The Case of the Unidentified 37

Seems I might have started something - Nigel Benning follows in my Scotrail bashing footsteps a couple of days after is his review of his trip....

So my journey started on Wednesday evening at 18:01 with 2404 from Pokesdown (just 10 minutes walk from my home). At Brockenhurst I changed to get 47854 on the 18:14 ex-Bournemouth, which I took as far as Winchester. Virgin were having a bad time with this service that night. In addition to half the coaches having no lights, a fault on the locomotive meant there was no heating either (nor any hot water in the buffet). Then by Southampton Parkway the second coach seemed to get a compressor fault which not only filled the coach with loud burst of what seemed to be compressed air, but this also interfered with the trains PA system which started popping away. I was glad to leave the train when I did. I pity the poor passengers who were going all the way to Manchester! From Winchester my journey continued with 2424 to Waterloo.

Rather than pay for the tube, I used my usual trick to get to Kings Cross. This involved using 1878 from Waterloo East to London Bridge (copping 466009 for sight in the process), and then 319435 to Kings Cross Thameslink. After having a quick look around Kings Cross and St. Pancras I wandered along to Euston. 90030 was on the stops with the sleeper stock, but as it wasn't ready for boarding yet, I adjourned to the Sleeper Lounge to have a coffee and keep warm!

When boarding was announced I wandered down to the train and found Belgian 90028 (required haulage) at the front. This seemed quite appropriate considering the amount of times I've travelled to Brussels this year. Departure was on time at 23:40 and after passing Wembley, where a number of unidentifiable 66's, 92's plus a pair of DRS 20's were seen, I retired to my bed and attempted to sleep. I managed some sleep but was aware of stops at Rugby, Preston and Carlisle. At Carstairs I decided it was time to wake up properly and soon after my complimentary breakfast arrived (coffee, orange juice, cornflakes, muesli bar, croissant and jam). On arrival at Edinburgh at 07:19, just 2 minutes late, I went to find out what had hauled the Edinburgh portion from Carstairs. It found it to have been 90016, also required for haulage.

Once in Scotland I had decided that I would spend the day doing a bit of spotting as well as bashing some required lines. Required Scottish DMU's were 156445, 156502, 158705, 158738 plus 11 170 units, whilst EMU's were 303016/077/087/089, 314211, 318256, 320305/311/312/315/317, plus 34 of the new 334 units. Rather than stand around on freezing cold platforms waiting for these to turn up, it was going to be a case of hoping I bumped into them on my travels.

The day started well with 156502 and a couple of required 170's being seen at Waverley. However, I didn't plan to stay in Edinburgh long, instead I would spend the day in Glasgow. Rather than travel via Turbostar, I opted to use GNER in the hope of getting a required 91 for haulage. I left on the 08:10 service hauled by 91014 (dud!) which I took as far as Motherwell. Here I took a walk round to the depot to see if I could spot 08731 which I require and has been stored here for some time. It wasn't visible, nor were any other required loco's so I wandered back to the station and caught 303027 to Whifflet. On passing Mossend Yard, required 08883 was present along with various other loco's (too busy looking out for the shunter to catch what these loco's were). From Whifflet it was 156432 to Glasgow Central which travels via Polmadie (where required 08670 was last reported). No sign of the shunter, but did pick up a few 334's which are currently stored here.

From Glasgow Central I headed off to Paisley Gilmore Street on 318270 and then on to Ardrossan Harbour on 318264. From the harbour I walked back to Ardrossan South Beach station to catch 318269 to Largs (with another pair of unidentified DRS 20's spotted en route). At Largs I planned to catch a bus to Wemyss Bay from the Main Street. I wasn't too sure where this was but having left the station I found what looked like the main street and whilst deciding if the bus stop I had found was the right one, a bus turned up heading in the right direction. It only took 15 minutes to get to Wemyss Bay, but as the service frequency to Glasgow Central is only hourly, I had a 50 minute fester here. Fortunately there was a chippy opposite the station and so I took the opportunity to feed myself and take a look at the view. 334003 arrived to take me back to Glasgow. I had considered going to Gourock as well, but decided that this branch could wait for a another day and I would instead take another trip past Polmadie whilst it was still daylight to see if I could see 08670 (and I was sure I'd missed some of the 334's the first time).

So I took 156432 to Carmyle and 156504 back to Central. Still no sign of the 08, but I did get another 334 unit. It was then time to wander over to Queen Street to see what I could pick up there. A few Turbostars were ticked off, including the 2 Strathclyde units, plus my final Scottish 156 (445) and some time spent on the low level platforms saw me clear my 320 units. From here it was back to Central from where 91026 (also dud!) took me back to Edinburgh. On passing Polmadie I took the opportunity to have another look through the darkness and rain for 08670. This time I was lucky, as it was seen shunting at the south end of the depot. A few more Turbostars were seen at Waverley before it was time to head off to find the sleeper.

It was a pleasant surprise to find 47780 at the head of the service as this was required, but the surprises didn't end here. We departed just a few minutes late at 23:58, but about 3 miles out of Carstairs we ground to a halt. Apparently the loco had a brake fault and had to await assistance. This eventually arrived in the form of a 37 (judging my the sound of it, and I have yet to find out which one it was), which proceeded to drag us into Carstairs and attach us to the Glasgow portion which was headed by 90016. We departed Carstairs at 02:41 (2 hours late?). Arrival at Euston was planned to be at 07:00 and as I awoke at 06:30 I found we had only got as far as Nuneaton! We eventually reached Euston at 08:38, just 98 minutes late, but not before I had copped 66701/707 plus 92006 at Wembley (my penultimate 92, with the last one being 92032 that is stored at Crewe).

And so it was Friday. I had booked a Virgin Explorer ticket for this day in the hope of picking up a few of my few remaining Virgin electrics for haulage. When I booked my ticket, there were a few EWS loco's filling in, but if the gen was anything to go by, these substitutions had more or less ground to a halt. My first hit of the day came with 87016 which I caught at 09:17 as far as Watford Junction. Then it was straight back to Euston behind 87027 (dud). With nothing else of interest around at this time I decided to catch 43101 & 43158 to Nuneaton so that I could meet up with a friend for lunch. Then from here I took 87012 (dud) to Stafford and 47829 (dud) to Birmingham New Street. The plan was to stay here until something required turned up. I had seen required 90015 on the Euston - Wolves circuit earlier in the day and so hoped this produced. Sure enough, it appeared on the 16:15 to London. I took this all the way, and with nothing required being sat at Euston I decided to head home.

So it was 319448/319449 from Kings Cross Thameslink to London Bridge and 465034/465234 to Waterloo East for 2415 back to Pokesdown.

In addition to the spots already mentioned, I also scored 5 Sheds, 1 x 170/5, 1 x 175, 3 x 220 and a 458 unit. I am now down to needing just 4 of the Scottish 170's. There were no signs of my required 314 or 318 units, and since most of the 303's are stored I didn't really expect to get any of them. But I did clear 16 of the 334 units, but that still leaves 18 for another day.

Overall I had a really enjoyable trip ( I do like the Scottish scenery). Now I wonder if I can get any money back from Scotrail for the delay....

Footnote : On arrival back at Pokesdown I wandered across the road to the Indian takeaway for a bite to eat. I was surprised to find nobody eating in there and mentioned as such to the waiter. I was then informed that two people had been murdered round the corner the previous night and people seemed to be avoiding the area! Welcome home!

Nigel Benning

Webmasters footnote : Neil McDonald and John Bennett (via the Scotrail mailing list) both suggest/confirm the loco used to rescue the train at Carstairs was in fact 37415.

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