1B66 and all that!, The “Cambridge Buffet” remembered

 

Thanks to “Mister C” for much of the gen

 

Introduction

 

1B66 was the reporting number carried by Kings Cross – Cambridge Express services. These trains ran every 2 hours between Kings Cross and Cambridge with 7-8 steam heat Mk 1’s in tow including a buffet, hence the legendary “Cambridge Buffet Express” name. 1B66 was particularly memorable for the variety of power that worked these trains with everything from a class 26 to class 55 Deltic, 11 different classes are listed in the sample workings below. In 1B66’s later years class 31 and 47’s became the prime power, until the loco hauled 1B66 service finally ended on 5th February 1978 with East Coast outer suburban electrification to Royston completed.

 

1B66, Cambridge Buffet Express loco variety

 

D0280 1305 Kings Cross – Cambridge 161061

            Reported as “Falcon’s first day in revenue earning service, worked 2 round trips to Cambridge.

 

5904    0904 Kings Cross – Cambridge 040665

            “Baby Deltics” were common Finsbury Park based power at this time

 

6104    1515 Cambridge – Kings Cross 130859

            “Paxman” class 21’s were regular Hornsey/Finsbury Park based power at this time

 

20047 as 8047 worked 2B65 1710 Kings X-Royston 180360

5303 failed at Hatfield the 20 working forward 

 

26012  as 5312 1156 Cambridge – Kings X 010259

            Common Finsbury Park based power at this time

 

31225  as 5651  0930 Cambridge - Kings Cross 130473

            One of 100 plus 31’s that featured on 1B66, by far the most regular power

 

37041  1530 Cambridge - Kings Cross 150976

            Very rare class 37 1B66 action, replaced a failure at Cambridge

 

40153  as 353  1130 Kings Cross – Cambridge 170872

this turn was often a type 4 “kick out” off Finsbury Pk/Kings X.

 

46042 as D175 1120 Kings Cross – Cambridge 270473

            this turn was often a type 4 “kick out” off Finsbury Pk/Kings X

 

47100 1930 Kings X - Cambridge 050278

Last ever 1B66, headboard, commerative tickets, strengthened rake on this final working

 

47337  1130 Cambridge – Kings Cross 150877

            an unusual “non boilered” Midland 47 on 1B66 

 

55003  1130 Kings Cross – Cambridge  180274

            a  rare “Deltic” appearance

 

It is likely that the Prototype “Lion”, DP2, and possibly other classes may have also featured on 1B66, Class 15 8232/3/4 are likely to have feature on 5B66 ECS turns at Kings Cross too.

 

More memories

 

Haulage wise my only trips on 1B66 were back on February 12th 1971. 1548 (later 47433) worked the 1B66 1020 Kings X - Cambridge which we joined at Hitchin. A few hours at Cambridge then we returned on 5641 (later 31216/31467). 1B66 and its 2B66/2B65 are most memorable in that they stopped at Hitchin. Most other services shot through. From our vantage point on the roof of the “bike shed” at the South of the station on the downside gave us a good viewpoint to watch hear the sounds and smoke given off on departure from Hitchin. I suppose “box” (40’s) were our favourites though on occasions some 31’s were welcome because they were “cops” when March or Tinsley machines replaced the “boring” Finsbury Park 31’s.

 

 

 

1B66, 2B65 and 2B66 loco observations September 9th 1972

 

Loco / (tops no carried later)

Code

Train

Hitchin Passing time

1983 / (47281)

1B66

0920 Kings X-Cambridge

1001

5566 / (31448)

1B66

0930 Cambridge – Kings X

1007

5800 / (31270)

2B65

1104 Kings X – Baldock (non corridor stock)

1201

1983 / (47281)

1B66

1130 Cambridge – Kings X

1207

278 / (40078)

1B66

1130 Kings X – Cambridge

1209

5800 / (31270)

2B65

1230 Baldock – Kings X

1241

278 / (40078)

1B66

1330 Cambridge – Kings X

1407

1559 / (47443)

1B66

1335 Kings X – Cambridge

1212

5640 / (31407)

2B66

1404 Kings X – Cambridge

1502

1559 / (47443)

1B66

1530 Cambridge – Kings X

1607

5595 / (31175)

1B66

1533 Kings X – Cambridge

1611

5640 / (31407)

2B66

1630 Cambridge – Kings X

1721

 

The headcodes were for routes and did not indicate stopping patterns. B66 was for Cambridge, B65 was for Baldock and Royston starters/terminaters

 

 1B66 – called Welwyn GC, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth, Royston, Cambridge (80 minutes journey time Kings X – Cambridge)

 

2B65 – called Hatfield, Welwyn GC, Welwyn North, Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin,  Letchworth, Baldock (2nd class only non corridor stock, - 70 minutes journey time Kings X – Baldock)

 

2B66 - called Hatfield, Welwyn GC, Welwyn North, Knebworth, Stevenage, Hitchin,  Letchworth, Baldock, Ashwell and Morden, Royston and Cambridge  ( 100 minutes journey time Kings X – Cambridge)

 

From May 1976 the Buffet Expresses had their own individual reporting numbers, for example 1130 KGX-CBG was 1P32. By then headcodes were rarely displayed, especially as Finsbury Park were very quick at doing dominos in the headcode panels.

 

The Stock

 

From 1962 only one of the two sets had a Gresley buffet car. By Sept 1964 the two formations were as follows:
1) BSO, TSO, TSO, RB(Gresley), FK, TSO, BSO
2) BSO, TSO, TSO, RMB, FK, TSO, BSO

By 1968 the sets only had one brake vehicle:
1) TSO, TSO, BSK(or BSO), RB(Gresley), FK, TSO, TSO
2) TSO, TSO, BSK(or BSO), RMB, FK, TSO, TSO

In 1972 the Gresley car was replaced by the prototype Booth Car E1106:
1) TSO, CK, BSO, TSO, Booth Car, CK, TSO
2) TSO, TSO, BSO, RMB, FK, TSO, TSO, TSO*

In 1973 both sets were expanded to 8 coaches:
1) TSO, FK, BSO, TSO, Booth Car, TSO, TSO, TSO
2) TSO, TSO, BSO, RMB, FK, TSO, TSO, TSO, TSO*, TSO*

* 15:30 Camb-KX & 17:14 KX-Camb only

The sets basically stayed the same (although the order of the vehicles did change slightly) until withdrawal of through services to Cambridge on electrification in Feb 1978. Substitutions were some sometimes made for the non-availability of the Booth Car including at least once a Gresley car. Prior to 1973 Saturday services would often have an extra TSO added to make up to 8 coaches.

At that time 1330 KGX-CBG/1530 CBG-KGX and 1714 KGX-CBG/1957 CBG-KGX were booked class 47 SX for the load 10 workings. 0920 KGX-CBG/1130 CBG-KGX was also booked class 47 SX.

In the 70s E1106 was the usual catering car on 0930/1330/1737 up from CBG with the occasional ex LNER substitute. The other set on 1130/1530 up was usually a bog standard RMB. A Gresley “buffet” was a regular part of the 1B66 consist with E9122E being reported as late as Feb 72.

Buffet stock and more 1B66 phots link

The two Thompsons make a number of 1B66 appearances around 1969/70 and I'm sure I remember them in the post 1972 period too, but don't have any dates. Two different sources quote Gresley E9115E subbing for E1106 in December 1974



 

1B66/2B66/2B65 sample power down the years…

 

5301    0925 Kings X - Cambridge 280259

5315    1515 Cambridge - Kings X 280259

5307    1315 Cambridge - Kings X 010859

6104    1515 Cambridge - Kings X 130859

6102    1105 Kings X - Cambridge 141259

5908    1430 Kings X - Cambridge 310360

5317    1430 Kings X - Cambridge 180460

5651    0905 Kings X - Cambridge 101060

5906    1030 Kings X - Cambridge 180361

5904    Kings X - Cambridge 020961

8049    1120 Kings X - Baldock 120562

5680    1752 Kings X - Cambridge 160862

5643    1305 Kings X - Cambridge 140663

5854    1757 Cambridge - Kings X 111263

5903    1557 Cambridge - Kings X 260465

5615    1740 Cambridge - Kings X 080767   

5907    0835 Royston - Kings X 080268

5593    1125 Kings X - Cambridge 280270

1610    0904 Kings X - Cambridge 240370

5640    Kings X - Cambridge 240870

5609    1735 Cambridge - Kings X 031070

1548    1020 Kings X - Cambridge 120271

5641    1520 Cambridge - Kings X 120271

5607    1535 Kings X - Cambridge 230471

339      0705 Kings X - Cambridge 140571

5610    1734 Kings X - Cambridge 110871

1763    1135 Kings X - Cambridge 081071

5645    1630 Cambridge - Kings X 081071

1970    1135 Kings X - Cambridge 191171

357      1135 Kings X - Cambridge 261171

168      1135 Kings X - Cambridge 301171

254      1135 Kings X - Cambridge 101271

282      1135 Kings X - Cambridge 231271

1564    1335 Kings X - Cambridge 070172

5575    0920 Kings X - Cambridge 170272

150      1135 Kings X - Cambridge 270372

5644    1135 Kings X - Cambridge 150472

5844    1335 Kings X - Cambridge 260572

9015    1735 Cambridge - Kings X 180772 (return test run)

272      1130 Kings X - Cambridge 120972

5566    0930 Cambridge - Kings X 120972

5800    1104 Kings X - Baldock 120972

5651    0930 Cambridge - Kings X 130473

1525    1120 Kings X - Cambridge 130473

9015    1130 Kings X - Cambridge 051073

46036 0930 Cambridge - Kings X 030174

55003  1130 Kings X - Cambridge 180274

1633 0920 Kings X - Cambridge 220274

47286 1530 Kings X - Cambridge 220274

37109 1530 Cambridge - Kings X 080374

31165 0930 Cambridge - Kings X 270674

31301 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 110774

31275 1330 Kings X - Cambridge 300774

46027 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 310774

47380 1714 Kings X - Cambridge 020874

47277 0920 Kings X - Cambridge 020974

31224 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 261074

46006 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 210275

40164 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 070475

46006 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 080475

55020 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 090475

40068 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 100475

47403 1330 Kings X - Cambridge 080975

40067 1330 Cambridge - Kings X 080975

31408 1957 Cambridge - Kings X 080975

31402 2030 Cambridge - Kings X 080975

31128 2110 Kings X - Cambridge 080975

31405 2125 Cambridge - Kings X 080975

55020 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 150676

31201 1330 Kings X - Cambridge 260676

31124 0930 Cambridge - Kings X 150776

37041  1530 Cambridge - Kings X 150976 (replaced a failure at Cambridge)

31207  0930 Cambridge - Kings X 060177

31189  1130 Kings X - Cambridge 060177

47141  1330 Kings X - Cambridge 060177

40077  1130 Kings X - Cambridge 190277

40080  1330 Cambridge - Kings X 050477

47037  1130 Cambridge - Kings X 091177

47407 1330 Kings X - Cambridge 101277

55009 1130 Kings X - Cambridge 130178

47100 1930 Kings X - Cambridge 050278 (Su) Final 1B66

 

.

“Mr C” comments “More generally I think the heyday for classes 40 and 46 on 1130 down/1330 up was May 1972 to May 1975 after that much more unusual. In summer 76 I did a summer job near Cambridge station and viewed 1130 down/1330 up every day for 6 weeks with 40048 on 11/08 the only non-class 31.”

 

East Coast outer suburban electrification to Royston was inaugurated on Mon 6th February 1978. The final 1B66 1930 Kings X - Cambridge on Sunday February 5th was strengthened and included prototype griddle 1106. A farewell headboard was carried by 47100 on this service. Commemorative tickets were also issued.!

 

East Coast outer suburban electrification may have spelt the end of 1B66 but perhaps the legend of 1B66 lives on in it being a featured headcode on Bachmann’s  class 46 model of D188!

 

Some  of this article was first published in Traction Magazine in late 2011 but further substantial updates have now been added. More memories/gen welcome.

 

1B66 Phot spot

 

A cracking “Mister C” view of 40080 on 1B66 here

An interesting Michael Barstow view of 47043 on 1930 Kings Cross - Cambridge with 1P66 in the headcode box in Sep 75 here

A historic George Woods view of class 31 5588 the Cambridge Buffet express at Hadley wood in Oct 68 here

 

Thanks again to “Mister C” for much of the gen

 

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