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Countdown to July 9th: 10/4 to 9/5

Discussion in 'Bullhead Memories' started by Big Al, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

    May 30, 2009
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    By now the balancing act was in full swing. By that I mean the withdrawal of steam locomotives whilst retaining just enough to keep things going for another three months. Inevitably there were pressure points. The same locomotives were almost permanently in steam and routine maintenance such as boiler washouts might slip. Pacifics were sometimes replaced by Standard 5s - not always a bad thing but more demanding on the heavier trains. And then there were, of course, the diesel hauled services.

    This was the context but remarkable things still happened. Here is an example.

    Late April 1967. 35028 Clan Line on the 1730 Weymouth - Waterloo 2051. On time up to Bournemouth where the coaches from the West were added and we were away only a few minutes late. Under 33 minutes to Southampton with a slight signal check at Brockenhurst. Right time away from Southampton with 98 minutes to while away up to London. So were we in for a trundle home? Of course not!

    Ted Bramble was in charge. There were two significant tsrs at inconvenient places - just before Shawford and on the London side of Woking. That didn't stop us hurrying up to Roundwood that was passed at 66 and touching 91 before Fleet. We arrived at Waterloo 14 early in 76 net having come up from Bournemouth in two hours. Just like it used to be.

    Elsewhere in the UK, Flying Scotsman was going about its revenue earning business and gaining just a little notoriety, as today. For example, there was the ill-fated Michelangelo trip to Chesterfield for the last day of the line between Middleton Top and Friden on the Cromford and High Peak Railway. The mistake was probably to run it on a Sunday.

    The outward journey dropped on hour largely because of engineering work. The interlude with the J94s was brilliant. The return into St Pancras started 40 minutes late and we dropped more time culminating in an hour in the Bedford area where the train was parked up for the locomotive to go off and find water. Arriving back two and a half hours late I can tell you that St Pancras at 1 am is not the most lively of places.

    This was the wider context in the spring of 1967. Much that was good; much that was sad; and a little that was rather bizarre. Not a lot of difference from 2017, actually.

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