FROM OUR ARCHIVES
Forgotten Tracks tour visits rare East Yorkshire lines
THE Forgotten Tracks series of charter trains, arranged by UK Railtours, visits some lines relatively frequently while other trips are more ‘one off’ events. Its offering on November 14 – the ‘Galloping Goolie’ – fell into the latter category, travelling over some bits of track that had not been visited by a passenger train for many years.
The tour began at Finsbury Park and picked up at various points along the East Coast Main Line, the last of these being Doncaster at 10.32, making the tour easy to access from many parts of the country. No. 66206 was supplied by DB Schenker as the main train engine, with No. 66037 acting as an assisting loco on the freight branches.
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Even though No. 66037 only hauled the train for less than three miles during the course of the day, its appearance went down well with many on board, as it had previously only had one outing on a charter train, and that was more than 16 years ago. The loco was one of several examples used on special trains to the 1999 solar eclipse in Cornwall, being used on one of two Pathfinder trips that ran from Crewe to Plymouth.
On the other hand, No. 66206 had been used on two enthusiast trips towards the end of 2011, firstly a Branch Line Society charter around Liverpool and the Midlands, and then on Pathfinder’s Christmas ‘Spin and Win’ a few weeks later.
The November tour’s first destination of interest was Goole Docks, which is owned and operated by Associated British Ports. The firm provided access for the train in return for a donation to its nominated charity, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and an on-board raffle also took place in aid of the cause.
The docks are covered by a number of lines that require some complex manoeuvres to gain access. In order to reach the shunt siding into the docks, the signalling arrangements meant that the tour first had to run into the up/down goods loop, just south of Goole station, and reverse. Once in the complex, the tour ran to Glews Hollow, a once extensive area of sidings but now just the limit of operation on what was formerly a through line to the Goole-Knottingley route.
After this, the tour covered two short branches, the first being to the south of the West Dock, although due to a point being set in concrete and unable to be clamped, it was not felt the train could proceed over it down the entire length of the line. Coverage of the second line, to the loading pad, was much better and the tour ran past Goole’s well-known ‘salt and pepper pots’ (actually a pair of water towers) and almost reached the buffers.
In total, the train reversed on no less than 10 times during its visit to Goole Docks. The reversals were accomplished quicker than planned, resulting in the tour arriving at Goole some 60 minutes early, meaning an extended break taking place, and the town’s cafes and pubs did a roaring trade as railtourers filled in the time.
Two hours later, and with everyone back on board, it was time to continue in the direction of Hull. The first point of call was Hull Dairycoates, a branch which is believed not to have been visited by a tour since March 1991. Unlike the 1991 ‘Lancashire & Yorkshire’ tour, however, the ‘Galloping Goolie’ did not cover the line from Dairycoates to the Tilcon Terminal. The visit to this branch also doubled up as a stop to water the coaching stock.
After travelling back up the branch, the tour reversed again to continue towards Hull to traverse the loop involving Anlaby Road curve. This was traversed anti-clockwise, which pleased a number of passengers who like to record track to ‘Quail’ level – a previous UK Railtours trip in June 2014 (the ‘Yorkshire Detour’) also travelled round the loop but in the opposite (clockwise) direction.
As the train returned west, time was gradually lost, and problems with the level crossing barriers between Goole and Knottingley meant the now after dark run was rather sedate. The tour took the Knottingley East curve to travel via Askern and rejoin the East Coast Main Line at Shaftholme Junction.
Arrival at the first set-down, Doncaster, was 36 minutes later and, rather frustratingly given the early running during the first part of the day, the train failed to regain any time as it returned to London. However, with all the advertised rare track covered, and a loco which had not hauled a passenger train for more than 15 years used on the tour, there was little else to fault on this tour.