2nd October 2010

The Channel Coast Express

Locos Used 47500 & 47851
Stock Used (3) 3350+3352+504+3313+3395+3326+3431+6528+9496+6000

Route :
1Z11 : Scunthorpe to Eastbourne
1Z12 : Eastbourne to Scunthorpe

Loco(s) Route
47851 (1) Scunthorpe - Thorne South - Doncaster - (via ECML) - Finsbury Park - Copenhagen Jn - Camden Road Jn - Gospel Oak - Willesden Junction HL - Mitre Bridge Jn - Kensington Olympia - Clapham Junction - Balham - Streatham Hill - Crystal Palace - Norwood Junction - East Croydon - Gatwick Airport - Haywards Heath - Lewes - Eastbourne
47500 (2) Eastbourne - (reverse of outward route) - Crystal Palace - Tulse Hill - Herne Hill - Brixton - Factory Jn - Longhedge Jn - Latchmere Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Gospel Oak - Crouch Hill - Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn - (via ECML) - Doncaster - Thorne South - Scunthorpe

Notes :
(1) 47500 on rear.
(2) 47851 on rear.
(2) Route confirmation required - above is as advertised. Tour name given on the Railtourer Website as 'Eastbourne - The Historic Town of Lewes'.
(3) Pullman coach 586 was listed in the formation between 504 & 3313 by some sources but Dave Scarlett who travelled on the train confirms there was only one ex-Manchester Pullman in the rake.

Sources : Jarrod Baker & Dave Scarlett

Tour Review
(from David Clark)

When this tour was first advertised, it was to start at Doncaster.  However, a bit back it was announced it was to start at Scunthorpe! Well, a trip starting at Scunthorpe going through to Lewes and Eastbourne was quite an opportunity. Over 500 miles of loco haulage for less than £50!  Bargain! And not to have far to go at the beginning and end of the day! With quite a few other events going on around the UK including Gala’s at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway, Nene Valley Railway and the Ryder Cup in Newport (rain affected of course!) it was a busy weekend.

 Friday afternoon saw me take 175116 / 185143 up to Scunthorpe for a nice meal before going to bed. The guard on the Manchester to Scunthorpe train was one I used to chat to in my commuter days on this route. How times change. In those days 56s were normally seen in Donny before returning to Scunny after a day in the CSDC. May be the occasional 37! Ah, times spent waiting for a TPE 158 with a 56 screaming through Doncaster on the Heck Plasmoor Train, or trundling around the back on the two way goods with HAA’s.

 Back to 2010, and the Gen quoted was 47500 / 47851 for the tour.

The previous weekend saw me participate in Cancer Research SHINE walkathon around Cardiff. OK, I was a participating volunteer, helping out around the course. Even though, this meant staying out through the night and getting welcome back at the Cardiff International Arena for 4am to the smell of a Great English Breakfast. LUSH! Who could refuse a Great British Breakfast at 4am? Well I couldn’t!

 So when the alarm clock went off a week later on Saturday 2nd October at 0420, I was in two minds of going back to bed for 5mins or getting up. We got to the station, parked the car to find a few lost souls stood on the platform waiting for the charter.

 We departed at 0521 with 47851 in the lead. Our coach was 2nd from the front, the DBSO, and to be fair was quite comfortable. I’m sure we’d know after nearly 17 hours in those particular seats! After picking up passengers at Thorne South we found ourselves arriving Doncaster at 0552. We were early, so we sat in platform 1 for a few minutes to allow a brief leg stretch! By this time the front coach was approaching full. Our Coach was empty! We set off again at 0601 heading down the East Coast Main Line picking up at Retford. The first passenger ventured in to our coach at this point. At Newark Northgate we were due to sit here for 8minutes to allow the 0430 Newcastle to London Kings Cross to overtake. We set off bang on time again picking up at Grantham (By this time our coach was 75% full) and on towards our next pick up point at Peterborough. At Stoke Jn we were booked on the Fast Line’s through to Peterborough, but we were put on to the Slows (In fairness our schedule was quite lax). Noted on GBRF’s depot were: 66402, 706, 708, 709, 724 and 725 with 66174 on the DB Schenker depot. Whilst In platform 2 at Peterborough the 0610 Leeds to London service was on the adjacent platform.

Departure from Peterborough was at 0816 on the Slow Lines due to the previously mentioned 0610 Leeds to London departing at the same time. At Fletton Jn we regained the Main Line and continued to Huntingdon our last pick up point. The Signallers kept us on the slow lines through to Hitchin South Jn where we were put on to the Fast Lines. But at Digswell Jn we were put back on the slow lines through Welwyn Garden City, Potters Barr, and Alexandra Palace before taking a crew change at Finsbury Park. GBRF 66717 was seen in Ferme Park Sidings. After Finsbury Park we set off taking the Kings Cross incline parallel with the Channel Tunnel Rail Line for a bit and then joining the North London Line at Camden Road.  Progress was quite slow due to following an all stations service. 172006 was seen at Gospel Oak and a few 378s were also seen. Kensal Green Jn was passed at 09/57 and we carried on through to Willesden Jn HL, Kensington Olympia, Latchmere Jn and then Clapham Jn.  By this point we were slightly early.  From Clapham Junction we were kept on the Slow Lines through to Balham, bearing left through to Streatham Hill, West Norwood, and Crystal Palace before joining the London Bridge to East Croydon line at Norwood North Jn and then passing Norwood Jn on the Fasts at 1041.

 Quite a few 377s were seen en route. Also, a few 442s were out on the Gatwick Services which was nice to see. Good progress was maintained on the Fast Lines (and the Quarry Lines) through to Balcombe Tunnel Jn with some spirited running between East Croydon and Balcombe Tunnel Jn.  During the latter part of the journey we were talking to a Brighton Guard for Southern who was advising us of the best chip shops in Seaford and Eastbourne. He lives in Eastbourne, and had travelled to Peterborough to do the tour! And on Sunday he was going to cover Nene Valley Railway Diesel Gala.

 We were regulated at Haywards Heath and put on to the Down Loop to allow the 1036 Victoria to Brighton service to pass.  We were unable to gain access to the station due to the 1021 Victoria to Brighton service being in the platform (This is overtaken by the 1036 Victoria to Brighton service). After Keymer Jn, Plumpton racecourse was passed before we continued down to Lewes for the first drop off and then continued to Polegate, Hampden Park (Not the Scottish one) and arrived Eastbourne 1203 two late on Platform 3.  A few 442s and 377s were seen in the unit sidings outside the station. After taking a few photos, we joined the queue at the ticket office for our next trip. On the Hertfordshire Railtours 'The Channel Packet' we covered Newhaven Marine and Folkestone Docks. My dad therefore required Newhaven Harbour to Seaford.

 So, it was decided to cover the Seaford branch since we were down here! Anyway, our train arrived in to Eastbourne with a well loaded 377402 on the 1150 Ore to Victoria for our trip as far as Lewes. At Lewes we caught 377419 on the 1240 Brighton to Seaford. On arrival at Seaford, we took a walk around, and we found Morrisons (More reasons to shop at Morrisons).  We thought great, a cup of tea before the next train. 'Excuse me; is there a café here please?' After getting our answer, we departed one minute later! We ventured through the town, quite a few café’s were seen, but all were full! After briefly walking along the front we ventured back to the station to catch 377426 on the 1358 Seaford to Brighton as far as Lewes. At Lewes we caught the 1407 Haywards Heath to Eastbourne service with 377411 / 377405 (1317 ex-Victoria).

 On arrival back at Eastbourne we ventured in to the town looking for somewhere to have a cup of tea / something hot to eat (after failing at Seaford). Two pubs outside the station looked quite busy. So we ventured further and our saviour was BHS! J Always a good place for a drink and a meal. Afterwards, my dad and I thought, let’s get some fresh air, after BHS was quite hot! We got outside and the heavens opened. It was then decided due to the incremental weather and the fact there was less than an hour to go before departure, it was time to head back to the station.

 At the station I found myself looking at the platform boards to try and sort out where our train would arrive. The empty stock for the Railtour arrived on to Platform 1. This was well before the departure time allowing for some photos to be taken, and get ourselves nice and relaxed ready for departure at 1652. Just another 7hrs 10mins in this coach!

 With 47500 leading we departed at 1652. We were following the 1647 ex-Eastbourne to Brighton. At Southerham Jn we were allowed in front of the 1658 Seaford to Brighton. Sat opposite us after departure from Eastbourne was a driver for FGW / Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway who knew former colleagues of mine and friends of mine! It’s a small world.

 We picked up passengers at Lewes and we were on our way. At this point, I would like to mention the CIS announcements at Both Eastbourne and Lewes. At Eastbourne we were a 10 coach Cross Country service to Scunthorpe, but by Lewes we were a 9 coach Wales and West service to Scunthorpe! You couldn’t make it up! We carried on to Keymer Jn where we were held for a little while for some reason. Anyway, this was a short interlude and we carried on towards Haywards Heath but just north of the station we were regulated again. At Balcombe Tunnel Jn we were put on the fasts through to Three Bridges and as we approached Gatwick Airport at caution it gave ample time to view the Easy Jet’s sat at the airport. Where was Virgin?

 From Gatwick Airport we were behind the 1750 Gatwick Airport to Victoria service. We passed through East Croydon, Windmill Jn, Norwood Jn and then crossed to take the route to Bromley Jn, Crystal Palace, West Norwood and took the route up to Tulse Hill, Herne Hill, Brixton, Shepherds Lane Jn and taking the Atlantic Lines through to Factory Jn, Longhedge Jn and we got to Latchmere Jn slightly early. At Stewarts Lane TMD quite a few 442s were seen in the shed. During the nocturnal hours it was quite interesting to see South London. It was like a different world.

 Anyway, back to Latchmere Jn. We were held at signal (VC653) for a few minutes before stopping briefly at Kensington Olympia. The journey along the West London line was a stagger to be honest. And we departed Willesden Jn HL 6 late at 1915. The stations along the West London / North London lines were all quite busy, and road traffic in the area was busy too especially near the Westfield shopping centre. Such is life in the big city!! 

 At Gospel Oak we took the road to Upper Holloway and took the Harringay curve heading up on to SL2. We were on the Slow Lines until Holme LC. We were passed by a variety of HSTs / 180s / 91s and 365s. Our drop offs were at Huntingdon, Peterborough, Grantham, Newark North Gate, Retford, Doncaster and Thorne South. By departure from Newark our coach was nearly empty again. And I could easily have fallen asleep! We departed Doncaster bang on time at 2227 and carried on to Sunny Scunny. After a very brief stop at Thorne South (trust me, you wouldn’t a longer stop!) we arrived Scunthorpe at 2258 4 early. After saying farewell to a friend, we set off for home and by 2310 we were in the house, and not much later, I was in bed!

In reflection, it was a very good day out. The train kept to time through most of the day, the train was comfortable, the company we had (albeit briefly) was good and friendly, but unfortunately the weather was not good. So, a big well done to all concerned for what was a very successful day out for many people. Sunday was spent relaxing in the company of family in Leeds before heading back to South Wales on Monday with the same two units that I had on the Friday!! In the words of a famous TV Character “I do not believe it!

David Clark (2010)

Timings (Booked Only)
(from Jarrod Baker)

Location Booked (out) Booked (rtn)
Scunthorpe 05.21d 23.06a
Thorne South 05.40d 22.45a
Doncaster 06.01a 22.27a
Retford 06.22d 22.06a
Newark Northgate 06.49d 21.41a
Grantham 07.09d 21.24a
Peterborough 08.15d 20.32a
Lewes 11.50a 17.14d
Eastbourne 12.15a 16.52d

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