The Wandering Willow railtour

Saturday 30 October 2010

This article was closed on 9 January 2011

[PHOTO: Loco and DEMU in trainshed-terminus: 50kB]

Above: The class 66 locomotive heads our train at London Bridge station on the return leg of the railtour.

As was the case one year previously, our train was used by GB Railfreight for a charity railtour in the London & south-east area. This time the outing was called The Wandering Willow, in aid of The Willow Foundation.

The outing ran from Hastings to London Bridge and down to Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Ardingly stone terminal, Newhaven Marine, Brighton, and returning to Hastings via London Bridge. Our train was set to be topped and tailed by Class 66 and 73 locomotives.

The train was formed thus: 66712 + 60116-60529-70262-69337-60501-60118 + 73141, with motor coach 60116 Mountfield leading on departure from Hastings with the Class 73 being dragged at the rear of the train; the Class 66 was collected at Tonbridge station, and it led to London Bridge on the outward leg of the trip.

On approach to Ford, the Electro-diesel Class 73 locomotive developed a fault with the control gear for its operation from the 750V DC third rail, and reverted to diesel power for the remainder of the trip to Bognor, and the departure from Littlehampton; the train was then specially reversed at Ford Junction to turn it round so that the Class 66 could lead onto the Brighton main line.

After the visit to the truncated Ardingly branch, 73141 was removed and left at Haywards Heath in the Down siding beside the tunnel-mouth, for collection later in the week. Our train worked under its own power when leading on the way down to Newhaven and up to London Bridge, as well as for the last stretch from Tonbridge back to Hastings—where the train arrived on time. Our DEMU became “turned” in the course of the day’s activities.


[PHOTO: Train under trainshed roof in sunshine: 68kB]

Above: Electro-Diesel locomotive 73141 waits at the head of our train in morning sunshine at London Bridge.

[PHOTO: coupler between train and locomotive: 44kB]

Above: All kitted out by English Electric: our DEMU is coupled to the Class 73, as seen above at Littlehampton…

[PHOTO: Semaphore signals: 59kB]

Above: …where semaphore signals are still in use.

[PHOTO: Train approaching in multi-track cutting: 90kB]

Above & below: At Copyhold Junction, just north of Haywards Heath, the train diverges from the Brighton to London main line and curves off down to the right towards Ardingly. Photographs by Phil Barnes.

[PHOTO: Train receding off main-line onto branch: 96kB]

[PHOTO: Track-level view of train in cutting: 84kB]

Above & below: The end of the operational railway at Ardingly is at a stone/aggregates terminal served by goods trains; our train is seen the cutting of the former Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes line, much of which is the subject of a preservation attempt by the Bluebell Railway.

[PHOTO: Track-level view of train in cutting: 100kB]

[PHOTO: Train approaching in 4-track cutting: 85kB]

Above & below: Upon its return from Ardingly, the train passes the pointwork at Copyhold Junction and heads back to Haywards Heath. Photos by Phil Barnes.

[PHOTO: Train receding in 4-track cutting: 80kB]

[PHOTO: Trains in station after rain-shower: 52kB]

Above: Back at Haywards Heath station, the ailing Class 73 locomotive was detached; motor coach Tunbridge Wells now led and so carried the headboard.

[PHOTO: Train at level crossing in countryside: 77kB]

Above: Now running under its own power, 1001 is seen passing through fantastic scenery at Southease on the way to Newhaven Marine. Photo by Paul Nash.

[PHOTO: Train in magnificent trainshed-terminus: 80kB]

Above: Sheer elegance as seen at Brighton station!

[PHOTO: Train passing on embankment: 31kB]

Above: On the final run up to London, our train is seen powering past on an embankment just north of Redhill, on the Quarry Lines. Photo by Keith Hemsley.