Locomotive Performance

A Diesel Miscellany

I suppose that, looking back, any journeys I made prior to 1964 behind diesel locomotives were involuntary, ie I couldn't avoid them. In June 1964 however, I had a "Western Region Railrover".  There was still some steam about, and I managed runs on the Salisbury to Exeter and Bristol to Birmingham, lines. But by this time I had developed a liking for the looks and sounds of the Western Region hydraulics, the "Western" (class 52), and the "Hymek" (class 35) in particular. 
From that point on I was far less reluctant to travel diesel. The selection of logs below covers three from the early "involuntary" days, and four others from the more recent past that were "Out of the Ordinary". The runs I made on the Westerns and Hymeks will be detailed in a future edition.

At Easter 1955 I travelled for the first time on the Exeter to Salisbury line. I had come up from Exeter with 35023 on the "Atlantic Coast Express", and was looking forward to a fast run back from Salisbury on another Bullied. What I got, on the 1.00pm down from Waterloo, was English Electric diesel no 10000. I was so disapointed that I put my stop watch away, and just noted the station start/stop/passing times. So the log relies mainly on average speeds from station to station, supplemented by a few "How many rail joints in 41 seconds" readings. [view log of 10000]

On 21st November 1958, I had a day out that took in "The Palatine" both ways on the Leicester-Derby-Manchester line, and the C.L.C from Manchester to Liverpool, hoping for "Director" haulage on the latter. On the 12.30pm Manchester Central to Liverpool Central I did not get a "Director", but D5000, a brand new 1160hp Bo-bo Diesel Electric. It had to run hard to keep the tight C.L.C timings. [view log of D5000]

In January 1961, I had my first journey on the "Blue Pullman" from Paddington to Birmingham. I was on the wrong side of the train for the mileposts, so the log is station timings only, together with the calculated average speeds between them. I recall that the ambience and exterior finish of the train were not matched by its' riding characteristics, which were dreadful. [view log of Blue Pullman] 

On another journey back from London to the Midlands, this time in 1980, I chose a class 47 hauled Paddington to Cheltenham service, which connected nicely at Gloucester with a Plymouth to Manchester, which I hoped would be a class 50, to take me on to Birmingham. But the class 45 that brought the train in, and would normally have run round, was taken off. Instead, a pair of 20's, numbers 20075 and 20067, backed down. This was my lucky day. They ran well, but stopped at Bromsgove for a "push up the hill".   [view log of 20075 and 20067] 

The SLOA repeat itinerary" steam railtours which started in 1980,  often had the added bonus of Diesel haulage to/from the Steam section of the tour. So on 7th February 1981, class 40 no 40044 took over the "Welsh Marches Express", which had been hauled from Hereford to Newport and return by Black 5 no 5000, and gave us an excellent run back from Hereford to Shrewsbury and Crewe. [view log of 40044]

Another Diesel leg of a SLOA Railtour, this time on the "Cumbrian Mountain Express" southwards from Carlisle, was on 19th October 1985. A class 25, no 25296 was piloting 40122 (D200) down the Settle and Carlisle line to Leeds. Frequently the diesel leg on the way home after a long day, was spent "socializing", but on this occasion somehow I managed to record the stop/start/passing times of most of the stations, and the calculated average speeds indicate that linespeeds were exceeded trying to pull back a little time. [view log of 25296 and 40122]

Finally, on 22nd June 1991, I was at Reading, waiting for a class 50 hauled Oxford service. But in came 58001 on the  Paddington to Liverpool. Too good to miss, and it was. Perhaps the driver didn't know of the locos 80 mph limit, for we were doing 90 at Pangbourne, where we were checked. Thereafter much of the journey was in the upper 80's. Sadly I had to get off at Banbury. Fosse Road ?. I wonder what the max was. [view log of 58001]
Note: Both pictures above are copyright D Bailey and are reproduced with his consent.