24th October 1998
The Flying Scotsman to Edinburgh
Route : 1Z48 throughout
|D9000||Kings Cross - Potters Bar - Peterborough - Doncaster - York - Darlington - Durham - Newcastle - Berwick - Edinburgh Waverley|
|D9000||Edinburgh - Berwick - Newcastle - Durham - Darlington - York - Doncaster - Peterborough - Potters Bar - Kings Cross|
Source : Nigel Rollings
(on the train throughout)
(by Ralph Barrett)
On 24th October 1998, Steamy Affairs organised a King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley (and back) railtour, using Deltic D9000 throughout. This was the first time that a Deltic has worked 'out and back' from the 'Cross to Waverley, since the Deltic Scotsman Farewell railtour back in 1982. This was also D9000's first solo railtour of 1998, and the first ever Deltic railtour organised by Steamy Affairs.
Nearly all of D9000's appearances on passenger workings during 1998 have been on service trains for Virgin Cross Country, plus the odd relief working for Anglia Railways. It does appear that the use of D9000 on service trains has 'dented' the appeal of a Deltic on railtour duties, hence this being D9000's only sole mainline railtour this year. However, in my view there is no real comparison between a Deltic on a 'proper' service train, and on a railtour - the service train wins hands down! Remember that Deltics's raison d'etre was always for pulling service trains foremost, and they were rarely used on railtours until their final days in BR service.
Back to the Flying Scotsman railtour. As I did not fancy an 06:13 start at King's Cross, I decided to join the tour at Peterborough at the more sensible time of 07:38. As Deltic railtours are pretty unusual these days, I decided to travel 'posh nosh', as what can be better that having a slap up meal at 100mph behind a Deltic on the East Coast Mainline ?
As this was working destined for the Scottish Capital, D9000 duly arrived at Peterborough with the winged thistle fitted, hauling 12 Mk1 bogies. Departure was lethargic (by VXC standards!) via the fast lines, which surprised me as the 07:00 ex-KX needed to overtake us on Stoke bank. We were duly switched to the slow lines at Tallington, where we immediately ran into adhesion difficulties, as the rails were damp and covered in leaves. We seemed to crawl up to Stoke summit, although I do not know for sure how much of this was due to the driver being over-cautious or the rails being slippery.
Around Newark the heavens opened up, and it continued to rain 'cats and dogs' all the way to Waverley. Stops were made at Doncaster, York and Newcastle in both directions, and the EWS drivers were swapped at York and Newcastle. Interesting to speculate that these EWS drivers have not had much chance to drive D9000 this year, compared to their Virgin colleagues at Birmingham New Street.
During the journey a running commentry was made using the public address system, by none other than Alan Pegler, the former owner of a 'kettle' called the Flying Scotsman. Whilst Alan's commentary was appreciated by many in the 'posh' section of the train, I understand that some of his comments received hoots of derision up for'ard in 'steerage' class, amongst the hardened Deltic bashers.
Arrival at 'the Waverley' was achieved ten minutes early, although this was due more to the slack schedule donated by Railtrack, and was not really a reflection on D9000's running (no driver Forsyth on this tour). Deltic 22 was detached from the train, and went off in search of some fuel - this being the first time that D9000 has needed to re-fuel during a trip (we'll overlook that DPS railtour to Liverpool last year when she 'allegedly' ran a wee bit short of fuel).
We had a good 4hrs 20min in Edinburgh, which makes a change from 30 minutes in Ramsgate. We departed from Edinburgh to the strains of a solo piper - the same chap who piped us out that fateful day in 1996, when D9000 was to 'expire' at Berwick station. The return was a subdued affair, as we were 'looped' to allow GNER Stealth Bombers to overtake at Drem, York and just north of Peterborough. Drivers ran most of the way from Darlington to Peterborough at 75mph, in order not to gain too much time on the (pathetic) schedule. We waited time in York station for 20 minutes, occupying valuable platform space. In that 20 minutes, we'd have been safely inside one of the loops south of Doncaster to let the following HST past. Instead we waited for it at York.
For reasons best known to the (Doncaster?) signalmen, we had a red signal at Grantham station, and stopped on the up main platform road. As soon as we stopped, a whole army of yobbos tried to board our train, with the intention of travelling to Peterborough. They were skillfully 'repelled' by the Steamy Affairs stewards and a few Deltic bashers too. Luckily the signal cleared after about 60 seconds, and we started to accelerate up the Stoke summit. But not for long, as we soon encountered severe wheelslip due to the leaves and muck on the line. Us 'posh noshers' at the front of the train, were then treated to the sounds of twin-Napiers going from idle to full power, and then quickly back to idle several times, as the wheelslip detection automatically shut off power each time. We crawled up the bank, and were only doing 45mph as we entered Stoke tunnel. Needless to say we were switched onto the slow lines at Stoke, and ran all the way slowly to the final red signal at New England, before the following GNER caught us up. With better regulation, we'd have almost certainly been through Peterborough, and 'safely' made it to the slow lines at Huntington before this train caught us up.
After the deliberate slow running from Darlington, we finally arrived at Peterborough about 10-15 minutes late, thanks to that unscheduled Grantham stop. As there was a strong southerly wind blowing, D9000 could be clearly heard leaving Peterborough for several minutes, as she accelerated across the fens towards Huntington, and the South. I would still have expected her to arrive early at King's Cross, given the lax schedule.
Verdict - A fine railtour, although the pedestrian schedule had a severe dampening effect on the day, as did the weather. In 1982 the Farewell tour had 5 1/2 hours from London to Edinburgh with 90mph stock. We had an extra hour in the schedule, despite having 100mph stock. When will Railtrack realise that running trains so slowly actually make pathing more difficult on a high speed railway like the ECML.
Throughout the trip, I sat next to another (ex) Deltic basher. It was interesting to relate that his last Deltic haulage had been with Deltic 22 on the Farewell, on the same route, almost 17 years ago...
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Nigel Rollings)
|Potters Bar||06.33½a ~ 06.37½d||06.32 ~ 06.34||22.47a ~ 22.51||23.04 ~ 23.05||0.00
|7.48||Welwyn Garden City||06/46½||06/41||22/41||22/55||7.20|
|11.11||Woolmer Green Jn||06/49½||06/46||22/38½||22/50||3.57|
|Stevenage||06.54a ~ 06.57d||06.50 ~ 06.57||22.31½a ~ 22.34½d||22.42 ~ 22.44||0.00
|-||Connington South Jn||22/00||?||9.05|
|Peterborough||07.35a ~ 07.38d||07.31 ~ 07.46||21.48a ~ 12.52d||21.57 ~ 22.02||0.00
|33.27||Barkston South Jn||08/14||08/19||21/16||21/18||78.64|
|75.51||Loversall Carr Jn||08/47||08/49||20/43½||20/47||36.40|
|92.67||Temple Hirst Jn||09/02½||09/12||20/28½||20/25||19.24|
|98.46||Hambleton North Jn||09/07||09/16||20/24||20/21||13.45|
|York||09.20½a ~ 09.25½d||09.26||20.08½a ~ 20.10½d||19.48 ~ 20.07||0.00
|56.17||Ferryhill South Jn||10/19||10/16||19/17||19/09||148.35|
|79.42||King Edward Bridge South Jn||10/47½||10/31||18/56½||18/51||125.00|
|82.01||Heaton South Jn||10/48||10/44||18/50||18/37||122.51|
Back to "The Railtour Files"