14th November 2003

The Matter of Time

Locos Used 6263 & 6296
Stock Used 42306 + 42451

Route :

Loco(s) Route
6296 (1) Mons - Mons (Aviation)
6263 (2) Mons (Aviation) - Mons - Jemappes - St Ghislain - Quiévrain
6296 (1) Quiévrain - St Ghislain - Y Criquelion - Tertre - bridge just north of station over canal (3)
6263 (2) bridge just north of station over canal - Tertre
6296 (1) Tertre - SNCB line limit
6263 (2) Tertre - Y Criquelion - St Ghislain
6296 (1) St Ghislain - Jemappes - Mons
6263 (2) Mons - Cuesmes - km post 8.3 on Harmignies branch (4)
6296 (1) km post 8.3 on Harmignies branch - Cuesmes - Mons

Notes :
(1) 6263 on rear.
(2) 6296 on rear.
(3) It had been requested to take the train to the end of the line (at least, to the SNCB limit) however this had been misunderstood by the train staff and the train pulled up to the bridge about 400m north of the station then returned to the station. After a brief discussion an understanding was reached and the train then made it as far as it could (to the SNCB limit, reported by staff as about 2km from the end of the line at a chemical works and estimated by Stuart Clark as 1.7km past Tertre station).
(4) Although travelling to the end of the line had been requested, engineering works meant we could not go all the way to the end of the line on the day. The train made it as far as the site of the engineering work (
at the closed Harmignies station), being stopped by a red flag in the "four foot" at km post 8.2 (though also marked as km post 8.3!).

Tour Review

This weekends started for me on the Thursday when I took the opportunity to scoop some new passenger track in the UK - the new high speed line between the outskirts of London and the Channel Tunnel. Dud 3209 & 3210 was my Eurostar for the speedy journey to Brussels. Time went even quicker as there were a few of us booked on the same service so we managed to get ourselves sat together. Once in Brussels (14.05 arrival) I popped across to the hotel (Ibis Midi) to check in and dump my bag. A profitable evening rush saw me clear my type 27's for haulage (2727 being the last one I needed), score one of the three 21's I needed (2143) and two of my thirteen outstanding type 13's (1325 & 1336). Meeting various others off the 21.37 arrival from London we retired to the hotel for a couple of beers.

The Friday dawned early - 05.30 for myself and my room-mate - as a large group of us headed down to Mons to cover two morning P trains. A useful session as I scored 2602 out to St Ghislain and 2372 back. With two hours to wait for the start of today's tour a group of us retired to a nearby cafe for a few coffees.

Walking back over a little after 10am and the station master confirmed all was OK for the tour with the ECS expected in on time around 10.30am - though in the event it didn't arrive until just after 11am! Departing 8 minutes late with 6296 in charge we went the short distance to Mons depot where we had time to wander round - not that there was so much to see, a handful of type 91 shunters and a coupe of 62's and that was it!

6263 now powered the train (formed of two quite well laden M2 carriages) for the run to Quiévrain. Time for the stewards to hand out timing sheets, check tickets etc. We arrived into a wet Quiévrain where the train was due to fester for almost an hour however a swift negotiation with the station master enabled an earlier departure slot to be obtained.

On back to St Ghislain and on to the freight branch to Tertre. Arriving into the disused (but still manned!) station at Tertre it was then confirmed that we could go on beyond the station. All back on then we set off...all of a couple of hundred metres to a bridge which was completely encased in polythene sheeting as it was being worked on. With very limited clearance the workers had to stop their work whilst we sat half on and half off the bridge. We then headed back to the station - seems the SNCB staff had misunderstood our intentions and thought we just wanted to position the train next to the working semaphore signal that controlled passage over the station road level crossing! Matt Reeves was sent off to re-negotiate and shortly after we set off again (stopping the bridge work force again!) to the SNCB limit of the line a couple of kilometres further on. We were told the line went about 2km further but this was privately owned so we couldn't proceed any further. The guard produced a piece of paper which showed the line (which went to a chemical works) had four timetables freight trains a day over it.

Back then to St Ghislain, reverse, Mons, reverse and onwards to our last branch of the tour, Harmignies. Sods law said SNCB had picked this very week to go and do some maintenance on the little used freight branch but all credit to the staff as they allowed us passage right up to within a hundred metres or so of the works train which was in in the Harmignies station area.

Quick sprint back to Mons and everyone then went their own way prior to meeting up again for Saturdays tour.

Gary Thornton.

Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked & Actual)

Train Reporting Codes :
Z18116 : Mons to Mons (Aviation)
Z18117 : Mons (Aviation) to Quiévrain
Z18118 : Quiévrain - Tertre
Z18119 : Tertre to St Ghislain
Z18120 : St Ghislain to Mons
Z18121 : Mons - Harmignies
Z18122 : Harmignies to Mons

KM Location Booked Actual
0.0 Mons 11.00d 11.08
Mons (aviation) 11p10a ~ 11p40d 11/12
0.5 Mons 11/50 11.43a ~ 11.50d
4.8 Jemappes 11/55 11/54
9.7 St Ghislain 12/00 11/58
Quiévrain 12p12a ~ 13p02d 12.08 ~ 12.46
10.0 St Ghislain 13.14a ~ 13.32d 12/56
11.8 Y Criquelion 13/39 12/58
14.0 Tertre 13p49a 13.03 ~ 13.05
- Bridge - 13.06a ~ 13.13d
- Tertre - 13.15a ~ 13.25d
- SNCB limit on line - 13.33a ~ 13.45d
0.00 Tertre 13p59d 13/52
2.2 Y Criquelion 14/09 13/57
4.0 St Ghislain 14.17a ~ 14.24d 14.01 ~ 14.06
4.9 Jemappes 14/29 14/11
Mons 14.33a ~ 14.45d 14.16 ~ 14.26
?.? Cuesmes 14/52 14/29
(actual: km post 8.2)
15p14a ~ 15p30d 14.45 ~ 15.13
?.? Cuesmes 15/45 ??/??
9.0 Mons 15.50a 15.34

No attempt has been made to verify the distances given.

a : arrival time
d : departure time
L : loco change
p : photo-stop
/ : passing time
* : Pathing stop

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