1st October 2003

Steam Dreams
Cathedrals Express

Locos Used 31452 & 60009 "Union of South Africa"

Route:
1Z96 : Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour
1Z97 : Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo

Loco Route
60009 (1) London Waterloo - Clapham Junction - Twickenham - Staines Central - Chertsey - Woking - Guildford - Haslemere - Havant - Cosham - Fareham - Fareham East Jn (3)
31452 (2) Fareham East Jn - Fareham - Cosham - Portsmouth Harbour
60009 (1) Portsmouth Harbour - Cosham - Fareham - Botley - Eastleigh - Winchester City - Basingstoke - Woking - Surbiton - Wimbledon - Earlsfield - Clapham Junction - London Waterloo

Notes :
(1) 31452 on rear.
(2) 60009 on rear.
(3) Booked reversal point was Fareham North Jn.

Source : John Clifford

Tour Review
(by John Clifford)

When this train was originally advertised it was one of the routine Steam Dreams' trips to Portsmouth. Then a few months ago we were told that it was going to go down the Mid Sussex line & return via the coast & the Brighton main line. So, it was one not to be missed especially it would be hauled by 34016 "Bodmin". I booked, the ticket arrived followed by a letter the next day explaining the Bodmin had failed (on The North Downsman on 21.9.03) so we would get 60009. Because of gauging problems on the original route we would go out via the Direct line & back via the LSW main line. Well, it's over 40 years since I have been hauled by an "A4" on the Southern (24.3.63 - The West Countryman) so I was quite happy still to go. I certainly can't remember an A4 going over the Direct line.

On the day I caught the 0943 from Hatfield (313048) to Finsbury Park. It was a bit late, probably due to a signal failure at Ely causing delays to all trains. No matter as the lateness was only a few minutes. Transfer to the Underground showed that it was running well but rather more crowded than usual.

When I got to Waterloo at 1030 there was no sign of the stock but I needed some cash so I went to the cash points opposite platform 1. There are 4 of them but 3 were out of use so I joined the queue. With 2 people in front of me remaining machine decided to join the others and went out of use. Jackpot! I got my cash from a machine in the Underground which I passed earlier. I think all this was an omen for the first part of the day ahead.

By this time it was nearly 1050, the stock was in so I found my seat, had a few words with one of my travelling companions for the day and went to see the engine come in. I waited with assembled throng at the end of the platform...and waited...and waited. The engine was out of sight but we could see the smoke & steam coming from it. At 1115 it appeared. There was a slight delay in coupling up then we waited for the signal.

We got away 37 mins. late and ground to a halt near milepost 1/2. We were under way again and stopped at Clapham Junc. briefly, leaving there 45 1/2 down. It was a slow journey to pass Barnes 48 late. There were some more checks including a short stand outside Staines which we passed 50 1/2 mins late. There was no water stop at Chertsey but we had been booked to stand at Addlestone Junc. for 14 mins, so by not doing this we were only 39 late passing Byfleet. This was improved to Guildford by which time the lateness was only 35 mins. There was the usual check at Farncombe and we got to Haslemere to take water having lost a bit more time due to further checks. There was a Waterloo - Haslemere stopper shunting as we ran in.

Here a Waterloo - Portsmouth train passed us & we got moving again-44 1/2 late. There were some checks again but we did make a rousing climb to Buriton Tunnel and got a move on down to Havant. Here we ground to a halt before the station as we had been signalled via the through line - not much help for those passengers who were going to Chichester! After an 8 min stand we went forward into the platform and got away from Havant 58 1/2 late.

Could anything more go wrong? Of course it could! There were checks en route to Fareham & we stood in Fareham platform for a few minutes before going forward to reverse at Fareham East Junc. on the Netley line rather that the North Junc. on the Botley line. On the final leg to Portsmouth we now passed Fareham station 73 late and passed Portsmouth & Southsea 76 1/2 Late. As a final sting in the tail we were told that we could only go into platform 4 at the Harbour & this was occupied by the 1547 Portsmouth - Waterloo. We stood outside for 12 mins blocking all other trains wanting to go to the Harbour. We got there 90 mins late. This gave under 2 hours to explore Portsmouth.

To compliment the mood of the day it was raining! I settled for getting some food in a cafe near the station and getting some fresh air.

The stock duly arrived back in and we set off on time. There was a small loss of time, possibly due to the schedule being rather tight and we passed Eastleigh 9 late running up the down slow line to Allbrook where we crossed to the up fast. As far as I could tell there were no further signal checks up the bank and the engine was BASHED. All this meant that we passed Worting Junc. only 2 mins adrift. Now I feel that 20 mins for the next 2 1/2 miles to Basingstoke is a tad generous. I think it was to allow a Basingstoke - Waterloo stopper to go ahead. We stood outside Basing for nearly 20 mins & passed there 5 late but by cutting time at the water stop at Winchfield we got away 3 mins early and continued up the slow line to Hampton Court Junc. There were some checks here before we crossed to the up fast. There were some delays before Clapham Junc., probably to allow a train to stop in the loop there. We made Waterloo just 2 mins late.

Despite everything I'm glad I went. The engine ran well (despite my being a Southern fan I've got to admit it). The running on the outward trip was good in between the signal checks and there was lots of noise. There had to be with those number of checks! The climb to Roundwood on the return journey was glorious!

I got home to Hatfield on the 2136 from King Cross (unit 317321).

John Clifford

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from John Clifford)

Location Booked Actual
Waterloo 11.00d 11.37
Nine Elms Jn 11/05 11/48
Queens Road 11/06 11/49
Clapham Junction 11/09 11.54a ~ 11.54d
Barnes 11/15 12/03
Richmond 11/19 12/07
Twickenham 11/22 12/07
Feltham Jn 11/27 12/18
Staines 11/38 12/29
Virginia Water 11/46 12/37
Addlestone Jn 11.55a ~ 12.09d 12/27
Byfleet 12/12 12/51
Woking 12/22 12/58
Woking Jn 12/23 12/59
Guildford 12/31 13/06
Shalford Jn 12/34 13/09
Farncombe 12/36 13/13
Haslemere 12.50a ~ 13.02d 13.34 ~ 13.46
Petersfield 13/16 14/06
Havant 13.33a ~ 13.34d 14.30 ~ 14.32
Farlington Jn ?13/34? 14/39
Cosham 13/43 14.43a ~ 14.44d
Fareham 13/51 14.58a ~ 15.03d
Fareham North Jn 13/52 DIV
Fareham East Jn DIV 15.06a ~ 15.09d
Fareham 13/58 15/11
Cosham 14/07 15/22
Portcreek Jn 14/09 15/25
Fratton East 14/13 15/30
Fratton 14/14 15/31
Portsmouth & Southsea 14/17 15/34
Portsmouth Harbour 14.23a ~ 17.42d 15.53 ~ 17.42
Portsmouth & Southsea 17/45 17/47
Fratton 17/48 17/49
Portcreek Jn 17/52 17/55
Cosham 17/55 18/00
Fareham 18/02 18/11
Fareham North Jn 18/03 18/12
Botley 18/11 18/19
Eastleigh South Jn 18/18 18/26
Eastleigh 18/20 18/29
Shawford 18/37 18/39
Winchester City 18/41 18/43
Worting Jn 18/59 19/01
Basingstoke 19/19 19/24
Winchfield 19.30a ~ 19.47d 19.35 ~ 19.44
Farnborough 19/59 19/54
Woking Jn 20/05 20/04
Woking 20/06 20/04
Hampton Court Jn 20/25 20/23
Surbiton 20/27 20/26
New Malden 20/29 20/28
Wimbledon 20/32 20/31
Clapham Junction 20/36 20/39
Waterloo 20.45a 20.47


Back to "The Railtour Files"