I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside (but not for too long)
Many thanks to Gerry for giving us this first-hand report of Lamiel's engine & POB (private-owner brake aka Support Coach) trip to the North Norfolk Railway.
30777 Sir Lamiel moved from its Southall base to the North Norfolk Railway on Thursday the 2nd September to attend the three day gala there. It had been booked by the Railway Touring Company to work the outward leg of the Dorset Coast Express the previous day. However, this was reallocated to 44932 a few days beforehand. This loss of a charter hire fee means that Lamiel's bank balance won't be as healthy as anticipated.
30777 left Southall at around midday last Thursday, with support coach 14099 and West Coast diesel 37516 in tow. The diesel was required to haul Lamiel and the coach between Norwich and Cromer. The route taken was the North London Line, East Coast Main Line to Hitchin, Cambridge, Ely, Norwich (reverse), Cromer (reverse) and Sheringham. The original and socially acceptable timings showed engine and coach arriving at Sheringham around 19.15, having left the diesel at Cromer. Unfortunately someone in Network Rail raised the fact that a Method of Working from NR onto the North Norfolk Railway at Sheringham has not yet been agreed and signed off. This led to revised timings coming out in which the move to Cromer was to take place at 00.01, following the last service train over that section of line. This meant that Lamiel was to stand for six (yes six) hours in Cromer station. In the event a stop was made in Ely Up Goods Loop to check the engine round and apply a little more oil, resulting in a path one hour later that planned being taken up.
After shunting at Cromer to release the diesel only four and a half hours remained, leaving everyone thankful for small mercies. Guard Bob Crew, apparently an expert on Cromer fish and chip shops, volunteered to do the supper run for the footplate crew (Jim Clarke and Les Perry) and support crew (Tom, Nick and Gerry). The resulting purchases were found to be of good quality. A constantly boiling kettle provided regular mugs of tea for all concerned but the time passed slowly. Keeping Lamiel's fire in and avoiding the loco blowing off provided occasional relief from boredom but the adjacent Morrisons supermarket closed at eight o'clock, denying the possibility of a supermarket visit to top up supplies and pass away a bit more time.
Eventually the last Class 156 from Sheringham appeared in platform 1 and it was time to go. Sheringham is only 3½ miles from Cromer, which made the wait even more galling. When 70013 Oliver Cromwell hauled the inaugural train over the new crossing in April there were thousands out to witness the spectacle. Everyone anticipated a quiet entrance on this occasion, the time of arrival being 00.12. Not so, for apparently the midnight event had featured on the local televison news earlier that evening. The move over the crossing was accompanied by a myriad of flashes as bystanders made photographic records. The West Coast crew left us here and a NNR crew took over for the ride to Weybourne, where the coach was deposited handily near the station and shed, whilst 30777 was put on the pit for inspection and servicing.
Lamiel didn't get much respite, being off shed at 08.00 the following morning to begin duties at the gala. An intensive service saw the loco working alone and double heading with some of the other participating engines, including the J15. After the gala, 30777 is booked to work at the NNR on the following two weekends, the last one being a "War Weekend". The Method of Working for the Sheringham crossing is not expected to be sorted out until November. This means that when Lamiel makes its proposed move from the North Norfolk Railway to Barrow Hill on the 22nd September it will only be able to move out when there are no service trains about, either very early in the morning or very late at night. We await the timings with trepidation!
By Info | Saturday, September 4, 2010 | Tags : 30777