HDL Weymouth Envoy railtour

Saturday 20 July 2013

This article was last modified on Sunday 28 July 2013
with additions and updates on 13 August 2014 and 20 February 2015

[PHOTO: Train traversing complex junctions: 64kB]

Above: Our preserved train approaches over the sinuous pointwork into London Waterloo, on the outward leg of our Weymouth Envoy railtour.

Hastings Diesels Limited’s 57th public railtour was from Hastings to Weymouth, via London Waterloo. It became virtually sold out within just a few days of being advertised, with Club Class accommodation proving to be in particularly high demand.

After traversing the Linford Street curve built for the original Eurostar operation, our train served London Waterloo before running the entire length of the L&SWR main line. Excellent timekeeping was maintained throughout. In spite of the very warm weather, whose effects were partially relieved by the ability to open windows throughout the train (!), a good day out was reported by our passengers. Thank you to you all for coming along and supporting our endeavours.

Historical data

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

The publicity leaflet, timings and map of the railtour route remain available. The actual running-times as reported through TRUST have also been published.


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: 69kB]

Above: The railtour awaiting departure from Hastings station, with motor coach Tunbridge Wells nearest the camera of Andy Armitage.

[PHOTO: Train passing station: 93kB]

Above & below: With part of the Southampton dockyards visible in the background, we pass Redbridge station (above) and traverse the junction with the line to Romsey and Salisbury (below). Photos by Andrew Cameron.

[PHOTO: Train in urban landscape: 101kB]

[PHOTO: View of coastal bay from train: 50kB]

Above: After serving Bournemouth, we were held briefly at a signal on the causeway across Holes Bay, just west of Poole.

[PHOTO: Train at terminus station: 60kB]

Above: Upon arrival at Weymouth, the train was tidied… Photo by Don Benn.

[PHOTO: Train in terminus platform: 65kB]

Above: … and the water-tanks were refilled from the yellow hose-reels located beneath the platform canopy.

[PHOTO: Overgrown railway, trains in distance: 75kB]

Above: 1001 was then shunted to the Jersey sidings, three-tenths of a mile beyond this vantage-point at the north end of the station car-park. In the foreground is the overgrown Weymouth Quay branch, and the signal giving access to the main line network therefrom.

[PHOTO: Train in siding by main line: 78kB]

Above: A similar view from the Hanover Road footbridge, visible in the previous photo.

[PHOTO: Trains in sidings: 73kB]

Above: This view was actually taken later, and shows our train pulling forward upon departure from Jersey sidings, where it has been alongside a Class 150 Sprinter. Photo by John Chappell.

[PHOTO: Train in grassy siding: 41kB]

Above: Andy Armitage and the other HDL on-board staff stayed with the train while it laid over, and so did not have the opportunity to “go walkabout” in Weymouth. A well-earned sit-down with a cup of tea must have been welcomed at this point!

[PHOTO: Telephoto view of railway tracks: 80kB]

Above: Looking towards Weymouth station (out of shot to the left), we can see the facing points leading to the overgrown Weymouth Quay branch and its red signal, visible towards the upper right.

[PHOTO: Overgrown stretch of railway: 67kB]

Above: From much closer, the red signal DR205 which would give access to the Weymouth Quay branch which is visibly waist-deep in grass at this point. A “STOP” board clipped to the nearside running rail is just visible.

[PHOTO: Seaside street with tram-tracks: 61kB]

Above: The street section of the Quay branch, or Tramway, appears to be in good condition. The overbridge carries a road over the River Wey which is to our right.

Then & now comparison: hover over the image!

[PHOTO: Quayside view in Weymouth from yesteryear: 39kB]

Above: The Weymouth quayside scene as viewed on this day.

Also, hover over this image to see a photo from 1983, borrowed from the History page, showing Hastings units 1032+1017 traversing the Weymouth Quay tramway, with the Thames-Piddle Executive Railtour on Saturday 19 March 1983 (Phil Barnes / HDL collection).

Hover your pointer over this photo (if you are viewing this page using a computer with a pointing device) to see a “Then & now” comparison. Alternatively, the comparison may already be animating for you!

It appears that Phil Barnes was able to climb a small concrete structure in Custom House Quay to achieve his 1983 photo which was taken from a higher vantage-point. 30 years and 4 months later, it was not possible to reach the same location as the staircase to its upper level has been closed off.

It is a pity that the 2013 photo does not show our train too…!

[PHOTO: View of seaside and sandy beach: 55kB]

Above: Our seaside destination has sandy beaches, with holidaymakers enjoying the sunshine for as far as the eye could see along the shoreline of Weymouth bay.

[PHOTO: Trains in station platform: 62kB]

Above: 1001 was routed back into platform 3 “on top of” another service for its return working.

[PHOTO: Train in major station: 70kB]

Above: Don Benn captured motor coach Mountfield at London Waterloo as the tour awaited signal clearance for the final leg back to Hastings.

Weymouth Quay branch

The Weymouth Quay branch was last used in 1999. If it were still available for use in 2013 (and the extra cost not unduly exorbitant!) of course we should have liked to traverse it in our train. As noted above, a pair of Hastings DEMUs did make such a visit during the Thames-Piddle Executive Railtour of Saturday 19 March 1983; another pair of Hastings DEMUs which lingered on after the main fleet’s withdrawal (a four-car unit from 1011, and six-car unit 1013) also visited Weymouth Quay during the Hastings Diesel Swansong Railtour of 8 August 1987.

Instead, any visits to the tramway had to be made on foot: this is precisely what your reporter did during part of the baking-hot afternoon of 20 July 2013. The result is a Photographic Survey of the mothballed Weymouth Quay branch, five photos of which are also reproduced on this page.

Further photos