13th December 2003

Pathfinder Tours
The Moon Raker

Locos Used 37051, 37717, 56054, 56096, 60041, 66504 & 86622
Stock Used 6310+3122+3140+3107+3066+21272+1863+5322+5009+5040+4963+4902+5309

Route:
1Z27 : Gloucester to Salisbury
1Z28 : Salisbury to Gloucester

Loco(s) Route
56096 Gloucester - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - (via direct route) - Stoke Works Jn - Barnt Green - King's Norton - St Andrews Jn - Birmingham New Street - Soho South Jn - Perry Barr - Aston - Stechford - Birmingham International
86622 (1) Birmingham International - Coventry - Rugby - (WCML via Weedon) - London Euston
37051 + 37717 London Euston - Willesden West London Jn - Willesden SW Sidings - Acton Wells Jn - Old Kew Jn - Hounslow - Staines - Virginia Water - Woking - Guildford - Haslemere - Cosham - Fareham - St Denys - Southampton Central - Redbridge - Romsey - Salisbury
66504 Salisbury - Tunnel Jn - Andover - Basingstoke - Southcote Jn - Reading West Jn - Didcot East Jn - (via Didcot avoider) - Didcot North Jn - Oxford UDPL
60041 Oxford UDPL - Aynho Jn - Banbury - Leamington Spa - Kenilworth - Coventry - Birmingham International
56054 Birmingham International - Stechford - Birmingham New Street - Selly Oak - King's Norton - (reverse of outward route) - Gloucester

Notes :
(1) 37717 on rear.

Source : Gary Thornton (joined/left the train at Birmingham International)

Tour Review
(by Gary Thornton)

Here are some photos taken on the day.

A couple of Saturdays before Christmas usually means only one thing and this year was no exception - it being the day for the Pathfinder Chrismas "spin & win" tour. Pre-tour gen left me in a quandary - a dud 56 meant I could go for a more sociable 08.18 off Birmingham International against 06.50 off Barnt Green if the grid was a winner. 56096 was quoted, dud, but several of my travelling colleagues needed it! The quote on the Friday evening also had us having 56054 on the return. With this being dud for both of us a move was agreed....

05.30 : depart Northampton
06.30 : dump Stuart at Barnt Green (needing 56096)
06.50 : wave tour away, hoping the decision was the right one!
07.15 : arrive Birmingham International to join the tour, our car being now "in position" to get us home two hours earlier (assuming the return grid remained dud for all concerned of course...).

With 56096 confirmed by one of our friends who joined at Gloucester the move went like clockwork. I was more than pleased on arriving at Birmingham International to see 86622 waiting the tours arrival. Why so pleased? Well, getting this can for haulage would make 96 out of the class of 100 scored, with the remaining 4 class members still also gettable (in theory) - a big thank you to Pathfinder as they it stuck-out with their list of 86/6's that haven't been on any of their tours before, three of which happen to winners for me too.

The presence of 37717 at the station too was also puzzling but all was soon explained once the tour arrived. 56096 was ripped off and 86622 put on in its place. 37717 was put on to the rear of the train (our end so we would get the tractor thrash later on which was good news). The reason was that 37203, which I needed and was allocated to the train along with 37051, had been failed. 37717 would therefore be paired with 37051 on arrival into London Euston.

86622 whisked us to London, those in coach A at the rear being slowly roasted in the mark 2 cooker...even full-open windows doing little against the fierce heating! Approaching London the journey got slower as we passed a series of engineering trains blocking the fast lines. As we passed Willesden 37051 was spied and this loco duly followed us to Euston to be added to 37717. I used the lay-over at Euston to get a few photos of 86622. 96 down, 4 to go...

We left Euston on-time, it being commented just how rare it was to leave Euston station behind a pair of 37's! Even rarer we took the dive-under on leaving from platform 2 - believed by those "in the know" to be the first time a pair of 37's on a passenger train had ever been routed this way. The expected stagger through the London suburbs ensued, with us varying from running 20 minutes early to running a few minutes late. Various junctions were closely examined as we were held for a number of service trains. The take-over of newer trains was also very noticeable with Pendolinos at Euston and 458 & 450's on the SR. The tractor thrash was certainly enjoyed by those at the front end of the train, though getting to the toilet in our carriage was a challenge due to the vestibule-veg who had taken up residence. Some of them looked of an age they can't have had too many 37's for haulage other than 37/4's, though they seemed to claim to be "main men" on the class...

After a lap of part of the Southern (Woking, Guildford, Havant, Cosham, St Denys, Southampton) we approached Salisbury, being passed by 34067 "Tangmere" going the other way on another charter just before we got to Laverstock South Jn. I was not too impressed to get off the train for the 90 minute break to find it was raining - my fourth tour on consecutive Saturdays and three fo them have been cursed with rain!! A walk towards the town centre however proved profitable as I found a model shop and managed to obtain a number of enamel paints I have been after recently. These will be used in due course to complete a Revell 1:87th scale DR130 "Ludmilla" diesel loco, my "Christmas-break project".

Departure from Salisbury was on-time behind 66504, my second winner of the day (but after scoring 86622 any further scores would just be a bonus!). The bar was drunk dry shortly after departure, the vestibule-veg had largely dissipated, probably on account of the traction, and it was still raining! An amble via Reading West and Didcot got us to Oxford where the Pathfinder mince pies and chocolate sweets appeared as 66504 gave the train up to 60041, winner no.3 of the day.

At this point the return grid was confirmed as 56054 so the earlier car-positioning move appeared to have been justified - gen in the morning having suggested winning 56067 might produce thus the sense of the plan had been in some doubt! Sure enough, we arrived into Birmingham International to see 56054 on the adjacent platform. After watching it being hooked on we headed home and I have completed this report just about the time we would have been driving away from Barnt Green!

Verdict : As always with the Christmas "spinner" it was a good sociable day out. Not too long a day and with reasonably varied traction I can compliment Pathfinder, EWS, Riviera Trains & Freightliner for a tour well organised and executed. This is probably my last tour in 2003 on account next Saturday involves a non-railway commitment, so may I take this chance to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Gary Thornton.

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from various including Gary Thornton)

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 Gloucester 06.00d 06.02
6.40 Cheltenham Spa 06.11a ~ 06.13d 06.14 ~ 06.18
24.38 Abbotswood Jn 06/30 06/33
35.55 Stoke Works Jn 06/39 06/41
37.68 Bromsgrove 06/41 06/43
41.31 Barnt Green 06.47a ~ 06.50d 06.45 ~ 06.48
46.39 King's Norton 06/58 07/00
52.00 St Andrews Jn 07/08 07/08
53.51 Birmingham New Street 07.17a ~ 07.21d 07.16 ~ 07.21
55.52 Soho South Jn 07/26 07/26
58.44 Perry Barr 07/36 07/36
60.09 Aston 07/38 07/40
53.02 Stechford 07/45 07/45
67.35
0.00
Birmingham International 07L51a ~ 08L18d 07.53 ~ 08.20
10.56 Coventry 08/28 08/31
22.15 Rugby 08/40 08/41
34.77 Weedon 08/51 08/51
54.68 Milton Keynes Central 09/08 09/07
58.09 Bletchley 09/11 09/12
73.02 Tring 09/30 08/27
80.16 Hemel Hempstead 09/39 09/41
87.20 Watford Junction 09/49 09/47
93.25 Harrow & Wealdstone 09/54 09/52
96.51 Wembley Central 09/57 09/55
99.32 Willesden West London Jn 10/00 09/58
104.55
0.00
Euston 10L12a ~ 10L32d 10.06 ~ 10.32
1.54 Camden Jn 10/38 10/36
5.23 Willesden West London Jn 10/40 10/44
(5.50) Willesden South West Sidings 10*42a ~ 11*01d 10.50 ~ 10.52
5.72 Acton Wells Jn 11/06 10/54
7.58 South Acton Jn 11/18 10/58
9.00 Old Kew Jn 11/23 11.02a ~ 11.15d
12.39 Hounslow 11/31 11/21
13.37 Feltham Jn 11/33 11.26a ~ 11.27d
19.04 Staines 11/40 11/39
23.17 Virginia Water 11/45 11/48
28.79 Byfleet Jn 11/53 11/58
33.03 Woking 12c06a ~ 12c08d 12.07 ~ 12.10
39.03 Guildford 12/16 12/17
51.55 Haslemere 12/31 12/36
63.47 Petersfield 12/43 12/45
75.11 Havant 12/56 12/56
78.61 Cosham 13/01 13/04
84.76 Fareham 13/08 13/11
97.43 St Denys 13/27 13/32
99.52 Southampton Central 13/31 13/37
101.43 Redbridge 13/35 13/41
106.76 Romsey 13/49 13.50a ~ 13.52d
122.32 Tunnel Jn 14/11 14/13
122.39
0.00
Salisbury 14L14a ~ 15L34d 14.17 ~ 15.35
1.07 Tunnel Jn 15/36 15/38
17.24 Andover 15/53 15/52
33.22 Worting Jn 16/08 16/07
35.62 Basingstoke 16/12 16/13
49.39 Southcote Jn 16/30 16/28
51.25 Reading West Jn 16/40 16/31
67.15 Didcot East Jn 16/56 17/01
(76.22)
0.00
Oxford UDPL 17L12a ~ 17L43d 17.14 ~ 17.50
3.31 Wolvercote Jn 17/48 17/56
20.11 Aynho Jn 18/04 18/11
25.15 Banbury 18/11 18/16
33.75 Fenny Compton 18/21 18/24
45.24 Leamington Spa 18*32a ~ 18*48d 18/37
50.52 Kenilworth 18/58 18/44
54.58 Coventry 19/08 19/02
65.34
0.00
Birmingham International 19L22a ~ 20L01d 19.17 ~ 19.58
4.33 Stechford 20/10 20/08
8.18 Birmingham New Street 20.17a ~ 20.20d 20.16 ~ 20.20
11.49 Selly Oak 20/25 20/27
13.63 King's Norton 20/34 20/29
18.71 Barnt Green 20.43a ~ 20.48d 20.36 ~ 20.36
22.34 Bromsgrove 20/50 20/43
24.47 Stoke Works Jn 20/52 20/44
35.64 Abbotswood Jn 21/01 20/53
53.62 Cheltenham Spa 21.18a ~ 21.21d 21.15 ~ 21.19
60.22 Gloucester 21.32a 21.30


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