UK Railtours “Mine of Serpents” puts Hither Green’s heritage traction back on the running lines.
UK Railtours, in association with GB Railfreight, operated possibly one of the most exciting rail charters of the year on Saturday, November 5th.
Former BR Southern “ED” (Class 73) locomotives 73141 and 73208 were put to task on the charter. They didn’t once stray from their old stomping ground south of the river.
The train commenced from London Waterloo, using the Linford Street Chord (formerly used by Eurostar), prior to running via the Catford Loop to Swanley, and over the Eynsford Viaduct to get down to Tonbridge. From here, it veered off to the right, heading down through Tunbridge Wells to Mountfield. Interestingly, the charter was able to go right the way through to the end of the line, now used by British Gypsum. It then ran back to London Bridge via Tonbridge, Redhill and Croydon.
After a short break, the tour went down to East Grinstead, via the usual route of Croydon and Oxted. The train also passed over the Bluebell Railway connection, and stood for a while on the Bluebell’s East Grinstead station. It ran back again via Oxted and Croydon, prior to running from Norwood to Tulse Hill via Crystal Palace. It then went back into London’s Waterloo via Linford Street once more.
UK Railtours will be running plenty more enthusiast charters into the new year, with an East Midlands Trains HST set to be used on a special to the Lincoln Christmas market on the 3rd of December. This comes alongside two repeat railtours in the London Area, and then a Railtour to the West of England in 2012.