1st June 2003

Pathfinder Tours
The Crewe Invader (Train 2)

Locos Used 37503, 37517, 37674, 37695, 56038 & 57005

Route:
1Z27 : Bristol Temple Meads to Crewe
1Z56 : Crewe to Crewe (1)
1Z57 : Crewe to Bristol Temple Meads

Locos Route
37503 + 37674 Bristol Temple Meads - Stapleton Road - Filton Jn - Bristol Parkway - Westerleigh Jn - Charfield - Cheltenham Spa - Worcester Shrub Hill - Droitwich Spa - Kidderminster - Stourbridge Junction - Galton Jn - Soho North Jn - Perry Barr North Jn - Bescot Stadium - Portobello Jn - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Crewe
56038 (2) Crewe - Chester - Hooton Long Siding
57005 (3) Hooton Long Siding - Chester North Jn - Chester South Jn - Wrexham General - Gobowen - Shrewsbury
56038 (2) Shrewsbury - Nantwich - Crewe
37517 + 37695 Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford - Bushbury Jn - Portobello Jn - Pleck Jn - Walsall - Park Lane Jn - Landor Street Jn - King's Norton - Bromsgrove - Droitwich Spa -  (reverse of outward route) - Bristol Temple Meads

Notes :
(1) 1Z56 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.

56038 was named "Pathfinder Tours30 Years of Railtouring 1973 - 2003" by Matthew Golton  (EWS General Manager Royal Mail & Charters) before departure from Crewe.


37503 leads 37674 at Bristol Temple Meads (photo : Helen Pritchard)

Sources : various including Steve Bates

Tour Review
(by Melvin Teale)

As incredibly its some 25 years since I last was at Crewe Works, a railtour from my home area to the works open day which covered the required Soho Nth to East curve, Chester goods and Nth to West avoiding line, and Hooton long sidings, I quickly booked up.

After the very hot weather of the previous couple of days, Sunday morning dawned somewhat cooler. A very sociable departure time from Cheltenham of 10.18 saw my son and I at the station in good time. Just a couple of minutes late, 37 674 & 37 503 appeared and we departed some 5 minutes down. A rather circuitous route then took us to Worcester to collect more punters, Kidderminster, Stourbridge, Smethwick, Soho Jcts to Bescot by which time we were running some 23 minutes late due to progressive staggering since we passed Droitwich.

Very little was seen at Bescot, just a handful of sheds & a spoon. This was probably the quietest I have ever seen this depot!

As we were held at Bushbury jct awaiting 90 020 (light engine!) to cross our path  south towards Wolverhampton I cast my mind back to 2 previous tours I had been on which covered the Oxley chord. Both of which had suffered missile attacks from the local residents!

Now on the WCML proper the tractors had a chance to show what they could do, but we were still some 18 minutes down as we were heavily checked through Stafford station. A dash up to Crewe passing 2 "Freds" on slow lines ballast trains (513 & 523) we were held for the obligatory few minutes outside Crewe (more of this later!) arriving 20 minutes late.

Now I think the idea was to do either the works or the mini tour, but we were doing both! A short walk to Crewe Alexandra FC car park where we boarded a bus for the works. I still remember clearly the first time I went round Crewe Works. It was the summer of 1974 and I was on a NW Roundabout Rover ticket. I had struck up conversation with some long haired (as was the fashion at the time) older (i.e. late teens) enthusiasts who informed me that they had a permit to admit the 2 of them round the works. They agreed to see if they could get me round with them on their permit. After calling in at a pub on route we arrived at the works. I thought that there was no way I would be allowed in, but after some cajoling of the guide I was admitted! What excitement, over 80 engines in various states of repair! Notebook full and very happy, the walk back to the station seemed no distance at all! Fast track 29 years forward and what a difference! The works has changed somewhat with the rows and rows of locos long gone. Nevertheless, the organisers had put on a good exhibition. It was great to see 40 135 there looking at home as it may well have done on my visits in the 70s. Likewise 87 001 now repainted in 1973 BR blue. As we only had 1hr 15mins or so to look round the works it was soon time to catch the bus back to the station for the mini tour.

On arrival we found 56 038 freshly named "Pathfinder Tours- 30 years of railtouring 1973-2003"  on the front of the train and 57 005 at the rear. A 3 minute late departure saw us passing the works on the right while the sparse number of passengers on the tour attempted to make out the identities of the 92s on Crewe Electric. Some 20 minutes later we ground to a halt outside Chester station at 15.32 to await the 15.36 departure of 4965 on the kettle ex from Chester to Crewe as we had to cross its path to transverse the Goods lines.  This passed by and the signal cleared for Chester station...Hmmm.....What about the feather for the goods? So out gets the driver, speaks to the signaller and the signal goes back to red. And for some reason stays red until 15.43 when it clears with the feather. Off we go round the back of Chester station while 37 707 storms out southbound on a infrastructure train. A slight stagger up to Hooton and we cross over to the far right line and transverse the long sidings. All there is here are 2 rails of rusty sidings about half a mile in length. I don't know what purpose they serve or whether we infact got to the end but I'd have thought not many tours have covered it! A reversal and we're on our way back to Chester. Just outside Chester we swing right and the avoiding line is covered. We then head off for a very pleasant run to Shrewsbury, arriving only 3 minutes down. After a few minutes to admire the suburb Severn Jct box and semaphores we reverse and head off back to Crewe. All is going well and we pass Nantwich only 6 down, the 57 zinging away only a coach away. On the approach to Crewe we stop, and wait. Move up to the next signal, and wait, and wait. It is announced that there is congestion in Crewe station. Someone phones in from Crewe station to someone in our coach to say there are very few trains in the station! And we wait. In the end the signal clears and we arrive 30 minutes down.

The Grid & the 57 are removed and 37 517 & 37 695 are attached. Someone announces that 695 has been withdrawn once and resurrected from scrap & therefore isn't in good health, gulp! Anyway we depart 23 down and head south the way we came until Darlaston  Jct where we bear left past Walsall and take the freight line round the East of Birmingham, joining the Derby line at Castle Bromwich Jct. A quick crew change at Saltley allows us to spot a number of sheds plus grid 070. By Broadesley Jct we're only 11 down and it's looking good. However we're held at Longbridge for a Vermin to pass and we join the main. Great a storm down the Lickey! Ermm... no! The driver just lets us roll down the hill so there's no thrash. We stop at the bottom awaiting access to the Worcester line. We now find out that all trains are being diverted via Worcester and there's congestion. So we stagger to Tunnel Jct, stop at Droitwich awaiting a path and arrive at Worcester 37 down. I must admit though its great to still see the boxes and lower quadrant semaphores in this area. An uneventful journey to Cheltenham and we arrive 36 down. We pause in the car park to listen to the tractors thrash away into the night.

Verdict- Great day out. Visit to Crewe Works gave the day some variation. All traction produced as did all the booked route. Beer also excellent!

Melvin Teale

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(courtesy of Pathfinder Tours & Melvin Teale)

1Z27 & 1Z57:

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Bristol Temple Meads 09.22d 09.24   22.58a 23.11 155.74
0.24 Bristol East Jn 09/23 -   22/56 - 155.50
0.46 Dr Days Jn 09/24 09/27   22/55 23/07 155.28
1.43 Stapleton Road 09/25 09/27   22/54 23/06 154.31
4.43 Filton Jn 09/29 09/32   22/49 23/03 151.31
5.62 Bristol Parkway 09.32a ~ 09.35d 09.34 ~ 09.41   22.44a ~ 22.46d 22.58 ~ 23.01 150.12
10.32 Westerleigh Jn 09/41 09/46   22*22a ~ 22*37d ??.?? ~ 22.53 145.42
12.04 Yate 09/44 -   22/15 - 143.70
18.45 Charfield 09/50 09/56   22/09 22/45 137.29
31.70 Standish Jn 10/01 10/05   21/58 22/34 124.04
38.00 Gloucester Yard Jn 10/07 -   21/53 - 117.74
38.67 Barnwood Jn 10/08 10/11   21/51 22/26 117.07
44.30 Cheltenham Spa 10.16a ~ 10.18d 10.19 ~ 10.23   21.41a ~ 21.44d 22.17 ~ 22.19 111.44
51.41 Ashchurch 10/27 10/31   21/33 22/10 104.33
62.28 Abbotswood Jn 10/36 10/40   21/23 22/00 93.46
63.10 Norton Jn 10/38 10/42   21/22 21/59 92.64
66.15 Worcester Shrub Hill 10.43a ~ 10.46d 10.47 ~ 10.52   21.15a ~ 21.17d 21.52 ~ 21.54 89.59
66.62 Tunnel Jn 10/48 10/54   21/12 21/49 89.12
71.74 Droitwich Spa 10/53 11/00   21/07 21.38a ~ 21.41d 84.00

 

M.C Location Booked Actual
77.56 Hartlebury 10/58 11/06
81.30 Kidderminster 11/01 11/08
88.09 Stourbridge Junction 11/10 11/27
93.27 Rowley Regis 11/20 11/44
96.04 Smethwick West 11/27 11/49
96.33 Galton Jn 11/28 11/50
97.59 Soho North Jn 11/30 11/53
98.01 Soho East Jn 11/31 11/54
100.00 Perry Barr West Jn 11/35 11/57
100.39 Perry Barr North Jn 11/36 11/58
104.76 Bescot Stadium 11/42 12/05
106.14 Darlaston Jn 11/43 12/06
109.13 Portobello Jn 11/51 12/10
111.61 Bushbury Jn 11/56 12/16
125.38 Stafford 12/13 12/32
130.67 Norton Bridge 12/18 12/36
141.69 Madeley 12/27 12/46
148.11 Basford Hall Jn 12/35 12/53
149.75
0.00
Crewe 12.39a ~ 18.45d 12.59 ~ 19.08
1.64 Basford Hall Jn 18/51 19/14
8.06 Madeley 18/56 19/19
19.08 Norton Bridge 19/06 19/33
24.37 Stafford 19/14 19/37
38.14 Bushbury Jn 19/29 19/55
40.62 Portobello Jn 19/34 19/59
43.61 Darlaston Jn 19/40 20/06
44.62 Pleck Jn 19/42 20/07
45.47 Walsall 19/45 20/10
46.09 Ryecroft Jn 19/47 20/12
57.58 Park Lane Jn 20/10 20/53
58.36 Castle Bromwich Jn 20/13 20/55
63.02 Landor Street Jn 20c24a ~ 20c28d 20.44 ~ 20.45
63.40 St Andrews Jn 20/32 20/47
63.66 Bordesley Jn 20/38 20/49
69.01 King's Norton 20/45 20/51
71.34 Longbridge 20/48 21/01
74.09 Barnt Green 20/52 21/03
77.52 Bromsgrove 20/55 21/19
79.65 Stoke Works Jn 21/02 21/26

Timings continue in first table.

1Z56:

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 Crewe 14.58d 15.01
1.41 Crewe Steelworks 15/08 15/07
10.60 Beeston Castle & Tarperley SB 15/17 15/20
21.10 Chester U&DG 15/29 15/46
21.39 Chester North Jn 15/32 15/47
29.20
0.00
Hooton Siding 15.47a ~ 16.01d 16.05 ~ 16.11
7.61 Chester North Jn 16/13 16/31
8.04 Chester South Jn 16*16a ~ 16.24d 16/32
9.37 Saltney Jn 16/31 16/36
19.61 Wrexham General 16/46 16/49
31.77 Gobowen 17/00 17/03
50.01
0.00
Shrewsbury 17.22a ~ 17.28d 17.25 ~ 17.33
10.60 Wem 17/43 17/33
13.78 Prees 17/49 ??/??
28.18 Nantwich 18/00 18/06
32.57 Crewe 18.10a 18.40


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