Won't be a test train starting at Crewe, I deduced, plus it's operated by DRS not Colas. There was only one thing it could be - Network Rails Observation coach 975025 "Caroline", who no one can remember coming to these parts before. Now here's where I'm honest - I'm not totally sure what Caroline's role is, apart from to treat various industry people to a novel ride being pushed by a Class 37. But if she was coming I wanted to see her, however, due to a prior commitment this morning I couldn't chase her all over the place like I normally would have, so yesterday I drove to Harling Road to see her on her journey from Crewe, and this morning I was at Saxmundham. Tim covered for me at Beccles, and Acle, and my word he has got some belters!
I've never seen Caroline before in the flesh - at least I don't think so. You'd think in 5 years working for Southeastern I'd have seen her but I truly don't recall it. So I got to my favourite haunt of Harling Road, knowing I'd have the station to myself, and got ready. She was near enough on time, and soon came into view, pushed by the gleaming 37409.
|37409 pushes Caroline across Harling Rd crossing
|Caroline passing through Harling Rd Station
So at 0900 I was at Saxmundham, expecting Caroline to stop as booked, but no, she sailed gracefuly through, pushed by her new shiny friend.
|Caroline glides through Saxmundham
|This time propelled by 37407
20 miles or so down the line and Tim was waiting for her at Beccles, although he was hampered by difficult light, and isn't very happy with these.
Tim needn't have worried. I had worked out that Caroline would pass the Short Set at Acle, which, again, was an opportunity that may never happen again. I'm happy to say that Tim has got some of the best pics I've ever seen, and that shot of the 2 large logos together of 37407 and 424 is an absolute masterpiece. Thanks, Tim - gutted I missed it myself but wow!
|Side by side 37407 & 424 at Acle
|Iconic, just iconic
|The forgotten loco 37405 also on the Short Set
That was a nice surprise, and a good way to break my drought of posts. However, you won't have long to wait for the next one. I'm in the big smoke tomorrow, finding out just how far you can travel for £1.50! Here it's a couple of stops but in London.....watch this space!