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GB Railfreight Staff Charter to Bournemouth

On 28th June 2008 Hastings Diesels Limited operated its first passenger-carrying outing for nearly 3 years, when it undertook a staff charter for GB Railfreight to Bournemouth using a five-car formation of 60118, 60501, 69337, 60529 and 60116 which was the total number of vehicles fitted with Central Door Locking. No.69337 is the ex-4-Big Buffet Car.
Not open to the general public, the excursion was well-patronised by the GBrf staff for who it was laid on.

 

Idling in anticipation, 1001 waits the ‘off’ from St Leonard’s depot. Although the journey was timed for 1001’s 75 mph certified maximum speed, the set is capable of 90 mph running.

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Having collected its first passengers from Hastings, 1001 awaits ‘right time’. It had been chartered and driven by GB Railfreight but was operated by West Coast Trains.

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As 1001 passed across from the South Eastern to the South Western the VSOE set ambled slowly passed by sandwiched between two modern diesel locomotives. Interestingly few in the Hastings set expressed any desire to change trains!

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For the passengers, Bournemouth was the final destination;
many headed for the seafront whilst others sought out pubs.

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The ‘Trojan’ moquette and interior of the 6S trailer second.

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1001 was tanked at Bournemouth depot; travelling virtually the length of the depot towards the site of the former Bournemouth West station before setting back into the shed.

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Sitting on the relative cool of Bournemouth’s depot, 1001 is cleaned and serviced ready for the return trip to Hastings. The buffet car was also restocked.

Serving sandwiches, hot & cold drinks plus hot food (bacon butties are particularly popular) the catering car remained open for the entire journey with virtually the full range of food, drink or ale available right back to Hastings – no early closing or running out of either drink or sandwiches happens here!

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Also stabled at Bournemouth was the blue /grey ‘Lymington’ Cig. Later on 1001 would pass the Green Cig sitting in the platform loop at Brockenhurst, thus momentarily placing two BR(S) units together in service. Next time they would meet would be Dereham in 2011.

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At Bournemouth depot the fuel gauge shewed some 50 gallons for fuel had been used from Hastings; this equates to around 4 miles per gallon per power car. In the past on a heavily packed commuter stopping service to Hastings this figure was easily halved.

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The power unit inside power car “Mountfield
shewing generators and pressure charger

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The superb interior of power car “Tunbridge Wells”; ready for its passengers.
Unsurprisingly the power cars are highly popular with the passengers.

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With a generous layover, 1001’s passengers slowly boarded at Bournemouth Central. Other passengers looked on, perhaps as they pondered as to the level of comfort and service that their train might not afford?

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Permeated by the summer sun, Bournemouth Central’s trainshed gently reverberated to the throb of the two four-cylinder English Electric diesels. On the down platform trains arrived and departed, but it was 1001 that was causing the interest.

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The departure from Bournemouth Central was delayed some 5-6 minutes due to a late running take-away curry delivery to some of the train’s passengers. With a generously timed path ahead and no immediately following train this was easily accommodated by Hastings Diesels, South West Trains and Network Rail (much to the relief of the curry fans!)

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The platform indicator at Bournemouth correctly shewed the train as being the 18:20 to Hastings calling at Hook, Woking, Clapham Junction ….

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Petts Wood, Tonbridge ….

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Hastings.

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Happy, tired passengers disembark at Hook; but for
most there were several hours of journey ahead.

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In contrast to Hook, darkness was falling at Petts Wood when further passengers left.

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With the remaining passengers having left the train 1001 awaits the road conveying the extremely hard-working staff back to St Leonard’s Depot. On such a trip there is little opportunity for staff rest, especially for those who seemed to be serving food and drink non-stop in the buffet car!

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Back at St Leonard’s depot the train is unloaded, cleared and cleaned whilst the OTMR is downloaded by the train crew. Although 1001 might be at rest St Leonard’s remains busy across the night as Southern 171 units arrive for servicing.

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