Jet Set

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Jet Set

‘Leaves on the line’ may be regarded by some as an age-old excuse for late running trains during the autumn, but for Network Rail it’s a mammoth annual operation to keep the rails clear of mulched leaves. In the autumn of 2015, more than fifty trains a day were covering the length and breadth of the rail network, jetting the tracks with high pressure water to keep the running lines free of fallen leaves. This cab-ride programme features one of the loco-hauled Rail Head Treatment Trains operated by GB Railfreight, as it sets out from Tonbridge Yard to cover parts of Surrey and Sussex.

Running as a ‘control special’ as 3W91 and ‘top & tailed’ by 20901 and 73119, the first leg of the journey is on board the Class 73 as it heads through Edenbridge and Godstone to Redhill. There, it heads north through Merstham along the Redhill Lines to Stoats Nest Junction before continuing to South Croydon. A reversal has the Class 20 leading south along the Brighton Main Line through Gatwick Airport to Three Bridges, where it takes the rural 31-mile Mid-Sussex (or Arun Valley) route to Horsham. Making a rare appearance for its type over this route, the single Class 20 is frequently at full power as it hauls the ‘jets’ through Billingshurst, Pulborough and Amberley. At Arundel Junction 20901 takes the two-mile branch to the coastal terminus at Littlehampton. Another reversal follows as the newly re-painted 73119 Borough of Eastleigh sets off under the surviving semaphore signals for a run along the south coast to Brighton. The fascinating 20-mile West Coastway route is dotted with 13 intermediate stations as it passes through Angmering, Goring, Worthing and Shoreham. At Hove the ‘jets’ take the Cliftonville Spur to Preston Park. This particular RHTT journey is a perfect example of how these autumnal workings provide many ‘unit only’ routes with the rare sight of a locomotive-hauled train.

Programme Fact File

Narrator: David Maxey
First Published: 2015
Route Featured: Tonbridge-Redhill-South  Croydon-Horsham-Littlehampton-Brighton
Class Featured: 20 and 73.
Availability: Now

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 20  motive power: 8x09, GBXV,
Power Hour, and the Traction Series.

Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 73 motive power: Dover & Out, Arcs & Sparks, Harbour Lights and Traction Series.


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