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Vintage Trains 2024

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Leviathan, Oct 12, 2023.

  1. Michael Whitehouse

    Michael Whitehouse New Member

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    7029 was safely back on shed by 1am, catering unloaded, rubbish cleared and team debriefed. It was a pleasure to be able to do virtually no management on 1Z48, simply because it was unnecessary. The enlarged team including FGW, Bristol and Laira depots, NR’s control team on board, stewards, caterers, planners, pr team, booking team, train crew and finance support-well over 100 people - knew what to do, trusted each other to do it and delivered

    Of course, the climb over the Devon banks and the run along the sea wall will live in the memory, but perhaps the ability to run a Castle hauling the equivalent weight of around 12 Mark 1s over the route at consistently high speed is a memory to savour, including non stop on the GWML in an around Crossrail trains and take 7029 back to Paddington for the first time since she left with the last BR WR train in 1965 (a date for your diary next year?)

    On 1Z48 in 1964 there were three loco legs in one day with three different Castles, standby locos, good coal and a complete railway infrastructure capable of supporting steam

    On 1Z48 last weekend, we had six loco legs, one Castle, one supporting diesel, no steam infrastructure (requiring us to take a lorry load of coal from Tyseley to Laura for example) and overhanging trees to cause delays by activating brakes

    And three minutes after we had passed by, a freight train stalled on crossovers on the GWML blocking the route…

    It is quite remarkable that a Castle can make such a trip now. But it can, with huge effort by a large team of people who are good at what they do, trust each other and work as a team. Thanks all

    See you in September for two Castles?
     
  2. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    Michael

    Is it possible to have a pickup/ set down in Bristol either Temple Meads or Parkway?
    This was what a number of us, who were in coach E, would like to know?

    Thanks

    Paul
     
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  3. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    According to Six Bells there were four Castles used on May 9 1964, 4079, 7025, 7029 and 5054, plus the Hall 6999 when 4079 failed at Westbury.

    Great show the last couple of days--it can still be done.
     
  4. Karlh

    Karlh New Member

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    Mainline-11.5.24-1Z48-7029.jpg With waving from onlookers all along the sea wall 7029 Clun Castle charges along the sea wall at Dawlish, seconds before a Voyager hurtles the other way.... the castle was just in time.
     
  5. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Sir, I really would love to see how big the smile is on your face ATM :)
     
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  6. Michael Whitehouse

    Michael Whitehouse New Member

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    Yes now we know The Mayflower double header can run, we plan pick ups on the diesel leg at Bham New St, Bromsgrove, Cheltenham, Bristol Parkway and Temple Meads. Web booking expected to be open early next week
     
  7. 3ABescot

    3ABescot Member

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    Hear,hear! And a thank you too to all those photters and videographers who have recorded the event and shared their results. The conditions were perfect, and full advantage has been taken of them.
     
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  8. 3ABescot

    3ABescot Member

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    A detailed account of the day using known film is available in the PSOV DVD "9th May 1964", including interviews with many of the crews and supplementary footage.
     
  9. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Any chance of stabling her at Southall the night before for a run out of Paddington for as much as possible of the route to Birkenhead (with a diversion from the GWR around Brum)?

    Any more info on that yet? I'm keen to do it, having missed both of last year's two Castles trips, for different reasons.
     
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  10. KristianGWR

    KristianGWR Member

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    My small selection from last week's epic tour. Filmed at Bourton, on Rattery & Hemerdon banks, finishing at Newton St Loe. I hope you enjoy it :)

    Well done to all involved in the tour, in spite of all the trials and tribulations!
     
  11. LittleRedTrain

    LittleRedTrain Member

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    A bit late, but I'd also like to chip in and add my thanks to everyone who made the trip happen.
    This was mine and my new wife's first railtour as a married couple, so we splashed out on Pullman Dining and made it kind of a mini-honeymoon. It certainly was a weekend to remember!

    It's clear that it was a hugely complex operation that had obviously taken a lot of planning, and (bar the unfortunate incident on Hemerdon), went almost exactly as advertised. Even the operational issues were dealt with promptly and, though disappointing, didn't really disrupt the overall tour.
    It's great to see that, with all the shenanigans going on at other charter operators, an enthusiast-focused trip like this is still possible on today's railway!

    The only area where I think there is room for improvement is in the service provided in Pullman dining. It seemed there was an almost constant state of disarray amongst the catering staff and didn't compare well to the 'well-oiled machine' service we're used to on RTC or Steam Dreams pre-buyout, let alone Saphos (which is another level entirely).

    For example, after boarding at Banbury, we were not offered anything to drink until nearly an hour later.
    They also 'forgot' our breakfast (as well as several others in our carriage)! Despite checking with the catering staff a few times, and being assured that it was on its way, it was only when someone came through to clear our side-plates that the message actually reached the kitchen that we hadn't been served. After a bit of a panic from the staff, breakfast finally appeared after 12, shortly before reaching Swindon, along with a vague non-apology about 'serving in waves'!

    There were various other similar little things throughout the trip (e.g. two people on our table being served a course, then waiting 10 minutes for the other two to be served while it got cold, cheese and crackers arriving and then waiting 10 mins for the grapes/chutney), plus significant confusion after Paddington as nobody seemed to know who had left the tour and who hadn't, and how many desserts were required!

    For just shy of a grand for the two of us, we weren't convinced that dining offered great value for money compared to other operators at the same price point. It also mirrored a similar experience from previous VT trips, when we'd hoped things would have improved as staff found their feet!

    This is not criticism of individual staff, they were all very friendly and it felt like they were doing their best, but it feels like there needs to be one person in the responsible for coordinating everything, directing the serving staff and checking that everything is happening as it should, at the right time, in the right order.
    It's often stated that it's the 'posh nosh' end of the market that keeps railtour operators in the black, so it's important that it really delivers to avoid customers voting with their feet.

    Having said that, it was still an enjoyable weekend. It was definitely worth it for the run along the sea wall in the sunshine, the blasts over the banks and the sight of a Castle on the blocks at Paddington.
    Hopefully we'll be travelling again soon, though probably in 'Tourist Class' for the foreseeable future.

    DSC_0409b.jpg DSC_0444b2.jpg
     
  12. Julian Jones

    Julian Jones New Member

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    I’ve really enjoyed watching some of the excellent videos that have emerged, but could anyone help me locate any footage which has been uploaded of the eastbound climbs of Dainton and / or Whiteball on Saturday?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  13. David likes trains

    David likes trains Member

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    Thanks to all who made this tour possible, first time I have seen a Great Western locomotive running on this route. A few lineside photos from both days.
    [​IMG]
    Speeding along a warm Cherwell Valley between Heyford and Tackley.

    [​IMG]
    Working away from Dawlish station towards the tunnel. A modern trackside sign and some spectators digitally removed.

    [​IMG]
    Again on the sea wall at Dawlish on day 2.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2024
  14. NathanP

    NathanP Member

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  15. simon neate

    simon neate New Member

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    Excellent! Does anyone know if they will turn the whole stock around laira or just the locos? Just thinking standard class at the back the whole day.
     
  16. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Given the current situation this looks to me like one of few unassisted steam trips on the main line if you discount Clan Line's regular outings with the Pullmans that are beyond the pocket of most 'average' people. The fact that it is advertised as such (with all the caveats etc) is a clear statement of intent from VT.

    I hope that given the high volume of traffic on here about diesel assistance this trip sells out quickly. Otherwise it does rather defeat the point of what the minority is saying, does it not?
     
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  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Does it matter? Just be happy that you will have jam on the scone without expecting cream on top as well! :)
     
  18. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    I can understand why the question was asked. If I were travelling towards the rear of the train to Plymouth, I would prefer the train not to be turned at Plymouth thereby ensuring that I was closer to the locos on the return.

    <BJ>
     
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  19. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Given the particular feature of this trip, I would hope that, in the above situation, they will reschedule rather than run with a diesel.
     
  20. David likes trains

    David likes trains Member

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    Times for the Shakespeare Express from Derby and a trip to Birmingham in the middle of the day for next Sunday (26th): https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/se...6/0000-2359?stp=WVS&show=all&order=wtt&toc=TY

    1Z29 Derby to Stratford is presumably steam hauled to Hatton, where the train reverses and the diesel will then haul into Stratford.
    1T51 Stratford to Snow Hill and 1Z30 Stratford to Derby are both routed via the North Warwickshire Line.
     

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