12th April 2003
|Locos Used||D9016 & 47799|
1Z58 : Watford Junction to York
1Z59 : York to Watford Junction
|D9016 (1)||Watford Junction - Milton Keynes Central - Northampton - Rugby - Coventry - Birmingham International - Stechford - Aston - Sutton Coldfield - Lichfield Trent Valley HL - Wichnor Jn - Burton-on-Trent - North Stafford Jn - Derby - Ambergate Jn - Clay Cross South Jn - Chesterfield - Tapton Jn - Beighton Jn - Masborough Jn - Aldwarke Jn - Swinton - Mexborough - Doncaster - (via ECML) - York|
|47799 (2)||York - (reverse of outward route) - Watford Junction|
(1) D9016 restricted to 140km/h due to latest TPWS ruling which came in to effect at the start of April (loco is not yet TPWS fitted).
(2) 47799 reportedly used due to an ETH problem on D9016? Confirmation anyone?
(3) Route & loco confirmation required.
Sources : various
(by Ralph Barrett)
Steamy Affairs still advertise that Deltic D9000 is the booked locomotive for their forthcoming series of railtours to York. However with Deltic 22 out of action due to to generator trouble, all Deltic 9000 Locomotives Ltd. workings are currently diagrammed for Poterbrook's Deltic 16; aka 'Gordon the Purple Engine'.
Deltic railtour activity has been at a very low ebb since the start of the new year, a situation made worse by the sudden cancellation of the very promising DPS railtour to Fort William. Deltic 16's last two railtours had not gone according to plan, resulting in having to hire-in EWS Duffs for their return journey. Not a very satisfactory state of affairs for all concerned. Except perhaps for EWS, who might see mainline preserved locomotives as competition to their existing fleet of locomotives.
So would Deltic 16 complete The Yorshireman without aid from yet another EWS Duff ?
My alarm woke me up at 05:45, and it was already daylight outside. My plan was to join the railtour at Long Buckby, an interesting station right in the middle of nowhere - very useful for people with canal boats though. Before setting out I had to scrape a hard frost from my windscreen. During the short drive down the M1, my trafficmaster box beeped five times to indicate that there was already a hold-up on the motorway - at 06:20 on a Saturday morning ! I thus left the M1 earlier than planned at J20, and luckily I know the back roads around those parts very well. Arrived at Long Buckby station at 06:45 for a scheduled 06:56 pickup.
Platform at Buckby was already busy with loads of 'normals' all 'wearing' their luggage-label style Steamy Affairs tickets. Passengers looked very cold though, and many appeared ill-dressed for the early morning sub-zero temperatures. Being made of sterner stuff, I had a good woolen coat and my thermal gloves - although I wished that I'd also brought my thermal long-johns ! Everybody was looking forward to the arrival of a nice warm Mk1 coach.
Nothing happened. A couple of freightliners eventually passed, and the turbulence was like a gale force wind of cold air - not pleasant. Then a Birmingham bound 321 arrived. I was tempted to catch this to Rubgy, where at least I would be able to find out where the railtour was, and check whether the railtour had been cancelled. However, I stuck it out and waited. Other pax were by now suffering from the early stages of hypothermia and starting to talk about going home.
Suddenly my ears picked up that faint roar of distant twin Napiers, and a few minutes later the railtour arrived behind Deltic 16 - about 30 minutes late. Temperatures on the train were little better that those on the platform, as it became immediately obvious that the Deltic was not supplying any ETH whatsoever. Bounds Green had thoughtfully not provided a generator car.
Steamy Affairs appear to market their railtours at the 'top end', and most of the passengers were not railway enthusiasts. Prices on these tours are expensive with a full posh-nosh fare of 159 quid from Coventry to York. Even the second class (Steamy Affairs call it Club!) was a rip-off 59 quid. So these are the type of customers who will be *very* upset if there is no heating on a frosty April morning.
Train stopped at Rubgy to let a VWC service passed on the adjacent down fast line. First of many stops to let other trains get passed. After Rugby the Deltic was given her head on the 100mhp London and Birmingham main line. First field divert at 51mph, and Deltic 16 was performing like a good Deltic. But the driver inexplicably eased off at 75mph, and I could only think that we must have a crap EWS driver who didn't realize just how late he was. Same thing happened upon leaving Coventry, again we did not exceed 75mph. At Birmingham International we were held for 5 minutes to let a Silverink Euston-Brum service pass us! This was bizzare as we were only going as far as Stetchford, and would then be routed via Aston and Lichfield City to Derby.
I phoned my neighbour to report on this strange behaviour. Transpired that I had forgotten that non-TPWS locomotives running under the EWS safety case were now limited to only 75mph. Ahhh! This was awful. Like spending all day going back and forwards on the Settle and Carlisle line. I packed away all of my performance logging equipment in disgust. Just as well, given the lengthy painful crawl around Birmingham and along the Sutton Coldfield line having to stop-go behind one of the frequent local all stations stoppers.
Steamy Affairs were happily announcing on the tannoy that although we were more than 30 minutes late, we would probably regain all of this lost time before York. Especially as there were several high-speed stretches of line to come. Obvious that Steamy Affairs were unaware of the new EWS rules for non-TPWS fitted locomotives. In the event we did 75mph maximum along the Derwent Valley, 75mpg along the old road through Beighton towards Rotherham Masborough, and 75mph for most of the way from Doncaster to York where we arrived about one hour late. Railtour Standard Time - usually Deltic hauled railtours are exempt from RST.
Lots of photographers out, including some familiar faces as we passed Barrow Hill, the home of two other mainline Deltics. Also the staff of Doncaster power box paid their usual respects as we passed.
Luckily the weather was clear blue sky. After a few hours the giant heater in the sky warmed up the train, so by the time we reached York we'd all just about thawed out. Tannoy announcement stated that the heating would *definitely* be working for the return journey.
Nice to see Chris Wayman standing on the platform at York. Remember that it was Chris that 'saved' Deltic 16 from her fate as the intended source of spares for Deltic 22. Chris Wayman painstakingly nursed 16 back into life at the Nene Valley Railway in the '80s, starting with scraping the rust from the Napier con-rods in the exposed crankcases!
Nice day for a visit to York. Went to get some hand-made chocolates from the excellent small shop on Monkgate (recommended), and a couple of Cornish pasties from the "Proper Pastie" shop nearby. Again recommended, as it gets difficult to get half-decent Cornish style pasties the further away from Cornwall you get. Note that I'm a veggie so I cannot comment on the 'proper' pasties, only the veggie pasties. Interesting to see that they have a shop in Stirling of all places.
Then over to the NRM, where I arrived just in time to watch Deltlic 16 passing her old home on the way to the fuelling point next to the NRM Then I went into the NRM and up through the 'Warehouse' to the outside viewing gallery, to await the return of the Deltic. In passing I noted that after all those years of keeping the prototype HST power car outside in the rain, the NRM have finally given the power car a coat of new paint and it was now vying for space with "Deltic" and the Class 31 around the main turntable. Also noted what looked like one of the ex-BHX Maglev cars in a workshop area.
On the outside balcony I waited and waited and then dozed off sitting in the sun, as an endless stream of plastic went passed. I was awoken by the sound of Duff 47799 passing north light engine. That was a bad omen, as I had not seen any other charters around. Had Steamy Affairs requested another locomotive from EWS to heat the train whilst using Deltic 16 as the train engine ?
Nope, the Duff was going to power the return working with Deltic 16 dead-in-tow. Ahhhhhhh ! Stock eventually arrived in the station about 20 minutes after the scheduled departure time. Everything else appeared to be awarded a higher priority by the York IECC box men than propelling our ECS out of Holgate sidings. Even two coal trains on the station avoiding lines appeared to be given priority over our train.
As I arrived on the platform I met a devout Deltic basher friend leaving the platform - he was not going home behind a Duff, even a so-called Royal Duff. I then remembered that another one of the crazy HSE rules banned the use of an unmanned locomotive with its engine running just to provide heating (why is this different to a generator car??). Therefore EWS had to use the Duff as the train engine.
I guess that I feel sorry for the Queen having to put up with such sub-standard traction as the Royal 47s. No wonder the Royal train doesn't get used much these days. If I were her, I'd request something with more style, or even that kettle that's named after her ;-)
Departure was eventually about 30 late from York, the Duff making a lot of noise and exhaust, but little in the way of acceleration. Train was very warm though. Indeed so warm that everybody immediately opened all of the windows, and quickly followed by switching off all of the heating !!! So much for swapping from Deltic to Duff to allow for the provision of ETH.
As we crawled under Holgate Bridge, I noted a flash of light reflected on the wall under the bridge. Shortly afterwards we came to an emergency stop, due to a Puffin? pulling the communication cord in the first carriage. Transpired that the OHLE has arced whilst the Duff had passed under Holgate Bridge. Then an insulator had become detached and hit the roof of the first carriage. Lucky escape from Deltic 16 which was the second vehicle of the train, D-i-T.
Eventually got going and staggered all the way back through Donny along the ECML, struggling to get to even 75mph. Then via Mexborough, the 'old road', Derby , Lichfield, Aston back to Long Buckby where we arrived more than one hour late despite our lax charter schedule. We were stopped in various places to let service trains passed. Indeed I've never ever been looped in the Derwent Valley before, to let another train passed. Interesting to note all of the new (covered-up) speed signs for the higher speeds between Chesterfield and (presumably) Brum. The Derby-Brum line should have been made 100mph decades ago.
Whilst waiting at York I had given plenty of thought to Steamy Affair's predicament. I concluded that Steamy Affairs had little choice but to request a replacement ETH-fitted locomotive, if the ETH could not be fixed on Deltic 16. However, in the event I noted that as we arrived at Long Buckby the heating was still turned off throughout our carriage. Also noted that several of the windows were still open ! Train could easily have got to Northampton without requiring any heating, as it had turned out to be be a relatively warm day. Also the extra acceleration of the Deltic would have got us home quicker than the Duff, even with the enforced 75mph speed restriction.
In conclusion this was not the best Deltic trip I'd ever experienced. Very unusual not to reach the magic ton on a Deltic railtour. Plus a very high ching-factor meant that there were very few other Deltic bashers on board.
DNLL need to get their act together, although I'm sure that they realise this ! Heating fault on Deltic 16 needs to be eliminated. More important still, DNLL need to get TPWS fitted on D9016 as soon as possible.
According to the latest Deltic Deadline magazine TPWS can probably be fitted to a Deltic for as little as GBP 7500. Perhaps the DPS and DNLL could get together and purchase the TPWS equipment at a discount ? A Deltic limited to only 75mph is neither use nor ornament on the main line, in my humble opinion.
BR of old would have managed to resist many of these stupid (so-called) safety rules, currently being imposed willy-nilly by the HSE. Problem is that the fragmented railway appears to be weak and ineffective when it comes to challenging these crazy HSE rules. Worse, some TOCs manage to make things worse by implementing additional rules that even the HSE had not though of - like this crazy short-term 75mph ban. I'm actually all for TPWS and believe that such a system should have been installed way back in the 1970s. However, planning and introduction of TPWS has been the result of several unconnected knee-jerk reactions, and not the result of a controlling mind. And its not just the bashers who are going to suffer...
Timings (Booked only)
|Location||Booked (out)||Booked (rtn)|
|Hemel Hempstead||05.47a ~ 05.48d||21.05a ~ 21.06d|
|Milton Keynes Central||06.13a ~ 06.14d||20.26a ~ 20.27d|
|Northampton||06.40a ~ 06.42d||19.56a ~ 19.58d|
|Long Buckby||06.54a ~ 06.56d||19.42a ~ 19.44d|
|Rugby||07.06a ~ 07.11d||19/31|
|Coventry||07.26a ~ 07.28d||19.12a ~ 19.14d|
|Birmingham International||07.40a ~ 07.42d||18.51a ~ 18.59d|
|Lichfield Trent Valley HL||08/25||18/13|
|North Stafford Jn||08/45||17/54|
|Derby||08.51a ~ 08.53d||17.31a ~ 17.47d|
|Clay Cross South Jn||09/18||17/13|
|Chesterfield||09.22a ~ 09.25d||17.07a ~ 17.09d|
|Temple Hirst Jn||10/13||16/20|
|Hambleton North Jn||10/16||16/15|
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