Out East, February 2019
The 0807 off Leighton saw me joining an orderly queue of commuters as 350258, 105 and 250 arrived right time. I got a seat, but a good few resorted to sitting on the unit's floor. This service was fast line ex Ledburn and we were soon passing the recently downed crane at the former Willesden Freightliner depot, a sad sight, 4D62 Willesden - Holyhead liners no more.
The Met tube was the expected vile crush and slow so it was a relief to make my booked 0930 Liverpool St - Norwich with 90015 propelling and Mk III coach 12129 my steed. Passing Ilford 08700 was stabled, progress was steady with much waiting time at stations due slack timings. An Ipswich bail where it was cold and damp, A exams were in progress on 2 sheds at Ipswich depot, 90002 was soon joined on the following 1000 Liverpool St - Norwich. The full consist of this service was
11081, 11101, 10401, 12093H, 12153, 12013, 12081, 12040, 12150 and 82139
At Diss we crossed new Stadler plastic 405 on test, with sandbags on some seats for weight. The 405's interiors compared starkly with my immaculate Mk III 12093. 37424 atop 37423 with warm comfy MkII's 9525, 5937 and 5810 was joined soon after arriving at Norwich. The front coach quickly filled with bashers including Driver Phil who sat opposite for a good chat. 37424 sounded very quiet and we soon overhead she was on low power and would be swapped for 37425 that night. More thrash could be heard from 37425 from Yarmouth then after checking in at the Premier Inn it was the scenic Lowerstoft line with the 1455 ex Norwich. On the return run i opted to bail at the required shack Haddiscoe. This meant going into the guards compartment for exiting, the guard remarking we were "a minute and a half early!". Haddiscoe was deserted, a classic Fenland location, before 153322 and 153335 arrived right time to take me a few miles South to the also required Somerleyton.
Somerleyton too was a classic rural shack with the Fens spreading out to the nearby river. A roe deer was watched for 10 minutes feeding less than 30ft from me, she was very aware of all sudden noise always looking up at the slightest sound. All too soon the 153's arrived in the twilight to return me to Brundell. The 37s could be heard 10 minutes before arriving on the 1736 Norwich - Yarmouth , fantastic! On arrival at Yarmouth 37175 and 37610 were in the adjacent platform with a test train, Four 37's in Yarmouth at once!
The 37's were flagged for their final Lowerstoft trip for 321 power. I was well pleased with 321406 leading 321331 and refurbished 321327 on the 1930 Norwich - Liverpool St. Howling motors and a lively fast ride to Ipswich, for a 156 to Stowmarket for 90001 to end my day. A pizza, garlic bread and chicken ended the evening in Norwich.
As expected 37425 was now a top 37423 on the 0836 Yarmouth with 4 bashers enjoying the racket up front on a horrible wet morning. 08480 was shunting Mk IIIs at Crown point as we passed. The rains had eased a little at Yarmouth allowing a quick phot before more thrash on the 0916 Yarmouth - Norwich. At Norwich breakfast was purchased and then alarm on seeing the 1036 Yarmouth advertised as load 2. Then as 4 bashers looked on in disgust 37425 left with the empties to deposit them in the yard.
So plan B saw 90009 joined on the 1030 Liverpool St, the bog of Mk III coach 12147 having "Aslef scabs" graffitti! With the weather still rough, the mood a bit low, various 90s were done on the fast Ipswich - Norwich section including 90002, 90010, 90011 and 90012 enjoyed. A change of scene saw 170208 bashed to the required shack of Thurston where most of the plus 40 here was spent ordering and consuming an excellent fish supper.
A busy 156407 returned me to Stowmarket for 90011 to a windy Diss for 90003 back to Ipswich. The 1705 Liverpool St - Norwich with 321348, 321434 and 321352 taken for a screaming run to Diss. A 20 late 90001 eventually arrived at Diss on the 1900 Norwich - Liverpool St only, once we'd all settled aboard to be caped here due a fault on the Skoda. 90001 then propelled her train back to Norwich with a cheery "byeeee" from the guard! The following 321s were also caped so it was 90002 on the 2000 Norwich - Liverpool St forward
Things became more serious at Colchester where this train too was caped to howls of disgust from some of the elderly passengers on board. A suicide at Romford had closed the GE. About 80 long minutes later 90009 arrived on the delayed 2030 ex Norwich and once all passengers had joined we departed South from Platform 2 around 2230. A fast run South with the expected delay as we crossed to the slow lines through Romford (the fast lines still being shut) with a 2315 arrival at the Street. The tubes were running OK and the 2344 to the Keynes was made with 5 minutes to spare. Arrival in Leighton was around 0030, OK late but an enjoyable couple of days none the less.