23rd June 2001

Pathfinder Tours
The Cumbrian Mountain Express

Locos Used D9000 'Royal Scots Grey' & steam: 60800 'Green Arrow'

Route :
1Z38 : Crewe to Carlisle
1Z39 : Carlisle to Crewe

Loco(s) Route
D9000 Crewe - Stafford - Wolverhampton - Sandwell & Dudley - Birmingham New Street - Tamworth - Burton-on-Trent - Derby - Sheffield - Swinton - Doncaster - (via ECML) - York
60800 York - Castleford - Methley Jn - Engine Shed Jn - Settle Jn - Carlisle
D9000 Carlisle - Hexham - Low Fell Jn - (via ECML) - Doncaster - Sheffield - Derby - Burton-on-Trent - Tamworth - Birmingham New Street - (1) Soho South Jn - Perry Barr North Jn - Bescot - Wolverhampton - Stafford - Crewe

Notes :
(1) train diverted from booked route (omitting booked set-down at Sandwell & Dudley) owing to a failed train at Coseley.

Source : Ralph Barrett (joined/left train at Derby) & Nigel Rollings

Tour Review
(by Ralph Barrett)

Another day, another Deltic tour. Saturday 23rd June 2001 witnessed my alarm clock ringing at 06:20 for yet another railtour with Deltic D9000, and also the NRM's V2 60800 Green Arrow. A short blast northwards up the M1 to Derby, and I was ready for my next Deltic railtour.

Deltic 22 arrived on schedule at Derby around 07:35, the tour having started back from Crewe at the ungodly hour of 05:16. As the train snaked slowly along platform 1 at Derby, I was pleased to see that coach 'K' was immediatly behind the Deltic, and even more so when I realised that my coach would be coupled to the Deltic for the return run too ! I was booked in the 'posh-nosh' section of this railtour, which turned out to be a smart move.

Breakfast was offered after the Chesterfield pick-up, and the drone of D9000 was the audible backdrop as I ate my porridge up the long 1-in-100 climb through the appropriately named Dronfield station. Throughout the day I was sat with three other passengers who were primarily there for the V2, although only one was really a kettle basher ("don't like diesels"). The other couple were from Matlock, and the bloke had been a passed fireman at Rowsley shed on the Midland route to Manchester Central.

Was very interesting hearing the reminiscences of this ex-Rowsley fireman throughout the day. His favourite engines were Derby 4's (4Fs?), and he detested the ex-LNWR 0-8-0 Super D freight engines. 9Fs were "collier's friends" - you never stopped shovelling coal on those beasts.

Best story was the time that his driver played a practical joke that backfired. This was just after the death of John Axon (in 1957?), who's engine famously ran away down the bank and crashed at Chapel-en-le-Frith. Well, this Rowsley man was firing a similarly unfitted goods train over ex-Midland metals at Dove Holes, when his driver shouted to him (as a joke) "we're running away - jump" ! Without further thought, the fireman grabbed his coat and mash-can, and jumped onto the ballast. It was some considerable time until the driver and his fireman were re-united.

Back to the Deltic. D9000 ran via Sheffield Midland and then to Doncaster via Swinton. From Doncaster, the scheduled time to York was just 23 minutes for the 32.5 miles, which is fast for a railtour with load 11. That's an average speed of 84mph start to stop! In the event we covered this new ECML racing stretch in 24 minutes 36 seconds. Its these EWS drivers, who just don't know how to run express passenger ;-) They get the Deltic up to 100mph, but then ease off and allow the speed to fall back to 94mph before re-applying power. Why do they do this on a train that's running late ? In the event York was reached at 09:29, nine minutes later than scheduled.

At York kettle 60800 appeared, and was bolted onto the other end of the train. Deltic D9000 was detached and presumably ran light engine to Carlisle in front of us. Our departure from York was delayed for 15 anxious minutes, as there was a brake defect in our coach. Problem was eventually discovered to be due to air still being present in the pipes, as we'd switched from air to vacuum braking at York ??

We then ran slowly via Castleford, and joined ex-Midland metals again at Methley Junction. Remained on ex-Midland metals all the way to Petteril Junction, just outside Carlisle some three hours, and two water stops later. Although rambling along the S&C behind a kettle is pleasant enough at 30-40mph, the journey does seem to take forever. Still for us posh-noshers at the back of the train, there's always lunch to devour.

Our 'layover' at Carlisle was significantly less than had been advertised in Pathfinder's brochure. Indeed, most of the passengers spent most of their time in Carlisle watching the locomotives being exchanged. V2 uncoupled and departed south (to Carnforth?). Then D9000 was started up in the centre road, and then majestically backup onto the other end (our end:-) of the train.

Any Deltic basher worth their salt, would have noted that the return route via the Newcastle and Carlisle, and then ECML back to Doncaster was pretty tightly timed. Especially so for a charter. Had Railtrack 'Eastern Region' deliberately given these fast timings because it was a Deltic one wondered. For the record the 75 miles from Tyne Yard (Birtley Junction) to York were allocated 55 minutes, an average speed of 81mph!

We were booked to pass Birtley Junction at 17:04, with a Virgin HST booked south on the ECML from Newcastle Central at 17:04. Although the HST would be going faster than the Deltic, the HST also would be stopping at Durham and Darlington. Not much room for error.

In the event, the 15:36 DMU from Carlise to Newcastle was late leaving Carlisle. We were booked to depart at 15:43, but our departure was delayed by 6 minutes or so. D9000 was then checked at most of the block posts on the route, so despite the best efforts of our driver, we were unable to make up much of this lateness. We were further delayed at the Metro Centre by the 17:00 DMU to Middlesbrough, and so we arrived at Tyne Yard just to late to secure our path. It was with leaden hearts we watched the 17:04 Virgin HST to Bristol be given the road in front of us. We were then additionally held to allow the 17:08 Trans-Pennine Class 158 DMU to also pass in front of us.

DMU was booked to stop (i.e. delay us still further) at Chester-le-Street, Durham, Darlington and then Northallerton. Total stagger, finally overtook it at Thisk. We might as well have stayed for an extra half-hour in Carlise. Appears to me that Railtrack Eastern Region (Deltic Fanciers?) had given us very good paths, but that Railtrack North West (Deltic Haters?) had done their usual trick of sticking us immediately behind the hourly local stopping service on the Carlisle and Newcastle. Why do they do this ?

Net result was that we'd completely lost our booked path. At York we were (correctly) side-tracked to allow a following GNER Stealth Bomber to overtake. We departed York on the Leeds lines as the GNER overtook us on the Sheffield lines. However we then took an age to get back onto the ECML at Colton Junction. More delay. Perhaps is would have been better to delay our departure from York, and send us out behind the GNER.

Further delays on the Doncaster to Sheffield section, and we were starting to approach Railtour Standard Time (i.e. one hour later than scheduled). A moment of comedy occurred at Sheffield where the EWS guard waved his green flag, and then climbed into his van. Then D9000's secondman looked out of his window waiting for the 'tip' from the guard. Guard finally noticed that the train was not moving, so he climbed back onto the platform to wave his flag, just as the secondman stopped looking. This went on for some time, and delayed us by a few extra unnecessary minutes. I was relieved that we managed to leave Sheffield before the signal reverted to red, although most of the power box crew were watching us from the window of their box (as usual).

On every Deltic tour there is a character known as Jonny Herbert, who's natural habitat is the front vestibule window immediately behind the Deltic. However, on this tour the Premier Class was behind the Deltic for the whole journey, and Pathfinder try hard to ensure that the Premier Class passengers are not 'irritated' by hordes of Deltic bashers stampeding through their Premier Class section. Somewhere on the return Mr Herbert was spotted walking through Premier, heading towards the front vestibule. Pathfinder Steward was hot in pursuit, so us Posh-Noshers had the front vestibule to ourselves :-)

Special mention of the Deltic Bridge Cleaning apparatus. Deltics have very powerful exhausts, and these blast all loose material from over-bridges. In Deltic days on the ECML these bridges were regularly blasted, so there was no loose material. However, whenever a Deltic ventured onto a foreign line on a diversion or railtour, the Deltic Bridge Blasting service could be witnessed. This railtour was no exception - I was covered in sand every time we passed a sandstone over-bridge on the approach to Sheffield Midland. Large chunks of rust and paint were noted flying from over-bridges elsewhere.

In conclusion, a good railtour. However a great shame that we missed our booked high speed return path up the ECML, through no fault of D9000 or EWS. Hopefully Railtrack will offer similar paths in future?

Ralph Barrett

Timings (Booked Only)
(from Nigel Rollings)

M.C Location Booked (out) Booked (rtn) M.C
0.00 Crewe 05.16d 21.52a 319.77
1.64 Basford Hall Jn 05/21 21/47 318.13
8.06 Madeley 05/31 21/40 311.71
19.08 Norton Bridge 05/44 21/31 300.69
24.37 Stafford 05.50a ~ 06.00d 21.17a ~ 21.24d 295.40
38.14 Bushbury Jn 06/12 21/05 281.63
39.68 Wolverhampton 06.17a ~ 06.19d 21.01a ~ 21.02d 280.09
45.28 Dudley Port 06/27 20/54 274.49
47.24 Sandwell & Dudley 06.30a ~ 06.31d 20.49a ~ 20.51d 272.53
48.73 Galton Jn 06/35 20/47 271.04
50.51 Soho South Jn 06/37 20/45 269.26
52.52 Birmingham New Street 06.42a ~ 06.48d 20.31a ~ 20.40d 267.25
54.17 Landor Street Jn 06/52 20/26 265.60
60.23 Water Orton 06/58 20/20 259.54
64.18 Kingsbury Jn 07/01 20/16 255.59
69.79 Tamworth 07.06a ~ 07.08d 20.09a ~ 20.11d 249.78
77.27 Wichnor Jn 07/14 20/02 242.50
82.70 Burton-on-Trent 07.19a ~ 07.20d 19.54a ~ 19.56d 237.07
89.07 Stenson Jn 07/29 19/47 230.70
93.71 Derby 07.35a ~ 07.46d 19.39a ~ 19.41d 226.06
103.64 Ambergate Jn 08/01 19/29 216.13
113.72 Clay Cross Jn 08/10 19/19 206.05
118.02 Chesterfield 08.14a ~ 08.16d 19.11a ~ 19.14d 201.75
126.32 Dore Station South 08/23 19/03 193.45
130.22 Sheffield 08.30a ~ 08.32d 18.54a ~ 18.57d 189.55
130.59 Nunnery Main Line Jn 08/34 18/52 189.18
133.34 Wincobank Jn 08/37 18/48 186.43
135.62 Holmes Jn 08/38 18/46 184.15
138.27 Aldwarke Jn 08/41 18/43 181.50
140.38 Swinton Jn 08/44 18/40 179.39
141.52 Mexborough 08/46 18/38 178.25
146.57 Hexthorpe Jn 08/51 18/33 173.20
148.58 Doncaster 08.54a ~ 08.57d 18.27a ~ 18.30d 171.19
148.77 Shaftholme Jn 09/01 18/22 167.00
157.77 Temple Hirst Jn 09/07 18/15 158.00
163.56 Hambleton North Jn 09/10 18/10 152.21
171.60 Colton Jn 09/15 18/04 144.77
177.21 York 09L20a ~ 09L59d 17.55a ~ 17.59d 138.56


M.C Location Booked
5.41 Colton Jn 10/08
10.58 Church Fenton 10/14
15.07 Milford Jn 10/19
20.79 Castleford 10/26
23.15 Methley Jn 10/32
30.78 Engine Shed Jn 10/42
31.30 Whitehall Jn 10/44
37.56 Apperley Jn 10/53
41.47 Shipley 11/00
47.62 Keighley 11/11
56.77 Skipton 11w24a ~ 12w04d
66.71 Hellifield 12/18
70.16 Settle Jn 12/23
84.11 Blea Moor 12/44
92.31 Garsdale 13w02a ~ 13w42d
102.16 Kirkby Stephen 13/58
112.78 Appleby 14/14
120.31 Culgaith 14/26
135.31 Low House Crossing SB 14/48
142.68 Petteril Bridge Jn 15/06
143.07 London Road Jn 15/07
Carlisle 15L10a ~ 15L43d
0.53 London Road Jn 15/45
0.72 Petteril Bridge Jn 15/46
10.77 Brampton 15/58
23.05 Haltwhistle 16/12
31.63 Haydon Bridge 16/22
39.30 Hexham 16/30
49.50 Prudhoe 16/46
56.15 Blaydon 16/52
58.15 MetroCentre 16/55
59.57 Norwood Jn 16/57
61.19 Low Fell Jn 17/00
63.27 Birtley Jn 17/04
72.43 Durham 17/13
82.39 Ferryhill South Jn 17/18
94.46 Darlington 17/27
108.60 Northallerton 17/36
116.40 Thirsk 17/40
129.16 Tollerton Jn 17/48
137.05 Skelton Jn 17/53

Timings Continue in first table.

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