19th July 2003

Railtours North West
Settle - Carlisle East Coast Scotsman

Loco Used 47709


Loco Route
47709 Warrington Bank Quay - Wigan North Western - Farington Jn - Blackburn - Hellifield - (via S&C) - Carlisle - Carstairs South Jn - Carstairs East Jn - Slateford Jn - Haymarket - Edinburgh Waverley
67002 Edinburgh Waverley - Portobello Jn - Niddrie West Jn - Craiglockhart Jn - Slateford Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Carlisle - (via WCML) - Warrington Bank Quay

Source : Guy Middleton

Tour Review
(by Alex Roberts)

I arrived at Wigan North Western station at 08.00 for Railtours North-West 'Settle-Carlisle East Coast Scotsman' with a Class 47 throughout. The loco was 47709 hauling a rake of WCRC Mk1s. A week before the tour, it was said with the tickets that due to the West Coast Main Line shut south of Warrington for a possession on Saturday evening, and Network Rail not guaranteeing an on-time return before the line closure, it was rerouted along the West Coast Main Line return.

A bit of a bummer, but it was still good.

Anyway, we left Wigan on time, and after a slow run to Preston, with a pick up at Leyland, the loco ran round at Preston, to traverse the line to Blackburn.

After leaving Blackburn after a pick-up, the loco turned left into a tunnel and headed up along the line to Hellifield, and up the Settle-Carlisle. The weather was overcast along this stretch, but the run was great, with the 47 tackling the gradients with quite ease, with a good arrival at Carlisle.

At Carlisle, we was supposed to wait for a Voyager to call and pass us, but the PA at the station said it was running late, and one of the organisers said to the new driver, 'I'm not waiting, let's just get out of here!'

So we left Carlisle as a southbound Class 87 with a rake of Mk2f claches plus DVT pulled in.

Unfortunately, that blasted Voyager managed to make up the lost time, and we was ordered to wait at a loop north of Beattock to allow it to speed past us. But we soon arrived at Edinburgh a few minutes late.

After spending a few hours at Edinburgh, we boarded the train hauled by the same 47, 47709, and we left Edinburgh via the Edinburgh South line, and while passing Carigentinny, I saw the first GNER refurbished Mk3 rake complete with red doors.

The sun on the return was constantly popping in and out all the way to Carlisle.

Here, we sped up a bit. A change of driver meant a faster run, and we got it. In driving rain, we bombarded down Shap Summit with the only noise is the rain rattling against the windows on the coaches.

That fun run ended at Preston, when another crew change took place.

Now, it had said that we were due back at Wigan at 22.00, but thanks to that fun run down Shap between Carlisle-Preston, and constant, punctual driving from the other crews, we arrived back an hour early.

To conclude, despite the change of route, the trip was enjoyable, especially being my first ride along the S&C, and what better way than a Class 47 and Mk 1 coaches, and that fun run between Carlisle-Preston in driving rain, who'd thought that was ever going to happen?

Alex Roberts

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