LEFT: Undoubtedly, one of the surprises of the day was the appearance of 37 192 from Glasgow Eastfield depot. Far from its usual haunt of the West Highland Lines, the EE Type 3 rolls under the arched roof of York station on 1G22, the 09.58 arrival from Darlington. The locomotive and stock stabled at Dringhouses Up Yard until their next duty on the 17:26 to Newcastle via the Durham Coast Line. 37 192 then brought its stock south for another load of passengers bound for Doncaster followed, late in the evening, by a return working to Newcastle.
HoW DiD aLL THE pLaNNiNG Work oUT?
after all the planning and preparation, there must have been some anxiety among the senior staff of the Eastern region about how the plans would translate into reality; after all there was no possibility of a practice run! As had been expected, it was a lot easier to get passengers to York in the morning than to get them home again in the evening. The morning services operated with extraordinarily good time keeping and I observed no train more than a few minutes late, with some even arriving early. Clearly British Rail had done its job of delivering everybody to York in time for the afternoon visit of the Pope.
To complicate matters for the return journey, the Pope’s visit, as had half been expected, over-ran. The Pope didn’t actually leave York, by helicopter, until about 16:00, only shortly before the first additional trains were scheduled to depart. Rather than holding these early trains, it was decided to let them depart, often sparsely loaded. At least then they would be in the right place to pick passengers up on the next leg of their diagrammed working, later in the evening. With about 30,000 passengers all wanting to get home, it was inevitable that this would take time. As described above, a queueing system was set up in the streets leading to the station, which was kept in place until 22:00. There is no doubt that many people were in for a long wait for their train home, as they walked back from the racecourse. One passenger for Redcar has described this part of her day by saying she left the racecourse at 17:30 and finally got on a train at 22:00! However, what was obvious was that the crowds were good humoured, aided by the weather being pleasantly warm.
The only major disruption was caused by the failure of 46 025 on 1M79, a Newcastle to Liverpool train, at Church Fenton. With trains on the Leeds line operating at frequent intervals this, inevitably, caused delays of up to 50 minutes to some services. However, whilst punctuality was not as good as in the morning, delays were rarely more than 20 minutes and many services ran punctually. Overall, therefore, I feel the Eastern Region could be well proud of its performance that day. It’s difficult to imagine such a large scale railway operating event taking place today but, what has struck me looking at my records, is how much more frequent the normal train services are today compared to 1982. Perhaps we shouldn’t always look at the past through rose tinted spectacles.
And was I exhausted after nearly twentyfour hours on my feet, walking around York station and taking notes? Without a shadow of doubt I was, but it was such an amazingly interesting and exciting day that it was worth it. Wouldn’t an “action replay” be marvellous?
opened to allow closer headways on the Leeds route. Control office staff were doubled up and all Area and Divisional Inspectors were on duty, together with large numbers of travelling ticket inspectors, many from outside the Leeds Division. Cleaning and watering of rolling stock was another big task, with watering of stock being done away from York where possible. Most trains had Travellers Fare catering trolleys with these staff being responsible for cleaning duties during the empty stock positioning runs.
With no less than 186 special train services, on top of normal weekday operations, it was quite simply the busiest day that York station has ever witnessed. Altogether no less than 35 sets of locomotive hauled carriages were used, varying in length from 4 to 13 carriages. In addition ten diesel multiple unit rakes between 6 and 9 carriages, as well as eight HST sets were in use at different times of the day working the special services. A complete list of the additional trains is shown in the table, together with their scheduled arrival and departure times from York. This also shows the train head code, the origin and destination of each train, locomotive number and train formation. Interestingly, the train formations recorded on the day did not always correspond with those shown on the information I had been given by British Rail. Some trains were shorter than originally planned, whilst others were longer, presumably reflecting late changes in demand. Many of the locomotive hauled trains had a full luggage van marshalled in the centre of the rake to hold catering supplies and trolleys.
depot for servicing before taking out the 18:40 to Newcastle, via the main line.
The 11:31 arrival of 1G14, from Chapeltown, was the second service from the Barnsley area, and produced Tinsley’s 31 271 at the head of a relatively short sixcarriage set. The stock was taken to Clifton carriage sidings until its evening journeys, beginning with the 17:24 to Doncaster, followed by the trek north loaded to Newcastle at 19:27. Finally, after returning empty, it worked the 22:50 back to Sheffield.
One of the later arrivals, the nine-carriage 1G37, the 11:35 from Newcastle, was scheduled to remain in Platform 15 until its return working to Newcastle at 16:23. It arrived behind 47 220, an Immingham locomotive, which later returned north on the 17:15 to Middlesbrough after visiting York depot. I didn’t manage to record the departure of the 16:23 service, but believe it may have been 37 068, which had brought in the 12:00 from Newcastle.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the last of the morning’s specials also managed to make four loaded runs during the day. The 12:00 1G29 from Newcastle, via the Durham Coast Line, arrived behind Thornaby’s 37 068 pulling eight carriages. After stabling the stock at Dringhouses, the locomotive ran to York depot. The evening workings all ran as 1G39, powered by 47 220 from Immingham depot. The 17:15 went loaded to Middlesbrough, before an empty stock working back to York and a 19:55 departure to Huddersfield via Wakefield Kirkgate. The train then formed the 22:50 departure to Newcastle.
In the early 1980s many of the local services to Scarborough were formed of Class 31 hauled trains. One of these sets was used, in the evening, to form an additional 1G13 19:13 train to Middlesbrough, with 31 320 of Immingham as motive power. The empty stock returned to York to work the 21:55 to Chesterfield.
In total there were just over 300 Mark 1 and Mark 2 carriages, as well as 36 locomotives used to operate these special trains.
14 TraCTioN 197 May/June 2011