12th April 2003
The Wizard Express
|Locos Used||37047, 37308, 37674, 37689, 37698 & 37712|
1Z37 : Reading to Preston
1Z38 : Preston to Reading
|37698 + 37712||Reading - Didcot Parkway - Swindon - Stroud - Standish Jn - Cheltenham Spa - Ashchurch - Abbotswood Jn - (direct route) - Stoke Works Jn - Barnt Green - King's Norton - Bordesley Jn - St Andrews Jn - Birmingham New Street|
|37698 + 37712||Birmingham New Street (3) - Soho South Jn - (3) Perry Barr North Jn - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Stone - Stoke-on-Trent - Stockport - Denton - Ashton Moss North Jn - Miles Platting - Manchester Victoria - Salford Crescent - Bolton - Chorley - Preston|
|37308 (1)||Preston - Wigan North Western - Springs Branch|
|37047 (2)||Springs Branch - Wigan Wallgate - Rainford - Dale Lane GF|
|37308 (1)||Dale Lane GF - Knowsley Freight Terminal|
|37047 (2)||Knowsley Freight Terminal - Dale Lane GF|
|37308 (1)||Dale Lane GF - Rainford - Wigan Wallgate - Crow Nest Jn - Lostock Jn - Bolton - Salford Crescent - Manchester Victoria - Miles Platting - Ashton Moss North Jn - Denton - Stockport - Wilmslow - Sandbach - Crewe|
|37674 + 37689||Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford - Bushbury Jn (4) - Wolverhampton - Sandwell & Dudley - (4) Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - (reverse of outward route) - Reading|
(1) 37047 on rear.
(2) 37308 on rear.
(3) Was booked : Birmingham New Street - Aston - Perry Barr North Jn.
(4) Was booked : Bushbury Jn - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn.
Sources : David Russell (joined/left the train at Manchester Victoria)
& Steve Goulden (joined/left the train at Didcot Parkway)
37698 heads the train at Manchester Victoria (Photo : Helen Pritchard)
Crewe - on the way back (Photo : Helen Pritchard)
A bright sunny day, the country was experiencing an out of season heat wave with temperatures in the 70's being felt in many places. However the high pressure that was allowing the sun to shine through also meant that there was no cloud cover at night, and this meant that the early mornings were freezing.....
37698+712 from Reading to Preston. 37047+308 in T'n'T mode from Preston to Crewe via the branches. 37674+689 from Crewe - Reading in the evening.
The tour covered the booked route in full (apart from a couple of diversions around Brum for time keeping issues). At the Knowsley Terminal after reversing in the headshunt the train travelled into the site and went right down the main track along side the warehouse before reversing.
The tour left Reading on time in the morning, but got held up at Didcot PW due to a fault on the genny van. Then due to the fact that the Saltley man's taxi did not arrive at the booked time to transport him from Saltley depot to Swindon station, he was late arriving at Swindon. Because control did not want the train blocking one of Swindon's two (soon to be three!) through platforms, they held the train in a loop to the east of Swindon. After the relief crew turned up, so did the train, departing Swindon just shy of an hour down. This deficit was made up by Manchester so the normals left the train on time. We ran to time for most of the afternoon until we arrived at Crewe for our engine change. On arrival our booked locos 37674+689 were still sat on the depot shut down. Time for me to flap as I needed 689! Anyway to cut a long story short, the Saltley driver in the 37's apparently didn't sign the Crewe shed roads; thus he was waiting for a pilot man. However the pilot man was stood with us on the platform! Confusion reigned, and finally everything was sorted out, but including the wait sat outside the station we were in Crewe for an hour for a fairly simple engine change! Now, I don't know who deserves the credit for this, but 'control' was very effective on this day. The lateness in the morning was all but countered by omitting the class 37 run-round at Brum N St. Why the 37's were booked to run round in New St at 09:30 in the first place is beyond me, I thought that it must be due to an engineering block but on the day that did not seem to be the case. A second time when they demonstrated their competence was on the way back from Crewe in the evening when we were late due to our protracted engine change, instead of sending us the booked route via Bescot 'control' ran us direct into New St. This in addition to fairly slack timings saw an on time arrival back in Swindon.
Other points to note:
Due to the genny van bursting in the morning, and the extremely cold start to the day the train was like a fridge. It really was freezing on board, and it was not until the big 'current bun' in the sky had managed to thaw people out by mid morning that people really started to enjoy the tour. There was talk of an ETH engine being requested etc, but thankfully a man in his van joined the train at Stoke and by the time we got to Preston the genny van was chugging away nicely. Thank God! No need for 47839!! I was also relived for PF as I don't think their normal passengers would have been too happy in the morning if the cranks were even getting a bit emotional about turning into ice cubes!
The thrash on the day was excellent and the run up Miles Platting bank in the evening with 37308 on the front and 37047 banking at the rear was superb. I am sure that those watching on the platform at Man Vic enjoyed it too.
Another excellent tour by Pathfinder. It did the track as booked and produced one winning engine for me in the shape of 37689. New track + New engine = Selby being a happy man!
As a general point; Maybe the system of running fewer and simpler but better planned track tours is paying off for PF? I have done two PF tours this year for the branches, the 56 tour to Ashchurch in January and this tour for the Knowsley branch and both have done exactly what they said on the tin. The only down side is that this year is by far the most baron year for new track yet. HRT don't really do any 'new rare' track, they run their FT trains, but none the that track is particularly 'new', and the total new track scored on PF tours in the last 6 months or more has been about 2 miles!! And I still need loads!
Please can we have some tours to BG Mountfield, Llanwern, MOD Pig's Bay, Baddesley, Corby (Corus), Ketton, Ratcliffe PS, Immingham docks lines, Wilton, and all the branches in Scotland that the previous Scottish Spinner tours missed out!...Thanks!
Well done Pathfinder, keep up the good work!!
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(courtesy of Pathfinder Tours, Robin Addison & Alan Vickers)
|M.C||Location||Booked (out)||Actual (out)||Booked (rtn)||Actual (rtn)||M.C|
|17.12||Didcot Parkway||06.30a ~ 06.33d||?||22.38a ~ 22.41d||?||157.63|
|41.25||Swindon||06.59a ~ 07.02d||?||22.13a ~ 22.15d||?||143.50|
|55.01||Kemble||07.17a ~ 07.21d||?||21.48a ~ 21.50d||?||129.74|
|66.15||Stroud||07.38a ~ 07.42d||?||21.30a ~ 21.32d||?||118.60|
|77.06||Gloucester Yard Jn||08/01||?||21/17||?||107.69|
|77.73||Barnwood Jn||08*03a ~ 08*17d||?||21/16||?||107.02|
|83.36||Cheltenham Spa||08.25a ~ 08.28d||??.?? ~ 08.53||21.05a ~ 21.08d||?||101.39|
|112.51||Stoke Works Jn||08/54||09/20||20/39||?||72.34|
|128.76||St Andrews Jn||09/15||?||20/20||?||55.79|
|130.47||Birmingham New Street||09.21a ~ 09.45d||0952 ~ 0955||20.03a ~ 20.14d||2022a||54.28|
|---.--||Soho South Jn||-||10/01||19/58||20/11||52.27|
|135.45||Perry Barr North Jn||10/00||10/08||19/46||DIV||49.36|
|165.73||Norton Bridge||10/50||10.43 ~ 10.49||19/09||19/32||19.08|
|177.57||Stoke-on-Trent||11/07||11c05 ~ 11c07|
|-||Crewe||18L23a ~ 18L45d||18L21 ~ 19L12||0.00
|210.26||Heaton Norris Jn||11/48||11/48||17/37||17/39||12.72|
|217.57||Ashton Moss North Jn||12/05||12/08||17/25||17/27||5.41|
|Preston||13L05a ~ 14L04d||13L05 ~ 14L04|
|15.10||Wigan North Western||14/20||14/24|
|15.47||Wigan South Jn||14/22||14/26|
|Springs Branch||14.24a ~ 14.31d||14.27 ~ 14.32|
|0.72||Wigan South Jn||14/34||14.34a ~ 14.40|
|1.43||Wigan Wallgate||14/37||14.41 ~ 14.43|
|8.60||Rainford||14*52a ~ 14*55d||14.57 ~ 14.58|
|Dale Lane GF||15.08a ~ 15.15d||15.04 ~ 15.12|
|Headshunt||-||15.15 ~ 15.20|
|Knowsley Freight Terminal||15.20a ~ 15.40d||15.30 ~ 15.35|
|Headshunt (End)||-||15.47 ~ 15.55|
|Dale Lane GF||15.45a ~ 15.55d||15.57 ~ 16.04|
|4.05||Rainford||16*05a ~ 16*07d||16.12 ~ 16.13|
|11.22||Wigan Wallgate||16c33a ~ 16c34d||16.32 ~ 16.37|
|14.30||Crow Nest Jn||16/40||16/44|
|20.78||Bolton||16/50||16.55 ~ 16.57|
|30.53||Ordsall Lane Jn||17/05||17/08|
Timings continue in first table.
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