The Canterbury Trail (1)

On 24th November 2012 Hastings Diesels Limited operated its Canterbury Trail excursion from Hastings to Rochester, Canterbury and Dungeness via London. After calling at Hastings, St Leonards Warrior Square, Battle, Etchingham, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Bromley South the train was routed via Herne Hill to Blackfriars; its last pick-up point.

From Blackfriars the train used the Cambria Curve to head out through Nunhead, Lewisham and the Sidcup Loop for the first stop at Rochester thence onto Canterbury East via Sheerness-on-Sea.

After Canterbury East the train ran through Dover and Shakespeare tunnel where there is a Network Rail edict that all windows and droplights must be closed. The primary reason being reduced clearances following track-slewing to permit an evacuation walkway for ‘Javelin’ electric trains but also (it is understood) to prevent water ingress from stream-water that can enter the tunnel with considerable force.

A reversal at Ashford permitted the excursion to continue onto Dungeness.


A signal failure on the 28th March 2012 test run resulted in 1001 being turned.
This meant ‘Mountfield’ was leading upon arrival at Blackfriars.

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1001 created much excitement at Blackfriars. It was claimed one member of
station staff tried to stop photographers but that simply wasn’t going to happen;
especially when colleagues at the station also had their camera-phones out!

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FCC staff provided every assistance at Blackfriars
and many took great interest in 1001’s visit.

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Rochester was the tour’s first stop with just two passengers alighting.
It also saw a change of drivers.

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1001 was booked through platform 3 but instead was routed into 4;
a platform normally used by those trains terminating from London.

As a consequence the railhead beyond signal ER10 was black and with the drizzle 1001’s
motor-bogies struggle to gain grip on the 1 in 95 /1 in 180 grade towards Fort Pitt tunnel.

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At Sheerness-on-Sea photographers braved the drizzle to photograph
unit 1001 alongside the arriving branch shuttle from Sittingbourne.

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The reversal at Sheerness-on-Sea was in-part included on the trip to turn 1001 around.
This makes a difference at the depot when preparing the ‘club class’ section.

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Arrival at Canterbury East (from the signal box steps).

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1001 at Ashford for reversal to Dungeness.
This was not a passenger stop.

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Click here for more photographs taken on day.

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