April/May/June 2018.

The East Coast Main Line (ECML) is a 393-mile long (632 km) major railway link between London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster,
Wakefield, Leeds,York, Darlington and Newcastle, electrified along the whole route. Services north of Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness use diesel trains.
 The main franchise on the line is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

The route forms a key artery on the eastern side of Great Britain and is broadly paralleled by the A1Trunk Road. It links London, the South East and
 East Anglia, with Yorkshire, the North East Regions and Scotland. It also carries key commuter flows for the north side of London.

 It is important to the economic health of several areas of England and Scotland.

 It also handles cross-country, commuter and local passenger services, and carries heavy tonnages of freight traffic.

 Roger Carvell is a rail enthusiast who contributes much of the local content to this website. He lives in Hitchin, on the ECML, but
on this page he reports on news and movements on this historic line, close to his home and heart.



June 29th 2018.


First photo I took of the LNER 10.30 King's Cross to Edinburgh, with 91105 in charge and showing the new LNER logo, vinyled over the Virgin branding.
Here is 91105 passing Hitchin, heading north, 'RT', 10.50, 32 miles out from the capital, twenty minutes from departure.


June 13th 2018.

Below is Rail Operations Group 37884, dragging a redundant ex-GN 365519 over its former stamping ground at Hitchin. This was last Sunday, June 10th.
 The unit had been in secure store at Ely, Papworth along with a host of other 'resting' rolling stock, from ex-GW MK3 coaches, Class 442 Wessex emu units
and, more local, Class 365s, stood down after the recent introduction of the German-built Class 700s which now form the
backbone of Thameslink services- their seats are like sitting on concrete.

37884 was new to Landore depot in 1963 as D6883- as long ago as that!
It gained air brakes in 1970 and was then renumbered 37183 when TOPS came in. It has worn 37884 since 1985. Earlier this year 37884 was badly
damaged in a nose to nose shunt with a Class 47. ROG decided 37884 was worth repairing and the engine went to Eastleigh for a brand new 'nose
job'. Now you can't see the join!

York-built 365519 was being taken back to its home depot, Hornsey, for prep work to enable the unit to head north to Scotrail, for use
between Edinburgh and Glasgow while Scotrail's brand new Class 385 units have their windscreens altered after complaints from drivers
that the curvature of the screens meant they could see two sets of red signals at night.
The designers only work during the day it seems!

The train going away.

May 7th 2018.

Yesterday's arrival at Hitchin of ECS Carnforth - Hitchin - sort of pulled by 47804.
Driver reluctant to enter yard due to either a point clamp or dereliction!
Eventually did from the other end, long after I had gone home.

April 20th 2018.

  ' Flying Scotsman'  yesterday (April 19th 2018) on Day One of a Great Britain Tour, King’s Cross to Lincoln via Cambridge crossing Hitchin fly-over.
 Better this time after last Saturday when Tornado was failed just north of here with a broken con rod.


April 14th 2018.

Below are two shots of Tornado, at Arlesey, just before the failure that caused the cancellation of next Saturday's (28/04/2018) Ynys Món Express.

60163 'Tornado'  taken at Arlesey, next station
north of Hitchin (better for light) in the eighties, really
going well, with no hint of the middle cylinder (nothing untoward heard) about to fail through lack of oil supply.
 The engine was pulled
up just a few minutes later, north of Biggleswade, four minutes from
where I was standing, next to 'the usual suspects' plus some very welcome family well-wishers. Some folks had gone further north to Sandy
to get 60163 on the sweeping curve in the station there.

 Mobile phones
soon buzzed asking 'Where is he?' 'Dunno. just flew past us!'

Damn shame! 60163 was bang on time and nice to see on the
down fast for a welcome change.

The Ebor Flyer eventually reached York, over 200 minutes late. A DBS Class 66 stepped in for the run back up to the 'Cross and to the engine's
credit, I hear, did very well! Rare to see a DB 66 on Class 1 passenger trains, especially on a 90mph timing.