West Midlands Day Ranger Bash

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by JoeGJ1984, 28 Oct 2011.

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  1. JoeGJ1984

    JoeGJ1984 Member

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    Yesterday I intended to join the West Midlands Day Ranger meet but missed everybody and (since I already had the Day Ranger) ended up going alone.

    I first went from Shrewsbury to Birmingham New Street (and got my first taste of the Arriva Trains Wales refurbished 158), where I arrived a bit late and had to rush for the platform for the first train, the 1039 to Rugeley Trent Valley, which actually wasn't there (I thought it had gone, but it was late). I saw All Line Rover who told me that everybody was instead using the alternative itinerary starting with the 1049 to Droitwich Spa (the train going on to Hereford). He actually said he was going to the toilet (cutting it fine, as he only had about 5 minutes and had to go up the stairs). I got on the train and hovered near the doors hoping he would return but he didn't (or I didn't see him if he did - somebody got on with a buggy so I had to move from the vestibule area).

    Anyway I sow nobody on the train so decided to get off at Droitwich Spa and see if anybody else got off then but I didn't see anybody else and first thought of continuing the itinerary but saw a 172 going to Worcester Shrub Hill so got on it. I thought it would go back soon after arriving but it didn't and so I consulted the board showing departures to different stations in alphabetical order and saw that to get the Birmingham Snow Hill I would have to get the 1215 and change at Worcester Foregate Street. I got on the 1215 (a 150/2 operated by First Great Western), but decided to stay on it all the way to Great Malvern. I had texted bb21 and hoped to meet them on the koco-hauled Chiltern service, so I thought I'd go on to Great Malvern to kill some time before heading back. I thought I might as well go on to Hereford while I was there and left a London Midland 170 for Hereford because I saw a First Great Western service which I thought would be be an HST. So I got the HST for Hereford (having a look at the Volo TV service and looking at the map but found it annoying that it did not stay on the screen), again thinking it would head back soon after but it didn't and I had to hang around nearly an hour at Hereford before I could get a train back towards Birmingham. What was worse, looking at the timetables meant that it was then impossible to get the planned loco-hauled service, so I ended up on my own all day.

    Got the train back to Great Malvern, where I changed onto a FGW 165 to Worcester Foregate Street, then waited for a London Midland service towards Birmingham Snow Hill (which I knew was there, but I used the FGW 165 to break up the wait). Anyway, it turned out to be a 150 and I took it to Stourbridge Junction, where I waited for the next train (didn't do the PPM as I had done it before and didn't think I had time), which was another 172 which I took to Smethwick Galton Bridge. At this point I became rather indecisive and changed my mind a couple of times, getting on a 350 to Loiverpool Lime Street intending to go to either Stafford or Crewe but chickening out and bailing at Wolverhampton (it was beginning to get dark and I had no timetables with me so I decided against going 'out of the way' not knowing if there would be any connection).

    I then saw that there was a service about to leave for Walsall via Birmingham New Street a bit delayed, calling at all the stations on the route and decided to get on it. It was a 170 instead of the expected 323 (why on earth did they use a DMU on an entirely electrified route? It started at Wolverhampton in the bay platform and terminated in the electrified bay platform at Walsall). I arrived at Walsall and saw that there was a train soon to Rugeley Trent Valley so took it and came straight back on the same train, which called at all stations and went via Aston back to Birmingham New Street (I thought that all the trains from Rugeley Trent Valley only called at Tame Bridge Parkway between Walsall and Birmingham New Street, so hoped to get the other route via Soho but didn't). Then I went home to Shrewsbury on another refurbished 158.

    Overall I enjoyed the day but really needed to have a plan or timetables with me (which were surprisingly hard to find at stations - I couldn't find any timetable booklet to pick up that would have helped me) which made it a bit frustrating at times. I was expecting to meet the others on the meet which IMO was badly organised - changing it to Casual at the last minute seemed pointless and there was confusion about the meet point or which train to take first.

    Anybody else want to tell me what the others did?
     
    Last edited: 28 Oct 2011
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  3. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I think that there were some inevitable changes owing to the service disruption on the WCML. It really is a trouble prone part of the network - I see from National Rail that there has been a landslide at Hednesford, which has shut the line between Hednesford and Rugeley Trent Valley.
     
  4. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Yeah, very little seemed to go to plan really

    I saw 170633 sat at Rugeley Trent Valley earlier completely shut down. Always seems to be some problem there when I visit most of the time!
     
  5. Matt Taylor

    Matt Taylor Established Member

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    Same here, my plans were fine until I got to Northampton and my train was cancelled.
     
  6. Simon Poole

    Simon Poole Member

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    Ain't your fault Stephen, they mainly been having problems ALL WEEK in the Birmingham Area
     
  7. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Here is my trip report for the day - apologies for the length...didn't have time to do a shorter one :P
    Also apologies that it is so longer after - been fairly busy since the meet so have kept doing bits at a time

    __________________________________________________

    Well, for me the day started pretty early (earlier than I would have liked anyway :P) at around 07:30 for the journey to Manchester Piccadilly where I would change onto the train to Birmingham to meet the rest of the group. The train into Manchester was a little delayed heading south but by Ardwick Junction we had made up the majority of the time and arrival into Piccadilly was bang on time, despite getting signal checked on the approach.

    My connection down to Birmingham was the 08:27 (probably the earliest I have taken a train from Manchester!) XC service, which was going as far as Bournemouth and formed of 220032. I took up residence towards the front of the service, in the second coach back, which was less busy than I expected given the time of day. A quick check on the seat reservation screen showed them to be all blank (shock horror!), which, on departure, was confirmed by the TM to be a technical fault with the download and they would try and get it working en-route. The journey passed by at a reasonable speed and having called at Stockport, we arrived at Macclesfield on time. On welcoming newcomers to the service, the TM apologised about the reservation system again saying that it was a depot maintenance issue and wouldn’t be working for the duration of the journey – for such a long distance service, this isn’t good!

    The service continued south with a similar loading to previously until we arrived at Stafford where hoards of people seemed to board and most of the seats, if not all, were taken up. It was after departing Stafford that I noticed an odd problem with the Voyager where it seemed that the engine under us was taking power and then suddenly throttling back, giving a slight jolt each time it did it. This continued onward through Wolverhampton and onto to Birmingham and I did wonder at times if it would just give out completely! Looks like the depot would have some fun with that set later that day, nonetheless!!!

    Arrival into Birmingham New Street platform 2 was timely and we were greeted with Virgin’s Pendolino 390010 “Decade of Progress” sat on the adjacent platform. By the time I had alighted, “Decade of Progress” had already departed and was almost past the starting signal so I headed up to the concourse to see what was going on as there seemed to be a few delays (it was still only about 10:10 so still plenty time) – turning out to be caused by vandalism around Rugby.

    After a while I met up with Yorkie, Mojo, bb21, MattE2010, All Line Rover, AlterEgo, Blindtraveler and RJ and after a little confusion we boarded the slightly delayed 10:39 London Midland service to Rugeley Trent Valley. Leaving Birmingham via Aston we made our way without too many problems towards Rugeley. Knowing the WCML problems we checked up on the departure boards to see if the connection was on time. At that point it showed it as cancelled but with a replacement diagram running only from Nuneaton. A few minutes later this also appeared to be cancelled, but we continued on towards Rugeley Trent Valley, meeting Simon Poole at Rugeley Town who was travelling to work in Stafford.

    Arrival at Rugeley Trent Valley was a few minutes late and also a little wet (we had mixed weather throughout the day). The 11:43 to Crewe was cancelled as suspected but a few of us had a wander along the platform – we had been on 170512 and 153356 had been on the back. We took refuge back on the Turbostar (rather than the Sprinter – sorry Blindtraveler!) out of the rain to await the 12:06 return working to Birmingham, with the 153 now leading. We left Simon Poole at this point who was waiting for the next Crewe bound service and we departed, filmed by Simon Poole. Interestingly, we did notice that the 12:43 to Crewe was showing as operated by 8 cars – too long for Rugeley Trent Valley, so we were dubious, but I have been advised it was indeed an 8 car that turned up, which also ran express from Stafford to Crewe. (also caught on film)

    The return working to Birmingham was a good opportunity to plan our next move (having had the original plan scrapped due to the cancelled service – if it isn’t the Chase causing problems…it’s the Chase “link”!!!) as well as grab some lunch. Apart from the 170 seemingly getting slowly warmer and warmer, the journey passed fairly quickly and having taken the line via Soho back into Birmingham, we alighted and headed for a short connection onto the 13:08 service to Wolverhampton, which we were to take to Smethwick Galton Bridge. We made this connection with time to spare whilst Mojo headed off for other commitments.

    The journey was only a short one and we stood for the duration, onboard 323213 before arriving at Smethwick Galton Bridge with a good five minutes to locate the next service. The station is a complete myriad of steps, passages, bridges and lifts, but nonetheless, we made the right platform (probably the furthest one from where we were, typically!) to await the service to Stourbridge Junction. On cue it arrived in the form of 172216 and 172217 – our first trip on the line and we already had a couple of 172’s…excellent! – and we boarded the front set. First impressions were good, with plenty space and a light and airy feel.

    After a pleasant journey we arrived at Stourbridge Junction and most of us left the service to take the PPM service. Yorkie, MattE2010 and RJ continued on the service to Droitwich Spa to meet up with Class172, although this was unbeknown to the rest of us for quite some time after! Crossing under the subway and arriving on the platform for Stourbridge Town we found the garage doors open with one PPM stabled there, though we couldn’t see which. The previous working arrived and we saw that 139001 was in charge (if one could ever describe a 139 as being in charge of anything :P) of the service today. We took the 13:49 service to Stourbridge Town and remained on for the 13:54 return.

    Crossing back under the subway, we headed for the train to join the others at Droitwich, deciding though, to take the Kidderminster terminator part way. Just before this arrived, Matt Taylor met up with us at the station having been trying to find us (sorry!). The 14:03 Kidderminster service arrived a few minutes late, formed of 172342 and we proceeded express to Kidderminster where we again alighted and watched as the train headed past the signal and crossover and then shunted back to form the return working. Our Droitwich train had also got delayed meaning our +2 at Droitwich was looking somewhat dubious but no matter, we had a backup plan which would still allow us to catch the Chiltern loco hauled service.

    The 14:20 eventually arrived some 5 minutes late and was formed of 150105 and 150106 (second service with two consecutive unit numbers – we also found that doubled up sets on the Snow Hill lines seemed to be order of the day, too) and we boarded the front set for the short hop to Droitwich Spa. The originally planned +2 connection was just leaving Droitwich Spa as our service stopped on the opposite platform so we took the opportunity to grab some snacks from the café on the platform as recommended to us and headed across the bridge to join the rest of the group, including Class172.

    The weather here was the worst we had experienced all day but thankfully the waiting shelters there are a reasonably size and we managed to get under the one shelter to chat amongst ourselves for the 15 minutes or so until the next train, back along the Snow Hill lines to Birmingham Moor Street (the connection we missed would have taken us up the Lickey Incline and along the Cross City Line back to New Street). The 14:55 service turned up on time and we left Class172 and (re)joined 172216 which was on the back of the service, with 172217 on the front…the return working of the service we had been on only a short time earlier. We were able to all pretty much sit together on this service back into Birmingham Moor Street and it was noted that the seats on these trains have slots for reservations, despite them not being used on these services. It then came to me that maybe the Voyagers should have also had these as a backup to the computer system which had failed on 220032 in the morning.

    We arrived into Moor Street on time at around 15:50 with 5 minutes to cross the bridge and head to the 15:55 Chiltern loco hauled service. All Line Rover left us at this point to head home and we arrived at the service with little time to spare, jumping on one of the first open doors after the Business Zone coach where we were also met by sonic2009. It was quite busy, with most of the tables at least part occupied and we headed down along the train to find a point to all sit together. This was only my second time on this stock, the last being when they operated with WSMR and before the refurb and I was very impressed with the quality of the coaches we were walking through, noticing also the Dyson Airblade hand dryers which were fitted in the toilets as some doors were left open – pretty much unheard of for mainline rolling stock. We eventually reached the mostly empty front coach – a non-refurb Mark 3 – which was like going back 20 years and the coach itself had an overall “historic” feel and smell about it. By this point we were on our way and we noticed that our coach had no power, including the the lights, making tunnels fun! Having looked out of the front gangway connection of the coach, Matt Taylor said we were behind (quite literally) 67012 (which I believed to be “A Shropshire Lad”) and whilst most of the group sat round a couple of the many tables in the coach, I remained standing along with a couple of others. It has to be said that despite the age of the coach, which had probably been in storage for some time, they still ride incredibly well and I was able to remain standing whilst rarely having to steady myself from falling over.

    En-route we called at Solihull and Warwick Parkway – in the case of Solihull I wasn’t expecting us to call and we felt to enter the station at some pace but we seemed to really stop on a sixpence. On arrival at Leamington Spa I bailed along with Matt Taylor and sonic2009 to brave the weather to get some pictures of the loco before it departed, after which we joined the rest of the group to head under the subway to await our train to Stratford. The 16:34 service turned up in the form of 168111 which seemed to have WiFi available, much to our surprise. This gave me a chance to check my emails whilst others in the group formulated a plan for after arrival at Birmingham. The journey passed by without much ado and we arrived into Stratford a whole 9 minutes early! This made our already generous connection at Stratford even more so and we crossed the platform, still in the rain, to await the next service which would take us back into Birmingham Moor Street. After arrival, turnaround and a couple of photo opportunities, the 17:23 service left on time, formed of 172336. It was dropping dark by now and following on from Mojo re-joining us en-route, we headed towards Tyseley where we crawled through – and were waved on by metrocammel – (why this service doesn’t call here is beyond me though!), soon getting signal checked between the station and the depot, though this gave us a view of some of the stock in Tyseley depot, including a fair number of Class 150’s.

    On arrival into Moor Street, a few people left us (Blindtraveler was one but others may also have done) and we decided to head to New Street with the intention of taking a short trip to Birmingham International before looking for a restaurant in Birmingham city centre. In the end, bb21 and sonic2009 headed to Walsall to catch the once a day Walsall to Wolverhampton service via the usually freight only line whilst myself, Mojo, Yorkie, Matt Taylor and AlterEgo took 323204 forming the 18:39 London Midland service to Birmingham International (though not actually all stops). From here we took the Skylink across to the airport terminal and back again before heading for the train back to Birmingham. AlterEgo left us here whilst the rest of us took the delayed 18:53 (departing Birmingham International at 19:17) Virgin Pendolino service formed of 390025 “Virgin Stagecoach” back to Birmingham New Street – opting for this over 350109 which arrived minutes earlier, but which was fairly heavily loaded.

    We decided to leave the trains there and head for something to eat in the form of an Indian restaurant recommended to us by metrocammel (thanks for the recommendation :)) in Birmingham, with bb21 joining us on returning from Wolverhampton. We then headed back to New Street to head off our separate ways. My train was the 22:30 XC service to Manchester formed of 220008 which I was taking as far as Stafford, my stopover point for the night. Given the time, it was a quiet service and passed by fairly quickly, with some other forum members also joining me for the part of the journey, bailing at Wolverhampton (along with a guy who looked like he could have a heck of a hangover the next morning!)

    So all in all, another excellent day and with a quite a wide range of traction in the form of a 67 and Mark 3’s, a 139, 150’s, a 168, 172’s, 323’s, and a 390 as well as a 185 and a couple of 220’s for the journey to join the group and head to Stafford after. The only unusual thing was not getting any 350’s, which I put right the day after with a journey to Rugeley Trent Valley and back, made on 350245 and 350127.

    On arrival at Rugeley Trent Valley it became apparent the Chase Line was up the wall again (recall what I mentioned earlier about it being one or the other seemingly :P) with 170633 sat shut down in the Chase Line platform – this turned out to be due to a landslide and part of the line was bustituted. I am also led to believe that Rugeley Trent Valley is mainly used by enthusiasts as there were a few at the station armed with cameras and I could hear them (they were on the up platform) from where I was on the down platform! It did prove something useful as I knew when something was due as they signalled to someone on the down platform to take the photos! Arrival back at Stafford was greeted with 325001 in the Royal Mail platform before I made my way back North, beginning on a 221 (another different type of unit for the trip!).

    Also, some pictures from the day (and the day after)

    1. 172216 on the back of the service we took from Droitwich Spa as it leaves Birmingham Moor Street
    2. The unrefurbed coach of the Chiltern loco hauled service. Very nostalgic!
    3. Self explanatory really, I think! 67012 "A Shropshire Lad" at Leamington Spa
    4. 67012 about to lead the service from Leamington Spa towards London. Not too visible but personally I'm not too sure about the livery now applied to the coaches, though can't quite put my finger on why
    5. 168110 works a Northbound working just after the loco hauled service departed a rather wet Leamington Spa
    6. 172336 heads in Stratford-upon-Avon on the inbound working of the service we caught
    7. A (I think anyway) rather pretty picture of the Birmingham Bullring by night - taken whilst heading back to New Street for the final train of the day
    (The following photos are taken the day after the WMDR meet itself)
    8. All is still and silent...170633 sits in the Chase Line platform at Rugeley Trent Valley, taken as I came over the footbridge
    9. 170633 again but from the Southbound end of the platform and after I'd found out what was going on!
    10. 325001 sits in the Stafford Royal Mail terminal
     

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  8. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
    just reading that report and reminding myself what a grand day it was! Thanks to all for making me welcome on my first ever meet, it sure woant be my last unless you dont want me to come :)

    no need to appologise for not bashing that 153, :) I know that, like Pacers Im in a minoritty here!
    Personally glad we didnt get a 350 as deziros are not high on my list of favourite modern traction but sorry to have missed another 323 but hay these things happen!
    Favourite points for me would have to be the unrefurbed MK3 directly behind the 67 :) and the managing to get both 150 and 172 trips in!

    Grand to meet all the guys too, what a great bunch of new friends!

    Roll on the next one!
     
  9. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Great to meet you too Blindtraveler :) - apologies if it took you half a day to read the report :P
    Would be great to meet you again sometime :)

    It really was a great day :D
    Actually, with Pacers, after a 2 hour stint on one, complete with emergency stop, I think I came round to actually enjoying my time on it :P

    RE: 172's, I had a couple of other observations (a few of you may recall them) which I forgot to mention in my post above - I noticed some of the pipes on the outside look a little plasticky...I think they may be exhaust pipes but they look like ones from the toilet with the size and shape of them (almost certain it wasn't for the toilet though as there was no toilet anywhere near!)
    The other one was all the switches and stuff on the outside without any cover...wonder if these will come a cropper to anything as time goes by...
     
  10. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(


    it wil doubtless show itself soon enough and may or may not be problematic when there no more 150s to fall back on! Yes I do remember your comments ö the sbject!


    As to your growing love of pacers welcome to the club! Now, to persuade a few more that 153 travel is fun! *evil grin*
    will you be at the GMPTE challenge in Feb? If so will see you there! Suspect therel be a lot of people from further away doing unusual overnight moves home as already Manchester hotels are full and expensive and sadly I need to stay at least 1 night but if I headed home on the day of challenge Id miss out on any post bash socialising! Have ended up booking the premier inn in Preston for £87 for 2 nights includin breaky and dinner on the Fri. More than id have wanted to spend but was gunna pay 70 plus for travelodge in Man for 1 night and Il try get a cupple of £1 specials on megabus to and from preston!
     
  11. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    An excellent account there, it's made me a bit gutted I wasn't able to do the trip and also got me wanting to do a WMDR again as soon as possible.

    Quite the variety enjoyed there by the looks of it, enjoyable day had by all it would seem. Need to try and get on a forum meet again, been too long since the last one I did!
     
  12. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Oddly, I preferred the aforementioned 142 trip more than the 153 we were on....not sure why :P
    I can go one better though....we have 155's round here :P (from past experience, the thermostats are usually set at sauna :lol:)

    I hope to be at the GMPTE challenge - a nice easy one for me to get to - it all depends on what is happening nearer the time really.

    ______________________

    Thanks Techniquest :)
    Was very surprised with the variety - we got on the majority of traction that the West Midlands has to offer I think :D
     
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