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Countdown to July 9th: 10/3 to 9/4

Discussion in 'Bullhead Memories' started by Big Al, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    May 30, 2009
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    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As we moved into the last four months of Southern steam there were periods when the electrification and signalling programme gave everyone a respite from tsrs, track failures and other delays. For example, for a time in March not a great deal was happening on the SWML and so London bound services were close to right time at their last water stop before home. And with only one significant tsr near Weybridge, the non stop 95 minute schedules to Waterloo made for an easy run, or an early run if you were allowed. But in common with today, a train out of its path was not always welcome and that was the case with 35030 one Friday on the 2051 arrival. Right time away from Southampton, the high fifties up to Roundwood, a steady 70 or so to Woking where we were checked and then checked again as we caught up a preceding service that had slowed for the Weybridge tsr. Nevertheless, we were five early into Waterloo with no speed higher than 75. A simple and professional job from Norman Prior.

    Of course, the enthusiast hoped for something a little more sparky and Roy Sloper obliged on the same train the following day, again with 35030. We hurried up from Bournemouth despite a couple of checks and were on time at Southampton where Roy took over. The low sixties up the bank tailing off a bit near the top but then a clear road to the Weybridge tsr. Up to (only) 80 through Fleet, a clear pass of Woking at speed, which was always a bit of a thrill, speedy in the suburbs and 15 early at Waterloo in 81 minutes running time or 78/79 net. Another one of those "look at the clock!" moments. We had in fact run up from Bournemouth in two hours and one minute - i.e. the same as the old timings - including two tsrs and one signal check.

    A feature that was now becoming more apparent was a shortage of motive power. Standard Class 5s started to appear on fast services that really needed a pacific. If they were good then they could keep time but it was often touch and go and they had to be pushed along. For example, 73092 with 11 on took 41 minutes from Bournemouth to Southampton with only one tsr at Redbridge and dropped time in the process. I got off as I could guess what it was going to be like up to Roundwood.

    One final aside about train reversals. Network Rail is not at all keen about loco hauled trains reversing with passengers on board. Pull rather than push is the order of the day. Not so, fifty years ago; it happened all the time on Sundays. An example.

    1130 Waterloo to Bournemouth with 35007. We arrive at Winchester on time. The whole train then reverses onto the up line and reverses once again to run back through the station on the up line to beyond Shawford where we rejoin the down line.
    daveannjon and green five like this.

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