Napier music, November 1981

Napier music on the breeze,  Nov 81

A Hitchin – March day return was purchased at Hitchin, this was a useful piece as it was valid both via Cambridge and Peterborough allowing an interesting circular day out. My first ever GN 313s in 313054 and 313030 took us on the short leap to Letchworth for 312725 forward to Royston. At this time this was the limit of GN electrification, so we joined “Cambridge Cammels” 51426 and 56402 for a rattling run across the levels to Cambridge

As usual Cambridge was a sea of loco activity with 37050 arriving on an up Kings Lynn followed to our initial disbelief by 40077 on a Whitemoor – Temple Mills freight. 37047 forward on a down Lynn to Ely where we hoped for a good freight block in our 2 hour plus fester.

Well apart from the usual DMUs, 47135 on an up Lynn there was just one freight! The wind howled across the fens, station signs creaked in the silence which was only broken by Gateshead’s 31153 on an up steel train. We were relieved to escape Ely on Derby heayweights 50049 and 56004 for the short run to March across many river Ouse channels.

Several long withdrawn class 306 units were in March east yard, en route for scrapping. A short fester then we joined a required, steaming 31225 on the 1322 Norwich – Birmingham.


Peterborough was busy with freight and HSTs, the highlight perhaps being 55019 arriving on the 1404 Kings X – Newcastle. An hour or so later as dusk fell we were rewarded with 55002 South on the 1415 York – Kings X. This was a classic driver and mighty machine combo, the acceleration and sounds were superb on the short run to Huntingdon, where we bailed.

What followed was one of those top memorable moments that will stick in my memory for ever, 55002 droning into the still night air South of Huntingdon, we could probably still hear here 8 minutes after she had left. Hairs on the back of your neck moment for sure. A Cravens DMU brought us back to earth with a rattle and roll on the Hitchin local!

The moves – Friday November 27th 1981

313054} 0833 Moorgate-Letchworth…………….Hitchin – Letchworth


312725 0906 Kings X-Royston…………….Letchworth – Royston

51426} 1003 Royston-Cambridge…………….Royston – Cambridge


37050 1L23 0930 Kings Lynn – Liverpool St

40077 up freight – 0844 Whitemoor Yard – Temple Mills

37047 1L14 1036 Liverpool St-Kings Lynn…………….Cambridge – Ely

47135 1L27 1130 Kings Lynn – Liverpool St-

31153 coils

50049} 1355 Cambridge-Doncaster…………….Ely – March


March east yard 306070/078 dumped

31225 1M67 1322 Norwich-Birmingham…………….March – Peterborough

55019 1N14 1404 FO Kings X – Newcastle

55002 1A22 1415 York-Kings X…………….Peterborough – Huntingdon

51212} 1645 Huntingdon-Hitchin…………….Huntingdon – Hitchin


The Phots

313030 and 054 leave Letchworth after working the 0833 from Moorgate

37050 arrives at Cambridge with the 0930 Kings Lynn – Liverpool St

40077 is an unusual sight with a lengthy March – Temple Mills freight

47135 arrives at Ely with the 1130 Kings Lynn – Liverpool St

Cravens 51298 and 56443 arrive at Ely

31225 on the 1322 Norwich – Brum leaves Peterboro passing 47323 on a fly ash working

55019 arrives at Peterborough with the 1404 Kings X – Newcastle

Royal Highland Fuslier’s nameplate stands proud

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