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Make ours a double! Rover 1…


Our occasional series of reader photo travelogues continues, with best friends Barry Gill and Richard White braving a seven-day All-Line Rover two years in a row. All words and pictures by the authors.

IN 2014 Barry asked me: “Do you have any plans for your 50th next year?” I replied: “Apart from playing golf at St Andrews, no.” Then he said: “Do you fancy doing an All-Liner. And as I’ll be 50 in 2016, do another one and treat ourselves by going 1st Class?” My reply: “Oh yes!”

We dusted off the rail atlas, logged onto Realtime Trains and started to plan our journey. We both agreed from the onset that as well as covering as many lines that we hadn’t done, we would try and get in as many loco-hauled trains as possible, as they were becoming a thing of the past on the rail network.

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When planning, it became evident that a lot of the lines we would be travelling over in the first year would be in DMUs/EMUs which had no 1st Class. That made our decision to go Standard Class easy and would plan 1st Class for the following year.

The first year (July 2015) a lot of the trains were DMUs (Classes 142, 150 ,153, 156) and we found that these were busy and there was no guarantee of a seat. In comparison, in the second year (June 2016), when we went 1st Class (Mk.3/Mk.4 stock) we had a seat on every train, with the added bonus of free at-seat service and also the use of the 1st Class lounges on station platforms.

The loco-hauled trains were mainly Class 37s and 68s, with Mk.2 stock, which brought back some great memories on the trips to Dundee, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Barrow. Would we do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.

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ROVER 1: 2015 (Standard Class)

  • Day 1: Newcastle–Newcastle via Dundee and Glasgow
  • Day 2: Newcastle–York via Barrow and Leeds
  • Day 3: York–Norwich via Cleethorpes and Skegness
  • Day 4: Norwich–London via Harwich and Clacton–Penzance [o/n]
  • Day 5: Penzance–Cornish branches–Dawlish
  • Day 6: Dawlish–Eastleigh via Barnstaple and Weymouth
  • Day 7: Eastleigh–Newcastle via London, Birmingham, Hull and Scarborough.
DAY 1: Sporting VTEC livery, an HST led by No. 43296 arrives at Leuchars with an Aberdeen-London King’s Cross service. Crowds of people are heading to St Andrews for the Open Championship.
DAY 3: A surprise spot at Doncaster was preserved No. 26007, left there after developing a hot axle box during a transfer to the Nene Valley Railway for a diesel gala.
DAY 4/5: FGW blue No. 57602 waits at Paddington with the 1C99 23.45 London Paddington-Penzance Night Riviera sleeper service, formed with Mk.3 stock.
DAY 4: No. 90007 in blue Abellio livery stands at Norwich waiting to work a service to London Liverpool Street (see also the same loco a year later, overleaf).
DAY 4: ‘Syphons’ Nos. 37405 and 37419 at Norwich about to ‘top and tail’ the Mk.2 coaches forming the 2P12 08.36 Norwich-Great Yarmouth via Acle. No. 37405 was included in the second batch of vintage traction sold by DRS earlier this year, with its new owner HNRC giving the loco a repaint into a corporate vivid orange colour scheme in October.
DAY 5: Since preserved, ‘Pacer’ No. 143619 calls at Newton Abbot with the 18.49 to Exeter St Davids.
DAY 6: On a very damp and drizzly day, No. 153373 pauses at Castle Cary.
DAY 7: In its striking silver livery, Chiltern Mainline’s No. 68012 rests at Birmingham Moor Street, having arrived with the 11.06 from London Marylebone.

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