I started off by driving to Acle station, where at 0859 precisely the two sets meet. The meeting is guaranteed as Acle is a passing place, and so I set up shop and waited. First to arrive were the new kids on the block. 68016 pulling 68019 en route from Yarmouth. Shortly the daddies arrived from Norwich, 37019 with 37405. Nowhere else in the country is this view possible on a daily basis on National Rail lines.
|37419 and 68019 say hello at Acle|
I waited half hour for the 37's to return and caught them to Norwich. Sitting near the front the sound is just incredible. 37405 was thrashing away and I felt a real sense of exhilaration. On arrival at Norwich I had a few minutes to get some pretty unique pics.
|37419 and 68019 ready for their next journeys with some plastic thingy in the middle|
|68019 and 170206 at Lowestoft|
Anyway I had to get back to Acle so caught the 1236 to Yarmouth, with 37419 sounding even better than 37405 did earlier. This time there was time at Yarmouth for some pics.
|37405 in the heat at Great Yarmouth|
Since the heat had put pay to anymore riding the fact that the 68's were doing the 1405 to Lowestoft meant that consecutive trains would be the 2 short sets. I thought it might be quite good to get them on video at Oulton Broad North, going across the level crossing, so a pleasant drive from Acle later and I was in position to catch the sets going both ways. First up were the 68's. I love the next pic with the brand new locos passing the semaphore signal - a mix of 2 eras.
|68016 trailing heading to Lowestoft|
|68016 powers over Oulton Broad North crossing|
30 mins later and history repeated itself. This time with the 37's, and as you will see from the next pic it's only the liveries that mean you can tell the pic was taken yesterday, not 45 years ago. It's truly amazing these old girls are still going so strong.
|1971 or 2016? Lovely!|
And that was that - one of the most enjoyable days I can remember for ages. The 37's will be hanging around for sometime, but I don't know about the 68's as they were only meant to be here till September. However with Greater Anglia winning the new franchise I hope their stay is extended too.
One thing I;d love to know is how much extra revenue these loco hauled services are bringing in from enthusiasts, the huge majority of whom sit down btw. Every time I've seen or been on one of the Short Sets there has been a load of passengers who are only travelling because of the locos involved. It would be nice if they were paying for themselves which could persuade GA to keep their live museum rolling. Don't miss the opportunity to ride and see these trans for yourselves - it really is a unique experience not available anywhere else..