Thursday, 5 June 2014

Well travelled Trident!

After seeing a post on a Stagecoach Enthusiasts Facebook group that Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX400 17037 S837BWC had covered a Gold X4 Peterborough - Milton Keynes, I thought that seeing as it's an ex-South West, I'd give it a blog post!

S837BWC was new to Stagecoach London as TA37 in 1999, before being transferred to Cambridge , complete with Centre door, and painted green for the Cowley Road - City Centre- Barbraham Road Park & Ride service. Stagecoach numbered it 17037 as part of the national fleet numbering system. August 2007, saw 17037 along with sisters 17007-11/36/38/51-53/55-58 being transferred to Stagecoach Devon. For a while, they operated in full Cambridge Park & Ride livery (minus the lettering) with just the lower front panel painted in Stagecoach corporate livery and with centre doors. This was so they could quickly oust the Volvo B10M/Northern Counties Palatines off of key route 57 Exeter - Brixington. Gradually , the S/T reg Tridents appeared in full Stagecoach "beachball" livery, with a neat single door conversion and rear number displays.
S837BWC in Torquay - 15th June 2013

With the arrival of a batch of Scania N230UD/Enviro400's in 2010 for route 57, seven of these ex-London Trident's; 17036/7/55-8 were transferred down to Torbay, operating local routes. 17037 was my favorite of the bunch along with 17055.  On June 20th 2013, 17037 (along with some of the others) were sent up to Stagecoach Manchester (Wigan) to replace the East Lancs bodied Dennis Arrow's that had been acquired from First Group earlier in the year. Towards the end of 2013, S837 was once again on her travels , leaving the others behind at Wigan , she ventured off up to Fife, where she (along with some Y/51 reg London Tridents) replaced some Volvo Olympians on school work. In April 2014, I was quite surprised to read that 17037, with 17060 T660KPU had made the long trek down to Kettering, not a great distance from their home stomping ground. I expect the pair are mainly used for school work, though as I mentioned at the start of the post, S837BWC pretended to be a 'Gold' spec vehicle and worked an X4 yesterday (4th June).  I believe the X4 is one of Stagecoach's longest routes in the Country, with a journey time of around 4 hours. Wonder if I'll be so lucky to get 17037 if I do the X4? hmm, likely
not unfortunately! You never know, there may still be time for us to see a T reg on the South West Gold route yet! I do hope so anyway!

17037 playing 'Gold' 4th June 2014 - thanks to Steve Mutly, used with permission
As you can see, S837BWC is a well traveled vehicle , and long may she continue! And who says Tridents are crap, eh?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Cheerio C-Stocks!

As most will know, the London Underground C-stock C69/C77 trains have reached the end of their time in service with only 2 train sets left as of today. One departed for scrap this morning. I only really started regular visits to London back in 2012 so knew practically nothing about the Underground trains, except from that they were awesome! After riding a lot of the underground lines in Summer 2012, I quickly decided that the C-stock units used on the Hammersmith & City  , Circle and District Line (Wimbledon branch) were my favorite units on the Underground network. To me, they looked quite modern inside so completely oblivious to the fact they were 40 odd years old, I never made much of an effort to photograph them (You'd think I'd learn by now!!). After hearing that they were on borrowed time, I did start chasing them a bit more however it became clear that they were disappearing rapidly, and being replaced by brand new S7 stock.

The new S-stock trains, introduced on other lines too is one I really haven't come to like, and probably never will. They are undeniably stylish, and a hell of a lot easier for passengers, with the extra space and ability to walk between carriages. I have noticed that their a lot better when the train is busy. From an enthusiast point of view though, the new shape looses all resemblance to the classic 'tube' look about them, and the ability to walk between coaches makes them too much like the modern Flexcity trams and normal trains. They are also too quiet and modern sounding for my liking. The old clattery sound of the trains racing through the tunnels isn't as audible as it is on older stock. I sound like a complete 'veg' in that last paragraph, but hey!

Sunday 14th April saw the C-stock "explorer" tour, where a C-stock set was given a good run around the Underground network which the type never ran on in service, followed by a nice run on it's 'home' line! Of course, the mad man I am did go up for the event, Midnight National Express coach off Paignton, and return arriving into Paignton 00:05 on Monday 15th April. Despite being out for 24 hours and 5 minutes, it was certainly well worth it, and I even acquired a nice big poster from the event for a Tenner, which I have yet to find room for!

A C-stock set in the depot, with thanks to Mark McWalter - used with permission!
Today (Tuesday 3rd June) saw the last ever working of the C-stock units in normal passenger service. Despite it being scheduled to work from 11:30 until 13:39 , the set actually worked two trips on the Edgeware Road - Wimbledon branch before being withdrawn at around 09:30 and sadly being sent for scrap! The final farewell will be in the form of another railtour on Sunday 29th June (I think!) which tickets are now on sale for £40 and a discounted £15 for children. Do I, or Don't I? hahaha!

Weather you'll be bidding farewell or popping your party poppers as the last set leaves the platform, it's certainly hard to deny that these units have done well during they're last 45 years of sterling service across the network and I will be sad to see them go.

Hmmm, next favorite Underground stock?  I'll have to go for the 1972 Bakerloo Line stock or the District Line D stock!

My video of the tour departing Hammersmith can be found HERE

Farewell C-Stock 1969-2014!