HDL Channel Two railtour

Saturday 7 July 2012

This article was last modified on Wednesday 18 July 2012

[PHOTO: Train in historic station: 65kB]

Above: Our train stands in Brunel’s magnificent train-shed at Bristol Temple Meads, on the return leg of our Channel Two railtour.

Hastings Diesels Limited’s 54th public railtour was from Hastings to Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.

This outing called at our usual stations from Hastings to Bromley South, then Clapham Junction, and following the L&SWR route via Ascot to our final pick-up point at Reading station. Thereafter we were on the Great Western Main Line from Reading via Swindon to our desintations of Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads, and onward on the former GWR system to Weston-super-Mare. Return was by the same route.

The trip ran almost exactly to time throughout; often we gained a few minutes, only to lose them when being held to time at various points. We lost just a few minutes at Bristol on the outward journey as a planned crew-change was nearly scuppered by flooding in the Romsey area; Weston-super-Mare was reached about a quarter-hour late. Arrival back at Hastings was one minute early, and 8 minutes early into St. Leonards depot.

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 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 2012 Andy Armitage.


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 trainshed: 53kB]

Above: Our DEMU is greeted by the sunrise when the depot shutters are opened at St. Leonards, on the morning of the railtour. Photo by Andy Armitage.

[PHOTO: headboard on train-front: 66kB]

Above: The railtour’s headboard, with artwork by Andy Armitage. The photo was taken by David Tutton.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 54kB]

Above: 1001 awaits departure from Hastings at the start of the railtour. Depot dog Eddie inspects the train. Photo by Andy Armitage.

[PHOTO: Train at junction: 68kB]

Above: 1001 approaches Wokingham, Berkshire; it has just negotiated the converging junction, coming from our left off the Ascot line to join the route from Guildford. Photo by Stephen Gow.

[PHOTO: Two trains: 62kB]

Above: Our vintage train arrives at Reading with the Channel Two railtour to Weston-super-Mare, as an HST departs for Paddington.

[PHOTO: Train approaching in scenery: 84kB]

Above: Andrew Gainsbury took this superb shot of our train approaching Bath, with motor coach 60116 Mountfield leading.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 55kB]

Above & below: 1001 at Brunel’s ornate train-shed at Bristol Temple Meads station. We were booked to wait there for some 22 minutes, but this was lengthened by both an early arrival, and a slightly late departure as the driver taking over our train had been forced to come by taxi from Romsey because of flooding on the railway!

[PHOTO: Train in station: 60kB]

[PHOTO: Train in station: 62kB]

Above: At the end of the outbound leg of the railtour, our train is ready to depart Weston-super-Mare empty; it ran via Highbridge and Taunton to Bishops Lydeard where the West Somerset Railway staff provided us with water-tank refilling facilities.

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Above: On the empty coaching-stock working from Weston-super-Mare to Bishops Lydeard, David Tutton photographed our train as it passed Puriton.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 57kB]

Above: The empty working paused at Taunton to pick up a pilotman. Photo courtesy of www.bloodandcustard.org.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 83kB]

Above & below: David Tutton caught up with us again at Bishops Lydeard, on the West Somerset Railway.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 89kB]

[PHOTO: Train in station: 53kB]

Above: Andy Armitage’s photo at Bishops Lydeard is highly reminiscent of the headline photo in the news article for the HDL West Somerset Limited railtour, but with one exception: far fewer people! One might be forgiven for supposing that today’s photo was taken out of season, but in fact it really is July–just that the WSR’s train has not arrived yet and, of course, ours did not carry passengers to this point.

[PHOTO: Train passing in countryside: 83kB]

Above: On the return portion of the empty coaching-stock working, David Tutton caught up with our train for a third and final time at Fordgate, between Taunton and Bridgwater.

[PHOTO: Train approaching platform: 71kB]

Above: With motor coach 60118 Tunbridge Wells now leading, our train re-entered the same (no.1) platform at Weston-super-Mare for the return portion of the railtour.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 53kB]

Above: 1001 enters service at Weston-super-Mare for the run back to Hastings. Photo by Andy Armitage.

[PHOTO: Train in historic station: 68kB]

Above & below: We were treated to the unexpected spectacle of our train calling at platform 3, and so being berthed almost fully within Brunel’s train-shed, at Bristol Temple Meads.

[PHOTO: Train in historic station: 62kB]

[PHOTO: Train passing wayside junction: 57kB]

Above: Very good running was achieved on the return along the Great Western Main Line, with prolonged periods of 75mph operation. After rushing through Swindon, we passed beneath the Thornhill Road bridge at Gablecross, South Marston, where Glyn Jones captured us on camera. The railway branch on the right is an industrial railway leading to a “Euro Terminal”.

[PHOTO: Train in station: 65kB]

Above: Back at Reading, where Hampshire/Oxted and “Tadpole” DEMUs used to be a regular feature on the Reading – Basingstoke and Reading – Tonbridge services respectively.

[PHOTO: Trains in station: 64kB]

Above & below: Our DEMU shares Reading station briefly with a First Great Western HST, another Diesel-Electric train of some longevity and success!

[PHOTO: Trains at Reading: 66kB]

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