10th April 1976
|Locos Used||47138 & 73134|
|47138||(Oxford?) - Hayes & Harlington - Ealing Broadway - North Pole Jn - Kensington Olympia - Latchmere Jn - Factory Jn - Bromley South - Tonbridge - Ashford - Folkestone Jn|
|73134||Folkestone Jn - Folkestone Harbour|
|73134 (2)||Folkestone Harbour - Folkestone Jn|
|47138||Folkestone Jn - Ashford - (reverse of outward route?) - Hayes & Harlington - (Oxford?)|
(1) Route confirmation required.
(2) 47138 assisting on the rear.
Sources : David Hills (compiled from contemporary
& Chris Morley (joined/left the train at Hayes & Harlington)
(by Chris Morley)
April 10th 1976 and a party of school children (including myself) from Hayes Park junior school were waiting at Hayes and Harlington, en-route to Boulogne. This would be our last school trip before going on to secondary school and the idea of going to France for the day was very exiting and special compared to previous day trips to the Natural History Museum or Hampton Court. A class 47 (138 I now know, later to become 47607 & 821) appeared out of the early morning mist with a Western Region Merrymaker. I noticed that the train was quite full already (it probably started at Oxford) but our school party had a coach to itself. At 11 years of age and knowing relatively little about railways I clearly remember wondering why it took so long to get out of London. However as the morning sun burnt off the mist the train picked up speed and seemed to fly along (the Tonbridge - Ashford section I believe). The reverse at Folkstone Jcn made little impression on me but the steepness of the incline down to the Harbour was obvious and the train seemed to crawl at walking pace for ages.
A day trip to Boulogne by Sealink ferry came next and I enjoyed a memorable day in the old town and castle, although I was seasick on the way out. Shame the channel tunnel was just a pipe-dream at the time. The main railway memory for me was the climb up the hill from the harbour. The 47 at the rear was working hard and from my window on the North side I had the impression that the train was actually running in the street. Later on as darkness fell, most of the children fell asleep although the teachers were shall we say, 'enjoying' their purchases. In the poorly lit Mk1 coach the voluptuous Miss Dove looked flushed and radiant (ooh - suits you!) and a lot of young boys were gathered around her for some reason, myself included. For further details of Miss D, see 'Friends Re-United'. Arrival at Hayes was after 10pm a long day out for an 11 year old. This was a seminal trip for me in many ways - it also stirred a lifelong interest in real railways (as opposed to model railways), and I soon started linesiding at Hayes and Harlington as the long hot summer progressed.
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