9th July 2003

Steam Dreams
The Cathedrals Express

Loco Used 73096
Stock Used 21252+5216+5171+1840+5200+5222+13474+5249+1961+5237

1Z96 : Poole to London Waterloo
1Z98 : London Waterloo to Poole

Loco Route
73096 Poole - Bournemouth - Southampton Central - Eastleigh - Winchester - Basingstoke - Farnborough - Addlestone Jn - Virginia Water - Staines - Feltham Jn - Twickenham - Richmond - Barnes - Clapham Junction - Nine Elms Jn - London Waterloo
73096 London Waterloo - Clapham Junction - Barnes - Brentford - Hounslow - Feltham Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Poole

Source : Nigel Benning (on the train throughout)

Tour Review
(by Nigel Benning)

Having spent five days touring Scotland behind Deltics just two weeks earlier, this tour provided me with something completely different. I wouldn't normally travel on steam tours, but as this started locally at a reasonable time of day, it seemed a good excuse to take the day off of work.

The day started with an hour being spent in the office (project deadline looming!) before I wandered across the road to Poole station where 73096 was simmering away in the sidings. Also present was 47488, which had helped top'n'tail the empty stock down the previous evening (D9016 was due to perform this duty but was out of action due to maintenance requirements). Preparations having been finished, 73096 coupled up to its stock and steamed into the station shortly before departure. Once the many passengers had boarded we departed for London, with the first treat of the day, Parkstone bank, just a couple of minutes away. Speed increased as we crossed Poole Park and started to climb the bank, but eased as we made our way to the summit. The sound of a loco working hard was very much in evidence, but all too soon we had cleared the summit and were heading down to Bournemouth for our next pick-up point. A further pick-up was made at Southampton Central before we stopped for water at our final pick-up point - Eastleigh.

After the Mid-Hants fire engine had topped up the loco, we were on our way, but were delayed just south of Shawford whilst a Virgin and South West Trains service overtook us. Once the signal cleared we joined the fast lines and the regulator was opened so that we soon reached our maximum speed - 75 m.p.h. This speed was maintained for most of the way to Woking during which time we had passed Flying Scotsman just south of Basingstoke. 4472 was working a VSOE tour from London to Salisbury and this was the first high-speed passing of steam passenger services on the main line for 36 years (Webmasters comment : Alex Cunningham disagrees ~ his own notes record a run behind 60532 Blue Peter from Carlisle to Bradford on 11th September 1993 with a rake of Maroon Mark I's, where they had a high speed pass in the Mallerstang Valley with "Sir Nigel Gresley" going the opposite way with the Pilkington rake on another steam charter. More recently, November 17th 2002, Pathfinder's Bicester Baseliner behind a pair of 37's met 61264 at Banbury while the B1 was taking water. The Pathfinder tour was being followed by 5972 Olton Hall on a Wizards Express railtour and as I understand it the B1 and the Hall passed one another at speed later that morning somewhere north of Banbury). We had expected to make this passing move around Hook, but our slight delay hear Shawford had moved the site further south (no doubt much to the annoyance of photographers hoping to capture the moment on film).

At Woking Junction we joined the slow lines and from here to London the speeds were more sedate. At Byfleet Junction we left the main line and took the route via Staines and Richmond into Waterloo, which was reached just 5 minutes late. From Clapham Junction we had been followed in to Waterloo by 50031 which was due to drag the train back to Clapham Junction yard. However, the previous evening South West Trains had refused permission for the stock to enter the yard and so 50031 took the stock for a circuit via Staines whilst just 73096 went into the yard for servicing.

With less than three hours to be spent in London, it was all too soon before we were back on the train awaiting departure back to Poole. With the stock having been turned due to the ECS move, I once again found myself seated back to the locomotive, not that it mattered too much as I'm pretty familiar with this line by now. We departed London on time but ambled to Barnes which was reached 5 minutes late, partly due to a signal stop at Vauxhall. Instead of taking the route through Richmond, this time we did the Hounslow route before rejoining the main line at Byfleet Junction. The slow lines were used to Fleet where another water stop was made (in just 11 minutes!)

We continued on the slow lines to Worting Junction before rejoining the fast lines where our speeds increased to those we had experienced over this stretch in the morning. A pathing stop had been scheduled at Shawford, but this was instead taken alongside Eastleigh Yard. We were a few minutes late leaving here, apparently due to points problems ahead at St Denys, and as a result were 9 minutes late leaving Eastleigh. At this point I will mention that the weather throughout the day was very hot and humid and the sitting at Eastleigh Yard for 30 minutes ensured that the temperatures inside the train increased by a few more uncomfortable degrees!

By the time we had reached Brockenhurst, where we were booked a water stop, this had increased to 17 minutes. It was at this point that the tour was commandeered to form a South West Trains stopping service to Poole. Rumours were that trains from London were being delayed due to the track being on fire at Waterloo (!) so in order to assist those people at Brockenhurst who wished to travel west, they were allowed to board the tour and additional stops were made at New Milton and Christchurch to cater for them. The last steam hauled passenger service over this section is believed to have been 34004 on 7th July 1967 with 18.30 Soton-Bomo stopper! Needless to say, there were some very bemused SWT passengers joining the train. As a result of these extra stops, Poole was eventually reached 26 minutes late, but as it was only 19:45 it didn't really matter after such an enjoyable day out.

Nigel Benning

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Nigel Benning)

M Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M
0.00 Poole 09.00d 09.01   19.19a 19.45 123.5
3.25 Branksome 09/07 ?   19/13 19/38 120.25
5.75 Bournemouth 09.12a ~ 09.15d 09.14 ~ 09.16   19.06a ~ 19.08d 19.31 ~ 19.32 117.75
21 Brockenhurst 09/35 09/34   18.34a ~ 18.47d 18.51 ~ 19.01 102.5
32 Redbridge 09/48 09/44   18/22 18/33 91.5
34.5 Southampton Central 09.53a ~ 09.56d 09.49 ~ 09.56   18.15a ~ 18.17d 18.27 ~ 18.28 89
35.5 Northam Jn 09/59 09/59   18/12 18/24 88
36.5 St Denys 10/07 10/01   18/10 18/21 87
40.25 Eastleigh 10.12a ~ 10.25d 10.10 ~ 10.25   18.03a ~ 18.05d 18.12 ~ 18.14 83.25
44 Shawford 10/31 10/40   17.37a ~ 17.56d 17/37 789.5
47.25 Winchester 10/36 10/46   17/32 17/33 76.25
63.25 Worting Jn 10/52 11/04   17/15 17/18 60.5
66 Basingstoke 10/54 11/06   17/10 17/14 57.5
? Fleet ? ?   16.42a ~ 16.55d 16.44 ~ 16.55 46.25
80.5 Farnborough (Main) 11/08 11/18   16/37 16/40 43
? Pirbright Jn ? ?   16/33 ? 39.25
89.25 Woking Jn 11/17 11/26   16/28 16/31 34.25
89.5 Woking 11/21 11/27   16/27 16/30 34
93.5 Byfleet & New Haw 11/27 11/33   16/18 16/23 30
94.5 Addlestone Jn 11/29 11/35   16/12 16/14 29
99.5 Virginia Water 11/37 11/48   16/05 16/05 24
103.5 Staines 11/45 11/56   15/56 15/56 20
109 Feltham Jn 11/53 11/04   15/46 15/48 14.5
- Hounslow   15/40 ? 13.5
- Brentford   15/36 15/42 10.5
111 Twickenham 11/56 12/07  
112.75 Richmond 12/04 12/09  
115.5 Barnes 12/10 12/16   15/30 15/35 7
118.5 Clapham Junction 12/15 12/20   15/24 15/27 4
119 West London Jn 12/20 ?   ? ? ?
? Queenstown Road ? ?   15/21 15/24 2.75
120.5 Nine Elms Jn 12/22 12/24   15/20 15/22 2
London Waterloo 12.27a 12.32   15.13d 15.13 0

Back to "The Railtour Files"