First of all I had to get there, and I decided to really take the plunge and catch the first train out of Lowestoft, This is because of what was operating it. No, not a short set but an anomaly that occurs six days a week, but is far too early for your average enthusiast. The second train to Norwich on weekdays, and first train on Saturdays is operated by an East Midlands Trains Class 158, which then goes on to form the 0757 from Norwich to Liverpool. Quite why this is I have no idea, but since it meant I could stay on it at Norwich and not have to change it seemed the obvious thing to do. So I arrived at Lowestoft to see the odd sight of an East Midlands train as far East from the Midlands as it's possible to get!
|East Midlands Trains 158810 at Lowestoft
It was Great Northern that had a personal interest for me. Apart from the soon to disappear 317's and 319's there are also the Class 365 Networker Expresses to see. 15 years ago I was working some of these trains for Connex Southeastern, before they were replaced by Class 375 Electrostars and returned to Great Northern. Now history is about to repeat itself, as Class 387 Electrostars are cascading from Thameslink and ousting the current stock. The 365's were destined for Great Western, but the new Electrostars there has put pay to that idea. The 365's are highly underrated trains and there must be use for them somewhere. Here is 365516 looking a bit different to 15 years ago, with a 317 at Peterborough on Saturday.
|365516 at Peterborough
However there were other attractions to be seen, and just after I arrived it was announced a charter train was going to stop en route to Scarborough. Excellent, your trusty reporter thought, steam? 37's? 47's even? Sadly no, nothing nearly as exciting. A pair of sheds, Class 66's to normal people. Slight anticlimax there!
|Looks so wrong doesn't it!
|VTEC 43296 heading North
There was also one other treat in store. It would appear that D6757 enjoyed my review and praise of it so much it followed me to Peterborough, this time on the rear with 37419 leading, and gave a bit of a show as it made its way out. The sun was out again and at last I saw this beauty in all her glory. You can have all the Diesel Galas you like, and of course they have their place, but nothing, I repeat nothing beats seeing these magnificent machines out on the mainline still earning their keep.
I think it's just a shame VTEC haven't commemorated the HST's in the same way GWR have. A trip to Paddington might be required.
Finally a bonus item. The RMT have called off the Strike action on Southern planned for November 3rd following a request by the Royal British Legion. November 3rd is National Poppy Day, and collectors will be at all London Stations. Well played RMT - you couldn't really say no I appreciate as it wouldn't have looked good - but all the same a good gesture. However, it would appear the Daily Mail isn't totally up to speed on the dispute as the headline below shows. You can hear the spluttering from East Croydon (HQ of Southern) as I type. Now exactly who IS calling the strikes......
|Oooookay that's all clear then