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5,000 miles of steam in a week for a fiver

Discussion in 'Bullhead Memories' started by The Gricing Owl, Mar 28, 2024.

  1. The Gricing Owl

    The Gricing Owl Member

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    Yes, something I set out to do on the BR Southern Region in the school summer holidays in 1965. It was in July with the first of three SR all line rovers I had that summer - alternating with work at the garage dad managed.

    It was after the timetables had all been changed - much longer schedules - to allow the end of the world to happen on 10 July 1967 (electrification and the end of SR steam). So it was going to be far from easy and needed 7 continuous days/nights of travel - starting on a Sunday on the o2.55 ex Waterloo and ending a week later with the 23.13 arrival ex Weymouth.

    It was made possible as all the table 46 services (Waterloo-Weymouth main line trains) were still steam hauled, and because the up mail train, 22.13 Weymouth, usually boarded at Brockenhurst at 00.12, allowed the luxury of some sleep until it's arrival at Waterloo at 04.11 Unless there was a good driver that mean the run needed to be timed - as all the other runs were with a few exceptions when I dozed off mid journey!

    My weekday schedule was as follows;
    05.30 Waterloo to Basingstoke
    07.05 Basingstoke to Waterloo
    08.30 Waterloo to Wareham (I risked Dorchester just once)
    11.30 ex Weymouth from Wareham to Waterloo
    15.30 Waterloo to Bournemouth
    17.30 ex Weymouth from Bournemouth to Waterloo
    21.20 Waterloo to Brockenhurst - too risky to rely on the 'connection' at New Milton
    22.13 ex Weymouth, the Up Mail, from Brockenhurst to Waterloo at 04.11.

    The Sunday and Saturday was broadly based on the above where they could be.

    I am currently typing the timing logs from my original notebook to get them into the Word format my designer needs to put them into my Steam Loco memoirs book. And I do that via putting them onto a spreadsheet first, to check all the relevant details. So I have to type them twice, although I do use copy/paste for the basic railway line sections (i.e. Waterloo to Bournemouth) on Excel and Word.

    I had always thought the train running was very ordinary for that week, but as I type the logs that is clearly not so. There is some good stuff, especially after Southampton on the way to the west.

    As for the mileage, it came out as 5,018. And the cost of that was £5, or around £120 at today’s prices!
     
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  2. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well £118.20 today will get you an Anytime Day Return from Brockenhurst to Waterloo:(
     
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  3. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Or £221 will buy a weekly season from Wareham to Waterloo. On a quick look the ranger and rover tickets don't cover the whole route.
     
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  4. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    My Southern Rovers were similar great value but aimed to cover all steam on the network at that time. So I was in Sussex quite a lot but of course always fitted in a few runs on the two hour services, now extended a bit, between Bournemouth and Waterloo. Some nice trips such as Reading West to Portsmouth Harbour with something GWR on the Saturday specials from the Midlands. Most of the fun was sorting out the itineraries by poring over the timetable at home before setting off.
     
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  5. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Yes I remember the three SR London Area day rover tickets corresponding to SE, Central and SW. Were they five bob or seven and six? Steam to Sevenoaks, Oxted, Woking.
     
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  6. The Gricing Owl

    The Gricing Owl Member

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    In 1964 it was ten shillings and sixpence for the Area 4 Rover that gave an unlimited number of return trips Waterloo to Woking behind steam. And that one also covered Redhill-Guildford-Woking.
     
  7. The Gricing Owl

    The Gricing Owl Member

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    Indeed yes Al. I think I almost wore out my SW Division timetable at home before my 5000 mile bash started!
     
  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Waterloo to Woking and return was possible on a Saturday on six return trips. That's 12 different locos for what at the time was pocket money if you saved up!

    Edit: Rather than do it from memory, I looked it up and you could do SEVEN return trips in a day - that's fourteen different locos. It worked like this:
    8.35 down, 10.20 arrival, 10.54 down, 12.19 arrival, 1 pm down, 2.15 arrival (or 2.26), 3.54 down, 4.09 arrival, 5 pm down, 6.26 arrival, 6.54 down, 8.23 arrival, 8.54 down, 10.08 arrival.
    (There were variations possible but the hh+54 Basingstoke trains were pivotal.

    I seem to remember that the 1 pm was often a MN and a good choice but as it was a West of England the Woking stop was a pick up only. But there was always a way of getting on it if you were creative!
     
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  9. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    We always ended up abandoning the plan either through a failed connection, "What's that at the end of that siding, we can walk over there in a few minutes.", but we couldn't, or chasing off on some whimsy or on hearing a rumour. Good fun.
     
  10. The Gricing Owl

    The Gricing Owl Member

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    If you started on the 05.30 Waterloo and finished on the 22.56 arrival I think you could get 8 returns in. But I was never mad enough to try that - instead I went for the totally sane 5000 miles in a week. :eek:
     
  11. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The 1960s were a bonanza for Rover roving during the school holidays. My particular love was Scotrail costing 6 guineas (£6:30 in 1968) and 7 guineas (£7:35 in 1970). Both years were undertaken for pure mileage - 1968 to sample every line thus travelling 4200 miles and in 1970 to sample class 50 haulage thus travelling 5000 miles. A key link in this was the crew change on the Royal Highlander at Carlisle in the early hours; it was not shown as a passenger stop but when the guard said passengers could join if the train was not delayed the option was a great boon. Join the train and 6 hours + unbroken sleep was possible with a choice of 2 options if the train ran to time - return working to Edinburgh behind class 26 / 24 combinations or DMU to Aberdeen. On my tour in 1970 the DMU was replaced by a 24 + 26 + 10 coaches due to local holidays (Scottish trade holiday). a lengthy cold stay ay Berwick on Tweed to catch the Fort William sleeper was rewarded with kippers for breakfast whilst dining on the climb to Crianlarich behind a Class 21 with another class 21 to Mallaig. Sadly the camera equipment I could afford at that time means only memories remain - but what memories !
     
  12. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic Memories.
     

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