HDL Nene Machine railtour

Saturday 12 May 2012

This article was last modified on Saturday 26 May 2012

[PHOTO: Train and signalbox: 71kB]

Above: The signalman exchanges single-line tokens with the driver of our Nene Machine railtour at Orton Mere, on the Nene Valley Railway. Photo by Ian McDonald.

Hastings Diesels Limited’s 53rd public railtour was from Hastings to Peterborough and the Nene Valley Railway.

This railtour called at our usual stations from Hastings to Bromley South, then Kensington Olympia, skirting round North London to reach the East Coast Main Line for the run to Peterborough; there, it transferred onto the preserved Nene Valley Railway, which it traversed in its entirety. Return was by the same route, except that we used the Hertford Loop line.

On the outward leg we were delayed by signalling problems on the approach to Crowhurst, but had regained “right time” by Bromley South. Although we waited for an Up East Coast train at Peterborough on the return, and had to follow a stopping train round the Hertford Loop, we were on time joining the North London Line. Unfortunately one of our passengers was taken ill and required an ambulance, which was arranged to meet the train at Orpington; an hour’s delay was incurred, of which 13 minutes was regained by Hastings.

Historical data

The train was formed thus: 60118-60501-69337-70262-60529-60116, with motor coach 60116 Mountfield leading on departure from Hastings.

The publicity leaflet, timings, Nene Valley times and map of the railtour route remain available.

Cab video footage

Video footage from a forward-facing camera mounted in the cab has been made available via the links below. Further investment in anti-vibration equipment has resulted in eminently more watchable video images. The video material at these links is © Copyright Andy Armitage 2012.


Various photographers have taken video-footage depicting this railtour and have uploaded it to YouTube; the following are links to some starting-points but do not represent a definitive collection:


[PHOTO: Train in station: 58kB]

Above: Prior to departure from Hastings station, Mick Tester gives the engine-room door-handle a final polish. Mick’s handiwork in the Hastings vehicles is much in evidence, as documented in the news article ‘Refreshing the interior’.

[PHOTO: Train in cutting: 85kB]

Above: As it heads north up the East Coast Main Line, 1001 is captured at Woolmer Green by the camera of Greg Beecroft. In his book The Hastings Diesels Story, published in 1986 by the Southern Electric Group, Greg had included an historic photograph of 1001 at the same location. He writes,

This is the spot where David Percival photographed the original 1001 en route to Grantham on 6 January 1968. The picture appears on page 54 of ‘The Hastings Diesels Story’. The text is correct in saying that the run was from Finsbury Park; the photo caption is wrong in saying Grove Park.

Quite a lot has changed at Woolmer Green since 1968. The line has been resignalling and electrified. The signalbox and semaphore signals have gone. The two track to four track junction has been moved north, allowing considerable encroachment by vegetation. The change in layout enabled higher-speed turn outs to be used, so although the two track section is a bit longer than previously, trains can pass through it in less time.

[PHOTO: Train approaches on main line: 49kB]

Above & below: The railtour passes Offord, between St. Neots and Huntingdon on the East Coast Main Line. Photos by Ian McDonald.

[PHOTO: Train passes on main line: 60kB]

[PHOTO: Train and semaphore signal: 75kB]

Above: Ian McDonald was also on hand at Longueville Junction, to witness the arrival of our train onto the Nene Valley Railway.

[PHOTO: Trains in countryside: 64kB]

Above: The Nene Valley Railway’s 4F steam locomotive 44422 heads a train to Peterborough, as our railtour is about to pass it and head off onto the preserved line. Taken at Longueville Junction by David Pond.

[PHOTO: Steam and diesel trains: 74kB]

Above: Ian McDonald’s photo from nearby shows the same trains just after they passed.

[PHOTO: Train in countryside: 79kB]

Above: About half an hour later, our train returned from Orton Mere on its way east to the terminus at Peterborough. Photo by Ian McDonald.

[PHOTO: Trains in bustling station: 53kB]

Above & below: Two views of Wansford station—home of the Nene Valley Railway—and our train, captured by Andy Armitage.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 51kB]

[PHOTO: Train emerges from tunnel: 57kB]

Above: Our train emerges from the gloom of Wansford Tunnel to approach Yarwell Junction, which is the western extremity of the preserved line. Photo by Roger Gurney.

See also a set of photographs at www.bloodandcustard.org.

See also a set of photographs by Roger Gurney.