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A Day Out (With People Who May Or May Not Be Nerds) At… 5: Peterborough

Ian Fowler

IAN FOWLER explains what there is to see at this expansive ECML station.

You may recall I did originally choose to name these features “Nerd’s Day Out” as that is what my great friend, former colleague and legend of this parish Nick Duxfield christened our regular six monthly outings (in our own time I hasten to add – the owners might be reading this..) where we’d basically spend a day out taking photos of trains and watching the world go by. HOWEVER, following a real life actual complaint about the title of the feature (I was frankly surprised that anyone was reading these musings), it was re-named. We then had another email saying we should change it back, although with the caveat being that although he enjoyed the articles they were utterly useless to him. In fairness, I think that would be a good epitaph for my writing career...

I’m concentrating on the contemporary scene rather than days gone before. I’ve got to also pay tribute to my dear old dad who diligently took me to a variety of locations as a small boy to watch the trains, even though his own interest was minimal at the time. Peterborough was “my” day out when we holidayed in Cromer (delightful by the way). So thanks, Dad!

I’d love others to be able to fill in the gaps for me, so please do email any of your own information on this location so we can expand and update this feature in due course, selling the concept to a publisher for millions of dollars and not split it with Stuart!

GETTING THERE (From GM HQ at Ford)

By Rail
Take a London Victoria train via the picturesque Arun Valley, then Victoria Line to Kings Cross St Pancras, take your chances on which route actually gets you to the surface (which seems to take forever), pose for pictures on Platform Nine and Three Quarters before either boarding a very fast Virgin Trains East Coast train to Peterborough or a merely fast Great Northern equivalent. My OCD is not helped by the possibility of departing from Platform 0 which frankly is all wrong in my mind… www.nationalrail.co.uk is your friend when it comes to checking the details.

By Road
Do not underestimate how far away Peterborough is from down south. My railway-skewed geographical knowledge makes me think “nearly there” when on the outskirts of Hatfield. You’re not. And worse still, the faster you go, the more at risk you are from the plethora of speed cameras on the A1. The route is a simple one up Ford Road/A27/A24/M25/A1 although I personally prefer Ford Road/A284/A283/A3/M25/M1/A421/A1.


LOCATION

National Rail Enquiries information on Peterborough

Peterborough is about 75 miles from Kings Cross and is an important interchange station where east/west trains from Norfolk and Suffolk travel to the West Midlands and North West and back, bisecting the North/South expresses from Kings Cross to the north. The station is managed by Virgin Trains East Coast and there is a large car park which is a bit of a trek. There are ticket barriers so either flummox the staff by asking for a platform ticket or take the easier route of buying a cheap day return to the next nearest station. There is a small café and a WHSmith on site.

In terms of platform arrangement, it gets complicated as they were (relatively) recently renumbered.

Platform 1 (Formerly Platform 2)

Usually used by southbound Virgin Trains East Coast services (Class 91s or HSTs) to London Kings Cross as well as occasional East Midlands Trains services (Class 153s or 156s) to Spalding.

Platform 2 (Formerly Platform 3)

Usually used by southbound Virgin Trains East Coast services (Class 91s or HSTs) to London Kings Cross, Great Northern services (Class 365s) to London Kings Cross and East Midlands Trains services (Class 153s or 156s) to Spalding.

Platform 3

This new build (commissioned in late 2013) is used by southbound Virgin Trains East Coast services (Class 91s or HSTs) to London Kings Cross and Great Northern services (Class 365s).

Platform 4

Used predominantly by northbound Virgin Trains East Coast services to the north (Class 91s and HSTs). Also used by Cross Country (Class 170s) and East Midland Trains (Class 156s and 158s) on east/west services. Occasionally used in the evening peak by Great Northern Class 365s for terminating services destined for the carriage sidings.

Platform 5

Used for east/west Cross Country services (Class 170s), East Midlands Trains services (Class 156s and 158s) and Anglia Trains services (Class 150s, 153s, 156s). The line is bi-directionally signalled so that means trains come and go in either direction. Platform 5 is also used as a relief line for northbound Virgin Trains East Coast services (Class 91s and HSTs). Occasionally used in the evening peak by Great Northern Class 365s for terminating services destined for the carriage sidings.

Platforms 6 & 7

New platforms designed to take the pressure off Platforms 4 and 5. Mostly used for the east/west services as described earlier.

REALTIMETRAINS

It could be argued that this addictive website has taken all the surprise out of observing the real railway, but it is an absolute godsend when deciding when you should go home! It’s very mobile friendly too. Recommended!
www.realtimetrains.co.uk

WHAT CAN I SEE?

Peterborough is a relatively busy location and if you are a number taker, you can blast through most the Class 91s in a day here. Virgin East Coast Services are in the hands of Class 91/DVTs and HSTs in a variety of liveries, although sadly the best of all (GNER) is no longer with us. Great Northern Class 365s and occasional 317s rule the roost on their sevices while you can also see East Midland Trains Class 153s, 156s and Class 158s, Cross Country Class 170s and Anglia Trains Class 150s, 153s and 156s. You’ll also see Hull Trains Class 180s and HSTs pass through at speed. There is a good amount of freight which is set to increase as the introduction of the new curve at Ipswich means that more trains are being pointed towards the ECML than the GEML/WCML. There are numerous container trains to and from Felixstowe in the hands of Freightliner Class 66s and Class 70s as well as intermodals operated by EWS Class 66s and GBRf Class 66s too. There are plentiful infrastructure trains to and from March/Peterborough in the hands of GBRf Class 66s as well as aggregates to and from East Anglia – again Class 66 hauled. Very occasionally, you’ll see something resembling a kettle (some even have space for the biscuits behind them) being delivered/retrieved to/from the Nene Valley Railway!

MODELLING POTENTIAL

Peterborough has a huge footprint and only the bravest modeller or club could hope to take it on. I’ve always felt that the Peterborough to Ely line has strong modelling potential, particularly if you don’t like building hills!

WHAT YOU COULD RUN

Here’s a list of Locomotives and Multiple Units currently available from RTR manufacturers that can be seen at Peterborough. The really interesting bit is trying to find the appropriate coaches, wagons and buildings on our website so I’m going to leave that up to you!

Class 43

Nothing in the current catalogues of either Hornby or Dapol that is correct for the Peterborough area.

Class 66

Class 66

Bachmann B32-981 Class 66 66416 Freightliner Powerhaul - OO Scale

Hornby R3345 Freightliner Class 66 - OO Scale

Dapol DAGM220 DB Schenker Class 66 001 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002 Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002D Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Livery (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003 EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003D EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004 Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004D Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-383A Class 66 66101 DB Schenker - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-384 Class 66 66209 EWS (Weathered) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-385 Class 66 66546 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-396 Class 66 (Low Emission Variant) 66731 InterhubGB GBRf - N Scale

Class 67

Class 67

Hornby R3272 EWS Class 67 Royal Sovereign Claret - OO Scale

Hornby R3348 EWS Class 67 016 - OO Scale

Hornby R3349 EWS Class 67 024 - OO Scale

Class 70

Class 70

Bachmann B31-588 Freightliner Class 70 005 Powerhaul Diesel Weathered - OO Scale

Bachmann B31-590 Class 70 70015 Freightliner (Air Intake Modifications) - OO Scale

Graham Farish 371-635 Class 70 PowerHaul 70006 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish 371-636 Class 70 PowerHaul 70003 Freightliner - N Scale

Class 91

Nothing in the current catalogues of either Hornby or Graham Farish that is correct for the Peterborough area.

Class 150

Nothing in the current catalogues of either Bachmann or Graham Farish that is correct for the Peterborough area.

Class 153

Nothing in the current catalogues of either Hornby or Dapol that is correct for the Peterborough area.

Class 156

Nothing in the current catalogues of either Hornby or Dapol that is correct for the Peterborough area.

Class 158

Class 158

Bachmann B31-518 Class 158 2 Car DMU 158773 East Midlands Trains - OO Scale

Class 170

Class 170

Bachmann 32-469 Class 170/5 2 Car DMU 170521 Cross Country Weathered - OO Scale

Class 180

Not been produced yet by a major manufacturer.

MODEL SHOPS

Peterborough has an excellent model shop called Trains 4 U located in the Fengate area. This is a large store with good parking. For large scale customers, the continually brilliant Glendale Junction can be found a little to the north of the town in Deeping St James.

SUMMARY

Peterborough is a good location and should only get busier. The station is spacious and safe.

RATING

I’m giving Peterborough 4 British Rail Pork Pies out of 5.

BR PieBR PieBR PieBR PieBR Pie

Next time - Stratford!

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