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SET Cep Era Railtour: Victoria to Dover Priory

During the last week in December 2004 Southeastern Trains ran two special tours to celebrate the sterling service over 47 years of the first type of mainline Mk1 EMUs employed on the Southern Region.  The two tours employed SET's three remaining Ceps 1697, 1698 and 1699, ironically recently transferred to SET from South West Trains and followed the same routes.  The tour on Wednesday 29th was for railway staff, that on Thursday 30th for the public.  All proceeds, including those from the on-board raffle, were donated to charity.

Pictures on this page are from the public tour on Thursday 30th December 2004.

tour ticket
1679 at the buffer stops at Victoria before departure The day started rather dull and grey, plus with another railtour hauled by something from Swindon with a copper cap in the adjacent platform!  With the Ceps having been refurbished at Swindon Works perhaps there is some affinity.  The three units were marshalled in numerical order with 1679 at the London end to begin with.

photograph by Anthony Poulton
1699 before boarding commenced Here is unit 1699 at the head of the train (regretfully headboards were not carried on this tour) in platform 1 at London Victoria awaiting its first passengers.  Departure was timetabled at 09.46 prompt - the actual departure was 30 seconds late.

A non stop run to Dover via the classic boat train route (Orpington - Sevenoaks - Tonbridge - Ashford International - Folkestone) followed, though the destination was Dover Priory and not Dover Marine/Western Docks (now sadly closed with the track lifted).  Dover Priory was reached in 72 minutes with a delay at Herne Hill and being slowed by a Sevenoaks bound stopping train at Orpington which was given the 90 mph down fast line whilst the tour had to meander through platform 4.

photograph by Colin Duff

At Dover Priory the train split into three sections to make three separate tours around Kent, passengers having selected their preferred portion when booking.

1699 at Faversham Portion 1 used unit 1699 departing Dover Priory at 11.15 and taking the route Canterbury East - Faversham (reverse) - Herne Bay - Margate - Ramsgate - Sandwich - Deal - arriving back at Dover Priory at 13.02.  There were photo stops at selected points on each tour, during which enthusiastic tourers rushed off the train to cross to other platforms to take pictures, much to the bemusement/bewilderment of waiting passengers on the platforms who were travelling from point A to B rather than around Kent for the sheer joy of it! Here 1699 pauses at Faverham during its reversal, a manoeuvre which took it over a crossover not usually used by service trains.  This movement required the points to be clipped.

photograph by Colin Duff
1679 at Canterbury West Portion 2 took unit 1697 departing Dover Priory at 12.01 and taking the route Folkestone Central - Ashford International (reverse) - Canterbury West - Sturry - Minster - Sandwich - Deal - arriving back at Dover Priory at 14.01. Here 1679 pauses at Canterbury West.

Note how the South West Trains livery has been modified taking it back to something similar to Network SouthEast livery.

photograph by Anthony Poulton