26th July 2010

UK Railtours
Midland Tornado

Locos Used 66050 'EWS Energy' & steam: 71000 'Duke of Gloucester'
Stock Used (2) 17041+17015+3068+3066+1691+3069+3097+3120+3119+1683+4902+5322+5341

Route :
1Z66 : London Victoria to Gloucester
1Z71 : Gloucester to London Waterloo

Loco(s) Route
66050 London Victoria - Longhedge Jn - Clapham Junction - Barnes - Hounslow - Staines - Wokingham - Reading - Didcot Parkway - Swindon - Stroud - Standish Jn - Gloucester
71000 (3) Gloucester - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - Stoke Works Jn - Barnt Green - Kings Norton - Bordesley Jn - St Andrews Jn - Landor Street Jn - Water Orton - Nuneaton - Hinckley - Leicester - Syston South Jn - Oakham - Corby - Kettering - (via MML) - Brent Curve Jn - Dudding Hill Jn - Acton Wells Jn - Kew East Jn - Barnes - Clapham Junction - London Waterloo

Notes :
(1) 71000 substituted for unavailable 60163 'Tornado'. The train was heavily delayed due to trespassers alongside the line near Kettering and Wellingborough - a total of eight people were reported to have been arrested as a result. An extra water stop was taken near Acton Wells, due to slow running.
(2) 17041 only in the formation when 71000 was on the train.
(3) 66050 on rear.

Sources : Nick Bartlett, Gordon Jakes & John Clifford

(by Gordon Jakes)

The day started well for most travelers with the empty stock arriving in platform 2 at Victoria well before departure time – circa 08.00hrs. I say for most travelers because unfortunately major disruption on the Victoria line caused a number of people to miss our on time departure at 08.45. Those delayed travelers who made contact with UK Railtours were advised to make their way to Reading where some speedy re-arrangement was effected to enable the booked call for a crew change to take place in a platform road rather than in the through road as originally planned.

66050 waiting to leave Victoria at the start of the day (photo: Gordon Jakes)

The revised plan was put into operation but not without some difficulty. For those who know Reading, platform occupation is at a premium and after all our maneuvering, departure from Reading was some nine minutes behind schedule. There were doubtless small knock-on delays to a number of other services. However a fair number of people managed to join the train at Reading and therefore all credit is due to those involved in the on-the-hoof changes and in particular Network Rail.

By Didcot Parkway we were traveling some eight minutes behind schedule and our recess onto the Down Relief at Wantage Road was not a minute too soon since we were quickly overtaken by successive HSTs. Our departure from the Down Relief at Challow was still some eight minutes behind schedule and this despite a 4˝ minute signal stop on the approach to Challow.

The maneuvering on the east side of Swindon in order to reach platform 1 cost a couple of further minutes delay but the stop time in Swindon was reduced from a booked time of eight minutes to an actual time of less than four minutes. Immediately after leaving Swindon the train was brought to a stand at Loco Yard awaiting access to the single line towards Kemble.  The stop was required to enable a late running HST to clear the single line. Despite the late departure from Swindon and the signal stop at Loco Yard, Kemble was passed a respectable five minutes behind booked time. Further slow running however, particularly on the approach to Gloucester, meant that our arrival in Gloucester was a total of just over eight minutes behind booked time.

The Duke was awaiting our arrival at Gloucester and provided much photo opportunity for those of us traveling on the “Midland Tornado”- a welcome interlude.

71000 is seen after taking over at Gloucester (photo: Gordon Jakes)

Our departure from Gloucester was delayed by ten minutes by a late running Cross Country service. It was not until after Cheltenham Spa that the Duke was able to get to grips with the task at hand. Time was recovered through out the approach to Birmingham and including the ascent of the Lickey incline. The climb from Bromsgrove up to Blackwell summit (2m 70ch) was covered in 190 seconds at an average speed of over 54mph. Throughout the route there were a large number of photographers but this was particularly so for the ascent up the Lickey. The way that the photographers were organized in lines across fields and presumably out of each others photos was remarkable and was in marked contrast to the trespass we were to witness later in the day (see later).

At Kings Norton we took the Camp Hill line and came to an unexpected signal stop on the approach to Bordesley Jn. The first booked water stop was due take place in Lawley Street Through Siding (east of Saltley) but we were advised that this siding was occupied by a coal train. As a consequence we were held at Bordesley Jn. pending resolution of the problem. After forty minutes we were allowed to proceed but instead of being routed into Lawley Street Through Siding we were routed onto the Down Goods Line and proceeded wrong road towards Washwood Heath. Water was duly taken in quick time and we departed within a minute of right time. We crossed from the Down Goods to the Up Main at the junction outside the former Washwood Heath No1 Shunt Frame.

Progress was excellent through Water Orton and Nuneaton and time was steadily improved against the booked times. Unfortunately early running is just as much a sin as late running and we were held at the signal on the approach to Wigston North Junction. By the time our progress was restarted we were running 3 to 4 minutes late and following the booked operational stop at Leicester we continued to loose time against our booked schedule. Progress on the Syston to Manton line was particularly poor with no apparent reason – the 25miles between these points took 32 minutes with no explanation given.

After turning right at Manton, progress was maintained to Corby but thereafter disaster struck in terms of line side trespassers. Following reports of line side trespass including by our own train crew the fast lines through Kettering were closed for a period pending the arrival of the police. The Duke was brought to a stand on the single line from Corby at the signal protecting Kettering North Junction whilst the Main line services negotiated Kettering using the bi-directional slow line in front of us. We learnt afterwards that the police made eight arrests. When we were eventually allowed to proceed Kettering was reached some 35 minutes late and following a speedy water stop we were on our way again having gained less than a minute.

Progress south of Kettering was effected via the newly reinstated bi-directional slow line between Kettering South Junction and Harrowden Junction. Thereafter we continued on the bidirectional slow line through Wellingborough and Wymington Tunnel until we transferred to the Up Slow line at Sharnbrook Junction. The train was brought to a stand at Wellingborough North Junction, again as a result of line side trespass, and passing Wellingborough we were running 41 minutes late. The  late running was clawed back to just over 30 minutes by Bedford but no further improvement was possible there after all the way to Hendon. The running south of Bedford was slotted in between stopping services and although we never actually came to a stand, speed was not of the essence!

At Silkstream Junction we joined the Up Goods line and passed to the west side of Hendon station. We then turned right at Brent Curve Junction and headed towards Dudding Hill Junction. Unfortunately we were brought to a stand on the approach to Dudding Hill Junction and were held there for 16 minutes awaiting an eastbound freight train to clear. It was reported that we were not permitted to pass another train on the double track between Dudding Hill and Acton Wells because of tight passing clearances. It was not clear whether this was just a restriction for our train or whether it applied to all services.

Due to a large amount of recovery time built into our timings between Hendon and Dudding Hill we actually passed Dudding Hill Junction 35 minutes late only 5 minutes further down compared with Hendon. Had we not been held at the Junction we could have been less that 20 minutes behind schedule. In the event a further delay was yet to be encountered since it was decided that more water was required for the Duke in order to be sure that it could complete its day including the empty stock movements after arrival at Waterloo.

A stop was made at Acton Canal Wharf Junction to take on the additional water and this was effected in just 17 minutes. Progress there after was made utilizing a path one hour later than scheduled. Arrival at Waterloo was exactly 62 minutes late, this was despite an unplanned stop at Clapham Junction which allowed a few quick witted individuals to detrain and hopefully improve their chances of getting home at a sensible hour and not on the last train. Indeed if we had not booked a second night in a hotel the late arrival at Waterloo would have left us walking the streets.

Congratulations to UK Railtours for making the day work without Tornado and well done the Duke. The day was exceptional in that the train routing was unusual to say the least! The Duke was an excellent substitute for Tornado and handled the heavy train par excellence. Of course the train and support crews played a big part in the success but also a big thank you has to be given to the train planners who produced a schedule with very little operational stops/delays.

The highlight of the tour has to be the ascent of the Lickey Incline and you could argue that it was downhill from there! However that would be unfair as clearly the late arrival back at Waterloo had nothing to do with the organization or performance on the day but rather to an irresponsible group of mindless trespassers.

Gordon Jakes

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Gordon Jakes)

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 London Victoria 08.45d [P2] 08.45˝ [P2]
0.72 Grosvenor Bridge Jn ? 08/50 [Battersea Reversible]
1.63 Longhedge Jn's 08/56 08/53˝ [Down Ludgate]
2.58 Ludgate GW Jn ? 09/03 [DN Windsor Fast]
2.75 Clapham Junction 09/01 09/04 [P5]
6.08 Barnes 09/08 09.10˝ ~ 09.22˝ [Down Hounslow]
9.53 Brentford 09/14 09/19
12.41 Hounslow 09/21 09/23
13.39 Feltham Jn 09/23 09/26 [DM]
19.06 Staines 09/28 09/34
23.19 Virginia Water 09/38 09/41
29.03 Ascot 09/48 09/49
36.55 Wokingham 10/08 10/10˝
40.48 Earley 10/15 10/16
42.43 Reading Spur Jn 10/18 [DRS] 10.19˝ ~ 10.26˝ / 10/29 [DRS]
43.03 Reading New Jn ? 10.30 ~ 10.34 / 10/36 [DM]
43.40 Reading 10c26a ~ 10c34d 10.41˝ ~ 10.43 [P4] [DM]
60.52 Didcot Parkway 10/50 10/58
67.64 Wantage Road 10/57 [DR] 11/04 [DR]
71.48 Challow 11/07 [DM] 11/15 [DM]
84.65 Swindon 11*20 ~ 11*28 11.19 ~ 11.33 [P1]
85.61 Loco Yard 11/33 11/38 [Kemble Single]
98.41 Kemble 11/45 11/50 [Down Kemble]
106.25 St Marys LC 11/55 11/58˝
114.36 Standish Jn 12/03 12/09 [Up Charfield]
120.45 Gloucester Yard Jn 12/09 12/16˝
121.23 Horton Road Jn 12/10 12/18˝
Gloucester 12L12a ~ 14L12d [P4] 12.20 ~ 14.21 [P4]
0.29 Horton Road Jn 14/13 14/23˝
1.03 Barnwood Jn 14/15 14/25 [UM]
6.46 Cheltenham Spa 14/24 14/33
13.68 Ashchurch 14/32 14/40
24.44 Abbotswood Jn 14/43 14/49
35.61 Stoke Works Jn 14/54 14/58
37.74 Bromsgrove 14/57 15/00
40.64 Blackwell Summit ? 15/03
41.37 Barnt Green 15/03 15/05
44.12 Longbridge 15/06 15/07˝
46.45 Kings Norton 15/10 15/12 [Up Camp Hill Line]
51.60 Bordesley Jn 15/23 15.21 ~ 16.02˝
52.06 St Andrews Jn 15/25 16/04 [UM]
52.42 Landor Street Jn 15/27 16/08 [DG]
(53.25) Lawley Street 15w34 ~ 16w37 [Through Siding] -
(53.25) Washwood Heath ? 16w13 ~ 16w38
53.39 Washwood Heath No.1 SF ? 16/39˝ [UM]
58.50 Water Orton 16/47 16/48 [US]
61.35 Whitacre Jn 16/52 16/52 [Up Nuneaton]
71.15 Abbey Jn 17/05 17/03˝
72.00 Nuneaton 17/08 17/05 [Up Leicester]
76.16 Hinckley 17/14 17/11
87.52 Wigston North Jn 17/27 [DM] 17.23 ~ 17.27 / 17/29˝
90.57 Leicester 17.32 ~ 17.34 [DF] 17c35˝ ~ 17c38 [DF]
91.70 Humberstone Road Jn ? 17/42˝ [U&DS]
95.42 Syston South Jn 17/45 17/51
95.72 Syston East Jn 17/46 [UM] 17/52 [UM]
105.54 Melton Mowbray 17/56 18/03
117.15 Oakham 18/08 18/17
120.58 Manton Jn 18/12 [Up Corby] 18/24 [Up Corby]
131.31 Corby 18/27 18/41
(136.75) (Kettering North Jn) ? 18.51 ~ 19.05
138.75 Kettering 18w37 ~ 18w57 [P1] 19.12 ~ 19.31 [P1] [US]
140.16 Kettering South Jn ? ? [U&DS]
(145.30) (Wellingborough North Jn) ? 19.45 ~ 19.48 [U&DS]
145.65 Wellingborough 19/09 19/50
154.24 Sharnbrook Jn 19/24 [US] 20/03˝ [US]
161.11 Bedford 19/41 [P1] 20/14 [P1]
170.58 Flitwick 19/54 20/25
180.57 Luton 20/07 20/39
191.05 St Albans 20/19 20/50˝
203.04 Silkstream Jn 20/33 21/04 [Up Hendon]
203.77 Hendon 20/38 21/08
204.72 Brent Curve Jn 20/44 21/11 [Down Brent Curve]
205.75 Dudding Hill Jn 20/57 21.15 ~ 21.31 / 21/32
[Down Cricklewood]
208.36 Acton Canal Wharf Jn 21/03 21w42˝ ~ 21w59˝ / 22/00˝
208.74 Acton Wells Jn 21/05 22/03 [Down North London]
210.53 South Acton ? 22/08˝ [Down Kew]
210.57 South Acton Jn 21/11 22/09
211.37 Kew East Jn 21/13 22/11 [Down Spur]
211.74 New Kew Jn 21/16 22/14 [Up Hounslow]
214.21 Barnes 21/24 22/21˝ [Up Windsor Fast]
217.34 Clapham Junction 21/32 22*28 ~ 22*30˝
[Up Windsor Slow] [ Windsor Reversible]
221.24 Waterloo 21.39a [P19] 22.41 [P19]

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