Saturday 29 April 2017

Who Needs A Diesel Gala!!!!

Before I start a couple of parish notices. Firstly I have been contacted by an operator explaining why there was a lack of attendance from local operators at the recent Ipswich Bus Rally. I now understand the situation and apologise to the operators I criticised. I hope the situation can be resolved so next year's event can be better attended for the sake of the organisers and visiting public. It was not, I must emphasise due to a lack of willingness from the operators or lack of enthusiastic drivers.

Secondly I think I have identified my anonymous abuser. The same name has been suggested by more than one party. I'm delighted it's no one of any importance within the industry whatsoever, and I will no longer subject you to his insane and spiteful rantings. I'm sorry I had to in the first place but I thought that might be the only way to get hm unmasked as others would recognise his style. It seems to have worked so let's all move on. He's not worth it.

Tim and I were due to camp out at Kimberley Park today, watching diesels of many shapes and colours go past as part of Mid Norfolk Railway's Spring Diesel Gala. However, due to circumstances way beyond MNR's control, nearly all the visiting locos had to pull out, meaning the event was severely reduced, and MNR are hoping to reschedule the gala for later in the year. DRS saved the day by sending 37424 (558) and 57007 but there were no 31's, 56's or whatever Rail Operations Group were going to send, so we decided not to go, particularly taking into account the mainline Diesel Gala we witnessed on Thursday.

The network Rail Test Train comes to our area every 4 weeks. However it starts the week away from its base in Derby on the Monday, passing Railcam's Peterborough camera, so we know what locos to expect well in advance. A treat was in store this week with the freshly repainted 37254 and what I confess to be my favourite loco of any class, anywhere, green 37057. I was determined to snap this train in more locations than ever, so after spending the morning on social duties taking an elderly friend (no, not Tim) shopping and hospital visiting I sought my first location to the west of Trowse Jct by the river. A nice calm spot I will certainly use again, but before the 37's arrived I found myself in a field of very tall grass and got a couple of East Midlands Class 158's passing from an unusual angle.

Decided that would be no good for the 37's so went back to the river and waited for the tell tale rumble. It was at this point a family of squirrels - 5 of them decided to have playtime in the tree above me. I have a soft spot for squirrels so thank God you can hear a 37 coming a mile off or I'd never have been ready to take this vid! 37254 was leading, until recently in Swallow livery. She looks superb in Colas colours but still wish they'd left her as she was, Her uniqueness has been stripped.

The joy of videos is you can find the perfect still. Had I tried to get this shot with the train travellng at speed I would never have managed. However, I love this shot, which reminds me of those pics you see of man eating tigers lurking barely visible in the undergrowth.

The shy, retiring Class 37 lurking!
Knowing the train would stop a while in Norwich I headed to Postwick Park & Ride site, hoping that the Test Train might pass the Greater Anglian Short Set there. Alas not to be, but this time with 37057 leading the Test Train went past on unwelded track, bringing back memories of the past.

I wanted to get a shot from the Acle Straight, and was in luck. I had time to get halfway down the Straight to the bend - yes I know that sounds wrong but if you know the Acle Straight you'll know where I mean, where there is a bridge. I got on the bridge and waited 2 mins and took this. Couldn't dash across as a car was coming, hence the dodgy camerawork near the end.

It was this video that has provided the new header pic, and I don't think I'll better it for a very long time. Getting that still was worth the day on its own.

I got to Yarmouth veg market sorry Station and met up with Tim, who was there with a gaggle of other snappers. I took the opportunity to get a couple of shots of my favourite 12 wheeler!

37957 at Great Yarmouth
We were then joined by the Class 68 Short Set, now with Anglia MkII coaches. This could be the last time a double headed Class 68 meets the Test Train, as it's rumoured from May a DVT will be used on the set.

68011 brings in the Class 68 Short Set passing 37254
68003 pulls away from Yarmouth passing 37254
A couple of mins later 37254 idled out of the station still managing to look good!

From there it was to Reedham, as we knew the Test Train was due to wait there for 30 mins, and it was a location neither of us had been to for enthusiast purposes. We met up with newly converted train buff and local radio DJ par excellence Grahame Bessey from East Norfolk Bus Blog and Reedham turned out to be a perfect location. Soon we could hear roaring in the distance and 37057 brought the set in.

I admit to being in awe of the 37's. They look mean, sound mean, and are well over half a century old now. 37057 carries this plate, which rather sums it all up.

Born in 1962, still going strong.
I make no apology for going overboard about this loco. I'm making the most of her being on the mainline for as long as I can, and she is so photogenic I just cannot resist!

37057 at Reedham
The most wonderful half hour then ensued, with both drivers getting out and chatting to us, not just about trains either - one of the drivers is a bird watcher and was fascinated by my visiting peacocks! A great couple of gents, who made the day for my companions, and promised me a show at Darsham later on. It honestly doesn't get much better, a decent conversation at an idyllic location with an idling 37 as a soundtrack! It summed up perfectly why I avoid the madding crowd as much as possible.

Anyway the Test Train rumbled off to Yarmouth again, and 10 minutes later part three of our Diesel Gala arrived in the form of the Greater Anglian Class 37 Short Set. The snarling 37423 was leading with the immaculate large logo 37403 "Isle of Mull" on the back. There was also another funny photo opportunity. After the lurking in the undergrowth earlier in the afternoon 37423 decided to play a game of "peekaboo"!

37423 is an angry beast, and she showed it as she pulled away from Reedham.

Grahame departed and Tim and I returned to Yarmouth, where I picked up the car and drove home, but not for long. I still had one more thing to do and that was my regular video at Darsham. My battery was just about out at this point so I left it to the last second to start it. However the guys didn't disappoint and put on the promised show - cheers gents, hope we meet again soon.

Today on a preserved line with a maximum line speed of 25mpg there were 5 locos. On the mainline, doing proper work on Thursday there were 6 locos. We are so lucky in East Anglia to have these hauled services and I'm going to really make the most of them over the next couple of years. I'm not knocking heritage lines in the slightest - they are working museums and are essential for preserving our railway history. In a few years it will be our only chance to see these magnificent locomotives in action, but until then I'll carry on finding new places to capture the locos for posterity, as I really don't want the same pics as everyone else has. Not much fun in that. My thanks to Tim and Grahame for their company, the Colas drivers for being really nice blokes, the Norfolk Countryside for being so outstanding, but above all to the people who designed and built the Class 37 locos. I hope a lot of you are still around and take a real pride in yourselves whenever you hear one roar away as good as it was when it left the factory. You have brought a lot of people a lot of pleasure. Thank you.

Addendum:  Thanks to Richard Clinnick of RAIL magazine I can confirm that the 68 short set will remain top and tail with a DVT and 2 MkIII's.  This is mainly due to DRS drivers continuing to man the 68's, who don't sign for DVT's! Thanks for the clarification, Richard.

Also to my anonymous friend I'm sure you possess the intelligence to realise I cannot reply to comments I don't publish as then I'd know for sure who you were. Your comments will no longer be published so if you desire a conversation feel free to email me. thanks for being an avid reader of the blog though, and always being one of the first to comment :)


  1. And this is exactly why you do this blog. Days like that don't happen very often,but it is a pleasure to read when everything comes together like that.

  2. Ah, I wonder how many times I have repeated the videos of the 37s so far. It is higher than ten I know that. Great you're still blogging, don't let negative people get you down. I still love reading your blog, though working long hours restricts my time commenting as I would like. Look forward to the next one, I wondered how the peacocks were!

    All the best,

    John D. :)

    1. Many thanks, John, great to hear from you again. Hope you are well.

  3. Andrew Kleissner30 April 2017 at 23:31

    Steve: didn't quite get your comment, do you mean that a DVT will be coupled between one loco and the other carriages? If so, what's the point of that?

    1. I had the same question, Andrew. It's so air conditioned MKIII coaches can be used during the Summer months. Those coaches don't come with a brake van/storage space so a DVT is used. As DRS drivers don't sign DvT's (not trained to drive them) the 68's will continue to work top and tail

      Of course the 37's will still be using un-aircontitioned MKII's just to confuse the issue so I presume those Anglia coaches are needed elsewhere for the Summer months.

    2. As far as I know the Anglia coaches which are Riviera trains stock will be off lease and yes probably out on a charter "near you" in the summer as you say.

  4. Andrew Kleissner1 May 2017 at 22:51

    Thank you ... still a bit baffling but I think I get the picture! I'd forgotten that there are no Mk.III brake vehicles - back in the 70s when I used to travel between Glasgow and London Mk.IIe or fs were used at the end of sets.

    That reminds me of an interesting thing I noted later on the WCML, after DVTs had come into use. The loco was always at the north end; however Motorail vehicles were always coupled at the back of trains which were used for these services. No problem going north, but this meant that southbound services ran with DVT + carriages + loco + Motorail vehicles!

  5. Why not just state that all of the Ipswich Buses senior management were on their holidays, and therefore did not feel they could volunteer staff resource for the rally in their absence? It has been well reported by the organisers that First were invited but did not even reply to the letters. A big supporter of the 2016 event was Jeremy Cooper who has since regrettably moved on. Anyone would think that bloggers are the only folk in the know!

    1. Can't state what I don't know, whoever you are. I don't normally investigate management holiday dates, and if indeed ALL senior IB managers were on their hols then that's pretty bad planning in my opinion.

      As for First you need to ask why they didn't respond to the invitation. If you're in the know I'm sure you won't have to, though, as you'll already know!