7th July 2007
Direct Rail Services
(Carlisle to Newcastle)
|Locos Used||47501, 66405 & 66411|
1Z66 : Carlisle to Newcastle
1Z67 : Newcastle to Carlisle
|66411 + 66405 (1)||Carlisle - Currock Jn ground signal CE 364|
|47501 (2)||Currock Jn ground signal CE 364 - Bog Jn - Upperby Jn - Upperby Up Through GL ground signal CE275|
|66411 + 66405 (1)||Upperby Up Through GL ground signal CE275 - Upperby Jn - London Road Jn - Petteril Bridge Jn - Haltwhistle - Hexham - Norwood Jn - Low Fell Jn|
|47501 (2)||Low Fell Jn - King Edward Bridge South Jn - King Edward Bridge North Jn - Newcastle Up Slow|
|47501||Newcastle Up Slow - Newcastle East Jn - High Level Bridge Jn - King Edward Bridge East Jn - King Edward Bridge North Jn - Newcastle|
|66411+66405 (1)||Newcastle - King Edward Bridge North Jn - King Edward Bridge South Jn - Norwood Jn - Hexham - Haltwhistle - Petteril Bridge Jn - London Road Jn - Bog Jn - Currock Jn ground signal CE 364|
|47501 (2) (3)||Currock Jn ground signal CE 364 - Carlisle|
(1) 47501 on rear.
(2) 66411 and 66405 on rear.
(3) 47501 appeared to have shut down with 66411 and 66405 pushing the train into Carlisle station.
Sources : Andy Pullar
(by Andy Pullar)
This train was advertised as the inaugural special train to be organised by DRS using the rake of MkIII hauled stock the Company had recently acquired; so recently acquired in fact that the finishing touches to the refurbishment of the stock had been applied the previous evening. The train was being run in conjunction with the DRS Kingmoor Depot Open Day the same day (though Open Day wasnít strictly correct as it was for invited guests plus a limited number of the public that had obtained tickets in advance). The same applied to the tour itself with roughly half the people onboard being invited guests rather than paying customers as I understood from comments on the day.
Much froth had appeared in the Diesel enthusiast fora about this charter and the motivation of those willing to pay a three figure sum for the privilege of travelling on the train for what was to all intents and purposes a half day trip. Each to their own I say. My reason for travelling on the train was not to rake in the advertised pair of DRS sheds (like some on the train) but purely to travel over those sections of the Maryport and Carlisle Goods lines I had managed to miss over the last thirty years; Currock Jn to Bog Jn and Bog Jn to Upperby Jn. The locomotives hauling the train and the stock were no consideration for me when I booked a ticket just the thought that I might have to wait another thirty years for another opportunity. Of course it would have been nice for the train to have been hauled by DRS mooses or tractors but that was not going to happen given that DRS were showcasing their train to potential corporate charter customers. Hence the train was formed of Mark III FOs (plus a Mark II BFK providing the guardís accommodation) to keep the peasants away. Coach A was for once a reasonably quiet coach in which to travel and didnít resemble a loaded binliner container at tourís end. There is some merit in being frivolous occasionally.
The timings for the train allowed me the very rare privilege of travelling to and from Carlisle and home the same day (kind of) though I did have a 40 minute walk to and from my local railway station. The 05.15 from Salisbury to Waterloo for the 08.35 departure from Euston got me to Carlisle with about an hour to spare before Eddie the Engine plus 66405 rolled into platform 1 to the excitement of the throng on the platform. 47501 was on the rear for ETS and working the short sections where a reversal was necessary. Keen stewards manned every door to ensure that everyone boarded the right coach for their seats and no peasants pleading poverty got a free ride. Only coaches were designated on the tickets not seat numbers so a bit of a scramble ensued at least in coach A to which I had been allocated.
Once the seating had been sorted and everyone had settled into their reclining leather armchairs (only joking Ėre-upoholstered MkIII seats are comfy enough) they had to get up again as the stewards came around insisting they peer into everyoneís carry on baggage. I hope other Tour operators donít follow suit. Fortunately for me my DVD collection had been left at home! After the initial intrusion the rest of the trip passed without any hassle and I settled down to enjoy my first trip over the Maryport and Carlisle Good lines since the demise of the Bog Jn to Caldew Jn line. Normally the goods lines are barred to Mark III stock so a Network Rail dispensation was in force; a copy of the Network Rail LNW Instructions for operating the train over the restricted routes being attached to the timing sheet. 47501, resplendent in its newly applied DRS livery, was used for this part of the trip with the 66s remaining attached on the other end, as a double reversal was necessary to take in this section of the goods lines. A slight delay was encountered approaching the reversing point at Upperby Jn. because kettle 46233, which had arrived at Carlisle on a charter from Liverpool (sadly not Exchange), was being turned and was in the way. However, it wasnít too long before the trip was sedately trundling along the Tyne Valley providing a colourful spectacle for those out photographing the train. A goody bag was handed out (inside which was a magazine aimed at rail enthusiasts containing an article about DRS, an open day commemorative Tee-shirt, a DRS branded desk clock and a DRS post card) plus complimentary snacks, teas, coffees and soft drinks from an onboard catering trolley prior to the trainís uneventful arrival at Low Fell Jn.
It was interesting to see the changes to the rail infrastructure since the days when I regularly travelled the Newcastle to Carlisle line behind diverted ECML trains hauled by 40s, 46s, 47s and 55s or travelled along some of the goods lines in the Newcastle area on various charters or diverted trains. In some places it was difficult to visualise that rail tracks existed with landscaping and overgrown lineside vegetation (no, Iím not referring to the lineside photographers). The reversal at Low Fell was quickly undertaken and 47501 dragged the train along the ECML the short distance to Newcastle Central. However, instead of running into a platform road, the train stopped on the slow line where the sheds were detached, before proceeding 47 hauled over the High Level Bridge, past the site of Gateshead Depot and back to Newcastle Central over the King Edward Bridge this time to stop in platform 2.
A few minutes break on the platform was allowed paying guests and invited participants alike before the two of DRSís finest (so Iím told) were re-attached for the journey back to Carlisle. The route via Scotswood having closed many years ago it was back over the King Edward Bridge to take the former goods line route to Norwood Jn. and Hexham to head back to Carlisle. After another sedate saunter along the Tyne Valley (with yet more complimentary drinks and snacks) caused by following a service train the DRS Special approached Carlisle roughly on time for another run along the goods lines this time direct to Currock Jn. avoiding the reversal at Upperby. Thus I scooped another piece of required track, the connection at Bog Junction, to justify the bashing my wallet took to get the line in. It remained for 47501 to do the honours and pull the DRS special the mile or so back into Carlisle station from Currock Jn. However it transpired that all was not well with 501 (it is a spoon after all) and it appeared some assistance was given by the sheds to get the train into the platform.
As well as the DRS special and the previously mentioned kettle special from Liverpool, there was a third charter at Carlisle on this day. So, after watching the DRS stock slip out of the station there was time to watch 47847 leading 47843 on a Compass Trains Trent Fellsman Charter back to Nuneaton. I had to slope off on the last Glasgow Ė Euston Pendolino for a dash across London on the Northern Line for the 5 minutes past midnight plastic cart ride for the long walk home.
As can be gleaned from the review thus ended a pretty unremarkable dayís rail touring with nothing of great note happening other than my wallet being somewhat lighter for the experience and me being more fit for the walking exercise (if only I hadnít scoffed a nostalgic plateful of chips and a pie for lunch my waistline might have shrunk). There was just time for me to mark my new track in the book before I went to sleep dreaming of class 20s at Barrow Hill the following week.
Timings (Booked Only)
(from Andy Pullar & LASERman)
|Location||Booked (out)||Booked (rtn)|
|Carlisle||13.30d [P1]||18.25a [P1]|
|Currock Jn||13.36 ~ 13.43||18.13 ~ 18.20|
|Upperby Up Through GL||13.56 ~ 14.03||-|
|London Road Jn||14/13||18/06|
|Petteril Bridge Jn||14/16||18/05|
|Corby Gates SB||14/21||17/58|
|Low Row SB||14/34||17/47|
|Low Fell Jn||15.42 ~ 15.48||-|
|King Edward Bridge South Jn||15/54||16/31|
|Newcastle Slow Line||15L58 ~ 16L03||-|
|High Level Bridge Jn||16/06||-|
|King Edward Bridge East Jn||16/08||-|
|King Edward Bridge North Jn||16/11||?|
|Newcastle||16.13a [P2]||16.27d [P2]|
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