1st May 2004

Pathfinder Tours
The Buxton Rotator

Locos Used 33103, 33202 & 60060

Route:
1Z97 : Yeovil Junction to Buxton
1Z41 : Buxton to Yeovil Junction

Loco(s) Route
33103 + 33202 Yeovil Junction - Yeovil Pen Mill - Castle Cary - Frome - Westbury - Trowbridge - Bath Spa - Dr Days Jn - Bristol Parkway - Westerleigh Jn - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - Worcester Shrub Hill - Droitwich Spa - Stoke Works Jn - Banrt Green - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Landor Street Jn - Water Orton - Tamworth HL - Burton-on-Trent - Derby - Ambergate Jn - Chesterfield - Dore West Jn - Chinley South Jn - Great Rocks Jn - Buxton Up Relief Sidings
60060 (1) Buxton Up Relief Sidings - Buxton
60060 (1) Buxton - Buxton Up Relief Sidings
33103 + 33202 Buxton Up Relief Sidings - Great Rocks Jn - Chinley North Jn - New Mills South Jn - Guide Bridge - Heaton Norris Jn - Stockport - Macclesfield - Kidsgrove - Stoke-on-Trent - Colwich - Rugeley North Jn - Hednesford - Walsall - Bescot Stadium - Perry Barr North Jn - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - St Andrews Jn - Barnt Green - Stoke Works Jn - Abbotswood Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Yeovil Junction

Notes :
(1) 33103 + 33202 on rear.


Passing Longbridge on the return (photo: Jonathan Wilcox)

Sources : various

Tour Review
(from Giddy Aunt)


Niger Keer captured the tour passing Great Rocks.

This tour had originally been advertised as class 56, so was not in my diary. However, during the ‘Tyneside Valentine’ tour on 14th February, which itself was worked by 47635 instead of the booked Cromptons because they did not have TPWS fitted in time, there were discussions about what would replace the ‘Grid’ on 1st May.

As luck would have it, everyone saw sense and 2 Fragonset 33s became the main traction for the day. When I say everyone, I do not mean Network Rail with their 0409 departure from Yeovil Junction! Fortunately the tour picked up at plenty of other places and was almost fully booked with Berts and Adas going along for coach trips to Crich Tramway Village and Chatsworth House.

So, rather bleary eyed I arrived at Yeovil Junction at 0320 to find Cromptons 103 & 202 already attached to the train with ‘202 busily heating the 12 coach train. I always find Cromptons providing ETH amusing with the way they run at half revs until the driver takes power, then they go back to tick over before accelerating normally.

Seats in Coach A were located and I soon settled down for a snooze while the train picked up the passengers with no sense of adventure from Yeovil Pen Mill, Castle Cary, Frome, Westbury, Trowbridge, Bath Spa and Bristol Parkway. By now it was daylight and it looked like we were in for a wait when the Eastleigh Driver stated that there was no-one to relieve him! Then the taxi with the relief arrived and we left Bristol Parkway a few minutes late.

The run to Cheltenham Spa was as speedy as ever, and upon arrival there was the rather shocking occurrence of a Pathfinder representative asking for the ETH to be turned off! Coach A was a Mark 2, and did not seem as baking hot as the Mark 1s in the rest of the train. There was some delay at Worcester, then the signal cleared and were on our way. In time honoured fashion, the driver slowed considerably to about 30 mph through Bromsgrove to give the Cromptons the best possible chance at being very noisy going up the Lickey Incline! They did not disappoint. Speed dropped off very slightly and a GPS guru stated that 25 mph was maintained until the summit, the thrash factor being extremely high with copious amounts of clag from both locos.

The last pick up was Birmingham New Street, yet again silly timings meant we festered here for half an hour, 202 looked worse for its ascent of the Lickey with puffs of blue smoke from its exhaust on tick over, followed by a cloud of blue/white/grey smoke when pulling away, before settling down to the usual Sulzer dark brown clag when under full power. It stayed like this for the rest of the day but did not seem to affect its performance.

After crew changes at Derby and Chesterfield it was on to almost new track for Cromptons at Dore West Junction for the Hope Valley Line, by now we were being treated to blazing sunshine. Which did not help me staying awake for this ‘winner’ track. Diverged onto the freight only Peak Forest line at Chinley for the typical freight line stagger to Buxton XYZ Sidings. Fortunately the line climbs all the way to Buxton and has some sharp curves, so the Cromptons were able to make some noise at times.

33103 almost kissed the mound of earth which serves as a buffer stop at XYZ Sidings, then 60060 was attached to the other end for the short distance to Buxton Station itself. There was a beak of just over two hours, which was only just long enough for lunch and beers in Wetherspoons, after watching the Cromptons haul the train out of the Station and disappear off to Peak Forest Depot for fuel.

I got back to the Station to see that not only had the 33s and 60 run round each other, but also that the 2 Cromptons had been run round each other to ensure 202 was next to the stock again, apparently because 103 is ‘no-Heat’. It was disappointing that the 33s did not actually power the train with customers on board either into or out of the Station and but at least someone must have been pleased to scratch 60060 for about a mile!

The same route back to Chinley was taken and then for some more ‘winner’ track via Woodley, Guide Bridge and Heaton Norris to Stockport. There was no need for 202 to provide heat because the sun was doing quite well by itself. The Crewe driver had the Cromptons firmly under control with sustained 85mph running until Rugeley, and then we waited, and waited for half an hour before finally being able to cross over the WCML to access the Walsall line. Progress from here to New Street was somewhat interrupted with most of the real signals against us. Normal service was resumed after New Street, it was a change to use the Worcester avoiding line before re-tracing the outward journey back to Bristol Parkway. From then on, it seemed like the WR signallers were not expecting us because we stopped at almost every junction for them to ask the driver where we were going, or so it seemed. Despite their efforts, arrival back at Yeovil Junction was only a few minutes late.

An excellent day, only marred by the very early start and failure to have 33 power at Buxton Station.

Giddy Aunt

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(courtesy of Pathfinder Tours & Janet Cottrell)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Yeovil Junction 04.10d 04.00   21.45a 22.09 274.41
1.42 Yeovil Pen Mill 04.14a ~ 04.17d 04.17 ~ 04.19   21.34a ~ 21.37d ? 272.79
13.18 Castle Cary 04.30a ~ 04.33d ??.?? ~ 04.37   21.17a ~ 21.21d 21.42 ~ ??.?? 261.23
27.20 Frome 04.51a ~ 04.53d 04.53 ~ 04.56   20.59a ~ 21.00d 21.25 ~ 21.27 247.21
33.00 Westbury 05.04a ~ 05.07d 05.03 ~ 05.07   20.48a ~ 20.49d 20.55 ~ 21.08 241.41
37.03 Trowbridge 05.14a ~ 05.17d ?   20.38a ~ 20.39d ? 237.38
49.62 Bath Spa 05.36a ~ 05.39d 05.34 ~ 05.39   20.17a ~ 20.20d 20.28 ~ 20.31 224.59
? North Somerset Jn ? ?   20/06 ? 214.00
60.64 Dr Days Jn 05/54 05/53   20/04 20/05 ?
66.00 Bristol Parkway 06.03a ~ 06.07d 06.02 ~ 06.08   19.52a ~ 19.55d 19.55 ~ 19.57 208.41
70.50 Westerleigh Jn 06/14 06/15   19/48 19/49 203.71
92.08 Standish Jn 06/34 06/34   19/26 19/32 182.33
? Gloucester Yard Jn ? ?   19/20 ? 176.23
99.05 Barnwood Jn 06/42 ?   19/16 19/27 -
104.48 Cheltenham Spa 06.49a ~ 06.52d 06.45 ~ 06.53   19.05a ~ 19.09d 19.19 ~ 19.21 169.73
111.59 Ashchurch 07/01 07/00   18/57 19/13 151.75
122.46 Abbotswood Jn 07/10 07/10   18/47 19/05 141.08
126.33 Worcester Shrub Hill 07/20 07/20  
132.12 Droitwich Spa 07/29 07/35  
136.27 Stoke Works Jn 07/35 07/39   18/39 18/57 129.71
138.40 Bromsgrove 07/37 07/43   18/37 18/56 127.58
142.03 Barnt Green 07/43 07/50   18/34 18/53 124.15
147.11 King's Norton 07/52 07/55   18/26 18/47 119.07
149.25 Selly Oak 07/59 07/57  
- St Andrews Jn   18/17 18/38 113.46
152.56 Birmingham New Street 08.08a ~ 08.33d 08.08 ~ 08.33   18.05a ~ 18.11d 18.27 ~ 18.31 111.75

 

M.C Location Booked Actual
154.21 Landor Street Jn 08/38 08/38
160.27 Water Orton 08/45 08/44
170.03 Tamworth HL 08/52 08/53
177.31 Wichnor Jn 08/59 08/59
182.74 Burton-on-Trent 09/04 09/04
194.54 Stenson Jn 09/11 09/12
199.38 Derby 09.20a ~ 09.27d 09.21 ~ 09.26
209.31 Ambergate Jn 09/37 09/37
219.39 Clay Cross South Jn 09/46 09/46
223.49 Chesterfield 09.51a ~ 09.53d 09.51 ~ 09.53
231.46 Dore West Jn 10/04 ?
242.50 Earles Sidings SB 10/17 10/16
251.59 Chinley South Jn 10*30a ~ 10*49d 10.26 ~ 10.33
256.32 Great Rocks Jn 11*03a ~ 11*05d ?
? Buxton SB 11*21a ~ 11*23d ?
262.14
0.00
Buxton Up Relief Sidings 11L25a ~ 11L45d ?
0.00
0.20
Buxton 11.52a ~ 14.00d 11.52 ~ 14.00
0.00
0.20
Buxton Up Relief Sidings 14L06a ~ 14L16d ?
? Buxton SB 14*18a ~ 14*20d ?
5.62 Great Rocks Jn 14*35a ~ 14*37d ?
11.18 Chinley North Jn 14/51 14/51
14.71 New Mills South Jn 14/55 ?
22.36 Woodley 15/07 ?
26.29 Guide Bridge 15/18 15/19
31.26 Heaton Norris Jn 15/37 ?
32.01 Stockport 15c40a ~ 15c42d 15.39 ~ 15.45
34.22 Cheadle Hulme 15/48 15/51
43.78 Macclesfield 16/00 16/00
51.70 Congleton 16/08 16.08a ~ ??.??d
57.44 Kidsgrove 16/15 16/13
63.75 Stoke-on-Trent 16/26 16/19
71.03 Stone 16/34 16/29
82.64 Colwich 16/46 16/38
85.33 Rugeley North Jn 16/49 ?
91.10 Hednesford 17/07 17/42
100.72 Walsall 17/34 17/59
102.46 Bescot Stadium 17/41 18/06
107.03 Perry Barr North Jn 17/49 18/14
109.74 Soho South Jn 18/00 18/20

Timings continue in first table.

Back to "The Railtour Files"