Southern Region services 1975-82 and Arun Valley 1983

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by nickw1, 12 Aug 2019.

  1. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    Hi,

    A while back I asked about old timetables, but wondered if anyone could give information on the typical pattern of Southern Region services over selected years in this period? Specifically the mainlines (non-suburban) on the South Western and Central divisions between 1975-82? I ask as this is immediately before I started using the railways and it would be interesting to compare service patterns in the immediate preceding years to those I remember. Or if anyone can supply photocopies of timetables for this time period on any of these routes I'd be interested.

    On another related matter, I did (once) have a copy of Table 186 (in a booklet) for the Central Division for the year 1983/84 (service patterns shown: hourly VIC-Brighton fast, hourly LBG (I think)-Brighton semi-fast; half-hourly Brighton slow, incorporating the 'Rapid City Link' (Gatwick Express predecessor) to Gatwick, hourly Bognor and hourly Horsham, each also incorporating the Rapid City Link. In addition there was a half hourly service to Redhill from LBG routed Crystal Palace and Tulse Hill.

    My question is this: I also recall seeing at Havant that year, an hourly PMH-VIC service routed Arun Valley and Gatwick, mostly CIGs with the odd VEP. Yet these services didn't seem to appear in Table 186; the only Arun Valleys shown were the Bognor and the Horsham mentioned above. Can anyone shed light on this.. maybe after East Croydon they only stopped at Gatwick to pick up and thence to Crawley, so would not set down at any BML station? Also, the Bognor service in Table 186 seemed relatively slow, routed Redhill and calling Horley (in contrast to the Quarry line service in operation from 1985), was there also a faster Bognor service as well?

    Would also be interested to find out the typical stock allocation on the VIC services that year, I know the Central Division had CIGs, VEPs and CAPs.

    Thanks,
    Nick
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,812
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    Yes, there was a "fast" Portsmouth and Bognor (splitting at Barnham) via Crawley throughout this period and the Gatwick stop, as with the East and West Coast trains was "u/s" only. Once the London-East Croydon-Purley summary table was introduced, there was no need to show them on 186 (remember, the timetable was fairly well checked back then!). I can't quickly lay my hands on anything earlier than 1982 when the fasts were at xx28 off VIC (SX - there was a slightly different pattern on Saturdays), the slows 02 and 32, but from memory the pattern from 1967 to 1981 was 05 and 35 slows, 02 fast.

    Stock would normally have been CIG/BIG, but ISTR surplus BEPs from the SED were moved across at some stage.

    This site https://www.bloodandcustard.com/ is enormously informative on SR units if you want to pursue this, and there's also http://semgonline.com/.
     
  4. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

    Messages:
    3,811
    Joined:
    1 Aug 2013
    The fast Arun Valley service originally turned off at Streatham and ran via Mitcham Jc, Sutton and Dorking, stopping at the latter two. It had done so since the 1938 electrification, but at some point (1970s?) it was diverted via Gatwick Airport, which offered greater revenue to the South Coast. Someone will know when the change happened, but I seem to recall that one evening peak service ran this way before the rest of the day's service was changed over. I used to use it from time to time, to Chichester.

    This route was long the user of the very first 4-CEP/BEP units, which had taken over from the 4-COR/BUF sets in the late 1950s. They seemed to stay on until maybe 1980. I don't think they had been used on the SED until that time, when things got rather mixed up. Normally a 12-car formation in usual Southern CEP-BEP-CEP style. At Barnham 4 went to Bognor and 8, with the buffet, to Portsmouth. One less set was needed for the shorter Bognor run than the Portsmouth one.
     
  5. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,812
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    Thanks. I'd forgotten the line was an early user of Cep/Bep stock (the first were built in 1956 IIRC and Kent Coast wasn't electrified.

    Off peak, one in three Arun Valley fasts used to go via Redhill (with a stop) before 1967. They then switched to all (offpeak) taking the Dorking route for a few years before settling on Gatwick (my previous post conflated those two changes, sorry).
     
  6. big all

    big all On Moderation

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    23 Sep 2018
    the ceps and beps where the early ones with the trunking on the roof they tended to run as 12 cars permanently coupled for weeks on end
    the brightons via crystal palaces used to sit at croydon no 5plat for about 7 or 8 mins they where to cut out a suburban train so instead off the opposing half hour service

    the via dorkings did indeed swap to via gatwick would say around 1980 ??
     
  7. SWTCommuter

    SWTCommuter Member

    Messages:
    288
    Joined:
    17 Oct 2009
    IIRC, the London to Bournemouth and Weymouth line services in the 1970s and early to mid-1980s were as follows (departure times varied slightly over the years):

    Fast (headcode 91) departed Waterloo at around 30 to 35 mins past each hour
    calling at Southampton Central, Bournemouth (detach 4-REP, attach Class 33) then all stations to Weymouth.

    Semi-fast (headcode 92) departed Waterloo at around 45 to 47 mins past each hour
    calling at Woking, Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh, Southampton Airport, Southampton Central, Totton, Brockenhurst, New Milton, Christchurch, Bournemouth
    (not 100% sure of the stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth).

    Slow (headcode 93) departed Waterloo at around 42 mins past each hour
    calling at Surbiton, Woking, then all stations to Bournemouth. Overtaken at Southampton Central by the fast service.

    The fast and semi-fast services were evenly spaced when they reached Southampton Central so the 91 service called at around xx:40 and the 92 called at around xx:10. On the up services the 91 called at around xx:08 and the 92 at around xx:38.

    The 91 and 92 services were operated by 4-REP+4TC+4TC sets and the 93 was usually a 4-VEP.

    The 17:30 and 18:30 departures from Waterloo made an additional stop at Winchester.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2019
  8. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

    Messages:
    3,811
    Joined:
    1 Aug 2013
    The route out via Dorking had an extraordinary number of 20mph slowings over junctions to contend with on its way out of London, so the Gatwick route offered a notable speed advantage, as well as the extra traffic at East Croydon and Gatwick. I always thought this was the most convoluted route out of London until I took Thameslink from Blackfriars, eventually joining the same route through Wallington, which has even more.
     
  9. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    Thanks for that, and thanks for the links.

    FWIW I do remember in the 1983/84 timetable the Bognor 'slow' went at xx00 and the Horsham 'slow' at xx32, so presumably if the Ports/Bognor 'fast' was still at xx28 it would have nearly caught up with the 'slow' by Barnham, as the 'slow' had to go via Redhill, divide at Gatwick (to drop off the 4VEG 'Rapid City Link) and make additional stops at Ifield, Littlehaven etc as well as Horley as mentioned above.

    I presume the xx28 would have stopped at Billingshurst, Pulborough and Arundel, with Amberley and Christs Hospital served only by the xx00/xx02 'slow'?

    It's interesting to note how the services were cut here in the 1985/86 timetable. This showed only two an hour to Horsham via Gatwick, a Bognor semi-fast at around xx06 or xx08, forget the exact departure time (Clapham Jn, East Croydon, Quarry, Gatwick and then all stations to Bognor except Faygate, Christs Hospital and Amberley), operated by CIGs of various lengths, and then a stopper to Horsham (about 60% of off peak hours) or Littlehampton via Arundel (about 40% of off peak hours). This latter provided the ONLY off peak services to Christs Hospital and Amberley, which had a very poor irregular service with some 3 hour gaps for a while, not at all typical for the southeast.
    Furthermore, the Barnham to Portsmouth also dropped to two an hour: in 83/84, there was a '60' Brighton-Portsmouth semi-fast (which bizarrely for a key service was operated some hours by 4CAPs), a '62' stopper and the Arun Valley '8' as mentioned above. By 85/86, the '60' had gone, the '62' remained and the '60' and '8' were both replaced by a new '38' semi-fast routed via Hove, which carried a Littlehampton portion.

    86/87 showed a little recovery, that year there were two stoppers to Horsham in addition to the Bognor, but ISTR it was a while before Christs Hospital and Amberley got an hourly service. I know it had happened by 1999 as I recall going to Amberley to walk along the Downs and not being worried about timings.
     
  10. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    I do remember by the 1983/84 timetable, from observations at Havant on a weekday, buffets had disappeared from most Portsmouth portions and most were only 4 cars to Portsmouth. ISTR one up service in the late afternoon on the '8' (Portsmouth via Arun Valley) being a CIG/BIG but the remainder were single CIGs with the odd VEP. Maybe the buffet worked to Bognor that year or was lost completely?
     
  11. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    Thanks - looks like this timetable was unchanged over many years, as this was certainly the pattern that remained in place in the 82/83 timetables right through to perhaps 1988 with some changes only occurring when the 5WES came in and big changes only occurring in 1989. The Bournemouth slows divided at Woking off peak with an Alton portion in this period, and were pretty much 100% VEP with no CIGs - seemed to be the most solidly-VEP route on the South Western at the time with even the occasional '73'/'83' Portsmouth stopper or '75' Guildford stopper being operated by a CIG.

    I do remember the Totton stop was absent from the '92' for a while, I think it was only re-introduced around 1984 or 1985 having been absent in the 1982/83 and 83/84 timetables. Other than that, the 92 made the stops you mentioned above. Once again today, Totton is only served by stopping services which are overtaken by fasts!

    Moving forward the 1989/90 timetable showed big changes, division at Woking no longer occurred with the Altons being worked separately, and the stopper terminated at Southampton Central, though in practice in many hours then worked on as a SOU-Wareham slow (but not shown as a through service in the timetable). Also notable in 89/90 was the huge variety of stock on the '93' stoppers; it was no longer the preserve of VEPs, you had a few CIGs during the day and even two or three workings comprising a Class 73 loco push/pulling one or two 4TC sets.

    I never understood, though, why the '91' and '92' were timetabled at xx32/xx45 (the pattern in the mid-80s, agreeing with your pattern above) out of Waterloo. One would think there would be some attempt at even-interval; granted the '91' would catch up with the '92' but, say, an xx30/xx50 pattern or thereabouts would at least provide two moderately-even-spaced services to Southampton and Bournemouth.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2019
  12. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,812
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    The original pattern was indeed 30 and 47, roughly half an hour apart at Soton as SWTCommuter says.
    The 30s were 2-hourly at first, and only made the traditional "express" stops beyond Bournemouth, plus 0930 BMO (VEPs), 1530 (Swanage, 8TC+EDL then DL), 1730. Alternate xx47s went forward as stoppers to Weymouth.

    The full hourly service was only possible from about 1974 when the extra REPs were converted, and around then the fasts were speeded up to do Soton in 67min. Then they added the Parkway stop...and at some stage the 45s were extended to Poole.

    The Portsmouth Direct was still fast at xx50, but at some stage an xx20 was added, slow from Guildford and replacing the portion of the xx12 (which then switched to Alton or Farnham).
    The only other offpeak slows in the 1967 timetable were via Woking, alternately to the Alton and Pompey lines, though the Guildford via Cobhams were also on the fast line. Nothing called at Clapham Jn, and not much at Wimbledon apart from the 1641 down Basing (for Divisional Office staff! Even they didn't get a morning train).
     
  13. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    Interesting that there was a regular direct Swanage from London, Presumably this was to provide a peak extra out of Bournemouth on the Swanage line to supplement the regular (hourly?) Wareham-Swanage DEMU shuttle? Awful shame that line closed, anyhow - would I'm sure be very profitable given the popularity of the Swanage area for summer daytrips since the mid-nineties at least.

    In 1982 the Portsmouth Direct fast and slow were much the same at xx48 and xx18 respectively, the xx18 ('82') being more of a semi-fast calling at Farncombe, Godalming, Haslemere, Liphook, Liss, Petersfield, Havant, Fratton, PSS, PH after Guildford, though all stations from 1518 onwards. I did have an old 1972 timetable once, and that differed from 1982 in that both the xx20 and xx50 were fasts (though ISTR one of them was a 'super-fast' going non-stop Guildford to Havant, the other calling at Godalming, Haslemere and Petersfield) with the smaller stations served hourly by the '73' stopper. I think in the '72 timetable both xx20 and xx50 had buffet cars also, while by 1982 the '82' semi-fast was CIGs and VEPs with no buffets, so sometime in that ten years the pattern must have changed.
     
  14. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,812
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    The Swanage was 1725 Bournemouth, allowing the DEMU to work up to BMO and 1825 back; there was an 0730-ish up which formed the middle portion of the 0840 BMO-WAT. Both replaced a steam Swanage-BMO return stopper. They only lasted a couple of years before the branch was reduced to a one-train shuttle.
     
  15. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

    Messages:
    3,811
    Joined:
    1 Aug 2013
    Must have been about 1990 I went to Southampton Parkway one weekday afternoon to return to Waterloo. This was when the fast trains ran nonstop on this leg. Expecting the normal 12-car REP+TC combo, what should turn up but, several minutes late, but a single 4-car VEP. Off we went, and I achieved the fastest journey ever between the two, exactly 60 minutes. Fairly busy inside as you may imagine, the speeds were tremendous. Of course, the VEPs on B4 bogies were mechanically fine for 100mph, which we were certainly achieving, including a particularly spirited interpretation of the speed limit over Worting Junction.

    But nothing on this line beat the experience in 1978 at the end of the huge Blackbushe Airfield rock festival, a Glastonbury precursor. You're meant to recollect Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan etc, but the memory with me is the huge post-midnight lift done by the good old Southern Region, from Fleet back to Waterloo. Nonstop specials every 10 minutes. All 12-EPB, despite the atmosphere and the quarter-million crowds I still managed to notice it was a Slade Green unit! I think every Southern suburban depot helped out. 1am on the SW Main, warm night, all the droplights down, EPB flat out for mile after mile. Even the music freaks went quiet, as if they were impressed. Did anyone here drive on it?
     
  16. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

    Messages:
    1,078
    Joined:
    29 Dec 2016
    I have the May 1978 Central Division timetable (a nice A5 size or so) to hand.

    The general timetable looks to have been
    xx.05 slow from Victoria via Redhill, Gatwick, Three Bridges, Crawley, Horsham, Arundel, Littlehampton and Barnham to Bognor Regis. This stopped everywhere..
    xx.30 fast from Victoria via Gatwick (no set down for passengers coming from Victoria), Crawley, Horsham, Arundel, Barnham where it split for Bognor and Portsmouth Harbour.
    xx.35 slow from Victoria to Horsham with almost exactly the same pattern as 05. From 14.35 onwards this carried on past Horsham to Bognor.

    There were also three evening services from Victoria via Sutton and Dorking, joining the Arun valley at Horsham, at 16.52, 17.22 and 17.52. The first two were to Bognor only; the last one split at Barnham for both Bognor and Portsmouth Harbour.

    At the height of the evening peak three Arun Valley trains normally from Victoria went from London Bridge instead.

    A bit too complex to add the whole thing here!
     
  17. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

    Messages:
    5,277
    Joined:
    6 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Herts
    "Operation Picnic" - written up in Modern Railways , superb logistics and they even ran extras on top of a heavy operating plan. BR at it's very best. Love the fact you noted an "SG" unit on the SWD. Quality.
     
  18. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

    Messages:
    1,078
    Joined:
    29 Dec 2016
    I was always quite impressed with the slam door operation after the London to Brighton cycle ride too. 12 coach slam door for bikes only (all seat covers removed I think?); 12 coach slam door for people. Left one after the other. A bit off-topic though...
     
  19. Colin1501

    Colin1501 Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    10 Apr 2019
    I think the portion with the buffet always went to Bognor rather than Portsmouth.
     
  20. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    8,115
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    My godmother moved to Selsey in 1975 and my wife and I went to visit at Whitsun, and our train from Victoria to Chichester definitely went via the Arun Valley, which line I'd never been on before, and I was struck by its beauty. I particularly remember stopping at Christ's Hospital, because I hadn't realised exactly where it was, and I commented to my wife that I'd been offered a scholarship there back in 1959 post- 11 plus but I loathed the idea of being a boarder so didn't take it up, for which I've been grateful ever since. Arundel was particularly striking in its setting too. I think we visited annually after that, and I believe in 1976 it was the same route, but at some stage after that it started going via Gatwick, and we started to board at East Croydon, catching a bus to there from near our home. I know nothing of train stock, I'm afraid, so can't help there. I do remember either changing trains at Barnham or portions being attached/detached, but I think these were in later years: after 1981, our visits were by newly-acquired car.
     
  21. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

    Messages:
    3,811
    Joined:
    1 Aug 2013
    Here's a page about the 1978 Blackbushe concert. Actually, compared to Glastonbury, it was very tame.

    http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/blackbushe-fws.html

    Who can see a youthful Taunton, handsome as ever, in fact still with all his hair, in the crowd scenes there? :)

    That article refers to a derailment on the railway causing delays on the return. I don't remember any of that, anything in that article CP? The concert itself, of course ran late by the end as well, and it was about a 40 minute walk back to Fleet station (or to the end of the queue for it). Not a lot of light.

    Speaking of Glastonbury, I must be one of the few remaining who has gone through its site - in a train. The main footpath through the middle of the grounds is actually the trackbed of the old S&D branch from Evercreech Junction through Glastonbury to Highbridge. 412xx and two non corridor coaches, mid-1960s.
     

Share This Page