31st May 2003
The Crewe Invader (Train 1)
|Locos Used||37503, 37517, 37674, 37695, 47270 & 66561|
1Z97 : Salisbury to Crewe
1Z47 : Crewe to Crewe (1)
1Z67 : Crewe to Salisbury
|37517 + 37695||Salisbury - Andover - Basingstoke - Reading West - Didcot Parkway - Oxford - Banbury - Leamington Spa - Kenilworth - Coventry - Birmingham International - Stechford - Aston - Bescot Stadium - Portobello Jn - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Crewe|
|66561 (2)||Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford - Bushbury Jn - (via Oxley chord) - Telford - Madeley Jn - Ironbridge RT limit|
|47270 (3)||Ironbridge RT limit - Madeley Jn - Telford - Wolverhampton U&DGL - Portobello Jn - Pleck Jn - Walsall - Hednesford - Rugeley - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Crewe|
|37503 + 37674||Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford - Tamworth - Nuneaton - Bedworth - Coventry - (reverse of outward route) - Salisbury|
(1) 1Z47 was available as a separate railtour for those wishing to join at Crewe. Other passengers left the train at Crewe to visit the works open day. 1Z47 was originally advertised to use 2x DRS class 20's & a Freightliner class 66.
(2) 47270 on rear.
(3) 66561 on rear.
Sources : various including Steve Goulden, Simon Pedley,
Kevin Stroud & Gary Thornton
37517 leads 37695 at Salisbury (photo : Helen Pritchard)
Passing Holmes House Farm (photo: courtesy of Phantasrail Galleries)
(by Geoff Middleton)
Here's the equation: there are 65 Freightliner 66/5s currently in service and you've had just three for haulage. So what are your chances of dropping on a new one on your next tour?
You've guessed it - absolutely zero. By the time I arrived at Coventry to pick up Pathfinder's Crewe Invader I, the bad news had broken. The afternoon mini tour to Ironbridge would be using 66 561 - the one I'd driven all the way down to Potters Bar to secure the previous Saturday on a HRT tour. Call me cynical, but someone, somewhere, was having a laugh...
That minor disaster apart, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of the Crewe Invader I. Two pairs of tractors up front, a packed train, a quick, whistle-stop tour of Crewe Works and a pleasant afternoon mini tour around the West Midlands with a dud 66, but a required 47.
Arrival at Coventry in the morning was met with the news that the tour was around 20 minutes late due, apparently, to some dodgy pathing in the Banbury area. Many people had turned out in the hope of much-required tractor 709, which had been allocated for the outward leg earlier in the week. However, being the shy and retiring type, it refused to play ball and had been declared a failure. But it was still good to see 517 and 695 roll into Coventry.
By now I was starting to get a bit nervous about the chances of getting around Crewe Works before the afternoon minitour. However, Network Rail's usual generous timings meant that we were already back on right time when we crossed Bushbury Junction, having been routed via Stechford, Aston and Bescot. A steady jog along the slow lines from Stafford to Crewe and there we were virtually back on time and greeted by most of the UK's spotting fraternity on the platform ends.
A quick visit to the Works and then back to the station for a projected 13.59 departure for Ironbridge. Except that there's some kettle or other spluttering away in our platform awaiting the road for Chester and it takes about 20 minutes to get rid of it. Then at last the proper train arrives with my favourite 66 and a rather large 47 270 doing the honours.
The outward run sees us retrace our steps to Busbury Junction and then via the Oxley Chord to Madeley Junction where we leave the main Shrewsbury line for the eight-mile saunter to Ironbridge. This is a very pleasant branch through rural Shropshire and many of the locals were out in force to witness our passage. The sight of a passenger train was obviously too much for some who, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to leap fully-clothed into the River Severn. At least one received 5.9 for technical merit.
The trip back was via the freight lines at Wolverhampton, Walsall, and a stagger across Cannock Chase to the WCML at Rugeley. Nothing to write home about, but the 47 did get a chance to stretch its legs between Stafford and Crewe.
Our second set of tractors, 674 and a required 503 were already waiting for us and a fairly quick loco change meant we left only about 20 down. Once again those Network Rail timings came into play and, coupled with some excellent running south of Stafford, we were on time before Nuneaton and arrived at Coventry bang on time.
All in all a great day out, but I hope someone reminds Freightliner they've got a whole set of 66/5s to pick from.
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(booked timings courtesy of Pathfinder Tours)
1Z97 & 1Z67:
|17.24||Andover||06.21a ~ 06.23d||06.19 ~ 06.22||22.18a ~ 22.20d||22.19 ~ 22.21||183.50|
|35.62||Basingstoke||06.47a ~ 06.50d||06.46 ~ 06.50||21.56a ~ 21.58d||21.57 ~ 22.00||165.12|
|50.26||Reading West||07.12a ~ 07.14d||-||21.36a ~ 21.38d||-||150.48|
|50.64||Oxford Road Jn||07/15||-||21/34||-||150.10|
|51.25||Reading West Jn||07/16||-||21/33||-||149.49|
|67.15||Didcot East Jn||07/32||-||21/19||-||133.59|
|67.39||Didcot Parkway||07.33a ~ 07.35d||07.34 ~ 07.36||21.15a ~ 21.18d||21.15 ~ 21.19||133.35|
|68.23||Didcot North Jn||07/37||07/38||21/12||21/12||132.51|
|77.70||Oxford||07.48a ~ 07.50d||07.49 ~ 07.51||20.57a ~ 21.00d||20.52 ~ 20.54||123.04|
|100.45||Banbury||08.15a ~ 08.17d||08.13 ~ 08.16||20.32a ~ 20.34d||20.24 ~ 20.27||100.29|
|120.34||Leamington Spa||08/35||08/54||20*00a ~ 20*10d||20.01 ~ 20.01||80.40|
|129.20||Coventry Park Jn||08/46||09/07||19/45||19/49||71.54|
|129.68||Coventry||08.49a ~ 08.54d||09.09 ~ 09.11||19.41a ~ 19.43d||19.44 ~ 19.47||71.06|
|150.12||Perry Barr North Jn||09/30||09/40|
|197.64||Basford Hall Jn||10/28||10/28|
|Crewe||10.34a ~ 18.06d||10.36 ~ 18.24|
|1.64||Basford Hall Jn||18/13||18/27|
|41.58||Lichfield Trent Valley||19/01||19/06|
|47.69||Tamworth Low Level||19/06||19/10|
Timings continue in first table.
|39.25||Stafford Road Jn||13*50a ~ 13*55d||-|
|52.49||Madeley Jn||14t17a ~ 14t18d||-|
|56.36||Lightmoor Jn||14t32a ~ 14t33d||-|
|Ironbridge RT limit||14.45a ~ 14.55d||-|
|2.22||Lightmoor Jn||15t07a ~ 15t12d||-|
|6.09||Madeley Jn||15t25a ~ 15t26d||-|
|20.06||Wolverhampton North Jn||15/43||16/14|
|41.56||Rugeley North Jn||16/35||-|
|46.48||Milford & Brocton||16/41||17/18|
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