15th February 2003

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Crown & Sceptre

Locos Used 47737, 66083 & 90035
Stock Used 5482+ 5008+ 4916+ 4949+ 4986+ 5037+ 1832+ 4925+3124+ 3123+1679+3150+17023

Route :
1Z47 :
Kings Cross to York
1Z48 :
York to Kings Cross

Loco(s) Route
90035 London Kings Cross - (via ECML) - Loversall Carr Jn - Doncaster RMT
66083 (1) Doncaster RMT - Doncaster - Kirk Sandall Jn - Thorne Jn - Goole - Gilberdyke - Hessle - Hessle Road Jn - Springbank North Jn - Hedon Road sidings - BP Saltend Old Sidings
47737 (2) BP Saltend Old Sidings - Hedon Road sidings
66083 (1) Hedon Road sidings - Level Crossing on way to King George Dock (3)
47737 (2) Level Crossing - Hedon Road sidings - Springbank North Jn - Springbank South Jn
66083 (1) Springbank South Jn - West Parade North Jn - Anlaby Road Jn - Hessle Road Jn - Brough - Gilberdyke - Selby - Hambleton West Jn - Gascoigne Wood Jn - (4) - Milford Jn
47737 (2) Milford Jn - Sherburn South Jn - Church Fenton - York Yard South Jn - Skelton Jn
66083 (1) Skelton Jn - York
90035 York - (via ECML) - London Kings Cross

Notes :
(1) 47737 on rear.
(2) 66083 on rear.
(3) Train was booked to traverse the line to King George Dock but did not get all the way because of buckled track.
(4) Tour was booked to cover the direct curve between Gascoigne Wood Jn and Sherburn South Jn but reversed at Milford Jn instead owing to train heat problems with one of the coaches near the rear of standard class. Reversal ensured the dining passengers had heat on the way home...

Sources : Gary Sherman & Daniel Bound (both on the train throughout)

Tour Review (1)
(by Andrew Wilson)

A freezing cold morning with a freezing cold NB bus journey at 5AM to Leeds finally convinced me that total madness had set in and I began talking and gesticulating wildly to myself just to pass the time. After buying the necessary pieces I did the 6.21 unit to Doncaster and festered for the 7.30 to London which rolled in a little late hauled by 90020. We staggered and staggered and just after Doncaster we came to a stop and the Train Manager announced frozen points ahead. After about 15 minutes we set off and passed the offending trackwork with two NR Bert’s stood nearby with the flame-thrower. We continued to stagger and just before Grantham stopped again. The Train Manager announced that a total power failure had occurred but didn’t say if it was the infrastructure or just our engine. I had allowed a plus hour and a bit at Peterborough for the tour but after being stood with nothing happening for 40 minutes I decided to get off at Grantham and just go home when the Thunderbird finally appeared. The Train Manager came on again and said “It could be a lot worse than this, you could have my job” which caused much hilarity with the normals in my coach. Amazingly 5 minutes later we started moving and a quick look through the small window in Coach A saw 90020 sparking as it moved which suggested ice, either on the pantograph or on the overhead wires, had caused our failure. It was still going to be tight but we arrived at Peterborough with 12 minutes to spare and boarded the tour, which was 4 late when it arrived, hauled by 90035 (dud but only 6 miles registered in the mileage book). We continued steadily to Doncaster Mail Terminal, an earlier gen call had confirmed that 47737 and 66083 were to be the tour locos and they were viewed and bolted on. David Russell came to see me with face beaming and said that 47737 was one of his last two EH duffs. We set off and took Doncaster centre road where NR owned 43062/013 were noted in a sickly yellow livery parked cab-to-cab at Wabtec. We were now –13 at Goole and finally we reached Hessle Road Junction at –24 where we would diverge onto the freight line to the Docks.

After a short wait we proceeded quite fast, on a good bit of track, on the Docks line passing Springbank North Junction, which we would traverse later in the day. At King George Dock a dud boat for the week was viewed, a friend John Aston and I had just returned to Hull from Belgium two days previously and there was our boat M.V P&O Pride of Bruges. My Lords!!!! Dud boat!!!!

We passed the new bridge that had recently been installed (the tour was postponed from last November due to the dodgy state of the old bridge) and stopped short, just before the points that led into the BP Works and old Saltend. I thought that was it but after a short while we moved again and the announcement over the tannoy said we had reached the BP security gates and we were only one engine length from the buffers. HRT provided a running commentary from Hessle Road Junction to Saltend and back which pointed out what buildings were used for, where closed lines used to be, what traffic used the extant lines and other general information and it was extremely informative and most welcome. The buffer kissers were well bowled however as the front few coaches were taken up with the nobs in nosebag class although they could have dressed up as waiters I suppose and walked through. After a short while we reversed and reached Hedon Road Sidings where we stopped for reversal again to traverse the eastern side of the branch to King George Dock. An announcement was made that a line inspection that morning had revealed a section of buckled track on the branch so HRT were waiting further instructions. Surprisingly we started to move down the branch but only got as far as North End level crossing (just short of half way down the branch) before we were turned back by Bert from ABP.

After reversal we proceeded onto the required other running line at Hedon Road Sidings before coming to an abrupt halt. The tannoy burst into life saying that due to water spots?? on this line we would have to reverse again and take the opposite line we had used earlier that afternoon (wrong kind of water perhaps). The line looked OK with just a few small puddles here and there but the decision had been made and we had to like it or lump it. After further reversal we passed Hedon Road Sidings and continued back to NR tracks but we stopped at the derelict Boothferry Park football stadium, for which a station had been built for on the freight line. Yet another reversal, after a plastic had gone past, saw the tour traverse the Springbank North Junction to Walton Street Junction connection then the Hull avoiding line (which was closed sometime in the last decade but re-opened). After Hessle Road Junction we were back on passenger metal and I hoped we would regain some of the 40 minutes we had lost messing about. An announcement told us that instead of using the booked route of Gascoigne Wood Junction to Sherburn South Junction and then York, we would go via Gascoigne Wood Junction to Milford Junction and reverse. He said there was a problem with 47737’s heating capacity and the train needed to be turned. I thought this was a rather strange move as in about half an hour the 47 would be off and 90035 would be back on to London. We departed Milford Junction and went to York via Church Fenton, instead of the booked ECML, turned left at Holgate Junction and went via York Yard to Skelton Junction where we reversed yet again and finally arrived in York Station about 30 down.

66083 at York (photo: Robert Frise)

47737 was attached to the now obligatory Mark 2 coach, now at the rear of the train, and it was probably this that was causing the heat problem and not 47737. As there was no generator van I realised that Ada would be served cold soup and cold peas for her tea so 90035 had to be attached to the other Mark 2 on the other end for heat to be supplied to the peas. This was a purely economic decision by Mr Farrow as he would have had a large compensation bill for producing no dinner and the train would have had to stop somewhere for cold supplies to fill bowled Bert & Ada’s bellies. There were a few rants in my coach about the new route but once again the decision had been made and there was nothing anyone could do. I left the train at York and took an all shacks back to Leeds, my starting point that morning.

Nick Blyth got this shot of 90035 back at Kings Cross at the end of the tour.

Needing everything in red past Hessle Road Junction I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and was pleased at the informative running commentary. There were on the day problems as mentioned above and it was quite evident today that other tour operators do get problems besides Pathfinder Tours.

Andrew Wilson

This, from Ian Kapur of Hertfordshire Railtours;

For the record, the problem with the heating on the train was either with the Class 47 or the Mark 2 coach - we didn't know which and attempts at Saltend to ensure that the ETH cables were properly connected gave us no more joy. The risk was that, if the Mark 2 was the problem and we kept exactly to the route, on arrival at York the Mark 2 would be at the south end and the whole train could have been without any heat for up to two and a half hours back to KX. This wouldn't have just affected the First Class passengers as suggested! There were 400 Standard Class passengers on board and 120 First Class and my concern was for everyone on board.  Turning the train proved the right thing to do as the Class 90 heated the train via the Mark 1 end and, as it now turns out, wouldn't have done via the Mark 2 end. Two and a half hours in a cold train is to avoided.

Tour Review (2)
(by Ken Strachan)

Ho hum, another Saturday, another electric. 90.035 was red, so even a traction dummy like me could tell it wasn’t 038 again. We were 6 down leaving Peterborough, but I got 66.705 required for sight at the GBRf depot, so I was happy. The blue Eurostar set passed us just before Stoke summit; we stopped. Presumably the Purple Rose of Cairo wasn’t restricted by 66 mph timings… the rest of the ECML was straightforward, but Doncaster RMT terminal was an odd place to detach one loco’ and attach two more. I was in the middle of a 12-coach train, but the 47 and 66 were both clearly audible when under power. Good soundtrack then. The yellow Eurostar set was seen leaving the East side of Donny station.

There were few locomotives in Decoy yard. This seemed good, until we realized that the former residents must have been cut up. We hustled through Hessle without any hassle, and soon, Hull appeared – not quite “as if by magic”. Progress around the city was straightforward. We were allowed 8 minutes to pick up a token at the dock security gate – somehow, we managed it in four. At Cannon Junction, we had an insight into Hull’s nightlife – a theme bar considerately named after the junction, and based in a double garage!

Apparently the 66 was up against the buffer stops in BP Saltend – progress was so slow on the approach that photographers passed us walking. We set back to pull onto the King George Dock branch, but sensibly stopped just before the level crossing beyond which the twisted rail was lurking. We set off again towards the dock gates, then reversed – apparently we were on the wrong track. We were right line – to the South – but were told it was flooded, and unsuitable for use. We set back, the driver using the horn with enthusiasm as the driver of a 40-ton truck played chicken on the ungated crossing within the docks estate. Knights of the road, eh. We reversed again, and set off wrong line; we couldn’t see any puddles, but we could see a couple of “drips” on the line with stepladders, high-vis’ vests and cameras… seriously, top marks to Mr. Kapur for a thorough and accurate commentary all the way through the Hull goods lines.

We had the unusual experience when crossing Walton Street of seeing the crossing gates lowered ready for our passage – two junctions later! We didn’t keep the buses waiting long. We passed both old (Boothkerry Park) and new (Hull Telecommunications) footy grounds. The new one has no platform, but is right next to the railway, on the Anlaby Road curve. This is a tight curve, so restarting a long train could be a problem, even if they had a platform.

Progress back to York was speedy, even with the unexpected reversal at Milford Junction, where we stopped for just seconds before heading North. Progress around the York avoider was also speedy. I believe it was Mr. Farrow on the PA – “isn’t this fun”, he said. Well yes, as it happens, it was. Generous timings allowed us to pull into York just 3 minutes late, and whizz round the corner to enjoy half price admission to the model railway. It’s quite cute actually, at least once.

What can I say about a non-stop run from York to Peterboro’ down the ECML after dark? Not much, except that five 66/7’s were seen at the GBRf depot; and that we arrived ahead of time. I couldn’t resist a detour under Harringworth viaduct when driving home. The infinitesimal chance of seeing any freight traffic was made even more remote by the EWS drivers’ strike. “Reality bites”.

Ken Strachan

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Daniel Bound)


M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Kings Cross 08.18d 08.18   21.02a 20.57 188.40
0.56 Belle Isle 08/20 08/20   20/59 20/53 187.64
2.41 Finsbury Park 08/22 08/22   20/55 20/48 185.79
4.78 Alexandra Palace 08/24 08/24   20/53 20/46 183.42
12.57 Potters Bar 08.30a ~ 08.34d 08.35 ~ 08.36   20.4a ~ 20.47d 20.38 ~ 20.40 175.63
20.25 Welwyn Garden City 08/43 08/44   20/37 20/32 168.15
21.20 Digswell Jn 08/47 08/45   20/36 20/31 167.20
23.73 Woolmer Green Jn 08/50 08/47   20/35 20/30 164.47
27.45 Stevenage 08.54a ~ 08.56d 08.52 ~ 08.56   20.28a ~ 20.31d 20.24 ~ 20.26 160.75
31.74 Hitchin 09/00 09/01   20/24 20/20 156.46
44.10 Sandy 09/11 09/11   20/14 20/12 144.30
58.70 Huntingdon 09/25 09/26   20/05 20/03 129.50
69.26 Holme LC 09/32 09/34   - - ---.--
--.-- Connington South Jn - -   19/59 19/58 121.37
76.29 Peterborough 09.38a ~ 09.41d 09.44 ~ 09.48   19.49a ~ 19.52d 19.46 ~ 19.50 112.11
84.64 Tallington Jn 09/56 09/59   19/42 19/39 103.56
99.61 Stoke Tunnel 10/09 10/15   19/33 19/29 88.59
105.38 Grantham 10/22 10/21   19/29 19/27 83.02
109.56 Barkston South Jn 10/25 10/25   19/26 19/24 78.64
120.08 Newark North Gate 10/32 10/33   19/20 19/18 68.32
138.49 Retford 10/43 10/46   19/09 19/07 49.71
152.00 Loversall Carr Jn 10/53 10/54   19/00 18/59 36.40


M.C Location Booked Actual
Doncaster RMT 10L57a ~ 11L22d 10.58 ~ 11.34
2.24 Doncaster 11/29 11/37
3.54 Bentley Jn 11/32 11/45
5.74 Kirk Sandall Jn 11/36 11/48
10.58 Thorne Jn 11/41 11/53
19.56 Goole 11/51 12/03
26.33 Gilberdyke 12/03 12/15
41.35 Hessle Road Jn 12/19 12/40
42.72 Springbank North Jn 12/24 12/47
44.65 signal HR49 12t29a ~ 12t37d 12.53 ~ 12.55
48.28 Hull Docks Security Gates 12t52a ~ 13t00d 13.15 ~ 13.19
49.05 Hedon Road Sidings 13/05 13/23
Saltend 13.18a ~ 13.23d 13.40 ~ 13.50
Hedon Road Sidings 13.36a ~ 13.41d 14.00 ~ 14.13
King George Dock 13.51a ~ 13.56d Level Crossing
(14.17 ~ 14.26)
0.46 Hull Docks  Security Gates 14t11a ~ 14t19d 14.41 ~ 14.52
4.66 signal HR49 14t34a ~ 14t42d 15.10 ~ 15.12
6.59 Springbank North Jn 14/52 15/16
Springbank South Jn 14.54a ~ 14.59d 15.18 ~ 15.25
1.21 West Parade North Jn 15/02 15/30
1.45 Anlaby Road Jn 15/03 15/34
3.72 Hessle East Jn 15/11 15/42
11.10 Brough 15/17 15/48
17.48 Gilberdyke 15/24 15/55
31.51 Selby 15/39 16/11
35.18 Hambleton East Jn 15/46 16/16
38.11 Gascoigne Wood Jn 15/52 16/25
Milford Jn DIV 16.27a ~ 16.28d
4.26 Church Fenton 16/01 16/37
10.49 Colton Jn 16/14 16/45
16.03 York Yard South Jn 16/22 16/52
Skelton Jn 16.29a ~ 16.37d 16.55 ~ 17.00
York 16.40a ~ 18.34d 17.05 ~ 18.34
5.41 Colton Jn 18/39 18/39
13.45 Hambleton North Jn 18/44 18/45
19.24 Temple Hirst Jn 18/48 18/48
28.24 Shaftholme Jn 18/55 18/54
32.43 Doncaster 18/58 18/57

Timings continued in first table.

All distances are as given by Daniel Bound and account for the on-the-day diversion.
No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.

Back to "The Railtour Files"