9th February 2002

Hertfordshire Rail Tours
The Humber Meridian

Locos Used 66050, 67012 (and, for some, 91110 or 317312 - see note 1)
Stock Used 4977+4925+5023+5027+4986+17023+1679+3127+3124+3150+1696+3114

Route :
1Z67 : (London Kings Cross), Stevenage to Cleethorpes
1Z68 : Cleethorpes to London Kings Cross

Loco Route
91110 (1) London Kings Cross - (via ECML) - Stevenage
67012 Stevenage - (via ECML) - Retford - Whisker Hill Jn - Worskop - Brancliffe East Jn - Firbeck West Jn - (via Low Ellers curve) - Doncaster - Thorne Jn - Scunthorpe - Barnetby - Habrough - Marsh West Jn - Humber Road Jn - Ulceby - Habrough - Grimsby - Cleethorpes (2)
67012 Cleethorpes - Grimsby - Barnetby - Market Raisen - Lincoln Central - Swinderby - Newark North Gate (3)
66050 (4) Newark North Gate - (via ECML) - London Kings Cross

Notes :
(1) Owing to freight train derailment on the North London Line the stock was delayed out of Bounds Green waiting the arrival of tour loco 67012. As a result the tour train itself actually started from Stevenage, a move aimed at causing least delay. Passengers from Kings Cross got there on the 08.30 GNER Kings Cross - Edinburgh service (91110) whilst those from Potters Bar had to put up with EMU 317312.
(2) Whilst at Cleethorpes there was an tour option to visit the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway.
(3) 67012 failed with brake problems.
(4) plus 67012 in tow.

Source : Daniel Bound
(on the train throughout)

Tour review
(by Daniel Bound)

A warning for the future, the weekend nearest the 9th  and 10th of February should be noted with fear by Hertfordshire and all fellow rail enthusiasts.  Let me first take you back to the weekend of the 10th of February 2001, 73108 eased out of Victoria station bound for Southampton Eastern Docks.  The return leg arrived back a mere 298 minutes late. This weekend is not cursed is it?? Read on…….

The date is the 9th of February, the location is London Kings Cross station, the time is 07:50.  The usual faces have all assembled at the bottom of platform 1 awaiting the stock of Hertfordshire rail tours “The Humber Meridian”.  Alas, worried frowns are on the faces of Hertfordshire officials.  Rumours of a derailed freight train on the north London line and the stock still being at Bounds Green.  As the time of departure had now passed we were lead onto the awaiting 08:30 Kings Cross to Edinburgh service to travel as far as Stevenage by overhauled class 91 number 91110 ‘David Livingstone’.  After a speedy start we arrived at Stevenage ten minutes before the tour was booked through.  WAGN unit number 317312 brought passengers from Potters Bar as the tour was now going to start from Stevenage.  Lots of GNER and WAGN services passed and after a long wait 67012 arrived into platform 4, everyone boarded and we finally set off, 50 minutes late.  The reason we were late was the freight train derailment on the north London line.  EWS’ crewing arrangements meant the loco was delayed getting to Bounds Green, and to minimise any further delay it hauled the stock straight around the Hertford loop.  So all passengers were ferried to Stevenage.  Good thinking by all concerned!

All was not well however and we soon came to a stop.  It had transpired that a lorry had hit a bridge at Hitchin and everything was crawling past while the bridge was checked, so by the time we passed through Hitchin we were running 80 minutes late and at Peterborough almost 100 late.  In Peterborough’s yards were 60072, 47701, 66050, 66704 and 66701.  We crossed onto the fast lines at Tallington Jct. and now 67012 opened up as we sped along the ECML towards Retford.  We arrived and after a short pause for a crew change we turned left on the very tight Whisker Hill Curve to join the Great Central Railway’s Cleethorpes to Sheffield line at Thrumpton West Jct.  Passing through Worksop just 56058, 66017 and 66167 were waiting on coal trains and after passing through Shireoaks we turned right onto the South Yorkshire Joint line towards Doncaster.  This is for the most part a very pleasant single line serving the collieries of Maltby and Harworth. Passing the large loading hoppers at Maltby, were 3 rakes of coal hoppers waiting in the sidings with freightliner’s 66549 being the only visible loco number.  Approaching Doncaster we were routed via the very rare Low Ellers Curve with an announcement that this was Hertfordshire’s first ever run over it.  The vegetation has not got any better since Pathfinders’ tour last year and the coach was scraped at several points, we then went through reception sidings no.4, transfer line then into platform 1.  Doncaster depot had its usual collection of decaying class 56’s and 58’s along with 66012, 117, 038 and 67016.  A quick crew change later and we headed off for the industrial heartland of Humberside. 

As we approached Scunthorpe the steel complex dominated the skyline with its vast arrays of yards and sidings with 56056 and 078 on coal trains as we sped through.  We continued towards Cleethorpes passing the huge signal box at Wrawby Jct. before passing loads of enthusiasts at Barnetby.  We followed the main line until passing Great Coates we turned left at West Marsh Jct. for our circular route through Immingham’s industrial sites.  Rows and rows of white vans and Skoda cars are viewed as we turn sharply left and follow the line past Pyewipe signal box with the Grimsby docks line already past on our right. We continue back on ourselves past the Tioxide plant, which ceased sending it’s products by rail this year and shortly reach Immingham East Jct. where the line from the Eastern docks comes in and the Norsk Hydro plant is directly in front of us.  We go past Immingham traction depot where, like Doncaster, rows of derelict 56’s await their fate, including celebrity 56019 now in very faded railfreight grey.  Passing the huge Oil refineries of Humber and Lindsey three freightliner 66’s 601,605 and 552 await Monday’s duties and we come through Ulceby and rejoin the main line for our run into Cleethorpes, where we arrive at platform 3 just over an hour late.

Hertfordshire had arranged an add-on to the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway, a 15” gauge steam railway.  This is an excellent little railway run by an enthusiastic band of men and women.  With everyone ‘cosy’ in little carriages the railway runs past the sea and onto some lovely lakes and back again!  This railway is well worth a visit for anyone visiting Cleethorpes to see a miniature Flying Scotsman!!

After our delayed arrival and the CCLR’s Herculean effort to get everyone who had booked a ride on the miniature railway we departed Cleethorpes just after our booked time.  Then we came to a grinding emergency halt.  Then we started moving again and after a mile or so again we came to a grinding emergency halt.  Now even at this early stage (17:30) I think it was clear to everyone on board that there was a problem with the brakes on 67012.  Everyone on board that is, except the driver.  They soldiered on with emergency stop after emergency stop in the middle of nowhere until we arrived at Lincoln where Mr Farrow said the driver was going to sort out the problem.  Being stuck in the centre road meant we couldn’t get out but nevertheless here we stood for 40 minutes.  We then set off immediately stopping and fouling the points on Lincoln High Street.  So much for fixing the problem eh!?  After a minute or so we started again and so the pattern followed until finally we arrived at Newark North Gate station just 1 hour and 17minutes late.

It was very clear even at that early stage that Railtrack were never going to let us down the ECML with the problems we had, so why were we signalled into the goods loop?  Hertfordshire even had a GNER express stop to pick us up.  We could have if we had been platformed!!  By this point Mr Farrow had clearly lost the plot with EWS and Railtrack as a loco now had to be sent from Peterborough to drag us to London and we had to sit there and watch 91’s and HST’s fly past us in the semi darkness.  Finally a familiar triangular pattern of lights emerged and joined the front of our train.  And with cheers ringing around every coach we finally departed just 2 hours and 45 minutes late.  66050 (seen at Peterborough on our outward journey) made good work and managed to keep to time and we arrived back at Kings Cross 154 minutes late.  As always with Hertfordshire, customer service is number one, and as well as having the last train to Cambridge held at Peterborough they stated that any expenses occurred in getting home would be reimbursed.  I was lucky in catching a tube home, half an hour later and it would have been a different story!

Overall an excellent tour with no fault by HRT.  Some earlier planning and thinking by the EWS driver would have seen our delays minimised, we could have turned the train at Lincoln,  (The problem was with one end of the loco) had another 67 sent from Doncaster or had 66050 sent earlier from Peterborough.  The repercussions will be long felt!

So therein lies a story of woe!  That the second weekend in February for Hertfordshire will always be an unhappy one. Remember the 8th of February 2003 and book with care, for the curse may yet strike again!!!!!!

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(by Daniel Bound)


M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Kings Cross 08.18d [08.30]   21.12a 23.46 120.08
0.55 Bell Isle 08/20 [08/32]   21/09 23/42 119.33
2.41 Finsbury Park 08/21 [08/33]   21/04 23/40 117.47
4.78 Alexandra Palace 08/29 [08/36]   21/02 23/37 115.10
12.57 Potters Bar 08.41a ~ 08.44d [08/42]   20.50a ~ 20.52d 23.21 ~ 23.26 107.31
20.25 Welwyn Garden City 08/53 08/45   20/42 23/14 99.63
23.73 Woolmer Green Jn 08/57 08/47   20/38 23/11 96.15
Stevenage 09.48a ~ 09.51d [08.50] ~ 09.55   20.29a ~ 20.31d 23.03 ~ 23.05 92.63
4.29 Hitchin 09/10 10.24a ~ 10.30d   20/21 22/58 88.14
16.65 Sandy 09/18 10/44   20/06 22/48 75.78
31.25 Huntingdon 09/28 10/57   19/54 22/36 61.18
49.04 Peterborough 09.48a ~ 09.51d 11.23 ~ 11.25   19.40a ~ 19.42d 22.18 ~ 22.20 43.59
57.19 Tallington Jn 10/01 11/40   19/26 22/07 35.24
72.16 Stoke Tunnel 10/13 11/53   19/13 21/55 20.27
78.13 Grantham 10/18 11/57   19/05 21/50 14.50
82.11 Barkston South Jn 10/20 12/00   19/01 21/45 10.32
92.63 Newark North Gate 10/27 12/06   18c43a ~ 18c49d 20.00 ~ 21.35 0.00


M.C Location Booked Actual
111.04 Retford 10c39a ~ 10c43d 12.19 ~ 12.21
112.05 Thrumpton West Jn 10/47 12/25
118.55 Worksop 10/54 12/32
119.51 Shireoaks East Jn 10/55 12/33
121.53 Brancliffe East Jn 10/58 12/36
124.71 Dinnington Jn 11/06 12/45
131.05 Maltby 11/23 13/02
132.74 Firbeck Jn 11/26 13/07
137.29 Low Ellers Curve Jn 11/41 13/17
140.30 Potteric Carr Jn 11/43 13/19
138.65 Doncaster Up Yard 11/46 13/22
140.25 Doncaster 11c51a ~ 11c53d 13.28 ~ 13.31
148.79 Thorne Jn 12/03 13/41
162.62 Scunthorpe 12/19 13/59
174.05 Wrawby Jn 12/31 14/13
174.49 Barnetby 12/33 14/14
179.32 Brocklesby Jn 12/39 14/19
181.06 Habrough 12/41 14/21
187.62 Grimsby Marsh Jn 12/50 14/29
188.27 Great Coates 13/01 14/33
189.17 Pyewipe Road SB 13/08 14/39
194.01 Immingham East Jn 13/23 14/54
196.30 Humber Road Jn 13/40 15/01
199.79 Ulceby 13/52 15/09
201.75 Habrough 13/59 15/13
209.62 Grimsby Town 14/18 15/25
212.79 Cleethorpes 14.22a ~ 17.10d 15.32 ~ 17.12
216.16 Grimsby Town 17/21 17/22
224.23 Habrough 17/30 17/37
225.77 Brocklesby Jn 17/32 17/39
230.60 Barnetby 17/38 17/48
231.24 Wrawby Jn 17/39 17/49
240.10 Holton-le-Moor SB 17/48 17/57
245.23 Market Rasen 17/54 18/06
249.22 Wickenby SB 17/59 18/11
253.74 Langworth SB 18/08 18/20
260.07 Lincoln Central 18/20 18.32a ~ 19.11d
260.75 West Holmes Jn 18/21 19/19
261.25 Boultham Jn 18/23 19/20
276.11 Newark Crossing East Jn 18/41 19/54

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

Times in square brackets are for the service train that was used to get passengers to Stevenage to where the tour itself started "proper".

Distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken from the timing sheet given out on the train. Daniel Bound has adjusted the mileages from Stevenage by subtracting 27m 45ch. From Newark he calculated mileages from the Quail map. No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.

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