Afternoon all, Work needed to save wages today, so I'm staying at home. When I eventually, and angrily, found my A4 book it's time to do another trip report that's been waiting for ages to get on here. Must point out that this lot was all written up in the Travelodge after the tour, so it's not a long one. Without further delay, here we go: 17th September 2011 - Pathfinder's Buffer Puffer 9.0 Up and about at 0400 after hardly any sleep, due partly to being paranoid I was going to oversleep and miss the tour and partly because I was excited. I'm off by 0421 and the walk is just 17 minutes back to the station. Quite convenient really for a bash up here, I might be using this Travelodge more often. When the 37s have run around the stock, I get my video and photos of 37510+37229, both required haulage. We leave at 0512, 7 minutes late. As I write this all up in the Travelodge in Coventry, I can't help but remark that running late was a running theme during the day! At Birmingham International, we arrive at platform 5, required micro-grice having done the east end of it on The Principality Freighter in 2007. We discover the ECS for the Spitfire tour is severely late, I was on the right tour then! That shows up with 57007+57011, leaving with 37s apparently on the other end at 0650, 80 minutes late. Our tour, the right one, carried on as booked via Northampton and was uneventful, except for sighting 66422 - required sight - at Daventry, until after Northchurch Tunnel, when we came to a grinding halt. I suspect a trespasser, and eventually we move forward to Berkhamsted. We find out that the pressure wave leaving the tunnel forced a windscreen in on 37510 which injured our driver. That explains the massive amount of horn blowing then. Everyone seemingly took advantage of an unexpected photo stop as well as flooding the coffee shop with food and drink orders, and eventually the ambulance arrives to take the driver away. A rescue loco has been summoned so as to clear the line and minimise delays on the busy WCML. The gen's flying around super quickly, and we discover 66232 is the loco sent to get us moving. Difficulty in getting the brakes off means we finally leave around 0947, super late now! An unexpected bit of required haulage there, thankfully the distance wasn't too far to Wembley EUFOC where the 66 was removed. 37510 is run round the train at Wembley EUFOC and 37229 left on the other end. This was how the set was to stay all day now most sensibly. We use road 1, amidst debate over exactly which line was used, and we leave 93 minutes late at 1023. Off we go to the North London Line to Camden Road, where we branch off to go down the Kings Cross Incline, the first bit of required track for the Baker so far today. We continue to Hornsey Down Reversing Siding No 2 as booked, and arrived there 104 minutes late. I recall, although didn't note it at the time, that that was the biggest delay of the day. Harringay Flyover was next, another bit of track for the Baker. At Finsbury Park, we take the freight-only line to the NLL, again required for the Baker. Our booked route is still followed much to our surprise, considering how late we were, to Fenchurch Street via a reversal at Barking's platform 7 and a trip through East Ham depot on road 18 there, not forgetting the loop at Gas Factory Junction and the crossing of the ladder at Fenchurch Street. Our first official break off the train is finally here, from 1324 to 1351, and I think most of us were welcoming the chance to get off for some proper food. Or at least as proper as it gets on the railway! A cheese and bacon pasty and a large coffee is got from The Pasty Shop, as the queues at Burger King were quite long, for £4.06. More required track for the Baker next, as we traverse the line from Gas Factory Junction to Bow Junction. Unexpectedly, we branch left before Stratford onto the Channelsea Curve, which when I checked was required. We carry on east past the new DLR branch to Stratford International, and I'm told the track layout here is now vastly different to that in the Quail. Great, that makes things harder to follow! The first bit of the revised itinery to be chopped was Temple Mills loop, Orient Way having been cut out a few days before the tour as was East Putney, and we charge straight past instead. Our next stop was Aldershot, reached by way of the NLL, Kew, Hounslow and Ascot. Lots of slow running all the way to Virginia Water, although I'd scooped that bit from the NLL to the Hounslow loop for the Baker, as well as lots of other bits of micro-gricing so far. We get some speed up now for the first time in ages, and I also get some more of SWT's network covered in the form of Ascot to Ash Vale. Aldershot is finally reached, and the usual scrum for photos is unleashed. Personally, knowing we only had 10 minutes here, I stayed on the train but I could have gone for a leg stretch since we had to wait for ages for various 450s to get out of the way! We're off again at 1654 finally. At Brookwood, we're put on the fast lines, and we really motor on and get under RST for the first time in some hours! That fast run is slowed down at New Malden, where we return to the slows for a 450 to pass, before crossing all the lines just before Wimbledon to get access to the line to Streatham. A reasonable run to London Bridge is had, and we must have gone up some serious banks after Wimbledon from what we could see. We're informed that the driver from this morning has been reported as being OK and just shaken up, which was good news. Quite, I've heard since he's returned to driving trains which is excellent news. Bridge is reached at 1811, and another food break is most welcome here. A bacon and cheese burger is got from Burger King, not got enough to splash out on the full usual meal. We leave again at 1845, and even though we're quite far back I can still hear 37510 from a droplight in our coach! On our way to Norwood Junction, we're told the relevant staff at Selhurst TMD have gone home so we're diverted to East Croydon for a reversal. Suits me just fine, as the line we were due to do through Selhurst was done on The Ruby Rover in 2010. It didn't suit many people obviously, but the reversal suited me again as we now to be up at the front for the final leg of the journey! We growl away quite happily back towards Clapham Junction and Kensington Olympia. Lovely bit of noise as we charge past a crowded Shepards Bush, compared to the rather dull 378s up here! We stop on the Up Willesden Relief for a short time, appeared to be a crew change since we were no longer needing to use Wembley EUFOC for a run-round. We finally reach Watford Junction at 2025, with plenty of work for 37229 to do as we really had to motor on up the WCML now. At Ledburn Junction, we're put on the Down Fast to my surprise, and we stay there with 37229 really giving it some until we branch off for Northampton. An unexpected micro-grice opportunity here as we used the Down and Up Goods line just past the station, quite nice that! By Rugby, somehow we're 4 minutes EARLY! First time that's happened for many hours now, since the arrival at Birmingham International this morning! Coventry is reached smack on time at 2201, and of course it's time for one last bit of video and photos. The noise on departure was quite epic, most impressed. I now head to the Travelodge and get a bit lost, but eventually find it and settle in for a good night's sleep. After just 2 and a bit hours last night, I'm properly exhausted now! I write this up there, no doubt a lot less detailed than it would have been if I'd written it as we went, but hey. Summary of the day then: An absolutely fantastic day that, nearer the end, didn't feel long at all! Nearly 20 hours long, but it was just so good the time flew by! A shame about the track we didn't do in the end, but I was still generally very satisfied and felt my £79 was well spent and worth every penny! Stats then: Total mileage for the day: 402m32c Highest mileage on one train: 138m06c on 37510+37229 from Crewe to Berkhamsted. Lowest mileage on one train: 7m42c on 37229 from Barking to Fenchurch Street. Best bit of the trip: 37510 being audible from near the back of the train leaving London Bridge, tied with 37229 out of East Croydon Worst bit of the trip: Losing 20-odd miles of 37 haulage to 66232, as well as the delays in places No random quotes noted or remembered to be honest!