Railway, Railway days

Brighton Trip Part 2

You may recall in Part 1 the good Mrs Driscoll and I had arrived at Brighton station with Mayflower blowing off furiously in platform 3.

The Steam Dreams staff shepherded us to the buses waiting to take us to the hotel. Boarding the bus it made a change to see people dressed in their finery.

On arrival at the Hilton we were taken to the room up the elegant stairway which graces the lobby and through a maze of corridors. Now dear reader you may of thought like I did that we would be seated in rows of chairs, but no being a function room we were seated at round tables all very elegant.

Brief Encounter has been digitally remastered for its 70th birthday and was shown with subtitles. As the film started I thought they have got it a**e about face and had forgotten that the tale is a narration from the armchair. Still a good film although you do get a sense of very staged dialogue – good story though about 2 strangers thrown together because of circumstances.

All too soon the film ended and we were all hurried back onto the buses to return to Brighton to board our train. As I hoped the set had not been turned round so this time we were 2 coaches from Mayflower. This time we changed seats as my wife does not like going backwards. Thus we set off and out with the alcohol – whiskey and coke for her and straight Whiskey for me out of the flask she had got me for Valentines. The Whiskey we had was Gold Cap bottled by Palmers in Dorset but distilled in Scotland and very nice it was too.

Travelling through the night , Mayflower made good time and smoke and sparks trailed off into the night. Rather than go through Redhill, we were sent via the Quarry line so a good turn of speed ensured until Purley when we were put back on the slow lines which we stayed on all the way to Victoria where we arrived in Platform 7 on time.

All in all a most enjoyable trip and we got home to Croydon about quarter one Sunday morning . Here are some pics of Mayflower at Victoria.

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Railway, Railway days

Mayflower to Brighton and back – Part 1

Valentines Day saw the good Mrs Driscoll and I travel to London Victoria to board the Valentines Day express headed by LNER B1 Mayflower  to Brighton organised by Steam Dreams for a special screening of the Film Brief Encounter which is 70 years old.

Image Steam Dreams guide
Image Steam Dreams guide

After a sumptuous dinner in the Weatherspoons above W H Smith washed down by a pint of Wandle ale, we made our way to platform 7 to await our train. Standing by the entrance it was clear to see who our travelling companions were as they too were clutching their cream coloured tickets.

Soon the unmistakable sound of a diesel filled the station and our train had arrived with a class 47 in Stratford livery as tail end Charlie.

Tail end Charlie
Tail end Charlie
County of Essex
County of Essex

Being coach K we did not have far to go and found our seats in good time. Promptly at 6.09pm we pulled out of platform 7 to make our tortious way over to the Brighton side with County of Essex giving us a good push up the steep climb to Grosvenor bridge and onto the slow lines through Battersea Park and Clapham Junction, in fact all the way down to East Croydon. It was quite a spectacle to watch those on the platform open mouthed or suddenly reach for their mobile phone to take a picture.

Good progress was made through Purely where the train took the line to Redhill by which time Mrs Driscoll and I were sipping the Chardonnay. Slow progress through Redhill and then fits and starts of speed. Pass Gatwick leaving behind the inevitable steam trail and the lovely smell that goes with it.

Three Bridges was passed with the new depot in the dark on the right hand side, over Ouse Valley viaduct and then Hayward’s Heath. As it was dark it was difficult to tell when in a tunnel as unlike modern trains our ears didn’t pop.

There was a good turnout of people at Hassocks as we steamed through as You Tube will testify – always good to see both young and old alike.

No sooner had we gone through Clayton tunnel then we were at Preston Park slowing for Brighton. Arriving at Brighton seemed to take an age. There was defiantly no shortage of steam on Mayflower’s part as she was blowing off furiously through her safety valve which was quite ear piercing!

Mayflower and her safety valve


Mayflower at rest

There was a veritable gaggle of people around Mayflower and the Steam Dreams Stewards had their work cut out herding us to board the coaches for the film.

Part 2 tomorrow.