The Red Brick Rambler - Saturday 15th November 1986
Thanks to Rich Stiles
I can't say that I have ever been particularly organised, and when I read through my old sightings book from the late 1980s the notes are pretty much the same way. On the other hand, I do have a reasonable memory which I tend to rely on more than my written notes, and with some handy visual aids I shall try and recall some details about the Red Brick Rambler railtour.
Well, I do recall that I was disappointed early on because British Rail had to postpone the tour and push it back to 15th November 1986 which meant dark nights drawing in early. Because I didn't know anyone else that liked railways [and my mates used to take great delight in knocking me for being a railfan so they weren't up for some fine haulage] I booked a seat to go on my own. I remember it was a bit daunting as I was only 15 [16 in a few weeks] but what the heck I thought.
So finally the big day arrived and with my mum's borrowed camera I set off for Marylebone. With the little red ticket and the itinerary in my bag, plus a spot of grub I couldn't go wrong. Well maybe I could, I don't know how late it was, but I do remember waiting for ages at Marylebone for the train to arrive and finally it did. It was worth the wait as it was peak hauled throughout with entirely blue grey Mark 1 stock. Although my notes are a little sketchy I did take the trouble to record the train formation:
35447DY [Etches Park] 1963 Corridor Brake Second (Mark 1)
4931PC [Polmadie] 1961/62 Open Second (Mark 1)
4975MV [Red Bank!] 1961/62 Open Second (Mark 1)
4936EN [Euston] 1961/62 Open Second (Mark 1)
13320EN [Euston] 1962 Corridor First (Mark 1)
1707DY [Etches Park] 1960/61, Restaurant/Buffet (Mark 1)
4860EN [Euston] 1959/60 Open Second (Mark 1)
4953EN [Euston] 1961/62 Open Second (Mark 1)
4869EN [Euston] 1959/60 Open Second (Mark 1) (My coach)
4981EN [Euston] 1961/62 Open Second (Mark 1)
18771DY [Etches Park] 1961/62 Corridor Second (Mark 1)
Just seeing the coach allocations brings back happy memories, as Euston Downside had a massive allocation of stock and you know what hauls a massive allocation of stock don't you. Not only did that stock include passenger coaches, but it included hundreds of GUVs, BGs, Newspaper Vans. My 1987 fleetlist shows some of them were in Network South East livery and different depot allocations so I don't know if they were all in fact Euston allocated coaches at the time but perhaps with allocation codes from an earlier time period. I used to love the variety of Mark 1 combinations and I don't know if it's just my imagination but they are infinitely more comfortable than the dirge Virgin operate today. That's a separate aside however.
Little did I know that my first picture of the day had suffered from camera shake. The picture showed 45110 at the buffer stops of the siding adjacent to the platform. I think this meant yet more delay as the stock presumably got pushed out [I don't remember seeing 08556 Marylebone's shunter drawing the stock out], followed by a run round and pushing back in to the platform where passengers could finally board.
We finally left Marylebone late [maybe as much as an hour and a half] and as we pulled out of Marylebone, we crept passed the sidings just outside the station throat. 97252 Ethel 2 was parked [as usual] in the sun and a few hundred yards further on was 4472 'Flying Scotsman'.
I wrote down two 08 sightings in my book that day, 08011BY and 08628BY. The 08 pictured is 08556 the normal shunter. We plunged in to the tunnels and the real highlight of the day for me was fast approaching. Being a Pinner boy and living on a staple diet of 115s with some new 108 interlopers thrown plus silver A60 stock, the prospect of powering through your home station with a Peak on the front is somewhat unusual. We completed this part of the journey all too quickly and headed on north through Aylesbury.
I'm sure that the journey would have slowed at this point as it involved some very rare freight only running to Bletchley on track still in use today is not of the best quality with the rest long out of use. Now being a Saturday, freight today is somewhat thin on the ground at the weekend, but not so back then. Believe it or not we actually passed two freights on the East/West section between Claydon Jcn and Bletchley flyover. The first was a double headed class 31 held at a signal waiting for us to pass. 31215 and 31161 were delivering brand new prototype BREL 'blue' tube stock on a run from Derby to Neasden. There's actually picture of the working in at Aylesbury "Rail Portfolios 16, London Transport Railways" by John Glover. I wonder if the photographer (Michael J Collins) also took a picture of the tour, if he did it will be of supremely high quality and very nostalgic if ever I should see it.
Yr webmaster was at Swanbourne that November morning and heres a few selected views
This seems almost unbelievable now but following the 31s, and stopped at the next signal near Bletchley were two 37s on another freight. I can't remember what they were hauling, but maybe cement or fertiliser traffic? Engines were 37117ED a gorgeous looking split box large logo liveried engine and 37200TE. The line is closed today now, but back then one that Saturday morning you had the pleasure of 1 Peak, 2 Peds and 2 Growlers!!!
I am sure that I have kept the itinerary but I'll be blowed if I can remember where. I can remember going over the flyover and from here on it gets pretty sketchy where we actually went to. We carried on towards Bedford and up the MML and we must have passed Toton where I wrote down some numbers and with a bit of cheating as a chap was also calling them out, wrote down the following:
Now whether or not they were all at Toton I can't say. I think that we may have been struggling for time because I can remember a pause in the journey and it was getting dark by now so I think that the furthest north we got was Gainsborough Lea Road. The itinerary had to be cut short and there were no opportunities for any more photos until after we had spun down the ECML and stopped at Finsbury Park for passengers to alight. It was late night by now although there was time for me to take a couple of rough night shots which record a happy memory. A long but enjoyable day and writing these notes don't half put a smile on my face. Ah, them were the days...
Many thanks to Rich Stiles for the words and the on tour phots…