H-O-W The Valley of the Witch bash 21/10/11 - 22/10/11

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by heart-of-wessex, 23 Oct 2011.

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  1. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

    11 Jun 2005
    The day started at Trowbridge awaiting for the now delayed 1916 Cardiff service. It being late meant the + sign sitting at Bath was crumbling away! There was the Cheltenham via Melksham as an option on the 1930, however not knowing it's booked time into Chippenham didn't help and I was booked on the 1916 anyhow, so even if I missed the HST I'd be let on to another service since I was booked on the 1943.

    158959 was our performer to Bath and within the package was a driver who was not afraid to notch back and hammer out the stations! This was handy as we arrived into Bath at 1942. The HST was in the other platform and I nearly didn't risk it but a snap decision in my mind saw me fly down the subway in Mach 5, purely as I thought I could have a chance as generally HST's leave late due to slow boarding, and this was the case today on this standing room service.

    I located my seat in the 'Res Coach' (Coach B, I always get allocated to B!) and we left 3 late for Padd. Of course I was blind for haulage as I had no time to check powercars, but I was in no hope for 136, I had a feeling it wouldn't be on this as I have given up hope on it being on my trains for now! :lol:

    We arrived 4 late, and I headed to the rear to see what was providing the shove power. 43176 was on rear, and was topped by 186 which lead the set, oh well more engine miles I suppose!
    I hadn't really planned the late evening night moves, there was so much possible, but first I got a Travelcard then decided that even though my night moves was allocated to 319s, I could not resist doing at least one 319 now! I took the opportunity to use the Circle Line since it's not a Saturday and went to Farringdon instead of the cross, as I could not be bothered with the marathon walk there.

    I missed a +1 at Farringdon onto a northbound FCC which I was happy to flag since it was 377s, but my idea of getting off here proved useful as the evening kicked off with required 319375 on the Bedford. I planned to get this to St Pancras so I could intercept with something to London Bridge, but as I crossed platforms I noticed only the 2206 Sutton service was listed :?
    A look in the timetable showed that this is correct, it is the last through service, and the RRB links would kick off....well that was a good start! The service rolled in with 319446 up front and a look at my list of requirements saw that it was required, so I leapt on that!

    Being a Sutton service did not help my plans to get to Bridge at all, so in the end I took 446 in a micro leap to Farringdon and took a Circle service back to Kings Cross for a Northern line to London Bridge.

    At the Bridge, I noticed that there was a 2307 to Uckfield, it was tempting but it was a long-ish wait for it, however it's been ages since I last did a 171. First, a Burger King was in order then I'd decide after.
    Back on the concourse armed with a Whopper meal, my class 319 magnet dragged me over to Platform 9 for the 2242 Brighton service instead which was just as well, as one of them was yet another required unit, 319447. I thought I wasn't doing too bad here since I have roughly done over half the fleet!

    We went flying down to East Croydon where I only just finished my hellfire Burger King meal, and bailed off to do something either to Victoria or Bridge. There were 2 on offer to Bridge, one stopper and one fast so I went to platform 2 for the latter to find out it was an FCC service...turning into a right FCC ned here!
    I could be in with a chance of a 319 but I saw the familiar 377 lighting coming up on the main and thought I was about to be bowled by one...but thankfully it came into P1 and was a Southern 377 for Victora...phew!
    That left then our service was re-platformed to P1 to allow a Class 442 on a GatEx to coast past on P2.

    319433 was on the 2302 to Bridge, and a look at my list...oh another requirement, how can I refuse!! Another quick launch up the main saw us back at Bridge in no time then I REALLY could not resist seeing what the next Three Bridges turn was, since the next one out was on a different platform. I took a peek over to see what it was and sole 319439 was on offer...dud. Hmmmm...however there is still a chance to get a required 319 back maybe, could I risk it? Well I took the risk and headed back to East Croydon yet again to see what the 0004 to Bridge would be.

    An 8 car set duly arrived into P1, the front 4 was un-ID'd as it came in when I was walking down the slope, and the number at the rear was on the offside, blocked by the rear 319 attached to it. I waited to see the rear number on the rear set and it was an original 319/0, number 319002. I looked in my list to see this was actually my last /0 I need for haulage!! What a good move!!! I was well chuffed with that, so that now leaves all bar one /2 and some /3s and /4s left to do.

    Back at Bridge I went outside for the 0B00 move and wondered if a Plastic Bus was on order for the St Pancras turn, but it was in fact a Trident :) I leapt on and headed for the back seat straight away, and enjoyed the thrash through the City. I noticed that the bus set down at Kings Cross on a bit of road I haven't done before, and he did make an announcement whilst turning in which was useless. Everyone got off but I asked if it was going to St Pan and he replied 'Yes didn't you listen?? I just said that!'...well sorry, when you're talking and thrashing away from a junction, all I can hear is the Dennis engine and the Turbo whine bellowing out!!

    I then went to the High Level platforms for the planned move on the 0106 Bedford service. I was surprised to see gateline staff in force too as when I've done the nights before there has been hardly anyone around! The rear 319 was dud, forget the number however the front set was required 319452 so I leapt on that. I sat in the MSO coach but to my surprise, I actually slept for most the trip! Thankfully I didn't sleep past my stop at Harlington and got off there ok. The reason for the move here was to scratch in the shack, and only do this shack, no multi-tickets for various stations today, I can leave Leagrave for another overnight crank.

    The 0216 service showed up on time with 319362 on it's own on the service, another requirement! Bingo!! I didn't get much sleep on this but at least I was awake to note the required crossovers we did, which was from the Slow to Fast at Radlett, and Fast to Slow just before the Tunnels before Kentish Town.

    Back here I see the same gateline staff are in force, again something I haven't seen at this time before, and headed back out the station for another 0B00 trip to Bridge, on another Trident.
    I then went over to P15 for the 0405 service operated by FCC-overnight-division and 319457 was on this service....another required unit!! God I'm liking these night turns!! The 0405 was, of course, one booked via the round the houses route to East Croydon, which tonight felt like it took an AGE to do! We were later diverted again as we went non stop through the Redhill line, never done a 319 on this part, nor on the Redhill down through either! I bailed at Gatwick Airport as planned as you can intercept with a decent plus for the next Bridge service.

    The 0500 from Gatwick was formed of 319441..dud having done St Pancras to Bedford on it already. I returned to Bridge via the Redhill diversion again (Quarry lines must be shut for engineers, never had this before for both ways!) and the direct route to Bridge rather than the round the houses line that I'm started to get bored of!! :lol:

    At Bridge, I decided to maybe go to East Croydon for Victoria, or no doubt see if there's another 319 coming back, but that would depend on the unit being required so I walks to Platform 15 to see......319433 again, damn scooped that in earlier.

    Well I thought I did well for 319s, and now only need 15 /3s, 15 /4s and 6 /2s left to do, so that's 36 out of the fleet of 71 to go!

    Plan B was...oh there is no plan B. I took a walk to the underground and ended up on the Jubilee platforms as I was in mind of heading to Paddington now and doing some leaps on Turbo's and 360's.
    8 minutes till the next Stanmore?? seem's like a long time when you want to just escape from the platform that seems to have cold air circulating as if it wasn't cold enough already.

    Well, that soon changed as I looked at the map and decided then to go to the Stratford bound platform, and was greeted with a much shorter 3 minutes wait.
    Straford machine 96xxx rolls in and I take the leap to Canada Water. I did wonder if ATO is in use down here too, the acceleration is rather sharp and when it reaches speed, there is series of sharp-ish jolts as power is applied for a second to keep up speed. This happened around every 4-5 seconds but at least me being shoved sideways from the power every 5 seconds kept me awake!

    I walked up to the London Overground platforms at Canada Water, the idea I had in mind was to re-attempt to scratch in Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington as I failed to on the last time I tried, and then I would get a Victoria Line to the City and work up to Paddington.

    Well, the next train was at 0607 so it was a 7 minute fester in the cold again but at least this was to Highbury and Islington...however it wasn't as simple as that...
    Only a minute before the train come in, I was looking at the PIS screen again and I saw the text spinning round at the bottom:

    'No Victoria Line service this Weekend'

    What!?!?! Argh! That's the spanner thrown in to my plan. I wondered if going to Highbury and coming back to Canada Water was do-able but I needed to be at Paddington by 7am so it would have to be no more than a 20-25 minute round trip, and I had no idea on journey times. 378136 showed up however, so I got on if anything for the leap.
    Now I had thought of bailing at Whitechapel but the District is up, as for the H&C I don't know. Shadwell was a better thought though as I could get a DLR to Bank or something.

    So I did that and as I left the station I notice there was a lift, and then saw the stairs....who needs a lift when there is stairs (able-people I mean), it's only a sub surface station....or I thought anyway...those stairs seemed to go on and on and on!
    I did manage to fly up the stairs and I actually beat the guy who went up in the lift, even caught a glance of a 'how the hell?' face from him but I tried a returning face of 'yeah I might of but at least you have more breath than me!'

    I turned left out the station as directed by the sign and it took me only a few yards to get lost already, as another sign for the DLR was pointing back towards the LO station...eh!?!
    I looked left down the road and saw the DLR roundel on a bridge, it appears someone had turned the sign to face the other way and not down the junction.

    I will be honest, I had preferred if the signs hadn't been messed around with, I really did not want to look lost around here causing myself to be some target, there was someone walking down who I didn't like the look of (didn't follow me thank god) and it was still dark outside, but I think it was paranoia as I was looking around to see if anyone else was following.
    Plus I am no fan of Shadwell, I thought my town get's messy at 6am, but christ this IS a lot worst, and it stank to high heaven too. It reminded me never to randomly do an overnighter here for that reason and the fact it feels unsafe too.

    Well I get to the DLR station to find that the DLR is closed on this part for engineering too! For heavens sake, right so with no alternative light rail option to escape from the ELL, the only option was to return to Canada Water again so I went back to Shadwell LO through another, closer entrance I didn't notice before.

    The next train out, a Croydon service, was formed of 378152, so I bagged that in and got off at Canada Water for a Jubilee to Baker Street. There I had a tidy cross platform connection onto a Oven Line train waiting in the platform, to which there was no complaints about the stifling heat on the trip to Paddington from me today, it was most welcoming!!
    At Paddington I noticed the 07:06 to Portsmouth was advertised for Platform 9, so I went over to see 37706 and 37685 on the short load 6 tour.

    I saw the tour leave and then I had an hour before my one was due out, so a return leap to Ealing Broadway was in order. I saw the next one out was the 0715 Greenford which I had 1 minute to get through the barriers for P12 and get on, which I just managed!

    Required 165135 took me to Ealing where I saw the ECS for the tour come flashing by, no idea's on numbers just they both looked like sheds...oh no skips for this one (which was good as I always get bowled by dud 67s on tours) I just had to hope in hell that none were dud today!

    At Ealing, 165134, another line in the book, took be back to Paddington. I noticed that blasted 57603 taking out the sleeper stock which passed us near Old Oak, then on the approach to Paddington I saw the charter ECS rolling into P1. I could see the rear loco was 66091 and I could tell that it was a clear winner without even checking.
    We came into P12 and I went straight out for a smoke move in case there was no time later on and then went to P1 and hoped that the tailing loco wasn't 66006 or some other dud machine. 66061 tailed our train and I was most pleased with 2 winners on board!

    That meant that I had now scooped in 15 66's so far, and more yet to go...of course I had to rely on 091 and 061 actually working first though :lol:
    We left right time and gen was we was booked for the relief lines, which was expected however we didn't cross over at Portobello Jn and just stayed on the main!

    I was in for an unexpected track scoop already as we reached Airport Junction, we crossed over to the Down Relief on a set of rare crossovers under the Heathrow Flyover! Never thought I'd manage to bag those in! If you have the Western Quail and have no idea what I mean, see Page 2B and look at Hayes/Airport Junction. The crossovers are at MP12.

    We trundled on the slow for our pickup at Slough and proceeded to Reading. En-route I got speaking to someone who managed to check up where 43136 is located, and was stopped at Laira, so no chance in hell for it being on the 2130 ex-padd later!
    We arrived into Reading 1 minute late and left 9 late at 09:09.
    It was an uneventful trip down the Relief to Didcot where we stopped instead of passing and saw 08757 doing some remote control shunting. We left on the relief and then crossed over to the Down Main at Foxhall Junction, dud crossovers already though.

    I hoped to bag one of the loops in maybe but we didn't do any to Swindon (though I know a Pathfinder tour next year is to scoop them all in anyway) but at least the social chat passed the time to Swindon where we stormed through Platform 4 four minutes down and headed to Wootton Bassett Jn, which I noticed actually it is now named Royal Wootton Bassett Junction, I did wonder if the town name actually changed the junction name too, so does that mean that there is a freight train to a Royal Foster Yeoman terminal? :lol:

    The trip up the 'misery' line (Wootton Bassett - Bristol) was ok as of course we had the usual chat and laugh on board, it only becomes a misery down here when your on your own on a HST. We passed Parkway only 2 late and regained time at Severn Tunnel West portal spot on time at 1030.

    We headed over to Newport on the main and arrived there 4 minutes early and had a leg stretch allocated for 30 minutes whilst they water the stock, so I escaped for a smoke and noticed the station appeared to have more people from the tour on the platform than passengers! Or so it looked like!

    Back on board we left on time and was already scooping track by means of the Relief line out of Platform 1. I have ever only recalled going into 1 but not going out of. More track was scooped as we stayed on the Relief all the way to Cardiff where I bagged in a required Crossover to the Down Main through line to bag that in too, as that also was required! Proof randomly is here:


    Only because at the time of writing, that is the only video I can find of the tour :lol:
    We stopped at Port Talbot for a crew change and left 10 early and headed past Britton Ferry to Court Sark Junction, where we turned off onto the District Line (no LU pun intended :p) and required track was soon on the cards as we diverged again onto the Swansea Docks line at Dynevor Junction.

    We arrived into the Down/Up Docks siding at Swansea Burrows where we turned around, new track for a tour by the looks of it maybe as the Principality Freight tour used the other line, siding number 1. 66061 was now switched on to do it's first haulage of the tour. We left the sidings 18 early to head to Neath and Brecon Jn to gain the token for the Onllwyn line, which was duly attained and we went up the banks via some rather stunning scenery to the Stop Board at Onllwyn, the NR limit as far as we could go.

    66091 thus towed us back down the hill as we got to Neath and Brecon Jn again for a token exchange and then 061 would now haul us up to Cwmgwrach where we were supposed to be the first tour to reach there, but it didn't add up as the Principality Freighter had done it before, but maybe it meant since it re-opened?

    Either case it wasn't a bad ride with some scenery to boot too which helped and we finally got to the NR limit 18 early however a surprise was in order as we slipped past the limit to land in the terminal boundary ending up on the set of points at MP33.08, maybe that's what it meant for the first for a tour, since looking at the list the 2007 tour was the NR limit, hopefully that was ground breaking track!

    66091 thus hauled us back down the line and for some reason the journey felt a lot longer coming back, it just felt like we were going nowhere! It may have been because I was tired at this point and it just felt like an eternity trekking back to Neath and Brecon Jn, I don't know :?
    We eventually got to the aforementioned junction 28 up and then rolled our way south for a bit to Jersey Marine South Jn where we stopped to change ends. 66061 was thus called out again as we left 26 minutes early and headed to Jersey Marine North Jn to complete the triangle of lines, I just need the two outer lines in the opposite direction now to complete it! Dud track now in order as we were back on the District Line and made our way to Bynea where we stopped for what was supposed to be a short 20 minute leg stretch, but as we were SO early, this turned into a mega 50 minute break!

    I wouldn't mind but no one could find a pub, there was no chippy and the village seemed rather turned down, so I wasn't surprised to see the odd person peeking out their door wondering why the streets look like a peak hour rush in a big town!!! I suspect this is the most people that have ever been here too!
    There was no Heart-of-Wales service to see either so it was just us. Someone on the station said I was from Trowbridge, and I was surprised how he knew such, but remembered me from a picture on my fotopic, as a face you 'could not forget', I don't know if that was good or bad but he was a nice guy anyway!

    We left on time to escape from Bynea and headed round the corner to grind to a stop at Llanelli. Here we turned around yet again so 66091 was now leading out of Llanelli, but I had to work it out first as we turned around so many times on the freight lines, I got lost!

    We left 3 minutes up and made our way to Duffryn West to allow a unit to pass, then it was down the hill to the Swansea avoider which I was happy with as it was required track, but I need it the other way still for the associated crossovers! Back at Britton Ferry we completed the circuit and headed back to Port Talbot to give way to the another driver, and then we headed straight over to Cardiff and passed on the Up Main through road, dud already though. No relief line was used as we just headed straight on the normal mainline route to Newport and got stuck in the tunnel as they weren't going to let us into the station as we were early.
    We arrived 3 early in the end into P3 and set down those who joined here before and also let the 1915 Taunton service pass us in P4.
    A right time departure saw us leave at 1918 to head straight back to Swindon.

    There was really nothing to note on our way back, just some early running and we got to Swindon early so we were parked in the Through Line for a bit and then the peg was set at right time 2023. I'm surprised the signaller didn't slow us down and shove us into P3 or P1 but then that would probably cause some delay as passengers try to join or something.

    A complete uneventful trip back to Reading saw us arrive 6 early, and I saw the tour off as it left 1 early at 2120, and god some power was attained has he shoved it into notch 6/7 as it thrashed away! Something that was needed though hauling that amount of coaches, a genny coach and a DIT 66 on the rear.

    I headed over to platform 4 to get the 2157 Bristol service which was lead by 43187 and tailed by 43150. I didn't want to sleep in case I ended up in Bristol but in the end I did, only waking up when the PA came on for the arrival at stations. I woke up for the Bath PA announcement thankfully and made sure I didn't follow the previous order of sleeping after the PA had stopped!
    I got off to see we were practically on time and crossed platforms to await for the P***-ex to Frome, a good 30 minute wait away, but the platforms were rather empty and that was odd. 15 minutes in, some more turned up but not the usual crowd, and then the PIS changed from Frome to Westbury...odd?? Sounds like the idea of Frome is out the window for some reason or the other. This was later announced by Phil Slayer who mentioned this train will today terminate at Westbury.

    Soon after, the crowd I've been waiting for shows up and in no time the platform is filled. I swear there must be a random Coach service that picks up everyone in bath and connects with the 2329...then I pictured this random coach in "2329 to Frome" livery! :lol:

    150249 showed up and was soon packed but at least I bagged a seat at the back. Then there was some gibber near to me as someone was apparently trying to go Croydon! What the heck are you on this for! Some people were just telling him to go to Westbury as there was bound to be a London train there, or get the next one to bath...sorry you're stuffed either way, an overnighter is the only option for you mate! Rather you than me on that one!!

    We got to Trowbridge only 1 late and went home to end another hellfire day out! Well it was great having 2 more sheds in the book, and scooping in freight lines and various crossovers :D

    Stats as usual:

    Mileage altogether - 827 miles
    Highest Mileage on one train - 377m 25ch on 66091
    Lowest Mileage on one train - 1m 02ch on 378136 and 378152
    Best part of trip - The tour altogether, The track was the best too!
    Worst part of trip - The epic long drag from Cwmgwrach - Neath N&B Junction
    Random Quote no.1 - "It wasn't that funny, but it was soooo funny"

    Didn't really hear any other quotes, especially on the tour as I was talking to my group and some friends on board too.

    Hope you enjoyed the read!

    Last edited: 23 Oct 2011
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  3. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Member

    1 Oct 2007
    I was also on this tour from Reading and have a couple of points I have noticed reading this report.

    Firstly, we left Reading at 09:09, so 9 mins late!

    Secondly, the shunter at Didcot is 08757.

    Thirdly, from Cardiff we did run on the Up Relief before crossing on to the Up Main at the crossovers just before ADJ Yard to then sit in the tunnel waiting to access P3 at Newport.
  4. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

    11 Jun 2005
    Ah I was getting muddled over our early arrival at Slough, thanks for clearing that up! Also the 08 was what I thought I saw, having not noted it before, so thank you once again, I will edit the post :)

    I thought we were on the main actually at Cardiff from what it looked like, though I should have poked my head out to confirm really, especially when its dark! Glad I've cleared all 4 lines in the middle! What coach were you in? I should have said hello if I knew you were on :lol:
  5. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Member

    1 Oct 2007
    Coach G! Maybe next time we are on a tour together we can have a chat! :lol:
  6. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

    28 Apr 2009
    Make that 3 members on that tour, I was relaxing in Coach A right at the front :)
  7. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

    11 Jun 2005
    oh right! should have posted beforehand about a meet :lol:

    I was closer to you Dreadnought, I was in the next one, coach F, sitting in the second bay seat from the counter buffet at the FC end
  8. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

    19 Jun 2005
    Nowhere Heath
    Loads to comment on, hopefully I remember to comment on all of it. As always, an entertaining read too.

    All those 319s, good grief you're getting a lot of them in the book! Can't wait for a chance to get on some again, it's been far too long since whenever I last did one.

    Jammy git with regards to these track bits in particular:

    Heathrow Airport Junction crossovers
    Swindon Through Line
    Going past the NR limit at Cwmgwrach (and correct, we only reached the NR limit when I did it)
    Scratching in the other line at Swansea Burrows (can't remember exactly which one The Principality Freighter did, would need to find my Quail and have a look)

    Can't believe you had the fortune to get the Through line at Swindon in. That bit of track is going to annoy me for the rest of my days, I swear...

    As for Bynea, indeed it's a dead boring place. Best bit of it is the bus and train leaving there!

    Finally, before I forget, are you doing The Concrete Cow and The Angel of Bedlam?
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