Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired


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Thursday 28 July 2011 My Life As A Low-Grade Trainspotter

At the end of October 2007, I inadvertently became a train spotter. I read an article in my son Daniel's Hornby Collectors Club magazine about a new train set featuring Class 390 locomotives. It started out as a review of the set, and then turned in a reminiscence about the Advanced Passenger Train, the break-up and sale of various bits of tilting train technology, and the subsequent use of that technology in the Class 390. It concluded with the names and running numbers of the 53 trains commissioned.

Class 390 trains are Virgin Pendolinos, which I had earlier discovered was my favourite train. Travelling down to London the next morning I couldn't help noticing the number and name of the train I was on, and realised I had overnight become a train spotter. A low-level Virgin-Pendolinos-I-have-travelled-on train spotter, but a train spotter nonetheless.

Of the 53 trains built, 52 are in service. The missing one is 390-033 City of Glasgow which was derailed at Grayrigg in February 2007. It was subsequently written off, although parts of it are now used for crew training.

Being an attic-based freelancer, I don't travel that often so I've no idea how long my occasional trips to London will take me to tick off the full list of trains in service, or if indeed such a thing is possible. Only one way to find out, I suppose.

Turns out it is entirely possible. Travelling from Birmingham and London and back again slightly less that once a week, I rode the final train I needed, 390-016 Virgin Champion, on 28 July 2011. My quest is over!

August 2011 Update : The quest begins anew!

September 2011 Update : And ends again!

March 2012 Update : My Train Quest Renewed

April 2012 Update : Quest Success

  • 390-001 Virgin Pioneer 16/05/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-002 Virgin Angel 06/02/09 18:43 from London Euston
  • 390-003 Virgin Hero 29/07/08 18:40 from London Euston
  • 390-004 Alstom Pendolino 02/12/10 20:03 from London Euston.
    Originally ridden when Virgin Scot 22/04/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 309-005 City of Wolverhampton 01/10/08 06:40 from Birmingham New Street
  • 309-006 Tate Liverpool 03/08/09 07:50 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-007 Virgin Lady 21/06/08 18:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-008 Virgin King 29/07/08 07:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-009 Treaty of Union 23/03/2009 08:30 from Birmingham New Street.
    Originally ridden when Virgin Queen 31/10/07 from London Euston
  • 390-010 A Decade of Progress 15/11/07 15:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-011 City of Lichfield 18/11/08 07:45 from London Euston
  • 390-012 Virgin Star 01/10/08 14:40 from London Euston
  • 390-013 Virgin Spirit 28/11/07 16:40 from London Euston
  • 390-014 City of Manchester 30/03/2011 19:43 from London Euston
  • 390-015 Virgin Crusader 08/11/07 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-016 Virgin Champion 27/07/2011 19:43 from London Euston
  • 390-017 Virgin Prince 16/11/07 15:40 from London Euston
  • 390-018 Virgin Princess 08/08/09 19:23 from London Euston
  • 390-019 Virgin Warrior 28/11/97 07:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-020 Virgin Cavalier 11/03/08 19:40 from London Euston
  • 390-021 Virgin Dream 31/10/07 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-022 Beth Tweddle MBE 07/09/11 08:30 from Birmingham New Street.
    Originally ridden when Penny the Pendolino 15/07/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-023 Virgin Glory 07/04/2009 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-024 Virgin Venturer 6/12/07 11:10 from London Euston
  • 390-025 Virgin Stagecoach 15/08/08 17:40 from London Euston
  • 390-026 Virgin Enterprise 18/02/09 07:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-027 Virgin Buccaneer 28/08/08 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-028 City of Preston 08/05/08 10:00 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-029 City of Stoke-on-Trent 18/01/08 17:30 from London Euston
  • 390-030 City of Edinburgh 22/09/08 09:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-031 City of Liverpool 19/10/09 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-032 City of Birmingham 25/05/10 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-034 City of Carlisle 18/01/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-035 City of Lancaster 16/06/08 18:10 from London Euston
  • 390-036 City of Coventry 23/02/09 18:43 from London Euston
  • 390-037 Virgin Difference 21/10/08 18:10 from London Euston
  • 390-038 City of London 21/10/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-039 Virgin Quest 16/02/11 20:03 from London Euston
  • 390-040 Virgin Pathfinder 1/08/08 18:10 from London Euston
  • 390-041 City of Chester 26/02/09 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-042 Dinas Bangor/City of Bangor 5/12/07 14:00 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-043 Virgin Explorer 19/10/09 18:43 from London Euston
  • 309-044 Virgin Lionheart 7/12/08 08:00 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-045 101 Squadron 26/11/07 07:45 from Birmingham New Street (cancelled)
  • 390-046 Virgin Soldiers 22/09/10 08:10 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-047 CLIC Sargent 22/05/09 18:43 from London Euston
    Originally ridden when Heaven's Angels 03/03/09 07:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-048 Virgin Harrier 08/12/2010 08:10 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-049 Virgin Express 02/05/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-050 Virgin Invader 16/06/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-051 Virgin Ambassador 04/02/08 07:45 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-052 Virgin Knight 25/03/08 07:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-053 Mission Accomplished 08/05/08 16:10 from London Euston
  • 390-054 28/09/11 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-155 18/04/12 08:30 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-156 Stockport 170 24/02/15 05:50 from Birmingham New Street
  • 390-157 Chad Varah 13/05/13 05:50 from Birmingham New Street

Tagged trains, and pendolinos
« My Quest Is Over


Jez Higgins

Freelance software generalist
software created
extended or repaired

Older posts are available in the archive or through tags.

Feed

Follow me on Twitter
My code on GitHub

Contact
About