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HDL Dave Markwick Memorial Tour

Saturday 6 April 2019

This article was opened on 11 April 2019

[PHOTO: Train in trainshed: 144kB]

Above: Our 1956-built train ran a railtour on this day which was named to honour our recently departed friend and colleague Dave Markwick.

Hastings Diesels Limited’s 76th public railtour began at Hastings and visited London Charing Cross, and non-passenger lines both on the Isle of Grain and at Angerstein Wharf.

This outing was named to honour our recently departed friend and colleague Dave Markwick, who played an active role at Hastings Diesels and at St. Leonards Depot right from the earliest days of our preservation efforts right up to his final day.

Our outward journey harked back to the BR era of our train, with a run up the Hastings Line via Tonbridge and Orpington, and it was supposed to be a ‘fast’ run from Tonbridge to Charing Cross. Unfortunately, while we were held at a red signal at London Bridge, our driver was informed that the train would not be going any further towards Charing Cross because of a planning error, but that we would wait there until the correct time for our path on the next part of the railtour.

Some rapid communications and good teamwork from our partners at GB Railfreight and the station announcers at Charing Cross ensued; and all 60 of our intending passengers who were awaiting us at Charing Cross travelled to London Bridge on other trains and joined us there.

Our fully laden train set off for the Isle of Grain, turning off the London–Hastings route at Hither Green and running via the Dartford Loop (Sidcup) Line and Gravesend to Hoo Junction. There we turned left onto the 11-mile freight-only branch to Cliffe and Grain. Returning towards London, we took the North Kent Line via Abbey Wood and Woolwich Arsenal to reach Angerstein Wharf, on a short freight-only line to an aggregates terminal in the Port of London.

Retracing our steps again, we followed the North Kent Line once more, east through Abbey Wood as far as Slade Green, before turning right onto the Bexleyheath Line, running via Eltham to reach Blackheath, Lewisham, and ultimately London Charing Cross. Thus, in the course of the middle part of this outing we traversed all three Dartford Lines!

At long last we did this time visit Charing Cross as planned. Our return to Hastings was via New Cross Gate and the Brighton Main Line as far as Redhill, then cutting across to Tonbridge via Godstone. Return to Hastings was at the very respectable time of 17:45.

Our train ran faultlessly and kept almost perfectly to time throughout the railtour, though we were unable to capitalise on early running during the return leg because of other trains which were quite reasonably pathed ahead of us at junctions. We covered 232 miles and 38 chains in passenger service, and the railtour was sold out. We ran under cloudy skies for parts of the day, and encountered some light rain in the Redhill area.

Historical data

The train was formed thus: 60118-60501-69337-70262-60529-60116, with motor coach 60118 Tunbridge Wells leading upon departure from Hastings; because of the intricacies of the route around the Dartford Lines, we had become turned round by the time we approached Charing Cross for the second time, so 60118 led back to Hastings too.

The publicity leaflet and timings remain available, as does the geographic sketch map of our route which was produced for this outing. The actual running times have also been saved.

An annotated extract from Network Rail’s Sectional Appendix was produced for this outing. We are aware that our precise actual route (i.e. which track we traversed on certain complex areas of layout) may be at variance with the pre-guessed route shown here in a few places; these will be corrected in due course as the cab video footage is prepared.

Cab video footage

We mounted unattended unmonitored forward-facing cameras in both cabs of the train, and recorded the forward view for the entire outing from Hastings back to Hastings via Grain.

For the middle part of the journey there was more than one member of staff in the cab (a route-conductor) making the leading-cab soundtrack unusable for our purposes, so we have also recorded audio from the rear cab which will be precisely synchronised and combined with the video footage where necessary.

We haven’t prepared the footage yet (see our YouTube channel for other such footage); we will get to it in due course, once the backlog of previous material has been worked through. It will then be linked from this page as well as freely searchable via our YouTube channel.

Videos

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:

Photos

Photos on this page were taken by Richard Griffin unless otherwise stated.

[PHOTO: Train saloon interior: 141kB]

Above & below: The saloon interior of motor coach 60118 Tunbridge Wells (top) and the exterior of motor coach 60116 Mountfield

[PHOTO: Train in depot: 154kB]

[PHOTO: Train plus shard: 36kB]

Above & below: Robin White captured these two views of our train during our unscheduled reversal at London Bridge station. Few could have imagined the coexistence of, far less the physical juxtaposition of, the Hastings DEMU and The Shard!

[PHOTO: Green train at London Bridge station: 49kB]

[PHOTO: Level crossing with signal box: 27kB]

Above: This frame-grab from our cab-video camera shows our passage across the roadway at Grain level crossing, just short of the site of Grain station which was the farthest extent of our journey on this day.

[PHOTO: ploughmans lunch: 111kB]

Above & below: Club Class catering crewmember Jamie Crouch photographed these examples of the ploughmans lunch, and (below) its vegetarian counterpart, which were served to nearly 80 customers at their seats as we returned from Grain. The service also included a dessert, regular tea/coffee rounds, and wine with the meal.

[PHOTO: vegetarian lunch: 109kB]

[PHOTO: Freight sidings ahead: 32kB]

Above: The aggregates sidings at Angerstein Wharf were the slightly unsalubrious backdrop to the Club Class dinner…

[PHOTO: footpath railway crossing seen from train: 51kB]

Above: …but the people who came to view our train at this rare London footpath railway crossing near Angerstein Wharf doubtless enjoyed it!

[PHOTO: Trains at Charing Cross: 49kB]

Above: Charing Cross station has changed over the years, but our Hastings DEMU (with its 4-BIG Buffet Car visible alongside the camera here) first plied its trade over the metals to this spot in 1957. On this occasion we were worked into platform 1, stopping just short of the under-cover section.

[PHOTO: train in station: 51kB]

Above: Stephen Carr kindly supplied this photo showing clearly the iconic slab-sided look of our DEMU at the equally unmistakable location of Charing Cross. It was good to be back!

[PHOTO: Train approaching: 59kB]

Above & below: Keith Hemsley braved some light rain to capture these views of our train as it passed Holmethope substation, on the approach to Redhill (visible in the distance below).

[PHOTO: Train receding under signal gantry: 52kB]

[PHOTO: Train approaching: 58kB]

Above & below: Irvine Cresswell snapped our train as it passed Edenbridge, on the Redhill–Tonbridge line. Our driver kindly displayed headcode number 22 (in spite of our official headcode of 1Z64), in deference to the Hastings DEMUs’ habitual route number 22 which is the Hastings–Charing Cross service.

[PHOTO: Train passing station: 37kB]

[PHOTO: Detail of train in station: 46kB]

Above: At Hastings station, home once more.