Oban sleeper and another Skoda failure....

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Sprinter

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This trip started on Saturday evening at about 2200 when I left home and walked to Walthmstow Central in order to catch a Victoria Line train to Victoria.

At Victoria I walked through the station and up the escalators to emerge at the Megabus stop, to my surprise, not one Megabus was at the stop at all!! The Aberdeen bus finally pulled in about 2320 (with a trailer on the rear), boarding commenced in a timely and efficient manner with luggage being taken to the back of the bus before we were allowed on board.

With all of us on board, the bus left on time with a pretty uneventful journey up the M1 and M6 to Keele services, where we had a 45 minute break before carrying on up the M6, M74, M73 and M8 to Glasgow's Buchanan bus station.
We arrived into Glasgow mega early at 0748 (scheduled arrival 0815) hence I had some time to spare before catching my next coach up to Oban which leaves at 0830. I went into the Travel Centre to see what new bus timetables were out since I was last up in Glasgow and also to buy a single to Oban, at £13.10, which I thought was good value.

On stand 55 was the Scottish Citylink coach to Oban ready for boarding thus I got onboard for the scenic ride to Glasgow (definately made a difference to see rural Scotland, having previously just stuck to Glasgow and Edinburgh!). Between Arrochar and Cairndow we hit a traffic jam, which was caused by a RTA with an ambulance and police in attendance, once the ambulance had sped off the police decided to get the traffic moving again by imposing single lane working round the accident. One of the cars involved in the accident had its whole front end bashed in! Despite this, arrival in was Oban was 10 minutes early at 1116 (scheduled 1126).

Now I had SEVEN hours to kill in Oban, firstly I went to the station to see the Sleeper with 37406 on the front already the right way round (having done the move over the crossover the previous night) and on the other platform were 156493/447/478. Next I found a nearly new West Coast Motors Wright Cadet on Oban's only Sunday bus route (the 410 Soroba- Oban- Benderloch) and did one round trip on that, this surprisingly killed off and hour and 15 minutes! Visited a few shops and had a few pints in a local pub. On a footnote I was surprised on how large a settlement Oban is, only thought it would be a large village like place!!

Fast forward to the evening and I went back to the station at about 1720, when to my disappointment the 37 had already been fired up! An hour later, the 3 156s that had been sitting in the platform (478, 493, 447) departed on the one and only train of the day to Glasgow (yes, as a SIX car set), which when joined by the Bridge of Orchy 156 at Crainlarich would of produced an eight car set!!

Once the 156 had departed, I (and others) could walk down the platform and finally get good pictures of 37406 whilst the staff at Oban were busily getting the train prepared for its onward journey, finally allowing us enthusiasts on about 1925 (everyone that was left at Oban station after the 156 left were either staff or enthusiasts!!)

The 37 thrashed out of Oban (even producing sparks out of its exhaust at one point)! Even though it was very dark there was enough light to do H-O and still see those pesky overhanging branches...I did H-O all the way from Oban to Polmont. At Dalmally, not scheduled for the Sleeper to stop but had to stop to let a 156 pass us to get to Oban (which was 20 minutes down), this is where Joy54 joined the Sleeper for the journey south.

At Edinburgh the various bits of the sleeper from Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness all joined together, 90017 was attached to the front and 37406 detached from what was now the rear with the two seated coaches it bought down from Oban. Once we left Edin I went back to my berth to get some sleep (had the cabin all to myself, so that was a good bonus.) When I first woke up the Sleeper was stopped at Rugeley Trent Valley, so thinking we were only stopping for pathing stop or something minor, I went back to sleep.

Only to awake 2-2 1/2 hours later, to realise we were still stuck at Rugeley!! I glanced at my phone and the time was 0740 (by this time the Sleeper should of been on the approaches to Euston!). I then found out that 90017 was declared a failure as it couldn't draw power from the OHLE, thus the train was without ETH for all this time and that meant no hot breakfast!

At this point the stewardess came through the train giving out as many FSR compensation claim forms as she had, which I (and no doubt many other passengers) will be filling out and returning to FSR. I will then have from money (or rail vouchers) for other trips I have planned.

Finally about 0800, 90028 (which had been dispatched from Crewe) passed the stranded coaches on the down slow (all the London bound 390s were also being routed through the platform road at Rugeley as the Sleeper was on the down fast). 90028 ran ahead towards Litchfield in order to find a crossover onto the fast line and finally re-appeared to attach onto the front of 90017. Once that was completed the cabin/berth fans whirred back into life!

Once we the signaller set the road we were on our way again after being stiuck there for THREE hours! At Rugby I noted we were routed via the Northampton loop (the S/B sleeper usually goes the direct route to MKC, usually only the N/B sleeper goes via Northampton), so I grabbed the chance to complete the Northampton loop H-O, which was easily achieved. Arrival in Euston was at 1058, 3 hours and fifteen minutes late!

Which ends my report of an eventful journey!
 
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Techniquest

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Glad you made the Oban coach with plenty of time in the end! Very surprising that it was early even with the accident! Must have been fun in Oban then! What operator runs the buses in Oban, out of curiousity? Can't be First?! I'm glad there will be shops in Oban then, I really did expect a tiny town with shops 2 miles away a la St. Erth or like where I live! I might just be able to get some breakfast in Oban! Any supermarkets like Tesco or Morrisons at all?

Must have been fun waiting at Rugeley! I'd have been rather cheesed off, as would those with onwards connections in London no doubt! Beneficial for you I guess though, haulage behind TWO 90s! Which reminds me to check if I was on the train with two 91s last year...

Hoping to see some photos!
 

richa2002

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Sprinter said:
(478, 493, 447) departed on the one and only train of the day to Glasgow (yes, as a SIX car set), which when joined by the Fort William 156 at Crainlanrich would of produced an eight car set!!
Remember the reason that the sleeper was going to Oban ;) There would be no joining set at Crianlarich due to the engineering work.
 

Sprinter

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Richard Armstrong said:
Remember the reason that the sleeper was going to Oban ;) There would be no joining set at Crianlarich due to the engineering work.
Doh! Of course there wasn't any through Fort William trains that day! However trains were still running as far north as Bridge of Orchy, so there would of been another 156 joining at Crainlarich (unless the Sunday trains were replaced by buses all the way to Crainlarich to meet the Oban train).

Buses in Oban are run mainly by local operator West Coast Motors (under the trading name of Oban and District) although the ticket was issued on a Scottish Citylink branded ticket roll! That is not as odd as it seems as West Coast Motors have a few Scottish Citylink contracts (the 976 Glasgow-Oban being one of the routes they operate on behalf of Citylink.)

There is a large Tesco quite near the station, open from 0800, if you need supplies for a ride on the 156 back down to Glasgow!

Photos of this event will follow soon, in the Photgraph Board.
 
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