20th March 2004
The Buffer Puffer
|Locos Used||37047 & 37203|
Route: 1Z91 throughout
|37203 (1)||London Marylebone (P4) - Wembley Stadium - South Ruislip|
|37047 (2)||South Ruislip - Greenford West Jn - West Ealing - Acton Main Line - Acton Wells Jn - Willesden South West Sidings|
|37203 (1)||Willesden South West Sidings - Acton Wells Jn - South Acton Jn - Old Kew Jn - Brentford - Staines - Windsor & Eton Riverside (P2)|
|37047 (2)||Windsor & Eton Riverside - Staines - Brentford - Barnes - Clapham Junction - Longhedge Jn - Factory Jn - Brixton - Herne Hill - Tulse Hill - Streatham Jn South - Wimbledon - Motspur Park - Chessington South|
|37203 (1)||Chessington South - Motspur Park - Wimbledon - Clapham Junction - London Waterloo (P9)|
|37047 (2)||London Waterloo - Clapham Junction - Wimbledon - Surbiton - Hampton Court (P2)|
|37203 (1)||Hampton Court - (reverse of outward route) - London Waterloo (P9)|
|37047 (2)||London Waterloo - Clapham Junction - Wimbledon - New Malden - Kingston - Fulwell - Shepperton|
|37203 (1)||Shepperton - Fulwell - Strawberry Hill - Twickenham - Richmond - Barnes - Clapham Junction - Kensington Olympia - Mitre Bridge Jn - Willesden Junction High Level - Gospel Oak - South Tottenham - Tottenham South Jn - Copper Mill Jn - Temple Mills East Jn - Channelsea Jn - Bow Jn - Gas Factory Jn - London Fenchurch Street (P1)|
(1) 37047 on rear.
(2) 37203 on rear.
Sources : various including Janet Cottrell & Martyn
(from Adam Williams)
An extremely enjoyable day out around the railways of South West London was had by all on board the ‘Buffer Puffer’. Whether you were there to enjoy the extremely rare loco haulage over the suburban branch lines or were simply there to enjoy the sight and sound of top and tail class 37’s, I found this one of the more enjoyable tours of late. The locomotives used were 37047 and 37203 and a relatively light load of 3 mk1’s and 3mk2’s provided the formation. The tour had been sold out for at least a week before.
Departure was on time at Marylebone, with the train accelerating hard through the tunnels and then running alongside the London Underground lines before taking the left turn at Neasden South Junction to South Ruislip before reversing and then taking the line past Northolt Station and then diverging right along the Greenford branch before joining up with the Great Western at West Ealing and making a spirited dash to Acton Wells Junction before coming to a standstill for 10 minutes whilst a North London Line train was cleared ahead of us. The 2nd reversal of the day saw us head cautiously south along the North London Line to Kew where we joined the line to Windsor and Eton Riverside. Generally, progress was at line speed without the all too common practice of being held at every other signal. Once at Windsor, a quick leg stretch and photo stop was had, although a SWT unit was let out in front of us which caused a slower journey towards Clapham Junction via Brentford, and Barnes. However, there was little delay on obtaining our route over Longhedge and Factory Junction which more or less got us back on time. A slow crawl over the line through Brixton, Herne Hill, Streatham South Junction and then briefly onto the South West main line through Wimbledon only to diverge at Raynes Park onto the Chessington South Branch where an on time arrival at Chessington South allowed for a ten minute photo stop before we soon retraced our steps towards Wimbledon and then were switched to the fast lines for a dash into Waterloo for another brief stop.
Whilst many people claim not to have an interest in railways whatsoever, its strange how much attention a locomotive hauled train usually receives from the general public, whether at a standstill in a mainline station or thrashing down a branch line where units are the usual form of transport, there were plenty of people up at their windows or peering up from their gardens as the formation travelled past. Certainly, the blue and cream coaches plus the class 37s made for an eye catching site.
An on time departure from Waterloo saw us given the fast line for the dash to Surbiton. It was nice to have a change of pace and for the class 37’s to show what they can do still. Even with just the leading loco on power, 70mph was reached before the brakes came on for the branch to Hampton Court. A prolonged break of around 45 minutes was enjoyed, although the severe winds were now apparent, which pretty much brought parts of the WCML to a standstill. However, an on time departure from Hampton Court saw us routed back into Waterloo and given the fast line yet again! Another reversal at Waterloo saw us heading South again, through Wimbledon, but then turning right through Kingston, Strawberry Hill (where a number of brand new class 450’s were on show) and then onto the single track to Shepperton, where, as has been mentioned the train received plenty of attention from bemused onlookers. Another hasty reversal saw us head back towards the capital, although we were now heading for the West London Line via Latchmere Junction. We continued north to Mitre Bridge Junction and then headed East along the North London line. It was very much a stagger now, although the train manager made a considerate announcement to warn passengers who were leaning out of the windows about the extremely limited clearance of Hampstead Tunnel. The train took a very hard right diversion at Tottenham South Junction along some track that loco haulage is at a premium. South through Copper Mill Junction, Temple Mills East Junction and then past the impressive looking Stratford International Station in the making. We came to a halt at Carpenders Road South Junction and awaited clearance to weave across the Great Eastern main line, although we were officially due to have a 30 minute pathing stop. However, amazingly, we were signalled across the 6 tracks of the GE, in front of a class 315 which brought a mild ripple of applause from the train! Bow road junction was taken cautiously and we came to a halt on the spur which links the GE to the line from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness. A couple of ‘Electrostar’ units clattered across in front of us but once again, we were soon under way via Gas Factory Junction and heading for our final destination of Fenchurch Street, another rare location for loco haulage. We arrived 45 minutes early, with the formation once again attracting plenty of attention from travellers and making a strange sight in the Terminus which is exclusively used by Electrostar units these days.
Despite another over zealous security officer trying to prevent enthusiasts taking photographs, this did not take the gloss off a highly enjoyable day.
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(booked timings courtesy of Pathfinder Tours, actual times from Martyn Brailsford)
|5.11||Neasden South Jn||09/35||09.32a ~ 09.33d|
|South Ruislip||09.46a ~ 09.51d||09.44 ~ 09.45|
|2.52||Greenford West Jn||09/57||09.53a ~ 09.55d|
|7.32||Acton Main Line||10/10||10/07|
|8.14||Acton Wells Jn||10/15||10.10a ~ 10.13d|
|Willesden SW Sidings||10.19a ~ 10.24d||10.16 ~ 10.19|
|0.40||Acton Wells Jn||10/28||10.23a ~ 10.24˝d|
|2.26||South Acton Jn||10/34||10/30|
|3.06||Kew East Jn||10/37||10/32˝|
|13.52||Staines||10/58||10.57a ~ 10.59˝d|
|Windsor & Eton Riverside||11.08a ~ 11.20d||11.15 ~ 11.29˝|
|24.23||Factory Jn||12*02a ~ 12*11d||12/18|
|29.49||Streatham South Jn||12/26||12/30|
|33.04||Wimbledon West Jn||12*33a ~ 12*42d||12.36 ~ 12.44|
|Chessington South||13.07a ~ 13.16d||13.06 ~ 13.16|
|5.22||Raynes Park||13/26||13.27˝a ~ 13.29d|
|9.79||Clapham Junction||13/34||13.38a ~ 13.39d|
|Waterloo||13.43a ~ 14.03d||13.48 ~ 14.04|
|12.03||Surbiton||14*20a ~ 14*24d||14/19|
|Hampton Court||14.31a ~ 15.113d||14.26 ~ 15.13|
|Waterloo||15.43a ~ 15.55d||15.46 ~ 15.58|
|9.62||New Malden||16/09||16.12a ~ 16.13d|
|Shepperton||16.40a ~ 16.46d||16.39 ~ 16.47|
|14.79||Clapham Junction||17/15||17.16˝a ~ 17.22˝d|
|20.04||North Pole Jn||17/27||17/32|
|20.41||Mitre Bridge Jn||17/28||17/32˝|
|21.13||Willesden Junction HL||17/30||17.37a ~ 17.38d|
|21.35||Kensal Green Jn||17/31||17/39|
|27.68||Harringay Park Jn||17/49||18/00|
|30.08||Tottenham South Jn||17*58a ~ 18*17d||18/08|
|30.55||Copper Mill Jn||18/19||18/10|
|33.23||Temple Mills East Jn||18/24||18/16|
|34.33||Carpenters Road South Jn||18/30||18/22˝|
|35.14||Bow Jn||18*32a ~ 19*02d||18/24|
|35.76||Gas Factory Jn||19/09||18.27a ~ 18.31d|
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