18th - 19th July 2003
The Grampian Gyrator
|Locos Used||31327, 37698, 37707, 56088, 66001, 66190, 86612, 86627 & 92039|
on Strathspey : 45021+460xx+5057+5228
1Z58 : (Nuneaton) Stafford to Inverness
1Z18 : Inverness to Stafford (Nuneaton)
|18/07||66001||(1) Stafford - Norton Bridge - Crewe|
|18/07-19/07||92039||Crewe - (via WCML) - Carlisle|
|19/07||56088||Carlisle - (via WCML) - Motherwell - Mossend Yard|
|19/07||66190||Mossend Yard - Whifflet - Coatbridge Central - Garnqueen North Jn - Greenhill Lower Jn - Larbert - Stirling - Perth - Blair Atholl - Aviemore (3) - Inverness|
|19/07||37698 + 37707||Inverness - Aviemore - Perth - (4) - Stirling - Larbert - Falkirk Grahamston - Polmont - Haymarket - Edinburgh Waverley|
|19/07||56088||Edinburgh Waverley - (via ECML) - Newcastle - Hexham - Carlisle|
|19/07||86627 + 86612||Carlisle - (via WCML) - Crewe|
|19/07||66001||Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford -|
(1) Train was booked to start & finish at Nuneaton but this was changed to Stafford on account of a freight train derailing near Lichfield a few days earlier. Passengers from Nuneaton, Tamworth & Lichfield were transported to/from Stafford by bus.
(3) For optional round trip on the Strathspey railway, train hauled by 31327.
(4) Originally booked via Ladybank & Forth Bridge but re-routed due to engineering works.
Source : Gary Thornton (on the train Stafford to Aviemore
& return plus Strathspey option)
Here are some photos from the day.
For several years now there have been hardly any (no?) class 86/6's seen out on railtours, but recently this trend seems to have been reversed. As I only need five 86's to clear the whole class for haulage any tour with one on (86/6 or the chance of 86501) simply has to be done!
As well as the prospect of picking-up a required 86/6 this tour also offered the chance to sample 20020 on the Strathspey Railway - an option I opted for as I required the chopper as well as the line north of Boat of Garten.
My "small" booking (24 of us) were allocated in the leading first class coach out of Nuneaton.
Did I say Nuneaton, sorry, make that Stafford (with buses feeding into there from points south). The change was forced on Pathfinder as a result of a Freightliner derailment near Lichfield on the Tuesday prior to the tour. Perhaps it's me, but to take almost a week to re-open a line after a relatively minor accident (8 vehicles left the rails, thought due to heat-affected rails) seems somewhat long...another example of how the UK has "lost it" in terms of operating a railway me thinks!
66001 was our loco from Stafford to Crewe. Almost a farce at Crewe as the plan was to rip the shed for 92039 but the 92 was sent straight to the train to couple on to 66001. Apparently EWS in Scotland were short of traction so someone in "control" decided we were to have our own pet shed for the whole tour! Question: how many railway employees and how many phone calls does it take to avoid a farce? Answer - quite a few! After 92039 was hooked on it was promptly un-hooked so 66001 could be removed as had originally been planned. I heard as all this was going on that 66190 was allocated to take the train from Mossend Yard to Inverness, so what was all the fuss about?
92039 hustled us northwards as only a 92 can - probably very loudly and with ease, but we were happily oblivious to all this in our FC coach at the rear of the train. Most of us were disturbed from or slumbers at Carlisle though to witness 56088 taking over charge of the train. My first dud loco of the tour (66001 & 62039 having been winners).
My next recollection was somewhere near Perth!
I, like quote a few on board, had booked the add-on Strathspey Railway option. Time to view 66190 leaving for Inverness and a look down Aviemore high street before our train arrived on the Strathspey platform. Strange, having only visited Aviemore once in my life before this year, this was the second time in a month I'd been here again on account of stopping a night here on the DPS Freedom of Scotland tour in late June!
I knew quite a while before the tour that it was unlikely to be 20020 hauling the train on account the loco was leaving the line. In the event we got 31327, a dud loco for me. Some were quite unhappy as they were not aware of this change, it not being made clear in the pre-tour blurb or on the tour itself. Reports were that the chopper had left only a couple of days before, so it was a case of so near, yet so far...
37707 & 37698 (the latter required for haulage by me) appeared back into Aviemore juts as we rolled to a halt having been to Broomhill and back. Now at the front of the train we were all awake to enjoy the tractor thrash southwards. By lunchtime we were at Edinburgh Waverley where we said hello again to 56088. Another case of ridiculous timings saw us arrive early into Newcastle (despite a 30 minute later re-timed Waverley departure) but luckily the Newcastle signallers put us out in front of the stopper we'd been booked to follow! The Carlisle signallers however were having none of this and a half-hour early arrival into Carlisle was destroyed courtesy of a 16 minute wait at Petteril Bridge Jn. That said, the 86/6's weren't yet due to arrive into Carlisle from Crewe thus we wouldn't have gained anything arriving earlier (other than a chance to do more in Carlisle with an extra half-hour...).
Despite various positive rumours I was bowled out for a required 86/6 and we had 86612 plus 86627 to get us back to Crewe. A slight TPWS problem was the only thing of note as we headed homeward.
EWS now did us proud (not...). Our traction home to Stafford - 66001 AGAIN! Think someone needs to have a quiet word with EWS to explain what a "spin and win" tour is all about...
I departed Stafford in a colleagues car to see a long queue of punters waiting their buses back to points south - the line south still shut, then slated for a Monday morning opening.
All in all it was a good tour, though I ended up with a lot of dud engines on a tour that could have delivered a lot more for me. Hopefully my next 86/6-hauled outing will be more profitable! (Freightliner to note : I need 86605, 86606, 86622 & 86637, plus 86501...).
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Gary Thornton)
|13.02||Tamworth LL||20.49a ~ 20.53d||DIV||21.57a ~ 22.00d||DIV||47.68|
|19.13||Lichfield TV LL||21.02a ~ 21.03d||DIV||21.45a ~ 21.48d||DIV||41.57|
|36.33||Stafford||21.20a ~ 21.22d||21.26d||21.24a ~ 21.27d||21.40||24.37|
|Crewe||21L50a ~ 22L18d||21.54 ~ 22.25||20L35a ~ 20L55d||20.46 ~ 21.07||0.00
|22.24||Acton Grange Jn||22/41||22/44||20/12||20/21||118.64|
|24.11||Warrington Bank Quay||22/43||22/45||20/10||20/19||116.77|
|35.71||Wigan North Western||22/56||22/53||20/00||20/08||105.17|
|51.01||Preston||23.16a ~ 23.27d||23.11 ~ 23.28||19.42a ~ 19.45d||19.46 ~ 19.53||90.07|
|78.07||Carnforth North Jn||23/51||23/52||19/15||19/10||63.01|
|Carlisle||01L09a ~ 01L48d||00.46 ~ 01.47||17L38a ~ 18L13d||17.20 ~ 17.59||0.00
|Mossend||03L24a ~ 03L44d||03.16 ~ 03.44|
|14.60||Greenhill Lower Jn||03/59||04/06|
|59.30||Perth||04.52a ~ 04.54d||04.54 ~ 04.58|
|74.72||Dunkeld & Birnam||05/16||05/18|
|143.13||Aviemore||06.37a ~ 06.40d||06.40 ~ 06.44|
|158.28||Tomatin||07.06a ~ 07.10d||?|
|Inverness||07.34a ~ 08.07d||07.36 ~ 08.07|
|34.41||Aviemore||09.03a ~ 09.12d||09.02 ~ 09.11|
|46.40||Kingussie||09.27a ~ 09.30d||09.26 ~ 09.41|
|82.74||Blair Atholl||10.12a ~ 10.34d||10/19|
|59.36||Pitlochry||10.44a ~ 10.47d||10.32 ~ 11.07|
|102.52||Dunkeld & Birnam||10/59||11/19|
|118.14||Perth||11.20a ~ 11.22d||11.38 ~ 11.39|
|160.34||Carmuirs East Jn||12/10||12/23|
|Edinburgh||12L42a ~ 13L12d||12.55 ~ 13.36|
|17.60||Drem UPL||13*37a ~ 13*50d||13/51|
|98.58||Chevington loop||15*05a ~ 15*14d||??/??|
|122.42||Heaton South Jn||15/44||15/32|
|124.36||Newcastle Central||15.49a ~ 15.58d||15.37 ~ 15.43|
|125.10||King Edward Bridge South Jn||16/00||15/46|
|185.18||Petteril Bridge Jn||17/34||17.00a ~ 17.16d|
Timings continue in first table.
Strathspey Railway (actual times only) :
|Location||Actual (out)||Actual (rtn)|
|Boat of Garten||??/??||08.28a ~ 08.45d|
|Broomhill||07.59a ~ 08.02d||08.13a ~ 08.16d|
|Broomhill RR loop||08.03a||08.12d|
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