8th March 2003
The Branch Liner
|Locos Used||Diesel : 37670
Steam : 73096
1Z96 : Alton - Ludgershall
1Z97 : Ludgershall - Alton
|37670 (1)||Alton - Aldershot - Brookwood - Woking|
|73096 (2)||Woking - Guildford - Haslemere - Havant - Fareham - St. Denys - Southampton - Totton - Hythe - Fawley G.F.|
|37670 (1)||Fawley G.F - Hythe - Totton - Southampton Central|
|73096 (2)||Southampton - Redbridge - Romsey - Laverstock Curve - Andover|
|37670 (1)||Andover - Ludgershall MOD depot (reversed with the train across Tidworth Road)|
|73096 (2)||Ludgershall MOD depot - Ludgershall (site of former station)|
|37670 (1)||Ludgershall (site of former station) - Horse Dock|
|73096 (2)||Ludgershall Horse Dock - Andover Jn - Basingstoke - Farnborough Main - Woking (3)|
|37670 (1)||Woking - Guildford|
|73096 (2)||Guildford - Ash - Aldershot - Alton|
(1) 73096 on rear.
(2) 37670 on rear.
(3) After Woking the booked route was: 37670 (with 73096 on rear): Woking - Brookwood - Aldershot - Alton but train was due to be diverted due to a points failure at Brookwood.
Sources : Stuart Smith (on the train
John Clifford (joined/left at Woking) & Nigel Benning
(by Stuart Smith)
This was a tour found by chance whilst playing around on the 'Links' page of this website.
As most of my bashing friends will testify to, I DO NOT LIKE STEAM ENGINES, and so forced myself to suffer this one just to do the required track on the branches.
I arrived at Alton just after 7am, expecting to find the stock ready for the 07.29 departure. However, there was a problem with the main line registration of 73096, and so the necessary paperwork needed to be found and faxed before it could leave the Mid-Hants boundary. This delay was not expected to be more than 10 minutes in length..... we eventually left Alton at 08.10. I had expected to see 37308 as the 'top n tail' loco, and although not a winner, 37670 made a very suitable substitute.
A fairly good thrash from the 37 got us to Woking about 35 down, and after a quick reversal we were heading down to Guildford. It was then on to Haslemere for a watering stop, this gave us a chance to take some photos and see three 'down' Portsmouth trains being routed wrong line around us. As I wasn't interested in the performance of 73096, I can't say how well it climbed the banks and gradients or how fast it passed various stations en-route, but I can probably say that it didn't break any records today.
We paused for a brief crew change at Southampton before passing the massive docks and Freightliner terminal at Millbrook. At this point I took a sudden interest in the sight of several green and yellow engines. 66543, 533, 538, 535, 539, 542, 532 and newly arrived 66562 were all parked up, along with 57003, 009, 012 and three stored 47's, 47303, 376 and 207. At Totton we turned onto the freight only line and slowly trundled down the branch. At the disused Marchwood station we stopped for another water replenishment and got to view two MOD shunters, 258 "Mulberry" and 263 "McMullen" on the adjacent line to the military port. (This tour was originally planned for 26th October 2002 and was booked to cover the Marchwood Line instead of Fawley).
With the watering complete, we continued down to the Oil Terminal at Fawley, stopping just short of the Ground Frame outside. Here we reversed and followed our inbound route back to Southampton Central. Another reversal, now in pouring rain, saw us pass Millbrook for a third time heading for Romsey and eventually Andover. A 15mph speed restriction saw us crawl the 6 miles to Ludgershall. We ran to the far terminus of the branch, duly blocking the level crossing whilst a decision was taken on where to water the loco. After a few minutes we reversed back to the site entrance and turned right to enter the Horse sidings dock platform. (These sidings are so called because it is from here that horses were loaded onto trains during the war). Even this wasn't suitable for watering, so 73096 was detached and ran across to the adjacent loco sidings to get feed and watered. This gave people a chance to alight and photograph the proceedings and hunt down the internal locos. One was spotted, although it appeared not to carry any external numbering.
73096 during a watering stop at Haslemere (photo : Stuart Smith)
37670 in the 'Horse' sidings at Ludgershall (photo : Stuart Smith)
Since leaving Alton in the morning we had never made any time back, always keeping between 30 and 40 minutes late. This got considerably worse from Ludgershall with our departure now 70 mins later than booked. Back to the main line at Andover and then a fast non-stop run through Basingstoke to Woking. On arrival we were told of a points failure and that the route back to Alton would have to be via Guildford, and not the direct line through Pirbright Junction. More time to be lost.
A prolonged fester occurred here whilst waiting the almost endless procession of SWT emu's. More time was lost whilst reversing at Guildford and we were 130 minutes late before reaching Aldershot. By now the Alton services had been reduced to hourly, so our booked pathing stop at Bentley did not happen and therefore arrival back to Alton was just under 2 hours late.
Despite being so heavily delayed, I was still home by 9pm (almost unheard of these days) and reflecting on a pretty good day out.
Route- Distances and Timing's (Booked & Actual)
(by Nigel Benning/John Clifford)
|0.00||Alton (platform 2)||07.29d||-|
|4.69||Bentley||07x38a ~ 07x41d||-|
|11.66||Aldershot||08.05a ~ 08.07d||-|
|13.26||Aldershot North Jn||08/10||-|
|22.39||Woking (platform 1)||08.23a ~ 08.28d||09.01 ~ 09.05|
|28.39||Guildford||08.37a ~ 08.44d||09.20 ~ 09.21|
|41.11||Haslemere (platform 1)||09w05a ~ 09w29d||09.46 ~ 10.01|
|64.46||Havant||09.59a ~ 10.11d||10/35|
|86.79||St Denys||10/48||11.19a ~ 11.21d|
|87.43||Mount Pleasant Crossing||??/??||-|
|89.08||Southampton Central (platform 4)||10/58||11.27a ~ 11.29d|
|96.26||Pumpfield Lane Crossing||11w19a ~ 11w35d||11.52 ~ 12.11|
|100.55||Hardley Siding GF||??/??||-|
|104.39||Hardley Siding GF||??/??||-|
|108.68||Pumpfield Lane Crossing||??/??||13/02|
|116.06||Southampton Central (platform 1)||12.49a ~ 12.53d||13.34a ~ 13.37d|
|116.78||Millbrook||12.56a ~ 13.13d||13/40|
|139.24||Laverstock South Jn||13/44½||14/17|
|139.58||Laverstock North Jn||13/47||14/17½|
|154.02||Red Post Jn||??/??||-|
|155.44||Andover||14.06a ~ 14.11d||14.37 ~ 14.52|
|157.06||Red Post Jn||??/??||15.06|
|162.70||Ludgershall (MoD Depot)||14.35a||15.50a ~ 15.55d|
|???.??||Ludgershall (site of former station)||??.??||16.05a ~ 16.12d|
|0.00||Ludgershall (horse dock)||15.45d||16.16a ~ 17.18d|
|5.64||Red Post Jn||??/??||17/41|
|49.18||Woking (platform 1)||17.11a ~ 17.16d||18.45a ~ ??.??|
|58.31||Aldershot North Jn||??/??||-|
|59.71||Aldershot||17.37a ~ 17.42d||-|
|66.68||Bentley||17x56a ~ 18x08d||-|
|71.57||Alton (platform 2)||18.17a||-|
No attempt has been made to verify the distances given. An obvious error exists at Fawley GF with two different mileages quoted for arrival and departure!
a : arrival time
d : departure time
w : watering stop
/ : passing time
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