31st March 2004
56078 bursts into life at York (photo: Badmonkey)
|Locos Used||56078 & 56115|
1Z56 : Bristol Temple Meads to York
1Z57 : York to York
1Z58 : York to Bristol Temple Meads
|56115||Bristol Temple Meads - Bristol Parkway - Westerleigh Jn - Standish Jn - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - Stoke Works Jn - Barnt Green - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Water Orton - Whitacre Jn - Kingsbury Jn - Burton-on-Trent - Stenson Jn - Sheet Stores Jn - Trent - Toton Centre - Pye Bridge Jn - Clay Cross South Jn - Chesterfield - Beighton Jn - Aldwarke Jn - Swinton - Mexborough - Doncaster - Shaftholme Jn - Hambleton North Jn - Colton Jn - York|
|56078||York - Colton Jn - Cross Gates - Leeds - Whitehall Jn - Dewsbury - Heaton Lodge Jn - Greetland Jn - Hebden Bridge - Hall Royd Jn - Thorpes Bridge Jn - Philips Park West Jn - Ashton Moss North Jn - Stalybridge - Diggle Jn - Huddersfield - Thornhill LNW Jn - Horbury Jn - Wakefield Kirkgate - Altofts Jn - Castleford - Milford Jn - Colton Jn - York|
|56115 + 56078||York - Colton Jn - Milford Jn - Ferrybridge North Jn - Swinton - Aldwarke Jn - Holmes Jn - Sheffield - Dore Station Jn - Chesterfield - Clay Cross South Jn - Ambergate Jn - Derby - Stenson Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Kingsbury Jn - Water Orton - (reverse of outward route) - Stoke Works Jn - Worcester Shrub Hill - Abbotswood Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Newport|
56115 at Barnt Green - 7am! (photo: Gary Thornton)
Source : Gary Thornton (joined Cheltenham Spa on outward,
left Barnt Green on return)
(from David Clark)
56078 leads 56115 at York - the pair were then swapped round owing to
problems with the multiple-working equipment. (photo: Gary Thornton)
For 27 years Class 56s had pulled many charters, freight trains and various other types of trains. But since the class 66s became the norm, and the loss of Royal Mail contract scores of Class 56s had been placed in to store and in some cases totally withdrawn altogether and left in places where the elements were able to get in to the locos.
So in February, with no more than 20 examples left EWS announced that the last 56 railtour was to be no later than 31st March 2004. A few days earlier than that deadline Past Time ran a tour with 56095 to Salisbury via Southampton. Today's tour was to take a Class 56 from Bristol to Yorkshire, and across the Pennines for what could be the last time.
So with 56115 booked to take the tour from Bristol, and 56078 to take the mini tour, and a pair on the return to Bristol Tm a good day was anticipated.
3.30 Wednesday morning saw my dad and I drive along the M4 to Bristol Parkway passing a few Jumbo’s at Filton BAE Depot. We arrived at Bristol Parkway to hear a HST depart for London before the platform announcement came over “the Next train at platform 1 is the 05.37 Cardiff Railway Company train to York”. With this news I thought my pass would be valid! However, the grid could be heard climbing Filton Bank and it arrived in to Bristol Parkway and our coach was 2nd from the front. Marvellous.
We departed Bristol Parkway at 0541 (4 late) with 115 thrashing away, and passed Westerleigh Jn (5 late), Yate (4 late) and picked up passengers at Cheltenham Spa (and the rest of our party) at 0620 (right time). We departed Cheltenham Spa at 0624 (right time) and headed for Barnt Green. On the approach to Lickey a number of cars were seen, and then the fields were covered with photographers (I understand later on the net these photos could be found). We arrived at Barnt Green at 0711 (astounding 13 early) but here the grid was nearly declared a failure due to its leaking fuel. We departed Barnt Green two early and arrived Birmingham New Street 0731 (7 early).
The grid was kept on due to the fact a riot would probably occur and departed Birmingham New Street at 0741 for Yorkshire. We were stood an age at Kingsbury Jn (after going via Water Orton, Hams Hall) and departed there at 0825 and between here and Burton (our last pick up point) lots of photographers were seen. We departed Burton on Trent at 0848 (right time) and headed up for Stenson Jn (again lots of people seen) and took the route avoiding Derby and in to Toton Centre for a crew change. This was quickly undertaken and we were soon on our way up to Trowell Jn and Clay Cross (which was past 8 early).
Passing Barrow Hill 37214 was seen and hooted at, and we past through Beighton Jn 9 early, but got held at Rotherham Masborough to allow the 1010 ex Sheffield to Cleethorpes, and then a Vermin Voyager to pass. We followed the voyager and past through Aldwarke Jn 5 early. I think by the time we got to Doncaster the entire country must have ground to a halt to witness the grids. As numerous locations have up to 20-30 photographers all witnessing the event.
I've seen Doncaster station busy with photographers but what I witnessed I've not seen before. This must eclipse Steam charters that come through. Platforms 3, 4 and 8 were full as people came out to witness witness history. We stopped from 1053 to 1054 to allow staff to be picked up and set up on our way again.
We were four early passing Shaftholme Jn (1059), but just one early passing through Temple Hirst Jn and the location where the man whom 56115 is named after died as a result of the Heck Rail Crash. From Temple Hirst we were following 6N04 Lindsey to Jarrow tanks. So a crawl was in process. However, the number of photographers eclipsed those at Doncaster as we passed Colton Jn at 1125 (one late) to arrive in to York at 1133 (3 late).
Here a leg stretch was taken before witnessing 56078 being put on the train. It looks superb in Large Logo Blue. I know it never carried the livery but the thought is there. And EWS deserve praise for doing such a good job. While at York we saw a Midland Main Line Meridian.
So at 1241 with us now at the back and the weather glorious we set off for Lancashire! We crawled through Leeds at 1310 (running to time) and took the Huddersfield route as far as Mirfield East Jn (9 early at 1325) and from here we became earlier and earlier as we passed through Brighouse, Hebden Bridge (47 early), Rochdale (44 early) and at Brewery Jn we got let through for our return journey! So we became 58 mins early! The Pennines were gorgeous, the weather was gorgeous and the photographers were all out in force too.
Stalybridge was past at 1449 (60 early), Huddersfield at 1611 (57 early), and we then took the route past Healey Mills Yard and the graveyard to numberous 56s and 58s. We then past through Wakefield Kirkgate, Altofts Jn (now 67 early), Castleford (75 early), Milford SB (70 early) before being held at Colton Jn for a platform in York station. We were stood at Colton Jn from 1603 to 1624 as tiredness became to sink in, as the weather got colder. However, we departed Colton Jn and arrived at York at 1633 46 early.
We took a walk around the city before heading meeting a former colleague and getting back to the station to see 56078 leading with 56115 tucked in behind. So with everyone on board and the time now 1743 we expected lots of thrash off the grids to take us to Bristol.
At 1743 the whistle went but the train didn’t. It turns out the two grids were not talking to each other. And problems were encountered with their multi coupling. Memories for some of the previous Saturday! However, it was decided to run the locos round and try that way. So by running 56078 inside the train, and 115 on the front. The engines were turned off, and then restarted and both locos fired up! So everyone got on board for a 1834 departure (50 late). We departed York with plenty of clag coming off 115 and set off for Colton Jn. Complaints had been received by EWS about some participants and these were duly dealt with. Why do some people do it? As EWS had said they could take the locos off at Derby if the people had not stopped. Some people spoil it for everyone else then don’t they?
Ferrybridge was past with 56107 / 56109 / 56120 all viewed, and then we went down through Moorthorpe, Swinton, Aldwarke Jn (47 late), Meadowhall, Sheffield (37 late) and by Chesterfield (39 late) we were picking up on our deficit. However, at Ambergate Jn we were looped for a voyager to pass us. We arrived Derby with complaints then about flash photography at 2039 and departed at 2044 (now just 12 late).
A spirited Journey was taken to Burton on Trent (set down) (10 late), past Tamworth 8 late and arrived at Birmingham New Street at 2136 (7 late). We departed Birmingham New Street at 2138 (2 late) and had a spirited run down to Barnt Green (set down) (10 early!) and then descended Lickey, and took the line to Droitwich Spa and Worcester Shrub hill which removed our early running and caused us to run late! We past through Worcester Shrub Hill at 2229 (4 late) and then came back on to the main line only to have to wait at Abbotswood Jn for a train to come off the main line.
We bode farewell to most of our party at Cheltenham Spa (2257 1 late) and was one late all the way to Bristol Parkway at 2337. We got off the train and waited for the departure. The train departed and we sat and listened to the grids running all the way down Filton Bank.
27 years of Class 56 on the main line was soon to disappear. We departed Bristol Parkway at 2350 and got in to Penygraig at 0100. Time for Bed!
Verdict: A lot of thanks needs to be expressed to Pathfinder Railtours, Network Rail, EWS and the Class 56 group for all their hard work in preparation of the tour, the on the day running and the getting rid of any problems we encountered during the day. A big thank you to all concerned!
And also a final thank you to those men and women who built the Class 56s at the various workshops in Britain and Romania. You can be very proud of what you produced. 27 years of hard service is nothing to be snubbed at.
David Clark (2004)
Footnote from Duncan Jennings:
The tour upon return to Bristol Temple Meads (photo: Duncan Jennings)
The things I would add to the review are as
1) I understand that the fuel leak was a fault that 115 had already been stopped for in the recent past so obviously the maintenance had been a patch up job.
2) I think the crew and signallers at York serve a big thank you for taking the time and effort to run the grids round each other in the middle of the rush hour - no small feat in the current climate. I also think Alan and Dawn deserve a thank you for going through the train in an effort to calm the bellowing down that caused EWS to threaten to remove the grids at Derby.
3) On arrival at Temple Meads the driver (Mickey Norton I believe) shut the engines down and it was a very eerie sound as, at the booked arrival time of 22:50 with the only other sounds the clicking of camera shutters, one of the Grid Group committee members played The Last Post on a trumpet. This was followed by three cheers for the grids - very British, and a little haunting on an otherwise deserted Bristol Temple Meads station.
Footnote (photo from Badmonkey):
Any suggestions for a caption?
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(booked timings courtesy of Pathfinder Tours)
|0.00||Bristol Temple Meads||05.23d||05.29||23.50a||23.50||227.27|
|5.62||Bristol Parkway||05.33a ~ 05.37d||??.?? ~ 05.41||23.36a ~ 23.39d||23.38 ~ 23.41||221.51|
|44.30||Cheltenham Spa||06.21a ~ 06.23d||06.21 ~ 06.24||22.52a ~ 22.56d||22.55 ~ 22.58||182.03|
|-||Worcester Shrub Hill||22/25||22/31||160.18|
|73.45||Stoke Works Jn||06/55||06/51||22/13||22/04||140.24|
|79.21||Barnt Green||07.03a ~ 07.12d||06.59 ~ 07.12||22.02a ~ 22.05d||21.54 ~ 21.56||134.48|
|89.74||Birmingham New Street||07.38a ~ 07.41d||07.32 ~ 07.42||21.29a ~ 21.36d||21.36 ~ 21.39||123.75|
|102.60||Kingsbury Jn||08*13a ~ 08*27d||08.08 ~ 08.26||21/13||21/21||112.29|
|121.32||Burton-on-Trent||08.46a ~ 08.48d||08.45 ~ 08.49||20.52a ~ 20.54d||21.02 ~ 21.05||93.57|
|140.03||Sheet Stores Jn||09/19||09/16|
|142.43||Toton Centre||09c25a ~ 09c27d||09/23|
|154.48||Pye Bridge Jn||09/45||09/45|
|-||Derby||19*50a ~ 20*32d||20.40 ~ 20.46||82.56|
|162.69||Clay Cross South Jn||09/55||09/48||19/28||20/20||62.55|
|166.79||Chesterfield||09/59||09.53a ~ 09.56d||19c21a ~ 19c23d||20.03 ~ 20.05||58.45|
|-||Dore Station Jn||19/11||19/54||50.15|
|195.52||Doncaster||10*50a ~ 10*58d||10.53 ~ 10.55|
|208.71||Temple Hirst Jn||11/12||11/12|
|214.51||Hambleton North Jn||11/17||11/17|
|-||Ferrybridge North Jn||18/11||19/05||19.16|
|36.16||Thornhill LNW Jn||13/32||13/26|
|38.62||Heaton Lodge Jn||13/42||13/29|
|40.32||Bradley Wood Jn||13/59||13/30|
|46.69||Milner Royd Jn||14/20||13/38|
|55.30||Hall Royd Jn||14/35||?|
|64.17||Rochdale East Jn||14/48||?|
|72.70||Thorpes Bridge Jn||14/58||13.58a ~ 14.04d|
|73.32||Brewery Jn||15*01a ~ 15*25d||14/21|
|73.56||Philips Park West Jn||15/30||14.23a ~ 14.30d|
|77.47||Ashton Moss North Jn||15/35||?|
|78.39||Ashton-under-Lyne||15c37a ~ 15c39d||14/35|
|102.00||Heaton Lodge East Jn||16/16||?|
|103.26||Thornhill LNW Jn||16/19||15/18|
|133.22||Colton Jn||17/13||16.04a ~ 16.36d|
Timings continue in first table.
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