26th February 2000

Pathfinder Tours
The Weaving Weasel

Locos Used 08480, 56089, 58036, 60004, 73108 & 73129
Stock Used 5030+5025+5009+4927+5040+5029+4963+17056+3122+3112+3098+3140+6310

Route :
1Z42 : Sheffield to Eastleigh T&RSMD
1Z92 : Eastleigh T&RSMD to Sheffield

Loco(s) Route
56089 Sheffield [P8] - Dore Station Jn - Chesterfield - Ambergate Jn - Derby [P1] - Burton-on-Trent - Tamworth - Kingsbury Jn - Water Orton - Bordesley Jn - Lifford curve - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Proof House Jn - Bordesley Jn - Tyseley - Leamington Spa - Oxford - Oxford South U/DPL
73108 + 73129 + 60004 (5) Oxford South U/DPL - Didcot Parkway
73108 + 73129 (6) Didcot Parkway - Reading West Jn - Oxford Road Jn - Bramley (7)
60004 (8) Bramley - Basingstoke
73129 (9) Basingstoke - Worting Jn
60004 (8) Worting Jn - Andover
60004 + 73129 (10) Andover - Laverstock South Jn - Romsey - Eastleigh - Eastleigh South Jn - (clockwise round EH depot loop) - Eastleigh T&RSMD
08480 (1) Eastleigh T&RSMD - Eastleigh - Eastleigh East Yard
60004 Eastleigh East Yard - Eastleigh - Northam Jn - Southampton Central - Redbridge - Romsey - Salisbury - Westbury - Bradford Jn - Bath Spa - North Somerset Jn - Bristol Temple Meads
58036 (2) Bristol Temple Meads - Lawrence Hill GF
60004 (3) Lawrence Hill GF - Barrow Road ACC RTS
58036 (4) Barrow Road ACC RTS - Bristol Parkway - Yate - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - Stoke Works Jn - Banrnt Green - Longbridge - Selly Oak - Birmingham New St - Proof House Jn - Water Orton - (reverse of outward route) - Derby [P2] - Sheffield [P2]

Notes :
(1) 60004 run-round and put onto on rear.
(2) 60004 on rear.
(3) 58036 on rear.
(4) 60004 on rear to Lawrence Hill GF.
(5) Alan Banks confirms the 60 was only used as far as Didcot.
(6) plus 60004, not powering.
(7) At Bramley the fire bottles went off on 73108 and 73129 shut down.
(8) plus 73108 & 73129 dead-in-tow.
(9) 73129 on electric, plus 60004 & 73108 dead-in-tow.
(10) plus 73108 dead-in-tow.

Sources : Gary Thornton (joined/left train at Tamworth) & Alan Banks

Tour review
(by Ian Loveday - aka "Selby")

Here I am again then, the number one reviewer (in who's opinion? - Gary) back by popular demand with another railtour review.

This railtour had all the ingredients to make the best cake of the year, but did it live up to expectations? Read on....

(I am the number one reviewer;  As voted by my wife and I.  Actually I volunteered to do the write up, nobody asked).

D -16 !
The tickets and timings arrived 16 days before the date of the tour; this was amazing as nowadays we normally expect them to arrive 16 hours before the tour! Unfortunately the train was due to depart one hour earlier than originally advertised, but a bigger disappointment was in store as the second 08 had been removed from the itinerary. This was the second time in as many gronk tours that the number of 08's actually featured was half of those advertised. Many people were not impressed. By way of compensation, Pathfinder stated that they would try and get the 60 swapped at Eastleigh. However many people doubted that would happen as the tour was already fully booked, so why would anyone pull out the stops to make amends?

D -1
The gen the night before was 56131, 58036, 73108+129, 08646 and the 60's were unknown.

D
Departing from Selby at 04:50, I opted to drive to Chesterfield to pick up the tour. On time a headlight appeared out of the darkness, and 56089 (!) rolled into the platform. After climbing aboard, it was time to find out the rest of the gen as we stormed south in darkness towards Derby. Interesting things of note out and about on the rails that day were:

47701/702/709/712/747/766/769/784 all working for Virgin.
86417 + 66108 on an HRT from KX to Wigan.
55019 on a charter from Newcastle to KX.
Hastings unit on a charter from Brighton to Weston-Super-Mare.
59/2's were running L/E to Hither Green for their forthcoming channel tunnel link work. 59201 is expected to follow when it's faulty traction motor is repaired.
67's were out and about on crew training runs.

Our tour was now allocated 60004, but would not be getting a second 60. Nobody else seemed surprised by this fact, as there are no booked 60 workings off Eastleigh, so there was never going to be a 60 there anyway! People were disappointed, but not surprised. So we were one 08 down, and now without compensation.

The sun was just rising as we left Derby, and each of the pick up points was met by a healthy amount of people waiting to board. The route into Birmingham New Street was to be via the Lifford curve so that we were facing the right way for onward progress via Tyseley. Saltley revealed 5 66's amongst other things, many more 66's were to be seen during the day! On arrival at New Street. 37415 was noted on a service bound for the NWC.


56089 at Birmingham New Street (photo: Richard Rooker)

We slowed as we passed Tyseley and the depot had 33108+021, 45112, 40118, 31106+462 and many other 31's. Progress to Leamington Spa was slow; but then again we were constantly running ahead of time due to the slack timings given by Railtrack. I know I have mentioned before how the amount of recovery time is starting to become frustrating, granted nobody wants to return home late, and complex enthusiasts tours must be hard to time, but I certainly don't think that the correct balance has yet been reached.

A 4TC unit was passed at Fenny Compton en-route to/from MoD Kineton. An early arrival in Banbury saw this pick up point turn into an unofficial photo-stop! Again the "grid" stormed, and Oxford was reached in no time at all. We came to stand in Oxford on the centre road briefly, before the grid was let out of its cage again and thrashed us out of the station, much to the amazement of the passengers stood on the adjacent platforms!

In the Oxford South U/DPL an engine change was booked, and 56089 gave way to 73108/129 + 60004 (73108 was the lead engine). As we were waiting for the engine change to be completed, news came through that 47766 had caught fire north of Exeter on 1V35 and 67005+008 (!!!!) were to rescue as they were running as 5Z67 from Bristol Barton Hill to St. Blazey on a crew training run. So (subject to confirmation) the first 67 passenger working took place on 26/02/00, on a normal passenger train!

The grid having pulled off the front of our train passed us again to run north, and the driver certainly played to the crowd by giving the grid a lot of thrash, many blasts on the horn, and the traction inspector waving out of the window was met by cheers from those on board. Full marks to that crew, it does make a difference when the crews get into the spirit of things! We were given 40 minutes for this simple engine change, so again we were stood waiting time. On time we departed with all three engines powering, although I had to ask for confirmation about that as even being sat in coach A, I couldn't hear any of them, and definitely not a note out of the 60. The fact that the 60 worked to Didcot was needed by some people as they wanted to get off and travel to Manchester for 66108 on the HRT. Didcot had 08904, 37047 & 60098 on the stabling point.

Under a fine but overcast sky we proceeded ever southwards, 73109 coupled to an EMU was seen at Basingstoke, and the next stop, Andover, was to be a booked photo-stop. This proved to be an excellent move by Pathfinder, the set up was perfect (not that I ever take photographs!) and everyone took advantage with the station car park full of people taking photographs and stretching their legs. Returning to the platform it became clear that all was not well with the 73's. 73108 was shut down, and 73129 had a fire bell ringing! I am told that the 73's only provided power between Didcot and Worting Junc., but again I wouldn't take that as solid gen.

So with just the 60 providing the power, we marched onwards, via the Laverstock Loop to Romsey where the driver said to the second man, "Hey aren't we meant to go left here?" " Yes" came the reply, so as the route was set wrongly we came to a stand in Romsey station. A phone call to the signalman corrected the error and we were on our way to Eastleigh.

We passed D2991 as we took the depot loop line, and we stopped adjacent to the engine shed in Eastleigh T&RS MD where our next engine change was due. 66067/073/078/138/153/165 were noted along with 4x37 2x33 3x73 4x47 and more, although quite a few of these were stored. "Our" 73's disappeared and 60004 ran round, this then left room for 08480 sporting green livery to go on the front. This engine change was a touch more complex, but we were given 48 minutes for it! So again we were stood for far too long in a place that we could not get off, and then to top it all we departed late!

The gronk took us through the station non-stop and on into the East Yard, and those that were on board will know what I mean when I say that this gronk must have been fitted with ABS brakes! With the gronk left behind, it was now a simple matter of the 60 taking us to Bristol TM. Passing back through Eastleigh station for the last time we saw 47766+47/8 on the return Portsmouth H service. Southampton F/L terminal housed 6x47 and 2x57 and at this point I was informed that 58036 had passed Bromsgrove 17 early whist running L/E to meet out tour at Bristol.

At Westbury we were required to stop to allow the Avonmouth LPG train to overtake us, and we had passed this train twice already, once at Southampton, and secondly at Romsey. 66111 duly stormed through and we boarded the train once again. For the record Westbury played host to 66023/073/085/100/155/174 59103 60073 08664. 66111 might have thought that it had got the upper hand, however it was looped just after Bath to allow us to pass! Please tell me that a class 1 train wasn't looped at Westbury for a freight train to pass, only to pass it again further down the line!

Arrival in Temple Meads found 58036 waiting to join in the fun, and was quickly coupled to the, now front, of the train. The Hastings thumper unit was in the next platform so 58036 next to that must have made a good photo. Barton Hill housed a surprising number of locos, 08, 47's 60's and 67001. We were held at Dr. Day's Junc. to allow 47702 dragging a HST to pass, before we crossed over on to the up Filton line. After reversal 60004 took us down my only piece of required track of the day, the Barrow Road branch line. I am pleased to report that we got down to about a loco length away from the end of the line, and definitely as far as any passenger train had been in many years. 58036 took us back to the Barrow Road GF where the 60 was detached and we started the long trek back north behind the bone. The run back to Chesterfield was enjoyable and quick, a good run up the bank (Lickey) was completed in two minutes, and the only place we were stood waiting time was Derby for a Leeds bound HST to pass, an understandable pathing stop that was also brief.

Arrival back in Chesterfield was on time, and a quick storm home had me back in Selby at 23:00.

Verdict: Pathfinder stated that some people were disappointed, as they had to miss out, because the train was fully booked. However with the loss of an 08, no second 60, nearly a total of two hours sat not moving in places where we couldn't alight, and all at a cost of 45, many would feel that they had little to be disappointed about.

Ian Loveday (Selby)

Timings (Booked and Actual)

M.C
Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual
M.C
0.00
Sheffield [P8/P2] 05.45d 05.45d   22.30a 22.32a
166.74
3.70
Dore Station Jn 05/52 05/53   22/24 22/24
163.04
12.20
Chesterfield 06.02a ~ 06.05d 06.01 ~ 06.05   22.10a ~ 22.12d 22.11 ~ 22.15
154.54
16.30
Clay Cross South Jn 06/10 -   22/05 -
150.44
26.36
Ambergate Jn 06/18 -   21/55 -
140.36
36.31
Derby [P1/P2] 06.30a ~ 06.32d 06.31 ~ 06.33   21.35a ~ 21.45d 21.40 ~ 21.47
130.43
41.15
Stenson Jn 06/38 -   21/29 21/33
125.59
41.59
North Stafford Jn 06/39 -   21/28 21/33
125.15
47.32
Burton-on-Trent 06.45a ~ 06.48d 06.48 ~ 06.50   21.17a ~ 21.18d 21.24 ~ 21.26
119.42
52.75
Wichnor Jn 06/54 06/56   21/11 -
113.79
60.23
Tamworth 07.01a ~ 07.04d 07.02 ~ 07.04   21.03a ~ 21.04d 21.09 ~ 21.10
106.51
66.04
Kingsbury Jn 07/13 07/11   20/58 21/03
100.70
69.79
Water Orton 07/17 07/14   20/55 21/00
96.75

 

M.C
Location Booked Actual
??
Washwood Heath No.1 07/22 07/18
76.05
Landoe Street Jn 07/24 07/21
76.43
St. Andrews Jn 07/26 07/23
76.69
Bordesley Jn 07/29 07/24
82.36
Lifford East Jn 07/35 07/32
82.61
Lifford West Jn 07*38 ~ 07*48 07.35 ~ 07.45
84.31
Selly Oak 07/52 07/49
87.62
Birmingham New Street [P9] 08.01a ~ 08.12d 07.59 ~ 08.12
88.36
Proof House Jn 08/16 08/15
89.33
St. Andrews Jn 08/19 08/18
89.59
Bordesley Jn 08/20 08/19
91.11
Small Heath South Jn 08*24 ~ 08*38 08/23
91.65
Tyseley 08/41 08.25 ~ 08.28
-
Dorridge Up Pass. Loop -- 08.39 ~ 08.49
98.75
Dorridge 08/52 08/49
105.56
Hatton 09/01 08/56
111.45
Leamington Spa (Up Middle) 09/10 09/07
122.74
Fenny Compton 09/23 09/21
131.54
Banbury [P3] 09.32a ~ 09.35d 09.29 ~ 09.35
136.58
Aynho Jn 09/41 09/42
142.49
Heyford 09/46 09/47
151.38
Wolvercot Jn 10/00 09/54
154.29
Oxford (Up Main) 10/08 09/58
154.59
0.00
Oxford South D/UPL 10L10 ~ 10L50 10.01 ~ 10.48
0.41
Hinksey North 10/51 10/49
9.17
Didcot North Jn 11/02 11/00
10.01
Didcot Parkway [P4] 11.05a ~ 11.09d 11.02 ~ 11.11
26.15
Reading West Jn 11/29 11/34
26.56
Oxford Road Jn 11/31 11/35
28.01
Southcote Jn 11/33 11/37
37.40
Bramley (Hants) 11/44 11/49
41.58
Basingstoke [P2] 11/51 11/59
44.18
Worting Jn 11/55 12/04
60.16
Andover 12p15a ~ 12p32d 12.21 ~ 12.35
76.02
Laverstock North Jn 12/52 12/55
76.36
Laverstock South Jn 12*52 ~ 12*54 12/56
84.03
Dean 13/08 13/05
91.46
Romsey 13/15 13.14 ~ 13.18
98.53
Eastleigh East Jn 13*26 ~ 13*41 13.27 ~ 13.43
98.58
Eastleigh [P2] 13*43 ~ 13*44 13/46
99.27
Eastleigh South Jn 13/47 13/47
99.67
0.00
Eastleigh T&RSMD 13L57 ~ 14L45 13.54 ~ 14.51
0.51
Eastleigh [P3] 14/51 14/58
0.66
0.00
Eastleigh East Yard 14L54 ~ 15L07 15.03 ~ 15.12
0.15
Eastleigh [P2] 15/10 15.14 ~ 15.15
3.70
St. Denys [P2] 15/16 15/21
4.75
Northam Jn 15/20 15/23
5.79
Southampton Central [P4] 15/22 15/25
7.70
Redbridge 15/26 15/29
13.23
Romsey 15/33 15/37
20.66
Dean 15/42 15/45
28.57
Tunnel Jn 15/54 15/55
29.64
Salisbury [P4] 16/00 16/00
31.58
Wilton Jn 16/03 16/04
48.54
Warminster 16/25 16/24
54.27
Westbury 16*33 ~ 16*43 16.32 ~ 16.43
59.51
Bradford Jn 16/55 16/50
68.73
Bathampton Jn 17/08 17/05
71.09
Bath Spa 17/11 17/09
81.64
North Somerset Jn 17/24 17/22
82.20
Bristol East Jn 17/25 17.24 ~ 17.30
82.44
0.00
Bristol Temple Meads [P10] 17L27a ~ 17L48d 17.32 ~ 17.51
0.24
Bristol East Jn 17/49 17/52
0.46
Dr. Day's Jn 17*51 ~ 18*01 17.54 ~ 18.03
1.12
0.00
Lawrence Hill GF 18.04 ~ 18.09 18.09 ~ 18.12
0.42
0.00
Barrow Road ACC RTS 18.22 ~ 18.32 18.29 ~ 18.36
0.42
Lawrence Hill GF 18L44 ~ 18L56 18.41 ~ 18.56
0.73
Stapleton Road 18/58 18/59
3.73
Filton Jn 19/10 19/06
5.12
Bristol Parkway [P1] 19.12a ~ 19.14d 19.08 ~ 19.11
9.62
Westerleigh Jn 19/20 19/18
11.34
Yate 19/23 19/20
17.75
Charfield 19/29 19/25
31.20
Standish Jn 19/40 19/36
37.30
Gloucester Yard Jn 19/46 19/41
38.17
Barnwood Jn 19/47 19/42
43.60
Cheltenham Spa 19/52 19/48
50.71
Ashchurch 19/59 19/55
61.58
Abbotswood Jn 20/08 20/03
72.75
Stoke Works Jn 20/17 20/11
75.08
Bromsgrove 20/19 20/12
78.51
Barnt Green 20/25 20/17
81.26
Longbridge 20/27 20/22
83.59
King's Norton 20/32 20/27
85.73
Selly Oak 20/35 20/31
89.24
Birmingham New Street [P9] 20.42a ~ 20.45d 20.44 ~ 20.48
90.12
Proof House Jn 20/47 20/52
90.69
Landor Street Jn 20/49 20/54

Timings continue in first table.

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