October/November/December 2019.

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 now lives in Biggleswade, near the ECML, but 
on this page he reports on news and movements on this historic line, close to his home and heart.



October 16th 2019.

Now definitely not to be seen ever again on my patch of the ECML is Trans-Pennine Express! (TPE)

On September 24th, Two new Hitachi bi-mode Class 802s moved from Eastleigh Wks, up the South Western Main Line to the London area, stopping at Acton, before
heading over the  North London Line to gain the East Coast Main Line and then fast down to Doncaster Carr depot for further acceptance work.

Here are the two, approaching Sheep Walk foot crossing, Biggleswade, one in base TPE colour and the following one in full Trans Pennine
Express 'dazzle' livery. Numbers are 802211 and 802206 (in full TPE livery).

Trans Pennine Express will receive 19 Class 802 bi-modes and the first went into service on September 28th, between Newcastle and Liverpool.
 TPE refer to the 802s as 'Nova 1'.


October 13th 2019.

 I was on the train to Hitchin on Thursday (10/10/2019) and there was a bridge strike there - all trains to a stand, then proceed at walking pace.

 This Azuma, shown below, crept past so I couldn’t resist a quick snap through the window. Strange, I caught someone’s face in the reflection!

 We did move after ten mins but annoying delay. Nowt wrong with bridge - it has very strong steel bars across before the bridge which took the impact.

 Years ago, a double-deck bus - not a local one, got stuck underneath but without damage.

 As the traffic built up on both sides someone had a ‘light bulb’ moment - they let the tyres down! Bingo!


October 5th 2019.

 Against all expectations of finding an immediate buyer for high-speed electric locomotives, Europhoenix
have acquired two redundant ex-LNER Class 91s.

The online railway groups got well and truly excited this week because observers had reported  that two Class 91s, inside LNER's Bounds Green
depot in North London, were being re-vinyled into the dramatic Europhoenix livery. The story was true.

A path was put in on Saturday morning for an '0Z91' Bounds Green to Leicester LIP move on. Sure enough the two 91s, 91117 and 91120 were dragged down the
ECML by GBRf's 66786, diverging from the ECML just north of Peterborough to travel through the Midlands, via Oakham and Melton Mowbray, to
Leicester, not a place that had seen 91s before.

My understanding is that both 91s will be used, under test, on the electrified part of Midland Main Line, south of Leicester, before export to
 either Bulgaria or Hungary, where quite a few ex-BR built locos have found useful employ, mainly on freight traffic.

Quite what these two 91s will do in eastern Europe is unclear, but as 'greyhounds' they will have to be re-geared for slower, heavier freight work.


The ECML said 'goodbye' (a farewell railtour is pending) to the inner suburban Class 313 dual-voltage emus on Monday, September 30th, ending over 40 years
of standard-class only Class 313s faithfully plying the slow lines along the ECML north of Finsbury Park to Welwyn Garden City and also
along the Hertford branch, running an interval service of 30 mins, or less in the peak, to London Moorgate from both destinations.

 The type also reached Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth, but the 313 was rarely seen further eastward in Great Northern land towards Royston or
Cambridge, although, in emergencies, the dual-voltage units did reach both locations.

The majority of the Great Northern Class 313s have now been taken to either South Wales or South Yorkshire for scrapping.
 On the September 30th, there was only one all day diagram left for the few survivors.

RIP to the Great Northern's Class 313. BR-built at York, in 1976 they owe the railway not a penny. None moved in public service on Tuesday October 1st.
 The Great Northern 313s have been replaced by the new Siemens-built Class 717 six-car units, dual voltage.

At least 20 earlier-build Class 313s, second-hand from the Great Northern, continue in service with Southern, used between Portsmouth,
Brighton and Seaford. Their no-toilet status has not gone down well in West and East Sussex!

This view below is of 313037 calling at Hatfield, with the 15.39 service from Welwyn Garden City to Moorgate, as a down Azuma races
past with a King's Cross to Glasgow Central LNER service, on September 25th.313037 was withdrawn just a
 few days later and quickly taken away to South Wales.


This view below shows the front end of the 15.39, arriving at Hatfield with 313051.

This view below shows how deplorable the external condition of the 313s got to, the worst in the UK.  Once the trains had been vandalized by 'paint artists' the cleaners
 rubbed off not only the paint but also the vinyl underneath. No attempt was made to make good the vinyl.

 313041 at Hitchin in 2017.

A rather worse image of the Class 313 in their last days. Unit 313051 at Hatfield, Sept 25th. Disgraceful. Old BR fleet managers must be spinning in their graves.