The ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘Scotsman’ in the Chilterns
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.
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.
HICCUPS ALONG THE WAY
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
THE LAYOUT AT TEMPLECOMBE ENABLES THE TRANSITION FROM DOUBLE TO SINGLE TRACK TO BE TAKEN AT SPEED IN THE UP DIRECTION
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’.