Chris Totty's 1971 All Line Rover

After last year’s Scottish bash, this was my first attempt at an All Line Rover. Being a track basher rather than a number cruncher this was part of the project to cover the entire passenger track in the UK and so it was used to clear off certain areas as you will see.

 The actual rover was from Saturday 14th August to Friday 20th August so there are a couple of extra days, perhaps best described as positioning runs!

Thursday 12th August
The parental taxi started off the trip with a lift out to Watford Junction for the 09:22 to Lancaster. E3170 hauled us as far as Crewe with 1623 taking us forward. DMU’s then obliged on the 13:12 to Morecambe and the 14:17 Morecambe – Skipton over the Bare Lane – Hest Bank curve. This line had a regular service in those days, now down to just one train a day at some unsociable hour! Returning on the 16:25 Skipton – Morecambe, again via the Hest Bank – Bare Lane curve to catch the 18:12 Morecambe – Manchester Victoria hauled by 318.

 I had booked accommodation at my aunt’s at Handforth so rather than walking from Victoria to Piccadilly in Manchester I chose the long way round by taking the 19:50 DMU from Victoria to Stalybridge, the 20:12 Stalybridge – Stockport, rare track these days and the 20:48 EMU on to Handforth.

 Friday 13th August
Even though this was Friday the 13th, nothing went wrong all day!!

 My uncle dropped me off at Manchester Victoria on his way to work and I took the 09:15 DMU to Preston via Bolton. Over Shap to Carlisle on the 10:17 ex Preston double headed by 426 and 424 and a DMU for the long run round the Cumbrian Coast on the 12:36 to Barrow in Furness. Another batch of DMU’s to get back to Manchester as follows:
15:37   Barrow in Furness – Lancaster
16:59   Lancaster – Oxenholme
17:25   Oxenholme – Windermere
18:15   Windermere – Preston
19:47   Preston – Manchester Victoria via Bolton

 This time I walked across the City to Piccadilly for the 21:25 Manchester – Newquay which I took as far as Bristol Temple Meads where we were due at 01:42. As my rover began at midnight, I bought a single to Wolverhampton, where we were due at 23:05 on a take up only basis and I’m pleased to say the gripper was happy with that when he came to check the tickets!

 This was the first really interesting train of the rover as it was routed via Stockport, the Crewe Independent Lines, Wolverhampton High Level, Darlaston, Walsall, Sutton Park, Park Lane Jn, Castle Bromwich Jn, Landor St Jn, St Andrews Jn, Camp Hill and the Gloucester avoiding line.

 E3118 hauled us as far as Wolverhampton with 1690 onwards to Bristol.

 Saturday 14th August
Temple Meads at 01:42 is a bit chilly, even in mid August, so on to the 03:07 to Bath Spa with a Western, 1054 on the front and back on the 04:30 with Hymek 7013 doing the honours. Now it’s a summer Saturday so there was a plethora of interesting holiday trains still running.

 The first of the day was the 05:49 Bristol T.M. – Derby hauled by 125 and routed via Gloucester Eastgate, Worcester Shrub Hill, Droitwich Spa, Bromsgrove, Selly Oak, Birmingham New Street and Tamworth.

 Onto Blackpool North on the 09:44 ex Derby hauled by 61 and routed via the Dore South curve, Chinley, Belle Vue, Ashburys, Philips Park No 1, Manchester Victoria, Daisy Hill, Crows Nest Jn, Whelley Jn, Standish Jn and Preston.

 Chester was the next target and I reached it on another batch of DMU’s and EMU’s:
 13:45   Blackpool North – Preston
15:32   Preston (East Lancs platforms) – Ormskirk
16:10   Ormskirk – Liverpool Exchange (no Loop Line yet!)
16:57   James Street – Rock Ferry
17:17   Rock Ferry – Chester 

The 18:07 Chester – York, headed by 393, was the next summer Saturday one to catch being routed via Helsby, Acton Grange Jn, Walton Old Jn, Arpley Jn, Stockport Edgeley, Denton, OA&GB Jn, Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds City and Micklefield.

 Back to Bristol T.M. on the 21:35 ex York this time with 174 on the front.

 Sunday 15th August
On into the West Country on the 07:30 Bristol Temple Meads – Plymouth hauled by 192 followed by Warship 808 on the 11:25 Plymouth – Liskeard. A quick trip down to Looe on the 12:05 via Coombe returning on the 13:05 Looe – Liskeard. Everything went via Coombe in those days, rather than reversing at the physical junction and not having to open and close the level crossing gates twice!

 Out of Cornwall on the 13:47 Liskeard – Westbury hauled by another Warship, 825, as far as Plymouth with Western 1053 taking the train on to Paddington.

 A one stop hop on the 18:19 DMU Westbury – Frome and then another of those summer only trains, the 19:44 Frome – Oxford. This was hauled by Hymek 7049 and the consist was the XP64 stock. Just for the icing on the cake this train was routed via Melksham and round the Foxhall curve avoiding Didcot station.

 Back to Didcot on the 22:22 DMU ex Oxford and then off to the West Country, again, on the 23:08 Didcot – Newton Abbot hauled by Western 1064.

Monday 16th August
An early arrival at Newton Abbot saw me on the first train, the 04:35, to Paignton and the 05:25 Paignton – Kingswear, both DMU’s.

 The Kingswear – Dartmouth ferry was officially a BR service so it was the 06:20 Kingswear – Dartmouth and the 06:30 back but the ferryman refused to accept my rover and insisted on charging me 2½p each way!! Onto the 06:43 DMU Kingswear – Paignton where 131 & 1567 were waiting to double head the 07:10 Paignton – Newton Abbot. Back into Cornwall to finish off the branches:
07:49   Newton Abbot – Plymouth, Warship 815
09:10   Plymouth – Gunnislake (old station), DMU
10:02   Gunnislake – Plymouth, DMU
11:03   Plymouth – Bodmin Road, Western 1071
12:08   Bodmin Road – Newquay, DMU
13:15   Newquay – Bodmin Road, DMU

 For some reason the junction for Newquay trains had been moved from Par to Bodmin Road. This may have been so that main line trains would run non-stop Bodmin Road to St. Austell whilst the Newquay branch trains provided the service at Lostwithiel and Par.
 14:49   Bodmin Road – Truro, Western 1018
16:30   Truro – Falmouth (new), DMU
17:05   Falmouth (new) – Truro, DMU 

By this time the original Falmouth station had been closed and trains terminated at the new station higher up in the town. Unfortunately nobody had borne in mind that the site of the new station was on a steep hill so, under MoT regulations, the driver was not allowed to leave his cab and go to the other end of the train whilst it was in the new station. Consequently the train still had to go down to the old station to reverse!! Common sense has since prevailed and the new Falmouth station, having been called The Dell is now Falmouth Town and the original station has been reopened as Falmouth Docks. It took me until June 1985 to get there!

 Still going west on the 17:46 Truro – St Erth with Western 1027 on the front. A DMU formed the 18:30 St Erth – St Ives and the 18:55 return and I eventually made it to Penzance on the 19:10 ex St Erth hauled by Western 1008.

 Sleep was now the order of the day (or should I say night?) so I booked myself a berth on the 21:00 Penzance – Reading again hauled by Western 1008 as far as Plymouth and another Western, 1023, onwards to Reading.

 Tuesday 17th August
The day started with another DMU on the 06:58 to Basingstoke and then a Warship, 811, on the 07:31 Basingstoke – Exeter St David’s. Returning to Bristol Temple Meads by way of the 11:16 off Exeter with 129 on the front I had the strange experience of sitting in the front of a DMU (yes you could see forwards way back then) on the 13:05 Bristol T.M. – Cardiff General through the Severn Tunnel. More DMU’s on the 15:10 Cardiff General – Hereford and 16:40 Hereford – Worcester Shrub Hill. 1620 turned up with the 17:45 Worcester Shrub Hill – Worcester Foregate Street.

 This one stop hop backwards was necessary to complete the Worcester triangle as the 18:19 DMU Worcester Foregate Street – Kidderminster was one of the few trains which went direct to Droitwich Spa. The 19:03 DMU took me onto Birmingham New Street where E3155 was at the head of the 21:00 New Street – Crewe.

 Sleep was again required so a night service would fit the bill. Into Scotland on the 23:23 Crewe – Ayr with 443 on the front to Carlisle and 5369 & 5357 double heading over the border.

 Wednesday 18th August
Further north to Glasgow Central on the 06:05 DMU ex Ayr followed by a walk across the City to Queen Street High Level. 5413 was heading and 5411 tailing the 08:30 to Edinburgh and 259 took me back into England on the 09:40 Edinburgh – Newcastle.

 Time to start crossing off the various lines in the north east so this was to be a couple of DMU days! This was before the Tyne & Wear Metro had taken over the suburban lines around Newcastle so there were a few choice trains which went not the expected way.
11:51   Newcastle – Eaglescliffe
13:28   Eaglescliffe – Saltburn
14:27   Saltburn – Darlington
15:53   Darlington – Bishop Auckland
16:39   Bishop Auckland - Darlington
17:17   Darlington – Middlesbrough
18:02   Middlesbrough – Whitby
19:30   Whitby – Thornaby
21:04   Thornaby – Eaglescliffe
21:30   Eaglescliffe – Thornaby
21:41   Thornaby – Newcastle
23:15   Newcastle – South Shields
23:50   South Shields – Newcastle

Thursday 19th August
Again somewhere to rest my weary head was needed and there were two convenient services, DMU operated, the 00:30 Carlisle – Newcastle and 02:50 Carlisle – Newcastle both via Scotswood.

 The 04:25 Newcastle – Newcastle via the coast was the next bed but for some strange reason the gripper refused to accept my rover and charged me for a day return to Whitley Bay!

 There were still a few daily services over the chords at Benton and these were all suitably bashed off. Again a DMU day, with one noted exception.
06:58   Newcastle - Tynemouth via Riverside loop.
07:30   Tynemouth – Newcastle via Benton East Jn and Benton Quarry Jn
09:52   Newcastle – Sunderland hauled by 148 and via King Edward Bridge, Greensfield Jn and High Street Jn
10:38   Sunderland – Newcastle
11:30   Newcastle – Corbridge
12:14   Corbridge – Newcastle
12:55   Newcastle – Benton via Benton Quarry Jn, Benton West Jn
13:42   Benton – Alnmouth via Benton West Jn, Benton North Jn
15:35   Alnmouth – Newcastle
17:03   Newcastle – Durham via High Level Bridge, Greensfield Jn, King Edward Bridge West Jn
18:02   Durham – Newcastle 

The north east having been well and truly bashed, it was time to head south west again and 130 on the 19:30 ex Newcastle provided a bed as far as Bristol Temple Meads. This was routed up the ECML to York then via Pontefract Baghill, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham New Street, Bromsgrove, Worcester Shrub Hill and Gloucester Eastgate.

 Friday 20th August
On arrival at Bristol T.M. the 05:10 DMU along the branch to Severn Beach was the next line to be scratched off, returning on the 06:00 ex Severn Beach as far as Lawrence Hill. In those days there was still an unadvertised workman’s service to North Filton Platform although the train was advertised as far as Filton. This was the 06:49 from Lawrence Hill which gave me the last remaining chord at Filton that I needed. A walk back to Filton for the 07:47 to Cardiff General hauled by Hymek 7069 and then some Valley Lines were revisited by DMU, a few years after I first made their acquaintance.

 08:43   Cardiff General – Quakers Yard Low Level where I had a stroll across to the remains of the High Level station.
10:39   Quakers Yard Low Level – Cardiff Queen Street
11:28   Cardiff Queen Street – Rhymney
12:45   Rhymney – Cardiff Queen Street
13:55   Cardiff Queen Street – Coryton
14:14   Coryton – Cardiff Queen Street
14:44   Cardiff Queen Street – Cardiff General

 The Rover was finished off on the 15:10 DMU from Cardiff General to Crewe via Hereford and Shrewsbury, the 19:28 EMU Crewe – Stretford via Stockport and the 20:58 Stretford – Handforth where a willing aunt again fed me and I scrounged a bed.

 Saturday 21st August
Today I returned home on the 13:56 EMU Handforth – Crewe where I spent some time before E3152 headed the 18:56 Crewe – Watford Junction.

Chris Totty

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