A Cheap Days Spoon Bashing

Adrian Knight describes a day on a CENTRO Daytripper ticket.

To Celebrate the New Year and try and forget I had to go back to College on the 4th January, I decided to buy a Daytripper ticket and enjoy the last days of my holiday.

To start I did a quick trip to Birmingham International form New Street. 321424 was taken on the 09:36 to Euston.  A class 60 was noted stopped at St Andrews Junction and its load stretched all the way down past Landor Street Junction. The Silverlink service connected with a CENTRO service back to Wolverhampton, which if on time gave me opportunity to get the 10:06 Bournemouth service. 323243 arrived 2 minutes down and continued to loose time arriving back in New Street just as the 10:06 was leaving - typical one of the few Cross Country trains dispatched on time was one I wanted.  The class 60 was still stuck at St Andrews Junction as I passed.

Next departure back to International was another CENTRO service so this was declined as the Portsmouth service was re-timed to depart at 10:23 just 5 minutes later. This duly arrived with 158748. As I left Birmingham for the third time, the class 60 was starting to depart. I think the service is usually 2 units as there were frantic conversations going on between the two Train managers and CONTROL trying to arrange for free refreshments to be added at Oxford - overcrowding expected?  At this point the train was fairly quiet.

Back at International I planned to join the 06:40 ex Poole which was due off International at 10:46 however there was no sign of it on the Arrival and Departures board so 87032 Kenilworth was taken instead on a Preston service back to New Street. I think this was due up the Trent Valley but had been diverted - no sign if it in the West Coast temporary timetable. Back at New Street North Star was beginning to steam as it was raining hard and it was parked at the very end of the Platform 2 so the other end could be used by local CENTRO services.

Arrival was in time to join the 11:06 to Paddington, today only going as far as Reading with 47806 on the front. Major panic stations as the train was full and the Tea Urn was playing up so an extended stop for repairs resulting in an 11:16 departure. I thought 47806 was working hard as it was clagging much more than usual and acceleration was not brilliant. On arrival at International 47841 "Spirit of Chester" was Dead in Tow for what purpose I don't know.

Back to New Street with The Queen Mother, 47722. The steam coming off the brakes was impressive as it was raining hard now. This was full and it was lucky I stood in the BSO at the rear of the train, as on arrival at New Street was just in time to here the 11:45 departure off New Street being announced. This was another ex-Liverpool train substituting for an Euston -Wolverhampton set with 47734 "Crewe Diesel Depot" on the front. The coaches were also wrong way round with First Class at the Back.

About a minute after leaving "The Queen Mother" I was on my way back out of New Street, this time to Coventry - the limit of my Daytripper.  A Freightliner passed us at International with a 57 on the front. A fine performance brought us into Coventry where a break was taken. 47840 "North Star" arrived on time with the 12:06 off Birmingham whilst I was waiting for the 09:05 ex Poole due off Coventry at 12:32.

It rolled in at 12:40 behind 47769 "Resolve".  This clagged its way to New Street with a spirited run from International arriving at about 13:05. It was heading to York although the Train manager announced it would not stop at Wakefield Westgate as the train was Loco and coaches, more fun for those travelling to Leeds as they would now have to change at Sheffield and then again at Wakefield for a coach to Leeds.

I went to see my dad on his lunch break as New Street was deserted and as he was called out to Four Oaks he gave me a lift there for a change of scenery. 323208 was taken from Four Oaks back to New Street.

A change of scenery was required so I joined 47807 "The Lion of Vienna" for a trip up to Wolverhampton on the 11:20 Bournemouth - Edinburgh via Glasgow service. It arrived in New Street when it was due to depart at 15:25. The HST is timetabled to arrive at 15:00 normally. The BSO was covered in oil at the front of the train so I guess The Lion was not having one of its better days. An extra loco would be needed later if it was to travel via Glasgow.

I joined the delayed 10:40 Edinburgh - Brighton due off New Street at 16:06 however it departed Wolverhampton at 16:15 behind Fragonset 47709. This was very full so I decided to disembark at New Street and join the 16:45 service to Euston, which departed 4 minutes behind us at Wolverhampton.

Mission: Impossible 90002 was at the back of the train and its name was rather apt for the catering crew - there was no buffet car so it really was Mission Impossible to serve dinner. I bet the First class ticket holders were impressed. This was taken as far as International.

After a couple of minutes the 14:52 Reading - Glasgow Central service rolled in behind 47806 and still dead 47841 "Spirit of Chester". What was the point of this I wonder? Did 47841 fancy a day trip to West London?

Anyway a couple of minutes behind this was a Euston - Wolverhampton service which was very late and full behind 87020. Of the 5 standard coaches, the lights were out in two. It was due to work the 17:19 Wolverhampton - Euston but arrival in New Street at 17:20 meant it was CAPED to work the return on-time from New Street at 17:45.

I decided to call it a day after 141 miles, 6 class 47, 2 class 87, 1 class 90 and 1 class 158, 1 class 321 and 2 class 323.  Great Value for only 4.00

Adrian Knight

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