Timetable 3

 


Updated 17.10.2018

      

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 window!          

'LOCAL Steam Tours 2018' timetable pdf click here.

Tony's guide to Steam Railway Photography 2018 Pdf will open in a separate window click here

Please scroll down to    3      for a mini tutorial on internet sites, written up by Tony.

If you have any suggestions for this page please contact      davidhpiper117@gmail.com


We have two main sources of information about upcoming steam-hauled mainline trains:

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 awry!

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.


3.
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!