16th April 2005
The Eden Belle Excursion
1Z96 : Bournemouth to Penzance
1Z97 : Penzance to Bournemouth
|67020||Bournemouth - Brockenhurst - Redbridge - Southampton Central - Eastleigh - Romsey - Dean - Salisbury - Warminster - Westbury Down Reception Line|
|67020||Westbury Down Reception Line - Fairwood Jn - (via Frome avoiding line) - Castle Cary - Cogload Jn - Tiverton Parkway - Exeter St Davids - Newton Abbot - Plymouth - Liskeard - Par - Penzance|
|67020||Penzance - (reverse of outward route) - Westbury [P2] (1)|
|67020||Westbury [P2] - (reverse of outward route) - Bournemouth|
(1) Was booked to run-round in the Down Reception Line but done in the station instead.
Source : Nigel Benning
(from Nigel Benning)
A rail tour would normally mean an early start, travelling a number of miles on my own to a suitable joining point. But with Pathfinder choosing to run one of their Eden Belle excursions from my local station, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. Whilst the traction, route and destination would not normally have tempted me into travelling, the prospect of spending a day out with my wife (yes - really!) found me booking a couple of seats. And to make it a little bit different to my usual rail tours, I opted for the Premier Dining option.
So after a mere two mile drive to the station, we found ourselves standing on a very cold and misty Christchurch station waiting for the train. A few minutes later than scheduled, 67020 rolled in with a long rake of mainly ex-Virgin Mk2 coaching stock. Departure was 9 minutes down and we remained slightly behind schedule as we made various stops to pick up further passengers. However, with just a brief stop required for the single line between Eastleigh and Romsey, the latter station was reached 3 early. At Westbury we pulled into the Down Reception Line for the loco to run round. With no other traffic about the 22 minutes allowed for this operation ought to have been sufficient, but for whatever reason the run round was delayed and we left 14 minutes late.
We enjoyed a four course breakfast (champagne, croissant, porridge followed by a Great British Breakfast) and the passing scenery as we headed off to Cornwall. By our first set down point, Bodmin Parkway, further minutes had been lost and, with the train having to be pulled forward to allow a wheelchair passenger off the train, we were 26 minutes late on departure.
Having chosen the Eden Project option, we left the train at Par, whilst others remained to spend some time at Penzance. Transfer to the project was via 5 'heritage' double-decker buses which crawled their way up the Cornish hills before dropping us off at the project. Three hours were spent wandering found the various plant displays before we returned to the buses and back to Par.
The return departure was a few minutes down but we were on time when we reached Plymouth where a pathing stop meant we had a leg-stretching opportunity. We departed here 4 minutes early, following the 17:25 Voyager service, and settled down to our dinner (which was eaten leisurely over the following 3 hours!). Exeter was reached just a couple of minutes down, but from here we staggered a bit and gradually lost time with Westbury being reached 20 minutes late. Here we were again planned to reverse in the Down Reception Line, but for some reason we ended up doing this in Platform 2. Once again it took longer than scheduled and departure ended up being 30 minutes down (after a brief reverse back down the platform a few yards to clear the signal). From here we made our way back to Christchurch where arrival was just 11 minutes late.
The overall verdict was that we had both had an excellent day out. The food was perfect and although punctuality was not 100%, this didn't cause us any concerns on the day (although I'm sure some people would have preferred the extra time at the Eden Project). I'm now looking forward to further Pathfinder tours from this area.
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Nigel Benning)
|3.54||Christchurch||06.16a ~ 06.18d||??.?? ~ 06.27||22.32a ~ 22.34d||22.45 ~ ??.??||288.44|
|15.16||Brockenhurst||06.32a ~ 06.34d||06.38 ~ 06.41||22.17a ~ 22.19d||22.30 ~ 22.33||277.02|
|28.63||Southampton Central||06.51a ~ 06.53d||06.53 ~ 06.57||22.00a ~ 22.02d||22.11 ~ 22.15||261.35|
|34.47||Eastleigh||07.04a ~ 07.06d||07.07 ~ 07.09||21.44a ~ 21.46d||22.01 ~ 22.03||257.51|
|34.57||Eastleigh East Jn||07*09a ~ 07*18d||07/10||21.30a ~ 21.42d||22/00||257.41|
|41.59||Romsey||07.30a ~ 07.32d||07.27 ~ 07.32||21.17a ~ 21.19d||??.?? ~ 21.50||250.39|
|58.20||Salisbury||07.55a ~ 07.57d||07.51 ~ 07.57||20.54a ~ 20.57d||21.23 ~ 21.28||233.78|
|78.10||Warminster||08.18a ~ 08.20d||08.18 ~ 08.22||20.28a ~ 20.30d||20.58 ~ 21.02||214.08|
|-||Westbury||DIV||20.15 ~ 20.50||?|
|82.63||Westbury Down Reception Line||08*30a ~ 08*52d||08.31 ~ 09.06||19.55a ~ 20.20d||DIV||209.35|
|87.39||Clink Road Jn||09/00||09/15||19/36||20/00||204.59|
|129.73||Taunton||09/29||09.49a ~ 09.50d||18/56||19/13||162.25|
|-||Cowley Bridge Jn||09/50||?||18/34||?|
|160.53||Exeter St Davids||09/53||10.16a ~ 10.18d||18/32||18.34a ~ 18.36d||131.45|
|212.56||Plymouth||10.48a ~ 10.51d||11.11 ~ 11.14||17.13a ~ 17.33d||17.12 ~ 17.29||79.42|
|-||St Budeaux Jn||10/56||?||17/03||?||-|
|236.18||St Pinnock Viaduct East||11/20||?||16/38||?||56.00|
|239.51||Bodmin Parkway||11.27a ~ 11.29d||11.49 ~ 11.55||16.28a ~ 16.30d||16.30 ~ 16.32||52.47|
|247.37||Par||11.41a ~ 11.45d||12.05 ~ 12.12||16.13a ~ 16.16d||16.15 ~ 16.20||44.61|
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