Railroving 1970s – 1990s

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Merthyr Imp, 9 Sep 2016.

  1. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    Following the example of Cowley on another thread I thought I’d share some of my rail travel experiences from the days when I used to spend between two and three weeks a year with assorted railrover tickets.

    I still have my records of trains travelled on, with motive power (although not always with numbers), and in later years the type of coaching stock. I made no records at the time of my experiences of the trips, so any brief additional information will be based on memory.

    Losing interest in trainspotting with the ending of steam I took no more than a passing interest in railways, with any journeys mainly confined to travelling to football matches. What sparked my interest again, oddly, was the appearance of TOPS numbers on locomotives and I began to feel I was missing out on what was going on. That led in late 1973 to becoming a regular reader of the Railway Magazine and getting back into the railway scene again.

    Then, in 1974, the publication of the first BR All-Line timetable (telephone directory-sized) prompted me to make some use of it, and I started off with an East Midlands Rover ticket. This was the result:

    I should mention that I was living in Nottingham at this time.

    Saturday 1st June 1974
    Quite an early start, with the 0735 through service to Llandudno, hauled by 25207 with Mark 1 rolling stock. I alighted at Derby (0808), then after a short wait:
    The 0815 to Sheffield (47083), which was a Birmingham to Scarborough service. Due in at 0858, then:
    A Hull service – some sort of dmu - at 0920 as far as Doncaster, due in at 0957. Time there for a welcome sausage roll (and not a pre-wrapped one in those days) and a cup of tea in the buffet before:
    A York to Cambridge service – dmu – at 1032 as far as Spalding, due in at 1225. My first ever trip along that route. I cheated then and went by bus to Boston to get a dmu (probably a Derby 2-car set) at an unrecorded time to Grantham, arrived 1715.
    At Grantham the buffet on platform 1 was still open in those days, and I remember having a snack and a lemonade – served in a glass – while watching trains on the main line go past. If memory serves, an occasional Class 46 could still be seen in those days.
    Then it was:
    A King’s Cross to York service (47521) at 1759 as far as Retford, due in at 1831, and from there a Cleethorpes to Sheffield dmu (again, probably a Derby 2-car) at 1843, due in Sheffield at 1924. The Woodhead line coal trains were still operating at that time, so all that infrastructure was still in place on the entry into Sheffield through Darnall, etc.
    A quick change at Sheffield onto a St. Pancras service at 1930 (which is probably why I didn’t get the number of the Class 47 hauling it). Back in Nottingham at 2028
    Apart from Nottingham – Derby – Sheffield, and from there to Nottingham, all these lines were new to me.

    Sunday 2nd June 1974
    Not many trains from Nottingham on a Sunday morning so didn’t set off until getting what was probably a Derby 2-car dmu at 1125, due at Grantham 1207.
    Then a service from King’s Cross hauled by 47401 at 1212 through to Cleethorpes (calling at Lincoln St. Marks), due in at 1425.
    After probably having fish & chips at Cleethorpes I left there at 1708 on a Sheffield service hauled by 31320 to Doncaster – due at 1840. A quick change on to a dmu leaving at 1847 to Sheffield, arrival at 1923.
    Then it was back to Nottingham on a St Pancras service (47235) leaving 2005, due into Nottingham at 2107.

    Monday 3rd June 1974
    Started with the 0850 Nottingham to St Pancras service (hauled by 46034) as far as Leicester, due in at 0917.
    Then a Cambridge to Birmingham dmu at 0937 as far as Nuneaton, due in at 1010.
    The electrified West Coast services were the latest thing in 1974, so I sampled as much as the East Midlands Rover ticket allowed me to – a Manchester to Euston service (86204) at 1035 for the short hop to Rugby, due in at 1051. Then for some reason which I’ve forgotten there was a replacement bus service to Northampton. But from there I was able to travel on a Euston to Birmingham emu at 1422 back to Rugby, due at 1446. After a break there it was another emu on the 1610 to Nuneaton only, due there at 1627.
    After a bit of time at Nuneaton it was a dmu on a Birmingham to Norwich service at 1847 as far as Leicester, due there at 1919.
    Finally, back to Nottingham on a Leicester to Birmingham dmu at 1939, arriving at 2016

    Tuesday 4th June 1974
    On this day it was off to Grantham again on a dmu at 0847, due in at 0930.
    Then a quick change onto King’s Cross to Edinburgh service (55002) at 0935 to Doncaster, due in at 1020. After spending some time there, I then went on a Cleethorpes service (dmu) at 1325 to Barnetby, due in at 1412. From there it was a Cleethorpes to Sheffield service via Gainsborough Central at 1429 as far as Retford. Although shown in the timetable as conveying ‘through carriages to Manchester Piccadilly’ it was only a dmu of some sort.
    From Retford I got another dmu on a Sheffield to Lincoln service at 1619 to Gainsborough Lea Road, due in at 1634.
    After a look around Gainsborough it was back to Lea Road (where there was still a Travellers Fare station buffet) for yet another dmu at 1758 – a service from Sleaford which took me to Sheffield, arrived 1901.
    Then back to Nottingham at 1930 on the usual St Pancras train, this time Peak-hauled – 45108 – back in Nottingham at 2018.

    Wednesday 5th June 1974
    It was the 0850 St Pancras service again (loco number not recorded), this time to Kettering, due in at 0945. I returned from there on a St Pancras to Derby service (46004) to Leicester, due at 1224.
    From Leicester it was a Birmingham to Norwich dmu at 1423 to visit Stamford, due there at 1514. Then I continued on a Birmingham to Cambridge dmu at 1734 to Peterborough, due in at 1753.
    From there, it was a King’s Cross to Cleethorpes service (47103) at 1838 to Grantham, due at 1904.
    Finally, back to Nottingham at 1910 on what was almost certainly a Derby 2-car dmu, due in at 1951.

    Thursday 6th June 1974
    A later start this morning, with the St Pancras to Glasgow ‘Thames-Clyde Express’ (an unrecorded Class 46) at 1005 to Sheffield, due in at 1101.
    From there I got a dmu on a Hull service at 1135 as far as Rotherham, due at 1144. After a look at the town it was a Manchester to Hull dmu at 1358 to Doncaster, due at 1425. A quick change to a Leeds to King’s Cross Class 47-hauled service at 1431 to Peterborough on the longest East Coast main line journey possible with this ticket. Due there at 1558. Back up to Grantham from Peterborough at 1838 behind another Class 47 on a King’s Cross to Cleethorpes service, due in at 1904. Then back to Nottingham as on the previous day on the 1910 dmu.

    Friday 7th June 1974
    The final day saw an 0939 departure from Nottingham on a Lincoln to Crewe dmu as far as Derby, due in at 1008.
    Then it was a Cardiff to Leeds service (47246) at 1140 to Chesterfield, due at 1205. After some time there, I got a Fridays Only Derby to York train (47358) to Sheffield, due in at 1506. A change there to a Hull-bound dmu departing at 1522 to Doncaster, due in at 1558.
    Then a Hull to King’s Cross service (47435) at 1835 to Newark North Gate, due at 1910. Walked to Newark Central to get a Lincoln to Derby dmu at 1957, due in at 2033.

    One thing noticeable here is the fact that almost all the trains I was getting on the East Coast Main Line, being mainly Cleethorpes, Hull and Leeds services, were Class 47-hauled – the Deltics being on the longer-distance trains.
     
  2. Commoner

    Commoner Member

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    Looking forward to the next installment. Thanks for posting.
     
  3. Kristofferson

    Kristofferson Established Member

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    Welcome to the club!

    Always good to see some nostalgia bashing - any ideas what the EMUs and DMUs were?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    The majority of the dmus - especially those operating services into Lincolnshire - would have been Derby 2-car units.

    Sometimes you'd get a Cravens 2-car unit on Nottingham - Grantham services, and sometimes to Lincoln. The only other ones likely were BRCW units. I'm not very good with what classes the old dmus were!

    The emus would either have been Class 310 or 304.
     
  5. fishquinn

    fishquinn Established Member Quizmaster

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    Lots of loco haulage there!
     
  6. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Thanks for posting that Merthyr Imp. Many long gone services and locos too. I never went on a Deltic although I saw one in Exeter on a railtour in about 1981, my Dad took me to see it (Dad being a lover of all things train related too), we also went on the Woodhead line on one of the BR organised mystery days out that you could do in the 70s. We lived in Oxfordshire until I was three before moving west and my favourite story about the mystery tours was us driving to London to go on one and the train doing some strange route from I think Marylebone around Hertfordshire before dropping everyone off in Oxford pretty much where we lived, I think we even went home for lunch. Do you or anyone else remember these tours?
    My next All line that I did in 1992 I started from Nottingham too as I've got family up there.

    You said that you were a steam follower in the 60s. Do you have any records of trips from back then?
     
  7. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    Are other posters' railroving recollections also welcome? -- and would pushing of the time-envelope back to the mid-1960s, be admissible? If so, I have a couple of summers' brief but concentrated British bashes from those times, which might be tellable-of.

    (No offence will be taken, should the answer be "no": the Calthrop fiendish "bore-people-to-the-max" machine will be duly brought down from "Condition Red", to "dormant".)
     
  8. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I would love to hear about them Calthrop. I'm sure others would too. If people don't want to read about it they don't have to. That's the beauty of it I suppose.
    I've enjoyed reading others modern trips on here far more than I expected and it's really opened my eyes as to what people find interesting on the modern railway.
    Any trips down memory lane have got to be good in my eyes with the added bonus of recording it on here for prosperity for yourself and others.

    I'm going to do another one soon but I'm really busy with my work at the moment, just been looking at one of my other books and thinking about it actually. :)

    Thinking about it, the only problem I can see is that we should possibly be putting these in the nostalgia and history section, but then again these are trip reports. It's just that it's taken a while to write them up. 42 years in Merthyrs case ;)
     
    Last edited: 10 Sep 2016
  9. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    Thanks. Ah, well -- I suppose that in theory we could have a centenarian member, still hale and hearty and mentally "all there", posting about his teenage doings on the Corris, and Welshpool & Llanfair, and Glyn Valley Tramway, still with regular passenger services; and on Colonel Stephens's various bonkers undertakings; and who knows what else... anyway, I'll get to work.
     
  10. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    Unfortunately not - certainly no railroving of any kind, and as for any train journeys behind steam (apart from when I was a young child) - I can only really identify two:

    One was in, I think December 1961 when I went for a few days in London with my father travelling from Grantham to King's Cross behind 60109 'Hermit' and returning behind 60026 'Miles Beevor' (incidentally, in both cases travelling to and from Grantham from Leadenham on the Honington to Lincoln line on Derby 2-car dmus).

    The other, I think was in summer 1962 when my mother and I went on a day excursion from Nottingham Victoria to Cleethorpes, hauled both ways by B1 61392. I remember the route from Victoria was northbound up the Great Central main line, and I believe was then via the LDECR line to Lincoln then Barnetby.

    For the record, my journeys behind steam as a child too young to record numbers would have been on the afore-mentioned Honington to Lincoln line (which I can just about remember in the pre-dmu days), including day trips to Skegness from Caythorpe on that line). Also pre-dmu journeys from Newark Castle to Nottingham - on those journeys I can remember seeing the old MR 0-4-4Ts waiting at Rolleston Junction on the Southwell branch service.

    And that's it really - we tended to mostly travel by car in those days, although I should mention some trips on preserved lines:

    1960 - Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway from New Romney to Hythe behind 'Hurricane'.
    1961 - Ravenglass & Eskdale, the full length of the line and back behind 'River Irt' and 'River Esk' respectively.
    1963 - We toured mid-Wales by car and 'did' the three main narrow gauge lines:

    Vale of Rheidol to Devil's Bridge and back in the days before the line was diverted to use the main line station at Aberystwyth.

    Talyllyn Railway - Towyn to Abergynolwyn and back behind 'Douglas'. We went for a short walk along the then-disused trackbed beyond Abergynolwyn.

    Festiniog Railway - Portmadoc to Tan-y-Bwlch and back behind 'Linda' and 'Merddin Emrys' respectively. Again, from the then upper terminus at Tan-y-Bwlch we went for a walk along the unrestored track, going as far as the short tunnel (Garnedd).

    We didn't sample the Snowdon Mountain Railway as my dad said it cost too much!
     
  11. Kite159

    Kite159 Established Member

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    Shows how much has changed since the 1970s, especially with journey times being both improved
     
  12. 55013

    55013 Established Member

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    Oooh, yes please.
    I love reminiscing.
     
  13. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    Merthyr Imp -- I find the above, fascinating stuff: my childhood and adolescence were spent not very far from your part of the world -- a bit south-east thereof. (We take it that my plan to "ride on your coat-tails" in this thread with a few railrover recollections of my own, is OK by you -- everyone starting their own thread, would seem to me a bit over-the-top.) I envy you, your sight of the Southwell branch train with 0-4-4T -- that service withdrawn in summer 1959, if I'm right. By the time of my only journey ever on the Honington -- Lincoln line, the only intermediate station thereon still open, was Leadenham -- didn't Caythorpe and the others close in 1962?

    That's the trouble with the Snowdon, isn't it? I spent a pleasant week in summer 1964 with my mother, in North Wales. Festiniog and Talyllyn were covered: passing by the SMR terminus in Llanberis and seeing the posted fare, the verdict had to be, "out of the question". I've travelled on the SMR once, in the early 1980s -- as part of a day tour from London, at an all-in price which was affordable.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    A mid-60s "bash" of mine -- six-day Eastern Region Railrover in August 1964, when I was aged 16 – living in Peterborough. If I recall correctly: gave unlimited travel in the Region, for six days out of a specified seven: I know that during the sequence of travelling days, there was a Sunday, on which I didn’t travel.

    Dwelling where I was, I might have “roved” / headed further west, and enjoyed the still relatively plentiful steam action which was to be had in that direction at the time (have subsequently regretted at times, not doing so) -- but half a century ago, I was much torn between disappearing steam; and disappearing lesser and branch passenger lines of the BR system. I opted in August ’64 for the latter – having a since-childhood affection for East Anglia and Lincolnshire.

    I’ve never been hugely big on knowledge of modern motive-power types-and-classes; and notes physically taken at the time, have long gone the way of all flesh – must now rely on (fairly good, in my estimation) memory. The very great majority of my travels on this bash, were by the then prevalent assorted minorly-varying kinds of BR diesel multiple units – most often, running in pairs. When “consist” recalled as (sometimes, possibly) other than DMU, I have noted it. A little steam was seen at, and north of, Peterborough; but I had no steam haulage during the six days.

    Day trips in every case, starting and finishing at Peterborough – usually Peterborough (North). When starting out or returning, using the Peterborough – March line, joining / leaving point might on occasion have been Peterborough (East) – I don’t remember. A couple of days started and finished with my travelling Peterborough – Cambridge: for some of these runs, the March – Cambridge leg was done via Ely, for others, via St. Ives – I no longer recollect which in each case.

    Frustratingly, Swaffham – Thetford and Wivenhoe – Brightlingsea had been “closed from under me” a very few months before my Aug. ’64 bash: if they’d been still running then, both would have been “musts” for me.



    DAY 1

    Peterborough – March – Ely – Bury St. Edmunds

    Bury St. Edmunds – Newmarket – Cambridge

    The above – particularly the first -- could well have been loco-hauled.

    I wanted to cover the route: Ely – Soham – junction with Cambridge-to-Haughley line. At that date, passenger workings were still running – not for much longer -- between Ely and Newmarket, thus between Snailwell and Warren Hill Junctions. They were few and far between, and I’ve never been eager about “curve-bashing”: to cover that particular (long) curve, would have needed much time, and sacrificing of other stuff. I let Snailwell – Warren Hill go.

    (I THINK I’m right about the junction names here: viz. a triangle with three junctions, “west”, “east”, and “south”: Snailwell, Chippenham, and Warren Hill, respectively.)


    DMU Cambridge – Sudbury. Noted at Bartlow: railbus, making connection from / to Audley End: this service withdrawn some weeks later. I had travelled on it earlier that year – was at boarding school at Bishop’s Stortford, nearby.

    Long layover at Sudbury, awaiting next working onward – took a look around the town.


    DMU Sudbury – Marks Tey

    EMU along main line Marks Tey --Witham.

    Witham -- Maldon & Heybridge, and return, railbus (this service withdrawn some weeks later).

    EMU Witham – Colchester

    Through DMU Colchester – Cambridge. At Chappel & Wakes Colne, observed diesel loco on goods train on remaining goods-only portion of Colne Valley & Halstead line.

    Cambridge – Peterborough.


    DAY 2

    Peterborough – March

    The following all DMU, till Norwich – Ely run near end of day.

    March – Wisbech East – Kings Lynn

    Kings Lynn – Swaffham – Dereham

    Dereham – Wells-Next-The-Sea (this service withdrawn some weeks later)

    Wells-Next-the-Sea – Dereham – Wymondham – Norwich (I forget precise sequence of workings, and changes thereof if any.)

    Norwich – Cromer – Sheringham. Sheringham – Melton Constable had lost its passenger service some months before; but I managed a brake-van trip on a goods Sheringham – MC in very late 1964, shortly before withdrawal of goods traffic. On this “Day 2”, I travelled North Walsham – Mundesley-on-Sea and return (whether before or after Sheringham, I don’t now recall); NW – Mundesley service withdrawn some weeks later.

    Back (whatever the precise sequence, as above) Sheringham to Norwich.

    Norwich – Ely (loco-hauled, I think)

    Ely – March – Peterborough.


    DAY 3

    Peterborough (North, for certain): DMU through to Grimsby Town via Spalding, Boston, and Firsby.

    Vestigial passenger service then still running between Immingham and Ulceby; which I wished to sample. On by rail (DMU) Grimsby Town -- Stallingborough; then bus to Immingham (where a certain amount of traces of Grimsby & Immingham tram route, closed three years before – including poles and wires – still to be seen).

    Immingham – Ulceby diesel loco and coaches.

    DMUs Ulceby – New Holland Pier – Barton-on-Humber, and back to New Holland Pier.

    DMU through working New Holland Pier – Lincoln Central via Barnetby and Market Rasen. Between Brocklesby and Barnetby, passed steam passenger working (B1 ??) in opposite (eastbound) direction.

    This was a Saturday: took what I think would have been a summer-Sats.-only long-distance working, loco-hauled, along the GN & GE Joint route; with me travelling

    Lincoln Central – March.

    This train took the Sleaford avoiding line between Sleaford North, and South, Junctions: from the bridge over the Grantham – Sleaford – Boston route, observed a steam-hauled passenger train eastbound on that route. (Some years later, I managed to travel over the “Joint” line on a service which called at Sleaford station, thus getting the stretches of track which I missed on this Day 3.)

    This was my only run ever, over the Spalding – March section. With my living in Peterborough, it was an “apex of triangle / hypotenuse” situation as regards that stretch of line: never any need to travel on it, in order actually to get anywhere !


    March -- Peterborough


    DAY 4

    This day’s journeyings: I had a considerable yen to cover what I could, of the Oxford – Bletchley -- Cambridge line, whose future was then uncertain. (As things worked out, managed subsequently, to cover said line thoroughly in its last year or so of passenger-throughout life; but, “regret balls unmade crystal”, and all that.) In pursuit of this: on day concerned, did some shelling-out of cash on fares on London Midland Region, west of Bedford.

    Peterborough – Cambridge.

    DMUs Cambridge – Sandy – Bedford St. Johns – Woburn Sands. WS – Bedford St. Johns. On foot to Bedford (Midland)

    Bedford (Midland) – Luton (Midland). On foot to Luton (Bute Street).

    DMU Luton (Bute Street) -- Dunstable (North?) – whichever of the two Dunstable stations it was, which became the passenger terminus of the ex-GN / LNER line from Hatfield, when the ex-LNWR / LMS line Dunstable – Leighton Buzzard, lost its passenger service).

    DMU back Dunstable – Luton – Hatfield.

    Hatfield – Hitchin – Royston – Cambridge (likely, loco-hauled).

    Cambridge – Peterborough.


    DAY 5

    Peterborough – March – Ely

    Ely – Norwich (the runs between these places on this day, I don’t remember whether DMU, or loco-hauled)

    Norwich – Haughley – Ipswich (express for Liverpool Street; loco-hauled)

    This main-line stretch was desired new track for me. For a few years subsequently, I had an irritating short gap in my “lines travelled” map, Manningtree – Ipswich.


    DMU Ipswich – Saxmundham

    DMU Saxmundham – Aldeburgh and return

    DMU Saxmundham – Lowestoft

    DMU Lowestoft – Norwich

    Norwich – Ely

    Ely – March – Peterborough

    Annoyingly, time did not permit travelling over the Lowestoft – Yarmouth (South Town) section. I did finally manage to “bag” that line – literally finally: travelled on it on its last day of service, in 1970. To be honest, the line struck me as a bit boring.


    DAY 6

    All workings travelled on were DMU

    Peterborough (North, for certain) via Spalding to Boston

    Boston – Sleaford -- Grantham

    Grantham – Leadenham – Lincoln Central

    Lincoln Central – Coningsby – Skegness (I don’t remember whether Firsby station was served, or avoided, on this run.)

    Skegness – Firsby

    Firsby – Willoughby

    Willoughby – Mablethorpe and return

    Willoughby – Boston – Spalding – Peterborough (North)

    At Mablethorpe, steam loco noted in station, on passenger stock – presumably an excursion from further afield. At 52 years’ distance and with only memory to go on: loco could have been a B1, or a Black Five – I honestly don’t recall.
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2016
  14. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    So much to see back then.
    It must have been heartbreaking to see some of the branchlines in such a rundown state as I imagine they were by then just before closure. I suppose I would in your shoes have tried to travel on as many of them as possible.
    Were any of the local trains particularly busy or did you often find yourself on trains with very few passengers?
    I think if I'd been able to do a rail rover in the South West in 1964 I'd have tried to go on all the local branches like the Sidmouth line and the line to Ilfracombe. We can still experience steam but we'll never again travel to Lyme Regis or Kingsbridge by rail.
    East Anglia is definitely not my known area although I had a Great Uncle and Aunt who lived in Clacton and my step brother Tom and I visited them a couple of times in the 80s, we managed to fit a trip to Colchester - Norwich - March (looked around the depot and yard, full of scrapped locos) - Ely - Ipswich and back to Clacton. I found it a very interesting area and I may try and get up there again next summer.
    Thanks for posting Calthrop.
     
  15. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    Cowley - I'm not so sure branch lines were in run-down conditions prior to closure - at least not all of them. In fact, one of the criticisms in Beeching or pre-Beeching days was that if there was evidence of money being spent on a line and its stations it was an indication it was about to be closed!

    Calthrop - re the Southwell branch trains at Rolleston, I do have a fairly distinct memory of the 0-4-4Ts waiting there. It was probably 1959, as you say, when it closed (can't be bothered to check). At that time it was about 50-50 whether you got steam or diesel on the Newark-Nottingham services.

    You're likely correct about Caythorpe and most of the other stations on the Honington-Lincoln line closing in 1962 - in fact, again, without checking, it may have been earlier. Leadenham stayed open until the line closed in 1965. We moved from Caythorpe to Leadenham in 1957 and I remember the occasional journey from there to either Lincoln or Grantham, which was after the Derby 2-car dmus had taken over. But we would more usually get the bus, I'm afraid. The drawback to those stations at least, on that line was that Caythorpe was well outside the village - at least a mile - Honington itself was similar, and even Leadenham, although better placed, was at one end of the village - which was OK if you happened to live at that end.

    That line, of course, was originally not intended to be closed in the Beeching cuts, being seen as the route for Lincoln to London. The Lincoln to Nottingham line WAS due to be closed, but the decision was reversed, and with the building of the spur at Newark, Lincoln-Grantham -King's Cross services were able be sent that way and Leadenham station alone wasn't enough to sustain the Honington line.

    Very interesting to read of your 1964 railroving. I would guess a lot of your diesel haulage would have been behind 'Brush Type 2s' (as we used to call them - in fact I re member that were just 'Brushes' until the Type 4s came on the scene).

    I wonder if you travelled on the 'Boat Train' (Manchester - Harwich) which probably in those days still ran via Lincoln and down the 'Joint Line' to March, Ely, etc?

    If only we had a time machine and could go back and do those journeys with what we know now! In 1964 I was more interested in buses and my 'roving' was with the aid of Midland Red Day Anywhere tickets!

    By the way, for what it's worth I've remembered another steam journey. This was in about May 1961 when we had a school trip from Nottingham to London. Journey was to St Pancras and we took the route through Melton Mowbray and Corby - I remember that, as we learned about the steelworks there. Locos would almost certainly have been either Black 5s or Jubilees.
     
  16. AJM580

    AJM580 Member

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    Those 60's moves were quite something, I've got some 1960's Eastern region timetables from 1966 and they show some fascinating moves that were possible. Good to see that some-one was actually doing them!!
     
  17. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    From what I recall -- long ago, and I'm not terrifically perceptive about such things -- I seem to remember it as generally, "between the two extremes": trains not jam-packed, but not with pitifully few passengers either.

    I did the South-West (Somerset, Devon and Cornwall) in summer 1965 -- account of which I plan to post here, next. Life's circumstances so sorted out, that that; and the East in '64 ; were the only concentrated line-bashes that I did in that era. Without wanting to seem to pooh-pooh people's achievements later than the mid-60s: by the time I next went Railrover-ing, a half-dozen years later, in my view the holocaust had happened, and most of the best stuff was gone. (I being by temperament a pessimist and miserable so-and-so, I'm firmly convinced that the very best stuff had gone, before birth-date and opportunity allowed me to experience more than a tiny amount of it !)

    So often, on the rural scene -- the station was not conveniently situated for the village; and possible measures to improve that situation, were never taken !

    I suppose that in context of a measured and sensible process of thinning-out of rural railways, what was done as above, makes reasonable sense...

    I'm thinking that the train on which I travelled Lincoln -- March, was a special Saturday job: seem to recall that the timetable said as much, though -- that long ago, and all documentation long gone -- I couldn't prove it. I have experienced the Manchester -- Harwich boat train: in my early childhood (1948 -- 1957) before moving to Peterborough, we lived in Spalding -- we had relatives in Chester, and mother and I, in holiday visits to them, travelled on said boat train, which got us between Spalding and Manchester with no change of trains. Much later, a couple of times I actually used same train to get between Peterborough (changing onto boat train at March) and Harwich, to get to and from the Continent. As mentioned in my reminiscence: I never had cause to use the Spalding -- March section in order to actually go anywhere: had to build it into a gricing itinerary as in Aug. 1964 -- the only time I ever travelled over it.

    Happy days ! I covered the lines concerned, but "piecemeal", and never behind steam.
     
  18. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    This entire thread has been a most enjoyable read, all entries most welcome and I'm keen to read more!

    It would have made a lot of sense for me to have read this thread in conjunction with my Then and Now atlas. I was however consuming beer while reading this so far, which took priority :lol: Future reading, and indeed a re-read of the previous posts, will see it found so I can follow the historic lines better!

    Bring on the next instalments!
     
  19. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    The old joke comes to mind:

    'Why didn't they put the station near the village?'

    'Perhaps they thought it best to put it near the railway...'
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Re the retention of the Lincoln - Nottingham line rather than the Lincoln - Honington line, apart from serving Leadenham the only other thing to be said for the latter was it enabled people to travel between Lincoln and Grantham direct.

    Although services between the two places could have run via the Newark spur I'm pretty sure that even in the earliest days of its use services from Lincoln ran no further than Newark, meaning a change (and therefore a worse service in my view). Having said that, it was probably questionable how many people DID just want to travel only to Grantham, as I think a good many of the passengers were London-bound with a change at Grantham. So of course they would then simply change at Newark instead.

    Of course, the King's Cross - Cleethorpes trains then began to take that route when the East Lincolnshire line was closed a few years later, but they weren't all that frequent.
     
  20. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    Ah, yes, "people getting things backwards", always a fertile source of jokes: "Why didn't they build Stonehenge close to Heathrow Airport? -- very inconsiderate of them." In some cases, though, a village is or was on a rail line, or almost; but the inaugurating railway company -- for whatever reasons -- put the station with the village's name, some way away from the village. Generally, so many places on a rail line, but station-less. Obviously, for functional reasons, such a situation has to be; however... As the twentieth century advanced, a fair amount was done in the way of opening new halts, to serve more places; but by then road motor transport was developing apace, anyway.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    August 1965 took our family (mother, myself, and two much younger and non-rail-interested brothers), to a fortnight’s holiday at Porlock, a few miles west of Minehead. I used this as an opportunity for not-quite a week’s Railrover, for the counties of Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall – territory almost totally new to me. I think the ticket gave six days’ travel: for reasons whose details I now forget (the Sunday factor, and / or dealing with sheer fatigue, and / or not wanting to be totally selfish re taking self off and doing own thing?) I sacrificed one day of the six, and did five days’ intensive Railroving. (I forget at half a century’s distance, all the intricacies of these regulations; but recall accurately, where I travelled and where I didn’t.)

    The logistics of the exercise required nights away from base. I being a dependent “minor” on a very limited budget, in a non-affluent family: some of such, involved sleeping rough: perceivedly more-innocent times than nowadays, or whatever ? – except for the discomfort of doing same, that was not seen as a problem. (Or perhaps Mum did the “don’t ask, don’t tell” routine...)

    This holiday – travel to and from the venue being by public transport, rail as far as rail went – afforded for sure, “total immersion” re the delightful Taunton – Minehead route, when it was a BR branch among many – some half-dozen years before its closure and subsequent renaissance (with physical jiggery-pokery at its southern end) as the West Somerset Railway. Taunton -- Minehead at beginning and end of holiday; plus “commuting” by the branch, to and from my “rovings” – I feel that I have “done” that delectable line (subsequently also revisited in its preserved incarnation) “but good”.

    For four out of the five days of this grice, almost all travel was by diesel multiple units of the prevalent, rather minorly-varying, kinds then in use by BR: exceptions thereto, will be told of in the narrative. (If not specified -- please take it, by default, as DMU.) As with my account of 1964 ER bash: physical notes taken, are “long vanished” – I must rely on memory. If this exercise could have been performed a year earlier than it in fact was: my understanding is that very many workings in the north of Devon and Cornwall, would then have been steam-hauled. But as our Jewish friends say, “it was not destined”. As things worked out: I was just in time to travel over the great majority of the Southern’s “withered arm” in the West Country – before the mass closures, but at a time when the lines had become almost totally DMU-operated.



    Commencing the narrative: three consecutive days, starting on the first and finishing on the third, at Minehead / Porlock – none of those days, was a Sunday. First day : Minehead – Taunton, day’s earliest attainable working. Bus caught from Taunton, heading in the direction of Chard and Chard Junction (branch line along that route had lost its passenger service in 1962). I had done no research buses-wise, and was drawing a bow completely at a venture: taking it that buses would run when they would, and deliver me to the ex-Southern Railway Salisbury – Exeter route, whenever they would: I’d travel on as many of the branch lines off that route, as time would permit.

    “God looks after fools” – a departure from Taunton bus station quite shortly after I arrived there, took me to Chard (passing closely by the station, where I observed a diesel loco shunting goods wagons – goods Chard Junction to Chard, had lasted longer than passenger on the branch), and on to a stop close and convenient to Chard Junction station, then still open for passenger traffic, on the Salisbury – Exeter line. Fate could not have contrived better.

    Caught the next working westward, one stop onward to Axminster; and the branch from there to Lyme Regis. Being worked then, by a single-unit bogie railcar of the British Railways DMU family. Return trip on this unit, over the scenic branch (starting off from Axminster, north side of the station, via a sharp turn over a bridge across the main line, prior to branch’s heading off southward).

    On westward from Axminster to the next station, Seaton Junction; for a quick return bash of the branch from there to Seaton (two-car DMU). With people usually not being clairvoyant – no inkling of course, of the future return to life of a portion of this line, in the form of a narrow-gauge electric tram route. Onward through Honiton to Sidmouth Junction, changing there to the branch DMU. First covered was Sidmouth Junction to Sidmouth, with the dramatic steep climb out of Tipton St. John’s, by the Sidmouth leg of this mini-system. Back out of Sidmouth to Tipton St. John’s, changing to a working for Exmouth by way of Budleigh Salterton; and onward, by the next Exmouth to Exeter working.

    At the junction just outside Exeter, an unrebuilt Bulleid Pacific was observed, stationary but in steam: the only steam active by any description, which I saw in Devon / Cornwall. Very many years later, I heard a likely explanation: in summer 1965, there remained an anomalous steam passenger working on the Basingstoke – Salisbury – Exeter route, which had over the previous year overwhelmingly gone diesel. This was a daily return train between Waterloo and Sidmouth / Exmouth: steam-hauled in each direction between Waterloo and Sidmouth Junction; after which diesel locos came on, to take what became the train’s respective portions onward to Sidmouth, and to Exmouth via Budleigh Salterton; likewise in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the Pacific ran light along the main line to Exmouth junction outside Exeter, for servicing and turning; and back light to Sidmouth Junction, to pick up the train for the return London run.

    It was now late afternoon / early evening; on westwards, as ever DMU-borne, on what if I remember rightly was an Exeter – Plymouth working -- via the LSW / Southern route. Fine landscapes were relished; with eerily impressive mist-topped Dartmoor scenes to the left, as we ran in the gathering twilight through Bridestowe, Lydford, and Tavistock. I de-trained at Bere Alston in the last of the light.

    With the Callington branch in my sights for the following morning, Bere Alston was obviously the place to overnight. That had to be accomplished without the expenditure of money: I found a rake of compartment coaches parked at a side platform, and not locked – let myself in, and spent the night on one compartment-side’s seats. I didn’t own a sleeping bag at that time: the night was fairly cold, and I got only snatches of sleep. I had the good luck for my trespassing to go undiscovered; the morning came round, bright and sunny, and I caught the early departure – 06-something, if I recall rightly – for Callington (two-unit DMU). Am glad to have “captured” the Gunnislake – Callington section, abandoned a little over two years later; have visited the surviving line as far as Gunnislake, in more recent times.

    Travelling over the Callington branch brought me into Cornwall for the first time in my life. On this day, I wished to explore as much and as far into the county, as could be done; but took it on a “see how things go” basis. Off on the main line south from Bere Alston: I travelled just as far as the meeting-point at Keyham, with the Great Western main line – this gave a convenient connection into a westbound local on this route. My reasoning was, that the GW main line to the far south-west, would be around and with passenger services, effectively “for keeps”: it would be possible to come back at some future date and fill in the gaps re that line.

    Duly, off westward and over the Saltash bridge, to Liskeard; for the Looe branch -- irresistible with its strange antics involving heading off from its platform at Liskeard station and looping round under the main line, with reversal at the little platform of Coombe Junction Halt below the main-line viaduct, then due south to the terminus. A bogie single-unit, I think – or possibly it was a two-car set. Back to Liskeard on the return working, and on westward: the Bodmin complex was to be tackled a little later, and Lostwithiel – Fowey had lost its passenger service at the beginning of that year (I later covered the line by means of a brake-van trip). Changed at Par, and travelled to Newquay.

    Travelling at “max intensity” throughout the day, would have allowed me to get as far as Truro and Falmouth before turning back: but after a sleep-poor night, I was feeling fairly wrecked, and decided to make Newquay the trip’s furthest point west. Nothing which survived west of Par, was seen as particularly threatened -- could be left for a future year. I spent a couple of hours crashed-out on the beach at Newquay; retracing then, to Par and Bodmin Road. Bogie single-unit on evening working for Padstow was travelled on through Bodmin General (reverse) as far as one of the halts en route to Wadebridge: either Nanstallon or Grogley – after all this time, I’m unsure which. Both had, I recall, small “pagoda”-type shelters of characteristically Great Western pattern: despite Boscarne Junction having been the Western / Southern, etc. “frontier post” in these parts, one gathers that there was much “mixing and matching”... Whichever halt I disembarked at around the end of daylight: I spent the (cold, uncomfortable and not yielding much sleep) night on the bench of its shelter. Arrival of the following morning’s first eastbound working, occasioned a good deal of relief.

    The metaphorical couple of years between full dieselisation, and closure, in these parts, set up a strange phenomenon -- likely to seem crazier than anything which it replaced. Instead of steam passenger trains shuttling between Bodmin North – “Southern” station -- and Wadebridge and Padstow; and diesel-propelled conveyances doing likewise from / to Bodmin General (“Western” ditto); a new station, with platforms, was inaugurated at Boscarne Junction. Workings Bodmin Road – Bodmin General – Wadebridge – Padstow were consolidated with DMUs / bogie single units; stopping at the new Boscarne Junction station, between which and Bodmin North, a four-wheel railbus ran a shuttle service. Something of the kind, no doubt necessary for a while to fulfil the letter of the law; but one feels that “common sense it wasn’t”. First thing on my “Day 3”, I solemnly followed the motions of this solemn farce: bogie single-unit from “wherever”, to Bodmin General; disembark, walk through the town to Bodmin North; catch next railbus to Boscarne Junction; change there, on to next working west to Wadebridge and Padstow. Routes taken henceforth on this day, are remembered – precise details of through trains / changes, not so much. The wild and beautiful North Cornwall line was traversed in a several-car DMU: possibly throughout from Padstow, possibly with a change at Wadebridge. Changing for Bude, was necessary at Halwill Junction.

    This interchange-point had to do with my greatest regret concerning this whole bash: the Halwill – Torrington branch, closed for passenger traffic just a very few months previously. This wonderfully ridiculous super-rural line -- essentially opened as late as 1925 -- had had for many years past, an almost totally unpatronised passenger service of two workings each way per day. Had it still been running at the time of my travels, much of my schedule would have needed to be built around its very sparse service; “but as it wasn’t, it weren’t”. A very considerable length of this line at its other end, from Torrington to Meeth, remained in freight service – clay, and milk, traffics – until the early 1980s. It was possible to travel on this section either by arranging a brake-van trip on the freight, or by means of one of various railtours which covered it: something which I was always intending to do, but never actually accomplished.

    So Halwill to Bude, and the next train back eastward: a DMU set, I suspect running through Bude – Exeter; but as often, these smaller details are no longer with me for certain. I relished the magnificent wild, empty country to the north-west of Dartmoor... back onto the Plymouth – Exeter main line at Meldon Junction, and onward to Exeter St. Davids. The slightly late running of my express for the next leg to Taunton had me apprehensive of missing the tight connection there for the Minehead working; feeling pretty much tired-out from two successive not-sleep-filled nights, the prospect of a lengthy “fester” at Taunton, awaiting the following one for Minehead, did not appeal. Happily, time was recovered before Taunton, and the connection was made.

    After, from what I remember, a thankfully travel-fee Sunday; “back to it” -- once more, earliest possible bus from Porlock, to Minehead for earliest feasible Taunton working. Loco-hauled express, for sure, to Exeter St. Davids: DMU thence along the gloriously scenic route down the River Taw valley to Barnstaple Junction. (Much though I appreciate Henry Williamson’s book and its otter hero – which book I, appropriately, had with me to read on this bash – I’m glad to have experienced this stretch of railway before the marketing boys had the idea of brand-naming it the “Tarka Line”.)

    A bit of a hard choice faced me for this day. Barnstaple Junction – Torrington was clearly a “must” to travel on: passenger service withdrawal was imminent, and indeed occurred only a few weeks later. Barnstaple Junction – Ilfracombe was not reckoned particularly threatened as at summer 1965; but it was a scenic line – and if it were not travelled on now, there would be a long way to go back to these parts at some future time, in order to “bag” it. The schedule of my doings for this day, was such that they would give time for Ilfracombe; or the perceivedly less exciting, but more severely menaced, Yatton – Clevedon branch way to the east; but not both. With some regret, I chose Clevedon: the right choice from a line-bashing point of view – that branch closed in October the following year; whereas I was able to revisit north Devon and do Barnstaple Jun. – Ilfracombe, shortly before that line’s closure in 1970.

    I duly made the return run Barnstaple Jun. – Bideford – Torrington, in a bogie single-unit; noting the as at then freight-only trackage southward from Torrington. Then eastward from Barnstaple Jun., by an afternoon working (bogie single-unit, again) over the beautiful ex-GWR line to Taunton, through the southern fringes of Exmoor, involving a couple of fine viaducts. My only journey ever, over this line; marred a little by torrential rain which coincided almost exactly with the run of some 90 minutes / 2 hrs. Barnstaple – Taunton, and obscured the fine views to some degree. On so much which I covered with this Rover, passenger services ceased between a year, and a year-and-a-half, later; Barnstaple – Taunton was one such.

    On from Taunton, probably loco-hauled, round the loop serving Weston-Super-Mare; alighting at Yatton for “dutiful” covering of the Clevedon branch. “Dutiful” would seem to be the word here: while glad in the abstract, to have “done” this one – this three-and-a-half-mile line strikes me as the dullest rural branch which I have ever travelled on in Britain. Countryside not unpleasant, but low-lying and ordinary; no intermediate stations or halts. And Colonel Stephens’s eccentric Weston, Clevedon & Portishead Light Railway, which once enlivened Clevedon with its station adjacent to the Great Western terminus, with physical rail link; had perished a generation previously. Having covered the branch in the bogie single-unit which was operating it, I caught the next working on to Bristol (Temple Meads); to rendezvous with relatives living locally, who had kindly agreed to put me up for the night.

    Final day of the bash, was very different from the recounted preceding four – chiefly because of its involving the “Somerset” portion of the Somerset & Dorset system – all-steam to the last -- in its final summer. Also, I began the day with a pre-arranged “brake-van trip” on an early-departing goods train from Bristol to Radstock, on the ex-GWR Bristol – Frome line (passenger service withdrawn 1959), which had long fascinated me. My uncle at whose home the night had been spent, generously drove me to the train’s departure venue in Bristol. Train was diesel-loco-hauled – at this distance of time, class / number unknown. The kindly crew let me travel with them in the loco’s front cab: fascinating run through pleasant rural scenes, and plied with most interesting info / reminiscences.

    At Radstock, made way from GW, to S & D station: thence, many hours on the S & D system and adjuncts, as far as Templecombe – limit of Railrover’s validity; also, time would not have permitted travel south of Templecombe. While the whole of the S & D was understood to have been delightful: if one had to choose, its “Somerset” part was generally reckoned to hold more of interest. Everything steam, as it was to the last on this system: a variety of 2-6-2T, 2-6-4T, Black Five, and some 8F on freight. I “mixed-and-matched” through the day, starting out with 2-6-4T Radstock to Bath Green Park: logistics dictated a walk to Bath Spa, main-line diesel traction to Bristol Temple Meads, thence Black Five-hauled local via Mangotsfield to Bath GP, and on with the S & D show. A delight throughout. Templecombe was reached, approximately lunchtime; back thence as far as Evercreech Junction, by a charming little train formed of a (41*** type?) 2-6-2T, a Southern “General Utility” bogie van, and a single composite coach. After a layover, this consist then formed the afternoon train Evercreech Jun. – Glastonbury – Highbridge, on which I duly travelled: thence Highbridge – Taunton – Minehead, by prosaic diesel traction. My only experience ever, of the Somerset & Dorset -- which then had just over half a year of life remaining to it; at the time of its “last rites”, I was on a spell abroad.


    As said before in this thread: I’ve got no more to submit, in this vein. Circumstances were such that it was half a dozen years before I went Railrover-ing in Britain again: by which time, for my personal tastes, the glory had mostly departed, and the great majority of the truly choice stuff was no more. (This is just “me re me” – no looking-down-nose intended, at others’ later travels !)
     
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2016
  21. 55013

    55013 Established Member

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    Great stuff.
    Very evocative and a reminder of the things we have lost over the years.
    I look forward to more of the same :)
     
  22. Castle Cary

    Castle Cary Member

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    All fascinating stuff. I did my first 'all line' Rover in August 1958. I was quite young, so Mum insisted that, whilst I could travel with a sleeper berth, I had to get home every other night. She sewed the huge sum of £5 into my jacket lining 'just in case'

    Monday: Castle Cary (1015) - Reading General / Reading SR (1258) to Waterloo / Victoria - Brighton (1500 The Belle) and return at 2025, again The Belle / Kings Cross (2320) - Edinburgh Waverley.
    Tuesday: Edinburgh (0945 The Elizabethan) - Kings Cross / Paddington (1800) - Castle Cary.
    Wednesday: Castle Cary (1212) - Dorchester West / D South (1341) - Bournemouth Central / Bournemouth West (1630 The Belle) - Waterloo / Euston (2340) - Glasgow St Enoch (via G&SW)
    Thursday: Glasgow Central (1000 The Royal Scot) - Euston / Paddington (1800) - Castle Cary.
    Friday: Castle Cary (910) - Bristol TM / BTM (1147) - Cardiff / Cardiff 1332 The Pembroke Coast Express) - Swansea / Swansea (1630 South Wales Pullman) - Paddington.
    Saturday: Paddington (0035) - Penzance / Penzance (1000 Cornish Riviera Express) - Paddington / Waterloo ( 1900 - missed both the 1800 and 1830 out of Paddington) - Yeovil Jnc - Yeovil Town (Dad came and picked me up - thanks, Dad).
    Sunday: Castle Cary (1020) - Westbury - Frome - Bristol, via Radstock - BTM - Yatton - Clevedon - Yatton - BTM - Severn Beach - BTM - Portishead - BTM - Frome (Radstock, again) - Castle Cary arrive 2144.

    Not too demanding - one could have added to the mileage, but plenty of Pullmans and named trains. Many thanks to Mr Hopkins, the SM at Castle Cary who allowed me to leave my bike, free, under the goods shed. Many thanks to my parents for letting a 14 year old undertake such an adventure. The only scary part was a late arrival at about 945 into St Enoch, giving me 15 minutes to find my way to Central and find the train - doubly difficult because I found out for the first time that I don't speak the language up there. Everywhere else I had some time to explore the destinations.

    Hope the above awakens a few memories for others . . . Oh, and by the way, the £5 note survived intact.
     
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2016
  23. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Castle Cary - your rail rover must have been done at a time when the railways still had a fair degree of glamour, with the expresses being clean and important and I assume nearly everything still steam run? It must have been wonderfully exciting.

    Mr Calthrop. What can I say, you seem to have been on all the lines I would have loved to have gone on had I had the chance. I know all these places so well but so many of them just have the remains of where the railways once were.
    In fact usually the station areas have a modern cul de sac called The Sidings or some such. Halwill junction is quite a large town in the middle of nowhere now and I've had to explain to a few people why it was called that.
    My father who I think must be of a similar age to yourself has also travelled on many of these lines and is a great source of knowledge when I talk to him about it. We actually went on one of the last trains to Torrington which was 3 x 3 coach dmu, must have been around 1982, couldn't go to Meeth though as the track was in a bad state by then.
    I'm having an Internet nightmare tonight and having to type this out on the phone but thanks both for the memories, really enjoyed reading about it.
     
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2016
  24. Castle Cary

    Castle Cary Member

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    `the only two non steam legs were the return trip on the Brighton Belle.

    Glad you enjoyed it - every minute was magical.
     
  25. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    As mentioned by me upthread; with regret, no more just-such, from me.

    Lord, that must have been so frustrating ! If I'm right, 1982 was when the clay / milk traffic on the line concerned, came to an end.

    Glad you enjoyed -- wish I had more from that era. (I kind-of do, but largely re the Continent.)

    Castle Cary -- if I do the maths right, you've got some four years on me -- which I envy you immensely ! It would seem from your '58 memoir, that you're a main-line kind of guy; whereas I tend toward branch and generally daft little rail "transport arteries" (or not). The world would be boring if we all liked and disliked in equal measure, all the same things !

    I also find enviable, your parentally-granted relative freedom to roam (sewn-in £5, and all !). I wouldn't have -- parentally, or from those in-loco-thereof -- been allowed such, aged fourteen. Just a matter of what different people see as right, and "how they happen to roll". (Further gricing memories from you, would be received with interest !)
     
  26. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    That was half a week's wage in those days! I should think it would have been enough for you to cope with any emergency.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    All-Line Railrover Ticket

    After my experience with the East Midlands Railrover ticket I took the plunge the following year with a 14-day All-Line ticket. Partly for cost reasons I returned home to Nottingham every night, but although obviously restrictive I managed to cover quote a lot of ground.

    Sunday July 13th 1975
    I started with a dmu to Derby at 0840, due in at 0910, and changed there to another dmu to Crewe at 0930, due in Crewe at 1106.
    From Crewe it was a dmu on a Bangor service at 1210 as far as Llandudno Junction, due in at 1406. Now from there, I’d meant to go to Llandudno, but somehow found myself on the wrong dmu heading for Blaenau Festiniog. So I alighted at Bettws y Coed and had a brief look around there before getting the next dmu back to the Junction (time not recorded).
    From there I got a Euston service, hauled by 47048, at 1708 to Crewe, due in at 1849. From there it was a Lincoln-bound dmu at 2020 back to Nottingham, with an arrival at 2219, and probably back home for 11pm

    Monday July 14th 1975
    Started with 0758 to St Pancras from Nottingham (45143), arrived 0957.
    Then went by Underground to Charing Cross for an emu on a Margate service at 1110 to Sandling, arrived 1231.
    I don’t know if there still is, but in those days there was a connecting bus (East Kent) to Hythe which I got in order to visit the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.
    As mentioned above, I had previously had a ride on part of the line back in 1960. I don’t have a record of the times, but was hauled by ‘Green Goddess’ to Dungeness, and after a break there, back to Hythe behind ‘Typhoon’.
    I then went by bus to Folkestone for an emu on a service from Ramsgate at 1801 to Charing Cross, arrived 1920.
    Back on the Underground to St Pancras, and a Sheffield service (45116) at 2005 to Nottingham, arrived 2201 for another late arrival back home.

    Tuesday July 15th 1975
    After two late nights I was ready for a later start to make up for it, so from Nottingham got a St Pancras to Glasgow service at 1006 – this was probably the ‘Thames-Clyde’ if it was still running under that name. Hauled by 45116, I remember being in a compartment in a Mk 1 coach, and when it reversed at Leeds – 45041 taking over – it became very crowded and I found myself riding backwards on the corridor side so didn’t get the best experience of my first trip over the Settle & Carlisle line.
    Due into Carlisle at 1503, I left there on an Inverness to Euston service (87024) at 1617 to Birmingham New Street, due in at 1913. I wonder if this was ‘The Clansman’, as I seem to remember that ran via Birmingham.
    This was also my first trip over Shap.
    From Birmingham I got a Bristol to Leeds train (45017) at 1950 to Derby, due at 2041, then the 2047 dmu to Nottingham, arrival at 2118.

    Wednesday July 16th 1975
    From Nottingham it was off to London again, with the 0850 to St Pancras (45114), arrived 1055. Then it was by Underground to Liverpool Street for a Norwich train, hauled by an unidentified Class 37, at 1130 as far as Ipswich, due in at 1240.
    From there it was what I seem to remember was a Metro-Cammell 2-car dmu at 1250 on a Cambridge service as far as Bury St Edmunds, a place I wished to visit. Due there at 1330, I left again at 1529 on another dmu on an Ipswich to Cambridge service to the latter, due in at 1612.
    From Cambridge I got a dmu on a journey of which I have no recollection at 1655 to King’s Cross, due at 1824. Crossing the road I had plenty of time to get the 1850 to Nottingham – although not enough time to get the number of the Class 45 hauling it, to Nottingham, due at 2055.

    Thursday July 17th 1975
    Started from Nottingham with a dmu at 0735 to Crewe, arrival 0953.
    From there it was a Euston to Blackpool service (86248) at 1009 to Preston, due in at 1055 where I changed to a Euston to Glasgow service (87012) at 1120 to Carlisle, due at 1229, so I was soon back over Shap in the other direction!
    Then I had what is still my only trip over the line to Newcastle, with a dmu (may have been Metro-Cammell) at 1450, due into Newcastle at 1620. I remember at Haltwhistle seeing the Alston branch dmu in the platform.
    A quick change at Newcastle to a Bristol service (45127) departing 1628 as far as Sheffield, due at 1854. Then as usual it was a St Pancras train back to Nottingham (hauled by an unidentified Class 45) at 1930, due into Nottingham at 2028.

    Friday July 18th 1975
    It was an early start from Nottingham with 45132 on the 0700 to St Pancras, due there at 0912. Plenty of time to get by Underground to Paddington for my first ever trip on the Great Western main line at 1015.
    It was at this time that the prototype HST had entered service, working (from memory) two round trips a day out of Paddington on services to Bristol. One of these was the 1015 to Weston-super-Mare and I had planned to travel on it as far as Bath and then get a service from there to Southampton. However, when I got to Paddington I found the 1015 was hauled by 50009, substituting for the HST. Well, I wasn’t travelling all the way to Bath behind a Class 50 (wouldn’t mind it now!), so I only went as far as Reading, arrival due at 1049.
    From Reading I got a demu (Class 205?) to Basingstoke, and I don’t have timings for these, but then got what was probably an Exeter service (33012) to Salisbury.
    At Salisbury I was able to pick up the service I would have got from Bath, which was a dmu (Class 119?) to Southampton, arrival 1523.
    From Southampton it was an emu on a Waterloo service at 1540 to Winchester, due in at 1559. After a look around there, it was an 1801 emu departure on a service from Bournemouth to Waterloo, arrival 1904.
    Plenty of time to get to St Pancras, but I omitted to get the number of the Class 45 at 2005 back to Nottingham due in at 2201 at the end of a very long day.

    Saturday July 19th 1975
    This was not really a railrover day as such as I had a visit to London to attend matinee and evening performances at the Royal Festival Hall. However, I did make use of the ticket by setting off at 0847 on a Skegness-bound dmu as far as Grantham, due at 0931, changing to a service from York (47414) at 1020 to go to King’s Cross, arrival at 1212.
    I returned from London on the late train I used to get in those days when attending the theatre - a Sheffield train at 2305 which used to call at all stations, including going to Derby before arriving in Nottingham – due at 0139. Needless to say it was a Class 45.

    Sunday July 20th 1975
    After the late night I didn’t do much on this day – just the usual dmu on the 1410 to Grantham, due in at 1432 (evidently this was a non-stop service unless I've got the times wrong). Then a Kings Cross to Leeds train (47542) at 1458 to Wakefield Westgate, arrived 1624.
    From there I got what was presumably a Leeds to St Pancras service (45143) at an unrecorded time back to Nottingham.

    Monday July 21st 1975
    Again I got the ‘Thames-Clyde’ (if indeed that’s what it still was) at 1006 from Nottingham, hauled by 45041.
    This was in order to visit the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, so arriving at Keighley at 1259 I had a ride to Oxenhope and back. I didn’t make a note of the train times, but was hauled by their GWR pannier tank running in London Transport livery.
    Back at Keighley, I left there on a Metro-Cammell dmu service from Skipton at 1621 to Leeds, due in at 1655. From there it was another dmu at 1717 on a Manchester service as far as Huddersfield, arrival at 1751. Left there at 1812 on a dmu to Sheffield, travelling via Penistone and the remaining section of the Woodhead route still in use for passenger trains, through the disused platforms of Sheffield Victoria before reversing down the spur into Sheffield Midland. Due there at 1930.
    Then as usual a St Pancras service (45141) at 1930 back to Nottingham, due in at 2028.

    Tuesday July 22nd 1975
    From Nottingham it was the 0758 (45141) to St Pancras, due in at 0957.The intention then had been to get the 1040 from Paddington to Swansea, but when I arrived at Paddington I found the prototype HST in the platform all ready for the 1015 to Weston-super-Mare that I had missed it on a few days earlier – so I was able to fit in a short ride on it after all – only as far as Reading though (arrived 1049) so I could change there for the Swansea service I had intended to get from Paddington. I had to change at Reading for this rather than further down the line as it didn’t call at Didcot or Swindon (in fact was non-stop between Reading and Newport).
    Looking at these timings now I’m amazed that I was able to get to Paddington in time for the 1015. On my various travels I always used to allow a minimum of 30 minutes from alighting from a train at St Pancras to boarding one at Paddington (and vice versa) whereas in this case it appears to have taken only 17 minutes. I can only think that, although the train from Nottingham was tightly timed for those days at 1 hour 59 minutes (calling at Leicester only) it may actually have managed just a few minutes early arrival. If I happened to be towards the front of it there would have been less of a walk down the platform, then perhaps a Circle Line train was in the platform, there were no delays at Edgware Road, and maybe the HST was a little late departing – but even if it wasn’t, I suppose the connection was just about possible.
    Anyway, I enjoyed my first brief ride on an HST! Or THE HST as it then was. The two main things to have stuck in my mind from that trip are its rate of acceleration, and the internal doors which seemed to open themselves.
    So on arrival at Reading I changed to the following Swansea service (47464), due to get there at 1425. I’d not wanted to vary my itinerary for the sake of a longer HST journey as I had an appointment with the Central Wales line. From Swansea it was a dmu at 1440 to Shrewsbury, due there at 1832.
    Then it was another dmu at 1847 to Crewe, arrival at 1947, finishing with a Lincoln-bound dmu at 2020 to Nottingham due in at 2218.

    Wednesday July 23rd 1975
    Started with a Lincoln to Crewe dmu from Nottingham at 0842 to Derby, arrival at 0914.
    Then it was a Bradford to Bristol service (45036) at 0927 to Birmingham, arrival at 1010.
    Now I no longer have details of this service, but my records show I got the 1044 Birmingham to Worcester (presumably Shrub Hill), hauled by 47095 and with a buffet car in the train, calling at Bromsgrove and Droitwich only. Arrival at Shrub Hill (?) was due at 1129.
    Then I got a dmu at 1145 to Hereford, arrival at 1234.
    After a break in Hereford, I got a dmu at 1515 to Worcester (again, presumably Shrub Hill) due in at 1605.
    Then a Paddington service – it must have been from Shrub Hill – hauled by 31295 at 1615 to Oxford, arrival at 1735.
    From there I got a dmu from Didcot at 1745 to Birmingham New Street, due in at 1931. From there it was a Bristol to Leeds service (45039) at 1950 to Derby, arrival at 2041, then the 2047 dmu to Nottingham, arrival at 2118.
    I should think those dmus in the West Midlands would likely have been Class 118

    Thursday July 24th 1975
    It was another quite early start with the 0735 dmu from Nottingham to Derby, arrival at 0808.
    Then a quick connection to a Birmingham to Newcastle service – probably giving me no time to get the number of the Class 45 hauling it, at 0815 to Darlington, due there at 1038.
    Again, a smart connection to the 1045 to Bishop Auckland (dmu), arrival at 1109.
    After some time there I returned to Darlington on another dmu at 1552, arrival at 1618.
    Then it was a Newcastle to Bristol service (46035) at 1709 to Sheffield, due in at 1854, followed by a St Pancras train (45126) at 1930 to Nottingham, arrival at 2028.

    Friday July 25th 1975
    A later start this time, with a Sheffield to St Pancras train (45106) at 1003 from Nottingham to Leicester, arrival at 1029. I changed there to another St Pancras service (apparently starting from Leicester) hauled by 45141) departing 1035 to Bedford, due there at 1134.
    This was in order to try and get a front seat on the usual Class 127 dmu into St Pancras. However, as I was to find on another occasion the spoilsport drivers tended to have the blinds down behind them. Anyway, I was on the 1210 to St Pancras, arrival there at 1323.
    Strolling down the road to Euston, I got a Birmingham service (probably a Class 310 emu) at 1405 to Bletchley, arrival at 1457. Then a dmu at 1510 to Bedford St Johns (this was in the days before services were diverted to Bedford Midland Road), arrival at 1547.
    Walking to the main line station, I then got a St Pancras to Derby service (45121) at 1811 to Leicester, arrival there at 1913. Then a service from St Pancras (45125) at 1925 to Nottingham, arrival at 1954.

    Saturday July 26th 1975
    The fortnight wound up with another long day, starting from Nottingham with a through train to Llandudno at 0735 (47342) as far as Derby, arrival at 0808.
    From there it was a Leeds to Weston-super-Mare service (45022) at 0820 to Cheltenham, arrived 1016. I spent most of the day there, before departing on a Cardiff to Manchester service (46041) at 1848 to Birmingham, arrival at 1940. From there, for a change I returned to Nottingham via Leicester, with a dmu at 2015 from Birmingham, due at Leicester 2121. Then a St Pancras to Sheffield service (45118) at 2132 to Nottingham, arrival at 2201.

    And that was that! Looking at all this I’m amazed at the number of late finishes during the fortnight, with arrivals back in Nottingham at around 10pm. I was younger in those days!
    At this time I was still interested in bus photography and several of these trips, e.g. Cheltenham, Bishop Auckland and Bury St Edmunds were for that purpose.
    Using the mileage figures given in the BR timetable I worked out my total for the fortnight as 4,687 – at a cost of £48. The highest figure for a particular day was 538 for Nottingham - London – Swansea - Central Wales Line – Crewe - Nottingham.
     
  27. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    Merthyr Imp: I'm impressed by your energy and ingenuity -- especially within the constraints of returning to base each night.

    Like you, I have only once travelled -- single-journey context -- over the Newcastle -- Carlisle route. I happened to do it very much piecemeal, separated by nearly forty years: in 1968, during a mixed rail bash / travelling around seeing people, I covered Haltwhistle -- Newcastle (having -- "sneak brag" as our American friends say -- arrived in Haltwhistle by the branch DMU from Alston, over to which I had hitch-hiked from Weardale). As part of a walking holiday in 2006, I did Haltwhistle -- Carlisle; actually for "getting where we needed to go".

    I wondered about your fancy for Bury St. Edmunds -- which I'd rate "nice town, but nothing special" -- till seeing your mention of its interest on the bus front !
     
  28. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Still having an Internet nightmare so unable to post properly at the moment as it's a pain trying to do it on the phone. Can read stuff though and very much enjoying this thread guys.
     
  29. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    Yes, as well as those places I mentioned at the end as being visited for bus photography that also applied to Carlisle, Bedford, Winchester and Hereford. During my 1976 All-line fortnight (which I've just started transcribing) there was still an element of that but by then I was beginning to lose interest in the bus scene.

    I managed 14 day All-line holidays on the same basis for a few years before it did begin to get a bit too much for me!

    I should mention that 'traction bashing' of the kind featuring on several of these threads was never my interest - if anything, it was more 'line bashing' in that I was always keen to convert as many as possible of the red lines on the BR timetable map into black. Connected with this was also trying to fit in dmu front seat rides on as many lines as possible. That was the plan for the Central Wales Line trip for example, but if I remember right I was unsuccessful and so had to pay a return visit.
     
  30. Calthrop

    Calthrop Member

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    With me also, it was overwhelmingly about line-bashing and “inking-in the map”, rather than the traction. Temperamentally I’m a non-technical type; and with (for me) the simultaneous nosedive in Britain, from the mid / late 1960s, of steam and of the most interesting and worthwhile lines -- thereby making the national system for me much less of a source of pleasure: I never even got very well-informed about diesel and electric classes and varieties.

    Up until the early-ish 1970s, I entertained an ambition to try to travel over all surviving rail lines in Great Britain – including freight-only ones, whether by means of arranged-and-permitted (or tacitly negotiated on the spot) trips in brake vans of ordinary goods trains; or enthusiast railtours. As the years went on, the soup perceivedly became, in various ways, thinner; and my enthusiasm for the mission, diminished – I basically dropped it, and henceforth travelled only on lines which particularly attracted me and / or took me where I needed to go. (All the above: “just me”, no judgement implied on anyone with other feelings / experiences.)

    Re passenger lines still in service – I’ve covered a pretty large majority of what now survives in England and Wales; there are some big gaps in my “covered” map of Scotland.
     

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