14th June 2003
The Irish Mail
|Locos Used||6201, 9016 (1), 47789 & 66156|
|Stock Used||4949+ 4996+4916+5008+1671+3110+3144+3131+80041+3132+3133+21245
plus support coach 80213 whilst 6201 was on the train.
1Z73 : Colchester to Holyhead
1Z74 : Holyhead to Colchester
|66156 (1)||Colchester - (via GE) Stratford - Dalston Jn - Camden - Willesden West London Jn - (via WCML, Northampton & Trent Valley) - Crewe|
|6201||Crewe - Chester - Holyhead|
|6201||Holyhead - Chester|
|47789||Chester - (reverse of outward route) - Harlesden Jn - Kensal Green Jn - Gospel Oak - Camden - (reverse of outward route) - Colchester|
(1) 9016 dead-in-tow (failed at Colchester). 9016 did not work the train at any stage.
(2) Originally advertised as from Ipswich but in the event it was from Colchester only.
Sources : various including Graham Hardinge
(by Graham Hardinge)
9016 successfully worked 5Z73 22.30 (Friday) Old Oak to Parkeston to run-round and return to Colchester. On arrival at Colchester a fault was detected and so 'GH' was shut down while the two on-board fitters attempted to resolve the problem (something that sounded very technical and meant absolutely nothing to me!). After an half an hour or so blocking the up main with AR/GE services having to run wrong line to get past the obstruction, an assisting loco was called up from Parkeston and 66156 duly materialised at around 06.45 by which time 9016 had been fired up! But to no avail; Control insisted that the Shed would drag the train with 9016 dit. It was not to be my day as I'd previously had 66156 on Pathfinder's 'Tone Bone' tour on 27/10/01.
So, sitting in the front vehicle, we left Colchester 97' late at 07.07 and couldn't hear a thing! As will be seen from the timings below, progress was hardly startling but the generous recovery allowances saw the arrears reduced to 66 minutes by the time we reached Crewe where purple-met-purple in that 9016 stood next to 87002 off the Euston - Holyhead which, incidentally, had been taken onwards by 47810 'Porterbrook'! At Crewe, 9016 was started again and after 66156 towed 9016 off the train, 9016 returned the favour as the locos headed south through the station. The Deltic was seen in the evening at Crewe L&NWR's shed while 66156 was on CD.
After some delay (the Birmingham - Holyhead was changing 47s from '746 to '737), immaculate 'Princess Elizabeth' then backed onto the train. A shame that the support coach was chocolate & cream as this broke up the otherwise all maroon loco/train combination. We restarted 73 mins down and progress was decidedly slow as far as Chester. Perhaps 47737 was holding us up! After Chester, 'Lizzie' was really opened up and a storming, nay thunderous, performance then ensued with long stretches at 72.5mph (according to a GPS gizmo) along the wonderful North Wales coast in beautiful weather.
Not wishing to be stuck in Holyhead for three hours, our party took advantage of the free optional coach laid on by Steamy Affairs to get us from Bangor (65' late arrival) to Caernarfon. Unfortunately, the lateness meant that we were unable to do the hoped for round trip to Waunfawr on the Welsh Highland Railway so we repaired to the only Welsh-speaking Wetherspoons we had ever been in to woof down a quick meal in time to catch the 15.55 WHR train to Dinas. Traction was provided by our second four-cylindered loco of the day, ex South African Railways Garrett 2-6-2+2-6-2 no. NG143. What a machine! It was then back to Caernarfon by somewhat less prosaic Dennis Dart for another pint and the coach to Bangor.
Commendably, the crew had clawed back nearly an hour, departure from Bangor being just 12 mins behind schedule. We were ready to leave the Llandudno Jct watering stop near enough to time but cretinous regulation (WHY??) saw the 18.40 all stations ex Llandudno (formed of 150207) allowed to precede us and so spoilt the run to Chester which was reached 20' late in consequence. At Chester, 47789 was waiting to relieve 6201 and departure was 18' down.
The 47 seemed not to be in the best of health in that it took awhile to build up speed but once it got into its stride it performed well enough to reach Milton Keynes just 9 minutes late. Then due to 'an incident' at Watford (reportedly some clown brandishing what looked like a gun) we became stuck in the resulting queue which cost us another half hour. We got back on home (GE) territory at Stratford at 00.45 and following additional Ilford and Romford stops, plus a prolonged stop at Shenfield after a lady fell out of the train, we eventually staggered into Colchester 49' late at 02.19! And so to bed, 23 hours after I'd got up.
Despite the failure of 9016 and the 20 hour Colchester to Colchester timing we were compensated by the fine weather and 6201's performance. However, how much longer will the market be able to sustain loadings with these ridiculous timings? It is bad enough for us enthusiasts but it is the normals that formed 90+% of the full loading on Saturday; will they be so keen next time, especially after being stuck at the likes of Stratford with nowhere to sit for nearly two hours waiting for the train?
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(actual from various including Graham Hardinge)
|Location||Booked (out)||Actual (out)||Booked (rtn)||Actual (rtn)|
|Chelmsford||05.52a ~ 05.54d||07.33d||01.04a ~ 01.07d||01.56 ~ 01.59|
|Shenfield||06.05a ~ 06.07d||07.47d||00.51a ~ 00.54d||01.36 ~ 01.46|
|Ilford||06/19||07/59||00/31||01.12a ~ 01.14d|
|Forest Gate Jn||06/22||08/01||00/21||01/06|
|Stratford||06.26a ~ 06.28d||08.04 ~ 08.07||00.15a ~ 00.18d||01.03 ~ 01.05|
|Camden Road East Jn||06/46||-||00/00||-|
|Willesden West London Jn||06/56||08/38||23/45||-|
|Harrow & Wealdstone||07/03||08/43||23/34||00/16|
|Watford Junction||07.11a ~ 07.13d||08.48 ~ 08.52||23.25a ~ 23.28d||00.05 ~ 00.09|
|Milton Keynes Central||07.52a ~ 07.55d||09.32 ~ 09.36||22.45a ~ 22.48d||22.54 ~ 22.57|
|Rugby||08.36a ~ 08.38d||10.12 ~ 10.17||22.03a ~ 22.05d||22/13|
|Tamworth Low Level||09/04||10/41||21/37||21/52|
|Lichfield Trent Valley LL||09/09||10/46||21/32||21/45|
|Basford Hall Jn||10/06||11/18||20/50||21/08|
|Crewe||10L16a ~ 10L54d||11.22 ~ 12.07||20L32a ~ 20L43d||20.55 ~ 21.05|
|Crewe Steel Works||11/01||-||20/28||-|
|Beeston & Tarperley Castle||11/11||-||20/20||-|
|Chester||11/26||12/36||19.48a ~ 20.09d||20L08 ~ 20L27|
|Chester South Jn||11/27||-||19/46||-|
|Llandudno Junction||12w23a ~ 13w03d||13.22 ~ 14.06||18w07a ~ 18w47d||18.18 ~ 18.55|
|Bangor||13.23a ~ 13.26d||14.28 ~ 14.33||17.44a ~ 17.47d||17.57 ~ 17.59|
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