Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on a bench near Lowestoft station, sharing my cod and chips with the youngest member of the Swiss Family Cheeseford. The sun was out, the nosh was lovely, my ankle is on the mend, and I thought that things couldn't get much better. And then, I looked towards Lowestoft station and noticed a set of carriages unlike those that haul the normal services in and out of town. A mixture of mark 2 and mark 1 stock, I deduced, leading to the logical conclusion that there would be a locomotive of some note at the front. So there was - BR Britannia class 70013 Oliver Cromwell was paying a visit with a steam enthusiasts' excursion from Liverpool Street to Norwich, then to Lowestoft, then back down the East Suffolk line to Stratford. Cheeseford Junior showed enormous interest in the big, noisy machine, and having established that it would be in town for a couple of hours, I resolved to go home, grab my camcorder and capture its departure, which I share with you now. Like James May in yesterday's Telegraph, I'll admit to a preference for early diesel locomotives. Faced with a choice of a famous steam loco pulling modern carriages and a modern locomotive pulling vintage carriages, the smell of warm leather and moquette always beats any amount of atmospheric smoke. However, I did feel a pang of jealousy that I wasn't on the Easterling as it chuffed away back to the capital.

5 comments:

office pest said...

Very nice. How did they turn the engine, I can't believe they have a turntable so is it a three point turn in the sidings? Not a problem the vintage diesels have to overcome.

Coincidentally, I recently found some film of Barnesey filming a steam engine forty years ago, so we sent him a DVD copy for his milestone birthday...

LF Barfe said...

OK, I think it went like this. Liverpool Street to Norwich - engine at front the right way round. At Norwich, it was decoupled and sent round the triangle at Crown Point depot so it was at the other end of the rake, tender out, for the Norwich-Lowestoft portion. At Lowestoft, it came in, everyone disembarked, and it then shunted out to the largely disused sidings, was decoupled again, and ran round to the front, then backed into the platform for everyone to get back on.

Where did you find the Barnes footage? I bet he was thrilled. Last time I went to see him, he showed me some publicity stills from his Granada days.

LF Barfe said...

If you look at the aerial view of Lowestoft station on Google Maps, you'll see that there's still a hellishly complicated and versatile track layout in place. I suspect it only ever gets used on occasions like this.

Simon said...

Envious I missed that. They never come to Felixstowe with those trips. Mind you, can't think why they would!

office pest said...

Morning LF, thanks for the info, what you say makes sense of course.

I'll email you on the PB steam film.

OP