13th May 2019 · ‘Outdoor Meeting – Roade Cutting’

Fifteen or so hardy souls gathered after teatime at the fabled Bridge 209 straddling the southern end of Roade Cutting.

From the time the first Members arrived at 6.15pm until about 9.15pm when daylight was fading, an estimate of somewhere in the region of 150 movements would not be an exaggeration. One year we must actually log the movements (one for the Branch Secretary’s Diary please!).

The need to note the running numbers of much of the passing traffic on the four tracks is now not a true requirement. It would seem that the succession of main line Pendelinos, the currently allocated semi-fasts on the Northampton Loop and the few DMUs running Holyhead trains would not need to “trouble the scorer”.

Luckily, there is a reasonable volume of freight trains during the evening, and the various Classes of 66, 66 variants, the odd Class 70, Class 90 and even a Class 66 towing 2 X Class 67 light northbound via Northampton added to the fun.

There are a number of non-trespassing walks to be had giving more excellent views of our “Crown Jewel”, including the site of the signal-box with a leaky floor, that was perched over the Northampton lines until its un-mourned demise (by the signalmen that is!), during the 1939-45 war and the still extant aqueduct high over the tracks in the cutting, feeding Roade village.

Needless to say, the walks usually wind back to the visit of “Black Watch” on the “Carlisle Stopper”, and the 1952 arrival of various Scottish Region Jubilees such as “North West Frontier”, “Howe”, “Assam” and “Rodney”. The ones departing in exchange were mostly un-mourned as we had “got them”. A look into a Northampton spotters mid 1950s ABCs collection of Jubilees would quite easily determine his age!