Darlington traffic and traction survey: 1st August 1974

D6130

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Looking back through my recently rediscovered notebooks, I see that I conducted an eleven hour survey of loco-hauled services and light engine movements stopping at, or passing through, Darlington on Thursday 1st August 1974, from 09 00 to 20 00. That would have been a marathon session for a one hour platform ticket, priced at 2p, although, as I was staying with my maternal grandparents near Eaglescliffe, I would have almost certainly arrived and departed by train....and therefore would have been in possession of a valid travel ticket. At first I thought of posting this under the 'Back in The Day' thread but, given the size of the document and the fact that I'm already in danger of going widely off-topic date-wise, I decided that it would be best to make it a new thread. It's amazing to see how much the railway has changed in the intervening 47 years....so much more freight traffic then and far fewer long distance passenger trains. Please feel free to correct my teenage observations and fill-in the missing headcodes and destinations if you can.
 

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theblackwatch

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An interesting insight into railway activity on the ECML at the time... although I think it pay perhaps be better in the Railway History & Nostalgia section of the forum. I note that you only saw one loco with a 'pre-TOPS' identity. It must have been quite a confusing time for enthusiasts back then, getting grips with virtually every loco having a different number to previously.

The RCTS had an active North East Branch in the 70s/80s who regularly used to observe trains at Darlington and may be able to help you with some gaps, or even be grateful for your notes. Their contact details are at https://rcts.org.uk/north-east/contacts/
 

D6130

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although I think it pay perhaps be better in the Railway History & Nostalgia section of the forum. I note that you only saw one loco with a 'pre-TOPS' identity
With hindsight, I think I agree with you. I'll report myself to the admins and get it changed!
I note that you only saw one loco with a 'pre-TOPS' identity. It must have been quite a confusing time for enthusiasts back then, getting grips with virtually every loco having a different number to previously.
It was....but by the middle of 1974 all locos had received their new TOPS numbers, except for the remaining Hymeks and Westerns - and of course the 45s, which continued to wend their way through Derby Works for ETH conversion, or not as the case may have been, emerging with two separate number series in seemingly totally random order. I think 75 must have been one of the last to have been renumbered.
The RCTS had an active North East Branch in the 70s/80s who regularly used to observe trains at Darlington and may be able to help you with some gaps, or even be grateful for your notes. Their contact details are at https://rcts.org.uk/north-east/contacts/
Thanks for that info. I shall be in touch with them shortly.
 

xotGD

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Very interesting - thanks for sharing.

I can just picture a Deltic basher dashing across the platforms for the +2 between numbers 7 and 21.
 

55002

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Used to get involved with ECML surveys in the 80s for few years which were then written up in Railway World /I think) magazine, we had people at Kings cross, Welwyn, Newark..
 

L+Y

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Very interesting. I concur with the comment about TOPS- it's quite remarkable how quickly the new system was rolled out, seemingly in the space of a couple of months in spring 1974. Contrast, for example, with DB stickering of its fleet over the past few years!
 

XAM2175

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Contrast, for example, with DB stickering of its fleet over the past few years!
There's a bit more urgency in deploying a new operations management system than there is in "stickering" - assuming this is a reference to liveries.
 

neilmc

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That's a great list which brings back so much nostalgia even though I'd given up spotting by then. Noticeable that after the first Deltic just after 09:00 there were a whole three hours of Deltic-less traffic. Is this because these powerful locos were largely saved for the morning peak trains and the return counterparts in the evening, and anything inbetween would be a stopper and could be handled by a class 47?
 

D6130

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Is this because these powerful locos were largely saved for the morning peak trains and the return counterparts in the evening, and anything inbetween would be a stopper and could be handled by a class 47?
I was wondering about that too. Looking at my haulage notes and other records from that period, it would seem that 47s were used on quite a few of the fast Edinburgh and Newcastle services, With their lower power and acceleration, not to mention their theoretical 95 mph maximum speed, it would make sense in some respects to diagram the 47s for trains with fewer stops in order to keep them moving, but how much time would they have lost? I sometimes used to travel on the early morning Newcastle-Edinburgh service which was a Deltic-hauled mark 2d set and stopped everywhere except Manors, Pegswood, Widdrington and Acklington, IIRC. It obviously then formed an Edinburgh-Kings Cross service. You will have noticed from the survey document that the crack afternoon train - the Talisman - was worked by a 47 in one direction and a 55 in the other on the day in question. Maybe either @Planner8 or @ChiefPlanner could throw some light on the loco diagramming policy. During my planning days (1978-83) the only passenger services that I dealt with were Scottish Region internal ones.
 

D1537

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I was wondering about that too. Looking at my haulage notes and other records from that period, it would seem that 47s were used on quite a few of the fast Edinburgh and Newcastle services, With their lower power and acceleration, not to mention their theoretical 95 mph maximum speed, it would make sense in some respects to diagram the 47s for trains with fewer stops in order to keep them moving, but how much time would they have lost? I sometimes used to travel on the early morning Newcastle-Edinburgh service which was a Deltic-hauled mark 2d set and stopped everywhere except Manors, Pegswood, Widdrington and Acklington, IIRC. It obviously then formed an Edinburgh-Kings Cross service. You will have noticed from the survey document that the crack afternoon train - the Talisman - was worked by a 47 in one direction and a 55 in the other on the day in question. Maybe either @Planner8 or @ChiefPlanner could throw some light on the loco diagramming policy. During my planning days (1978-83) the only passenger services that I dealt with were Scottish Region internal ones.

I think they must simply have been short of Deltics that day. There are at least three services that were booked Deltics which were 47s (1E01, 1A15, 1E25).

Edit: A quick look at Chronicles of Napier suggests that at least six were either in Doncaster Works or on maintenance that day.
 
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D6130

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Edit: A quick look at Chronicles of Napier suggests that at least six were either in Doncaster Works or on maintenance that day.
.....and one of them went past Darlington that afternoon, running light engine from Doncaster to Gateshead Depot.
 

9007pinza

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That log brings back memories. Darlington station was a favourite place of mine, albeit a few years earlier. What an excellent selection of different locos., I loved the sound of a northbound Deltic hauled service, coasting into Platform 4, and powering up to depart, still under the station roof.
Lets hope they do not change the station too much in the projected upgrade, but i guess the fast down line crossing will be taken out.
 

D6130

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That log brings back memories. Darlington station was a favourite place of mine, albeit a few years earlier. What an excellent selection of different locos., I loved the sound of a northbound Deltic hauled service, coasting into Platform 4, and powering up to depart, still under the station roof.
Lets hope they do not change the station too much in the projected upgrade, but i guess the fast down line crossing will be taken out.
Thanks. Somewhere I have a similar report of an all-day stint at Reading earlier in the same year. If only I could find it! These surveys were inspired by some of my fellow members of the erstwhile Scottish Railfans' Society undertaking similar traffic surveys (often for 24 hours) at locations such as Lamington, Larbert and Dunbar, IIRC, back in the early 'seventies. Now if someone still has copies of those........!
 

Harvester

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That log brings back memories. Darlington station was a favourite place of mine, albeit a few years earlier. What an excellent selection of different locos., I loved the sound of a northbound Deltic hauled service, coasting into Platform 4, and powering up to depart, still under the station roof.
Lets hope they do not change the station too much in the projected upgrade, but i guess the fast down line crossing will be taken out.
I too spent many memorable days at Darlington station, the first being in 1959. I can well remember the sound of the Kylchap exhaust as the Pacifics rolled into Platform 1 from the north, and A4s almost slipping to a standstill when starting off from the south end of the platform.

My only recollection of being steam hauled through the station was in July 1959 on a school outing to Penrith. Our train originated from West Hartlepool and was hauled as far as Darlington by Ivatt 2-6-0
43128. At Darlington it was replaced by sister locos 43050+43129 for the onward leg and climb over Stainmore.
 

xotGD

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I too spent many memorable days at Darlington station, the first being in 1959. I can well remember the sound of the Kylchap exhaust as the Pacifics rolled into Platform 1 from the north, and A4s almost slipping to a standstill when starting off from the south end of the platform.

My only recollection of being steam hauled through the station was in July 1959 on a school outing to Penrith. Our train originated from West Hartlepool and was hauled as far as Darlington by Ivatt 2-6-0
43128. At Darlington it was replaced by sister locos 43050+43129 for the onward leg and climb over Stainmore.
I wonder how many readers now think you had an HST over Stanmore?
 

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