20th April 1979

(Overnight Excursion)

Locos Used 45014 & 45024

Route :

Loco Route
45024 Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance
45024 Penzance, Plymouth
45014 Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby

Source : David Hills (On train from/to Derby)

Tour Review
(by David Hills)

The previous overnighter to Plymouth had been such a wallow in boredom that warning flags should have been seen when this trip came over the horizon. However the added interest here was that it was going all the way to Penzance, so perhaps we were fooled by that 'teaser'. With tickets purchased and the work day done, it was down to Derby station on Friday evening to find 45024 in charge of our rake of MK 1 opens. Derby was teeming with Class 45's, only relieved by an equal number of Class 20's on London Road curve. Elsewhere was 25263, 37124 & 40106, after the journey began 47704 & 87004 were noted at the Research Dept. Nottingham came and went, only 31316 present, whilst in the darkness at Leicester was 25053 & 25088. From here all was quiet until Water Orton when 25276 ran by, then it was into the black hole of Birmingham New Street, with little of note except 31111 & 83005. Off into the night westbound, nothing stirred until reaching Bristol in the pre-dawn hours, the usual sea of Type 4's including 46002/045 and elsewhere in the background 31424. One point of major concern was that the drizzle of the Midlands had turned into steady rain, were we to be cursed again on a trip to the south-west?

Dozing fitfully Plymouth arrived all to soon, copping 08840 in the process. However the rain had not eased much so a valiant decision was made to ride the tour all the way to Penzance. It turned out this was new track for me and perhaps the weather might be a little brighter further west. Well it wasn't, our arrival in Penzance saw no major change, though the rain had eased a little the clouds still hung low with poor visibility. This trip was now clearly something of a washout and with an apparent wet day to spend in Cornwall, hopefully something could be salvaged from it. So in true English 'do or die' fashion we looked all over for something remarkable to do. And we found it on a billboard advertising day trips to the Isles of Scilly on the 'MV Scillonian'.

Now you have to understand something here, I had never been on a ship before, so the idea of high adventure on the open sea clearly sounded very appealing, so no more thought was given to the matter, tickets were purchased, the fine ship was boarded, now vainly looking in my Ian Allan 'combine' for a place to record this unusual haulage. And we set sail, and something quickly became apparent, I discovered I suffered from seasickness, now on a three hour sea voyage, in weather that made the ship roll pretty good, oh crud! It was a long queasy trip out, but solid land, improving weather and a walk round St Mary's soon revived the spirits. Though the thought of the return trip was none too inviting. But eventually we had to re-board and make that long trip back to the mainline (now I know why Harold Wilson used a helicopter). Once clear of the harbour that queasy feeling came right back, though better weather and the fact we were no longer running into it made the return voyage a little more bearable. Never had Penzance looked so good as we rounded the headland into calmer water and the thoughts of solid ground!

And so we staggered back onto English soil, the seasickness vanishing as quickly as it arrived. Time for a meat pie and chips before returning to the station for our long journey home. 45024 had spent the day tucked away at the side of the station, looking on as many a Class 50 came and went. 25155 was a friendly sight on empty coaching stock duties. As we pulled away, off in the distance could be seen our trusty ship for the day, little did we know that in the near future another railtour would require the use of a similar vessel. Passing Par 25058 & 25225 went in the book, but with darkness falling the adventures of the day brought us into the arms of the sandman. We were awakened at Plymouth by the bangs and thumps indicating 45024 was being removed (perhaps low on fuel) and replaced by 45014. We returned as we had come, little was recorded until Leicester when 25134/176, 25249, 31106 were noted on the depot. Approaching Derby all looked quiet, as it should have been, it was now Sunday morning, with 25218, 25318, 37124/159 noted. Well today was Neville Hill Open Day so it was off to the booking office for tickets to Leeds!

David Hills

Back to "The Railtour Files"