9th September 2006

Branch Line Society
Medway Ports Railtour

Locos Used 66026 & 66201
Stock Used 5482+4986+5023+3141+5008+4949+35469

Route:
1Z84 : Ealing Broadway to Dungeness
1Z85 : Dungeness to Dollands Moor
1Z86 : Dollands Moor to Chatham Docks
1Z87 : Chatham Docks to Queenborough Yard
1Z88 : Queenborough Yard to Ealing Broadway

Loco(s) Route
66201 (1) Ealing Broadway - Acton Wells Jn - Mitre Bridge Jn - Kensington Olympia - Latchmere Jn - Longhedge Jn - Voltaire Road Jn - Shepherds Lane Jn - Brixton - Herne Hill - Sydenham Hill - Beckenham Junction - Bromley South - Bickley Jn - Orpington - Sevenoaks - Tonbridge - Paddock Wood - Headcorn - Ashford International - Appledore - Dungeness
66026 (2) Dungeness - Appledore - Ashford International
66201 (1) Ashford International - Westenhanger - Dollands Moor Freight Yard (5)
66026 (2) Dollands Moor - Westenhanger - Ashford East Jn - Ashford International (6) - Lenham - Maidstone East - Barming - Otford Jn - Swanley - St Mary Cray Jn - Chislehurst - Grove Park - Lee Spur Jn - Lee Loop Jn - Sidcup - Dartford - Gravesend - Strood - Rochester - Gillingham (East) Down Main (Gillingham L.C. Sig. ET 25) (7)
66201 (1) Gillingham (East) Down Main - Chatham Docks (Bridge Road Dock Gate)
66026 (2) Chatham Docks - Gillingham - Rainham - Sittingbourne Western Jn - Sittingbourne Middle Jn - Swale - Queenborough - (via line 1) - Queenborough Yard Down Sidings (former Pier Branch) (8)
66201 (1) Queenborough Yard Down Sidings - Queenborough - Sittingbourne Middle Jn - Sittingbourne Western Jn - Rainham - Gillingham - Rochester - Sole Street - Swanley - Bickley Jn - Bromley South - Beckenham Junction - Crystal Palace - West Norwood - Tulse Hill - Herne Hill - (reverse of outward route) - Ealing Broadway

Notes :
(1) 66026 on rear.
(2) 66201 on rear.
(3) Train originally booked to travel from Tonbridge via a pick up at Hastings, (11:04 ~ 11:06), but as the train could not reverse at Appledore to gain access to the Dungeness branch, due to signalling constraints, it was timed to continue beyond Appledore to Ashford (12:01 ~ 12:11 reverse, & Dungeness 13:18 ~ 13:40), this added too much time resulting in an unacceptable finish time (22:25). NJ (Gas) Hill comments: The request to run direct from Tonbridge to Ashford to save "at least an hour" was initially refused by Network Rail (too short a notice, despite the fact NR did not issue the timings to EWS until the Monday late afternoon, just 4 days before the tour) but was subsequently granted following the involvement of Stephen Cornish, Network Rails' National Charter Train Business Manager. Booked passengers were made aware of the revision and this resulted in some who had initially cancelled to reinstate themselves (the loss of 4 passengers was more than made up by late bookings received)..
(4a) The original plan to have a pick up, (and set down), at Brixton was refused due to being followed closely by two Eurostars and Kensington Olympia was substituted instead.
(4b) The original plan to have a set down at Clapham Junction was refused due to inadequate length of platform, making the route via Crystal Palace and Tulse Hill unnecessary, but the request to run direct from Bromley South to Brixton was refused.
(5) Although booked to continue through Dollands Moor Sidings to the 'G Neck', this was prevented by 92011 "Handel" + 92013 "Puccini" departing Line 5 heading for Europe on a steel train. NJ (Gas) Hill comments: Our guard and driver had reminded the yard Control of what the train was supposed to to do, but eventually we were reversed, and returned onto NR metals 7 minutes late (EWS have been required by NR to explain the delay in case it is necessary to attribute blame for delay to other, SET, services - hence the decision of the yard staff to send the train away; reason given was that sticking brake problems were delaying the steel train and that was inhibiting the move the tour was supposed to make for longer than the time it could be allowed). It is known that some passengers were disappointed (especially since the BLS tour two years earlier succeeded in reaching the G Neck buffers) but they can be assured that strong representations were made to the train crew, albeit overruled.
(6) Signalling problems in the Ashford area prevented the train crossing to platform 6 and continuing along the "Maidstone Relief Line" to Ashford 'A' Jn as booked. NJ (Gas) Hill comments: The booked route was as requested in the tour specification and also as given in the Wednesday version of the schedule issued by Network Rail however, to put this into perspective, during each visit to Ashford there were clearly problems impeding normal workings, let alone the railtour. The unscheduled stop and late departure on the first visit being blamed on track circuit problems which were stated to be affecting all routes, the second visit requiring being authorised past a red signal to access the station. In the circumstances it is simply not possible for a charter promoter to demonstrate that decisions on regulating train movements by a Signalling Centre such as Ashford, which has to keep things moving over a wide area, were "wrong". Sorry, but this is the sort of exigiency which is covered by the statement always included in the letters sent out with railtour tickets viz: "Whilst every effort will be made to run the tour as advertised, do remember that the Society cannot accept liability for variations on the day imposed by the actions of other parties". Those passengers disappointed on the day can however be assured that it was a disappointment shared.
(7) It was originally intended to reverse the train on Gillingham Down Loop (Rec) to gain access to the Chatham Docks branch. It was deemed, (by the Operating Supervisor at Gillingham), to be easier to arrange reversal for the Dockyard branch on the Main Line and in the wider interest of punctuality and operational efficiency this advice was accepted.
(8) Went right to the temporary red light placed as the limit for the tour, 10 yards from the buffers. Some sources have listed the stopping point for this tour as "Queenborough Shipbuilding Yard" this is however incorrect, even though it was also used by Network Rail in the timing schedule.
Queenborough Yard - Down Sidings is the reference used in Quail, EWS/NR referred to the stopping point as Queenborough Yard/ Sidings. What is thought to be the last train down this branch, REC's tour of 24th September 1960 (also listed on this Website), reached Whiteways Crossing (where the Queenborough to Sheerness direct road, B2007, crossed the line) about 200 yards further on.

Sources : Alan Sheppard, Roj Fraser, NJ (Gas) Hill & Tony Davies

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Alan Sheppard)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Ealing Broadway 08.31d 08.32   21.30a 21.31a 59.48
0.52 Acton West Jn 08/33 08/34   21/29 21/29 58.71
1.31 Acton Main Line 08/34  08/37   21/27 21/28 58.12
1.37 Acton East ??/?? 08/37   ??/?? 21.21a ~ 21.27d 58.06
2.08 Acton Wells Jn 08/37  08/40   21/20 21/19 57.36
2.56 Willesden South West Sidings 08/39  08/44   21/18 21/17 56.68
3.31 Mitre Bridge Jn 08/53  08/46   21/14 21.13a ~ 21.14d 56.13
3.61 North Pole Jn 08/54  08/47   21/11 21/10 55.63
5.59 Kensington Olympia 08.58a ~ 09.01d [P3]  08.52 ~ 09.00   21.05a ~ 21.07d [P2] 21.06 ~ 21.07 53.76
8.33 Latchmere Jns 09/07  09/05   20/58 21/00 51.11
9.26 Longhedge Jn 09/10  09/07   20/55 20/58 50.18
9.58 Factory Jn 09/12  09/09   20/53 20/56 49.66
10.13 Voltaire Road Jn 09/12  09/10   20/53 20/55 49.32
10.68 Shepherds Lane Jn 09/13  09/12   20/52 20/54 48.57
11.12 Brixton 09/14  09/12   20/51 20/53 48.32
11.74 Herne Hill 09/15 [P3] 09/13   20/50 [P2] 20/51 [P1] 47.50
  Tulse Hill   20/45 [P3] 20/47 46.44
  West Norwood   20/43 20/44 45.66
  Crystal Palace   20/37 [P1] 20/40 44.12
  Bromley Jn   20/35 20/38 43.32
16.51 Beckenham Junction 09/20 09/20   20/31 20/33 41.06
17.55 Shortlands Jn 09/22 09/21   20/29 20/31 40.02
18.71 Bromley South 09.24a ~ 09.26d [P2] 09.24 ~ 09.26   20.25a ~ 20.27d [P3] 20.28 ~ 20.29 38.72
20.35 Bickley Jn 09/29 09.31a ~ 09.31d   20/23 20/25 37.21

 

M.C Location Booked Actual
21.33 Petts Wood Jn 09/32 09/35
22.69 Orpington 09/43 [P5] 09/42
31.13 Sevenoaks 09/54 [P3] 09/52
38.51 Tonbridge 10.08a ~ 10.10d [P2] 10.08 ~ 10.10
43.71 Paddock Wood 10/20 10/17 [DF]
54.21 Headcorn 10/29 10/27 [DF]
65.17 Ashford International 10/43 [P1] 10c42a ~ 10c49d
73.57 Appledore 10t56 ~ 10t59 11.04 ~ 11.06
80.63 Lydd Town 11t27 ~ 11t32 11.37 ~ 11.49
82.66
0.00
Dungeness - British Energy 11.48 ~ 12.20 11.58 ~ 12.06
2.02 Lydd Town 12t29 ~ 12t34 12.21 ~ 12.24
9.08 Appledore 13t12 ~ 13t15 13.12 ~ 13.25
17.50
0.00
Ashford International 13.30 ~ 13.40 [P1] 13.44 ~ 13.47
10.26 Saltwood Jn 13/55 13/58 
10.73
0.00
Dollands Moor 13.57 ~ 14.17 14.02 ~ 14.23 [DM - Line 4]
0.47 Saltwood Jn 14/20 14/26
10.15 Ashford East Jn 14/28 14/36
10.72 Ashford International 14.30 ~ 14.40 [P6] 14.37 ~ 14.39 [P2]
17.01 Charing 14/49 14/48
30.16 Maidstone East 15/05 [P1] 15/03
45.38 Otford Jn 15/33 15/30
52.61 Swanley 15/46 [P1] 15/40
56.75 St Mary Cray Jn 15/50 15/45
57.67 Chislehurst 15/56 15/51
60.09 Grove Park 16/00 15/56
61.43 Lee Spur Jn 16/04 15/58
61.56 Sig. L345 ?? 15c59 ~ 16c08
61.72 Lee Loop Jn ?? 16/10
62.12 Lee 16/11 16/11
66.20 Sidcup 16/20 16/19
69.52 Crayford 16/31 16.26a ~ 16.29d
70.59 Dartford Jn 16/35 16/33
71.39 Dartford 16/36 [P3] 16/34 [P4]
78.16 Gravesend 16/49 [DM] 16c49a ~ 16c52d [P2]
85.38 Strood 17/01 17/01
85.60 Rochester Bridge Jn 17/09 17.03a ~ 17.06d
86.37 Rochester ??/?? [P3] 17p11a ~ 17p19d [P4]
88.54 Gillingham (Kent) 17/17 17/25
89.02
0.00
Gillingham Down Loop (Rec)
(mileage for Gillingham LC Sig. ET 25)
17.19 ~ 17.25 DIV [DM 17.27a ~ 17.34d]
0.72
0.00
Chatham Docks 17.45 ~ 18.00 17.41 ~ 17.53
0.65 Gillingham Down Sidings 18*10 ~ 18*18 17.58 ~ 18.16
8.39 Sittingbourne Western Jn 18/29 18/29
9.69 Kemsley 18/32 18/32
11.64 Swale 18/39 18/39
13.71 Queenborough 18*44 ~ 18*48 18/44
14.29
0.00
Queenborough Yard Down Sidings 18.53 ~ 19.10 18.51 ~ 19.01
0.24 Queenborough Jn ??/?? 19.07a ~ 19.20d
0.37 Queenborough 19*15 ~ 19*27 19/22
2.44 Swale 19/33 19/28
4.39 Kemsley 19/37 19/30
5.70 Sittingbourne Western Jn 19/40 19/34
13.68 Gillingham (Kent) 19.51a ~ 19.53d 19.50 ~ 19.51 [P2]
16.59 Rochester Bridge Jn 20/00 19/58
22.68 Sole Street 20/09 20/05
27.10 Fawkham Jn 20/13 20/12
32.46 Swanley 20/18 20/20 [P3]
36.42 St Mary Cray Jn 20/22 20/24

Timings continue in first table.

Summary of Mileages (by Roj Fraser)
66026
Dungeness - Ashford International 17m 50ch
Dollands Moor Sidings - Gillingham LC 89m 02ch
Chatham Dockyard - Queenborough Yard Dn Sdgs 14m 29ch
Total 121m 01ch
66201
Ealing Broadway - Dungeness 82m 66ch
Ashford International - Dollands Moor Sidings 10m 73ch
Gillingham LC - Chatham Dockyard 0m 72ch
Queenborough Yard Dn Sdgs - Ealing Broadway 59m 48ch
Total 154m 20ch


Back to "The Railtour Files"