31st March 1979

(Day Excursion)

Locos Used 47501

Route :

Loco Route
47501 Nottingham - Loughborough - Leicester - Brent - Barnes - Clapham Junction - Stewarts Lane - Bromley - Sevenoaks - Tonbridge - Ashford - Dover
47501 Dover - (reverse of outward route) - Nottingham

Source : David Hills (on train at Leicester/returning to Loughborough)

Tour Review
(by David Hills)

After the extremely boring trip to Plymouth two weeks previously it was felt that a bracing trip to the south coast would obliterate those memories. For reasons now long forgotten we set out for Loughborough to join the train (possibly engineering works south of Derby might have closed the line). However 45137 turned up on a London service which was needed for haulage so this was taken as far as Leicester. Class 25's seemed to be everywhere, 25095 & 25124 were at Loughborough, whilst 25093, 25243/280, 25321 were at Leicester. Our excursion arrived behind 47501, what else could one expect for a trip to the Southern Region. The regular diet of big and small Sulzers were noted on the Midland Main line, the usual eyes left south of Scratchwood to see if there were any drivers on the M1 looking to race the train. Hardly a fair challenge as we didn't have to slow for the roundabout at the North Circular. But we did slow at Brent for the turn onto the cross London route. The paces of 47501 were not tested here as we came alarmingly close to the back yards of many a Londoner, as well as many a junk yard that contained oh so many dismembered MOT failures.

Crossing the WCML at Willesden put 86029 & 86247 'in the book', whilst the first SR EMU's were noted at Barnes. Clapham produced 09020, 33009/013, 33119, 47075 & 73125, followed by a glimpse of 71010/011, 73115 and MLV 68002 at Stewarts Lane. Then it was off through the southern suburbs, amidst the sea of English Electric powered EMU's our Class 47 sang its hearty Sulzer melody. The garden of Kent produced little for us, just an over-supply of shunters around Ashford. A pretty much on time arrival at Dover was followed by a hike to the ferry terminal and the inspection of various locomotives at the stabling point. Amongst the sea of ferry & cargo vans were 08830/833, 09011, 33054 , 33211 & 33212.

After an afternoon spent behind the camera it was left for the trek back to Dover Town to await the arrival of our stock. Nothing untoward had happened to 47501 during the layover so we were left with this fine machine back to Loughborough. In retracing our steps the ubiquitous EMU's predominated, the last recordings on the Southern Region were 33006/029 at Clapham. By now darkness had well & truly set in, though we cruised past many a well lit home in the north London suburbs. Back on the main line at Brent we took on the northbound road travellers on the M1 before we disappeared into the noisy blackness of Elstree tunnel. As a farewell to the trip Leicester revealed 25321, 31161, 31240, & 31313. All that Loughborough could offer was a hot meat pie & chips as we left 47501 for a Morris 1100 thrash up the A6 to Derby.

David Hills

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