcreek Junc. where we had the road for Havant. So, it was stop, get the road reversed and set off. This meant that we were 9 late through Cosham. We went on through Botley & Eastleigh where we had to do the manoeuvre through the down slow line platform and eventually reaching the up fast. At Allbrook we went slow line to allow the late running 1648 Weymouth - Waterloo to pass us. Up the bank and on through Basingstoke we gradually made up time and reached our water stop at Winchfield just 1 min. late.
We left at 1920 (1 late) and had only gone a short distance when we ground to a halt; I did not find out why. Anyway we were on the move again in a few minutes through Woking and on to Byfleet, round the curve to Addlestone then to Virginia Water. After this we got several signal checks including a 5 minute stand in Egham station so we were 20 late through Staines. There was a further check at Feltham and at Feltham Junc. we were routed via Twickenham instead of Brentford so this made up a couple of minutes. We returned to Victoria 18 late. The Victoria line was good to me so a got a train quickly and caught the 2136 back to Hatfield (317670).
In steam days the only steam passenger workings over the Portsmouth direct line were the paper trains and diverted Bournemouth trains plus the occasional special. Merchant Navy's did not venture down there as the were not allowed over Hamble viaduct. So this was good to get one over what had been rare track for them.
If I have one criticism it was over the brochure. The cover said "Passenger information 2002 season". It covered all the routes that Steam Dreams operate over but reading it showed that it was only the 2001 brochure with a new cover. Many routings have changed since last year so anyone unfamiliar with the trips would have been confused.
Despite this criticism it was an excellent tour. I must go on more Steam Dream's trips
Timings : Booked & Actual
(by John Clifford)
|0.71||Battersea Pier Jn||11/03||11/03||20/40||20/57||103.20|
|1.66||Longhedge Jn||11/08||11.07a ~ 11.15d||20/34||20/54||102.25|
|2.74||Clapham Junction||11.12a ~ 11.14d||11.22 ~ 11.23||20.28a ~ 20.30d||20.47 ~ 20.49||101.17|
|25.58||Chertsey||11.55a ~ 12.10d||12.11 ~ 12.22|
|Fareham North Jn||13.53a ~ 13.58d||13.56 ~ 13.59|
|Winchfield||19.07a ~ 19.09d||19.08 ~ 19.23||55.48|
|Eastleigh South Jn||18/15||18/23||21.30|
|0.08||Fareham||13/59||14.01a ~ 14.02d|
|Fareham North Jn||18/02||18/12||11.21|
|6.68||Portcreek Jn||14/10||14/16||17/50||17.53a ~ 17.56d||4.33|
|10.35||Portsmouth & Southsea||14/17||14/26||17/43||17/44||0.66|
a : arrival time
d : departure time
DIV : diverted
* : operational stop
/ : passing time
All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken
from the timings given by John Clifford. No attempt has been made to verify the
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