Thursday, 29 September 2016

If You Wait Long Enough.....

If you cast your minds back to last week you'll recall that I spent a pleasant but futile hour with Tim at a remote level crossing near Leiston waiting for the Class 950 test train to take a sortie down the Sizewell branch. How I cursed when this morning my alarm rudely dragged me from my slumber to announce it was precisely a week since it had woken me to go test train chasing. However I had clearly forgotten to deactivate the alarm for a reason as I found multiple messages from Tim telling me another effort was being made to go down the branch this morning, this time with a Class 57 loco.

And so a repeat journey was made to Saxmundham first, where this time I made sure I was on the right platform to get the best view of 57301 and token trailer arrive.

Here is a still from the vid showing Goliath in the platform

57301 "Goliath" at Saxmundham
Some of you may be wondering what the odd coupling at the front of the 57 is for. The 57's are normally based along the West Coast Mainline at Wembley, Crewe, Preston/Lancaster and Carlisle and are nicknamed Thunderbirds as they are used to rescue Virgin's Class 390 Pendolinos when needed. The Pendos have strange couplings hence the odd looking fronts of the 57's.

Anyway, again following in last weeks tyre tracks I headed down to the same crossing near Leiston, and set up camp again.

The Sizewell Branch near Leiston - would Goliath make it down?
This time all went to plan. After a tense wait I saw some lights in the distance and got ready. the first train down the line for roughly 9 months and almost certainly the first Class 57 to visit Sizewell.

The member of train crew who had the job of jumping down and operating the crossings said this was just a run to keep the line open, and he hadn't heard of any increase in traffic on the branch, which is a shame, but we shall see. I did take another vid of Goliath heading off into the distance but unfortunately my memory card decided to run out making that vid is stupidly short, so here is a still from it. Thanks for the alert, Tim, and sorry you couldn't make it there yourself mate.

57301 Goliath heads off towards Sizewell under very murky skies


  1. Lovely! I wonder what the timing of this train was. There is still a conditional "Q" working in the timetable for train 6L70, dep. Saxmundham 09.10 arr. Sizewell 10.00. Clearly the return working was a "special" as the timetabled return working doesn't leave Sizewell until 15.42. Presumably this working was to prove statutorily that the line is still open - like walking an overgrown public footpath.

    1. Hi Andrew, Both pathways were used today to accommodate the 57, so yes she had a long lunch in Sizewell then departed at 1542.

  2. Ah, I'd assumed it came straight back. Thanks.