The Shambles to York
26th May 2012
© copyright photographs by Colin Duff


The notion of travelling between the heartland of Essex-man and the heart of Yorkshire by a commuter unit is absolutely preposterous, and it is not as if I do not travel in Class 317 units virtually every working day, but GBRailfreight's/UK Railtours charity fund raising railtour - using Greater Anglia units - between Shenfield (I joined at Stratford) and York was strangely compelling.  Actually the 317/6s are perfectly comfortable for a journey of this duration, even for this life-long fidget, and they coped handsomely at 90mph along the East Coast mainline. It was a blisteringly hot day and with all the hopper windows open - who needs air conditioning? - and tearing along averaging (point to point) between 80 and 90 mph it was a stimulating experience.


Here 317661 leads 317672 into Stratford platform 10A for the railtour's second passenger pick-up. From Stratford - "host to London 2012's Olympic Park venues" - it took the North London Line to access the East Coast Mainline at Finsbury Park via Canonbury West and Highbury Vale Junctions. In the down direction the tour took the Hertford North loop, so an hour and three quarters after leaving home I was passing within a few miles of home!

317661 and 317672 approaching Stratford platform 10A with The Shambles Railtour to York on 26th May 2012
317672 and 317661 after arrival at York Platform 9

Class 317 units back in the city of their birth! The railtour arrived in platform 9 and then reversed into Holgate Sidings for their layover.

This is two of the three (at the time) red doored 317 units. Note also that 317672 had yet to receive its Greater Anglia branding.

An unidentified Class 91 and Mk4 formation with the 1500 Kings Cross to Edinburgh

I have always wanted to spend a few hours on York Station but I have only ever been there when in the company of the family, so I have hitherto been limited to flying visits.  This railtour finally provided the opportunity, and in glorious weather!

York has to have one of the finest railway stations in the country and it still oozes the alleged romances of the steam age and long distance travel. So I want to begin with two photographs which are more atmospheric than good shots of rolling stock.

Here, under the magnificent train shed roof, an unidentified Class 91 and Mk4 coach formation stop with the 15:00 Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley service. 

An unidentified driving van trailer and 91128 departing with the 14:00 from Edinburgh Waverley Departing for London Kings Cross is an unidentified driving van trailer and 91128 with the 14:00 from Edinburgh Waverley. Only these trains make full use of York's long platforms.

Now, in time order, a sampling of the long distance services I saw.

43274 is the rear power car of the 10:00 Edinburgh Waverley to Kings Cross East Coast Trains working. I regret I did not see the leading power car because I did not see this train arrive and I did not have time to get to the other end of the train before it departed.

220006 forming the 07:47 Southampton Central to Newcastle Cross Country service

Frankly, and this will not be the only time this is mentioned on my website, as a passenger I do not like under floor engined units. Nor do I like units with cramped interiors. So on two grounds the Voyager type units are far from being a favourite. However, that is not to deny the positive impact they have made on cross country workings, permitting regular services throughout the day.

In Platform 10 is 220006 forming the 07:47 Southampton Central to Newcastle Arriva Cross Country service.

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