30th August 2003
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Orange Pippin
|Locos Used||66079 & 66220|
1Z66 : Paddington to Oxford
1Z28 : Oxford to Paddington
|66220||London Paddington - West Drayton - Southall - Colnbrook|
|66079||Colnbrook - Hayes Goods Loop (1)|
|66220||Hayes Goods Loop - Twyford - Reading (2) - Cholsey - Didcot East Jn - Didcot North Jn - Kennington Jn - Hinksey South DGL|
|66079||Hinksey South DGL - Kennington Jn - Morris Cowley (3)|
|66220||Morris Cowley - Kennington Jn - Oxford|
|66079||Oxford - Didcot North Jn - Didcot East Jn - Reading (via Goods Lines) - Twyford - West Ealing - Acton Main Line - Acton Wells Jn - West London Jn - Mitre Bridge Jn - Kensington Olympia - Latchmere Jn - Longhedge Jn - Factory Jn - Voltaire Road Jn - Denmark Hill - Nunhead - Lewisham - Sidcup - Slade Green - Charlton - Angerstein Wharf (4)|
|66220||Angerstein Wharf - Barnehurst - Nunhead - (reverse of outward route) - West Ealing - South Greenford - Greenford East Jn - Old Oak West Jn - London Paddington|
(1) Booked reversal point was Southall West Jn which was east end of Hayes Goods Loop, but train stopped approx. in middle of the loop.
(2) Had been booked to use the goods lines but didn't because of a fatality between Twyford & Reading. Goods lines were traversed on the return back through Reading.
(3) Front of train reached the Level Crossing at the east end of the run-round loop (15m 60ch).
(4) Tarmac Topmix branch covered as "fencing problems" on booked Bardon branch.
Sources : various including Kevin Prince, Alan
Sheppard & Mark Herriott
(by Geoff Middleton)
For the second Saturday running, I found myself getting up at some ungodly hour to make my way south from Stafford for a HRT bash – and just like the previous weekend, it proved well worth the lost sleep.
Most of the journey down to Paddington was spent musing on the name of this tour. Orange Pippin? None of us could offer a sensible explanation of what an apple had to do with a trip along the freight branches of Colnbrook, Morris Cowley and Angerstein Wharf. None of them are famous for their orchards as far as I’m aware.
Arrival at Paddington via tram from Reading was met with the sight of the tour stock already in plaform 9 and the excellent news that the top and tail 66s would both be winners for all our party – numbers 220 and 79.
An on-time departure and the arrival of the tour brochure brought the solution to the apple mystery. Apparently, a bloke named Cox invented (if that’s the right word) the orange pippin and he lived somewhere along the Colnbrook branch. Which just goes to show how educational these railtours can be and how sad Ian Kapur and his pals at HRT are for knowing something like that.
With 220 leading, we trundled our way to West Drayton before diving under the main line and heading in the general direction of Heathrow. The Colnbrook branch has seen a major upsurge in traffic as a terminal for the construction traffic for the new Terminal 5. In fact, we were all craning our necks to see the number of a red 66 inconveniently parked behind some wagons it had recently deposited there.
After coming within a gnat’s proverbial of the Network Rail boundary, we retraced our steps to the goods loop at Hayes, where we were able to regain the main line and head towards Reading. Here, we were due to use the goods lines around the back of the station, but after a 20 minute wait outside the station, we found ourselves heading along the through line between platforms 4 and 5, relatively rare for a railtour. The reason became apparent when we saw an empty tram in platform 9 partly covered with a tarpaulin after being involved in a fatality.
By now running about 25 minute down, the ever-generous Network Rail timings came to play and arrival at Hinksey yard via the Didcot curve was only some 5 minutes behind booked time. Traversal of the branch itself was pretty swift, again to more or less the NR boundary, and arrival in Oxford for the 80 minute break was near enough on time.
Those who know me will testify to my habit of taking an afternoon kip (or two) on most railtours, particularly after an early start. So after departing Oxford on time, I next regained consciousness somewhere south of Reading, in time to witness our journey up the Acton incline to West London Junction, where we turned off towards Kenny O and the various junctions at Latchmere. We emerged at Factory Junction, where a brief wait allowed sighting of a couple of new 375s as they passed.
Tours through the London suburbs are never fast and there was plenty of time to admire the scenery (or, more accurately, lack of it) as we headed through Lewisham, Hither Green and Sidcup, before rounding the Crayford Spur, passing the depot at Slade Green and gaining the Angerstein branch at Charlton. This was the bit I was interested in, because the last attempt I’d made to do the branch with Pathfinder, we only made it just off the main line before our progress was halted by a broken rail.
No such problems this time, but even now things didn’t go quite to plan. Just as Ian Kapur was confidently announcing that we would be heading for the Bardon terminal, we branched right onto the Tarmac section just to prove him wrong. Apparently, were was a problem with the fence on the Bardon stretch. Still, this was all new to me and I’ll bet the Branch Line Society brigade would have been salivating.
The good news was that we were now running early. The bad news – we’d have to sit and await our slotted path among the 465s and 466s at Charlton. Still, it gave us plenty of time to admire the Dome.
A slightly different return route saw us turn off at Slade Green and meander via Erith and Barnehurst, before regaining our outward path at Lewisham back to Kenny O and the Acton incline. Here, I suppose it would have been fairly simple just to reverse in the yard and head back into Paddington. But HRT had taken the more interesting option of the Greenford loop, returning to the main line at Old Oak Common west junction. Arrival back in Paddington was around 5 minutes early.
All in all, this was an excellent tour, doing everything it said it would (except for the fiddly bit at Angerstein) and making for a very enjoyable day out.
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from various including Alan Sheppard)
|West Drayton||09.16a ~ 09.18d||09.16 ~ 09.18|
|Colnbrook||09.38a ~ 09.43d||09.37 ~ 09.45|
|West Drayton||10.03a ~ 10.05d||10.00 ~ 10.02|
|Hayes & Harlington||10/12||10/12|
|(Southall West Jn)
Hayes Goods Loop
|10.15a ~ 10.24d||10.20 ~ 10.24|
|Hayes & Harlington||10/27||10/27|
|Reading West Jn||10/57||11/24|
|Reading West Jn||11/02||11/27|
|Didcot East Jn||11/26||11/40|
|Didcot North Jn||11/29||11/41|
|Hinksey South DGL||11.45a ~ 11.48d||11.50 ~ 12.03|
|Kennington Jn||12.02a ~ 12.06d||12.05 ~ 12.08|
|Morris Cowley (NR limit)||12.16a ~ 12.32d||12.23 ~ 12.32|
|Kennington Jn||12.42a ~ 12.58d||12.42 ~ 13.04|
|Oxford||13.05a ~ 14.25d||13.12 ~ 14.26|
|Didcot North Jn||14/37||14/37|
|Didcot East Jn||14/39||14/38|
|Ealing Broadway||15.34a ~ 15.37d||15.36 ~ 15.37|
|Acton Main Line||15/40||15/41|
|Acton Wells Jn||15/43||15/44|
|Willesden SW Sidings||15/45||15/48|
|Mitre Bridge Jn||15/51||15/47|
|North Pole Jn||15/52||?|
|Factory Jn||16/11||16.05a ~ 16.08d|
|Voltaire Road Jn||16/12||?|
|Crofton Road Jn||16/16||?|
|Courthill Loop South Jn||16/34||16/30|
|Crayford Creek Jn||16/51||16/51|
|Angerstein Wharf||17.29a ~ 17.50d||17.23 ~ 17.53|
|Angerstein Jn||17/58||17.58a ~ 18.04d|
|Erith Loop||18/29||18.25a ~ 18.31d|
|Crofton Road Jn||19/11||19/03|
|Voltaire Road Jn||19/26||?|
|North Pole Jn||19/40||?|
|Mitre Bridge Jn||19/41||19/29|
|Willesden SW Sidings||19/46||19/30|
|Acton Wells Jn||19/50||19/33|
|Acton Main Line||19/55||19/35|
|Greenford South Jn||20/09||20/00|
|Greenford East Jn||20/11||20/02|
|Old Oak Common West||20/15||20/10|
Train was delayed between Twyford & Reading due to a
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