Techniquest's first PLEG events bash, 19th - 21st November 2011

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Techniquest, 22 Nov 2011.

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  1. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Afternoon all,

    Before anyone asks, the long-awaited trip reports from the IoW, the Buffer Puffer 9.0, the Chilterns bash and the LM 150 farewell are all on the way eventually. I've just realised how much work I've got to do then! :shock: On with the show then with my most recent trip report from my rather excellent 3-day bash just gone:

    19th November 2011 - Northbound trip, part 1

    A different start for this bash, in that I had 8 hours of work first. Not ideal when on an all-nighter bash, but I'm still just about young enough to cope! Mum gives me a lift to work and my 1130 - 1930 shift flies by, despite working nothing but pop all day. A quick social over a coffee is had with some of my workmates before I change out of my work clothes (good thing I had normal clothes too, since my shirt had got coated in Orangina earlier!) and head into town for tea, this fell to McDonalds which has finally been refurbished to modern standards. Prices have gone up as a result mind, but for a change I have a medium Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal with a coffee. Couldn't be bothered with carrying that free glass with a large meal around all weekend you see. With not enough time (good thing I didn't finish work at 2000!) to sit in and eat, I charge my way to the station and I get a call from James telling me that it's replacement buses from Northwich tonight. Certainly wasn't when I booked my tickets, but hey. Required station grice opportunity then!

    175008 produces on the 2039 to Llandudno Junction, 1921 ex-Cardiff I believe. No table seats about, so I settle in on an airline seat. Still tons of legroom though, so it's all good. This journey up to Chester should help boost my 175 mileage up somewhat, indeed I believe I need a helluva lot to get this 'un cleared for the magical thou [quite, as this link proves, I have a long way to go. All Wales Flexipass in 2012 then! - http://techniquest.railmiles.org/tops-175008/ - Ed]. I then spend a while getting my new Baker coloured in, but the highlighter appears to be running out of juice, so I leave the last 8 pages until another time. I get started on this log, all the while my ears are getting filled with tunes. Nothing really of interesting note at Shrewsbury, unless 170/5s and 158s are your bag. Unexpected micro-grice though as we use platform 3, the southern end of that I've been after for a long time! It's now time to cruise up a rather dull line, and sadly it's no better this time than my last trip up this way in January on my rather amazing NI bash. Still not been back there...

    I could easily doss out now, despite having had two coffees since work finished! So bored right now that I draw some logos for each of the sub-sectors of my department at work. I've not shared them on here as I've not got a scanner. They were inspired when I mentioned something to do with sub-sectors at a recent meeting, ever since when I've wondered what logos would look like. Inspiration from them was also from picturing things like Trainload Coal logos. You can probably tell then that I was bored! Departure from Chirk was very wheelslippy, took until somewhere next to the timber factory to get a grip, even then we had a moment where I thought it was lost again. The same applied at Ruabon, where I had wondered when I'll get off there again for a bash on the Llangollen. Been ages since my last trip there in 2007. No wonder the RHTT goes down this way, I've never heard such wheelslip before! At Wrexham General I wonder what if anything will ever use those bay platforms now, what with no WSMR. As we hit the single line, I realise I've got to come down this way again in 2012 to get the new double-track formation done, another thing to add to my All Wales Flexipass bash then! At 2218, I note how fast the journey has actually gone and I get ready to alight, as it won't be long until 2231 and our booked arrival time.

    [From here on in, the trip report is done from memory as I furiously wrote it up on the way home on 21st November 2011 - Ed] Sure enough, we reach Chester's platform 3b at 2231. I get confirmation that it's replacement buses from Northwich, and manage to get a drink from the bar on the station for £1.60. Been needing that drink since Leominster! 156423 arrives from Northwich to operate the 2252 back to Northwich, which leaves at 2253 out of platform 5. Required haulage and a required micro-grice at the same time, job done. James joins me at Mouldsworth and we start chatting about all things railways, as we tend to do when we meet up. Arrival at Northwich was on time at 2326, and we nearly had a farce when the coach driver tried to insist he wasn't going to Manchester Piccadilly but instead only to Stockport, telling us to wait for the coach behind. Rather different to the posters at the stations, but we got on HIL 7614 in the hope he'd see sense. The journey passes by very fast, and fortunately he saw sense and took us to Piccadilly. Still moaned and told us to hurry up, as he wasn't meant to be here. Yeah, right. Arrival was at 0056, 39 early on the time we were meant to be here on the posters.

    20th November 2011 - Northbound trip, part 2, and PLEG events at NRM Shildon and Weardale

    First port of call was to see where the coaches left from, then off to Piccadilly Gardens for food. We end up at Burger King, having been unable to find a proper chippy.

    We spy some boards about the proposed new Metrolink crossing through the city centre, which I didn't know about before. My usual Burger King meal is devoured, as by now it was around 0130 and I was starving! We watch some buses and talk more about trips and other railway stuff, before we finally head back towards Piccadilly. A stop at Spar is made for a bit of supplies for later, then at Piccadilly we spent pretty much the rest of the time talking about James' Northern bash the day before. Just after 0500, we decide we'd best get outside and check for sure which coach was ours. Once the drivers decided which one was going through to York, we got on VIL 8246 for the long and arduous journey across the top. We leave bang on time at 0525 and both of us try to doss several times throughout the journey. With little luck all the way, we eventually reach Leeds where the coach empties so we swap to seats with plenty of legroom. Eventually, we reach a freezing cold York (I thought Manchester was a lot warmer, but then Carlisle overnighters were always coldest when the sun first came up!) at 0757, 3 minutes early. After finding no suitable coffee move in time, we make our way to platform 11 for the 0821 to Eaglescliffe, in charge today was 185145. Required haulage for both of us, and we finally get the chance to charge our phones, most welcome for me as mine had gone flat during the night.

    185145 seemed quite noisy and rateable, and after getting stopped somewhere before Darlington we arrived there at 0908. Breakfast time above all else now, and Pumpkin is thankfully open. A large coffee and a bacon roll then for £2.80, that'll do me just fine. 156490 gets started up and both of us were taken back by just how noisy it was! I almost forgot to get my day return to Bishop Auckland for £4.30, but fortunately remember in time. My first ticket I've bought without a railcard in my non-railcard-holding bashing career too. The Advances I had for the long-distance moves on this trip were bought without a railcard of course, but that was before my railcard ran out. Hopefully that all makes sense! 142027 is the chariot in charge of taking us to Shildon on the 0942 off Darlington, which randomly left 1 minute late. The fog was down a lot, clearly affecting our journey as we arrived 3 minutes late at Shildon. Required 142 for James, dud for me since I'd had it in January 2009 during the NXEC HST diversions via Sunderland. We decide to film the first run of the morning's PLEG events from the crossing next to the NR station, and that 03's deemed to be quite a little monster! We make our way down after it returned to join our booked run at 1100, which left 10 minutes late for some reason. We did several sidings as well as the demo line to the goods shed, with the unexpected bonus of the 08 there (no idea what number it is) joining us for the sidings part of the trip. At the end of our trip, we all had a seminar next to the locos and the NRM kindly put on their mini bus to take us up to the crossing to get back to the station. OY52 xxx for the reg, didn't note it annoyingly. A very enjoyable trip around the NRM, my first PLEG event left me wanting more and well worth the £5 ching.

    142027 produces again (fourth time I've had it now!) for the leap to Bishop Auckland, which runs exactly to time. James has to head home now, so I see him off on 142027 on the 1217 to Saltburn and I disappear to join the queue of PLEG members for the main event of the day on the Weardale line. We have to wait an absolute age for the stock to arrive, and we have just two MK1s for seating and a buffet car that looked locked out. 08653 and 08870, both required for sight and haulage, finally haul us away from the Weardale station at Bishop Auckland West at 1251, 6 minutes late. Such little amount of coaching stock saw a lot of us crammed in somewhat, and I start on my crisps. Which saw me then fall asleep from boredom and exhaustion. Arrival at Stanhope is eventually at 1432. The run-round eventually starts and I get a tiny coffee for £1. I find out the journey had taken around 30 minutes longer than planned, and our revised departure time is 1500 not 1510. Not that we got that, as that run-round took forever and we went past 1500, 1510 and finally left at 1517. I couldn't be bothered cramming into a compartment again, so stayed at a droplight all the way.

    Just as well, as I got to hear the 08s finally and I must admit they made a lot more noise than those shunters did on the SVR gala. Due to there being no loop on the line, we have to reverse into Wolsingham depot. Easy enough right? Not when you've got a steam loco providing heat, which admittedly was welcome, but does little else. As I wrote down, I thought it was about as useless as a mop being deployed to clean up a flood, it certainly couldn't cope with getting us off the running line. The 08s fortunately were more than capable and eventually we got a little way towards the depot. Enough to count the track most of the way to the shed at least. 141113 becomes my first one of the class for sight and passes us a while after we came off the running line. A debate was had as to whether we had left enough clearance for it to go by, but even I could tell there was. It finally went by no problem, and it felt like ages until we got moving again. Eventually, we reach Bishop Auckland West at 1700, no idea how late. Fortunately the walk to the NR station is only 5 minutes and dead easy, and 156451 arrives as I do to perform the 1716 to Saltburn. Some seriously welcome warmth, but as per 156423 it was rather quiet. What have Northern done to their 156s?

    Still, required haulage and my 25th 156 I believe I counted for haulage. Still not even a quarter of the way there yet, but I'm getting there. A monster session in Scotland and on Northern needed! We make it to Darlington's platform 1 at 1744 and I head to the ATMs for some cash for tea and a taxi move to the Premier Inn on Morton Park Way. It cost me £5.50, but considering how tired I was it was worth it. I watch a bit of TV and have a coffee before going to McDonalds for my usual meal for tea, then watch The Incredibles (excellent film in my book) on BBC Three before collapsing into a massively deep sleep just before 2100.

    21st November 2011 - Southbound trip

    After a fantastically good sleep, I get up at 0800 almost forgetting where I was. Tidying up and de-rancifying took a while, as did having a mandatory coffee, but I'm out of the building by 0851. I cannot be bothered with a taxi today, I'm off on foot. With a quick stop at a newsagents near the station, the walk took just 32 minutes. Pumpkin gets a visit so as to redeem my coffee collector card, and I start thundering through this trip report from memory from where I had left off, just before Chester. To say the task took a while is an understatement! I had looked at my seat reservation for the first part of this trip, coach G. That can only mean it's an HST, so no Voyager mileage on this trip! Sure enough, 43301+43304 roll in to confirm this with the 0632 Dundee to Plymouth, leaving Darlington one minute late at 1013. 66721 is seen on a southbound freight somewhere before York, dud. Nothing of note in the station area or yards in York, disappointing. More writing is done, and amongst the flood of 144s on Neville Hill I spy 08724, required for sight! I stop my writings by Cross Gates to get ready to alight, and we reach Leeds' platform 12 at 1109. I pop outside to view some of the ftr bendy buses up here, and my sightings were 19020, 37719, 19021, 37136 and 32435.

    Back on the station, I head through the barriers, which my Advance worked to my surprise, to platform 16a for the 1125 to Manchester Airport. Required haulage in the form of 185102, and I find my seat. We leave 2 minutes late, no doubt due to the large number of people who join and leave TPX services at Leeds. The only thing of any real interest was spotting 66150 on eastbound VTG tanks as we turned left after Mirfield. The Wagon Wheels I bought from the newsagents this morning are finally started on, forming both my breakfast and my lunch, and I finally get this trip report up to date by the time we emerge from Standedge Tunnel on the right side of the Pennines! It's a shame the trip is nearly over, as I'd love to spend some time up here track bashing and spotting whilst I'm here, but that'll have to wait for a Cheshire Day Ranger bash in 2012 [or will it? <D - Ed]. We reach Manchester Piccadilly's platform 3 at 1220, just 1 minute late, and I note ex-LM 150113 on a Rose Hill Marple service, with 150214 on the platform next to it with one end at least showing Birmingham on the blinds! As I join 175112 and find a seat (why have ATW done a SWT and not bothered putting seat reservations on Advance tickets? You get a booked service but not a booked seat, not good on a busy route), 150118 also ex-LM rolls in on a terminating service. Another entry into my NREA then, because although I've seen these 150/1s before, that was just as part of the 3-car reformations. Not seen them with their /1 numbers before, so even more to see up here now. Just when I thought I was close to finishing the 150s for sight!

    We finally leave Manchester Piccadilly's platform 8 at 1232, 2 late, and my eyes are fixed on the windows in case something I need for sight goes by. No such luck, and after a while I decide to get the Bakers updated and finished. The highlighter manages to find some ink from somewhere and the job is done. Or at least, so I thought at the time, I noticed later I still need to highlight the stations I've done on some of the early pages! I finally start marking down the stations I've done non-stop through, so now the Baker is about 3/4 complete in terms of getting the current coverage in there. I'm on one of those random ideas from ATW, that is making some of the Manchester <-> South Wales trains more express by not calling at Craven Arms and Church Stretton. Always used to be the North Wales <-> Cardiff trains that did that, but this benefits me as I use the Mancunion trains more often anyway. The journey is timed for just 2 hours now, but as with the last time I did this train we get held before the racecourse-in-the-middle-of-nowhere. Good thing there's plenty of time between my arrival in Hereford and the bus home. I had considered alighting at Leominster, but didn't know what time the limited bus service was at, plus it meant a loss of miles. Same with Ludlow for mileage, but there's no bus service at all from here to home. A long 30 mile walk that would have been!

    Arrival into Hereford is at 1436, 6 down, and it felt weird to not arrive into platform 1, which is the usual one for me when I've been on a bash! A coffee is got from McDonalds thanks to a full collector card, then some banking and bills are done just in time to get the bus home. YJ58 CFG does the honours and I get home a little over an hour later in some miserable weather. It had been nice up in Darlington! Time then for the final review and some statistics now then: A rather excellent trip, despite losing a lot of miles to replacement buses and the rather dull northbound trip on the Weardale. Plenty of mileage still, a good few new sights and haulages too. Trip rating of 8/10. Stats then:

    Total mileage over the 3 days: 405m20c (not including the Weardale mileage, as I've not got the Quail out for that yet), not as much as would have been liked, but hey.
    Highest mileage on one train: 114m53c on 175112.
    Lowest mileage on one train: Whatever the chainage is on D2090 and that 08 (awaiting gen from PLEG people).
    Best bit of the trip: NRM Shildon bash, without a doubt.
    Worst bit of the trip: Northbound trip on the Weardale, as well as that coach from Manchester to York.

    No random quote as I didn't really hear much of any! More trip reports from 2011 due soon, and a monster FOUR day report from a forthcoming trip is due next week. Stay tuned... <D
     
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  3. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    Glad to see you had an interesting trip.

    I will be off to London In january going on a monday morning on a national express coach at 02:45. ATW do have engineering work on the mainline so I have to get a rail replacement bus from Pyle at 00:45 which will hopefully turn up otherwise I will be phoning ATW or the coach company playing hell and have less time sitting around in Cardiff Bus Station.

    Should be doing a west midlands bash in early december hopefully depending on funds.
     
  4. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The kettle useless? What do you think it was that assisted the shunters (note there was only one 08 at the front of the train!) from the rear several times on the journey from Bishop Auckland to Stanhope as they gradually lost around 30 minutes on the allocated time?

    653 is not an 08 - it is a former NS shunter built by EE and repatriated to the UK from Holland several years ago.
     
  5. 12CSVT

    12CSVT Established Member

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    The shunter which piloted D2090 at shildon wasn't an 08 but NS (Netherlands State Railways) 600 class, number 663. Same with the leading loco on the Weardale ('08653' on the ticket was a misprint) as this was also a Netherlands 600 class, number 653.

    Four shunters for haulage in one day (even though two of them were foreign) - good stuff - hope they can do a repeat when 08588 is fixed.
     
  6. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That is the plan I believe! :D
     
  7. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Well they both looked and sounded like 08s, and my ticket suggested the same. At the time, I wasn't to know anything different!

    Good thing you lot confirmed it wasn't an 08, I'll have to scrub that out of my books and enter in its place 'Random foreign loco that's not an 08 but looks like one' for both that one and the one at the NRM.:lol:

    At least with stuff on the mainline network's lot of fleets it's not quite as confusing! You don't often get something that, for example, looks like a 350 but is actually some totally different thing! There's probably better examples, but that was the first thing that came to mind.

    As for the kettle providing assistance, I saw no evidence of that.
     
  8. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You couldn't have picked a worse example actually! :lol: Here's a good loco to confuse you further:
    http://preservedshunters.co.uk/psh_zoom.php?img=0991000235000

    You will probably think this is a Class 08, but its TOPS number is 01553, its previous number is 12082 and it is a Class 11! (And to make things worse, it is now preserved at the Mid Hants Railway and numbered 12049.)

    If you'd looked backward, you would have seen it merrily puffing away on the outward trip on several occasions.
     
  9. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Ah yes, that thing that was at Long Marston in 2007. One of those really strange ones that, dunno what the hell was going on there!

    As for the steam loco providing assistance, it did look like it when I saw a shadow once, but then I couldn't tell for sure when I watched it later as it seemed to make the same amount of steam and noise in both directions. Even so, I'm not counting it.
     
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