27th February 1999
The Yankee Sidewinder
|Locos Used||57002, 59102, 59201, 66011 & 66028|
1Z45 : Sheffield to Trowbridge
1Z30 : Trowbridge to Sheffield
|59201||Sheffield - Dore Station Jn - Chesterfield - Clay Cross South Jn - Ambergate Jn - Derby - Trent - (via MML) - Leicester - Nuneaton - Water Orton - Landor Street Jn - Proof House Jn - Birmingham New Street - Soho South Jn - Galton Jn - Stourbridge Junction - Kidderminster - Worcester Shrub Hill|
|66028||Worcester Shrub Hill - Evesham - Oxford - Oxford South D/UPL|
|59102 + 66028||Oxford South D/UPL - Didcot North Jn - Foxhall Jn - Milton Jn - Swindon - Chippenham - Trowbridge|
|66011 + 66028 (1)||Trowbridge - Bath Spa - North Somerset Jn - Dr Days Jn - Filton Jn - Filton West Jn - Hallen Marsh Jn - Avonmouth BBHT|
|57002||Avonmouth BBHT - Hallen Marsh Jn - Filton West Jn - Bristol Parkway - Yate - Cheltenham Spa - Worcester Shrub Hill|
|59201||Worcester Shrub Hill - Bromsgrove - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - (reverse of outward route) - Derby|
|59201||Derby - Sheet Stores Jn - Trent - Toton Centre - Trowell Jn - Clay Cross South Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Sheffield|
(1) 57002 on rear.
Source : Gary Thornton
(joined/left train at Nuneaton)
(by Gary Thornton)
Since 1986 there has been a trickle of locomotives coming from across "the pond". With the current large influx of Canadian built Class 66's, Pathfinder decided to run a tour using some different examples of the imported traction. Coupled with a reasonably interesting route and covering some non-passenger track this was yet another tour to appeal to many people. Starting in Sheffield with an EWS (formerly National Power) Class 59/2 the tour was to wend its way south picking up punters at Chesterfield, Derby, Leicester, Nuneaton, Birmingham New Street, Droitwich Spa and Worcester Shrub Hill. At the last stop the 59 would give way to a Class 66 and run via Evesham to Oxford where a Mendip Rail 59/1 was to take over for the onward run via Swindon and Chippenham to Trowbridge where a break was scheduled. Our return route, with a second Class 66, was via Bath and the Bristol suburbs to Filton where we would take the freight line to Avonmouth. At Avonmouth we were to reverse and head back to Worcester (via Cheltenham) using a Class 57. We would loose the "super-spoon" at Worcester in favour of the 59/2 we had in the morning.
From my prespective, I needed the Foxhall Curve at Didcot and also the freight line to Avonmouth so it was an easy decision to book on the trip. From the traction viewpoint I also stood a good chance of "scoring" most of the days locos. Information received during the week leading up to the day suggested the 59/2 would be 201 or 206 (both required) and either 57002 or 57003 would be provided by Freightliner. Having travelled behind 57003 on the Great Central Railway prior to ChristmasI was hoping 002 would be used. Any of the four 59/1's would do me as I have not had any of them for haulage. My own choice would have been for 59102 "Village of Chantry" as this was the only 59 I had never seen.
With an 08.59 departure from Nuneaton it was a reasonably easy start for me. As I backed my car out of my garage just after 7am I was quite amused to notice that the mileage showing was 59,102 - just a coincidence, or a sign of what was to come?
Arrival at Nuneaton was plenty early and, meeting up with some friends, gave a chance for us to get a "big breakfast" at the adjacent Asda supermarket. Once back at the station we had but a few minutes wait before 59201 "Vale of York" rolled in running a few minutes early. I was sat with a different group of friends to those I'd met in the car park so the run to Birmingham was taken up catching up on news. Passing Saltley depot 47701/818, 58027, 60005 and 66039/057/062/069 were noted. With a booked 16 minute stop at New Street there was plenty of time to wander over to the adjacent platform and get some photos of 59201. The run to Droitwich was via Stourbridge junction and Kidderminster. Passing the Severn Valley Railway yard at the latter station preserved D3022, D5410, 50031 & 50035 were seen.
About this time the "gen machine" was in overdrive with the locos for the rest of the day. 66011 and 66028 were the quoted "sheds". A big grumble at the first one mentioned - it was the first 66 to work a railtour back last November and not required by some on board (including me!). 57002 was also being quoted (good) and, best of all, 59102 :-)
With the Droitwich Spa stop out of the way we were soon at Worcester Shrub Hill and our first loco change. Sure enough 66028 was waiting on the next track to the platform. Good - a required haulage and not a 66 I'd seen before either. A steady run down through Evesham soon had us at Oxford and our next loco change. This was done in the "down/up passenger loop" just south of the station, so there was no opportunity to get off. Just before we left however an announcement was made over the pa system to confirm 59102 had been attached - not on it's own, but with 66028! Quite an impressive doubleheader. I did toy with the idea of deliberately not looking out for 59102 so I would claim it for haulage despite not seeing it. In the event I failed as I saw it a couple of times as we rounded curves on the journey.
Departure was pretty well on-time and soon we approached Didcot and my first piece of required track - the Foxhall Curve. As we rolled on to the curve there was an exchange of air horns as we passed 66006 waiting for us to pass. Although only a couple of hundred metres long, I got plenty of time to "enjoy" it as we were stopped on the curve several minutes waiting access to the GW mainline. The onward run through Swindon and Chippenham was uneventful but then as we approached Thingley Junction (turn left for Trowbridge and Westbury) the heavens opened. Great - do you think had I come equipped for rain during our 75 minute layover at Trowbridge? Umm....No!!
Arrival at Trowbridge was within a couple of minutes of booked time. I quickly walked along to a bridge just south of the station and got a photo of the 59/66 combo as it left ECS for Westbury. So, Trowbridge on a wet Saturday afternoon. What can I say? Erm...
An hour and a bit later and I was back at the station just in time to see 37417 pass through on the 14.33 Bristol Temple Meads-Weymouth working (running some 65mins late according to Guy Vincent). A few of the locals on seeing all the crowds armed with cameras came out with all the usual "normals" question - "is it a steam train that's coming?". A few minutes later and in rolled our train from the Westbury direction. 66011 was at the head but also at the front was 66028. Whatever you think of these locos, a pair at the head of a train certainly looks impressive. Once back on board (near the back) one of our group appeared commented that we didn't just have the pair of sheds on the front - 57002 was already coupled up on the rear. With 13 coaches on the whole ensemble must have looked somewhat different as we sped on our way through Bath towards Bristol. The bank towards Filton did nothing to slow our progress and then, just after the station, we branched off on the freight line to Avonmouth - the other bit of required track for me on this tour. A chance to view the stored aircraft at the BAe factory as we headed for Avonmouth. Once here we dropped the sheds off and 57002 got its turn to haul its first passenger train.
As we headed back from whence we came, from my seat in the 3rd coach I observed that 57002 seems a bit louder than its classmates 001 or 003. We were held prior to Bristol Parkway to allow service trains past and whilst here it turned from murky to dark O'clock. An unscheduled stop was made at Parkway to allow people off if they wanted then we sped on our way towards Cheltenham. Worcester arrival was 10 minutes down but a farce getting the 59 back on (blamed on station congestion - hmm, we only saw a single sprinter come and go whilst we were there...) meant we left 29 minutes late. A bit of a problem for one of our number who was determined to catch a train home for which he had a "+21" at Birmingham. We were all prediciting he'd miss it as we still had to do battle with the Lickey Incline - several miles of 1 in 37 climb. A challenge for any loco, especially with a well loaded 13 coaches in tow.
Once turned on to the line at Stoke Works Junction, the 59 driver let rip and we certainly hit the bottom of the bank at Bromsgrove at a well decent pace. Despite that, the speed quickly dropped away as the trailing load (probably some 500 tonnes) and gravity did their best to beat 59201. As we neared the summit we were down to around 30-35mph (or maybe even a bit slower than that - hard to judge in the dark) and the 59 was fairly screaming with the effort of maintaining speed. A couple of sudden jolts (followed by a great cloud of clag passing the window) confirmed that the battle was actually in danger of being lost as the wheels were slipping on the rails and power had to be shut off and re-applied. I'd guess we reached the summit at around 20-25mph and, once onto flatter ground, the speed increased extremely quickly showing what could be achieved with the 3,300hp available. Arrival at New Street was 16 down so I guess my colleague made the train home that he wanted to catch. Nothing much to say about the remaining journey to Nuneaton (same 66's on Saltley as in the morning) and I was just left with the short drive home. Those staying on to Sheffield still had almost 3 hours to go, booked arrival being 11.51pm.
Verdict : Yet another good day out and
all the better for staying close to time all day and covering the advertised
route. Bit of a shame about the use of "dud" 66011 but then, these
Timing's (Booked and Actual)
(from Gary Thornton & David Clark)
|3.70||Dore Station Jn||06/41||?||23/45||?||140.00|
|12.20||Chesterfield||06.51a ~ 06.53d||07.07 ~ 07.08||23.30a ~ 23.32d||23.35 ~ 23.37||131.50|
|16.30||Clay Cross South Jn||06/58||?||23/26||?||127.40|
|-||Sheet Stores Jn||23/00||?||104.18|
|36.31||Derby||07.20a ~ 07.22d||07.30 ~ 07.33||22.29a ~ 22.48d||22.29 ~ 22.50||95.39|
|45.10||Sheet Stores Jn||07/32||?||22/18||?||86.60|
|60.70||Syston South Jn||08/06||?||22/00||71.00|
|65.61||Leicester||08.14a ~ 08.23d||08.24 ~ 08.27||21.45a ~ 21.53d||21.59 ~ 22.01||66.09|
|68.77||Wigston North Jn||08/30||?||21/41||?||62.73|
|84.47||Nuneaton||08.57a ~ 08.59d||08.53 ~ 08.58||21.16a ~ 21.18d||21.29 ~ 21.36||47.23|
|104.02||Landor Street Jn||09/26||09/26||20/47||21/03||27.68|
|105.47||Birmingham New Street||09.31a ~ 09.47d||09.31 ~ 09.47||20.40a ~ 20.45d||20.56 ~ 21.00||26.23|
|107.48||Soho South Jn||09/52||09/53|
|133.65||Droitwich Spa||10.37a ~ 10.38d||10.36 ~ 10.38|
|Worcester Shrub Hill||10L47a ~ 11L15d||10.46 ~ 11.14|
|13.39||Evesham Signalbox||11t33 ~ 11t34||11.37 ~ 11.38|
|13.60||Evesham||11*35 ~ 11*45||11.39 ~ 11.46|
|28.59||Moreton-in-Marsh||12t02 ~ 12t03||12/04|
|Oxford (D/UPL)||12L42 ~ 13L27||12.46 ~ 13.29|
|9.10||Didcot North Jn||13/41||13/41|
|11.17||Milton Jn||13*47 ~ 13-55||13/54|
|39.01||Wooton Bassett Jn||14/27||14/24|
|Trowbridge||15L03a ~ 16L45d||15.07 ~ 16.47|
|23.38||North Somerset Jn||17/15||17/18|
|23.61||Dr. Day's Jn||17/19||17/20|
|28.49||Filton West Jn No.2||17/27||17/32|
|34.13||Hallen Marsh Jn||17/38||17/41|
|Avonmouth B.B.H.T.||17L44 ~ 17L54||17.45 ~ 17.56|
|1.44||Hallen Marsh Jn||18L00 ~ 18L12||18/00|
|7.08||Filton West Jn No.2||18/24||18/33|
|8.24||Bristol Parkway||18/27||18.38 ~ 18.43|
|40.42||Gloucester Yard Jn||19/01||19/13|
|Worcester Shrub Hill||19L32a ~ 19L47d||19.42 ~ 20.16|
|0.00||Worcester Shrub Hill||19L47d||20.16|
|5.59||Droitwich Spa||19.56a ~ 19.58d||20.25 ~ 20.26|
|9.74||Stoke Works Jn||20/06||20/33|
Timings continue in first table.
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