Hello all, Here is another report from my Great Escape mini bash to Crewe, and bash in London (since it's two bashes basically, I thought the 'Grand Escape' is a better name for this!) So without further delay, here is the report: DAY 1 - THE POSITIONING MOVE: It was a cold and stormy night on the 3rd of November 2011....well ok it wasn't that cold nor as it stormy, I couldn't think of a good storyline opener so I nicked a traditional one So the afternoon started at Trowbridge (where else?) for the 1553 Pompey service which was 3 down, nothing new really, and on the jobbie was 158951. Since I had an AP, I had a seat reservation which was a bit worthless as it was only to Westbury anyway! I stood up rather than finding my seat, I'm going to have a marathon sit down after Westbury anyway. At Westbury I awaited for the 1623 HST and as I waited, I noticed the new dot matrix signs were already playing up still advertising the 3 trains from 10am-11am on Platform 2 and 3! We then had a random announcement telling us exactly where the coaches would be when the HST was in the platform (like Coaches C and D near the end of the canopy, A and B at the open end of the station, etc) never heard a detailed announcement like that before! 43098 tailed with GW classic 43180 showed rolled in and I went to my booked seat to see someone sitting in it...who was soon turfed out the seat! We left 3 late and headed to Cornwall, on the usual uneventful drag, though the woman behind was funny when she was saying about coming into Plymouth when we were at Totnes..see Random Quote no.1 later! I managed to survive the trek to Penzance and went out to the chippy for cheese and chips, hellfire too! Back on the platform I notice the beds were due out of P1 too, don't think I've ever been on it from anything bar P4! I went to the top end to see what 57 it was, the whole idea was to go to London via Penzance in another try for 603, since limited 57s are out it's a chance it could be, but could be at Old Oak waiting to take 1C99 out! But there she was hammering on idle at the head end, 57603!! Oh yeah!!!! FINALLY the last GW 57 I need for haulage and are now all dud ! Took me a while and I think everyones had it before me but of course I had to trust it was going to actually work and at least move a bit before I could count it! I looked on my phone on FreightLocate to see what path we were allocated and we were booked via BTM, Chippenham and Swindon, longer way round . I asked the driver too before we left for confirmation and he said we were booked via BTM and in fact it had been doing so all week. Off to my reserved seat in Coach A (at the back though!) I settled down then soon enough we were on the way right time. I tried to sleep en-route to St Erth but didn't happen. Once we got the Right Away at St Erth, we had one epic jolt as we pulled away! I thought maybe the driver was putting too much power on and hoped it was the only time, or I can see me waking up after each station departure I couldn't sleep en route to Plymouth and noticed the harsh jolts were still happening at each shack, which kept waking a few up, don't know what it was like in the sleeping compartments! After Plymouth I was still awake right through to Exeter which was annoying. In the end I did a bit of window leaning leaving Exeter St David's until Riverside Yard, as I wanted to see if that MK1 was still there from last Saturdays UKR tour where the coach had to be ripped off due to bad wheel flats, and sure enough in the empty yard was a sole Royal Scot MK1 there which looked mighty odd on its own!! At Taunton I noticed we came into P5 instead of P2 and I noticed the screens showing that we were due off at 0130, I thought it was 0150 or so? 0130 came and went and five minutes later, the driver, guard and some other GW employee passed, and I overheard the guard say to the driver that there was a lot of slack in the coupling between the loco and stock, which explains the harsh jolts...apparently its quite common for the shunter's to slack them! The screen was now showing us as 'Delayed', so as the guard strolled past again, I asked if there was a problem but said we were just waiting for right time, so sounds like the PIS screens was showing the wrong departure time and didn't know when we were off! At around 0145, an FL 66 came through on P3 heading north on an engineers turn, and then we left soon after chasing the engineers tail which saw us riding single yellows until near Cogload where we were on greens. I stayed by the droplight to see if we were going to turn off but we did indeed go straight on towards Bridgwater. I tried to sleep again but didn't work and I noticed the brakes were coming on....surely we're not going round Weston-super-Mare, that would be epic as I need to pass the station!! But it was a false alarm and we headed on straight to Bristol. Before we got to BTM I did actually get to sleep and woke up later at Didcot Parkway. At Reading, I got off for some photos, spoke to the dispatcher, a freind of mine from the SimSig forums, and then we headed for the last leg to Paddington. Near Hayes and Harlington the brakes were on and we strolled at a leisurely pace of 45mph to Westbourne Park where we got held at a red, then later moved into Paddington P1. I had a quick word with the driver to confirm our route was the ever so slightly longer route after BTM via Chippenham and not Bristol Parkway, and it was indeed via Chippenham. Never thought of asking the driver for confirmation before, I've usually tried to be awake and keep tabs on what route we are going on! Didn't sleep for as long as planned, I have passed out on a HST leaving Penzance before on the 0505 'Golden Hind' and woke up in the Royal Oak area, but had minimal sleep on the beds! Cracking first part of the bash, due to the sticky numbers on the 57 being right! DAY 2 - SOUTH EAST CALLING: The name of Day 2 will become clearer later on in this section as to why it is so called! On 'The Lawn' that has no grass () I noticed already that the first lot of fast Turbo/HST services were just 'Delayed' due to over-running engineering works in the Hayes area. I don't know why things were just 'delayed' as it didn't effect the slow lines as the Connect service and a Twyford service left on time, so I don't know why they didn't pack off the fasts onto the Relief lines, had to be some valid reason to it... Got down to Praed Street station for a circle line to Kings Cross St Pancras...then I remembered of course, it's Edgware Road only from here. A circle line service came in with Edgware Road Circle Line on the blind (I still think it should be re-named, it's not a circle line anymore!) and then I took it to Edgware and changed for a H&C to KXSP, by now it was chucking it down with rain like no tomorrow!! Yes, it's 319 time again! I had time to kill before I had to be in Sutton so I jumped on 319383 to Blackfriars. The climb into Farringdon was epic since the rain was making the steep incline wet, we were wheel slipping into the station ! I changed for a Brighton service at Blackfriars, and would go to East Croydon on it. That was a fail as a pair of 377s rolled in! Plan B then, I scooped 377516 in the book for haulage on a leap to London Bridge, and there I would jump on the Sevenoaks service that was behind the 377, as that should be a 319. Not done one of the Sevenoaks services before! Well I got off at Bridge to find the only thing going to Sevenoaks was a 376...where the hell had the 319 gone? Oh well back up to Farringdon then so I went to P6 for another FCC service. Then it clicked, of course the Sevenoaks services are straight down to Elephant & Castle! d'oh!! So I waited for the 0646 Bedford on a packed platform, and watched various SET sets come in and out of P6 while my FCC service got later and later. It produced 20 minutes late with a dud 319 up front however I was rewarded with 319434 on the rear, but was not rewarded with a seat (at this time in the morning? You're joking!?) I got to Farringdon to make the 0721 for Sutton, which had a dud 319/4 on but 319003 was on the back, dud but much better! I tried reading the Metro on the way down and I did actually nod off while still reading the paper, this lack of sleep I had is getting to me! At Sutton I dived over to Pumpkin for a coffee and a £1 sausage bap that went down well! I went over to P1 and got 2E13, the 0812 for Victoria. 377137 and 150 rolled in and 150 was required on the rear, so I joined the rear coach in case there was a seat...I obviously hope too much! As we left I noticed the screens inside stating that it is a Southern Metro service so First Class is de-classified and you can join with any standard ticket, not seen such message before but a good idea that! The idea of being on this service was to do the Streatham Fast Spur, only this one and I think something else does it and that's it, so I hoped it will do it as I didn't come to Sutton and back for nothing! We got to Streatham Jn South where I noticed we turned off, oh yes this should be it!! ...hang on, a flyover? Argh we were routed over the usual lines to the Streatham Slow Spur onto the Slow Lines!! FAIL!! I wondered if the signaller just routed us as all 2Exx services would use this line...but then surely he/she would know it's different and that it's booked for P12, and shoving us on the slow would make us late? We came to a stop at Balham and got held there for a while, then an announcement came on to say we were being held to let some Fast Line services crossover to the slows ahead as there is a problem with the Fast Line...that would be why we were shoved on the slow! Now just got to book another day off work and try again! I bailed at Clapham Junction and swapped over to the SWT side on P10. Required 455850 took me to London Waterloo where I then jumped on required Box 5724 for a scratch leap to Vauxhall. I like the leaping on this section as Vauxhall is cross-platform interchange and Waterloo is a simple case of going round the concourse, so there's no running up and down staircases at each end! The 0857 to Waterloo was now due at 0905. It seemed odd that I left Waterloo on the 0857 and now managed to get the 0857 back to Waterloo, as if time never moved, or we had a back to the future box machine! Required 455860 showed up and got on for the leap back to Waterloo, then scooped another Box in the book, 455723, for a run back to Clapham. I noticed the Fast Line Farce is still going on, and now there was a broken down train in Battersea Park too! I suddenly thought oh....I wonder what biggie loco might show up on the failure!! Of course it would probably be another 377 if it needed rescued, there's not many locos that can haul the 377 without a barrier! My initial plan was to scoop a Southern or LM service to Kensington Olympia, but the next Milton Keynes was just 'Delayed' due to the farce. Then I noticed on P17 there was a Shepherds Bush service leaving that would have taken me to Kenny O, but I missed it! Plus it leaving P17 meant it would have done the required crossover at the other end, argh! So in the end I got the 0945 LO service, but I didn't want to if I could help it, as the WLL shuttle is always busy no matter when you go. Rush Hour can be at 11am it seems! Sure enough the platform was rammed solid! 378033 rolled into P2 and we all piled on. Unfortunately I was stuck in the middle of the back car next to two prams and babies and G.O.D did it REEK in the coach!!! I think a certain someone wanted their nappy changed and eventually the mother realised but couldn't do anything about it...I just wanted to get off at Kenny O A.S.A.P! !! At Kenny, I went to the other side to see the 1004 Wandsworth Road wasn't advertised but at least it showed up with 377463 on the Parliamentary turn. I double checked with the Guard and he said 'yes, but no one gets on this train!'...basically he was surprised! He said I was the first person to be on it this week! I'd imagine this is a track scratcher only train anyway, so depends who comes down for it really. Then he put a comic announcement on the PA 'Please move right down inside the carriage so we can squeeze everyone on, thank you'. ! We went past West Brompton and Imperial Wharf and then did the relevant Parliamentary line to Wandsworth Road, required track done and a required shack scooped at the other end too! A note, when I added this into Journey Planner, I noticed the other itinerary was to go to Clapham then get a Southern service to Wandsworth Common for a 999 MINUTE walk to Wandsworth Road arriving there at 2am hock: hock: even walking blindfolded you'd get there before then!! Entering the trip the other way shows a more reasonable 20 minute walk to Common. I went over to the other platform and got 456001 on the Victoria Metro service. We were on time leaving but got held up at Battersea Park for an unknown reason then arrived into Victoria. I went over to the Southeastern side of the station and looked for an Orpington service, and sure enough in 8 minutes time there was one due out of P4. I went to see what 465 was on it but I noticed it was a 465+466 combo. I never bothered with the 465 as 466023 on the rear was a requirement for the red pen. This was a different part of a bash for me, I forget the last time I ever did the Victoria Southeastern side! I took the service to Sydenham Hill to do the 1118 Victoria service with 465184 on a short double back to West Dulwich. Two shacks now bagged! West Dulwich was a bit tight as I had a +0 onto another Orpington service, but there was no footbridge or subway as it's one of those stations where you go down a long set of steps to the main road, then you walk through the road bridge to reach the other platform stairs on the other side...so no use for tight pluses! (I doubt it was designed for use by station scratchers though! ) It was only 15 minutes until the next Orpington anyway which produced 465022, a required Networker/Notworker. As we came out of Kent House, I noticed the tram line swing in to reach Beckenham Junction...I wonder if it's a short walk between the two...I might have a look later. I got off at Petts Wood for the scratch and decided that I might go up the New Cross line, but that all went flying out the window when required 465020 showed up on a Victoria service, so I hopped on to get to Kent House. I looked on my maps on my phone to see that a walk to Clock House should be far really, was a simple route too so I got off at Kent House to do the 'House to House' walk. It really wasn't that far actually and I did it in about 5 minutes if that, it's quite close actually. So I bagged Clock House in and saw there was a Hayes (not Harlington!) service due soon. 465180 showed up and I took it to West Wickham for the scratch, and had a short wait for the 1241 Charing X service. 465187 showed up, another requirement and was also my last 465/1 for sight too! These are generally required for haulage at the moment, probably something to do with the fact I've not done much of them! I stayed on this to London Bridge as it was RA from Ladywell to Bridge, so I got to scoop in the required piece of track between Ladywell Junction and Parks Bridge Junction (check your baker/quail if you are lost!) At Bridge I decided for a leap to Farringdon for a Sevenoaks service since I missed it this morning, and got 377523 to Farringdon to see 319444 show up for the Orpington, another required 319 done! I noticed the route it does and actually, there isn't much places where it can thrash along at speed really. I thought there might have been somewhere but maybe not, there might be around the Sevenoaks area but wasn't planning to go that far out. So out with the baker, I look up another required station I could bail out. Bellingham or Beckenham Hill looked like a good station for a walk to Lower Sydenham after, and looking at the maps, it doesn't look too far from Bellingham. So I bailed there and the walk took about 15 minutes and was a bit further than I thought but at least I got Lower Sydenham in. Must look up more handy links between shacks as it proves handy rather than faffing around having to go back to the City to get on the other line for the other shack. Required 465008 on a Canon Street took me over to Bridge where I bailed for P6 to do a SET scratch to Waterloo East. 375916 was in the platform and a super quick look saw it was required (not done many 375s mind either!) and took it round the corner to Waterloo East. I went around the 2 mile ramp to the other platform and was rewarded with required 465932 for the insect leap to Bridge. A cross platform interchange here meant I could see 375835 on the Charing X service and was a requirement too so off for the epic super engine miles scratch to East for that dreaded ramp again. Over on the other side, 375804/916 came in and as I knew 916 was dud now (did it 20 minutes ago if you're paying attention :P) so I ran to the front for 804, no time to check but if it was dud then oh well, more engine miles 804 was indeed required. At Bridge I had some time spare so I hunted for a coffee place on the Concourse and found a Upper Class. I nearly got a baguette until I saw the cheapest was £3.99 with some raising up to £4.20 - £4.99!!! hock: I was also surprised that they put the sugar in for you too but don't stir it so it's bland at the top and sweet at the bottom :x I went to P17 for the Victoria Metro service and waited for it to come in. Eventually CCTV-we're-watching-your-every-move-to-spy-on-you liveried 456006 came in, another 456 requirement. I took this to Wandsworth Road for a +12 onto the return Parliamentary service to Kenny O. If I'm here to scoop the track on a day off work then I may as well get the return over and done with too! The 1612 was formed of required 455827 on the Kenny Belle (sort of :lol) and again I was the only one....it was amusing to see some peoples faces at Imperial Wharf and West Brompton on the packed platforms seeing this empty Box Machine with just me in it trundling past! When we got to Kenny O (looked odd seeing a 455 there too!) I wanted to go to Clapham but I noticed this unit turned around to go to Clapham as a form of stopping Kenny Belle service minus 33/2 + Slammer set! It wasn't busy either surprisingly and there were a few seats spare, and there were a lot of people waiting on the other side, which the next train was for Clapham too which would be the LO service. We arrived into CJ Platform 17 and I noticed it was going to Shepherds Bush now....damn it's doing that crossover again from P17! I couldn't be bothered this time to go on 827 again and besides, I need to come again for Streatham Fast Spur and I know I can then do the morning Shepherds Bush service instead. So over to the SWT Box Machines I still had some to do, so I did required 455852 to Vauxhall for required 455750 back...except I couldn't be bothered with another return trip so stayed on until Wimbledon instead. Here I awaited for the loop service to come in and it did soon enough with 319217 and 319376, the latter being required so I did that instead. I took it for the leap to St Helier to bring the day to an end by sleeping over at my partners mum's house, ready for the bash tomorrow. DAY 3 - THE CREWE ESCAPE: Today was a bash up to Crewe using LM's Great Escape ticket so my partner could see the Crewe Heritage Centre. We walked to Morden station at 0420 and got the 0517 Northern Line service to Euston. I noticed just how many flamin' stations we had to go through first to get there on the Misery Line! Oh how fun! Then, Simon (parter) noticed that it would be better to get off a Stockwell for a hyped-up Electrostar on the Viccy? Good idea!! We bailed at Stockwell and got the Viccy up to Euston, then we got our tickets from the office. We then proceeded RA to Burger King, not for a burger but for the breakfast move. Armed with a coffee and Sausage, Egg, Bacon and cheese roll with Hash Browns, we went to P11 for the 0624 Crewe service which was rather busy!!! Dud 350111 was on the turn but got on anyway of course. Unfortunately as it was the first one, this wasn't Watford RA to Milton Keynes then RA to Northampton, we called at most the local shacks to Northampton then all shacks to Crewe bar Long Buckby. We got off at Tamworth as he wanted to spend an hour spotting and watching fast line stuff, and I didn't mind as Tamworth is a required shack anyway. We saw 86501 bomb through on a liner, and saw 31106 on a test train and also 170s clagging away on the high level . Then we got the 0931 Crewe service with required 350234 on the turn but we bailed at Stafford for the Liverpool 350 rather than going via Stoke. After a coffee move there, we got 350264 on the Liverpool and bailed at Crewe. There we saw 37607 thrash away light engine probably going to Gresty Bridge, and saw 57309 hammer out on the Pendo drag to Holyhead. I was also under the impression that there was nothing that passed Crewe any more but I see the up and down through lines are used quite frequently so clearly I was wrong! We went to the Heritage Centre and had a great time there, instead we spent about 3 hours vice the planned hour! It was well worth the £5 entry though, and they had the brake van rides going with 03073, so was my first experience of a 03. Well, it is much more entertaining than an 08 and is rather nice and thrashy too, I officially like Class 03s now! Anyone who hasn't been on one yet might like it! We went through the APT of course too and went in the cab of the 370 and also of 87035 and 47192..the latter a number I remember very well on Hellfire! We then went for a spin on the mile long narrow gauge railway, which had a rather descent steam loco on but on the return when it went on the turntable to run around, it derailed. Cue a red line at Forge Bridge station with just our coaches and no loco as it was off track. The derailment team were sorted out but they said we could walk back or send the diesel out, so we waited for the petrol loco to show, which produced a Class 35 'Hymek' I went to 'Coach A' for the front window..oh hang on, there isn't any...front seat for the thrash, and I was warned it was loud as it not long had the silencer removed...even better! My god did was it a thrashy little minx!!! hock: some epic flailing from me in the tunnel and on the straight and was a right old beast!! Will upload a video of it on YouTube at some point. We saw 97304 and 97302 on the North Wales RHTT leaving Crewe from the Viewing Platform, then went down for a coffee. We then went to the station after having a rather epic time at the Centre! We did plan to do Lichfield and a spin on a 323 maybe too but there really wasn't much time for it now but it wasn't the main plan, just the idea of a bargain move to Crewe was the itinerary. At the station, 97302 was there on it's own, which must have come off the RHTT somewhere, then we got 350104 to Brumingham New Street. There we heard that there was problems with the overhead lines in the Wembley area, and stuff was already being cancelled. We found an NR guy who told us to go to Moor Street and use Chiltern to Marylebone...I couldn't see how the LM escape would be accepted but it was a choice of using LM to Northampton only and possibly getting stuck or just being stuck in New Street and missing my train home from London. We went to Moor Street and they let us travel on the 1655 to London, formed of 168107, a required red pen unit too, plus required train was in order as we left from P3, not done the bay before! The service was also RA from Bicester North to Wembley Stadium so I got to mark off the Princes Risborough through road too Once we got to Marylebone after an uneventful trip in the dark, we went on the Oven Line to Baker Street for a H&C to Farringdon, but the station was shut so we got off at Kings Cross St Pan instead. We went down the golden mile to the low level platforms to find it was shut....of course it's a Saturday and it's closed yet again...I was used to never doing the City Thameslink line, now I've done it often on a weekday or weekday night, I'm not used to it being closed! Plan B then was to do the mile walk back to the LU platforms (2 mile round trip to the FCC station, mileage move !!) for a Northern Line service to Bridge so he could get the 319 home to St Helier, but in the end he stayed on to Morden instead. I saw him off as I bailed at London Bridge so I could get a Jubilee to Baker Street then Oven Line to Paddington. At Paddytoon, I had a path allocated to KFC via the Praed Street exit otherwise the variable path was straight onto the concourse for Burger King. The latter path was canned and ran to booked path to KFC. I was in and out in under 1 minutes which was damn good, I was the only person there and they seemed to have what I wanted ready and waiting! Over to Paddington at 20:07, the 20:30 Exeter already had a platform showing!!!! hock: 43026 and 43133 was the set today and I took it to Bath where I then got 158880 on the 2218 Westbury service to Trowbridge, sitting in First Class as standard class was busy and the FC section wasn't! That bought an end to a epic 3 day (well 2 and a half) bash and was well worth going out. Stats as normal: Mileage altogether - 1135 miles Highest Mileage on one train - 325m 31ch on 57603 Lowest Mileage on one train - 0m 55ch on 465184 (lowest otherwise is 03073!) Best part of trip - Getting 57603 on the beds! Oh and Crewe Worst part of trip - A flip between not getting Streatham Fast Spur in and sitting on a 350 for 2 hours Random Quote no.1 - "We're coming into Launceston now...It is Launceston isn't it? Oh it's Plymouth" Random Quote no.2 - "..but you're going home where as I'm going to a place then going home then you're going to a place..no you're going to a place too then going home..I think" Random Quote no.3 - "..kid's with teachers over there behaving themselves...makes a ****ing change..." RailMiles list for anyone interested: http://james143611.railmiles.org/ Hope you enjoyed it! James.