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Intercity 125 / HST use on Minor / Branch Lines - at London Termini


MyRule1
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7 minutes ago, 60021 Pen-y-Ghent said:

One made it up the Swinden quarry line from Skipton (the old Grassington branch) with a railtour in 1991 and I'm pretty sure that they ran on the Skipton - Kings Cross services even after the Aire Valley line was electrified before the 91s and MK4s covered the service.

 

This was because like many post 1980 electrification schemes it had to be done on the cheap. In other words the electrical supply infrastructure was built to cater for short and relatively low power consuming commuter EMUs. It simply did not have the capacity to power the class 91s as well.

 

Royston - Cambridge - Kings Lyn and the Scottish lines to Ayr were similar, namely EMUs only.

 

Post privatisation however a combination of new and longer trains meant Railtrack / Network Rail had to upgrade the 25KV supply and it then became robust enough to handle the 91s.

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They were regularly diverted onto the New Street-Lichfield City-Burton route, which was built as the Sutton Coldfield Branch. Although nowdays part of the Cross City Line, it is still technically a branch line from Aston until it meets the surviving South Staffordshire Railway just south of Lichfield City. My first ever HST (that I remember) was seen from trackside back when Swan Gardens was being built as it attacked the 1:107 climb up through Erdington in the early '80s. I lived in New Street with the railway squarely at the bottom of our road, the scream of them on weekend diversions was a very regular thing over the rather surprisingly graded route.

 

I'm not sure this route meets most peoples criteria for a branch line being so heavily built but its almost always been operated as a branch first and foremost, utilising the connection to the South Staffs at the Northern end to facilitate as a rather useful diversionary route into Burton.

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48 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Were these were extension of St Pancras to Nottingham services or were they simply Nottingham - Skegness DMU runs covered by a HST to provide more seats.

 

A bit of both latterly, in the last couple of years one was an out and back from Derby. The other formed from a London-Nottingham service which did a Nottingham-Skegness and back while a Meridian went to London. On returning from Skegness it then reverted to it's London working. Something of a scramble to get it cleaned, after the Skegness passengers had  (ab)used it, ready for going to London again.

They loaded well, often near 500 on each train, there were never enough units to shift that many!

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38 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

This was because like many post 1980 electrification schemes it had to be done on the cheap. In other words the electrical supply infrastructure was built to cater for short and relatively low power consuming commuter EMUs. It simply did not have the capacity to power the class 91s as well.

 

Royston - Cambridge - Kings Lyn and the Scottish lines to Ayr were similar, namely EMUs only.

 

Post privatisation however a combination of new and longer trains meant Railtrack / Network Rail had to upgrade the 25KV supply and it then became robust enough to handle the 91s.

I've seen diverted HSTs on the Royston-Cambridge and on the Hertford loop.  The latter is hardly a main line and it even saw Eurostars.  OK, so I suppose those counts as EMUs, but the power supply really didn't like them.

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Once you include railtours then HSTs have been to quite a few locations in the West Country.

HSTs have been to Kingswear, Heathfield, Buckfastleigh, Barnstaple, Exmouth, and Okehampton.

 

I would suggest that if there were enough 2 + 4 HST sets available then a regular 2 hourly service from Plymouth to Newquay might be an idea.

 

cheers    

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4 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Excluding 'one off' / railtour / charters, then Newquay is the only 'branch' line to get a regular HST service.

 

Some places in west Wales did see HST services at times (Tenby and Fishguard IIRC) and although they might look very 'branch line-ish' these days because of rationalisation by BR they were actually built and regarded as 'main lines'

Pedantically, I always thought of the Tenby/Pembroke Dock line as a branch. It's single track with loops and a junction at Whitland, was built by an independent company and standard gauge from the start while the South Wales Railway was broad gauge. Granted the Pembroke & Tenby eventually had through services but the main line was originally to Neyland, then more recently Milford Haven.

So I'd class the HST workings to Pembroke Dock  as being on a branch line. ;)

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1 hour ago, rodent279 said:

Has an HST visited Aberystwyth? I have a feeling one did, in about 1984, on a tour, but may be wrong.

Yes, a special from Bristol 43139/43140  on 19 June 1983.

 

cheers

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The London Tilbury and Southend is not really a branch line but 254027 worked a special from Shoeburyness to York and return Sat 24th March 79.

 

David

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3 hours ago, Rivercider said:

Yes. Bristol to Weymouth services.

 

 

Only on the occasional summer Saturday as per the Nottingham to Skegness runs (i.e. the regular DMU fleet couldn't cope with the crowds.

 

3 hours ago, Rivercider said:

Also an Okehampton to Weymouth special.

 

 

 

The OP was asking about ordinary timetabled HST services, not one off jollys!

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3 hours ago, Rivercider said:

Yes. Bristol to Weymouth services. Also an Okehampton to Weymouth special.

 

cheers

During my time as the Track SM for the area, we had them operate at weekends for two consecutive summers. Was nice to see them, shame they were in FGW Blue with a MTU hum, it would have been great to hear a Valenta roaring up the gradient from Weymouth to Dorchester. 

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8 hours ago, Rivercider said:

Once you include railtours then HSTs have been to quite a few locations in the West Country.

HSTs have been to Kingswear, Heathfield, Buckfastleigh, Barnstaple, Exmouth, and Okehampton.

My italics.

Quite correct Rivercider. Below are two photos showing a HST on the South Devon Railway. Unfortunately I do not know the occasion.

737629219_HSTontheSDRx1.jpg.d8430ff9221746788463d02f93e48341.jpg

 

1018940904_HSTontheSDRx2.jpg.6fb571faf2ea7d500310e206bcba413d.jpg

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HSTs have, in the past, been worked down the Exmouth branch to serve the Royal Marines base at Lympstone Commando.

 

Not sure if it was for actually moving Marines in/out or in connection with passing-out ceremonies. 

 

John

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5 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Only on the occasional summer Saturday as per the Nottingham to Skegness runs (i.e. the regular DMU fleet couldn't cope with the crowds.

 

 

The OP was asking about ordinary timetabled HST services, not one off jollys!

So yes, booked timetabled services to Weymouth.

Also booked timetabled services to Exmouth, as part of the Exmouth 150 celebration they replaced DMUs on booked services for the day.

 

cheers

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7 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

 

The OP was asking about ordinary timetabled HST services, not one off jollys!

I did also ask about railtours so keep replying about such workings. Even ECS, trips to depots etc... Can be included, as long as they are on minor / branch lines.

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13 hours ago, Rivercider said:

Once you include railtours then HSTs have been to quite a few locations in the West Country.

HSTs have been to Kingswear, Heathfield, Buckfastleigh, Barnstaple, Exmouth, and Okehampton.

 

I would suggest that if there were enough 2 + 4 HST sets available then a regular 2 hourly service from Plymouth to Newquay might be an idea.

 

cheers    

HST's have also been down to Falmouth.

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5 hours ago, Coombe Vale said:

My italics.

Quite correct Rivercider. Below are two photos showing a HST on the South Devon Railway. Unfortunately I do not know the occasion.

737629219_HSTontheSDRx1.jpg.d8430ff9221746788463d02f93e48341.jpg

 

1018940904_HSTontheSDRx2.jpg.6fb571faf2ea7d500310e206bcba413d.jpg

I think this was probably 'The First Devon & Exeter Explorer' charity HST railtour, powered by 43187 & 43188 on 10/10/15, which was also the last passenger train to run up to Heathfield.

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Not likely to be any HSTs on the Southern 3rd rail electrified routes unless they are fitted with Short Swing Link bogies. Even though there are examples of occasional loco hauled MK3s on the Central Division.

 

BR MK3 Sleeper at Haywards Heath on a gauging run to Brighton in the late 1980s. Not my photo but couldn't find the original, so apologies to the owner.

image.png.c526ed07fb9556c1ae04edfd781a522f.png

 

And these two which were SSL fitted came straight out of traffic and down to Bluebell.

image.png.09f1d35344c9713ae37acc99aafbf9ef.png

 

Sadly with the HST fleets now much reduced and scattered to the winds, it is unlikely that any set would be guaranteed to be SSL fitted. So we aren't likely to see any in the deep south. However as our network had nearly all of its loco run round facilities ripped out in the the Railtrack days, slightly shortened SSL fitted HST sets would suit our dead end branches quite well on rail tours. 

 

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Ah the Pembrokeshire coast express. It was my wake up call on summer Saturdays. It was an all stopper from Pembroke Dock to Whitland. I lived in Kilgetty with a view of the line just north of the station. It was great to hear an HST getting to grips with the grade up past my place. Dare I say heaven to the sound of a couple of Valenteers working hard……

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, MyRule1 said:

I did also ask about railtours so keep replying about such workings. Even ECS, trips to depots etc... Can be included, as long as they are on minor / branch lines.

Well in that case you can include the Greenford Loop and the "New Line" through Park Royal which was regularly used to turn HSTs from OOC when for one reason or another they'd got turned elsewhere to keep the first class at the Paddington end which was preferred.

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Newquay, Barnstaple, Exmouth and Minehead have all seen HSTs so I guess it was common practice where summer holiday crowds or railtours run.

 

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  • MyRule1 changed the title to Intercity 125 / HST use on Minor / Branch Lines - at London Termini

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