The ‘Water­loo Sun­set’ and ‘Scots­man’ in the Chilterns

Steam Railway (UK) - - Contents -

The last two ‘Top Link’ col­umns have fea­tured Bournemouth line run­ning 50 years apart, com­mem­o­rat­ing the end of steam in 1967 and its cur­rent resur­gence on main line spe­cials. To con­clude this South­ern in­ter­lude, Ta­ble 1, on page 86, features Clan Line’s re­turn run on UK Rail­tours’ ‘Water­loo Sun­set’ tour on July 9 from Yeovil Junc­tion to Water­loo via the Portsmouth Di­rect Line (the out­ward run was de­scribed in SR470). I have tab­u­lated only the Yeovil Junc­tion to Sal­is­bury and Ha­vant to Hasle­mere sec­tions as the schedule was rather lax be­tween Sal­is­bury and Ha­vant, with many checks en­coun­tered. Wayne Thomp­son was the driver as far as Sal­is­bury, ac­com­pa­nied by Matt Hunt as Fire­man and Tom Rees as Trac­tion In­spec­tor. The prin­ci­pal climbs in this di­rec­tion are out of Sher­borne (1-in-80); from Mile­post 109¾ across Black­moor Vale to the east end of Buck­horn We­ston Tun­nel (1-in-100); and from Gilling­ham to Sem­ley (1-in-130/114/100). Load­ing pas­sen­gers at Sher­borne took far longer than the al­lowance and we de­parted 6min late.

eX­ceL­LeNt tIm­INGs

Out of Sher­borne, No. 35028 first at­tained 27½mph on the 1-in-80, then fell back to 25½mph. The eas­ing of the grade through Mil­borne Port en­abled speed to reach 46mph, which was sus­tained up the fi­nal 1-in-170 to the sum­mit at Mile­post 113½. The lay­out at Tem­ple­combe en­ables the tran­si­tion from dou­ble to sin­gle track to be taken at speed in the Up di­rec­tion. With this im­pe­tus, Clan Line was able to com­plete the climb through Buck­horn We­ston Tun­nel at a min­i­mum of 54mph. Our late run­ning, un­for­tu­nately, meant that we were not in Gilling­ham sta­tion in time to cross a Down ser­vice train so we were held out­side for a few sec­onds and passed through at 28mph with­out stop­ping. The climb to Sem­ley, where the min­i­mum was 38mph, was quite good with this load hav­ing started at a rel­a­tively low speed through Gilling­ham. The grad­ual de­scent from Sem­ley down the Nad­der Val­ley was ac­com­plished with speeds in the mid 70s, save for a min­i­mum of 68½mph on the brief rise to Mile­post 89. De­spite the fi­nal 2.60 miles from Wil­ton South oc­cu­py­ing 6min, the ar­rival at Sal­is­bury was 11¼min early. For the con­tin­u­a­tion from Sal­is­bury to Water­loo via Ha­vant, Rob Bin­sted and Gra­ham Ward took over driv­ing and fir­ing du­ties re­spec­tively, while Tom Rees con­tin­ued his stint as Trac­tion In­spec­tor. The main in­ter­est on the re­main­der of the run was the per­for­mance on the Portsmouth Di­rect line. The sec­ond part of Ta­ble 1 shows the run­ning from pass­ing Ha­vant to the wa­ter stop at Hasle­mere. The time of 15min 28sec from Ha­vant to pass Peters­field was ex­cel­lent with this load since

it in­cludes the al­most con­tin­u­ous 8-mile climb from Ha­vant to Bu­ri­ton sum­mit. En­ter­ing Bu­ri­ton Tun­nel there was a 30mph re­stric­tion for the lo­co­mo­tive but the 1-in-80 to the sum­mit had brought speed down to 33mph any­way.


Un­for­tu­nately, with enough time in hand for a punc­tual ar­rival at the Hasle­mere wa­ter stop, there was an in­ci­dent with the au­to­matic warn­ing sys­tem (AWS) just short of Mile­post 44 which caused a sud­den brake ap­pli­ca­tion and a 5min stop lead­ing to a 9min late ar­rival, dur­ing which time the 20.48 Portsmouth Har­bour-Water­loo stop­ping ser­vice over­took and was al­lowed to pre­cede. Once he had the road, Driver Bin­sted ac­cel­er­ated the Bulleid to 76mph down the 1-in-100 from Hasle­mere, but soon en­coun­tered sig­nals caused by the EMU ahead. A track cir­cuit fail­ure at


Farn­combe and more sig­nals made the train 31min late at Wok­ing. The last stint of en­er­getic per­for­mance took place leav­ing Wok­ing, where No. 35028 made an ex­cel­lent start, re­call­ing the ex­cep­tional ex­ploits of the last days of steam. We passed West Byfleet (2.65 miles) at 62mph in 4min 24sec, Byfleet & New Haw (3.95 miles) in 5min 34sec at 68½mph and Wey­bridge (5.20 miles) in 6min 42sec with a min­i­mum of 66mph up the 1-in-330, and just touched 69mph be­fore ad­verse sig­nals were sighted at Wal­ton, re­duc­ing speed to 58mph. I was tim­ing from the last coach, so faster times would have been recorded by those trav­el­ling far­ther for­ward. A fi­nal 70mph be­tween Esher and Hampton Court Junc­tion took us through Sur­biton (12.30 miles) in 13min 15sec at 67mph be­fore a litany of fur­ther checks re­sulted in a Water­loo ar­rival 28½min late; a sad end to an en­gross­ing day.


Four days be­fore its July 9 ex­ploits, Clan Line de­parts Water­loo with the ‘Bournemouth Belle’.


In re­cent months, Fly­ing Scots­man has re­turned to for­mer LNER and BR-era ter­ri­tory. This sum­mer it has also been back on fa­mous Cum­brian moun­tain haunts, seen here at Sel­side with the Au­gust 13 ‘Waver­ley’.

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