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East Anglian Special 1953 1 year 3 months ago #233

 EAST ANGLIAN SPECIAL6th September, 1953Excellent weather augured well for this trip—the kind of day for which one often longed in vain if one had tickets for a test match. Plan of the tour, for which the customary itinerary in R.O. format was issued to all participants, was from Bishopsgate Goods (the original Shoreditch terminus of the Eastern Counties Railway) to Marks Tey with a D16/3 " Claud," Marks Tey via Bury to Cambridge with a J20 class 0-6-0 and then, after a visit to the Motive Power Depot, an E4 class 2-4-0 from Cambridge to Liverpool St via Hitchin, Hertford North and Palace Gates. At Bishopsgate goods, amidst notices concerning Railheads and other directions for distribution of freight traffic and with opportunity to inspect refrigerated vans from Italy last iced at Chiasso, we found in No. 1 Bank No. 2 Road, D16/3 62567 (ex 8836) with our train of five coaches, the engine shining in the sunshine of a City Sunday morning and with great interest evinced by all members of the staff on duty at the goods station. We made a gentle start, moving through Spitalfields yard with a limit of 5 m.p.h., past Granary Box specially open for us and then after joining the down electric line at Bethnal Green crossing to the main at Bow Jc.. 62567 thence ran smoothly though the heavy traffic of a summer Sunday on the Colchester main line precluded any exceptional feats of speed. Brentwood Bank was surmounted at 43 m.p.h. and we had a steady 2 miles at 68 m.p.h. before Chelmsford. At Chelmsford a severe signal check pulled us up while N7 69727 shunted a goods train into the lower yard. After that speed was steady though restrained and in the 58 m.p.h. to 60 m.p.h. region for many miles up hill and down. At Marks Tey we ran through the station into the Refuge siding and there J20/1 64685 (ex. 8280), which had come across light engine from Cambridge via Haverhill and Sudbury, backed on and took us over. 64685 gave us an energetic run through Chappel and Sudbury to Bury ultimately, after Welnetham, shewing an exceptional turn of speed with a maximum of 60 m.p.h. for ½ mile and an average of 59 m.p.h. for 1½ miles, with 55 m.p.h. maintained hard on up to the curve round which with severe braking to the 20 m.p.h. restriction we entered Bury. The schedule as published in the itinerary had been eased by 4 minutes between Lavenham and Bury to allow for anticipated lower speed of this small-wheeled engine, but in fact arrival at Bury was at the originally scheduled time despite a three minutes late departure from Marks Tey. From Bury to Newmarket 64685 kept up its energetic running with a maximum again of 60 m.p.h. between Saxham and Higham and after negotiating the single line through Newmarket Tunnel, Newmarket station was passed in just under 22 minutes from the Bury start, with a gain of some five minutes on the time allowed by the revised schedule. After Newmarket, Dullingham bank was climbed with vigour with a minimum of 36 m.p.h. on the 1 in 88 and after easy running thereafter arrival at Cambridge was three minutes early. At Cambridge we visited the Motive Power Depot and our thanks are due to Mr. King, the shedmaster, for the facilities he gave us and the very friendly welcome of him and his senior officials. At the shed there was opportunity of inspecting and photographing E4 class 2-4-0 62790 (ex 7503) prepared for our run to London and shining with polished brass beading on its splashers in the afternoon sunshine. From Cambridge to London 62790 had an easy schedule but the old veteran ran easily and steadily. Arrival at Hitchin was early and the engine had been blowing at the summit between Ashwell and Baldock. From Hitchin to Hertford North we again made on schedule and on emerging from Molewood Tunnel were signalled forward to stop in the platform where we had a pleasant 13 minutes waiting for the preceding local train to clear the long Sunday block section ahead. Thence we ran to Bowes Park and then over the connecting line to Bounds Green, where we dropped the pilotman we had taken from Hitchin and picked up one from Palace Gates shed. We then travelled through Seven Sisters and Hackney Downs, where we crossed from slow to fast by the little used crossover at the south of station and with signals clearing as we approached Bethnal Green got a clear road into Liverpool St. and at 7-29 p.m. 62790, resplendent with express passenger headcode displayed by G.E. pattern white discs, arrived 14 minutes early in Platform 7. It was indeed a glorious sight to look down from the bridge and see an " Intermediate " once again standing at the buffer stops of the London terminus of the G.E.R.Our thanks are due to the Eastern Region for their co-operation and the efficiency of their arrangements. They complied with every request we made; as motive power we asked for a D16/3, a J20 and an E4; they were arranged. Later we asked for 64685 and on the Cafeteria Car to have a true East Anglian brew—Tolly; both were arranged. Throughout the day every arrangement functioned excellently and at every turn we met willing co-operation; particularly must we once again thank Cambridge Motive Power Depot, who were responsible for organising all three engines, albeit 64685 was from Bishops Stortford (30C), and ensuring all were cleaned. On performance the " Claud " was perhaps a little disappointing, but it did not really get a clear run; 64685 on the other hand exceeded all expectations, and what surprised most was not merely its vigour and turn of speed but also its comparatively steady and smooth running at high speeds; there was some side-to-side motion but none of the roughness common with freight engines on similar duties. Finally the E4, though on too easy a schedule, was a grand old engine running with a steady and stately progress.The “East Anglian Special" had been conceived at the 1952 Annual Reunion and our thanks are due to Messrs. McKenny, Hurst and Proud on our side for the work and planning that then and in the ensuing nine months had helped to make the day so successful. We have also been asked this time to mention our Editor, Mr. White; he rarely gets mention in acknowledgments, and they are not expected in normal editorial matters, but our thanks should always be due to him for the expeditious and efficient manner in which he always carries out the work that falls to him each time in connection with the production of the itinerary for each rail tour, no matter by whom it may have been prepared and written. Under the title " Lure of Railway Ancientry " the Times of 17th September made extended reference to this trip and the activities of the R.C.T.S., and mentioned that this society, " which has a large membership, organises many such trips every year." 
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Last edit: by Bill King (kingsoflympne).
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