The Eden Serpent Tour, Saturday November 8th 1986
Making the tour!
310086 at the vile hour of 0415 was joined at Leighton for the power car thrash to Euston with a bit of doss raked in to. A phot of 83009 on ECS at Euston at 0524 before we headed for Victoria.
The 3 of us (Tony Ewer, the Buzzard and myself) along with a good few other cranks joined the 0619 to Horsham, Clapham Jn where the tour commenced from was shown as an en route stop on the Victoria solari screen.
Turning left past Stewarts Lane saw us quickly go into flap mode, passing Clapham High St non stop worsened matters. We arrived at East Croydon around 0710, the tour was due off Clapham in less than 20 mins. I ran out to the taxi ranks the driver advising a “no way” in getting to Clapham Jn in 20 mins by cab. The Buzzard (aka Smudger Smith”) shouted over “an up was due”, as it was rolling in i went into the trainmen’s office and advised them of our plight, “could the tour be held for us?”
“No chance” was Tony’s response, but as we arrived Clapham around 0731 the tour (due off at 0728) was still in. We ran like deranged idiots across the footbridge (its a long way) , on descending the steps tour organiser John Farrow said “are you from East Croydon?” and we boarded the tour leaving 5 down after waiting for us..
Apparently engineering work had seen our train diverted, so the Victoria departure screen was wrong re the Clapham Jn stop. We had those East Croydon staff to thank. Many others returned to Victoria and were put on a can at Euston to make the tour at New St or Crewe.
The Eden Serpent tour
After the excitement of making the tour it was always going to be a disappointment. Some farce at Reading (unless it was awaiting tour participant connections) saw us leave there 50 late, a lateness that was to remain all tour. New St, then the mileage behind 33202 and 33207 increased until the booked 90 minute, yes 90 minute fuelling stop, at Wigan NW which the 3 of us slept through…
A rare picture of the “Buzzard” aka Smudger Smith of Cornish fame. Also shows the comfort of the First class Beryl/Cheryl rake used on the Eden Serpent
We then headed towards Blackburn for what was quoted the first passenger turns for 33’s over the Settle and Carlisle using Crewe based drivers. The hoped for photo stop didn’t happen due our late running so the trapped tour factor worsened. A mass bellow as we crossed Ribblehead Viaduct, then Appleby and the booked Petteril Bridge Jn – Upperby Bridge Jn route.
33202 and 33207 thrash over Ribblehead Viaduct with the Eden Serpent tour on November 8th 1986
However instead of storming South, 37259 a winner! was attached to haul us into Carlisle station, where we, from memory, a brief , much needed, leg stretch at a very dark Carlisle station.
The “slims” then proceeded to return us South over Shap and non stop through Preston. A New St bail (541 miles in the book behind each slim) for us which was a relief to get off! 86218 and 310047 from the Keynes got us home to end a marathon, to be honest, very disappointing tour.
The moves and gen
086 0400 M.Keynes-Euston LB-EU
7725} 0617 Victoria-Horsham VI-EC!
73118 1D64 0600 Victoria-Gatwick
73138 1D66 0615 Victoria-Gatwick
73124 1D68 0630 Victoria-Gatwick
1713} 0628 Brighton-Victoria EC-CJ
33202} 1Z36 0726 Clapham Jn-Carlisle Railtour CJ-CA U
85011 1A23 0350 Euston-Bletchley
81022 1M87 1520 Glasgow-Nottingham
37259 1Z36 0726 Clapham Jn-Carlisle Railtour CA U-CA
33202} 1Z36 1706 Carlisle-Clapham Jn Railtour CA-NS
86218 1A85 2126 Wolverhampton-Euston NS-MK
047 2121 Birmingham-Euston MK-LB
Stock 13 x Mk I FO BN 90 Beryl and Cheryl rake
Organiser – Hertfordshire