? 10th ? July 1977

(Merrymaker Excursion)

Locos Used ?????, 40075 & 47119

Route :

Loco Route
47119 (Ealing Broadway?) - Hayes & Harlington - Oxford -Solihull - Bordesley Jn - Washwood Heath - Derby - Dore - Sheffield Midland - Rotherham Masborough - Wath - Cudworth North Jn - Normanton - Church Fenton - York
????? York - Malton - Scarborough
40075 Scarborough - Malton - York
47119 York - Pontefract Baghill - Sheffield - (reverse of outward route) - Hayes & Harlington - (Ealing Broadway?)

(1) Believed to have been 10th July...but may have been 17th or 24th...confirmation anyone?

Source : Chris Morley
(joined/left the train at Hayes & Harlington, on to York)

Tour Review
(by Chris Morley)

My first independent train trip beyond Slough or London was on this WR merrymaker from my local station, advertised as a York & Scarborough excursion. The child prices were 1.10 to York and 1.30 to Scarborough - quite reasonable I thought! (the Adult fares were 3/3.50). I decided to go only to York as it had two big attractions - the NRM and the chance of seeing Deltics. What was the point in spending a whole 20p more to go to a Seaside town for less than 4 hours?

The 250 mile journey via Birmingham was very slow - slightly over 5 hours I believe. However I wasn't complaining as I saw many engines of classes 08, 20, 25, 31, 37, 40, 45, 46, 47 & 50, some of which were unknown on the WR main line. Several Didcot bound MGR rakes hauled by 47s were passed. After Saltley there were many sidings en-route full of dirty rakes of 16 ton coal wagons and some had pairs of class 20s attached. One class 20 was even the wrong colour (green!). I remember being slightly miffed  because none of the new 56s were to be seen. The shrewd track basher will realise that the outward route via Wath and Normanton is no longer possible - however it was a fast route then! The train  arrived in York soon after mid-day and I didn't hang around to see the 47 leave.

After a few hours in the NRM I returned to the station where there were a procession of  loco-hauled passenger and van trains, including at least one Deltic working through the centre lines. A great variety of engines was the norm before HSTs appeared. Sorry, but the present day railway just can't compare, no matter what pretty colour the ubiquitous 'shed', sprinter or Voyager is painted. At about 6pm I found myself waiting with several hundred other adex passengers. My jaw dropped when 40075 appeared from the Scarborough line with our train. No sooner had it halted than the 'whistler' was being uncoupled. I had no real knowledge of what bashing was at the time, but I felt great disappointment when the class 40 trundled off and 'dud' 47119 re-appeared. Presumably the 47 was re-fuelled at York depot. I never did get 40075 in the book and I came to bitterly regret not paying that extra 20p. What's more the merrymaker might have had yet another exotic
engine from York to Scarborough. Doh!!!

The return routeing was via Pontefract Baghill and took another 5 hours, far fewer new locos being noted on the way back. I went on several other WR York excursions over the next few years and every one went via Birmingham, rather than the shorter route via the North London Line and ECML . Usually they were formed of Mk1s plus a steam heat  47/0, but in 1979 47511 'Thames' produced with a full West Country set of Air Con Mk2s!  I had 47119 again on a Paignton excursion in 1978 or 1979 and it remains one of my highest mileage 47s despite being cut up some 7 years ago.

Chris Morley

Back to "The Railtour Files - 1977"