28th September 1997
The Yorkshire Pullman
|Locos Used||47772, 47774 & 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley'|
|60007 (2)||Hull - Brough - Goole - Stainforth and Hatfield - Doncaster - (via ECML) - Stevenage - Hertford North - Alexandra Palace - London Kings Cross|
|47774||London Kings Cross - Hull|
(1) Route confirmation required, particularly for the return leg.
(2) 47772 on rear.
Source : Mike Broom
(On the train throughout) & Henry Allum
(by Mike Broom)
For me to do a steam tour, there has to be something special involved...The Yorkshire Pullman was just this. For the first time in 34 years, an A4 left Hull Paragon for London Kings Cross. Being from Hull myself, meant that this was a "must do" tour.
I've only ever had one other steamer on the main line and that was Duchess of Hamilton, which Ian and myself did between York and Scarborough. This tour however eclipsed my highest mileage for a "kettle" in one go.
The day started off at Hull Paragon station. 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley' had stabled at Botanic Gardens overnight, and 47772 bought the stock in on the morning of the tour. SNG and it's support coach backed onto the stock, rather faster than is healthy, and moved the stock back about a foot or so. Luckily 47772 had not pulled up to the stops or it may have been in the booking office now! 47772 was to stay with us for the day, as Failtrack require a diesel in the consist when running steam on the ECML or WCML.
The BTP (British Transport Police) were unusually helpful to the enthusiasts at Hull. We were let down onto the trackside well beyond the platform ends to take photo's. We were let down three at a time so they could keep it all under control, the only down point being the sun.. it was right behind the loco. Once we had passed Hessle it was behind the clouds.
We set off at 0924, ten minutes late due to awaiting a guard. We never made this time up, and actually lost more en-route. The loading of the train was 10 coaches, but there was also the support coach and the dead duff in the consist, putting it up to load 14ish... There were 522 passengers on board, for the epic journey to London.
We had several stops on the way, some planned some
Station stops were at Brough, Goole, Stainforth and Hatfield, and Doncaster.
Water stops were at Retford and Connington Loop (10 miles south of Peterborough).
Pathing stops were at Ranskill Loop (12.5 miles south of Doncaster)
With all these stops I'm surprised we actually got to London!
The stops at Goole and Stainforth were surprising, as I though Failtrack had banned loco hauled excursions stopping at stations with short platforms... Several trains have been banned from stopping at stations such as Manchester Piccadilly before now, and as these two stations have far shorter platforms, it seems a tad strange.. anyway...
All the station stops were smooth, sticking to the 2 or 3 minutes allowed in the timings. When we left Doncaster SNG suffered a fair bit of wheelslip, as could be heard by the sound. We were looped at Ranskill (as booked) to let a 91 fly by.. Our stop was 21 minutes rather than the 35 in the timings, and we left Ranskill at the booked time.
Upon our arrival at Retford we were met by a milk tanker in the station car park. This tanker had the water for our next leg to Connington. This took longer than planned, but was still impressive. In the old days ("when I were a lad" etc..) expresses used to re-water on the move using water troughs in the middle of the track. Unfortunately there are none of these in existance now, so we had to resort to water tankers.
At Retford 37244 kept the interest of the modern traction enthusiast by storming through with a ballast train. Once we left Retford our crew tried to re-gain some time but were hampered by signalling. However they did manage to storm over Stoke Summit at 63mph...
Connington Loop was reached 41 late, and we were met by a Beer Tanker(!) at lineside, which topped up the thirsty little bugger on the front. The stop here was shorter than planned, and we gained 11 minutes of our lost time here.
The routing of our train via Hertford North was booked, and didn't lose us any time. Our arrival at Kings Cross was at 1621 (33L) which left us with less than two hours in the capital, instead of the 3 and a half on the booking form.. Not that we cared anyway, as most of us stocked up on grub, and scratched a pub or two in.
Our return journey was diesel hauled, and was due to depart at 1818. However at 1818 our platform was still empty... We all though that 47772 which was at the rear all the way to London would take us home, however this had run round at Ferme Park, and was blocked at the stops at KX, so 47774 came along and took us home. I wasn't too bothered as both 772 and 774 were required, as was 60007 so two scratches in a day isn't too bad.
We departed the capital at 1838 and had made it up by Retford. We had no signal checks en-route (unlike our outward journey...) and our booked pathing stop at Carlton loop was just a slowing down rather than a stop, as the 91 was right up our arse.
Our arrival in was on time and went un-noticed (unlike the departure 12 and a half hours earlier!!) We even managed to hold up the Hull-Neville Hill ECS of the 1910 KX-Hull HST which had left KX half an hour after us and got past us south of Doncaster.
To sum up, a seven hour journey from Hull to Kings Cross (with a winner!) for a two hour fester for a three and a half hour journey (with a winner!) back home.
Not a bad day all in all, but I'll be in no rush to do it again! :-)
Mike Broom, Hull, East Yorkshire
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