Victoria to Dover Boat Train 1992

davetheguard

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Probably tomorrow for the timetable bits.


Purser - as in someone who holds the purse strings, among other duties.

Ah, yes, that's it, I thought my spelling didn't look right!

And thanks for the timetables.

I used to have on VHS a BTF (British Transport Films) programme called "The Travel Game" made in 1958; I must have recorded it off the TV at some point. It was about a journey on the Hoek Continental from London Liverpool Street and all the continental connections that could be made from the boat: through trains to Switzerland; Denmark; etc.

Unfortunately it has never been available to buy unlike many other films made by the company.
 
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nickw1

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Interesting timetables, thanks for those. 10.5 hours from Calais to Basel is a good deal longer than it would have taken with the advent of HSLs!

The "Parthenon Express" from Paris - did this go all the way to Athens I wonder? By heading for Switzerland it is going in the right direction. Certainly nothing like this exists today.
 

eastwestdivide

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The "Parthenon Express" from Paris - did this go all the way to Athens I wonder?
The footnotes says through coaches Paris-Milano (Brindisi), so I expect it was a connection into a boat from Brindisi to Greece.
Iron Curtain was still down back then so were there any services transiting Yugoslavia, à la remains of the Orient Express?
 

Beebman

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For a while a bus connection from the Town station to the Quay was available to passengers off the normal train from Waterloo in addition to the boat train.

In 1980 there were two eight-coach sets (8RMB as they included an RMB) that were also used on the evening Waterloo-Salisbury/Yeovil train and, at weekends, on the Saturday Brighton-Exeter and a Sunday Waterloo-Exeter. I think the boat trains ran with a 90 headcode.

In the early 80s there was a DMU service between Bristol TM and Weymouth Quay which called at Weymouth Town and I'm sure I've seen at least one picture of a ticket from around that time from Town to Quay so it looks like passengers could travel locally. Railcar.co.uk has some photos of the service including this one:

https://www.railcar.co.uk/images/uploads/118/800/class-118-dmu-1483787946-800.jpg
 

Gloster

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In the early 80s there was a DMU service between Bristol TM and Weymouth Quay which called at Weymouth Town and I'm sure I've seen at least one picture of a ticket from around that time from Town to Quay so it looks like passengers could travel locally. Railcar.co.uk has some photos of the service including this one:

https://www.railcar.co.uk/images/uploads/118/800/class-118-dmu-1483787946-800.jpg
I travelled on that once, in the cab as the driver recognised me. It was a normal Weymouth-Bristol service and I think it only ran to and from the Quay on a few dated Saturdays and Sundays.
 

nickw1

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The footnotes says through coaches Paris-Milano (Brindisi), so I expect it was a connection into a boat from Brindisi to Greece.
Iron Curtain was still down back then so were there any services transiting Yugoslavia, à la remains of the Orient Express?

Not sure but I do remember people used to go on holiday in Yugoslavia (presumably Croatia, mainly) in the late 1970s so I would guess they may have let the trains though. Don't know, though, just speculating.
 

30907

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I travelled on the Weymouth boat train (Class 73 with mostly Mk1s) in August 1982 from Waterloo as far as Basingstoke - see https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/southern-region-rover-august-1982.52254/

And here's table 273 from the 1978-79 GB timetable, with Weymouth Quay trains highlighted:
Thanks. That's the basic service pattern that ran from 1967 or so. Note the early arrival at Waterloo on Saturday mornings, which released the second set to run (eg, it varied over the years) the Brighton-Exeter.

The footnotes says through coaches Paris-Milano (Brindisi), so I expect it was a connection into a boat from Brindisi to Greece.
Iron Curtain was still down back then so were there any services transiting Yugoslavia, à la remains of the Orient Express?
There is a fully-indexed 1973 Cooks on
https://timetableworld.com/index
and a partly-indexed 1979 one.
Trains certainly ran, and Yugoslavia was not Soviet bloc.
 

Taunton

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The footnotes says through coaches Paris-Milano (Brindisi), so I expect it was a connection into a boat from Brindisi to Greece.
Iron Curtain was still down back then so were there any services transiting Yugoslavia, à la remains of the Orient Express?
Can't give details for trains then but there was a through motorway from Austria through the length of Yugoslavia to Greece, and passing through the country was no more challenging than elsewhere, so any absence of rail services would be typically due to lack of commercial demand. It wasn't like trying to drive through the GDR or the Soviet Union at all. Quite commonly used by West Germans heading for Greek holidays. Western insurance was not recognised but there was always an insurance agent kiosk at the border. Whether they ever paid out on anything is another matter.

The boat trains were almost a whole 'hidden world' that were not evident from the public NSE timetables. As I said in another thread I did see them one weekday in summer 1987 at Tonbridge (and there were quite a few, many with MLVs) but it was something I discovered via observation rather than looking at the timetable.
They were a lot more publicised than the Ocean Liner boat trains from Waterloo to Southampton. The Channel boat trains, at least the main services, appeared in various BR and Cooks publications, although the various reliefs were not so well publicised, or at least had to be devised from odd footnotes in the shipping timetables. The reliefs must have been pre-arranged to an extent, for stock and crew diagrams, and I seem to recall they appeared in the SR stock working books.

The Ocean Liner trains were however really difficult to find detail on, they only ran on odd days, and were so unbalanced that the majority must have required empty stock returns, some large liners in their heyday needing three or more services. They were hauled stock to the end, of various sorts, and although there were dedicated sets some days just happened to have coinciding in and out services which needed real scratch formations from across the Region. Some of the earliest Mk 2 stock was built for these services, which I believe was initially painted green.
 
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eastwestdivide

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There is a fully-indexed 1973 Cooks on
https://timetableworld.com/index
and a partly-indexed 1979 one.
Trains certainly ran, and Yugoslavia was not Soviet bloc.
Well there we are. On examining the 1979 one, I can find through carriages Munich-Athens and Munich-Istanbul as well as Venice-Athens and Venice-Istanbul in table 15, "Tauern Orient Express", from Munich via Salzburg, Villach, Ljubljana, Zagreb (or from Venice via Trieste, Ljubljana, Zagreb), splitting and joining in Beograd, then via Skopje/Thessaloniki for Athens, and Sofia for Istanbul.
Depart Munich 1730 on day A, arrive Athens 1000 day C, Istanbul also 1000 day C.
Actual days of operation for the through carriages look quite complicated!
A note under the table says it's no longer possible to travel Paris-Istanbul without changing, e.g. at Venice or Munich, or the Simplon Express Paris-Beograd with an overnight stay in Beograd to pick up onward trains eastwards.

For the ferry via Brindisi, Table 1440 shows a departure from Brindisi at 2000 for Patras 1200, and a connecting bus at 1230 for Athens arrive 1600.
 

nickw1

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Well there we are. On examining the 1979 one, I can find through carriages Munich-Athens and Munich-Istanbul as well as Venice-Athens and Venice-Istanbul in table 15, "Tauern Orient Express", from Munich via Salzburg, Villach, Ljubljana, Zagreb (or from Venice via Trieste, Ljubljana, Zagreb), splitting and joining in Beograd, then via Skopje/Thessaloniki for Athens, and Sofia for Istanbul.
Depart Munich 1730 on day A, arrive Athens 1000 day C, Istanbul also 1000 day C.
Actual days of operation for the through carriages look quite complicated!
A note under the table says it's no longer possible to travel Paris-Istanbul without changing, e.g. at Venice or Munich, or the Simplon Express Paris-Beograd with an overnight stay in Beograd to pick up onward trains eastwards.

For the ferry via Brindisi, Table 1440 shows a departure from Brindisi at 2000 for Patras 1200, and a connecting bus at 1230 for Athens arrive 1600.

Interesting, thanks.

I have been to Greece regularly in recent years and, probably as a result of the crisis, there are no through trains from Athens to anywhere beyond Thessaloniki now except one daily to Alexandroupoli, not too far from the Turkish border.

From Thessaloniki there was daily trains to Sofia and Belgrade in 2016 (I think the Belgrade went via Skopje) but certainly nothing into central Europe. Not sure if these have run in the last couple of years, I have a feeling they stopped, at least temporarily, for financial reasons.

Not sure what the pattern was like in that 'golden period' post-Eurostar and pre-credit-crunch; whether one could have, for a time, departed London and reached Athens only changing twice (or two times, see other thread ;) ) at say Paris and Munich, or three times at Paris/Munich/Belgrade or Paris/Munich/Zagreb.

The Ocean Liner trains were however really difficult to find detail on, they only ran on odd days, and were so unbalanced that the majority must have required empty stock returns, some large liners in their heyday needing three or more services. They were hauled stock to the end, of various sorts, and although there were dedicated sets some days just happened to have coinciding in and out services which needed real scratch formations from across the Region. Some of the earliest Mk 2 stock was built for these services, which I believe was initially painted green.

Now you mention this, it is bringing to mind vague memories of untimetabled hauled stock speeding through Woking in the 1983-85 period. Perhaps 73s, which would make sense for a third-rail line. No consistency in their timings. Some may have been Pullman stock. Not sure if I'm just imagining it though.

Back to the Dover/Folkestone boat trains, wondering how the diagramming worked?

Presumably as return boat trains were often delayed, they would need a layover of several hours at Victoria before their next service, to avoid delaying the subsequent service. Guess they shunted into the Victoria sidings for a while.

Were any outbound boat trains formed off incoming 'regular' commuter services? For instance in 1981 (ABC, timetableworld) there were regular boat trains not long after the morning peak, so I'm wondering if these were actually formed off regular Chatham line commuter arrivals into Victoria, as the 12CEP stock would be equally suitable for morning peak services?
 
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Gloster

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Mark II FK S13387-13406 were turned out in SR green and were primarily intended for the Ocean Liners.
 

30907

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Were any outbound boat trains formed off incoming 'regular' commuter services? For instance in 1981 (ABC, timetableworld) there were regular boat trains not long after the morning peak, so I'm wondering if these were actually formed off regular Chatham line commuter arrivals into Victoria, as the 12CEP stock would be equally suitable for morning peak services?
I found one in the 1977 workings, to my slight surprise: the 0930/1030 Calais service was formed SX off 0633 Ramsgate due 0825, complete with MLV (I presume the commuters got used to being in a different place on the platform!). It shunted out to Grosvenor Sidings when it was the 1030.

There was an ECS back to Ramsgate in the afternoon, presumably to balance (you wouldn't risk using an inwards service for commuters without a long layover in case the boat was severely delayed)

The 1030 was the Golden Arrow replacement, so I would guess was a relatively new working. Otherwise, stock came from Stewarts Lane or Grosvenor shed, or retreated there between workings.
 

eastwestdivide

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Was the 0930/1030 a single train timed differently for those periods around when the clocks changed? At that time, summer time started and ended on different dates between the UK and France/Belgium etc
 

Galvanize

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Off on a slight tangent…I wish I could find it online again, been looking all over for it…I remember the account of an old BR guard based at Grove Park in the 80s, and one of the more unusual turns at the time, was to work a series of Evening Commuter Trains out of London, then followed by the “Hoverspeed” express from Dover Priory to London Victoria. He quite often used to swap for that duty if he was doing Late Turn, as the other guards didn’t like doing it.


Train was usually formed of a (refurbished) 8CEP…no MLV, but occasionally if they were short, a VEP would substitute, which caused a problem for the Refreshment Trolley to get through as it used full width trollies at the time. The Guard remarked that he was able to make full announcements in French and German…and for the sale of train tickets…he accepted all forms of Currency (long before Euros!)…although some of the passengers didn’t like the exchange rate as it was supposedly biased to suit the Railway!

Quite an amazing first hand account of a very different railway!
 

Acey

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I was a guard at Grove Park during the eighties and seem to remember that turn ,although I think we only had that particular duty for a year or so as rosters changed frequently ,as the original poster has said,not many guards liked doing a " main liner " after faffing around on the suburbans for a few hours,made for a long day !
 

Taunton

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The Hoverspeed rail connection was not a specific boat train, but just the normal East Kent hourly service from Charing Cross. It gave useful off-peak loads as the Hovercraft route didn't coincide with the peaks. The Hovercraft didn't have huge capacity for foot passengers, but had more frequency than the passenger ships. Bus transfer was necessary from Dover Priory. In France Boulogne hoverport had a rail station, fashioned out of an adjacent industrial spur, but we once had a simplistic 2-car only SNCF rural dmu on the several hours onward nonstop run to Paris, not only all squashed in but some had to stand all the way. Very unimpressed. At least a 4-car dmu was provided on the return.

Coming back the arrival times were a bit loose, I would just take the next departure from Priory, once going via Canterbury.
 

nickw1

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The Hoverspeed rail connection was not a specific boat train, but just the normal East Kent hourly service from Charing Cross. It gave useful off-peak loads as the Hovercraft route didn't coincide with the peaks. The Hovercraft didn't have huge capacity for foot passengers, but had more frequency than the passenger ships. Bus transfer was necessary from Dover Priory. In France Boulogne hoverport had a rail station, fashioned out of an adjacent industrial spur, but we once had a simplistic 2-car only SNCF rural dmu on the several hours onward nonstop run to Paris, not only all squashed in but some had to stand all the way. Very unimpressed. At least a 4-car dmu was provided on the return.

I was going to say that a VEP might be considered unusual stock for the UK portion of a Paris-London boat train, but a 2-car DMU seems even more unusual stock for an inter-capital-city journey! (if it is what I think it is, it would be essentially the French equivalent of a 101 or 108 or something like that - I remember travelling on such units in the Auvergne in the summer of 1983 and more recently Nimes<->Le Grau du Roi in 2000; they had a similar charm to UK classic DMUs but like those were more suited to local services)

I guess this was a sub for loco and coaches?
 
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Taunton

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I was going to say that a VEP might be considered unusual stock for the UK portion of a Paris-London boat train, but a 2-car DMU (essentially the French equivalent of a 101 or 108 or something like that, I'd imagine - I remember travelling on such units in the Auvergne in the summer of 1983 and more recently Nimes<->Le Grau du Roi in 2000; they had a similar charm to UK classic DMUs but like those were more suited to local services) seems even more unusual stock for an inter-capital-city journey!

I guess this was a sub for loco and coaches?
No, normal stock. It was an SNCF X4000 Caravelle dmu. I guess they had not envisaged the load correctly. Other times either a 4-car, or less passengers. Leatherette back-to-back seats, bolt-upright. Speedy though.

In the 1980s they moved on to the 5-car Turbotrains displaced from the Cherbourg line, with vente-ambulante buffet, a distinct improvement
 

Beebman

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No, normal stock. It was an SNCF X4000 Caravelle dmu. I guess they had not envisaged the load correctly. Other times either a 4-car, or less passengers. Leatherette back-to-back seats, bolt-upright. Speedy though.

In the 1980s they moved on to the 5-car Turbotrains displaced from the Cherbourg line, with vente-ambulante buffet, a distinct improvement

I can confirm this, I had experience of both types of train to and from the Hoverport station - the former in 1976 and the latter in 1988.
 

WesternLancer

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Ah, yes, that's it, I thought my spelling didn't look right!

And thanks for the timetables.

I used to have on VHS a BTF (British Transport Films) programme called "The Travel Game" made in 1958; I must have recorded it off the TV at some point. It was about a journey on the Hoek Continental from London Liverpool Street and all the continental connections that could be made from the boat: through trains to Switzerland; Denmark; etc.

Unfortunately it has never been available to buy unlike many other films made by the company.
Yes, a good film. Looks like it is at least on youtube to watch - hope this link works

The BTF website says
Additional Information - Steven Foxon (Screenonline): A light and somewhat satirical look at some of the problems and pleasures of continental holiday travel, this was to be one of British Transport Films' most expensive and extravagant productions. The film crew requisitioned a brand new locomotive, rake of coaches and two platforms at Liverpool Street station to stage the night departure. Filming in at least five countries, the unit spared no expense for this Technicolor masterpiece, which remained in the film library catalogue to hire for many years after production.
 

jfollows

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The 1982-1983 timetable (I wrongly said 1983 in#49) includes the trains (running until 1 November) in the London-Southampton-Bournemouth table (158), but they do not appear in the London-Southampton-Bournemouth-Weymouth table (159). This adds to the likelihood that they only carried non-boat passengers as far as Bournemouth.

I must be getting old if I forget to properly cross-check.
I have just got hold of a 1979 working timetable, which is from the time I remember, 1W91 09:54 Waterloo-Weymouth ED350 which has a column note "Available for ordinary passengers - NOT advertised between Waterloo and Bournemouth". Calls at Basingstoke (10:42-10:43), Southampton (11:13-11:14) and Bournemouth (11:43-11:51, D350 onwards), arrives Weymouth Quay 13:00.
 

AlbertBeale

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Can't give details for trains then but there was a through motorway from Austria through the length of Yugoslavia to Greece, and passing through the country was no more challenging than elsewhere, so any absence of rail services would be typically due to lack of commercial demand. It wasn't like trying to drive through the GDR or the Soviet Union at all. Quite commonly used by West Germans heading for Greek holidays. Western insurance was not recognised but there was always an insurance agent kiosk at the border. Whether they ever paid out on anything is another matter.

I'm not sure about "passing through the country was no more challenging than elsewhere" ... for a lot of the Yugoslavia period (ie before its dismemberment in the 1990s) some of its infrastructure, eg roads, was quite some years behind many other places (though often in a nice way!). I travelled around the country several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s, driving on some trips, and the "autoput" - the one main "motorway" running most of the length of the country - was far from the standard of most western European equivalents. It mostly wasn't dual carriageway; and at one point I even encountered a stretch of cobblestones!

Lovely place though, in its Yugoslav days.

Also - NB - my insurance for driving abroad did cover me for Yugoslavia.
 

nickw1

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I have just got hold of a 1979 working timetable, which is from the time I remember, 1W91 09:54 Waterloo-Weymouth ED350 which has a column note "Available for ordinary passengers - NOT advertised between Waterloo and Bournemouth". Calls at Basingstoke (10:42-10:43), Southampton (11:13-11:14) and Bournemouth (11:43-11:51, D350 onwards), arrives Weymouth Quay 13:00.

Interesting it was unadvertised, but available, for regular passengers.

Not sure whether the Bournemouth '92' semi-fast left Waterloo at xx45 that year (as it did through the 80s) but if so there would have been a pathing clash by the looks of things with the '92' leaving Southampton at xx13 and arriving Bournemouth xx51 in the 1981/82 timetable. How did they manage this if so? Hold the '92' in the docks area somewhere to allow the boat train to pass, and delay it by 2 or 3 minutes?

Would guess the '92' did leave at xx45, as from what I gather the basic timetable on the Woking-Bournemouth section of the SWML was more or less unchanged from 1967 to May 1989.
 

jfollows

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Not sure whether the Bournemouth '92' semi-fast left Waterloo at xx45 that year (as it did through the 80s) but if so there would have been a pathing clash by the looks of things with the '92' leaving Southampton at xx13 and arriving Bournemouth xx51 in the 1981/82 timetable. How did they manage this if so?

Would guess the '92' did leave at xx45, as from what I gather the basic timetable on the SWML was more or less unchanged from 1967 to May 1989.
The "92" service (09:46 from Waterloo) was retimed "until 15 NOV" because the boat train only ran "UNTIL 26 OCT ALSO TTHO 30 OCT to 15 NOV", so that instead of departing Southampton at 11:13.5 it departed 11q15 (advertised 2 minutes earlier, ie 11:13, so the same time all year) and had 3 minutes of additional pathing time so that it ran 4 minutes later to Bournemouth, arriving 11:55.

Here's a bit of the timetable, column 12 is the boat train, column 14 is the "92" when the boat train isn't running, column 16 is the "92" retimed to follow the boat train when the latter is running.

1627896658205.png
 
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Taunton

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Interesting it was unadvertised, but available, for regular passengers.
The SW main line had a tradition of this, overnight/early morning services from Waterloo to Portsmouth (for the Navy) and Aldershot (for the Army), up to several of each on Sunday nights/Monday mornings at the end of weekend leave, were a longstanding feature. Presumably their times were made known to the military, normal ticketing applied, they were on the Waterloo departure board, but not in the public timetable.
 

jfollows

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The SW main line had a tradition of this, overnight/early morning services from Waterloo to Portsmouth (for the Navy) and Aldershot (for the Army), up to several of each on Sunday nights/Monday mornings at the end of weekend leave, were a longstanding feature. Presumably their times were made known to the military, normal ticketing applied, they were on the Waterloo departure board, but not in the public timetable.
I used the 00:30 MO Waterloo-Portsmouth once (late 1984 or early 1985 I would hazard), I was travelling from Wilmslow to Portsmouth along with my brother and one of his colleagues, and - yes - they were both in the Royal Navy at the time (I worked for IBM). We had some disruption on the WCML and so were delayed beyond our planned departure from Waterloo but I already knew about the 00:30 service so was able to reassure them both also. I don't recall it appearing as anything other than a regular service on the departure board at Waterloo, but my brother and his colleague weren't aware of its existence although that was probably their inattention rather than it not being known to the military.

EDIT I think I was mainly happy because I got to travel over the down through line at Havant (officially the Down Main, versus the down platform line being the Down Local); the 00:30 from Waterloo called at Woking (00:57-00:58), Guildford (01:06-01:07) then Portsmouth & Southsea HL (01:54) before going ECS to Portsmouth Harbour (arrive 01:59).
 
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Taunton

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I believe the military police from Portsmouth/Aldershot used to come up to Waterloo on Sunday evenings to ride down on these trains to keep order.
 

nickw1

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The "92" service (09:46 from Waterloo) was retimed "until 15 NOV" because the boat train only ran "UNTIL 26 OCT ALSO TTHO 30 OCT to 15 NOV", so that instead of departing Southampton at 11:13.5 it departed 11q15 (advertised 2 minutes earlier, ie 11:13, so the same time all year) and had 3 minutes of additional pathing time so that it ran 4 minutes later to Bournemouth, arriving 11:55.

Here's a bit of the timetable, column 12 is the boat train, column 14 is the "92" when the boat train isn't running, column 16 is the "92" retimed to follow the boat train when the latter is running.

View attachment 100659

Interesting, thanks for that!

As an aside : do you have working, or public, timetables for the South Western division for many/most of the years 1973/4 to 1980/1 inclusive? Or around 1993/4 or 1994/5, years which I have half-forgotten the pattern? Would be interesting to see how the services changed during this period though obviously it would need a new thread!
 

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