22nd May 2010
Railway Touring Company
The Royal Wessex
|Locos Used||steam: 30777 'Sir Lamiel' & 44871|
|Stock used (3)||14099+99304+99125+99371+99316+99128+99127+99121+1861+4994+5222|
Route : (4)
1Z27 : London Paddington to Weymouth
1Z30 : Weymouth to London Paddington
|44871 + 30777||London Paddington - Southall - Slough - Twyford - Reading - Southcote Jn - Newbury - Heywood Road Jn - Fairwood Jn - Clink Road Jn - Blatchbridge Jn - Castle Cary - Yeovil Pen Mill - Dorchester West - Weymouth|
|44871 (2)||Weymouth - Dorchester South - Wareham|
|44871||Wareham - Poole - Bournemouth - Redbridge - Southampton Central - Northam Jn - St Denys - Eastleigh - Winchester - Basingstoke - Bramley - Southcote Jn - (reverse of outward route) - London Paddington|
(1) 44871 substituted for booked but unavailable due to failure 70013 'Oliver Cromwell'.
(2) 30777 on rear providing banking assistance.
(3) 14099 removed from formation at Wareham along with 30777.
(4) Differing sets of booked timings existed for the outward leg - those given below are NR timings received by the Webmaster, generated on the day of the tour. The return headcode listed by some sources as 1Z28 but the Webmaster was sent a NR timing sheet which gave it as 1Z30.
Sources : various including Neil Kearns, Nick Bartlett &
(from Gordon Jakes)
The routing of this train was as advertised in the Railway Touring Co. brochure. However, this was yet another story of enforced locomotive changes which in the end affected the proposed timings to the extent that arrival back in Paddington was not scheduled until 23.29. In my own circumstance, I was not made aware of the revised arrival time at Paddington until after departure in the morning and thus I had no choice other than to curtail the return journey at Southampton Central which was disappointing but did not detract from the overall success of the day.
Having said the above the day would not have happened at all, had not 44871 been made available at short notice following the failure of 70013. Sincere thanks are yet again due Mr. Riley and his crews for their sterling work. It should also be noted that 70013 was itself a substitute for 34067 which was not available following its winter overhaul.
The problem with 44871 was that it is restricted to 60mph for reasons only Network Rail understand and as such the return journey had to be retimed which resulted in the one hour later arrival into Paddington.
The day started with problems all round. Firstly, the only underground service in operation into Paddington was the Bakerloo line. The District, Circle and Hammersmith and City Lines were all closed for Engineering works which may be fine for regular travelers who come into contact with the on-station publicity but for out of townies such as myself this was an unwelcome surprise which caused a much later than planned arrival at Paddington.
Arrival at Paddington was met with further chaos as a fatality at Maidenhead had caused a complete cessation of all but the Heathrow services and no one had any idea as to how long the disruption would last. Fortunately for the Royal Wessex, trains began to move again at about 07.50 which fitted our 08.06 departure rather well. Having said that, passengers for Reading and beyond were still being directed to Waterloo to join South West Train services for Reading, right up until the line began to reopen!!!! I feel very sorry for the excellent Great Western staff who covered the concourse at Paddington giving advice etc to hopeful passengers. They were clearly not advised as to the progress in reopening the line at Maidenhead.
44871 + 30777 wait to leave Paddington (photo: Gordon Jakes)
Much to our surprise and with all good fortune the Royal Wessex departed Paddington within a minute of right time and despite all the obvious problems around us, Reading was reached only ten minutes behind booked time and even this delay was halved upon departure due to a generous booked platform stand time. It should be noted that our allowance of 61 minutes to cover the 36 miles to Reading was hardly taxing and a large portion of the journey was covered at very slow speed due to being timed behind stopping services. Nonetheless we were extremely lucky to avoid any serious delay.
Upon leaving Reading we crossed from platform 9 to the Down Berks and Hants line towards Newbury. Progress en route was good with much more sustained running at 60mph. The published schedule called for water to be taken at Newbury Racecourse station but on the day we proceeded directly to Newbury station where two road water tankers were waiting to replenish our two thirsty locomotives. As well as the water tankers a large crowd was also waiting our arrival and the 15 minute layover at Newbury.
Departure from Newbury was achieved some 2½ minutes behind the booked passing time and the train continued in the same vein until an unchecked passage on the Westbury Avoiding Line put us slightly ahead of time. This situation continued until we had passed Castle Cary whence we were brought to a stand at a signal on the single line towards Yeovil. A four minute stoppage ensued (probably at the equivalent to the Castle Cary advanced starter signal).
Yeovil Pen Mill was reached a minute behind time and water was again taken by both locomotives. The original plan had been to detach 44871 at Yeovil such that it could run directly to Yeovil Junction for turning and servicing. Another change of plan resulted in 44871 continuing right through to Weymouth.
The wisdom of retaining 44871 as pilot soon became apparent after leaving Yeovil. Departure from Yeovil was achieved some 8 minutes late and the pair of locomotives soon found themselves hard pressed in climbing the three miles of 1 in 64 / 1 in 53 / 1 in 51 between Yetminster and Evershot. The avoidance of the scheduled stops at Maiden Newton and Dorchester West, however, meant that Dorchester Junction was reached on time.
A slow approach from Upwey into Weymouth meant that the final arrival time in Weymouth (platform 3) was 2½ minutes behind schedule. However, with a booked layover in Weymouth of 4½ hours having been extended to 5½ hours no one was very concerned!
As soon as the passengers had detrained and 44871 had been uncoupled, 30777 propelled the stock back into Jersey Sidings where it stood until departure time beckoned. As soon as the stock was clear, 44871 was sent light engine back to Yeovil Pen Mill / Yeovil Junction for its delayed servicing and turning.
30777 enters Weymouth with the stock for the return run (photo: Gordon Jakes)
At around 18.00 hrs 30777 brought the stock of the Royal Wessex into platform 3 and after a further wait of around 10 minutes 44871 duly arrived from Yeovil and was coupled to the London end of the train. The combination of the two locomotives and the 11 coach train just fitted into the platform within the starting signal. The Royal Wessex was thus ready to depart with 44871 in the lead and 30777 acting as the banking engine (albeit tender first). All was set for the assault on Upwey Bank (1 in 74 / 1 in 50 / 1 in 52).
The train left Weymouth on time and the ascent began in earnest at the site of the former Radipole Halt. It has to be said that the two locomotives dealt with the climb in excellent fashion and the 6½ miles from Weymouth to Dorchester Junction was achieved in 15 minutes – an average speed of 26½ mph start to pass. The ascent of this bank felt in much better control than the ascent to Evershot earlier in the day!
After the ascent of Upwey bank The Royal Wessex was worked to within a couple of minutes of booked time throughout to Southampton Central (including the stop at Wareham to detach 30777).
44871 during the water stop at Southampton (photo: Gordon Jakes)
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Neil Kearns & Gordon Jakes)
|0.00||Paddington||08.06d [P11]||08.07 [P10]||23.29a||?||146.13|
|1.68||Ladbroke Grove||08/12 [DRL]||? [DRL]||23/23||?||144.25|
|18.31||Slough||08.37a ~ 08.39d [P4]||08.41½ ~ 08.44½ [P4]||22.49a ~ 22.51d||?||127.62|
|35.73||Reading||09.07a ~ 09.16d [P9]||09.17 ~ 09.21 [P9]||22.14a ~ 22.22d||?||110.20|
|53.01||Newbury||09w47 ~ 10w02||09.50 ~ 10.05½|
|94.40||Heywood Road Jn||10/55||10/48½|
|100.23||Clink Road Jn||11/03||10/54|
|106.12||East Somerset Jn||11/12||11/04|
|Yeovil Pen Mill||11L46a ~ 12L09d [P3]||11.44 ~ 12.18½|
|12.65||Maiden Newton||12t36 ~ 12t40 [P2]||12/43 [P2]|
|20.35||Dorchester West||12.54 ~ 12.56||12/55½|
|Weymouth||13.09a ~ 18.33d [P3]||13.09½ ~ 18.33 [P3]|
|21.74||Wareham||19L11 ~ 19L16||19.11 ~ 19.17|
|63.45||Southampton Central||20w33 ~ 20w47||20.37 ~ ??.??|
|94.71||Basingstoke||21.35a ~ 21.52d||?|
Timings continue in first table.
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