30th December 2010

UK Railtours
The
Orton Towers

Locos Used 66403 & 66728 'Institution of Railway Operators'
Stock Used 35469+3097+3120+1691+3066+3069+1863+5009+4927+5040+5292+5341

Route :
1Z92 : Woking to Middleton Towers
1Z93 : Middleton Towers to Orton Mere
1Z94 : Orton Mere to Woking

Loco(s) Route
66728 Woking - Byfleet Jn - Addlestone Jn - Virginia Water - Staines - Feltham Jn - Hounslow - Old Kew Jn - Kew East Jn - South Acton Jn - Acton Wells Jn - Dudding Hill Jn - Cricklewood Curve Jn - West Hampstead Thameslink - Carlton Road Jn - Junction Road Jn - Harringay Park Jn - Harringay Jn - Down Slow No.2 - Wood Green South Jn - Alexandra Palace - (via ECML) - Hitchin - Royston - Cambridge - Ely - Kings Lynn Yard
66403 (1) Kings Lynn Yard - Middleton Towers
66728 (2) Middleton Towers - Kings Lynn Yard
66403 (1) Kings Lynn Yard - Ely West Curve - March - Peterborough
66728 (2) Peterborough - Fletton Jn - Orton Mere - Wansford - Yarwell Mill
66403 (1) Yarwell Mill - Wansford - Orton Mere - Peterborough Nene Valley
66728 (2) Peterborough Nene Valley - Orton Mere (3)
66403 (1) Orton Mere - Fletton Jn - Peterborough - (4) (via South Down Arrival & North Down Departure) - New England North Jn - [Up Slow Reversible Line: between Signal P484/489]
66728 (2) [Up Slow Reversible Line: between Signal P484/489] - New England North - (via North Up Arrival & South Up Departure) - (4) Peterborough - (via ECML) - London Kings Cross (5)
66403 (1)

London Kings Cross - Finsbury Park - Hornsey (Down Slow No 2/Signals K443  Down / K440 Up) (6)

66728 Hornsey (Down Slow No 2, Signals K443 Down / K440 Up) - Harringay Park Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Woking

Notes :
(1) 66728 on rear.
(2) 66403 on rear.
(3) Ran through platform 2 to west end of station and reversed by the signalbox then ran back via platform 1 (i.e. did NOT use the crossover at the east end of the station).
(4) The tour was booked to Peterborough Virtual GBRf but diverted through South/North Arrival/Departure loop both direction to beyond New England North Jn where the tour was stopped between signals P484 (southbound) and P489 (northbound).
(5) The tour was booked to reverse at Platform 1 at London Kings Cross due to the length of the train but was signalled into Platform 5. This resulted in the train overhanging P5 (66403 was beyond signal / exit of the station / platform). Thus in turn delaying departure from London Kings Cross.
(6) The tour was booked to reverse at Ferme Park Down Slow No. 2 but traversed as far as Hornsey Signal K443, the reversed at Signal K440.

Source : Matthew Cole (on the train throughout) & Martyn Brailsford (joined Alexandra Palace/left Kings Cross)

Tour Review
(by Nick Hair)

0630 at Woking, and the crowds of people are all over the platform at Woking Station. It is still dark, but at 0636, blinding LEDs pierce the morning fog, and 66728 arrives at the station. As soon as it arrives, an HST passes Woking, and we follow it all the way to Staines, where we pick up yet more people. A major factor in booking this trip was the somewhat unorthodox method of crossing London that was available, by way of the entirety of the Dudding Hill sector from Acton Wells to Dudding Hill, and thence taking the little used curve towards St Pancras, and the line to Junction Road at Upper Holloway.

The trip is running more or less to plan, but it seems TSRs and some slow driving is causing us to lose time. Nevertheless, generous pathing to Alexandra Palace means we are "right time" upon departure. Very little aside of a new "East Coast" liveried 225 set and some units keep us occupied and entertained right the way to Hitchin, and thence towards Shepreth Branch Junction. Running through Cambridge around two minutes early, and with "normals" enthrawled by the train put before them, we arrive at Coldham Lane for a booked pause a wee bit early, and leave on time. Further regulation and detention at Ely Dock means we are now a bit late, but a special surprise in the form of "Freightliner Heavy Haul" 66953 passing from the Bury direction certainly puts an unexpected line in many spotter's companions, and is certainly a "Brucie Bonus" for many at Ely and further along the line.

66728 is still droning hard by the time we reach Kings Lynn Yard (TC), where a very special loco in the form of ex-DRS 66403 is waiting. It attaches, but the poor timings mean an absolute certainty of late running. Running down the line to Middleton Towers, many put their heads out to see the rare track they are taking, but worse is to come. The gates may have closed at Middleton Towers, but the train does not run fully in, and the train straddling the crossing means a split second decision in the form of leaving straight away (with some not having their coaches made it into the little sand terminal). This disappointment is compounded by late running, and as such, we cannot leave Kings Lynn for our run to Peterborough for a while. Single line constraints and more mean we end up departing 35 minutes late, following a "365". The line, with a 75mph running speed for the majority, allows the "66" the notch up and speed towards Ely North, and thence our trip around the avoiding curve. We do so, and emerge from said curve only 18 minutes late, but still with work to do.

That 18 minutes sticks with us, potentially a cock up from NR or a lack of recovery time giving us no hope of clawing any back. Arrival at Peterborough gives another bonus in a somewhat yellow colour - 31233 stabled with a test rake. Cameras fly out of windows, but late running gets worse as we need to pull forward from Peterborough towards Helpston in order to go south (John Farrow's 12th coach addition will play its hand more tonight). With a speedy run hoped for to gain time, the Nene Valley was not the place to get it, with TSRs and poor track giving an exceptionally low speed to Yarwell. Arrival at Wansford was about 30 late, meaning our hour to stretch legs, and tuck into the Nene Valley's very well provided hot pasties and rolls is axed into two. Going to Peterborough NVR may have been a bad choice - time was lost as a so called 5 minute turn around rapidly degraded into more, and departure from Orton Mere back to Peterborough (NR) was later still.

Our trip to the "Virtual Quarry" and lengthened turn around (with the potential for a "right time" departure looming) is gone again, as we go "bi directional" past New England North towards Werrington on the up slow. Locomotives seen, numbers taken, and 66728 leading again, we are straight out towards Peterborough, with an unadvertised call. Many alight, obviously not wanting the hasty run to Kings Cross.

Leaving Peterborough only a small amount late, we are thrown across to the up slow at Huntingdon (a decision we still do not understand considering not a single "East Coast" passed us between Peterborough and Kings Cross!). Arrival at Potters Bar is "near enough", and the up fast line looms upon departure from the Bar, a UKR favourite for passengers pick ups, as 66728 goes for another determined effort. Kings Cross (Pl 5) is our destination, an odd choice, but carriage 12 snookers the tour again, with 66403 "hanging" off the edge, and past the signal. Luckily, no inbound or outbound train needs the line before us, so we get straight underway, to Ferme Park, passing it before having 66403 detached on the Down Goods, somewhere near Hornsey. 66403 is cut, and 66728 leads out, a touch late, heading back to Woking. Harringay Park is encompassed again, and the heads come out in force for the remainder of the tour, UKR now having become far more relaxed, and in the sort of mode most prefer them in. A total retrace is had, and the down fast is given straight away upon hitting the Midland Main, before splitting back to Dudding Hill.

Passing the friendly signalmen and women of Dudding Hill, Neasden, Canal Wharf, Acton Wells and Kew East, we crawl past Brentford, encountering a 20mph speed limit. By now the tour is 15 minutes late, a number which stays as we follow a South West Trains local service. Calling penultimately at Staines, 66728 roars into life, with me watching from the bridge, prior to a speedy run back to Waterloo on a "458". The rest of the tour, and subsequent ECS movement, went without incident.

Nick Hair

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Matthew Cole, Martyn Brailsford & Solomon Riley)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Woking 06.43d [P1] 06.43 [P1] [US]   21.35a 21.51 [P5] [DS] 333.70
4.04 Byfleet Jn 06/56 06/50 [US]   21/23 21/45 [DS] 329.66
4.75 Addlestone Jn 07/02 06/52   21/20 21/44 328.75
9.66 Virginia Water 07/09 07/03   21/13 21/33 324.04
13.79 Staines 07.17a ~ 07.21d [P1] 07.14 ~ 07.20   21.02a ~ 21.04d [P2] 21.19 ~ 21.22 319.71
18.13 Feltham 07/29 07/26   20/55 21/10

312.71

19.46 Feltham Jn 07/33 07/29   20/53 21/07 314.24
20.44 Hounslow 07/37 07/33   20/51 21/05 313.26
23.32 Brentford 07/41 07/42   20/42 20/55 310.38
24.03 Old Kew Jn 07/42 07/44   20/41 20/54 309.67
24.45 Kew East Jn 07/44 07/46   20/38 20/52 309.25
25.25 South Acton Jn 07/46 07/49   20/36 20/50 308.45
27.11 Acton Wells Jn 07/51 07/59   20/33 20/46 306.59
27.51 Acton Canal Jn 07/58 08/01   20/31 20/44 306.19
30.08 Dudding Hill Jn 08/09 08/10   20/23 20/36 303.62
30.72 Cricklewood Curve Jn 08/17 08/14 [UH]   20/19 20/31 [DH]

302.76

31.77 West Hampstead North Jn 08/22 08.18 ~ 08.21 [UH-UF]   20/17 20/28 [DH]

302.05

32.11 West Hampstead Thameslink 08/24 08/23 [P3] [UF-US]   20/15 20/26 [P4] [FL-DH] 301.59
32.31 West Hampstead South Jn 08/25 08/26 [US]   20/14 20/23 [DF] 301.39
33.78 Carlton Road Jn 08/27 08/31 [US]   20/12 20/20 [DF] 299.72
34.55 Junction Road Jn 08/30 08/34   20/09 20/14 299.15
35.13 Upper Holloway 08/32 08/35   20/07 20/12 298.57
36.28 Harringay Park Jn 08/37 08/39   20/04 20/08 297.42
36.50 Harringay West Jn 08/40 08/40 [DS no.2]   20/02 20/07 297.20
- Hornsey     DIV 19L56 ~ 20L04
[DS No.2 sigs K443/440]
?
- Ferme Park     19L46 ~ 20L00 19/50 [DS No.2] 296.55
- Finsbury Park     19/39 19/49 [P4/5] 295.22
- Belle Isle     19/39 19/42 [DF] 293.36
- London Kings Cross     19.24a ~ 19.34d 19.26 ~ 19.41 [P5] [UF/DF] 292.61
- Belle Isle     19/21 19/24 [UF] 292.06
- Finsbury Park     19/15 19/20 [UF] 290.20
38.19 Alexandra Palace 08.47a ~ 08.49d 08.49 ~ 08.52 [P3] [DS]   19/13 19/18 [P2] [UF] 287.63
45.78 Potters Bar 08.58a ~ 09.03d 09.03 ~09.06 [P4] [DS]   19.05a ~ 19.07d 19.08 ~ 19.10 [P1] [US-UF] 280.04
53.46 Welwyn Garden City 09/14 09/14 [P3] [DS]   18/56 18/56 [P2] [US] 272.36
54.29 Digswell Jn 09/18 09/17   18/55 18/55 [US] 271.25
57.14 Woolmer Green Jn 09/20 09/20 [DS]   18/53 18/52 268.68
60.66 Stevenage 09/27 09/35 [P4] [DS]   18/48 18/48 [US] 265.16
65.15 Hitchin 09/40 09/40 [DS]   18/41 18/43 [US] 260.67
67.71 Letchworth Garden City 09/44 09/44    
78.13 Royston 09/54 09/53 [P2]    
88.47 Shepreth Branch Jn 10/06 10/05    
91.16 Cambridge 10/18 10/15 [P1/P4]    
92.15 Coldham Lane Jn 10*22a ~ 10*40d 10*19 ~ 10*38 [DGL]    
105.43 Ely Dock Jn 11/00 11/02    
105.74 Ely 11/01 11/03 [P1]    
- Sandy     18/25 18/32 [P1] [US] 248.51
- Huntingdon     18/07 18/18 [P2] [US] 233.71
- Connington South Jn     17/58 18/10 [UF] 224.33
- Peterborough     17.44a ~ 17.49d 17.55 ~ 17.57 [P2] [US] 216.32
- Eastfield     17/42 17/52 215.59
- New England North Jn     DIV 17.42 ~ 17.44 ?
- Peterborough Virtual GBRf     17.26a ~ 17.40d DIV 215.52
- Eastfield     17/24 17/33 215.45
- Peterborough     17/22 17/28 [P4] 214.72
- Fletton Jn     17/15 17.18 ~17.20 [SRVL] 213.45
- Orton Mere     16.40a ~ 16.50d [P2] 16.56 ~ 17.03 [P1] 211.65
- Peterborough Nene Valley     16.30a ~ 16.35d 16.38 ~ 16.43 [Loop] 210.40
- Wansford     15.05a ~ 16.05d 15.28 ~ 16.07 [P2] 204.33
- Yarwell Mill     14.45a ~ 15.00d 15.18 ~ 15.23 203.17
- Wansford     14/40 15.12 ~ 15.13 [P2] 202.01
- Orton Mere     14/25 14/49 [P1] 197.19
- Fletton Jn     14/10 14.30 ~ 14.34 195.39
- Peterborough     13.56a ~ 14.05d 14.15 ~ 14.24 [P5] [SRVL] 194.12
- Peterborough East     13/54 14/12 193.26
- Whittlesea     13/47 14/06 188.03
- March     13/37 13/57 179.18
- Ely West Jn     13/21 13/41 165.61
107.36 Ely North Jn 11/04 11/07   13/17 13/35 164.56
111.46 Littleport 11x09a ~ 11x19d 11.22 ~ 11.23   12/53 13/29 160.46
121.52 Downham Market 11/28 11/32   12/41 13/18 150.40
126.38 Watlington 11/33 11/38   12/35 13/10 145.54
132.39 King Lynn Yard 11L43a ~ 11L53d 11.50 ~ 12.03 [Arr Line]   12.20a ~ 12.25d 12.45 ~ 13.00 [Arr Line] 139.53
136.06 Middleton Towers 12.03a 12.22a   12.08d 12.27d 136.06


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