17th November 2001

Pathfinder Tours
The Catherine Wheel

Locos Used 37685, 37710 & 66187

Route :

Loco(s) Route (1)
37685 + 37710 Crewe - (via WCML) - Warrington Bank Quay - Eccles - Manchester Piccadilly - Stockport - Crewe - Stafford - Bushbury Jn - Bescot - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - Proof House Jn - Water Orton - Whitacre Jn - Tamworth - Burton-upon-Trent -Derby
66187 (2) Derby - Sinfin
37685 + 37710 (3) Sinfin - Derby (down goods) - Ambergate Jn - Chesterfield - Dore Station Jn - Sheffield - Holmes Jn - Rotherham Central - Aldwarke Jn - Mexborough - Bridge Jn - Decoy Yard - St Catherines Jn
66187 (2) St Catherines Jn - Kirk Sandall Jn
37685 + 37710 (3) Kirk Sandall Jn - Bentley Jn - Hexthorpe Jn - Swinton - Masborough Jn - Beighton Jn - Foxlow Jn - Bolsover
66187 (2) Bolsover - Barrow Hill Jn - Chesterfield (up goods) - Toton Centre - Long Eaton - Derby
37685 + 37710 Derby - Burton-upon-Trent - Tamworth - Landor St Jn - St Andrews Jn -  Lifford curve - Five Ways - Birmingham New Street - Proof House Jn - Aston - Bescot - Portobello Jn -  Wolverhampton - Stafford - Crewe - (via WCML) - Warrington Bank Quay - Eccles - Manchester Piccadilly - Stockport - Crewe

Source : David Russell
(joined/left the train at Derby)
Additional route confirmation from Lee Nash

Tour review :
(by David Russell)


66187, 37685 & 37710 at Derby (photos : Stephen Sumners)

When the 'Catherine Wheel' tour was first advertised, I decided it was a tour which I would give a miss. The only track I required was the Bolsover branch (a little over two miles long), and the chances were the Class 20s would not be required haulages, since I only needed one of DRS's operational 'choppers'. I quite like Class 20s, but even so, 45 seemed rather expensive for the day.

Things changed during the days leading up to the tour, when I learnt the DRS had pulled out of providing locos for the tour, and it would now be hauled by a pair of refurbished EWS Class 37s.  If one or both of these were to be required, then for me the tour would be worth doing - however, not everyone was happy and I know the change of motive power caused some people to cancel their bookings, as did the re-timing of the train two hours earlier by the original provisional timings.

Over the next few days, various locos were quoted as being possible candidates for working the tour (including 37707+37886 which were 'in position' at Warrington!), but by Friday, it seemed likely it would be two of 37674/685/704/710 - three of which I needed. The last e-mail I received on Friday night said it would be 37710+37685 (both required), and when I got up on Saturday morning at 6am and switched on my PC, confirmation was received that these two were on the train - which at this time was travelling somewhere between Manchester and Stockport!

Unusually for a railtour, I had decided to travel to it by train. I drove as far as Leeds, being held up just two minutes from home by another pair of Class 37s - 37047+37057 on the Water Cannon train to Knaresborough. Haulage from Leeds to Derby was behind 47822 on the 06.40 York-Birmingham - only a few months left now for the Virgin 'spoons'. There was a crowd of familiar faces on board, most of whom were heading for the tour.

The tour arrived at Derby just a few minutes down, with IC liveried 37685 leading LoadHaul 37710. I'm sure for many people the locos were a disappointment - 37685 was a based at Inverness and a regular performer on the in the early/mid-90s (hence its reason for carrying InterCity livery) and also worked a Hertfordshire trip to Rylstone a couple of years ago.  37710 had already done two tours in the past few years - the HRT 'Grimsby Reaper' (which derailed) in November 96, and more recently an A1A Charters special to Lowestoft. Despite this, the tour seemed reasonably well loaded, and I obtained a seat in the buffet car, being relieved of my cash before the train departed.

At Derby, 66187 was added to the rear of the stock, which became the front for the next part of the tour - a visit to the Sinfin branch. Although there is still, on paper, a service to Sinfin, this is now provided by a taxi, and it is some years since a passenger train travelled along the branch. Quite a few people on board required the branch, including at least one who cleared his 'passenger' track. I'd already done the line on a DMU back in August 1991. Amazingly, a few people alighted from the tour at Sinfin!

After leaving Sinfin, I wandered up towards the front of the train to enjoy some Class 37 thrash, and found a spare seat close to some friends in coach A. There was plenty of noise from 37685+37710, and due to some slack timings and a booked pathing stop at Ambergate Junction being missed out, the tour, which had left Derby about 20 late, was only a couple of minutes down when we reached Sheffield, where a crew change took place.

At Sheffield we waited, and waited, finally departing at 12.29, now 36 minutes down. It turned out there had been a suspected problem with the Generator Van at the rear of the train - not the first occasion this has happened (see reviews on The Blyth & Tyne Meanderer and Anglain Capitalist for more info!). We ran via Rotherham Centraland Thrybergh Junction to Bridge Curve at Doncaster, where we waited again - this time for 18 minutes. The tour then proceeded south, to St Catherine's Junction. Various locos were viewed on Doncaster depot and yard, including an RfD Class 90, 90233.

Upon arrival at St Catherine's Junction, we found out what the delay had been. It turned out that the tour had not covered the lines at the rear of Belmont Yard as planned (some of us hadn't even noticed!) owing to EWS having failed to clip the points.  Looks like that is becoming a frequent occurrence on railtours! After reversal, we departed St Catherine's Junction running 49 minutes late. The 'shed' lead the tour as far as Kirk Sandall Junction, where another reversal took place. We headed back towards Doncaster behind the 37s, taking the avoiding line which crosses the ECML and runs bast the back of Doncaster Works - too far away to see anything though.

We rejoined the outward route at Hexthorpe Junction, and after a brief crew change at Mexborough (presumably to pick up a pilotman), ran via Swinton and Rotherham Masborough where we joined the 'old road'. We got quite a good view of Booths scrapyard, where quite a few 31s were present, along with 50001, which must have been there for almost 10 years! It was then onto the Bolsover branch, my piece of required track for the day. I was pleased that the train managed to cover the branch properly (i.e. not reverse half way up it), and we passed the coking plant, running as far as the run round loop. We left Bolsover exactly 1 hour late (RST had been achieved!), rejoining the old road to Chesterfield  near Barrow Hill.

The return to Derby was via Alfreton, Langley Mill and Toton (can't say much about what was on the depot - I was asleep!). Two pathing stops were booked on this section, and as the tour didn't stop for either of these, a lot of the lost time was made up. Arrival at Derby was just over 20 minutes late, and after the 66 was detached, I watched the tour depart, by now just a couple of minutes down.

My journey back home was by HST, a Midland Main Line set to Sheffield, for a Virgin one forward. I'm typing this two hours after I got home, and the tour should currently be somewhere between Stockport and Crewe!

David Russell

Route, Distances and Timing's (Booked & Actual)
(by David Clark)

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 Crewe 04.44d 04.44
8.66 Winsford SB 04/53 -
16.22 Weaver Jn 04/59 04/59
22.24 Acton Grange Jn 05/03 05/03
24.11 Warrington Bank Quay 05.07a ~ 05.17d 05.08 ~ 05.17
27.38 Winwick Jn 05/23 05/22
29.03 Earlestown 05/25 05/24
36.69 Astley 05/35 05/32
41.74 Eccles 05/42 05/37
44.53 Ordsall Lane Jn 05/47 05/45
45.43 Manchester Oxford Road 05/51 05/49
46.06 Manchester Piccadilly 05.53a ~ 05.55d 05.54 ~ 05.56
48.31 Slade Lane Jn 06/03 06/01
51.26 Heaton Norris Jn 06/07 06/05
51.76 Stockport 06.09a ~ 06.12d 06.07 ~ 06.12
54.17 Cheadle Hulme 06/19 06/16
58.12 Wilmslow 06/24 06/20
59.56 Alderley Edge 06/26 06/21
72.27 Sandbach 06/39 06/31
76.77 Crewe 06.50a ~ 07.04d 06.39 ~ 07.06
??.?? Basford Hall Jn 07/10 07/10
85.03 Madeley 07/17 07/17
96.05 Norton Bridge 07/27 07/25
101.34 Stafford 07.39a ~ 07.42d 07.36 ~ 07.47
115.11 Bushbury Jn 07/55 08/06
117.59 Portobello Jn 08/00 08/10
121.76 Bescot Stadium 08/08 08/16
126.72 Perry Barr West Jn 08/15 08/25
129.24 Soho South Jn 08/21 08/33
131.25 Birmingham New Street 08.26a ~ 08.39d 08.42 ~ 08.45
132.70 Landor Street Jn 08/44 08/52
138.76 Water Orton 08/50 09/01
141.61 Whitacre Jn 08/54 09/06
144.11 Kingsbury Jn 08/59 09/12
149.72 Tamworth 09.05a ~ 09.08d 09.20 ~ 09.21
157.20 Wichnor Jn 09/15 09/29
162.63 Burton-on-Trent 09.21a ~ 09.24d 09.35 ~ 09.36
169.00 Stenson Jn 09/31 09/43
173.64
0.00
Derby 09L37a ~ 09L57d 09.51 ~ 10.22
1.41 Melbourne Jn 10/05 10/27
2.57
0.00
Sinfin Central 10.13a ~ 10.23d 10.31 ~ 10.38
1.16 Melbourne Jn 10/28 10/45
1.48 Derby L&NW Jn 10/32 10/47
2.57 Derby Down Goods 10/41 10/53
3.75 St Marys Jn 10/49 10/58
12.50 Ambergate Jn 11*07a ~ 11*18d 11/20
22.58 Clay Cross South Jn 11/32 11/31
26.68 Chesterfield 11/36 11/34
35.18 Dore Station Jn 11/45 11/43
39.08 Sheffield 11*51a ~ 11*53d 11.52 ~ 12.19
42.20 Wincobank Jn 11/59 12/34
44.11 Holmes Jn 12/01 12/37
45.13 Rotherham Central 12/04 12/40
47.50 Aldwarke Jn 12/09 12/45
48.26 Thryburgh Jn 12/11 12/47
50.57 Mexborough 12/16 12/52
55.62 Hexthorpe Jn 12/22 13/03
57.40 Bridge Jn 12/26 13.09a ~ 13.25d
58.65 Doncaster Down Decoy North Jn 12/35 13/27
60.17
0.00
St Catherines Jn 12.45a ~ 12.50d 13.33 ~ 13.38
5.32
0.00
Kirk Sandall Jn 13.04a ~ 13.09d 13.47 ~ 14.01
2.20 Bentley Jn 13/13 14/06
5.44 Hexthorpe Jn 13/17 14/11
10.49 Mexborough 13c22a ~ 13c24d 14.17 ~ 14.19
11.63 Swinton 13/27 14/22
13.74 Aldwarke Jn 13/29 14/24
16.33 Rotherham Masborough Station Jn 13/35 14/27
23.09 Beighton Jn 13/46 14/38
27.73 Foxlow Jn 3/53 14/44
28.54 Hall Lane Jn 13/56 14/46
32.15
0.00
Bolsover Coalite 14.10a ~ 14.15d 15.09 ~ 15.15
1.77 Seymour Jn 14/24 15/30
3.41 Hall Lane Jn 14/29 15/35
4.44 Barrow Hill North Jn 14/32 15/38
7.31 Tapton Jn 14/36 15/44
7.70 Chesterfield Goods Lines 14/38 15/45
12.00 Clay Cross South Jn 14/48 15/53
12.66 Coney Gate Jn 14*58a ~ 15*15d 15/56
17.23 Pye Bridge Jn 15/25 16/05
21.23 Langley Mill 15/30 16/08
26.03 Trowell Jn 15/37 16/13
29.28 Toton Centre 15/40 16/16
31.23 Trent East Jn 15*45a ~ 15*57d 16/19
31.66 Sheet Stores Jn 16/00 16/22
37.75 Spondon 16/05 16/29
40.45
0.00
Derby 16L13a ~ 16L48d 16.35 ~ 16.51
4.64 Stenson Jn 16/55 16/58
11.01 Burton-on-Trent 17.03a ~ 17.06d 17.06 ~ 17.07
16.44 Wichnor Jn 17/12 17/14
23.72 Tamworth High Level 17.20a ~ 17.23d 17.21 ~ 17.23
29.53 Kingsbury Jn 17/29 17/30
33.48 Water Orton 17/33 17/33
39.54 Landor Street Jn 17/45 17/44
40.38 Bordesley Jn 17/52 17/47
45.05 Lifford East Jn 18/00 17/59
45.30 Lifford West Jn 18/03 18/02
47.00 Selly Oak 18/07 18/05
50.31 Birmingham New Street 18.15a ~ 18.19d 18.14 ~ 18.17
53.07 Aston 18/27 18/27
55.29 Perry Barr North Jn 18/35 18/30
59.66 Bescot Stadium 18/44 18/38
64.03 Portobello Jn 18/48 18/48
65.67 Wolverhampton 18.57a ~ 18.57d 19.00 ~ 19.01
67.41 Bushbury Jn 19/01 19/05
81.18 Stafford 19.14a ~ 19.17d 19.18 ~ 19.20
86.47 Norton Bridge 19/24 19/26
97.49 Madeley 19/35 19/35
???.?? Basford Hall Jn 19/42 19/41
105.55 Crewe 19.49a ~ 19.58d 19.47 ~ ??.??
114.41 Winsford SB 20/11 -
121.77 Weaver Jn 20/19 -
127.79 Acton Grange Jn 20/31 -
129.66 Warrington Bank Quay 20.33a ~ 20.36d - ~ -
133.13 Winwick Jn 20/41 -
134.58 Earlestown 20/43 -
142.44 Astley 20/51 -
147.49 Eccles 20/56 -
150.28 Ordsall Lane Jn 21/03 -
151.58 Manchester Oxford Road 21/11 -
151.61 Manchester Piccadilly 21.15a ~ 21.17d - ~ -
154.06 Slade Lane Jn 21/21 -
156.76 Heaton Norris Jn 21/24 -
157.51 Stockport 21.26a ~ 21.29d - ~ -
159.72 Cheadle Hulme 21/34 -
163.67 Wilmslow 21/39 -
165.31 Alderley Edge 21/41 -
169.17 Chelford Loop 21*46a ~ 21*54d - ~ -
178.02 Sandbach 22/03 -
181.56 Crewe Sydney Bridge Jn 22/10 -
182.52 Crewe 22.13a -

Key;
a : arrival time
c : crew change
d : departure time
L : loco change
/ : passing time
* : operational stop

All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken from the timing sheet given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.

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