5th January 2002

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Nene Valley Circular

Locos Used D9000, D9516 & Steam : 101 (ex-Swedish Railways)
Stock Used 6311+4977+4925+5023+5027+4986+17023+1679+3127+3124+3150+1696+3114

Route :

Loco(s) Route
D9000 London Kings Cross - (via ECML) - Peterborough - Peterborough West Yard
D9000 Peterborough West Yard - Peterborough - Fletton Jn - Orton Mere
D9516 (1) set back move to platform at Orton Mere
101 (2) Orton Mere - Yarwell Mill
D9516 (3) Yarwell Mill - Peterborough Town
101 (2) Peterborough Town - Orton Mere
D9516 set back move to platform at Orton Mere
D9000 Orton Mere - Peterborough - Peterborough West Yard
D9000 Peterborough  West Yard - Peterborough - March - Ely - Cambridge - Hitchin - (via ECML) - London Kings Cross

Notes :
(1) D9000 on rear.
D9516 on rear.
(3) 101 on rear.

Sources : David Garnett (on the train throughout) & Kevin Stroud

Tour review
(by Daniel Bound)

The New Year barely in, and already the first railtour.  What better way to start the New Year than with a deltic up the East Coast, a rare curve and a trip on a preserved railway, and all for under £20!

            Being new to this railtour game I have to confess that this was actually my first ever trip behind a Deltic.  Sad I know, one ten-year-old boy on the tour has done over 10,000 miles.  Why wasn’t my dad interested in railtours?  Must ask him!  Anyway, Saturday dawned and I opened my window to see grey skies and the glistening road outside.  Yes, another beautiful day in the south of England!

            After getting dressed and catching a bus to East Croydon station I purchased an all zone travelcard and made my way to Kings Cross station.  I arrived very early at 8:30 and joined the massed throng at the end of the platform waiting for the familiar drone of the twin Napier engines.  At 8:50 D9000 burst out of gasworks tunnel and stabled in the sidings next to class 47 thunderbird 47787.  All we needed now was the stock.  Time passed and the WAGN units and class 91’s came and went and finally at 9:10 47732 brought the coaches into platform 1.

            I watched as the Deltic backed up and coupled on, and then I made my way to coach K to let the fun commence.

            At 9:31 the horn went and the driver opened up D9000, the engines roared and we started up the heavy incline out of Kings Cross. The tones of the engine rising as we passed through gasworks tunnel as more power was applied and our speed increased.  The late arrival of the stock was due to crew problems, but this was in the past as the London suburbs now began to disappear.  Hornsey and Bounds Green were past on the fast lines but we slowed and crossed to the slow lines just before New Barnet and here we stayed all the way to Welwyn Garden City and then across Welwyn viaduct.  London now definitely behind us the open fields of Hertfordshire and the Home Counties beckoned D9000.  Numerous photographers and videoers were observed at what seemed like every level crossing, station and overbridge! Maybe Kodak should sponsor these tours?

            Stevenage was the last pick-up point and we were running 23 minutes late, through no fault of our loco.  We kept this speed up as we approached our reversal at Peterborough, through the station and right into the west yard in the south up departure road.  Stabled in the depot or passing on the main line were 66095, 207, 031, 048, 089, 166, 220 and 002.  60025 and 56099 made up the non-GM contingent.  Here D9000 was run around, with 57003 passing on a northbound freightliner and 90221 on a GNER service.  After doing the customary brake check we set off for back through platform 4 and turned right onto the sharply curved Fletton line that lead us to the Nene Valley Railway.

We passed through Orton Mere and attached our class 14 loco D9516 to the rear.  This then pulled us back into the platform allowing D9000 to be removed and Swedish class B steam loco No. 101 to be attached to the front.  We then chuffed and puffed off towards Yarwell Mill where we again reversed and ran the short distance back to Wansford, the main station on the line for our wander around.

The loco sheds were interesting with the Nene Valley’s wide and varied assortment of locos and stock from around Europe.  Before long the train was ready to depart and a couple of minutes down we departed for the eastern extremity of the line at Peterborough Town.  Whilst here 66504 passed on a Leeds to Felixstowe freightliner, the very line we were to travel on in an hour and a half’s time!  We passed through Orton Mere again and uncoupled the steam loco, D9516 dragged us back into the platform and after it departed D9000 again backed up and coupled on.  Ready to depart we made our way back to Peterborough West yard.

We sat motionless for almost an hour, and due to having to perform a second brake test we eventually left almost half an hour late.  Passing back through the station we took the up March line and as we headed towards Ely darkness descended.

This being FA cup third round day lots of scores and abuse began to fly around our coach as we discovered which big teams would not be progressing into Sunday’s draw.  Being an avid Newcastle supporter I was particular pleased to hear the score come through from the stadium of plight. The West Bromwich Albion had triumphed against the (mighty!?) Sunderland, especially as Alan Shearer had started our defeat of Crystal Palace at the awesome St. James’ Palace.
Webmasters Note:
The above paragraph has been deleted - we don't "do" football on this Website!

D9000 started eating into our 30-minute deficit and by the time our first drop off point at Stevenage we were only a few minutes down.  This continued all the way into London where we arrived at 18:21 only 3 minutes late.  The usual congregation occurred by the loco and eventually she was switched off and we started to dissipate.  A quick visit to the Head of Steam was accompanied by a slow stagger home!  Happy and content I slowly drifted off to sleep, listening to the Napier engines in my head.

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(by David Garnett & John Clifford)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Kings Cross 09.18d 09.32   18.18a 18.20 202.66
2.41 Finsbury Park 09/22 -   18/10 18.10 200.25
4.78 Alexandra Palace 09/24 -   18/02 18/09 197.68
12.57 Potters Bar 09.30a ~ 09.33d 09.53 ~ 09.53   17.53a ~ 17.55d 17.58 ~ 18.00 190.09
20.25 Welwyn Garden City 09/42 10/02   17/46 17/49 182.41
23.73 Woolmer Green Jn 09/45 10/12   17/41 17/45 178.73
27.45 Stevenage 09.51a ~ 09.56d 10.14 ~ 10.16   17.34a ~ 17.36d 17.37 ~ 17.38 175.21
31.74 Hitchin 10/01 10/22   17/28 17/30 170.72


M.C Location Booked Actual
44.10 Sandy 10/13 10/33
58.70 Huntingdon 10/23 10/46
69.26 Holme 10/33 10/52
76.29 Peterborough 10/41 10/58
77.00 Peterborough West Yard 10.45a ~ 11.05d 11.02 ~ 11.25
77.51 Peterborough 11/08 11/29
78.78 Fletton Jn 11/10 11/34
80.58 Orton Mere 11L18a ~ 11L40d 11.47 ~ 12.13
85.40 Wansford 12/08 12/25
86.56 Yarwell Mill 12.20a ~ 12.25d 12.31 ~ 12.35
87.72 Wansford 12.25a ~ 13.45d 12.41 ~ 13.49
92.54 Orton Mere 14/10 14/05
93.79 Peterborough Town 14.15a ~ 14.20d 14.10 ~ 14.20
95.24 Orton Mere 14L28a ~ 14L50d 14.32 ~ 14.50
97.04 Fletton Jn 15/00 15/00
98.31 Peterborough 15/02 15/07
99.02 Peterborough West Yard 15.06a ~ 15.36d 15.13 ~ 16.03
99.53 Peterborough 15/39 16/06
100.23 Peterborough East Jn 15/41 16/08
105.62 Whittlesea 15/53 16/14
114.47 March 16/05 16/23
128.51 Ely North Jn 16/26 16/37
130.13 Ely 16/30 16/42
130.44 Ely Dock Jn 16/31 16/43
143.72 Coldham Lane Jn 16/47 16/59
144.71 Cambridge 16/49 17/00
147.40 Shepreth Branch Jn 16/54 17/04
157.74 Royston 17/08 17/16
168.16 Letchworth Garden City 17/20 17/26

Timings continue in first table.

a : arrival time
d : departure time
L : loco change
/ : passing time

All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken from the timing sheet given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.

Back to "The Railtour Files"