11th November 2006

Pathfinder Tours
The Edwalton Equinox

Locos Used D7629, 57311, 60013 & 67016
Stock Used 21272+3122+3107+3140+3098+1699+5292+5009+4927+5040+4902+5350+5376

1Z60 : Ealing Broadway to Edwalton
1Z61 : Edwalton to Ealing Broadway

Loco(s) Route
67016 Ealing Broadway - St Albans - (via MML) - Kettering
67016 (1) Kettering - Leicester - Syston South Jn - Syston North Jn - Loughborough Chord Jn - Rushcliffe Halt
D7629 (2) Rushcliffe Halt - Fifty Steps Halt
60013 (3) Fifty Steps Halt - Rushcliffe Halt
60013 (4) Rushcliffe Halt - Loughborough Chord Jn - Syston North Jn - Syston East Jn - Melton Jn
67016 (1) Melton Jn - Asfordby Business Park (headshunt) (5)
60013 (6) Asfordby Business Park - Holwell Jn - Old Dalby - Edwalton (end of line)
57311 (2) Edwalton - Old Dalby
60013 (6) Old Dalby - Edwalton
57311 + 67016 (1) Edwalton - Old Dalby - Holwell Jn
67016 (1) Holwell Jn - Asfordby Jn
67016 Asfordby Jn - Melton Jn - Melton Mowbray (UGL) - Oakham - Manton Jn - Corby - Kettering North Jn - Kettering - (via MML) - St Albans - Ealing Broadway

Notes :
(1) 60013 on rear.
(2) Plus 67016 (not powering) & 60013 on rear.
(3) D7629 & 67016 on rear.
(4) 67016 on rear.
(5) Rob Fraser comments: Note that on stopping, BCK 21272 (leading coach behind 67016) was at 108m 17ch, hence the buffers would be approx 108m 22ch, which is considerably further than shown in Quail (107m 51ch)
(6) 57311 & 67016 on rear.

The following has been received from NJ (Gas) Hill regarding traversal of the Hendon Chord by railtours:
"A single track link, northwards out of the Up & Down Hendon lines, on the six track section of the MML out of London from West Hampstead to Silkstream Jn, trails into the Down Fast between Hendon station and the flyover which takes the Hendon lines over the fast pair to merge with the slow lines at Silkstream Jn. Traversal of this chord was included in the specification for our Birch Coppice Pioneer railtour of 27 March 2004 (though cautiously the route advertised to customers was "via Hendon Chord or Silkstream Flyover). It was not traversed outward from Ealing Broadway on the day, though the omission was rectified in the evening southbound. This followed advice from our EWS driver that the signal for access to the chord from the Down Hendon had not been operative for several years, not a disadvantage to operating flexibility in practice because a 15mph speed limit out onto the Fast Lines was usually disruptive to the pathing of MML expresses. The tour came off the Dudding Hill line at Brent Curve Jn and crossed immediately onto the Down Fast there, a not uncommon move with freight trains instead of going north Slow Line. On 11 November 2006 exactly the same was done with Pathfinder's tour to Edwalton, despite the fact that the chord had been advertised as an attraction in their route and the Network Rail timings showed DHL from Brent Curve Jn then FL from Hendon, with a footnote in the EWS Charter Train Notice:

1. Hendon: Customer request to run via the Hendon Chord (sic) line

Putting together information from several sources, the signal concerned has been defective probably since the mid-1980's, with some components cannibalised that long ago to fix faults on another West Hampstead PSB worked signal nearby - not a problem day-to-day as the signal was never used anyway. The situation is known to the drivers who sign the route and presumably to the signalmen and their managers. As the latest Quail still shows the chord as bi-directional, it seems that the unavailability of the route is not officially permanent in Network Rails' records. Nevertheless, it is very surprising that their Timing Offices blissfully continue to book railtours (at least) via a route impossible for so long."

Another reliable source, who wishes to remain anonymous, also comments: The Hendon Chord is DEFINITELY still available for use in the UP direction, I have personally checked that this is the case with West Hampstead Signalbox.  Also the Network Rail validated timings actually showed 1Z60 booked via the Hendon Chord (or "Headon Cord" as they call it!) in the DOWN direction, although this is clearly not possible.  It appears that the Network Rail Planners are as in the dark about the disconnection of the signalling equipment as Pathfinder Tours.

Sources : 'Selby' (joined/left the train at St Albans) & Paul Atkinson

Tour Review
(by 'Selby')

Yesterday’s PF tour was a grand day out.

Since the HRT left Ealing first with 66093 (winner on) I did that to St. Albans and waited for the PF to follow.  67012 had been allox to the PF but that was swapped for 67017, but then due to a brake pipe failure on 017, 67016 was sent from Acton.  67016 instead of 012 pleased some, disappointed others, I didn’t mind - the only ones I would like again are 67025 that I have only had in a pair, and 67008 that I have only had on preserved railway, oh and 67010 that I have had for the mega mileage of 2m63ch – it was between stations – answers on a postcard to guess which ones please?…..

The hour’s wait at St. Albans turned out to be longer because the PF ecs was delayed due to signalling problems in west London.  67016 arrived, we departed.  60013 was added to the back at Kettering, a winner for me and PF, I think the only thing it has worked before was a Past Time spinner.

We took the branch to East Leake and after 25279 was added to the front of the 67 at Rushcliffe Halt everyone was allowed off.  The Rat at the head of a train sporting the Rat Roadshow headboard surround by more than a hundred people taking photographs must have brought back memories for some.  Rats on passenger trains was slightly before my era, but I do rate them.  Back on board I stayed in the front coach to listen to the thrash, but unfortunately I only heard two small blasts of thrash above the noisy ying of the 67.  I don’t think the 67 was powering, but they are quite loud on tick-over when providing ETS.

After just over 3 miles of Rat haulage we retraced our steps back down the branch with 60013 providing power for the first time of the day.  The next target was the Asfordby test centre.  Have a break here and go and get your latest edition of the Midlands & North West Quail Track Diagrams – you’ll need it….

We took the Asfordby Branch and took the DN (right hand) track (the one that is shown oos) to the Asfordby Business Park.  We then crossed to the left hand (north) track outside the Test Centre and proceed on that track into the headshunt (also shown as being oos).  Here there was a surprise, and with the gen grapevine being what it is, it is very rare that you get any surprises nowadays, but sat at the headshunt blocks waiting for us was 57311 !!!  So that was bolted on to the front for good measure.

57311 & 67016 captured at Asfordby Business Park (photo: Rob Fraser)

...this much to go to the buffers... (photo: Rob Fraser)

Some people needed it, in fact the chap opposite me didn’t need the 25, 60, or 67 but needed the 57 so he was well happy.  Like 67’s, they are all dud for me but it was a pleasant surprise.  Anyway, back to the track – we reversed in the headshunt (good job I know!) and then took the line closest to the Test Centre (the line shown as ‘dashed’ in the Quail) and then onto the test track proper to Edwalton via the Holwell Curve.  The three lines into the Test Centre shed were all protected by de-railers and due to the length of our train it is probable that if the lead engine was up against the shed door, the rear section of the train would still be on the branch.  Those that had been on previous tours to the hapless Asfordby mine were happy because previous tours had stopped short of the mines buildings, but because they have all now been demolished and removed we were clear to run straight through that area and onto the headshunt.

We received an informative commentary onboard from one of the original Pendo test train drivers – it was quite amusing hearing him say ‘right we are just about to change from 40mph to 60mph section’ and hearing the 60 power up just as he said it (we were in coach A).  We went right to the end of the branch, someone said that we touched the buffers at Edwalton, I am not sure about that - but we were so close that when I looked out of the front window you couldn’t see the buffer stops because we were that close. Next we stormed back to Old Dalby with 57311, and it was a storming run – our coach started to fill up with leaves that were blasted from the line-side trees.  The commentator stated that line speed was now 125mph, I don’t think we went that fast ;-) , but it was fast….  So after such good fun what can you do?  - Go back and do it all again!!  So, 60013 dragged us quickly back up to the run-round loop at Edwalton, and this time we stormed south with both the 57+67 powering!!  Top drawer fun.

At Howell Junc. The 57 was taken off and returned to the test centre, we took the direct line (thus completing all sides of the Holwell triangle) to Asfordby Junc. where the 60 was detached.  All that was left to do was to head back to London with the 67 via Corby, taking in the Melton Mowbray UGL on the way for good measure!

Now one thing that I hate about tours is pottering about after night fall – I think that if you can’t see out of the window you may as well go home!  There is nothing worse than doing branches in the dark, especially if you haven’t been down the branch before – what's the point of that?!!  I am really pleased to say that this tour was spot on, day turned into night just as we were detaching the assist locos and after that we just headed for home.

We could have been back on time leaving the branch, but the extra blast down the test track scuppered that, not that anyone seemed to mind, it seems everyone preferred us to stay for more!!  So were maintained our approx. 1hr late running for most of the day.

The HRT was due back to London about 90mins later than us so I was going to stay onboard the PF to get home relatively early, but due to the fact that the HRT was now just under 30mins behind us and had another winner on it (66071) I bailed of at St. Albans again and did the following HRT (that was on time) into Ealing Broadway.

A top tour from PF - a fairly simple itinerary of two branches, starting and finishing at reasonable times, one rare and a couple of novelty locos, and best of all - all the paperwork issues that has let down some tours in the past had obviously been checked and re-checked because the complex moves at Asfordby went like clock work!  - Well done PF!

'Selby' (now looking forward to the Xmas spinner and the Buffer Puffer tours)

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from various including Paul Atkinson & Rob Fraser)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Ealing Broadway 08.30d 08.49 [UR]   19.48a 20.59 [P3] 107.59
0.52 Acton West Jn 08/32 08/51   ? 20/58 107.02
2.10 Acton Wells Jn 08/35 08/57   19/38 20/51 105.44
2.49 Acton Canal Wharf Jn 08/37 08/58   19/36 ? 105.05
5.07 Dudding Hill Jn 08/43 09/05   19/30 ? 102.47
6.10 Brent Curve Jn 08/45 09/09 [DH]   19/26 20/35 101.44
7.05 Hendon 08/50 [HC] 09/12 [DH]   19/24 ? 100.49
8.01 Silksteam Jn ? [DF] ? [DS]   ? [UH] ? [UH] 99.53
14.42 Radlett Jn 08/56 [DS] 09/29 [DS]   ? ? ?
20.04 St Albans 09.03a ~ 09.05d 09.36 ~ 09.40   19.08a ~ 19.10d 20.11 ~ 20.14 87.55
30.29 Luton 09/15 09/52½ [P3]   18/55 20/00 77.26
40.27 Flitwick 09/27 10/01½   18/43 19/50 [US] 67.27
58.69 Bedford South Jn 09/37 10/10½   18/34 19/38 [UF] 58.65
50.04 Bedford 09.39a ~ 09.42d ??.??a ~ 10.21d [P2]   18.30a ~ 18.32d [P1] 19.32 ~ 19.34 [P3] 57.59
50.44 Bedford North Jn 09/43 [DS] 10/23 [DS]   18/28 [US] 19/30 [US] 57.09
56.61 Sharnbrook Jn 09/50 10/31 [UDS]   18/22 19/21½ 50.73
65.24 Wellingborough 10/01 [UDS] 10/42½ [P3]   18/14 [UF] 19/14 [UF] 42.34
67.13 Harrowden Jn 10/04 [DF] 10/45½ [DF]   17.59a ~ 18.03d ? ?
? Kettering South Jn ? ?   18/06 [UF] 19/08 [UF] 36.65
72.18 Kettering 10L12a ~ 10L32d 10.55½ ~ 11.14 [P1]   17.59a ~ 18.03d 18.58½ ~ 19.02½d [P2] 35.47
74.13 Kettering North Jn 10/35 [DF] 11/18½ [DF]   17/56 18/55 33.45


M.C Location Booked Actual
83.7 Market Harborough 10/45 11/29 [P1]
96.15 Wigston North Jn 10/56 11/42
98.49 Leicester South Jn 11/00 [UDS] 11/45 [UDS]
99.21 Leicester (Goods Loop) 11/02 11/47½
104.05 Syston South Jn 11/08 11/55½
106.63 Sileby 11/12 11/59
111.31 Loughborough South Jn [DS] 11.20a ~ 11.23d 12/05½ ~ 12.06
111.35 Loughborough South Jn ? 12/07
Rushcliffe Halt 11pL48 ~ 12pL08 12.35 ~ 12.57½ [P2]
Fifty Steps Bridge 12.23 ~ 12.23 13.12 ~ 13.23
3.40 Rushcliffe Halt 12L38 ~ 12L48 13.40 ~ 13.46 [P2]
8.13 Loughborough South Jn 13.13a ~ 13.16d 14.09½ ~ 14.12½
8.41 Loughborough South Jn ??/?? [US] 14/15 [US]
12.63 Sileby 13/28 14/21
15.38 Syston North Jn 13/33 14/28
15.57 Syston East Jn 13/34 14/29½
24.70 Melton Jn ??/?? 14/42
Melton Mowbray [UM] 13.50 ~ 14.00 14.44½ ~ 14.51
0.32 Melton Jn GF [UM] 14.05 ~ 14.15 14.54 ~ 14.54½
1.22 Asfordby Jn 14/30 15/04½ [U&DA]
Asfordby Business Park 14L35 ~ 14L55 15.16 ~ 15.27
1.02 Holwell Jn ??/?? 15/40½ [U&DE]
4.70 Old Dalby ??/?? 15/47½ [DE]
Edwalton 15.30 ~ ??.?? 16.02 ~ 16.07½
Old Dalby ? ~ ? 16.24 ~ 16.27½
Edwalton ? ~ 15.45 16.46 ~ 16.53 [U&DE]
8.35 Old Dalby ??/?? 17/07 [U&DE]
Holwell Jn ??L?? ~ ??L?? 17.19 ~ 17.30½
0.61 Asfordby Jn ??.?? ~ 16.15 [U&DE] 14.35 ~ 17.38½
1.48 Melton Jn GF (Branch) 16.35 ~ 16.50 17.53 ~ 18.00
2.22 Melton Mowbray 16.55a ~ 16.58d [UG] 18.05 ~ 18.07 [P1]
3.20 Melton Mowbray UGL 17.03a ~ 17.05d [UGL] 18/13 [UM]
13.64 Oakham 17/19 18/26 [P1]
17.27 Manton Jn 17/28 18/32½
27.80 Corby 17/48 18/49

Notes (from Rob Fraser):
(1) Mileages obtained using Garmin GPS device.
(2) Loughborough to Ruddington: The booked timings for the non Network Rail sections were either difficult to determine or were un-planned. The CTN shows the timings between Rushcliffe Halt and Fifty Steps Bridge as "allowances" for each activity. For instance 20 minutes were allowed at Rushcliffe Halt to attach the Class 25. These allowances have been converted into actual times based on the booked arrival/departure times at Rushcliffe Halt. However, by doing this there is no time at Fifty Steps Bridge for the pilot driver to change ends between the Class 25 and the Class 60. Pathfinder Tours have modified these timings in their itinerary to show 5 minutes at Fifty Steps Bridge.
(3) Melton Jn to Edwalton: Again the timings for this section were difficult to determine. The CTN and Network Rail show "Old Dalby" as the destination/origin of 1Z60/1Z61. This has been interpreted as "Asfordby Jn" in this log since this is the operational handover point between Network Rail and Alstom. Allowances are then shown in the CTN for the run to Edwalton via the Test Centre and back direct. The Edwalton to Old Dalby and Old Dalby to Edwalton legs were "on the day" movements that were organised jointly between Alstom, Pathfinder Tours, Riviera Trains and EWS.

Loco Mileages:

67016 239.25
D7629 3.32
60013 47.43
57311 21.13

Timings continue in first table.

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