The timetables available from the 'Link' below
on this page will be a pdf which you can just browse,
or download to your computer if you wish.
The 'links' within the page are active, so you
can click on them to access the chosen website.
When you click the'Link' below it will open in a separate
'LOCAL Steam Tours 2018' timetable pdf click here.
Tony's guide to Steam Railway Photography 2018
Pdf will open in a separate window click
Please scroll down to 3
for a mini tutorial on internet sites, written up by Tony.
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We have two main sources of information about upcoming steam-hauled
1. UK Steam Info –
this is an independent web-site which collates information provided by steam
tour operators into one annual database listing what trains will be running
on what dates, with other useful information like route indications, loco(s)
involved, and importantly for them the name of the operators, with a link
to their web-sites for making bookings (which is why they cooperate with the
endeavour). I produce a quarterly extract of local services for this web-site
but it is much better to access the info directly due to its volatility.
Nearer to the date of departure UK Steam Info also provides a Timing Sheet
for each train providing route details and planned arrival/departure/passing
times. Note the emphasis on planned – as we all know plans often go
2. Realtime Trains (RTT) – this is also an independent enterprise which
feeds off the data Network Rail is obliged to make available to other companies
providing data services. The scope is much wider than just steam railway specials,
covering virtually every train, passenger or freight, which is due to run
on the national network. The feeds of data include the Working Timetable (WTT)
– the master plan for the network – and planned variations (VAR)
thereof due to engineering work, bank holidays etc. For our purposes though
(and for any savvy train-spotter) the feeds also provide information about
the ‘on the day’ operation of the planned services, including
the actual times of passing the various waypoints on the route of the train,
so that you can check where the train is at any point during its journey.
In practice the Timing Sheet from the first source usually contains a link
to the relevant data in RTT, although it is possible to get to what you want
directly from the search facilities in RTT.
Realtime Trains (RTT) – our reference source UK Steam Information hopes
to provide us in advance with a Timing Sheet indicating the route to be taken
by a steam special, and passing times for places on the itinerary. When known,
their Timing Sheets also contain links to the equivalent pages in RTT, which
sources its data directly from Network Rail (NR) public feeds. These links
can be used to check the plan in advance, or on-the-day to chart the progress
of a steam special, since the plan being used is updated with the actual passing
times received from NR’s signalling systems.
If the links are NOT available from UK Steam Info, you can look into RTT directly
using the link RTT
Advanced Search for Short Term Plan trains – the options set by
the link retrieve all ‘specials’ (STP) going through Newbury on
2nd Feb 2107 (the day of writing this). In practice you will be looking for
a train on a future date, so enter that date on the form and resubmit. You
are now looking for an entry which is going from and to the start and end
points of the steam excursion. The link you need is found in the ID column
and usually takes the data format of 1Zxx – like the headcodes that
steam special used to carry in steam days. “Newbury” should find
any steam trains expected on our line – don’t use “Hungerford”
since we are not guaranteed to appear on an itinerary explicitly. For trains
across the vale of White Horse use “Uffington” and “Andover”
for the Salisbury line.
Open Train Times (OTT) - for on-the-day progress we now have another option
in the form of a railway ‘radar’. OTT
- Live Track Diagrams gives us access to signaller’s diagrams of
selected parts of the railway network, showing track occupancy for each section
in the form of a train identifier entered in a rectangular box. You can see
the progress of your 1Zxx steam special by finding its code in one of the
rectangles, hopefully at about the expected time (!), and watching as the
code progresses along the track, hopefully towards where you are waiting.
OTT updates itself as the data is received from the railway signals, unlike
RTT which has to be refreshed by the user. The Maps page gives a list of which
areas are covered – our line is at the top of the list (the first one
charted?) but it can also be accessed directly from OTT
- Berks & Hants and the line across the Vale by OTT
- GWR mainline Didcot-Swindon. So no excuse for missing a train which
is running early or for waiting around trackside for a train which did not
run, or went by a different route!