1st December 2004
Christmas Shopping & Sightseeing in Chester
1Z81 : Ashford International to Chester
1Z82 : Chester to Ashford International
Loco Route 67026 Ashford International - Headcorn - Tonbridge - Sevenoaks - Orpington - Beckenham Junction - Herne Hill - Brixton - Voltaire Road Jn - Factory Jn - Latchmere Jn - Kensington Olympia - Mitre Bridge Jn - Willesden West London Jn - (via WCML, Northampton, Trent Valley) - Crewe - Chester 67026 Chester - (reverse of outward route) - Ashford International
Sources : various including Janet Cottrell (joined/left the
train at Milton Keynes)
(from Janet Cottrell)
This trip was originally advertised as being hauled by a pair of EWS class 37’s. However we were advised via a phone call a couple of weeks beforehand that due to “pathing difficulties” the 37’s had been replaced by something a bit speedier – a skip (class 67). Steamy Affairs very kindly gave us the option of cancelling, but we as were rest days we decided to show our support and stick with it, besides it would enable us to have a spin to Holyhead with the class 47 without having to go on a Pendolino first. (I have still not been on one of these yet, how much longer can I stave off the inevitable !).
Not wishing to trust the 10 minute connection off the 0726 from Leighton Buzzard, we caught the 0654 instead, only to find that the special was over 30 late. 30 late became 40 late before the train eventually arrived nearly an hour behind time, could have had another hour in bed. It appeared that the stock was late from Old Oak Common and with only 16 minutes allowed at Ashford there was no chance of regaining any time, the ensuing late start meaning that the train then lost it’s path and further time en route.
When we did get going we had a reasonable run and even picked a few minutes up in the Tamworth area, presumably we were booked inside here, but another problem manifested itself when the heating stopped. Fortunately it had been working earlier so the train remained tolerably warm. An announcement was made as we rolled into Chester that the locomotive was believed to be at fault and it would be inspected by fitting staff and replaced if necessary during our break.
By this time, the 47 to Holyhead had long since gone (if it indeed ran, as 47839 and a set of stock were noted at Crewe) so John and I decided on a triangular trip taking in Manchester and Liverpool rather than spend the whole time at Chester.
We arrived back in good time and waited, and waited – yes the stock was late returning from Crewe, probably due to continuing problems with the heating – the loco was still 67026 so it was either not at fault or could not be swapped for anything else. The run round was completed and we left some 40 minutes late, the heating was on briefly but then stopped again, which led to a prolonged stop at Crewe whilst the fitters walked up and down the set scratching their heads. There did not appear to be a solution to the problem, so we left an hour late with the train manager apologising profusely over the PA. A mere five minutes was picked up one the journey back, thus ensuring that we had another 30 minutes to “enjoy” at Milton Keynes station before the next train home.
All in all not a bad tour although not what we had intended, to be honest, we would probably not have bothered if we knew that it would be a class 67 before we booked the trip. The late running was irritating but cannot be blamed on Steamy Affairs, in fact they looked after us very well indeed and I would certainly go on one of their tours again.
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Janet Cottrell)
|Headcorn||05.14a ~ 05.17d||05.51 ~ 05.53||22.13a ~ 22.16d||22.46 ~ 22.49|
|Paddock Wood||05.36a ~ 05.39d||06.09 ~ 06.12||21.53a ~ 21.55d||22.28 ~ 22.30|
|Tonbridge||05.47a ~ 05.50d||06.21 ~ 06.25||21.22a ~ 21.24d||22.19 ~ 22.22|
|Sevenoaks||06.01a ~ 06.03d||06.37 ~ 06.40||21.08a ~ 21.10d||22.09 ~ 22.11|
|Petts Wood Jn||06/16||06/52||20/57||21/59|
|Voltaire Road Jn||06/32½||07/10||20/4||221/44|
|North Pole Jn||06/51||07/30||20/26||21/30|
|Mitre Bridge Jn||06/52||07/32||20/25||21/26|
|Willesden West London Jn||06/54||07/38||20/18||21/24|
|Wembley Central||06.57a ~ 06.59d||07.47 ~ 07.50||20.14a ~ 20.16d||21.10 ~ 21.16|
|Harrow & Wealdstone||07/05||07/54||20/12||21/06|
|Watford Junction||07.13a ~ 07.15d||07.04 ~ 08.06||20.04a ~ 20.06d||20.58 ~ 21.00|
|Milton Keynes Central||07.47a ~ 07.49d||08.41 ~ 08.45||19.28a ~ 19.30d||20.23 ~ 20.25|
|Northampton||08.07a ~ 08.09d||09.01 ~ 09.06||19.07a ~ 19.09d||20.00 ~ 20.05|
|Long Buckby||08.21a ~ 08.23d||09.16 ~ 09.19||18.54a ~ 18.56d||19.47 ~ 19.49|
|Rugby||08/33||09.32a ~ 09.33d||18/43||19/36|
|Lichfield Trent Valley LL||09/20||10/01||18/16½||19/12|
|Basford Hall Jn||09/55||10/39||17/37||18/36|
|Crewe||09.59a ~ 10.01d||10.42 ~ 10.46||17.29a ~ 17.31d||18.05 ~ 18.33|
|Crewe Steelworks SB||10/04||10.52a ~ 10.54d||17/26||18/03|
|Beeston Castle & T. SB||10/13||11/02||17/18||17/55|
Back to "The Railtour Files"