2nd December 2004

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Shildon Pioneer

Locos Used 66248 & 67005
Stock Used 1679+3120+3121+1680+3147+3123+1698+3149+3146+2834

1Z45 : Kings Cross to York
1Z46 : York to Shildon
1Z48 : Shildon to Kings Cross

Loco(s) Route
67005 London Kings Cross - (via ECML) - York
66248 (1) York - (via ECML) - Darlington - Shildon
67005 (2) Shildon - (reverse of outward route) - York
67005 York - (via ECML) - Stevenage (3) - Hertford North - (3) London Kings Cross

Notes :
(1) 67005 on rear.
(2) 66248 on rear.
(3) Train diverted via Hertford Loop owing to Overhead Line damage at Welwyn Garden City.

Source : Janet Cottrell (joined/left the train at Stevenage)

Tour Review
(from Janet Cottrell)

Every year we have good intentions of having a Christmas dinner on a dining train, but the in the last couple of years different shifts and other problems have conspired against us. This year looked to be going the same way until this tour was noticed, we were both rest day and it was going somewhere we hadn’t been before (well not to the NRM’s new edifice), it was rather early for Christmas but there would be no other opportunities this year, so the booking was made.

The train pulled into Stevenage on time with a dud 67005 on the front, that’s the second dud one in two days and I’ve only had nine of them! I’ll be vying with a certain Very Important Lady for mileage with this particular engine at this rate.

We climbed on board a very warm and welcoming train (it was cold and misty outside) and were soon tucking into the usual cooked breakfast as we sped northwards down the East Coast route. York was reached within a few minutes of time, we had an hour and a half here so there was plenty of time to view the original NRM or do a bit of Christmas shopping / sightseeing.

Back at the station, 67005 was being replaced by 66248 (at last a new engine) for the run to Shildon, the 67 was put onto the rear ready for the return journey. Up until now the timings had been adhered to with little trouble (apart from losing a few minutes just north of Doncaster when we were stopped and cautioned), but beyond York we started picking up time hand over fist despite having a 75mph engine on the front. This meant that we were put in the loop just south of Darlington station as we had to wait for the service train to Bishop Auckland to go first.

Shildon still has a short platform so those of us in the rear had to walk through several coaches to alight although there was ample time to walk to a nearby over bridge to take a photograph of the empty stock returning to Darlington. We had about 2½ hours to explore the NRM’s annexe (marketed as “Locomotion”), and the Hackworth museum. These were connected by a “train service” which comprised of an industrial 0-4-0 saddle tank and a brake van although it proved rather restrictive as the van could only carry 15 passengers at a time. The two ends are only about half a mile apart and there is a footpath running alongside but John and I chose to catch the train after we had looked round Locomotion – after all the kettle was required, but the 03 and 08 parked in the sidings would have been much more interesting.

Our stock returned in plenty of time so there was no last minute panic with everybody trying to squeeze on two or three coaches and walk down the train. We had another hour to wait at York on the way back, but could not go very far as they wanted us back on the train for six o’clock so they could serve dinner.

The ECML was in a state of disarray due to the wires being down at Welwyn but we still managed to sneak away a few minutes early. This only lasted until Doncaster but we soon started to gain time as we headed south, tucking into our first Christmas dinner of the season. Spare a thought for our catering crew, they will probably be sick of the sight of turkey and Christmas pud by the time the great day dawns.

As we got closer to London, the people who had joined at Potters Bar were wondering if they were going to get back there. One of the men sitting opposite was just going to find somebody and enquire when an announcement came through we would be diverted via the Hertford Loop but a bus had been procured to meet the affected travellers at Stevenage. Despite catching something up, we still arrived early and were halfway to the car by the time the train pulled out. No time to hang around, back to work tomorrow morning and the start of (another) diet – well maybe the latter had better wait until the New Year !

Janet Cottrell

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Janet Cottrell)

Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual
Kings Cross 07.55d 07.56   21.54a 21.57
Belle Isle 07/57 07/57   21/52 21/55
Finsbury Park 08/00 08/01   21/48 21/52
Alexandra Palace 08/02 08/03   21/46 21/49
Hertford North   DIV 21/23
Potters Bar 08.13a ~ 08.16d 08.12 ~ 08.16   21.37a ~ 21.40d DIV
Welwyn Garden City 08/24 08/25   21/31½ DIV
Woolmer Green 08/27 08/28   21/29 DIV
Stevenage 08.34a ~ 08.38d 08.34 ~ 08.39   21.23a ~ 21.25d 21.08 ~ 21.13
Hitchin 08/42 08/44   21/18 21/03
Sandy 08/52 08/53   21/08 20/55
Huntingdon 09/01 09/01   20/55½ 20/36
Connington South Jn   ? ?
Holme LC 09/07 09/08  
Peterborough 09/12 09/14   20/38 20/21
Tallington Jn 09/18½ 09/21   20/30 20/12
Stoke Tunnel 09/29½ 09/31   20/14 19/58
Grantham 09/33 09/34   20/08 19/51
Barkston South Jn 09/36 09/37   20/04 19/51
Newark Northgate 09/42 09/43   19/39 19/33
Retford 09/53 09/55   19/20 1918
Loversall Carr Jn 10/03 10/03   19/08 19/08
Doncaster 10/12 10/11   19/03 19/03
Shaftholme Jn 10/15½ 10/21   18/59 18/49
Temple Hirst Jn 10/21 10/28   18/53 18/42
Hambleton North Jn 10/25 10/31   18/48 18/38
Colton Jn 10/30 10/37   18/42 18/32
York 10L38a ~ 12L07d 10.42 ~ 12.07   17L26a ~ 18L29d 17.17 ~ 18.21
Skelton Jn 12/11 12/10   17/21 17/13
Tollerton 12/25 12/17   17/05 16/51
Thirsk 12/41 12/28   16/43 16/41
Longlands Jn 12/53 12/34   16/32 16/37
Northallerton 12/55 12/35   16/31 16/35
Darlington DGL ? 12.48a ~ 12.59d   - -
Darlington 13/07 13/03   16/19 16/22
North Road 13/10 13/06   16/16 16/18
Heighton 13/17 13.16a ~ 13.17d   16/09 16/10
Newton Aycliffe 13/20 ?   16/06 16/07
Shildon 13.24a 13.24   16.02d 16.02

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