Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Across America with Amtrak - Part 2 - The Capitol Limited

The Chicago skyline viewed from Lake Michigan (the Willis Tower, the tallest in Chicago is to the left and obscured by low cloud). The Capitol Limited links Washington DC with Chicago each day.

Boarding our first Amtrak Superliner at Pittsburgh.
Our stop in Pittsburgh was purely functional and I felt a little embarrassed when people asked how long we were staying and what our plans were- 'About 3 hours, we've got time for dinner.' The Pennsylvanian had dropped us off shortly before 9pm and our onward connection about the Capitol Limited (which as the names suggests originates in Washington DC) was at one minute to midnight. Not really sure where to head for dinner we accost a local who seems to know where he is going- indeed he is able to point us in the right direction to reach some restaurants and after a while of aimless wanderings we sit ourselves down behind the bar at a burger restaurant only to find our local two seats down behind the same bar- 'this is a good place'. He is right as it turns out and we enjoy a very nice meal washed down with a pint or two of American 'hard cider.' Besides football, a subject on which i probably have far less knowledge even than the average American there are several other hot topics to discuss with our friendly barmaid Ashley; the UK 'Brexit', the US election and possible presidency of Donald Trump and of course a few lighter topics also 'why is a dime a smaller coin than a five cent piece?' When it came to desert Ashley was quick to recommend the pumpkin cheesecake. Now I like cheesecake but I wasn't convinced 'no, really, it's good. If you don't like it I'll eat it ' she said with a smile. It was alright- but I don't think I'm yet converted, or particularly likely to order it again. We regrettably order our bill as one of the managers appears with  his head in a bag of mint 'mmm, fresh mint- the best part of the job'. I point out that a couple of our drinks are missing from the bill but Ashley is well aware so we don't press the point any further! We leave a tip and make our way back to the station leaving our new friends to debate whether or not the mint should live in the cooler (apparently it shouldn't... but it always has).

There are plenty of passengers in the waiting room for the Capitol Limited to Chicago and despite being present more than 30 minutes before departure we have apparently missed the chance to check in our bags- not a problem though as an Amtrak steward confirms that our suitcases will be fine as carry-on luggage. The train arrives a little earlier than expected and we file on for boarding. The first attendant at the Superliner door asks 'Sleeper or car?'. 'Sleeper' I reply. 'James & James?' - well it's nice to be expected! I guess there aren't too many pairs of males joining the train here tonight.
Chicago Union station building- the grand hall is currently undergoing a
refurbishment which will include long term repairs to the large skylight.
Our Superliner roomette is upstairs and consists of two bunks running along the inside of the coach wall lengthways, there are another two on the other side of the train with a central corridor between. The car hosts explains the features of our cabin and that there are hot drinks and juice available at the centre of the coach with one restroom on the upper level together with three more and a shower below.. Breakfast would be served from 6am. Having secured the lower bunk with more generous proportions I decided to call it a night and after grappling with the tap (which insists on releasing a high powered jet of water which ricochets off the basin bowl) and forgetting my towel I bed down for the night.

I didn't sleep as badly as I had expected as I could only remember being awake for one of our overnight stops, at Toledo, Ohio. James on the upper bunk had slept OK as well though he did complain that it was a little on the small side. We attended breakfast at around 7:30 and for the second time this trip my attempt to order French Toast was thwarted due to it's non-availability. I settled instead for omelette- with grits. I couldn't remember what grits where, though was sure I had had them once before. I still couldn't really tell you what they were except that they had the consistency of porridge and didn't look nearly as nice as James' potatoes. You live and learn.
Chicago at dusk from the top of the John Hancock Centre.

The train passes several industrial yards on its final approach to Chicago and neither theses, the dismal weather or the eventual arrival 30 minutes late into the subterranean platforms of Chicago Union seem particularly inspiring. The sun however did make an appearance before our stay was out and gave us a taste for this great city which we had really come to rather enjoy.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Across America with Amtrak- Part 1- The Pennsylvanian

Almost missing your first train of a trans-continental trip probably isn't the best way to start. In truth it was mostly my fault- for some reason I am just not capable of allowing enough time for these things. Of course it wouldn't have been so bad if the '10 minute' taxi drive that I had predicted had actually taken 10 minutes- I swear we hadn't seen traffic in downtown Manhattan until we had a train to catch! The elevator in the hostel hadn't helped either- you don't expect an eight floor descent to take almost ten minutes do you?- but it did. Due to maintenance only one elevator was in service and of course everyone wanted it. We were full by the seventh floor but that didn't stop us from pausing at every other floor for the doors to open and the incumbents to wave at waiting guests who could not board.
'Amtrak?' questioned the taxi driver, 'that's right over the other side of the station- you'll have to run!' I guess entering New York's Pennsylvania Station just 5 minutes before your train departure does have one advantage- you don't have to spend any more time than absolutely necessary in this ugly cavern beneath Madison Square Garden (though you also don't have time to pick up a New York Cheesecake for the train). We found the train (and we really did have to run for it) on track 34 and boarded with two minutes to spare.
A similar train to ours, headed by an new ACS-64 locomotive with Amfleet or 'Amtube' coaches passes through the upper level at Secaucaus Junction just a few minutes after leaving New York's Penn Station.
The Pennsylvanian left New York right on time and immediately dives under the Hudson River to emerge into New Jersey. We find some satisfactory seats and settle in for the journey. Seating is reserved on the train but only in so much as we are guaranteed a seat- which seat we chose to occupy is up to us. The train continues along Amtrak's busy North East Corridor until we approach what is undoubtedly the most important intermediate stop on the route at Philadelphia, where the train pauses for more than 30 minutes for an engine swap and reversal. The only electric loco we will experience this trip is promptly uncoupled and the train is briefly plunged into darkness. While the diesel engine which will work forward is attached there is time to head up from the dark platforms to the grand station hall, we are reminded however not to be late back to the train as it is the only departure today going east of Harrisburg. Philadelphia station is filled with a great array of eating establishments but seems to lack options to take food away to eat later. Feeling my diet in NY had been far from healthy I picked up a cup of fresh fruit and joined the re-boarders queue to get back onto the train.
The grand station hall at Philadelphia.
It is shortly after we resume our journey that we are forewarned of our first Amtrak delay. There is a broken down train in front of us and we may need to make an extra stop to pick up its passengers. We don't know how long the delay will be, or even if it will happen at all for certain but the conductor does stress that if it does, all available seats on the train will be required. Anyway, this is uncertain as of yet- what is certain is my hunger. The plan was to buy provisions back in at Penn Station in New York but of course there was no time for that. The on board cafe car would have to suffice. The smiley bar attendant was happy to serve me a microwave pizza (all the staff are so friendly on this train!) which I sit down to eat on the tables near the counter. We could gain snippets of the situation with the broken down train through listening to the calls on staff radios. Towards the end of the meal it was announced that we would indeed be rescuing the stricken train and would be delayed as a result. We would then be further delayed as we would now be calling at all the local stations to Harrisburg. We return from the cafe to our original seats to await the influx of passengers- and the delay.

The delay and drama of the broken down train turns out to be somewhat less exciting than we perhaps might have anticipated- no pushing of the failed train and no passengers scrambling up on to the train from the tracks having been stranded in the back of beyond. The conductors estimate of over 100 people joining our train however is not far wrong and while everyone who has been waiting 2 1/2 hours does get a seat it is certainly now busier on board.
Long Norfolk Southern freight trains dominate this route.
We woke to sunshine in New York but as the day has gone on and we have headed west through Pennsylvania the weather has deteriorated and by Harrisburg it is raining heavily. The scenery however has been interesting with a green undulating landscape and a river which we have followed for much of the journey.
I am often struck by how unfamiliar Amtrak passengers seem to be with the most basic principals of taking a train ride- getting on and off. There seems to be an attitude that the train will wait for them no matter how long they fancy taking to finish their coffee, pick up their bags and make their way to the door. After about four 'Final call's' for Harrisburg we eventually get back on the move, now minus the extra guests who's train was due to terminate here. I would love to see how these people would get on in a country like Japan; 'We will shortly be making a brief stop at Shin Osaka.'- miss that announcement and the 30 second stop and you'll be missing your destination!
It is now just our train, running one hour late and a steady procession of black and white Norfolk Southern freight trains heading west towards Pittsburgh. After rounding the famous horse-shoe curve near Altoona (with commentary from the train conductor) there isn't a lot of daylight left with which to admire the scenery so attention turns to our books and magazines to keep us entertained until our arrival in Pittsburgh some 45 minutes
behind schedule.
Arrival in Pittsburgh with Amtrak P42-DC 89 in charge.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Amtrak in the USA

You may have noticed it has been a little quiet here over the last couple of weeks. I've been off on one of my trips again- this time to the USA traveling coast to coast with Amtrak, and then visiting some of the famous railspots in California. There will be plenty to read about over the coming months so do be sure to check back here for updates. As a taster I present here one of my favorite images if the trip, a view of Amtrak's train 14, 'Coast Starlight' at Gavotia Beach, CA on it's northbound journey from Los Angeles to Seattle on 6th October with Amtrak 11 an 157 in charge. Note the private California Zephyr dome cars on the rear of the train- an added bonus!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

DB Trip Report 1-6 September 2016

Day 1 01/09/2016-

It was an early start from the Premiere Inn at Stanstead airport for the not too easy walk to the terminal (no pavements... but we didn't fancy paying £3 for the bus when that was actually a reasonably high percentage of the flight cost!). Our Ryanair flight to Memmingen was on time and we arrived nicely at a time without a good rail connection in to Munich. Our first taste of German efficiency was also showed off when the bus into town arrived just over 10 minutes late- a surprise to everyone who was expecting it on time.
Memmingen is quite a nice town it turns out and we found some lunch before returning to the station to see 218435 and 218481 on a northbound IC from Oberstdorf before eventually boarding the midday(ish) EC to Munich with 218416 and 281403.
With the weather reasonable and not much more of a plan than to try to track down some 218's for a run to either Muhldorf or Fussen (two routes we failed to tackle last time round) we headed to Heimerenplatz for a few hours of freight photography. Of course as soon as we turned up the light faded and by the time we left it was a full thunder storm- however the station was busy and while the 111's we could watch 3 years ago were much missed there was no let up in the freight traffic with trains often running back to back. Highlights of the freight activity included LocoMotion 139 312 on a container train and Spitzke Logistics V100-SP-008. We also got our first taste of the thoroughly uninspiring class 245's but did see a few more 218's than we were expecting on the Muhldorfs from the diagrams. One run had N-Wagons but we couldn't photograph that as a freight had parked up in front of us. The loco hauled Meridian turn was running slightly late and handled by 189918.
The rain having got too much we headed back to Munich Hbf in the hope that one of the evening departures to Muhldorf would produce both rabbits and some fresh air stock. It didn't go quite to plan. Due to some sort of problem on the rails many trains were running severely late, up to 60 minutes and one Muhldorf train was still sitting in the station long after it should have left, Dostsos of course. When one of our next options was started from Munich Ost we were beginning to give up on the idea- particularly as we had now realised we were committing ourselves to returning on a unit. Instead we developed a plan to get maximum locos with minimum distance, taking 218429 on a Memmingen train to Geltendorf to drop back onto the 17:52 Fussen train, again realising that a trip the whole way would get us back far too late, to Buchloe. This train as widely reported is a pair of rabbits, but rather than being double headed is two 218+Dosto sets together, one of which leaves at Buchloe. We changed sets at Kaufering to confuse the ticket lady and be sure to get both sets in with 218420 and 218415 now covered.

Trains back to Munich were still in a mess from Buchloe but we didn't have to wait too long for a loca with 245002. This was taken to Kaufering where we dropped back onto a much more rateable 218414 into Munich.
It had got late enough by our return that the 21:08 CNL to Rome had arrived in the station behind 115114 (nice to see these still in use)- after that was photographed it was off to the Augustina Beerhouse for some much needed dinner!

Day 2 02/09/2016-

One area we had largely failed to cover on our previous Rabbit hunting trip to Munich was Ulm so this became the main target of the day. First up was 120137 (whole class required!) on the 07:39 Karlshrue as far as Augsberg where there was time for a little look round before boarding an ICE on to Ulm.

I had an understanding that the Ulm-Lindau trains were still 218's and a good bet for N-Wagons but none of this was confirmed- so I was pretty pleased to see 218326 and N-Wagons sitting with Lindau displayed in the windows for the 10:12 departure! There was a little time to photograph other trains around the station which included the stabled rabbits and HGK DE669 (class 66) light engine. We have an enjoyable run in the front coach all the way to Lindau with the Rabbit before a quick leap onto the Austrian EC back to Friedrichschafen Stadt with 218465 and 218476 (I was desperately regretting that I had not transferred my loco records into my new DB book so had no idea if any of them were required!). We missed 218406 to Lindau while photographing the EC running round so it was a 628 unit to make the journey back. Incidentally except for our own set all other trains on the Ulm-Lindau corridor had been Dostos- a bit of luck for a change! At Friedrichshafen we saw the only Ludmilla of our trip -232201 but it was stabled a bit far away to really count it as a photo.
Back at Lindau we had around 30 minutes to take some sunny photos in the harbour, get some lunch and photograph 218429 which had arrived on a regional train from Munich. Our chariot forwards was a pair of 612 units, which gave a very enjoyable run with the front window blind open to give us a wonderful tilted drivers eye view of this spectacular line. The journey came to an abrupt end at Oberstaufen where the line is shut for tunnel works and we transferred onto a bus for the onward journey to Immenstadt.

2143.18 greeted us as we had hoped with the Obestdorf ALEX portion but that is about where our luck ran out on this branch. A nice afternoon's photography was planned on the branch, and well, I have some stunning photos of 612 units! The first IC (due to arrive at 16:44) totally failed to show up- and it would have been in sun, though there were some coaches already at Oberstdorf with a rabbit- very confused as there isn't an earlier IC and all the literature showed the 16:44 arrival- anyway- it didn't show up. We headed back to Altstadten for the second IC, which duly arrived in cloud- the same small one that had been lingering above us for the best part of 90 minutes... had we had a car we'd have escaped it probably everywhere else in the valley!

We did manage a couple of photos of the 2143 but none could be described as 'full sun' despite the amount of blue in the sky. Even leaving at a sensible hour and taking 223065 back to Munich on an ALEX it was almost 21:00 by the time we arrived in Munich. 115350 with the more attractive rounded front had brought in the sleeper this time so this was photographed before another trip to the Augustina Beerhouse and then the hostel bar.

Day 3 03/09/2016

Another day which probably could have benefited from some more advanced planning. We had concluded that the 103 was still working the Worgl diagram and with a report that required 113 had worked the train the previous weekend rather than 245 it seemed worth a go. We took the leisurely 09 something OBB EuroCity to Italy as far as a roasting Rosenheim where there were far too many Meridian units, lots of Germans in traditional dress and some girls handing out a weird coca-cola and orange drink. We did see a bit of freight also but were generally in the wrong place for most of it. On que 103113 rolled in with the IC to Munich and despite the sun being largely wrong some quite pleasing shots were taken.

Once into Munich we headed out west as it was felt some more shots of the 218's on Zurich EC's were needed. We stopped at Kaufering for shots from the bridge, which turned out to be a more constrained shot than we hoped. The sun took a while to warm to us and while we didn't get our EC in sun (again!) we did get a 245 and an ALEX. 218's are very scarce on this line on Saturdays so we took the only all day diagram (a Fussen) back to Munich Passing with 218497 which was a bit of a beast.
We set up near Munchen Aubing for our final shots in this area and FINALLY got an EC in full sun along with several other trains- if only it had been a weekday we'd have had plenty of rabbits! When we lost the light it was time to head back into the city at a reasonable hour, go for an explore and find some dinner.
Finally it was back to the station to board the City Night Line to Hamburg. 115350 again brought in the stock and 101008 could just be made out at the dark head of the train. For a service which looses money and is going to be discontinued it was very busy with all of the berths we saw fully booked. Progress I suppose.

Day 4 04/09/2016

Arrival in Hamburg was about 20 minutes late as I recall and I hadn't slept as badly as I was expecting. Still badly though. 101001 was now at the head of the CNL as it headed to Altona but for ease of our hotel we left the train at the impressive Hamburg Hbf. The weather was as dull as anything and we didn't really have a plan for the day (are you spotting a pattern here?).
After checking in we headed back to the station to buy Bratwerst and formulate a plan... one was fairly quickly made to take the 09:24 IC to ride some Rabbits (might as well since it was so grey) and get in the portion to Dagebull Mole. Only problem- we couldn't find the train. Oh... it leaves at 09:16 on a Sunday. Missed. Wandered around Hamburg a bit and eventually took the next IC at 11:24. This was 101096 to Itzehoe for 218314 and 281341 forwards. We had planned to take the train to Westerland and then come back to reach Minature Wunderland at a reasonable hour... but seeing that the weather was brightening up and that this train too had a portion to Dagebull Mole we decided to do that instead.
The first big surprise was waiting at the NEG station in Niebull- what on earth was former DSB MZ 1439 doing there?! I wasn't expecting to see any of these locos on this trip! MZ shock over it was an enjoyable run behind the DMU up to Dagebull- very weird being hauled by a unit in IC coaches!
The sun tried its best to come out while we were by the sea, and put in an appearance for the boat, but sadly not the train. We headed back in the single car DMU (the two car one had towed us to Dagebull) to Niebull as it had better opening windows than the IC coaches. A very curious branch and well worth the effort of doing with the IC portions. The DMU was fitted with a very good live information screen... which unfortunately was suggesting that the IC we were joining onto was going to be 60 mins late from Niebull... unfortunately it wasn't wrong. Arrival at the DB station revealed that it was job stopped on the line to Sylt with 'an accident at Klanxbull'. With a northbound IC going nowhere and two Sylt Shuttles also ready to go but not it was decided that the best option would definitely be to take the only train which was going anywhere- and that was 245212 on a southbound NOB. Fortunately we did repair our rabbit total when we realised that by Heide that the IC was only 15 minutes behind us. We bailed and successfully also scored 218321 and 218322 back to Itzehoe- it was the same 101096 back to Hamburg Hbf.
We had looked up the opening hours of Minature Wunderland the night before, and though it was now a bit tight we still ventured over to spot some smaller trains- The 2 1/2 hours we had inside wasn't nearly enough, but definitely better than not going at all. Honestly- if you are in Hamburg it is fantastic!
It ended up being a late night again with a pizza by the station well after 22:00.

Day 5 05/09/2016

Today was one of the real targets of the trip- photography on Sylt. We had worked out that by travelling on a Kiel train from Hbf we could pick up the 08:40 NOB on our Schleswig-Holstein tickets when it called at Elmshorn at 09:01- this worked well and got us up to Morsum an hour earlier than if we had travelled from Altona (and scored 112156). The weather was again not great in Hamburg, but as we headed north the clouds cleared beautifully and we were able to enjoy a full day of full sun (with some clouds inland to help the photos- wonderful!). Photos were taken after the long walk to the Hindenburgdam and also at Morsum and Keitum. We also just about made it to the beach in Westerland with time for an ice cream before coming back.

The environment of the Hindenburgdam is something quite different to anywhere else- but photography isn't always the easiest trying to catch the train in the landscape. One unexpected thing that did not help was the fact that there is clearly a re-signalling scheme in its advanced stages- while semaphores were still in use each had a new colour light in front looking almost ready to go. These had not been evident further down the line at Niebull or Langenhorn.

While aware that 245's had very much taken over in this area we were really hopefull that we might see at least one train with something else both on the NOB and the Sylt Shuttle. Sadly we were disappointed as every single train was 245's- there was barely even a chance for us to have missed any. One surprise we did get was 'Big Mak' DE2700 002 with 'Augozug Sylt' branding working what appeared to be a test car shuttle from Westerland to Niebull and back- with these locos being so angular the light is somewhat unforgiving for photos, but still nice to see. All IC's produced as expected with pairs of 218's and we managed to photograph 5 of the trains all in all. The light was so good we stayed out a little later than planned for the final northbound IC and it was well worth it- though arrival back in Hamburg was somewhat later than planned, again via Elmshorn and with a nice surprise of 112125 on a nice rake of N-Wagons! I'd not seen any of these at Hbf on my last trip so quite unexpected. Dinner was at McDonalds!

Day 6 06/09/2016

Our final day and one involving an awful lot less mileage than those which had gone before! The sun was shining again in the morning but as we left for Hamburg Harburg our Metronom train was plunged into mist! Oh no! Fortunately it had just about cleared by the time we arrived. Last time I visited I managed to scare all the freight away- this time my luck fared somewhat better, though the more interesting trains definitely seemed to be those which were wrong for the sun. More interesting sightings included SBB Re4/4 421396 and EVB logistick 140848 which were stabled, also seen were DE6607 (class 66), 151113 and 151094, EGP blue 151078, HBC 212272, 155112, 296037 and of course a plethora of Traxx locomotives.

As the light was becoming difficult it was time to head back to Hamburg Hbf for our daily bunny fix with the IC which runs through to Hamburg on diesel power. I found a shot north of the station on the bridge which I am still not entirely sure whether I like and waited out for the 218's... and waited... around 40 minutes after they were due I gave up (you've got to call time at some point) and of course while I was in the middle of a traffic island walking back to the station lo and behold the 218's appeared! A quick dash across a main road much to the surprise of the motorists resulted in me getting a phot- but not the one I really wanted! Why do we do this railway photography thing again?
Our final shots were at the south of the station from the adjacent road- unfortunately due to the delay on the IC the sun had gone round just a touch too far here and the shots were not what they could have been- but still nice to get a few pictures of the 112's before picking up our cases and heading to the airport.
Easyjet delayed our flight to Luton by just over an hour, but didn't bother to tell us until 30 minutes before it was due to take off and after we had gone through all the security bits to the non-schengen gates- Even I knew it was going to be delayed before they told us- the lack of a plane on the stand was a massive give away!


I still feel I need to spend more time in Germany (and get a ride to Fussen and Muhldorf) and I'm already thinking of coming back to Bavaria with a car next year.
N-Wagons were very hard to come by in Bavaria and it turns out we were very lucky to get a long run on them with a 218 (even if it turns out that diagram is a good bet)- the Ulm-Lindau line probably now sees the most regular 218 activity in Germany with trains each way almost every hour- there is some good scenery too so I feel a repeat visit will be made before these disappear.
Travelling on City Night Line re-enforces the absurdity of its withdrawal. This is not a lightly used service and surely there is a way to make it pay- fortunately OBB seem to think so as well, but despite some routes being saved the damage it will do to night services in Europe will irreparable. Throughout the train there were stickers for the 'Save the Sleeper' campaign and the guard on arrival in Hamburg was keen to announce that we would be welcome to ride CNL again but 'would have to be quick because the powers have decided to end the service in December'.
I feel Sylt and the lines north of Hamburg are done now- unless the Ludmilla's would like to make another appearance on freight anyway. Venturing up here for 245's isn't a patch on the 218's which used to work the Sylt Shuttle and while I would quite like to sample the pointless 'Sylt Shuttle Plus' I doubt I will make the effort. Things might get a bit more interesting when competing shuttle services begin but the loss of the semaphores probably counters this.
There are still plenty of loco hauled trains to see in Hamburg with 112's and clearly some trains still with N-wagons. I didn't get to check services out of Altona or catch up with the Kiel 218's on this trip so those still remain a target. Hamburg Harburg remains a great place to see freight and I was pleasantly surprised with the volume of non-Traxx seen.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Welcome Home Wessex!

2415 prepares to leave 2418 out of Waterloo following the first ROG charter. Until 2007 this would have been an everyday scene.
On bank holiday Monday 29th August the Rail Operations Group ran their first passenger charter. The trip was a simple first itinerary using a pair of class 442 EMU's for a return run from Waterloo to Bournemouth. The ROG have so far specialised in performing stock transfers, particularly with their two class 37's fitted with Dellner couplers to avoid the use of barrier vehicles. The recent award of a passenger licence opens up more opportunities for ROG to expand their business, and with a fleet of 5 'passenger' class 47/8's recently acquired hopefully this is a company we can expect to see more of in the charter market.
2406 and 2405 lead a Gatwick Express into Victoria, the
re-building of Battersea power station being very much evident.
The class 442's used on Monday's charter are some of the stored fleet which have been released from Gatwick Express duties and which are currently in the care of the ROG at either Eastleigh or Ely. The later are being kept 'warm' by one of the class 47's, while the Eastleigh based fleet are being used on 'warming runs' on the national network to keep the units in good condition. The fleet were built for use on the Wessex route after the Weymouth electrification from 1988 and worked here until 2007 when the fleet were withdrawn before moving to Gatwick Express. For many the South West Main Line still feels like home for the 442's- but with their future far from certain, will I ever see one at Waterloo again? I'd like to think so.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Summer Saturdays in Anglia- 10 years ago.

47818 hauls the afternoon empties from Great Yarmouth to Crown Point depot. Most of the passenger runs ran via Reedham but the final train was booked to run via Acle. The location is Whitlingham Junction where the lines to Sherringham and Cromer branch from the Wherry lines towards Yarmouth and Lowestoft. 24/08/2006

47818 prepares to run around it's train at at Great Yarmouth. This would have
been the 10:00 departure from London Liverpool St. The loco was a regular
performer on the trains and was painted specially into 'One' colours. 24/08/2006
Last weeks post covered the current loco hauled operations on the Wherry lines out of Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft- currently featuring top and tailed diesel locomotives on a short rake of coaches, but I also mentioned the long association of class 47's with these lines. While looking back through my photo archive I discovered that exactly 10 years ago I had found myself in Anglia for my annual trip to Great Yarmouth to sample the 47 hauled summer trains.
The trips comprised of two workings in each direction (plus associated empty moves) where a class 47 hauled the Norwich-Yarmouth portion of through intercity services to and from London Liverpool Street on summer Saturdays. The trains would run as normal to Norwich where the class 47 would back onto the train and then run non-stop to Great Yarmouth. On arrival at the seaside town the locomotive would run round before hauling the set back to Norwich from where it would form the next London departure with it's electric loco. As can be seen from the pictures the class 90, or 86 in previous years, also came along to the seaside for the ride.
One of the very last survivors on Anglia, 9701 is seen at Ipswich.
It would go on to be used by Network Rail.  24/08/2006
In 2016 locomotives for the train were provided by Cotswold Rail, and the current franchise holder was National Express, branding the operation 'One'. By this time almost all Mk2's had been phased out in favor of Mk3 stock with just a handful of Mk2 DBSO's remaining in traffic.
The final year of class 47 hauled intercity trains to Great Yarmouth was 2014.