The London and Berwick bash: 16/03/12 - 18/03/12

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heart-of-wessex

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Hello all,

Bit of a long one to cover two and a quarter days, as this covers my pre-railtour trip, overnighter linking to Saturday for the Berwick tour, and the overnight linking up to Sunday for the trip home.

The London bash went differently, as I had plans but because I don't usually do plans, it was more of an outline plan as in to do at least half of it or un-restricted by times etc.. Again, I don't know why I bother as it goes out the window, and I have more fun deciding 5 minutes in advance! Plans were to do SWT station bagging round Hounslow loop, box machine spin 'n win, Chiltern Turbo scratching and doing the District line from Upminster to Ealing Broadway with 1 change at Earl's Court. See how many you can find that I actually went ahead with!


Friday 16th March 2012

A mere three passengers, including me, were waiting for the 0552 Paddington service, a vast contrast to last time when there was a lot more commuters, maybe they cycle to London now :shock:!
Kilo 71 rolls in spot on time with 43161 at the helm, and I board coach C, required 42047, and take my booked seat. I then dig out the NREA and start updating it straight away with the Mendip Quarries/London bash and the two mini bashes after.

At Westbury, I notice the usual announcer saying about how you should stand outside the station as a super fast ECS is about to crawl into and stop at P2...
158956, my follower, was on the ECS ready to form the Froooooome! service.
The guard came on the PA to announce that we are waiting to police attendance to remove disruptive passengers.
I'm sorry, on 1K71? Some commuter had 43161 for the 1,000 and is ranting how 160 should be on front or something?
No, actually it was a couple of teens bragging their way to somewhere!

As we were still in the platform, the 0618 (0607 ex-Frome) service came in. Problems were now sorted and ready to leave, but the 0618 was let out first, either because he got the peg as we had no EDT, or because it was for minimal delay reasons. As they say, better to have two late than one, however the issue with the 0618 going out is that it stops E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E to Reading that the Bedwyn Turbo's would stop at, except the HST has an additional call at Reading West.

We departed a couple of minutes after and chased the ex-Frome HST to Pewsey and Bedwyn, where we had a crawling run. Our train was emptier than normal throughout, as the other HST was stealing our passengers.
Later on we got held up by the DMU depot, and I had time to count all the bricks and bolts that hold the building together. We were well off our booked slot and the signalbox had no interest in us at the moment. After a while, we were sent to the other side of the moon at Reading's platform 10 and held there briefly. Running just over 20 late, we were packed out onto the Relief Line and got overtaken by another HST in the process. We stayed on this line until Maidenhead where we crossed over onto the Up Main, not that I was fussed as I needed this piece of line!

Further down at Acton, 67029 with a rake of VSOE's came by on the Victoria - Cheltenham Spa, a Horse Froth-ex I assume...
Arrival into Paddington was at 0825. I walked to the front to get the powercar number and it was 43137, I had that yesterday to Plymouth!

I then went to get brekkie from Upper Money and then proceeded to the H&C platforms to get a C stock to....*drum roll*...

Farringdon! ....I know not much of a surprise there! Anyone would think I'm ill if I didn't start there! It was a good starter too as, flagging a 319 on the Sevenoaks, I fell onto 319443 on the Sutton! That now leaves just 3 more /4s to bash, not bad at all!
Now, I did think of getting this to Tooting as I need that shack to finish off the loop stations, but we don't get there until next year at 0940, and the train back leaves a year later at 1003, bit of a waste for a peak Travelcard ticket!

So Plan B saw me bail off at Elephant & Castle where, as I stepped off, I saw a pair of 319s roll into P1! Nitro chargers on, I sped over to the other side. When I got to the top, I saw the rear 319 was 455 and the front? no idea as the numbers on the other side!
So I leapt into the unknown 319 and checked the number. It was dud 319441. Change that to 440 an I'd be happy!
Back through the tunnel then to Farringdon. There, I notice there's a Brighton due next, probably a pair of 377s or something, but I decide to do a Jed and ask myself "Wot's on the Brighton?"
Well before that came in, the Sevenoaks service came and went, then the Brighton was on the screen. Suddenly, that meant that I was the Gatwick help point, and I had three tourists ask if this one is for Gatwick!

Nothing trash on today, 319439+422 on the job! Dud, but what an offer to refuse? I leap on 319422 (in the MSO) and originally I was going to take it to London Bridge, don't be stupid I thought, how rude to flag a 319 on the proper part to East Croydon. The London Bridge stagger is hardly fast!
On the way into Croydon, I notice us slowly overtaking a 455 and I thought "I wonder if that's the Caterham". Sure enough, it was.....hmmmmmm might get on that from Croydon.

We came in slowly, and the Caterham Box came in on notch 7 then probably slammed the brakes to emergency! We still were crawling in just ready to stop whilst the 455 was about to come to a complete stop too, argh!!
We stopped eventually and the doors opened, but the 455 opened it's doors a bit before, didn't stop me bombing like a bat outta hell down the slope to the subway and trying to run up the slope to P6.
I got to the top and the whistle blew, so I bombed for a door and made the +0, just!

After getting myself together, I checked which box this was, dud 455802. Oh well.
Time for a shack scratch (I wasn't on the Caterham for no reason at all!) and I bail off at the penultimate stop, Whyteleafe South.
I had to triple check the spelling for my moves book and trip report! Even the spell checker on here thinks I'm mental, wondering if I meant 'Whitefield' or 'Whitehaven'....no, if I meant that, I would have typed that!

I had a +10 here, and I wondered if it would be a different unit coming back, I think it should be. The PIS screen told me that standard class ticket holders can travel in first class...oh really? Must be a 377 then.
Sure enough, winner 377109 turns up on the 1042 to London Bridge. The seats are quite padded too, and I'm sure the ones in standard class are since it's the same seating there, but I can't remember being on a padded seat in an Electrostar, but the 377s seems to have 50,000 types of seating fitted to them anyway!

On the approach to Purley, I spot some required track located in the Colas Training Centre, I wonder if the PLEG will cover that one day, hopefully! :lol:
At Purley, I notice the dispatcher coming to the front of the train. When it was time to go, he blew the whistle and showed the white bat, then legged it! :? I thought 'what, is it going to blow up??' Then I saw there is there an RA box on the signal, so that's why he ran away to do the RA box, seems strange to have a bat and a RA box too :?

Anyway further on, I decided to stay on at East Croydon to do another station scratch, this time at Penge West. Leaving Croydon, I noticed Balfour Beatty's 73918 in the yard, and further up in Selhurst Depot, 171805 and a pair of 455s were seen stabled there.
I left 377109 at Penge West and swapped over to the other platform for the 1115 West Croydon service. As I crossed the footbridge, I could clearly see Anerley station, not far away at all! If I knew the directions I'd walk there myself!

The 1115 turned up with 378233, a check in the book, dud. I take this to Norwood Junction for another station scratch (can't believe I still need it) and I could do with a coffee move now, thankfully there is a café on P1.
£1 something shorter, I decided to board the 1128 Highbury & Islington service as I have not yet scratched off the new curve after Dalston nor have I covered the ex freight line on the NLL! (Seems weird that I need new track on the NLL)

CapitalStar 378234 (required) turned up and then I sat down on the seat and read the metro to pass the time, since it was a rather long trek!
By Shoreditch I was re-calling the good old days of 4 car A stock that terminated at Shoreditch with some ending at Whitechapel, and wondering how odd it be to see 378s on the ELL. I'm already used to it, and now I'd probably say how odd it would look to have an A stock on the line!
Also, it was at this point that my...rear end..wasn't friends with the seat any more, but I decided to stay put as we were nearly there.

As we followed the old course of the NLL at Canonbury, 90048 passed us on the NLL on possibly the Felixstowe to Ditton liner.
Arrival into Highbury & Islington was at 1215 on Platform 2. Next on my hit list was Canonbury for a station scratch, so I swapped over to P1 on required 378146 and thus I scooped in the other crossover, so all I need to do is go straight into P1 and straight out of P2 to complete the track.

Off at Canonbury, I changed over to the NLL side and got the 1227 Richmond service with 378214. By the way, I'm not being a ned here, I'm out for stations not trying to clear the 378s for haulage in one day!
Also I made a note for myself too, might be useful for others, but you can see the approach signal for Highbury & Islington too, so you can see the feather lit up if you want the crossover to P2, or if you need it straight into P1, just look for the aspect only with no feather illuminated, handy that!

Anyway back on the NLL, I decided to bail at Camden Road for the shack scratch, a +2 was given here on the Eastbound platform (remember the old days of Silverlink with no platform numbers?) for 1236 Stratford, which turned up with winner 378229. I took this down the road to Caledonian Road & Barnsbury (or Caledonian Rd in my moves book, I didn't have an A1 size sheet to fit the name in!)

I proceeded outside in search of a shop and thankfully there was one just up the road out of the station. I came back later for the 1252 Clapham service which another winner, 378205. I took this over to Brondesbury for the station scratch there, but on the way I didn't see another 378 pass for some time....don't tell me there'll be a +0 at Brondesbury...sure enough I had a +0 as it was already in the station, but it went as I got off the train, damn!
Oh well out for a ciggie move, it's only a +10 anyway, not like missing a train at Trowbridge or even worst, Pilning!!

Seems like a bad idea too, as I heard some freight train come by and I couldn't see it!
Also, a note about outside the station, I like how there's no ordinary bins for general waste (which is scattered all over the floor, could hardly see the pavement!) yet there are recycling bins for a wide range of materials like paper, cans, plastic etc. :?

Back on the station, it was time for a super smaller than insect leap on required 378226 to Brondesbury Park. There I had a tide +4 onto required 378201 on the Richmond service. Happy with my station bagging on the NLL (just 3 more to do now to finish the NLL), I took 201 all the way to the end at Richmond.
Initially I was going to change there for a D stock and try and do Richmond to Upminster in one hit, but a change of plan saw me dive out for an ATM move and dive over for the 1358 to Waterloo, as I decided to do some SWT scratching.
High Capacity 450564 was on the turn, and was both required for sight and haulage, double bonus!

At Clapham, I headed over to P11 for a southbound 455 stopper but WAIT!, I wonder if there is a fast Brighton due? Over to P13...yes there is, due in 5 minutes. So, Wot's on the Brighton? It was 2 minutes late already probably by congestion, and 442413 showed up on it's own. 413 is already dud for me having done it in 2006 from Bournemouth to Southampton, but I got on for nostalgia sake as after all, it's better than a 377 so I took it to East Croydon. Now, I remember you could swap over for the 442 back too from Croydon, but I forget what the plus was. I know it was small but not like a +1. As we were already 4 late, I doubt I would make it now.

At Selhurst, I saw a 5-WES pass us for London, oh well there's the up 442 then. Maybe I'll get off for a 319 move to London Bridge...or not as a pair of 319s pass us as we come into Croydon!
So, Plan ACB, now what to do? The option I took was to wait for the London Bridge stopper for a reason you'll see why in a minute. As I waited, I saw a 442 heading to London going slow as if it just pulled out...oh no don't tell me I could have made it after all! Of course, the one I passed at Selhurst was probably a GatEx, too late now either case.

The Bridge stopper was 455837, dud, and I took the box to Anerley for the shack scratch, meaning I have now done all stations between Purley and London Bridge :)
I then swapped over to the southbound platform for 378234 on the Croydon service. 234 is dud as, if you may remember, I had this earlier on from Norwood to Highbury.
I bailed at Jolly Sailor for a fast service to Croydon, but I noticed there was a direct Victoria service due, would it be quicker? A quick look up in connection times at Croydon suggested I'd save just short of 5 minutes on the direct stopper via Gipsy Hill, so I did that instead.
The 1452 was formed of dud 455814...do any required 455s come out to play!? I've not done much of SN's 455s, but I seem to get the same lot every time!

Off at Clapham, I decided to do the box machine game, but that hardly lasted as after the first SWT box came and went, my spinner broke so I went on dud 455740 to Vauxhall. As we left, I noticed a pair of 458s leaving for London on the Windsor lines. As it was faffing with the crossovers, we was bombing past it. I wondered if they call at Vauxhall at this time, as I would have time to bag it in if it does.
I tried my chances and bailed at Vauxhall then headed over to P2 to see the 468s sail past....I guess they don't then!

There was a 1535 due soon anyway so I waited for that, and it showed up with required 450545. At Waterloo, I headed over to BK not for a bacon cheeseburger, surprisingly, but instead I tried the Chicken Royale with Cheese...bloody hellfire!!

Peak hour coming up soon, time to decide where to go. I could do London Bridge for 456s, since they bang them up to make some load 50 of 2 car units, or I could have a pair of 455s there and actually have a winner one, I could do SET again like last time, but in the end, I settled for taking the tube to Stratford and having a spin on the GEML.
Off to the Jubilee line, 96008 took me to Stratford where I noticed the DLR platforms where the old NLL line used to be...of course it's the required International branch....hmmmm.

Unfortunately the next DLR was 10 weeks away, and I didn't want to miss out on peak hour, so I went up to the high level on the slow lines for the 1626 to Liverpool Street (LS). Dud 315816 took me there but now I needed a train with a toilet, so at LS I swapped over for a Southend................Victoria service with required 321458 on and went RA to the loo.
For the rest of the trip back to Stratford I stood up as all seats were taken of course.
I alighted there and waited on the Up Fast platform 9 for the 1652 back to LS with 321308 (mind these are mainly trios with some doubles, I count the one I stepped on, just in case you are wondering if they are all solos, I doubt 4 car 321s everywhere would work at this time!)

Arrival into P12 at LS was 1707, easy time to make the 1712 service which had 321341 on, so I scooped that in back to Stratford, where I then decided to swap over to P5, as had a +1 onto a train on the Up Fast, but that had a 360 on the service, couldn't be bothered with 360s at the moment. On the slow side, I won 315845 on the LS service, and took that to the end, of course. There I wondered weather to do a 315 or 321 back. 315859 was on the next stopper out, or there's a row of 321s that....hang on....did I just say 315859?? A look back at the blocks suggested I did, why does that ring a bell...YES! My second to last one for sight! Well...how rude would it be not to scratch it in at the same time, so I took double winner 859 on the 1742 service and ended back up at Stratford.
Over to the fast lines again, I managed to walk on a set already in the platform, so I jumped in the middle set and hoped it was required, no time to run to the front or back!
Thankfully it was winner 321426.

As I got off at LS, I heard an announcement that I heard before about smoking, but the way it's said, it sounds like she says 'Customers are reminded that smoking is predicted on all trains and stations'. :lol:
Back on to another winner 321 this time, in the form of 321456, and I took this over to Stratford. As we left, I saw a pair of 315s coming neck and neck with us heading the same way. I wondered if my last 315 for sight would be on it, 315817 on the front, yeah didn't think so. As I thought at the time, what I need to do is a spotting fest at Bethnal Green as it could be on the WA side too, but then it could be sitting at Chingford all day for some reason, or it could be hiding in the shed at Ilford, or it cou....hang on...YES!!!
Last winner for sight 315831 came into view on the back of 315817, result!!

I bailed at Stratford P10 for a +10 or so for the Southend service, which I then took to Shenfield on winner 321425. Station scratch complete, I had a +3 onto 315855 on the local, which I took to Romford.
I was initially going to do Romford from Stratford but not on a local, but I couldn't find any fast stuff going there. Shenfield was a good idea though as I got two winners and a station in the bag.

Now I wonder what GA have kicked out on the shuttle. It wasn't there when I arrived, so I walked over to the bay platform and kept myself amused by watching the hellfire 321s storm through and the loco hauled set. After a short while, winner 317515 came in ex-Upminster for the return 1912 shuttle, hellfire! Rigged up with the original armchair seats too :)
Shame it's a slow line, not much for 317 thrash as expected, still nice to have a winner though so that was good.

At Upminster it was time to do what I (and techniquest!) keep forgetting to do when we are in London, Electric Turbostar bashing!! The first set I got on was a winner, no surprise when I've only had 3 :oops:, and that was 357218 on the Fenchurch service. I took this to the next station at Barking to swap over for the 1947 back to Upminster.
Whilst I was waiting for that, I got a coffee and a chicken and mushroom slice from the station shop. The coffee was hellfire, and was only £1.29. The slice at £1.79 wasn't that great though, more pastry than filling which made it super dry and epically flaky.

At the end of the platform by the stairs, I saw the 357 come in via the platform door monitors, and managed to get the number gen before I'd even seen the unit! Wonder if I could count it for sight if I decided to leg it up the stairs and not see it in the flesh? :lol:
357010 took me back to Upminster where I swapped over for the 2002 service to London.
I did a quick journey plan to see if I could take it to West Ham, and sure enough I would be better there with a +4 back towards Barking, I'll do that then.

Winner 357007 was on the service, so I took that to West Ham...oh and I wish I could stop writing 375xxx in my moves book as every 357 I've done, I've had to correct the 5 and 7 as I get it back to front, I guess that's what happens when you've done more 375s than 357s!
I proceeded to read the Evening Standard to pass the time. At Barking, I noticed a 357 in P8...eh? what you doing there? Hang on, loading up too? Is that for Liv Street as I didn't think it would be at this time, and I wanted to go to LS soon too...I shove the paper in my bag and head over to P8, not knowing if it's due out any time soon or not! I tried to run up the stairs but I was blocked by two industrial shunters crawling up the stairs...COME ON MAN...I'd like to be on P8 today! A Bulldozer would have been handy here!

At the top, I sprinted over to P8 to see 357026 on the 2012 to LS, two minutes to spare, thank god! I checked if it was required and it was, came close to having dud 357027 though! The line was dud for me but at least it took me straight to LS so I didn't have to change at West Ham for a Jubilee to Stratford.
Well...in the end as we arrived into LS I thought well, this goes back doesn't it? Sure enough, it does the 2035 to some place or the other...hmmm, I haven't done the track in the opposite direction yet, only done it from Barking. Change of plan saw me back on 357026 and because I'm barking mad, I took it back to Barking.

I fell asleep between here and Barking, but at least I woke up on the approach to Barking!!
I got off for the 2058 Fenchurch service with required 357019 and took that to West Ham, to do the Jubilee to Stratford...So I find a shortcut and then double back to do the long way anyway...

96448 was my carriage for the Stratford leap and then I headed for the GEML again...or hang on, ah yes of course the DLR branch....yeah go on for a spin!
I went on the southbound one first to Canning Town, although I think the track starts a bit beyond here, not bothered about that as I'll be up here again for the stations. 88/91/55 were our sets for today, and I joined set 88 for the Canning Town trip. The auto announcer was b***ed too, as she kept repeating the end part, like '..approaching West Ham...Ham' and '...approaching Abbey Road...Ey Road'
Sounded funny nonetheless!

At Canning Town, I swapped over to the other side for a ride on set 31 back to Stratford International, or as the auto announcer says 'Stratford Internationol' :lol:
At International, I alighted to scratch in the other set behind, set 27.
I took this for a leap back to Stratford L.L and then regained my original path to the GEML platforms. I decided to head to P9 to see what 321 turns up, and I bagged winner 321308...or I thought it was, should have checked my moves book beforehand, as now I remember I had 321308 earlier from Stratford - LS!

Back to LS at 2200, I couldn't decide weather to go back to Stratford again or not, so I popped over to the WA side to see what was going on there. There was a Chingford going out soon at 2212 with what looked like a 315, but that was a set locked out. I went over to see what the front set was, and it was 317510..I'll take that!
RA to MSO coach and I see that 510 is actually dud, but I don't mind having it again for a ride up to Tottenham Hale, had some rather good screamage up Bethnal Green bank <D

Over at Tottenham, I saw another 317 on the other side, argh! Will I make it? A uber dash over the footbridge, RA down the stairs to see the driver coming out the passenger saloon to the cab, thank god it's not going yet! Just as well as a quick look at the boards suggests it's a minute late, meaning if the driver was already in the cab, I'd be seeing the tail lights out! I had no idea where it was going mind, could have been RA to Paris Gare du Nord for all I know, then I'd be stuffed (but a 317 in the CTRL...<D)
317509 (required) was actually going to Stratford. Not much thrash going this way as I believe it's all downhill.
Passing Orient Way, there wasn't much to see, just a trio of 321s. The Eurostar shed had two un-ID sets in there too.

Off at Stratford, I went to P9 again for the 2245 to LS, to see what 321 I could cop, or if it happens, a 360. In comes a GA Class 90 RA through to LS...or so I thought...oh it's on the 2245 to LS! Blimey, didn't know there was an advertised working to LS, as I thought it was set down only on all trains, or not! 90013 was on the lead so I wasn't going to refuse a leap on the 90, as it was required too.

That bought a nice end to the GA bash, time to head over to the Pan now. Over on the Sub Surface lines, I saw that there was a met train due soon, so I flagged two Hammersmith trains for the Uxbridge stopper, which unfortunately showed up with 21008+21007, bah was hoping for an A stock. Never mind, I got on 21007 anyway for the trip to KXSP.

En-route, I saw a safety poster on a station (Moorgate I think) that made me chuckle by the way it was put. It was basically saying about being safe and standing away from the platform edge. The poster was bizarre, as the track was some form of broad gauge track, and the platform was something like at Bristol Parkway, but a lot narrower...no wonder the guy in the poster is falling over! Shouldn't it read 'TfL should widen the platform for safety'? :lol:!

Anyway, at the Pan, I took the 5,000m walk to the upper level for the 2348 to Bedford, formed of 319380 on it's own. I took this all the way to Bedford. We didn't get far out of St Pan though, as we were held at the next signal. We sat there for 3 minutes and then we had the peg, no idea what the wait was about. Everything was fine after.
I finished off reading the Evening Standard, and saw an article about how today London had the very high recording of pollution, with the 5th smog cloud recorded. The picture proved it too, missed out on seeing the fog effect myself!

Time was pushing on now, as in theory I had a +0 at Bedford, or so the TT's suggest. The schedule gives around 4 mins to do Bedford South Jn - Bedford, where as it's two given in the other way. So a bit of slack, but we are already 3-4 mins late due to the hold up outside of St Pan. Better keep an eye on the time, otherwise I'll have to bail at Flitwick. I didn't want to, not because of the area, but because it's a wide plus connection!

After Luton, we were just tipping on time by arriving at departure time, and leaving just seconds late. At Flitwick, I decided to chance it onto Bedford.
I clocked a passing time over Bedford South at 0058, and arrived into Bedford 0059, a +3 now onto the 0102, but I ran over to the other side anyway, along with the driver of 319380 who bombed past me!
I dived onto the train not knowing what it was but it was only a 4 car set, so it was it that or nothing. The unit was 319439, a dud unit.

Saturday 17th March 2012

As we stopped at Flitwick, an engineers passed on the Up Fast to my surprise, which had a Colas 66 on front, with easily identifiable 66720 on the rear. We chased it up by Harlington coming neck and neck with 66720, but as we had to stop, we lost it again. I was hoping of us overtaking it so I could ID the 66 at the front, but as we had to stop everywhere and the 66 was moving at a steady 60mph, we never caught up with it.

So, back at the Pan, I returned back to Bedford on 319439 again on the 0232. I was hoping of getting a bit of sleep on the way back, but I forgot that the 0232 doesn't have a quiet zone, as each carriage there is always a group heading home talking loudly, and the group in my coach went all the way back to Bedford.
Nothing else interesting happened otherwise, so back at Bedford I went out to a ciggie move, then returned to see what was on the 0412 to St Pancras, and it was 319439 again! Christ! Some engine mileage I've gained on 439!
This time I managed to sleep all the way back to St Pancras, which was needed!

Back at London again, I had some time before I had to be at the cross, so I went back on 319439 (again!) for a leap to West Hampstead TL, for a +3 onto the 0544 back to St Pan.
The 0544 shouldn't be 319439 so I wondered if maybe a required one would show, but it was 319372, one off the one I need for sight, 319371. It is my last one to clear all 319s, is 371 scrapped!?

Back at St Pan, I walked over to Kings Cross to see if the tour stock had arrived. It had indeed with 67016 being the loco that brought the stock to the blocks. Just as well we aren't having a 67 on the lead as I'd be miffed with 016 leading!
I walked up to get the stock numbers, then saw Railfreight Grey with EWS logos 90036 on the lead, hellfire! 036 is also a required loco too.
Happy with that, I walked back to get a coffee and baguette from UpperToMuchMoney, then returned to my booked seat in Coach G, the front coach :D

We left on time at 0656 from P1, then headed away on the Down Fast until MP4, where we crossed over from the Fast to the Down Slow 1, just before Ally Pally. This was to let the 0700 ex-Kings Cross to pass, which duly did later on.
We arrived into Potters Bar 1 minute up and thus departed on time at 0717. After here, we crossed over from the Down Slow to the Down Fast, a required crossover for me.
We stayed on the fast through to Stevenage where we picked up another tonne of passengers, which by this point our coach was pretty full, though it was a fully booked tour anyway, no surprise with only 2 standard coaches!

It was a fast run up the ECML from here, a pretty hellfire run it was too! By Huntingdon we were 2 minutes up, and then later at Fletton Jn, we crossed over on another required line onto the Down Slow outside of Peterborough. We were held here to let a Mallard set arrive and depart Peterborough, and then we were let into P4 on time at 0820.
This was the last pickup point, so now it was RA Berwick...well bar the crew change and pathing stops. The calling pattern was odd advertised as RA Berwick, as if the Flying Scotsman had some extra calling points but was terminating at Berwick due to some engineering works between there and Edinburgh or something :lol:

I clocked us passing Stoke Jn 2 up at 0847, and then I just couldn't keep alert and fell asleep, well it was the south part of the ECML, the part I would otherwise fall asleep at!
I woke up briefly at Retford to see us stopped in the Down Passenger Loop, since we were booked a pathing stop here, and then I fell asleep again until Doncaster where I woke up to see us coming into the station. One hell of a lot of veg here too to see us off!
The crew change was duly done, and then we were on our way on time at 0941.

Not much of interest happened here, I was awake though just tracking our progress through the quail. Some others were talking about the possibility of using the avoider at York instead, we will have to see what happens there. At Colton Jn, we crossed over from the fast to the Down Leeds (another required crossover) and then headed over towards York.
We did indeed use the York Avoider instead, missing out on a Class 37 stabled there and a MetroNet 66 coming through the station, unidentifiable due to it being far away!

We passed Skelton Jn on time at 1010, and then crossed over to the fast at Skelton Bridge, another scoop! Nothing of interest all the way to Newcastle, it really was a shame that the group at my table were unsociable and hardly said bog all, and they were norms with no rail interest either, probably not even interested of how beast 90036 is.
We had a 10 minute wait at Newcastle, but this was narrowed to 3 minutes as we arrived 3 late, but we were let out 4 up, although we passed Morpeth only 2 up.

We were actually chasing a steam special that was ahead of us, and that we were supposed to overtake it, and then it was supposed to overtake us, or something bizarre like that.
Our next booked stop was at Chevington Loop where we were due out at 1215, but we were out onto the main at 1156. Apparently some Level Crossing incident happened (could be anywhere!) that was cleared now but some trains are still off path. Because of this, we managed to scoop in Alnmouth Loop too to let a Voyager pass, which was a nice bonus!

We left at an unscheduled time of 1221, and then passed our next passing point of Belford at 1235. The steam tour was still ahead of us, and it was evident as we passed some lineside fires that it created, wasn't steam banned on the ECML or was this for the summer only? As someone commented 'It's too cold to have fires!' :? Is it!? I don't think the fire crew have the winter months off!

We then came to a stop at a green not far from Berwick, which apparently was due to a report of livestock on the line, but there was none seen. We proceeded with caution either case, then ended up at Berwick 14 late at 1301.
The steam tour was seen watering in the loop north of Berwick (jammy!) with a 47 attached on the rear. It was quite a sight at Berwick, as a bit later on at 1310, we had a 90, 67, 47, steamer and a HST with ex-EMT rake all in the station area!

I already had bought a piece to Newcastle for my planned HST spin, so I started off with 43308+43319 on 1E14 ex-Aberdeen. As it was the ex-EMT rake, I was treated to a flashback from the good old days of travelling in a real MK3 on GW land...the comfy seats and the big whopper drop down table that you could fit a car on...at least you had room!
I tried to stay alert to the Toon, but I did nod off a bit but thank god I didn't end up back at the Cross!!

At the Toon, I alighted for a BK move, another Chicken Royale with cheese move! I also got a Clydebank £10 note too, never seen that before!
I waited for the 1453 from Newcastle back to Berwick on 1S14, which showed up on time with dud 43305 and required 43317. I read the Buses magazine on the way back that I bought from WHsmiths at Newcastle.

We arrived into Berwick on time at 1536, so I headed out the station to explore the River Tweed, having seen it in many of photos, I thought it would be nice...damn right!! SOO peaceful down here, and walking on to have a proper view of the Royal Border Bridge with the sun setting down...epic :)
I wouldn't mind coming here again! In fact, I did see on the departures poster at the station that I could just about do a day trip here with about 3 hours to explore, more than I have at the moment, but that would do me fine.

I sat on the bench and relaxed for some time, then saw 67016 coming over the bridge with the stock for the return run, time to take a slow walk back then. Back at the station, I saw the Edinburgh 91 off, and saw one pass through for London, then 90036 proceeded into the station. We were now at the back behind switched off 67016. I could do with a coffee now, having only had one this morning at the Cross, but I had to wait for the trolley service as there was no buffet car.

Departure time was on time at 1700, and we had an RA trip to Newcastle keeping to time arriving there at 1747. We departed on time for another uneventful trip to York, again I just kept myself amused by following the quail, god it was boring to have an unsociable group, doesn't always happen though as it's the first time for me!
This time, we arrived into York station itself and stopped at P3 for a pathing stop, to let a delayed GC HST out. 43465+43467 left late leaving us to depart 2 down.
By Doncaster it was getting dark and couldn't see much. We arrived here 4 late for our crew change, then left 3 down at 1936.

No pathing stops required to Peterborough, so it was a non stop trip, but somehow I kept awake by tracking our progress and trying to get the GPS to work. Peterborough was reached 9 late at 2049, and we left at 2052, however we had 16 minutes to do Peterborough to Holme, and we did it in 7 minutes, so we went from being 8 minutes late to 2 mins early!! That was a whopper recovery!
Boring stage part 2 to Stevenage, I decided to plan some overnight moves. With that sorted, I just had to see if it fell into place, it was 2 options though but I'll have to see how we do for time at the Cross.

We left Stevenage 2 late (not too late) we swapped over to the Slow at Welwyn GC to let some 365 charge past. A quick nap saw me wake up down the line at Potters Bar, clocking our arrival time 5 late, and departing 4 late. We were then on the fast (I forget where!) and arrived into the Cross P1 3 late at 2208. An end to a rather hellfire turn on 90036 and some epic engine miles to boot.

So, plan A for the overnight was to see what was on the 2216 to Bedford, and if required I could take it up and arrive back at 0055, then there's no more overnight trains so I would do the 0100 or 0112 N73 through to Victoria. By the time I got to the concourse at the Cross, I would have a +5 onto the 319, plus some rather long walk, a bit risky, plus being St Patrick's day, I don' think the N73 would be nice through the centre...

So, Plan B was to take the Viccy to Victoria, and I did so on Underground Electrostar 12026. At Victoria I saw there was a 2236 to Brighton, and wondered if that was a 443 or not. I headed RA to the platform as I heard the PA speaker had some epic loud humming sound, that sound you get when you have the volume on full blast with no sound playing. I thought if there's an announcement it might go 'HELL YEAH!!!! THE TRAIN ON PLATFORM 16 IS FOR BRIGHTON!!!! CAN YOU FLIPPIN HEAR ME!?!?!!!!'

It wasn't a 442 after all but a pair of 377s, but one of them, 377447 was required. I took this to Croydon for a FCC move up to London Bridge. The 2301 was running 3 late with 319460 and winner 319217 on the front, so I scooped in the latter leaving me with just 2 more /2s to do..to...2..

We arrived into Bridge and I bumped into Josh briefly who was packing up the wheelchair ramp. I headed over to BK for my now usual meal (chicken royale) then went onto my booked move on the 2352 Victoria via Crystal Palace on required 455813. It was a bit busier than expected, but a lot of people piled off at Sydenham.

Sunday 18th March 2012

At Victoria, I went to the ticket office to get two BZ6 returns to Gatwick which was done with ease at just over £8 (not bad) but I see I could have bought a return from Purley, as I didn't know all the overnighters called there.
So, I joined 377141 (a winner) on the 0100 Brighton service, and tried my hardest to stay awake, even though it was a slow trip. I did wonder why it called at Redhill too even though it wasn't advertised to on the screens.

At Gatwick, I had a rather wide plus, so I went out for a ciggie move, and in the process I saw a pair of 377/5s leave for Three Bridges, just as well I didn't bail at Croydon to do the FCC turn for a 319!
Back at the station I got on required 377160 on the 0215 back to Victoria (running 3 late) and went RA to sleep, waking up at Victoria. Weather we did Redhill on the way back I don't know, but I can look it up.
Here I had a long wait for the 0400 Brighton, so I waited on the concourse, at least we weren't kicked out!

The PA speaker had gone haywire too, coming out with some odd static tune like someone was on a synthesizer behind the wall, as it sounded like 'buzz buzz buzzBuzz buzzBUzz buzzBUZZ BUZZBUZZ BUZZBUZZ buzz buzz' and round again, with a beat in between like some one was beating on the bass drum, sounded a bit funky and weird, baffled some other people too, though someone was head bopping to it!

Anyway, the 0400 had it's platform allocated well in time, so I headed to P16 to see what was on it. 377419 was required so I jumped on that and took it to Gatwick again, trying to keep awake but sleeping through part of it waking up at Redhill for a random stop again and waking up again just before Horley.

I managed to get off at Gatwick, then I crossed over to P4 for a ride on required 377106 back to Viccy where, again, I passed out all the way. At Victoria I tossed on weather to do the 0632 to Croydon or the 0639 Caterham to Whyteleafe, but as it takes a decade to get there, it'll take some time to get back!

So in the end I did the 0632 on required 377118 to Croydon, for a tidy plus onto the 0702 to Bridge. There, I saw 66194 passing on an engineers and 319460+217 again passing ECS on the 06+42 Bridge to Brighton ECS.
I did wonder if the 0702 would be a pair of 377s since I saw the pair earlier, but it was dud 319438, better than the 377/5 though!

Up at Bridge, I took a very short leap on 465171 to Waterloo East, where I went to the terminal of Waterloo to see what locals were running. I just missed a 455, so I went on the 0740 which had dud 455714 on, but I might get something at Vauxhall. A look online suggest the next one is around 15 minutes late, and there is a long wait otherwise at Vuaxhall, I'd be better at Clapham and seeing what's on the ex-Windsor.
Further up the line before Vauxhall, I unexpectedly scooped in the crossover from the Down Slow to the Down Main! Required track! We stayed on the fast to Clapham where it probably crossed over at Wimbledon on the crossover I did before anyway.

Over to the Windsor side then, I copped HC 450546 to Waterloo. I still had some time to play with, but not a lot so another spin out to Vauxhall was out the window. Instead I headed off on the Bakerloo to Elephant & Castle to scoop in the track as I have no record of what I have done there. We crossed over into the far platform, and then I crossed over at the station for the Northbound service on car 4354 to scoop in the other crossover.
I stayed on this all the way to Paddytoon where I had a ciggie move and then a coffee move from Upper...I dunno...UpperPrice (running out of different names now!)

The 0903 was allocated to P2, so I got the PC numbers, 43130+43155 and took my allocated seat. It was then announced that we will be late due to over-running engineering works between here and Reading, and there is a block on all lines...great...
Thankfully, it wasn't too long, and the 0900 Exeter was sent out, and then we went out 18 late at 0921, not bad. Another crossover was bagged in though as we crossed over to the Relief Lines just before Southall, and then crossed back to the ML somewhere, I was too busy faffing on my phone to notice!!

Further up the line I had a grip, and the man said 'change at Bath or Barth?' I said 'Yeah it's baf, B.A.F..Baf' :lol:! that made him laugh too at least!
I spent the rest of my journey reading the Buses magazine, but I did notice 66420 on engineers at Reading West, surprised at that!

Further up near Baf, sorry Bath, I scooped in the crossover just before Bathampton onto the Up Line, as it was Bi-Di running to Bath Goods. We arrived into Bath at 1104, and I spotted 73116 on the Down Main at the end of the platform switched off. I don't know where the work was taking place mind.
The late arrival narrowed down my fester for the 1112 Brighton, but this was delayed by the Bristol stopper that was now due at 1112. I saw this come in first with 150216, and ex-LM unit...hmmm...*checks book*...wow! required for sight!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

I was happy with that! The Brighton came in with 158763+150221, and I took a ride in the latter for the leap down to Trowbridge. At least it was RA to Bradford, but I'd be livid if I lived in Freshford, having to get back a lot later!
Trowbridge was reached and then I headed home via Asda to end a super-uber epic weekend bash!


STATS:

Some new stats added! The number of moves stats is for any move on buses, light rail and heavy rail only.

Mileage altogether - 1653m :shock: :shock: :shock:
Highest Mileage on one train - 671m 32ch
Lowest Mileage on one train - 0m 35ch on 378226
Best part of trip - The railtour and clearing my 315s for sight, finally! Though to be fair, clearing a lot of stations was really good too!
Worst part of trip - The southern part of the ECML!
Random Quote no.1 - "I don't know how anyone can be disruptive at this time in the morning"
Random Quote no.2 - "I can speak spanish! Je m'appelle le Barry!"


Railmiles:

http://james143611.railmiles.org/

Now at 7626 miles for the year, did not expect to reach short of 10k already! Got the South Wales 37 tour next Saturday and also a Bristol return on Wednesday, then whatever for April.


Hope you enjoyed the read,

James.
 
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Galvanize

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Good report James, great to see you briefly at about 2315 on Saturday!!

I'm guessing maybe they were a bit short staffed at Purley, if someone had to tip the driver, then head back to give the RA. On 377 units, the tip must always be given at the cab, but its different on 45x stock, where the driver can look back if nessesary.

That must be a highlight though, doing the Berwick-Newcastle section on a PROPER HST set, not like high-backed FGW or Mallard (well, I don't mind the Mallard seats!!). The Northern section of the ECML is the most interesting, well...anywhere north of Darlington is interesting to me, the section from London, through Hertfordshire, the fens and South Yorkshire is just dull and boring, as you'd probably agree!
 

Techniquest

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WOW! That was LONG! No wonder you needed a break from writing trip reports! My own one from Monday is super delayed as I've been busy today enjoying the sunshine vice sitting in front of a keyboard :D

I'll be honest, I'm not going to reply in detail as that would take me until my flight from Dublin is due to leave (a little over a week)! Loved the new names for Upper Crust, and as always the trip report was filled with humour throughout which had me in fits of laughter at times!

Flipping amazing amount of mileage, although no doubt expensive! As for disruption on K71, I'd not expect that! Loved the exaggeration about standing away from the edge, still laughing now :lol:

Congratulations on finishing your 315s for sight, and I was surprised you needed Norwood Junction. I think I still need it mind, another one to get in next time. Going to be a while until my next London bash though. Plenty of plans I see, but as you note it's better to plan it as you go along!
 

flymo

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Wonderful report and thanks for posting.

This kind of trip reminds me of my trips way back in the 80's when I was a much younger chap with much more enthusiasm than I do now. Never stopping for days on end and grabbing as many miles as I could.

Marvellous, well done.:D
 

142094

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Wonderful report and thanks for posting.

This kind of trip reminds me of my trips way back in the 80's when I was a much younger chap with much more enthusiasm than I do now. Never stopping for days on end and grabbing as many miles as I could.

Marvellous, well done.:D
I find coffee and lots of it can give you a bit more enthusiam!
 
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