East Midlands Cabride

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On 09/08/12, I was lucky enough to be invited out for a day by East Midlands trains.

But with a difference - travelling in in the cabs of a few of their trains.
I thought I was lucky enough to get a ride in just one, nevermind THREE!

The trip began at Sheffield; where we met up with Darren Ward - Operations Manager for EMT where we would take our first trip in the Cab of a Class 222 Meridian to Leiecester - via Derby.

The driver for this part of the trip (1C32 - 09.35 Sheffield - London St Pancras) was Driver Instructor, Alan Justice.

In the cab, the controls of the train were explained to me.
A 222 is quite different to the older Locomotives that I have been in.
Instead of a seperate Brake and Power lever - there is just one 'combined power lever'.

Forward to make the train move, and Backwards to put the brakes on.

Also, the trains are fitted with a Cruise control, which can automatically keep the train at a speed selected by the driver.

Everything on the train is monitored via a computer- where a touch screen shows up faults and the status of the train.

At 09.33, the signal at the end of Platform 7 had cleared (turned to Green), to tell us that the Signalmen had set our route out of the station.
At 09.35, the train guard buzzed us to tell us it was safe for us to go - and we replied to say we were ready.


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Just leaving Sheffield.
Arriving at Chesterfield, Platform 2 - on time!
Me at the controls of 222011
Me, with Driver Instructor, Alan Justice.

We crawled out of Sheffield, with the speed slowly increasing as we passed the head shunt at Sheffield (where a couple of Northern 142s were stored) and as we got further from Sheffield, our speed increased more, until we were doing around 80-90mph.


It was amazing seeing how much of the Midland Mainline had changed in 40 years (I had been watching material of the route filmed in 1971!)
We passed Dore Station - which is now 1 platform for the local Sheffield-Manchester service over the Hope Valley.

We approached Bradway Tunnel at around 90mph - and then plunged into it - so far green signals all the way!!!

We whizzed passed Dronfield station and then on towards Chesterfield - passing Tapton Junction, otherwise known as the Barrow Hill line!

At Chesterfield, we stopped at Platform 2 - on time, where we picked up more passengers.

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Once we had left Chesterfield, it should be a straight run to Derby - on the way we passed the old Clay Cross station site, where all that remains is an Engine Shed, just before the line splits to go one way to Nottingham, and the other towards Derby.
We went through Clay Cross tunnel - which runs directly underneath the shops in the high street above and raced towards Ambergate junction.

As we approached Ambergate the signal was on 2 yellows - telling us to slow down, the next signal after would be on 1 yellow - telling us that we would need to stop at the next one.

We had arrived at Ambergate junction 6 minutes early - and the local stopping Matlock to Nottingham train was in front of us; so we would have to follow that all the way to Derby.

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We crawled through Belper station, under King Street and then passed Goods Road sidings towards Milford Tunnel and then through Duffield.

We passed Little Eaton junction - which has now been all pulled up, this line used to go to Denby Brickworks and at one time to Ripley station.

As we approached Derby, we could see the old St Marys Wharf good shed (what's left of it anyway) and sidings.

The signal approaching the station had a Number 6 lit up above it - telling us we were going into Platform 6.

It was strange seeing Derby like this - I am usually used to going in behind the train!

At Derby - there are two routes out of the south side of station - one towards London/Nottingham and another towards Birmingham - so we must check that the correct route is set - an "S" lit up above our signal - so the route for us was set "South" - if it had been a "W" (West) we would be going to Birmingham!!!!

We passed through Derby works, and Etches Park - where EMT clean and maintain their trains; also there are a few old ex BR and Network Rail stored locomotives there too.
A Class 45, various 31s and 37s are often parked up.
Before long we were passing over Spondon Crossing (by the Chemical works) and towards Long Eaton.

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Passing Belper.
Approaching Derby, Platform 6.
Passing through Derby RTC.
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We passed through Long Eaton, then over Stenson Junction (the line that bypasses Derby - and goes straight to Willington, on the Birmingham line from Derby - it used to also go to Castle Donigton power station) - the next Junction was Sheet Stores- where the line splits to Nottingham, and also towards London.

We took the line south, towards London, for our next stop at East Midlands Parkway
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East Midlands Parkway was only built recently for passengers travelling to and from East Midlands Airport.

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Approaching East Midlands Parkway.
Approaching Leicester.

Following the stop at East Midlands Parkway, our next stop would be at Loughboro; where we saw the Brush Traction works - where many of the older locos were built and most of the Class 43s were recently re-engined.

After leaving Loughboro, we headed on towards Leicester - passing various local stopping services, and a number of Class 66's on freight movements too.

And at Leicester, 31105 came rolling through light engine!


That part of the trip took us just over one hour!

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For the next part of the journey, we were on board HST 43047 (1D22 - London St Pancras - Nottingham), where I sat in the 'Second Mans' seat!

It was different to the 222, as you could hear the roar from the engine when we moved off.


The driver explained the controls on the 43 to me - this was more like the older Locomotives I am morefamiliar with.

There are seperate levers (left) for the Air-brake, and a lever (right) for the power - to make the train move.

The driver explaining that the best way to smoothly get the speed up, was to move the power up "notch by notch".


Once the signal had cleared, and the train guard had buzzed us to tell us it safe to go- we crawled out of Leicester - towards Nottingham.

   
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At the controls of 43047, at Leicester.
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On the way to Nottingham - we only had one scheduled stop, at East Midlands Parkway - so we'd pass through Loughboro' - and the HST could get up to a good speed too!

Coming back north, there was a lot of track work taking place - with workers on the track most of the way between Leicester and Nottingham.

I was looking after the Horn, to warn the workers that we were approaching - the watchman or 'lookout' should respond by raising his hand above his head - if he doesn't - blast the horn again!

Also - when travelling through stations at speed, you need to warn passengers at the station that a fast train is approaching and to keep away from the edge of the platform.

This I did at Loughboro'!

Once we had reached Sheet Stores Junction, we slowed down - a filter light (or 'feather') on the top of the signal indicated the way we were travelling - towards Trent Junction (passing the Power Signal Box) and then on to Nottingham.

We were following 1 Yellow on the signals, all the way into Nottingham, as there were track workers on the line, as well other services coming in and out of the station.

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Passing Sheet Stores Junction.
Approaching Nottingham Station.
Me with 43047 at Nottingham.
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At Nottingham we swapped platforms - and trains to catch the Norwich-Liverpool Lime Street service back to Sheffield.

158864 was sat ready and the Driver was just doing his final checks before it was ready to leave.

The driver explained the controls to me - these aren't that much different than the HST, as they have seperate brake and power levers.

The cab was quite cramped as there was 4 of us in there!

We left the station - via the same way we had come in, but this time had to keep an eye on the signals to make sure that we had the correct route set for us.

At Lenton Junction we crossed the points to head ontowards Radford and Trent Junctions.

This is a bit of track I have only been up a couple of times, so don't know it that well!

Me at the controls of 158864.
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We only had 2 scheduled stops before Sheffield- Alfreton, and then Chesterfield.
On the way up we passed many of the old Colliery lines - which have now either been ripped up or just left and now overgrown.

The 158s pick up speeds quite quickly and before long we were passsing Pye Bridge Junction - the line into Midland Railway and Butterley.
At one time - the line ran from here all the way to Ambergate junction.

After a brief stop at Alfreton we headed on towards Sheffield, crossing the other side of Clay-Cross junction (so today, I had done a complete circle!)

Passing Hasland, we passed 70015 taking cement tanks south - not often you see a Class 70 in these parts!

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Approaching Chesterfield.
Me with 158864 at Sheffield.

After our stop at Chesterfield - Platform 1, we headed north back towards Sheffield.
We crossed Tapton Junction towards Dronfield, and then trough Bradway Tunnel again.

At Dore we slowed down and proceeded towards Sheffield - closely watching the signals.
The driver told us - if signal S69 is at green - we have a clear path into Sheffield station; if the signal is any any other aspect- we will have to stop and wait for a platform.

The signal was at green, and we headed straight into a very busy Platform 5, where the driver and guard would swap ends, before heading out of the station towards Dore

In all we travelled around 124miles (including to and from Meadowhall)

I learned so much on this trip, and a huge thank you to Darren Ward, Alan Justice and the other drivers and train managers who put up with me for a day!

Also a big thank you to Darren Ward for sending me some additional photos which are on this page too!

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