Class 321 farewell, April 2023

The Class 321 farewell, Saturday April 29th 2023

A very civilised 0940 tour departure time from Liverpool St saw us all pile aboard shortlyafter 321307 and 321314 arrived with the emcars from Clacton. With a sit where you want policy i bagged a bay of 5 in 321307’s power car (62981). Before departure it became obvious that there was a high (possibly 40%) youngster factor in the consist, the “tic toc” generation i’m told. Some of the younger ones brought their fit mums along! and this added to the scenic attractions the tour was to offer! Makes a change from us grumpy old git consist!

Sensibly routed into platform 7 at Liverpool St punters wait for the doors of 321307 and 321314 to open and join the farewell tour, April 29th 2023

A right time departure, indeed we were to keep perfect timing all day apart from a sharp stop near Billericay to report trespassers on the line that briefly saw us 5 late. Excluding numerous bits of wrong line/crossovers running the rare track for 321’s on this tour included 

Chelmsford Down loop

Colchester goods loop

Manningtree East – North branch

Marks Tey up loop

Witham up loop

Manor Park avoiding line

The first of 13! pathing/photo stops was at Colchester, the last at Southend Victoria some hours later. A 10 minute stop at Colchester Town/St Botolphs in warm sun which was to last all day brought back memories of 85101 basking in the limelight here on the “Roarer Requim” tour in June 91.

321307 and 321314 at Cochester Town/St Botolphs with the tour, April 29th 2023

Back on June 30th 1991 85101 basks in the limelight with the “Roarer Requim” tour at Colchester Town/St Botolphs

At Clacton 321308/321318 plus 321309/321310/321328 were stabled pan up. They looked ready to work rather than bound for storage…

Stabled outside their home depot of Clacton are 321328/321310/321309 on a sunny April 29th 2023

A Thorpe-le-Soken reversal took us to Walton then the unusual for 321’s Manningtree East – North branch for a short photo stop at Ipswich. It was a shock to see the former loco refuelling/stabling sidings completely empty. On departure from Ipswich it was reassuring to see 8 90’s, 08891 and various sheds all stabled in the new loco holding sidings North of the station.

321307 and 321314 at Harwich Town, April 29th 2023

Some seriously fast running saw us at Stowmarket in no time, then a Southbound wrong road right time departure from Stowmarket for a good mile or so before crossing to the Up line. Another fast run South saw us at Shenfield where we reversed and all admired the long surviving “Shenfield shark” brake van.

At Southend Victoria the final photo stop and on leaving the driver was giving us a memorable fast non stop run lurching and bouncing over points and dodgy track. A sharp stop East of Billericay to report 2 trespassers (that really got the Tic – Toc” generation excited!) obviously delayed us.

So now 5 down we approached Shenfield from the down single line that goes under the main line to see perhaps the highlight of the day with an up Norwich and Colchester checked for us to cross over in front of them, our driver must have loved that too!

Non stop through Stratford on the up slow, then a final whine of the traction motors on the clear road to Bethnal Green before descending into Liverpool St for the final time.

Final phots on a class of unit that i’d known on the WCML since Feb 89 where they soon got a reputation of “going like the wind”. 321314/307 had certainly done that today and raised £22,000 for Charity, well done Greater Anglia.

Its all over for the 321’s, at the blocks at Liverpool St, with just an ECS run back to Clacton, April 29th 2023

On getting back to Euston the WCML just for a change, was a farce, our quality local TOC had no trains leaving for over 2 hours!!!!!  

A few weeks later on May 20th, 321308, 321326 and 321320 pass Leighton on a Clacton – Old Walton move, good to hear those motors again


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