8th February 2003
The Folly Forester
|Locos Used||20306, 20312 & 56071|
1Z27 : Bristol Temple Meads to Buxton Sidings
1Z44 : Buxton Sidings to Bristol Temple Meads
|56071||Bristol Temple Meads - Stapleton Road - Filton Jn - Bristol Parkway - Westerleigh Jn - Yate - Cheltenham Spa - Norton Jn - Worcester Shrub Hill - Droitwich Spa - Bromsgrove - Barnt Green - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Proof House Jn - Aston - Perry Barr North Jn - Bescot Stadium - Portobello Jn - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Basford Hall Jn - Crewe|
|20306 + 20312 (1)||Crewe - Beeston & T SB - Chester (goods lines) - Chester North Jn - Hooton (Long Siding)|
|56071 (2)||Hooton (Long Siding) - Ellesmere Port - Helsby - Frodsham Jn - Halton Jn - Runcorn - Folly Lane (Network Rail limit)|
|20306 + 20312 (1)||Folly Lane (Network Rail limit) - Runcorn - Weaver Jn - Winsford D&UPL|
|56071 (2)||Winsford D&UPL - Weaver Jn - Acton Grange Jn - Walton Old Jn - Warrington Bank Quay - Winwick Jn - Earlestown - Eccles - Manchester Victoria - Miles Platting - Philips Park South Jn - Ashburys - Guide Bridge - Hyde Jn - Woodley - Romiley - New Mills Central - New Mills South Jn - Chinley North Jn - Chinley South Jn - Great Rocks Jn - Buxton Relief Sidings|
|20306 + 20312 (1)||Buxton Relief Sidings - (reverse of outward route) - New Mills South Jn - Hazel Grove HL Jn - Northenden Jn - Navigation Road - Mobberley - Northwich - Middlewich - Sandbach - Crewe Sydney Bridge - Crewe Salop Goods Jn - Crewe SSN - Basford Hall Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street|
|56071||Birmingham New Street - (reverse of outward route, except took direct route from Stoke Works Jn to Abbotswood Jn) - Bristol Temple Meads|
(1) 56071 on rear.
(2) 20306 & 20312 on rear.
Source : Gary Thornton (joined/left the train at Barnt
(by Gary Thornton)
Another Saturday, another 4.30am start courtesy of Network Rails lousy timetabling for charters! This tours originally advertised 05.30 start from Bristol finally appearing as an 04.43 start. That said, the Barnt Green time (my chosen joining point) had only moved 8 minutes earlier at 06.57 so a lot of festering between Bristol and Barnt Green. The timetable also showed a lot of long pauses after Barnt Green (one or two in some very dubious places) making me wonder why the whole tour could not have been scheduled at least an hour later throughout (yes, I know, its that nice Mr Branson with his super new shiny shops taking all the paths).
My booked lift appeared a few minutes later than planned but it was still a comfortable drive to Barnt Green, even allowing for the continuing diversion to avoid roadworks on the outskirts of the village (some roadworks, we first encountered them in mid-December!). We already had the gen it was 56071 in charge, with 20306 & 20312 booked traction from Crewe - two winners for me (the 56 and 20312). No track today though, just the prospect of enjoying the 20 thrash (assuming our seats were at the right end of the train!).
They were - coach B being at the front end. 56071 whisked us northwards to Crewe via a stop at Birmingham New Street (what happened to the "no railtours through New Street after 6am "rule" then?). Aston, Bescot & Stafford (another pick-up) were soon passed before we wandered in to the usual "railtour" platform at Crewe. Here the 56 was run round to the back of the train and a pair of DRS 20's added to the front.
This was also the only opportunity all day to get a photo of the tour locos - not the best location but as it was all that was on offer to those who's money made the tour run....
56071 about to come off the train at Crewe.
20312 & 20306 on the train and ready to go.
Right, cameras away and now time to enjoy the sounds of a pair of 20's on the mainline. Our route now took us to Chester (for half an hours non-platformed fester on the goods lines) and Hooton. Reversal here was in the "long siding" which was new to me (though not in the Baker so nothing to mark up). 56071 was now back in charge to Runcorn Folly Lane, routed via Helsby and the Frodsham curve.
Runcorn Folly Lane...what a waste of a railtour spec! I did it many years ago on a Hertfordshire Rail Tours trip and this latest traversal was just as disappointing. Yes, we made it "all the way" to the Network Rail limit, but that is well under a mile from the junction!
Our next reversal point was in Winsford D&UPL. We arrived here about half an hour early (and that being despite having endured over a whopping 90 minutes of booked time not moving since Barnt Green! Maybe the tour should have been booked to run TWO hours later than it was....
Heading northwards now we headed to Warrington via Walton Old Junction. A long pause here before we headed on our way. I later heard a rumour that this was because it was intended that we would take the dive-under from Arpley shunt necks to the down slow at Bank Quay station, a very rare piece of track indeed. Apparently the route had been prepared for us but paperwork (or lack of) reaching the appropriate people (or being dealt with by said people in time...) was to blame. Perm any one from several suggested options as to what didn't happen there.
Continuing on our way I killed this part of the journey chatting to a few acquaintances who were also on board but sat in other arts of the train ~ was it a coincidence that I was up at the front for 56071's ascent of Miles Platting bank? Yes, of course it was...
Despite Network Rails best efforts (i.e. loads of staggering through the Manchester suburbs) we'd still managed to find ourselves well early approaching Chinley so a few further unscheduled stops at junctions waiting time were called for. We finally staggered on to the Peak Forest line just a few minutes early.
The run to Buxton (xyz sidings only, no station stop and chance to stretch our legs) was good as it always is, never mind the traction, there is some quite serious scenery to be viewed on this route, plus the interest of the various works en-route. On arrival at Buxton we saw 60010 waiting on the high viaduct with a train from Hindlow.
Retracing our steps round the Peak Forest line and things got a little more interesting. After free-wheeling to Topley Pike the driver applied power round the curve towards Great Rocks Junction. He backed off at one point but when he re-applied the power the 20's didn't want to know. We staggered towards Peak Forest South getting slower and slower. It sounded like 20312 (the leading 20) had given up altogether and 20306's engine beat was slowing as the train slowed. The knowledgeable on board said the driver would have to shut-off power to clear the problem but in doing so the train would probably have stopped completely which the driver obviously didn't want to do on the rising gradient. At Peak Forest South he did however succeed and, on re-applying power, both locos picked up perfectly. Any suspicions of a failure in the middle of nowheres were quickly dispelled.
This had however cost us some time and, annoyingly, we now slipped effortlessly into late running mode. Heading home via Hazel Grove and Altrincham lost us more time as did the run through Staggerwich (sorry, Middlewich) to Sandbach. By Sandbach we were nearly half an hour late.
Routed via the independent lines we changed crew at Sorting Sidings North. A few comments here about what might happen if there wasn't a relief crew - EWS drivers being on strike from 15.00 on Saturdays for 24 hours at the moment meant we were reliant upon our driver having booked on duty. After a few minutes pause (just long enough to get the mind thinking we might be in trouble) and we were off again.
The usual slowish run to Stafford was endured, though more liberal use of the power handle suggested we had someone "up front" who was willing to give it a real go. After Stafford this was proven correct and an absolutely superb run to New Street was enjoyed, loads of thrash from the 20's, especially from Bushbury Junction as we headed via Bescot, Perry Barr North Junction and Soho South Junction to the Big Black Hole.
Despite all the thrash we didn't arrive into New Street until 20.55, 59 minutes late! How annoying was it that we had wasted so much time in the morning but then had no opportunities to catch it back later in the day!
The 20's were dropped off here and we continued homewards with 56071. Barnt Green was reached just under an hour late. The end of a reasonable day out (if you could ignore the timetabling and regulating...which was pretty difficult!). May there be many more outings with pairs of 20's!!
Timings (Booked & actual)
(courtesy of Pathfinder Tours, PRAR & Gary Thornton)
|0.00||Bristol Temple Meads||04.43d||04.59||22.15a||?||89.74|
|0.46||Dr Days Jn||04/45||05/02||22/12||?||89.28|
|5.62||Bristol Parkway||04.54a ~ 04.56d||05.15 ~ 05.16||21.59a ~ 22.02d||?||84.12|
|10.32||Westerleigh Jn||05/02||05/22||21*46a ~ 21*52d||?||79.42|
|38.00||Gloucester Yard Jn||05/28||?||21/18||?||51.74|
|44.30||Cheltenham Spa||05.37a ~ 06.00d||05.53 ~ 06.03||21.07a ~ 21.10d||?||45.44|
|66.15||Worcester Shrub Hill||06/26||?|
|66.62||Tunnel Jn||06*28a ~ 06*34d||?|
|76.09||Stoke Works Jn||06/46||?||20/42||?||16.29|
|81.65||Barnt Green||06.55a ~ 06.57d||07.01 ~ 07.03||20.33a ~ 20.35d||21.26 ~ 21.27||10.53|
|92.38||Birmingham New Street||07.17a ~ 07.21d||07.21 ~ 07.24||19L56a ~ 20L10d||20.55 ~ 21.06||112.56
|97.36||Perry Barr North Jn||07/35||07/34|
|122.35||Stafford||08.03a ~ 08.05d||08.04 ~ 08.06|
|Crewe||08L33a ~ 09L03d||08.30 ~ 09.06|
|10.60||Beeston Castle & T. SB||09/19||09/19|
|21.10||Chester Goods Lines||09*32a ~ 10*01d||09.32 ~ 09.54|
|21.49||Chester North Jn||10/06||09/56|
|Hooton||10.20a ~ 10.32d||10/09 ~ 10/32|
|??.??||Hooton Long SIding||-||10.13 ~ 10.22|
|Folly Lane ICI Sidings
(Network Rail limit)
|11.37a ~ 11.50d||11.04 ~ 11.25|
|Winsford D&UPL||12.23a ~ 12.39d||11.55 ~ 12.19|
|7.22||Weaver Jn||12*48a ~ 12*55d||12/27|
|13.24||Acton Grange Jn||13/03||12/34|
|14.28||Walton Old Jn||13/06||12.38a ~ 12.58d|
|15.16||Warrington Bank Quay||13/09||13/01|
|35.58||Ordsall Lane Jn||13/43||13/29|
|36.70||Manchester Victoria||13c50a ~ 13c52d||13.42 ~ 13.44|
|39.05||Philips Park South Jn||14/05||13.52a ~ 13.54d|
|44.20||Guide Bridge||14/18||14.16a ~ 14.17d|
|55.50||New Mills Central||14/43||14/35|
|56.50||New Mills South Jn||14/58||14.38a ~ 14.48d|
|60.23||Chinley North Jn||15/05||14.56a ~ 15.01d|
|61.06||Chinley South Jn||15/20||15/03|
|65.04||Peak Forest South SS||15/31||15.16a ~ 15.20d|
|65.59||Great Rocks Jn||15t37a ~ 15t37d||15.22 ~ 15.38|
|71.41||Buxton SB||15t53a ~ 15t53d||16.00 ~ 16.02|
|Buxton Up Relief Sidings||15.55a ~ 16.13d||16.06 ~ 16.12|
|0.21||Buxton SB||16t15a ~ 16t15d||16.14 ~ 16.14|
|6.03||Great Rocks Jn||16t30a ~ 16t30d||16/37|
|6.58||Peak Forest South SS||16/34||16/41|
|10.56||Chinley South Jn||16/41||16/57|
|11.39||Chinley North Jn||16/42||16.58a ~ 17.03d|
|15.12||New Mills South Jn||16/46||17/09|
|20.41||Hazel Grove HL Jn||16/55||17/15|
|42.13||Plumley West SB||17/30||17/57|
|45.10||Northwich South Jn||17/41||18/08|
|57.34||Crewe Sydney Bridge||18/24||18/51|
|58.39||Crewe Salop Goods Jn||18/32||18/57|
|59.04||Basford Hall SSN||18c36a ~ 18c38d||19.02 ~ 19.06|
|60.12||Basford Hall Jn||18/43||19/12|
|82.65||Stafford||19.08a ~ 19.14d||19.52 ~ 19.54|
|107.64||Perry Barr North Jn||19/46||20/29|
|110.55||Soho South Jn||19/52||20.37a ~ 20.42d|
Timings continue in first table.
Distances given appear to have been taken to Hooton station
whereas the train reversed in the "long siding" which would add about
an extra 30ch to the distance travelled in each direction.
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