17th October 1981

British Rail (E.R.)
The Wessex Deltic

Loco Used 55015 'Tulyar'
Stock used load 11 ~ BG + mark 2a/b

Route : 1Z47 throughout

Loco Route
55015 Finsbury Park - Canonbury Jn - Dalston Western Jn - Victoria Park Jn - Channelsea Jn - Stratford - Temple Mills East - Tottenham South Jn - Harringay Stadium - Hampstead Heath - Willesden Junction High Level Jn - Kensington Olympia - Clapham Junction - East Putney - Wimbledon - Hampton Court Jn - Woking Jn - Basingstoke - Worting Jn - Winchester - Eastleigh - Northam Jn - Southampton - Redbridge - Bournemouth (1)
55015 Bournemouth - Redbridge - Southampton - Northam Jn - Eastleigh (2)
55015 Eastleigh - Botley - Fareham - Cosham - Portvreek Jn - Portsmouth Harbour (3)
55015 Portsmouth Harbour - Havant - Haslemere - Guilford - Woking Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Finsbury Park

Notes :
(1) The empty stock travelled through to Poole to allow 55015 to run-round.
(2) Visit to Eastleigh Diesel Depot on offer to those who wished to participate whilst 55015 ran to the depot for refuelling.
(3) Passengers had to detrain at Portsmouth Harbour as the stock was booked to return to Fratton to allow 55015 to run-round the train.

Sources : David Garnett, Clive Barlow & Nick Bartlett

Tour Review
(by Chris Morley)

By Autumn 1981 Deltics were becoming thin on the ground at the Southern end of the ECML. Many of the daytime York semi-fasts were now producing 47s and (horror of horrors) twice I had been bowled out by HSTs vice class 55. Only at night did King's Cross come truly alive with classes 31/46/47 & 55 on a mixed variety of weird and wonderful parcels, mail, sleeper and overnight seating trains. On the evening of Friday 16th October I was drawn by this diesel honeypot to view the proceedings, and sure enough, the 00.05 service to Newcastle (1N12) produced 55014 'The Duke of Wellington's Regiment' no less, despite being timed for a class 31. In those golden days a day return was valid from Midnight to Midnight and it could be bought on demand for any distance up to 400 miles. As soon as the Deltic buffered up I scurried off to the ticket office to purchase a valid piece dated 17th October to Peterborough.

What has all this nostalgia got to do with a railtour? Well, inside the ticket office I noticed a poster for the 'Wessex Deltic' railtour of the 17th October, an officially organised Eastern region tour. Intrigued, I asked if any tickets were left. The reply came that yes, a handful of tickets were unsold but they could only be sold by a certain clerk, who was on duty in the morning at 0730! So I walked away for my dose of Napier thrash, unsure whether I would return the next morning or find myself instead at Doncaster or York (depending what appeared on the succession of Northbound workings). 55014 was in fine form and on both engines, hence we sat waiting time at Stevenage and Huntingdon before pulling into Peterborough a few minutes early.

The train didn't quite grind to halt before I was leaping off it, clambering up the footbridge stairs as quickly as I could. The reason for this burst of energy was the glorious sight of a class 40 heading a motley rake of coaches and vans on an up working. Thankfully the whistle didn't go and I was able to jog up to the loco to see that it was 40081, a large and totally required 'whistler'. In fact it was at the head of 1A40, the 21.00 from Newcastle. Almost 10 minutes went by (01.31) before the 40 blasted off with it's eleven coach rake and I savoured some glorious 16SVT thrash. The train called en-route at Hitchin where a fleet of Post Office vans and trolleys were waiting for the mailbags: the P.O. sorters spent some 25 minutes unloading them, the whole scene being shrouded in escaping steam from the loco and vans. A railway experience never to be repeated......

Sadly I was turfed off the nice warm coaches at 03.30 when 40081 pulled into the cross. The 0405 to Leeds wasn't going to be a required 31 so I had to decide how to prevent hypothermia. The answer was to walk briskly to Euston where the ambient temperature was somewhat more conducive to dossing.  I returned before 0730 where I made sure of my railtour ticket. Several other bashers were behind me in the queue, so I'm glad I wasn't late. After breakfast I made my way to Finsbury Park on a '312' with plenty of time to spare. The tour was due off at 0915, and some 7 minutes before a large yellow nose with white window surrounds appeared in the distance. This caused some confusion on the platform as the FP racehorses with white window surrounds had all been withdrawn. All became clear as newly repainted TULYAR slid to a halt. After a quick phot in the morning sunshine I positioned myself at a droplight in the second coach (the first being a full brake).

At this point I only knew that the tour would call at Clapham Junction before heading for Bournemouth and Portsmouth and I had no idea which route would be taken. In fact the tour took a very circuitous and slow route via Canonbury Jn, the back of Stratford depot and South Tottenham Jn before joining the NLL at Gospel Oak.  Tulyar was taken over the Willesden high level bridge at a walking pace - little would I have believed that 15 years later I would experience 55022 blasting under the same bridge en-route to Birmingham.

After trundling along the West London line and over the Thames at Grovesnor bridge we pulled into Clapham Junction (Windsor lines) to pick up more passengers. Tulyar was then taken up the sharp rise to Wandsworth Town very carefully before lurching left at Point Pleasant Jn - a total surprise to me and surely the only time a Deltic has worked on LT operated tracks? At Southfields there was a gallery of dropping jaws from the LT passengers and the driver of a northbound unit when this throbbing blue monster trundled past the tube station. Incredibly we were routed directly onto the down fast at Wimbledon and as the last coach cleared the points Tulyar's engines began a crescendo of pure noise, the sound reverberating around the short tunnel. As the Deltic emerged into daylight a cloud of pure white clag covered the tracks - two hours worth of oil in the drums was burnt off as the engines exceeded 1000 rpm for the first time.

By Hampton Court Jn the eleven coaches had been accelerated to the higher eighties - unfortunately the heavens had opened by this time and I couldn't fully appreciate the 91 mph maxima recorded passing Brooklands. At Byfleet the line begins a 10 mile climb to milepost 31 at I in 300 and something. Despite driving rain, Tulyar forged up the hill without slipping at a sustained 87-88mph, a performance equal to the very best recorded by the mighty 4-Reps with their two 4TC sets. Dropping down the other side towards Farnborough I began to anticipate a riot of 100+ speeds. Unfortunately this didn't happen (probably due to the traction inspector in the cab) and after Worting Jn the speed was mainly kept to the lower eighties. In fact the Southern region speed limit at the time was only 90mph, although the REP drivers usually treated this with contempt.

Acceleration from the 15mph slack at Northam Jn was loud & impressive and we passed through Southampton Central non-stop: the rain had stopped by now and most windows were occupied. Yours truly was captured on film savouring the thrash at Millbrook, the picture appearing in one of the national railway magazines. The rain held off as we twisted through the New Forest and it dawned on me that there were more railway photographers lineside than I had ever seen before - every overbridge was packed. In fact I've never seen any kettle attract such attention. Has anyone out there kept those pictures? I would dearly like to see them.

Soon a slower train was caught up and we trundled into Bournemouth for a relatively short break. Tulyar ran-round it's stock in the carriage sidings (Webmasters note: the ECS actually ran to Poole and 55015 ran-round the train there, as booked) and retraced our steps (13.10 scheduled but somewhat late as I recall) to Eastleigh. My eardrums had a brief rest as the twin Napiers were now some nine coaches away. Some 40 minutes later Eastleigh was reached & we pulled into the down platform in drizzling rain. Despite this, a large crowd surged to the front and this scene was captured by at least one photographer who later published the picture. Tulyar ran round and proceeded to Fareham at 15.20. I was delighted to 'scratch' this line as I had never done it on the Sunday 33+TC workings. I'm sure there were a couple of blue 07s noted at the works as we passed.

Soon we were at Portsmouth Harbour and I went off to search for hot food, so I've no idea if the Deltic ran round or was shunt released. We left at 17.01, bound for Woking via Guildford and I made my way near the front to sample the thrash. I had also hoped to time the train over the 'direct' line but the night was very dark  and misty with temperatures close to freezing. Time was lost due to a couple of temporary restrictions. Woking to Wimbledon was covered in even time, where the East Putney LT route was again taken. This included the Northern viaduct down to Point Pleasant Jn, abandoned a few years later and now covered in Buddleia bushes.

Perhaps I should have bailed at Clapham Junction as the next 18 miles were scheduled at less than 15mph. However, I was a desperate mileage man for the Deltics (& I had no idea that Tulyar would be saved by the DPS) so I decided to take it back to Finsbury Park - a big mistake. We stopped for ages just before Mitre Bridge. At the time I thought it was a signal failure, but I've recently read that we were waiting for a guard passed for the route. Going down the K+ incline would have also saved about 30 minutes, but we retraced every inch of the outward route . Consequently I didn't get home until well after 11pm.  All-in-all this was an expensive way to score another 300 Deltic miles, but it was a very memorable day as can be seen from this review.

Chris Morley

Photo Review


55015 speeds through Weybridge (photo: David Wainright)


55015 at, and departing from, Southampton (photos: Andy Hoare)


'Tulyar' pauses at Eastleigh (photo: Andy Hoare)


Timings (Booked Only)
(from Alan Rintoul)

M.C Location Booked (out) Booked (rtn) M.C
0.00 Finsbury Park 09.15d 19.48a 289.20
1.22 Canonbury Jn 09/19 19/45 287.78
2.17 Dalston Western Jn 09/22 19/42 287.03
4.27 Victoria Park Jn 09/27 19/37 287.03
5.03 Channelsea Jn 09/29 19/35 284.17
5.51 Stratford 09c32 ~ 09c34 19c30 ~ 19c32 283.49
6.30 Temple Mills East Jn 09/37 19/28 282.60
9.64 Tottenham South Jn 09/45 19/20 279.26
10.22 South Tottenham 09/49 19/16 278.68
13.30 Upper Holloway 09/58 19/09 275.60
14.28 Gospel Oak 10/03 19/02 274.62
18.35 Kensal Green Jn 10/12 18/53 270.55
18.66 Willesden Junction HL 10c14 ~ 10c16 18c49 ~ 18c51 270.24
19.29 Mitre Bridge Jn 10/18 18/47 269.61
19.66 North Pole Jn 10/19 18/46 269.24
21.54 Kensington Olympia 10/22 18/43 267.36
24.37 Latchmere Jn 10/27 18/38 264.33
24.79 Clapham Junction 10.30a ~ 10.32d 18.33a ~ 18.35d 264.11
26.14 Point Pleasant Jn 10/35 18/29 [SL] 262.76
26.65 East Putney 10/42 18/27 262.25
29.49 Wimbledon 10/56 [FL] 18/20 259.44
35.57 Hampton Court Jn 10/57 18/13 253.33
47.06 Woking Jn 11/05 18/04 [FL] 242.04

 

M.C Location Booked
72.51 Worting Jn 11/24
88.69 Winchester 11/36
95.65 Eastleigh 11/41
100.45 Northam Jn 11/45
101.49 Southampton 11/48 [SL]
104.20 Redbridge 11/51
115.16 Brockenhurst 12/01
130.32 Bournemouth 12.15a ~ 13.10d
145.48 Brockenhurst 13/27
156.44 Redbridge 13/37
159.15 Southampton 13/42
160.14 Northam Jn 13/45
164.74 Eastleigh 14.02a ~ 15.20d
170.31 Botley 15/32
181.17 Fareham 15/40
187.02 Cosham 15/47
187.77 Portcreek Jn 15/50
191.44 Portsmouth & Southsea HL 15/58
192.30 Portsmouth Harbour 16.01a ~ 17.01d
193.16 Portsmouth & Southsea HL 17/04
196.63 Portcreek Jn 17/11
200.25 Havant 17/16
211.69 Petersfield 17/30
220.61 Haslemere 17/41
235.18 Shalford Jn 17/53
236.33 Guildford 17/55

Timings continue in first table.

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