Friday, 7 October 2016

Trip to Southend by rail

See Glenn's idea below. Please let me know if you would be interested in the trip to Southend.

On 10 July 1994 a special Gospel Oak to Southend-on-Sea excursion ran to commemorate the centenary of the opening of the Tottenham & Forest Gate Railway (South Tottenham – Woodgrange Park) – see photos. The train was formed of 4-coaches of the old slam-door diesel trains that worked the line, donated by the BR ‘shadow’ train operating unit, North London Railways, which also donated the train crews’ services. The tickets were promoted and sold by the six boroughs that formed the ‘GOBLIN campaign’ who made up any shortfall in costs and Waltham Forest College catering students operated a refreshment trolley in one of the guards’ vans. Oh and I was the train manager! For many years following I was often asked, “When are we having another day trip to Southend?” Well, in todays privatised railway could we?
I started thinking about this in 2011 as 2012 was 50 years since the last timetabled passenger train had run over the line to Southend (a Summer Saturdays only Luton – Southend return service). It seemed possible but day-to-day BGORUG responsibilities took priority and 2012 came and went.
On 21 July 1868 the first passenger train ran between Tottenham and Highgate Road, so 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of this event. In July 2018, the line will have been electrified for a year and the new TfL electric 4-car trains will just have started running. It is possible that any charter train commemorating this anniversary would be the first electrically hauled train. The idea would be to share the train with a well-known national railtour operator. The operator would sell their ticket allocation as the first electrically hauled train over the line with lots of bits of ‘rare track’ around London and BGORUG with the help of local community groups along the line would promote the trains as a day trip to Southend from stations along the line among local residents. The train would be about 8 main line coaches and a buffet car. Day trippers would be left at Southend, the railway enthusiasts would have a few hours exploring rare sidings and freight only lines before heading back to Southend to pick up the day trippers.
Well, is the demand there among local people along the line for the novelty of a through return excursion train trip to Southend? There is loads of work required to get this to happen but is the demand there and the goodwill of community minded people to work together to promote the train locally? What do you think? If it is to happen, work will have to start now!
Well, what do you think Adrian? Do you think we could find around a hundred or more day trippers from the Waltham Forest area? The aim would be to keep the Southend day trip fare to £35-45 per adult but there would be some sort of group ticket available.



Old Father Thames trip now

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