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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Passenger Train to Leiston1

We've all done it - get to the station praying that the train is late as usual and of course the day you want it to be late it's bang on time and you watch it disappear into the ether. Normally there's another one you can catch so it's not a total disaster. However had you missed your train to Saxmundham at Leiston on Sept 10th 1966 you would have had extra reason to grumble and bemoan your fate. That's because the next passenger train wouldn't arrive for over 51 years. (edit: If you missed the charter in 2007 that is) Now that's an inconvenience.

However on Sunday the wait was over, albeit a charter train. What was meant to be a steam train - The Mayflower - was changed to a Class 37 due to gauging issues, not that I was complaining, and on a very murky Sunday lunchtime it hauled 9 coaches and a Class 47 down the branch from Saxmundham to Sizewell. It was quite a sight although I got the impression many of the spectators - who seem to be conspicuously absent at 2am when the test trains come through - were still expecting a steam loco. I was at Saxmundham station at midday to see the train glide through.

West Coast Rail 37569 leads the Mayflower through Saxmundham.
On the rear was 47580 County of Essex, that I last saw in Stowmarket last year. A good compliment to the 37.

47580 on the rear
It was time to head down the branch, and I made a beeline to the level crossing that Tim and I normally use to photograph the test trains, only to find that I was not alone and many others had also chosen that spot. Not to worry though, room for everyone as the charter approached the crossing, which has to be manually unlocked and operated.

The crossing keeper alights the 37
It really was a sight to see the train at this location. Just a shame the sun couldn't make an appearance.

the Leiston side of the crossing
I headed to Leiston but the train beat me to it, and I decided not to go to Sizewell but get in position on what used to be Leiston station platform. There are no fences or barriers to breach, and with one passenger train every 51 years I don't think the risk factor is too great! Anyhow I waited for what we think was the first 47 ever to traverse the branch. You can still see the old sidings from the platform
The siding at Leiston
The 47 waiting to cross the main road at Leiston
And then it came in, the first passenger train at Leiston heading for Saxmundham for over 51 years (edit: Shhh 2007 didn't happen). It felt quite surreal. I just wish I could go back in time to see that station in its heyday, taking holidaymakers to Thorpeness and Aldburgh.

What a magnificent sight.
The train waited a few minutes for the crossing to be locked shut until the next test train makes a visit, and then was gone. Peace descended on Leiston station once more. How long until the next passenger train? I truly hope it's not another 51 years as I can't guarantee to be there! (Or even 11 if I'm honest!)

The Mayflower glides out of Leiston
Tim hot footed it to Saxmundham to capture the train heading back up the East Suffolk Line towards Woodbridge. It would be nice if a few more railtour trains headed this way - we have a lot to offer.




17 comments:

  1. this wasnt the first passenger train through leiston in 51 years. One could have got the earlier one in 2007. Unfortunately I missed it and had to wait. Luckily there was a pub down the road to pass the time in http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/00s/070310pt.htm

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    1. Your tab must have been enormous!

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  2. There was a UKR tour down the branch on 10/3/2007. Class 20 haulage

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    1. Thanks - 'd only been in the area a matter o days then, and none of my more local contacts mentioned that trip (stares accusingly!). I'm lucky that I saw a class 20 on the branch just before they stopped doing the flasks but would have loved to have seen that.

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  3. Wow! A class 37? The sizewell branch? They've never featured on this blog before

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    1. You're right! I'll have to feature them a bit more. Of course feel free to email me with things you'd like featured on the blog - I'd be happy to try and oblige.

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  4. which sunday was it

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  5. Megabus launch £1 Two Hour tour of London service

    The press release states it is a £1 fare and the tour takes 2 hours and it does not stop to pick up passengers

    Megabus have already been in trouble with advertising £1 fares when as little as one fare per coach has been available at £1 so could be in trouble again. I suspect though that the £1 fare is just a launch offer for the first week or so. There is no way it can be viable at a flat £1 fare

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    1. The word you have missed out is "from". As long as there are a few seats sold at £1 they are doing nothing wrong. I know someone who went on it yesterday for £1, and as previously stated I have bought many Megabus journeys for £1. It will certainly not be a flat fare of £1 as if it was there woudn't be enough buses in London to cover the demand!

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    2. "From" means nothing now the ASA have upheld this Megabus practice as misleading.

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    3. That will mean everyone who uses "from" which is just about everyone will have to stop using it. I've heard no such announcement.

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    4. No, not necessarily. However, the ASA upheld it for Megabus.

      https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/midland-red--south--ltd-a17-397964.html

      "A significant proportion" - I don't think the ASA would class 3 tickets a trip as significant for a double decker bus, do you?

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    5. As usually they come out with vague terms like significant. Who knows what that means. To me it would mean say at least 25% of tickets should be £1. At present on their Web site prices are either £1, £3 , £5 or £7. Even with that unless they have very high loadings I cannot see how they can make a profit

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  6. Bosch claim to have cracked the diesel emission problem, They claim they can fit it to new vehicle's now. It cannot be retrofit though

    If it can deliver on the claims it makes it puts diesel ahead of petrol as the cleanest fuel

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/103331/new-bosch-tech-drastically-cuts-diesel-nox-emissions

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  7. New York To Trial Double Deck Buses to Ease Congestion

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/london-buses-drafted-in-to-solve-new-yorks-gridlock-crisis-a3823081.html

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  8. Andrew Kleissner4 May 2018 at 18:39

    Interestingly there is still a train path for Sizewell in the current working timetable - 6L70 arriving at 10 am. There are also paths for Sandite and maintenance trains. Mind you, they're all "Q" paths - "runs as required".

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