July/August/September 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.



September 17th 2018.

The weather was poor when I left home to go down to Peterborough on a Thameslink 'hard seater' Class 700 on September 8th. primarily to get a photo or two
of A4 Pacific 60009 Union of South Africa on the Norwich to Chester charter.
 True to form, the weather didn't improve but you know how it is, you're going, so you are going!

60009 was about 15 minutes late arriving at Peterborough but here she is climbing up into the station off the unelectrified March and Ely line, passing
 one of 'our' GN Class 365s (left) awaiting its booked turn 'off the Nene' as GN railwaymen say here, down to London.

 Incidentally, several redundant Class 365s turned up at Crewe this month for, hopefully, only temporary storage - they are popular, comfortable units.

On the right is the overnight Coatbridge (Glasgow and via the northern WCML) to Felixstowe Freightliner, with, out of picture, 66520 at its head.

 This 'Fliner' is booked to layover for approx 90mins in the bi-di goods loop, while the rostered crew are relieved by a fresh Peterborough driver.

60009 arrives in Platform 7 to a warm welcome from passengers for Chester.

Meanwhile the rest of the station carries on with its less dramatic comings and goings.

An Arriva DB Class 170 sets off for Stansted Airport, having departed earlier from Birmingham NS. This is an hourly service via Leicester,
Oakham. March, Ely and Cambridge.

After the Coatbridge to Felixstowe FL left (before time) sister loco 66529 rolls in with another 'Fliner'.
This is a Trafford Park to Felixstowe working which left Manchester after 04.00hrs. This train isn't booked to layover; the fresh driver
is waiting to climb up while the early turn man gathers his traps in the cab. A few brief words and then they go their own ways.

A bit later a fellow photter comes up to me and says there is a GBRf Doncaster to Whitemoor working which turns out to be sole, but
sparkling 66782 with a fresh charity paint scheme along the sides. I couldn't record that unfortunately.

 Here is 66782 laddering the ECML to gain the March line, eventually following in the path of the earlier FL 66529.

It is business as usual for LNER, but some promotional liveries inspired by Virgin East Coast cling on. This is 82205, Driving
Trailer, DVT, setting off for King's Cross. Contrast this inspired livery for the Flying Scotsman with the blandness of Thameslink in the background.

The rain was getting the better of me and domestic duties at home ( I did promise I would get back by 13.00) meant a trip over to Platform 1
for a big cup of tea and a West Cornwall pasty for my return journey.
While I was being served, Arriva Trains Wales blue 67002 arrives, dragging a failed, (but ecs) LNER Class 91 set from York. Once again
another crew change before 67002 heads off, slow line, up the ECML and around the Hertford Loop, to run directly into Bounds Green depot, near Alexandra Palace.
 LNER drivers regularly drive the Class 67 'Thunderbirds'. On the back of this train was a sorry-looking, silent,
91109, with its pan down. Not uncommon as such on the ECML.

My booked train home was another 'hard seat' 700 so I retaliated by not photting it! I had hoped for a Great Northern Class 365, for there was
that one sitting in Nene Sidings that appears in the first 60009 photo, but alas not.


September 16th 2018.

This shot below shows a class 91 on the ECML on September 14th 2018 still sporting the Virgin logo.

There are one or three other 91's still promoting Virgin about not including the Battle of Britain and the Fallen, which predate even Virgin East Coast.

I have tried to photograph them but side on passing at 110 mph is not easy.

August 25th 2018.

The BR blue large logo 66, 66789, repainted to celebrate 70 years since the nationalised railway industry came into being in 1948.

 The BR ''large logo' paint job has gone down well with the enthusiast community and hopefully 'celebrity' 66789 will turn up on the coast in due course.

Below is 'BR'  66789, on July 21st 2018, passing Hitchin station's car park, on a regular '5X89' Saturday afternoon Slade Green depot, Kent,
to Doncaster, South Eastern emu move, with, just visible, converted former 508 emu coaches on either side of the Class 465; the green
translator vehicles are provided by Arlington Fleet Services, based at Eastleigh.
This working has run for a long time, as Class 465 units go singly to Doncaster, Wabtec, for upgrades, repairs and modifications.

 The return working with a fully updated Class 465 is run in the wee small hours, unseen by most.

August 13th 2018.


 On July 24 TP 802201  hurries up the ECML past Hitchin with a Doncaster to King’s Cross and back mileage accumulation and training run.
 Sister bi-mode TP 802202 passed this train a few miles further south, heading north. 802201 was also out today, same run, on Aug 13.
 These must be the first new trains not to sport a once compulsory yellow warning panel, new headlights suffice in daylight as well as at night.
 That said, yellow goes well with shades of grey so the old familiar yellow panel should come back for styling alone!
 The present base livery looks drab by comparison.

802201 approaching Benslow Bridge on July 24th 2018.

The above train going away passing Hitchin.

July 18th 2018.

Getting cooler? Still a bit too hot for me! I have braved the heat to get a couple of Leeds to Southampton Freightliner diverts.

There is a two week engineering blockade at Oxford so Network Rail have diverted the daily Leeds to Southampton services via the
 ECML, rather than the more direct cross country route via Oxford.

On Saturday, July 7th 70011 takes a 'liner' through Hitchin, en route for north London and onwards down the south western main line.

We were lucky to get a Freightliner 70, for at least half a dozen are laid up at Leeds Midland Road- servicing and spares issues with supplier
General Electric I hear on the railway grapevine.

On the following Monday July 9th, it was 66504's turn with the morning divert, seen passing Great Wymondley, between Hitchin and Stevenage.
 Diverts continue until this weekend.

July 14th 2018.

Kings Cross Tuesday July 10th 2018 with Virgin logo still showing.

Now showing new logo at the buffers.

July 14th 2018.

On my way to the KWVR on June 30th, I was hauled down to Leeds by ex-VTEC 91113, still sporting the Branson logo after arrival at 09.46. It is seen
 here, at an unusual angle from the busy footbridge and escalators above Leeds station.
 Passengers are already heading for the train, the return '1A20', 10.15 departure to London King's Cross, just over two hours away, calling at
 Wakefield Westgate (10.28), Doncaster ((10.49), Grantham (11.21), Stevenage (12.08) and arrival in the capital at 12.31.

As of July 10, many hst power cars and Class 91s still wear the famous Branson Virgin logo.

July 10th 2018.

A4 60009 "Union of South Africa" with 66009 inside going up to Kings Cross from Lincoln for the RAF 100 years celebration fly - past over Buckingham Palace today.

Travelling in a 700 - like an inside tunnel ! on my to the "Cross" to watch the fly - past.