Page 1 of 2

Railtour Report

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 1:14 pm
by mikegayton
A Bridge Too Far 28th May 2016
Yesterday we joined the UKR ?A Bridge Too Far? tour. Starting from Strood I was pleased to find a copy of the new (15th May) edition of London & the South East rail services ? always good for sorting yourself out when things have gone wrong. Catching the 7.02 high speed service, definitely one train early, after waiting for the 10.35 slow speed on the 17th and eventually departing on the 12.05 at 12.07 after an hour and a half of ?the xx.xx train is delayed? with little further information and no trains. Anyway service bang on time this morning.
After coffee and croissant departure was on time at 8.40. A short stop at the international platform 4 at Stratford, and we were off to Gravesend platform 0, and then to one of the Church Path Pit Sidings, followed by Tunbridge Wells turnback siding, Tunbridge Jubilee sidings and Royal Mail siding, and on to a break at Faversham. Here we took to the long footbridge to view the derelict locoshed and, looking down at it, the two road workshop building seems in fair shape, but the main shed has a badly holed roof and is surrounded by vegetation.
Next we were at Sheerness-on-Sea, passing over the ?Bridge Too Far? over the Swale. This lifting bridge demands the attendance of a signalman(?) at all train working hours, and was of particular interest to one of my companions and me as we had worked with the bridge builders, John Howard, for some time.
All that was remaining was another Platform 0, at Rainham, still showing no evidence of a 0 on the platform (despite receiving two trains a day, M-F), the second Church Path Pit siding and a short stop at Stratford International platform 4, and an on time arrival at St Pancras,
Altogether a very enjoyable day.

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:39 pm
by mikegayton
Weybourne Wanderer 23 July 2016
Joined the Hastings Diesels Weybourne Wanderer Railtour yesterday. In traversing London noted large amount of work (road construction?) taking place on the east side of the West London Line. The journey out was via Colchester and on time.
At Norwich 37405 and 37444 topping and tailing three DRS coaches all in absolutely pristine condition on the 12.10 to Yarmouth gained as much photographic attention as our Hastings unit.
Between Norwich and Sheringham I was looking out for a railway display, including a (replica?) loco, but failed to see it. Can anyone say where it is/was?
At the North Norfolk, the service was being worked by B12 4-6-0 8572 and 9F 2-10-0 92203 with D3940 the station pilot at Sheringham. We went on to Holt and back on the Hastings unit, and then again behind 92203.
Observed were 45337 (from Llangollen), 20227, D5631 and D6732 at Weybourne, and (D2051) and 2280 outside the carriage shed where the quad-art set hides at Holt.
Departure of the tour from Sheringham was on time but time was lost waiting to cross a train at Cromer and the delay cimbed to half an hour as we proceeded via Ely to Cambridge but as we further progressed, this was wiped out by later pathing allowances after Hitchen and we were soon back on time.
Another excellent day out, helped by a frequent trolley service (and bacon rolls).

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:03 pm
by mikegayton
The Purbeck Adventurer.
Last Saturday (24th June) I joined this tour at Bromley South, on time at 8.14, a straightforward connection from Rochester. Travelled behind 73107 and 73109 via Factory Junction, Clapham Junction and Virginia Water to gain the main line at West Byfleet. Diesel power was on at first, but changed to electric later, and back to diesel at Bournemouth.
Much of the journey down, running was early, due to a very slack schedule with departure from Wareham 12 minutes early with a Swanage pilot who had brought the section token with him.
Arrival at Swanage was followed by fish and chips at our favourite restaurant opposite the town museum, which is itself always worth a visit.
Then back to the station to go to Norden behind 31806 to visit the mine reconstruction, which was open, but as usual when I have been there, the narrow gauge was not working and largely unviewable.
At the station two Stothert & Pitt 10 ton cranes (not so many of these on the standard gauge I think), No. 1 of 1948 (cranked boom) and No. 2 of 1952 (straight boom) were in the siding.
33201 took us back to Swanage after coffee in the Norden station buffet.
D6515 LT. JENNY LEWIS RN was the other locomotive working the service.
Also seen were 30053, 34070 MANSTON and a fully stripped frame and cylinder block (34010?) was amongst the stock south of Norden.
Departure from Swanage was on time at 17.25 and the train was mostly early on the way back (route as out except via the Hounslow loop).
70001/4/13 were at Southampton and arrival back at Bromley South was 2 minutes (?) late.
Another enjoyable day out.

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:58 pm
by Ian Prince
I think such information is excellent and a great record.

I must admit I have used Gary Thornton's 'Six Bells Junction' Railtour information archive on the web, for about a dozen years, (knowing Gary from a railtour to Scotland), but am unsure whether he is an RCTS member, or whether any form of collaboration could be achieved in the future, (as he is always short of time to update information sent to him which I have done on a number of occasions over the years). It is certainly the most comprehensive listing of rail tours, stock used and even timings on some occasions that I am aware of, in the twentieth century and beyond!

Again, like many other databases of railway happenings, it is essential for the future that data is collected and uploaded from as many reliable sources as possible, to create a viable national archive, and the RCTS would seem to be a good organisation to try and facilitate such records? Whether Gary would be amenable is unknown to sharing his long standing compilation but I would be devastated if it was ever taken down from general access. It is so valuable as to be viable as a subscription service.

What do others think?

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:05 pm
by Ian Prince
Just as a cross reference from another topic on here, I have posted a few details regards a railtour I travelled on in 1974 - Western Dalesman, which was by far the worst tour I have ever been on due to the failure of numerous locomotives en route. Details here:-

British Ropes /Bridon Wire Staff Excursions From Retford

Posted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:39 pm
by Ian Prince
I recall a staff excursion tour from Retford to Belle Vue or Ashburys (in a cutting) near Manchester for the then Belle Vue Zoo, in the summer of around 1968 or 1969, for this company, that had branches in Doncaster, Retford and Sheffield. They primarily manufactured wire rope and many 1960s built suspension bridges worldwide were suspended by their products.

This tour for employees and their families was hauled by I think a pair of 31s, (one of which may have been in green livery), and I recall clearly that single line working was occurring in one of the tunnels approaching New Mills? on the outskirts of Manchester/Stockport. This may help to more exactly date the train, if anyone can accurately place the date when scaffolding was in place for the works.

I also recall the train on its return coming to grief in Sheffield Midland and a plea was put out to travellers for a pen knife to help cut or ease something that was defective beneath one of the coaches. The train was held in the centre road to allow service trains to continue to utilise the platforms.

I have to date, been unable to find anyone able to accurately date the occasion or identify the locos and stock. The servicing of the stock must have taken place at Longsight, Ashburys or somewhere to the east of Belle Vue as that was the direction it disappeared to, and reappeared from, whilst the participants were at the tourist attraction.

The station still had four tracks with an island platform, buildings on the island platform, together with a cast iron footbridge that spanned all tracks and platforms and may have even formed a combined public footpath across the railway cutting as well as being of use to passengers. The station retained its LMR enamelled red signage too. The tracks to the (North) side of the station were intact but rusty and appeared disused at that time, with traffic utilising the southern pair of metals.

Can anyone add any more detail?

Re: British Ropes / Bridon Wire Staff Excursions from Retfor

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:58 pm
by Peter Hall
Belle Vue station was closest to Belle Vue Liesure park and zoo and was much larger then than it is now. Your description suggests that it was this rather than Ashburys that you alighted. Even in the mid 1970s excursion trains were still running to Belle Vue and some of the Sheffield-Manchester DMU expresses made additional stops at holiday weekends. The train would almost certainly have been routed via the Hope Valley, New Mills Central, Romiley and Bredbury. After depositing its passengers the stock would have probably berthed in the sidings that have been replaced by the new Trans-Pennine DMU/EMU depot but there were sidings adjacent to the station There were some sidings just East of the station so perhaps these were used.

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:03 pm
by Ian Prince
I have always thought it to be Belle Vue station we travelled to, but as my railway interest had yet to blossom, I left the possibilities open. Certainly recall it being in a cutting quite clearly with housing on the embankment to the 'North' side and the train departing Westwards after depositing its passengers on arrival and vice versa. The train did travel via the Hope Valley incidentally in both directions.

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:02 pm
by Ian Prince
31st March 1975:-

BR Eastern Region, Doncaster Division, 'Mystery Tour' excursion. Locally advertised at stations as normal. (chalk board)

Picked up at Retford and possibly Worksop then via Sheffield, Derby and Birmingham (no pick up at these latter points)

Hauled in both directions by 47213 with Mk1 stock to its destination of Hereford. (Bulmers had an open day on this date to which many participants went)

Re: Railtour Report

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:59 pm
by mikegayton
The Shoulder of Lune (Saturday 18th March 2017)
Bob and I started at Ebbsfleet, the only way to be reasonably sure of catching the railtour at 7.09 from Euston, joining the first train of the morning at 6.02, for which there was a surprising number waiting to get on.
The tour topped and tailed by 67022 and 67008 departed from Euston on time and proceeded on the West Coast via the Crewe Independent Lines to Farington Junction, taking the Blackburn line on to Settle Junction and Bentham, where we stopped to have a water top-up in the coaches. Bentham, a station with a service of just 5 trains a day each way, was really well presented with considerable help from the local community.
We continued to Carnforth, where there were many West Coast locos including 57601, the pioneer class 47 conversion, in view.
Morecambe was reached via Hest Bank and Bare Lane Junctions. The train then reversed to take the Heysham line. Heysham Station itself is, to say the least of things, extremely run down, with very little remaining but the attached ferry terminal was in better shape. Many viewed the operating nuclear power station through the fence.
On return to Morecombe, we could see what a sad excuse for a station it is.
Off to the promenade, where the whole of the original station building survives in extremely smart condition as an entertainment centre. How much it must have delighted the day-trippers delivered right to the beach!
Many walked further along to pay homage to Eric.
Then back to the main line via Morcambe South Junction picking up our outward route at Farington Junction, but going via Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown rather than the direct line between Golborne and Winwick Junctions. The Crewe Independent was again used (but the up Independent seems to be over 40 tracks away from the down as you come out of the yard!).
Euston was reached 6 minutes early despite a hot box detector having set off and causing a 12 minute delay while the train was stopped and examined on the approach to Winsford.
Back to Strood on the high speed to find the station rebuilding had started in earnest with the old building closed and a temporary entrance with a ticket office outside.
A most enjoyable day out, helped by travelling in the buffet car 1832 with a good selection of food and drink and first class friendly service.