Monday 16 March 2015

Just Another Manic Monday

Thanks to Prince for the headline (he wrote it, not the Bangles) because it just about sums up today perfectly as this particular Monday resulted in quite a wild train chase. Those who read this blog regularly will know that due to my location spontaneous travel isn't easy. I have to book trips well in advance and this has some disadvantages. The most common one is that most loco movements are not confirmed until the day before they happen, so it is pure luck if I am out in the right area to see anything.

So today I noticed that there was a freight movement up the Mid Norfolk Railway from Wymondham to Dereham involving a Class 57 bringing ballast from Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire. It was timed to leave Wymondham at 1234 and as I had booked last week to head into Norfolk that gave me just about enough time to get from Halesworth to Norwich and jump on a 3 to a little place called Kimberley near Hingham, where the MNR crosses the road. It seemed the ideal place to get a decent pic.

The journey involved getting the 62 from Halesworth to Beccles, which is just about my favourite of them all, as everyone is so happy on that bus. The efforts of Wayne help, who is clearly very popular with his passengers. At the moment roadworks (surprise) mean a section of the route can't be served so time (10 mins) is waited for at a tiny village by the name of Redisham. I doubt many buses have been photographed there so it seemd like a good opportunity! The reason it is on the kerb is that the road is pretty narrow and large farm vehicles regularly use it.

Anglian 107 waiting time in Redisham
After a ride on BorderBus's new E200 to Norwich - those seats really are deceptively comfortable - it was on the 3 to Kimberley and it is now I have the enjoyable task of praising the actions of an individual driver. I know a few guys from Konect read this, so I have no problems revealing that this was the 1145 service 3 from Norwich. A blind gentleman had got on with his guide dog, and when he got off in Earlham Rd, which is one of the main arteries out of Norwich, the driver donned his hi-vis, stopped the traffic and helped the elderly chap and his dog across the road. Well done and thank you. It was wonderful to see.

He also knew exactly where I was going (which I didn't), and was braking to stop before I realised we were there. A class act and one Konect should be proud of/ Anyway I wandered up onto the platform realising what a great choice of location I had made when a man walked out of the house opposite and told me the darn thing was still loading its ballast and was at least two hours late. After getting some help from my mate Tim, who had a much better internet signal than I did, I realised my only chance of seeing this train would be to go to Wymondham and try to catch it there before it disappeared up the MNR. This meant getting the next bus (an hour later) to Watton, getting off and back on it to go to Wymondham. Sadly Real Time Trains had already told me the train was due to leave Wymondham 20 mins before the bus got in.

Coach Services Scania Omnicity YN03 UWK at Watton unusually on the normally E200 operated 81 to Thetford

 I kept updating the train's progress from the bus, and luck changed when it was delayed a further 45 mins which meant I would get to see it after all. And so I got to Wymondham Station just in time to catch another freight passing through, with an EWS 66 on the front.

66170 passes through Wymondham Station in very hazy sunshine heading for Crown Point
A few mins later and my chasing was rewarded when 57301 came into view hauling 10 wagons of ballast for the MNR, which surprised them no end as they'd only ordered 8!

57301 arrives at Wymondham with her ballast trucks

And from the other side fcing away from the sun.
So the chase ended in success.these locos won't be around for much longer so it was good to see one doing some work in the flesh. The trucks were eventually taken up the MNR by their own 47367, which sadly due to time constraints I was unable to photo.

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