21st March 1998
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Rylstone Cowboy
|Locos Used||37685 & 56114|
Route :1Z47 throughout
|56114||Kings Cross - (ECML) - Doncaster - Shaftholme Jn - Knottingley South Jn - Knottingley West Jn - Pontefract Monkhill - Crofton East Jn - Crofton West Jn - Calder Bridge Jn - Turners Lane Jn - Methley Jn - Engine Shed Jn - Wortley Jn - Keighley - Skipton - Skipton North Jn|
|37685 (1)||Skipton North Jn - Rylstone (Swinden)|
|56114 (2)||Rylstone (Swinden) - Skipton North Jn|
|37685 (1)||Skipton North Jn - Skipton|
|56114||Skipton - Keighley - Wortley Jn - Engine Shed Jn - Methley Jn - Castleford - Gascoigne Wood Jn - Selby West Jn - Selby Canal Jn - Temple Hirst Jn - (ECML) - Kings Cross|
(1) 56114 on rear.
(2) 37685 on rear.
Source : Gary Thornton
(joined/left train at Potters Bar)
(by Gary Thornton)
Not the most exciting of itineraries, but at least it would get me two bits of required track, Knottingley South to West Junctions and the Rylstone branch itself. Also there was the prospect of a required grid and tractor too.
I arrived at Potters Bar in good time and right on cue
56114 rolled in with the now all green rake of mark 1 coaches. Actually, in this
case not all green - we had the somewhat disgusting purple generator car
attached at the rear of the train. At least I was at the front of the train,
about as far away from the thing as it was possible to be. The run northward was
very generously timed so the grid did not have to excel to keep to the timings.
....It didn't and we did.
On leaving Peterborough I was still on my own in the set of four seats then on the approach to Grantham I discovered why, when my mobile phone rang. On the other end was the author of "Railtours and Stuff" who was at York and on his way to join the tour at Doncaster. Ian was curious to see if we were on time..and which grid we had up front. After a quick conversation we realised we had asked to be seated together some time ago - and had both forgotten about the arrangement!
Doncaster was reached some seven minutes early and with our passengers on board we set off for that dark mysterious land known as North Yorkshire. Our route took us via Knottingley, the strange bendy bit near Wakefield (a series of junctions joined end to end) and, after a close skirmish with the centre of Leeds, we were into red/cream 308 territory. Somewhere during this bit of the journey there was a minor flap in our part of the train when a "Rail-gen" text message popped up on the mobile phone informing us that our tour's booked motive power was to include 37685 and 47519. A 47? That wasn't in the pre-tour blurb and not appreciated, even though it would blend in nicely with the colour scheme of the coaches. A few minutes later and another message popped up - phew, the writer had mis-keyed the first note and it should have said 37519. Normality was restored (or at least, what passes for normality on a railtour).
Our approach to Skipton however soon showed us that neither message was correct - a solitary InterCity liveried tractor was spied, 37685 no doubt (and confirmed as we rolled into platform 3). Most of us bailed out to do our bit towards increasing Kodak and Agfa's profit margins as the tractor was attached to the rear of the train (yuck - photographing the 37 also meant capturing the purple generator car on film). A quick shunt was required first to make room for the 37 inside the platform starting signal. All was handled with remarkable ease (very unusual for a railtour) and soon we were all herded back on board for the run to Rylstone.
What can I say about the Rylstone branch? Well it was quite scenic. Um, yes, thats about it I'm afraid, not much else to say really, except there were also a lot of sheep in the surrounding fields. At this stage we started up a game of "spot the familiar photographer" out of the window. I'm not sure who won, but I did see two friends of mine within the first couple of miles of the branch. Then I saw them again a bit further along, and again still closer to the end of the line. In our little group we also started up a conversation about sheep, but I think the less said about that particular subject the better...
At the end of the line is the Tilcon Swinden Limeworks. Permission had been given for our train to run into the works and we therefore finished up travelling further up this branch than most tours have in the past few years, as they would have stopped at the Railtrack/Tilcon boundary. 08054 and another shunter were viewed briefly as we went through the hopper house and stopped just beyond it. After about 25 minutes we set off on the return leg to Skipton. For the record, the same familiar photographers were spotted several times on the way back. Once back at Skipton we dropped the 37 off and 56114 ran round the train ready for the run home. Leaving roughly on time, the return timings were even more generous then the outward ones and soon we were running early (yes, it does happen occasionally on railtours!).
Our route home was at least different as we curved off at Methley Junction and headed through Castleford, Gascoigne Wood Junction and round the Selby Canal curve. By now we were around 10 minutes early and, much to everyone's surprise, were not held at Temple Hirst Junction. Doncaster, where I got the seating bay back to myself, soon arrived. We were even allowed out (20 early) in front of a GNER stealth bomber, but only as far as Loversall Carr Junction where we were held to let it past. The run to Peterborough was leisurely but even after a 6 minute stop there we were still 16 early. With just under 90 minutes allowed to London, needless to say we just got earlier and earlier. I left the tour at Potters Bar, by which time it was 40 minutes ahead of schedule. The remaining twelve and a bit miles were timetabled to take 36 minutes (I kid you not!) so I guess it really was an unusually early arrival at Kings Cross for a charter train.
Verdict : Not the most exciting of tours, but at least it
did the advertised route and didn't dump us home several hours late. On the plus
side I did learn a few things I never wanted to know about Yorkshiremen and
sheep (thanks Ian)...
Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked and Actual)
|0||00||London Kings Cross||07.29d||-||:||20.29a||-||462||00|
|20||25||Welwyn Garden City||07/55||07/54||:||19/34||19/06||441||55|
|23||73||Woolmer Green Junction||07/58||07/57||:||19/27||19/04||438||07|
|109||56||Barkston South Junction||09/39||09/39||:||17/52||17/40||352||24|
|120||08||Newark North Gate||09/47||09/46||:||17/45||17/33||341||72|
|152||00||Loversall Carr Junction||10/15||10/10||:||-||17.04d||-||-|
|170||25||Knottingly South Junction||10/44||10/52|
|170||71||Knottingly West Junction||10/46||10/53|
|178||68||Crofton East Junction||10/57||11/05|
|179||51||Crofton West Junction||10/58||11/06|
|180||63||Calder Bridge Junction||11/02||11/09|
|181||33||Turners Lane Junction||11/04||11/10|
|193||75||Engine Shed Junction||11c27a||11.25|
|220||08||Skipton North Junction||12.45a||12.49|
|238||36||Skipton North Junction||14.30a||14.29|
|264||49||Engine Shed Junction||16c05a||15.59|
|281||78||Gascoigne Wood Junction||16/36||16/26|
|284||71||Hambleton East Junction||16/40||16/30|
|287||69||Selby West Junction||16/47||16/36|
|288||21||Selby Canal Junction||16/48||16/37|
|292||64||Temple Hirst Junction||16/53||16/42|
Timings continue from Shaftholme Junction, in first table.
a : arrival time
c : crew change
d : departure time
L : attach/detach locomotive;
37685 attached at Skipton on outward leg
56114 removed from train at Skipton North Junction on return leg, train hauled to station by 37685 which was then removed and 56114 attached.
/ : passing time
All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken
from the tour booklet. No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.
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