3rd - 5th May 1985

R.E.S.L.
The Sutherland Highlander

Locos Used 08717, 20043, 20175, 26032, 26041, 31116, 31126, 31167, 31200,  37142, 37179, 37183, 37205, 37216, 37262, 37264 & 40122
Stock Used load 13

Route : 1Z25 throughout

Loco(s) Route
37179+37142 17.00d Cardiff - Bristol Parkway - Reading - Acton Main Line
31116+31200 Acton Main Line - Brent Jn - Luton - Leicester - Derby
40122 Derby - Sheffield - Leeds - York - Newcastle - Edinburgh
26041 + 26032 Edinburgh - Kirkaldy - Ladybank - Perth - Aviemore - Welsh's Bridge Jn - Rose Street Jn
08717 Rose Street Jn - Inverness
37183+37264 Inverness - Dingwall - Brora - Georgemas - Wick
37262 Georgemas - Thurso - Georgemas
37264+37183 Wick - Georgemas Jn - Brora - Dingwall - Inverness
26032+26041 Inverness - Aviemore - Perth - Ladybank - (via Cardenden loop or Kirkaldy?) - Edinburgh Waverley
26041+26032 Edinburgh Waverley - Shotts (2) - Mossend
20043+20175 Mossend - Glasgow Queen Street Low Level - Dumbarton goods loop
20175+20043 Dumbarton goods loop - Glasgow Queen Street Low Level - Springburn
40122 Springburn - Mossend - Newcastle - York - Sheffield
40122 Sheffield - Beighton Jn - Chesterfield - Leicester
31126+31167 (1) Leicester Bedford St. Albans Brent Jn Acton Wells Jn Ealing Broadway Southall East Jn
37216+37205 (3) Southall East Jn Reading Didcot Parkway - Swindon Chippenham - Bath Spa North Somerset Jn - Dr Days Jn Patchway Newport Cardiff

Notes :
(1) Originally recorded as 31126 + 31127, Kevin Gaylard and Ian Saunders both confirm it was 31167 not 31127.
(2) Originally shown as via Falkirk, Kevin Gaylard however recorded the train as going via Shotts.
(3) Identity of one 37 was queried, confirmed as 37205 by Ian Saunders.
(4) Bristol Parkway passengers were de-trained at Patchway for a bus.

Sources : Nick Ross (left train at Bedford), Kevin Gaylard & Ian Saunders (both left the train at Reading), Ian Monkton & Mike Tetlow

Tour Review
(by Nick Ross)

Awaiting the tour at Reading, it was a withering spot the quality power on service trains with 33208 arriving with the 1440 Poole-Liverpool and 37180 thrashing through non stop with a Cardiff-Padd relief. Boilered class mate 37179 and nb 37142 powered us to Acton ML where 31116/31200 were well received for an evening totter down the MML. The green machine (40122) then took us through the night to Edinburgh with a fitful sleep for most wedged into the 13 coach mk 1 consist behind her.

47117 added to the yawn factor at Edinburgh with the 0635 Dundee whilst 26041/26032 backed on to to the now 1 hour late tour for the first of many 26 miles. Over Slochd some late spring snow showers set in, a world apart from slims in the sun at Reading the afternoon before. The teacups worked to Rose St box before 08717 took over to reverse the stock into the Far North platforms at Inverness.

A few of us noticed the platform monitors here saying "front portion for Thurso" which we put down to Highland humour. Others from the tour flailed North on the 1055 Kyle (37114) and the 1130 Wick/Thurso service trains (37035) which our tour followed. A photo stop at Brora of sorts was followed by truly remarkable scenes at Georgemas. The tour was split with the rear portion left outside the station in a reversal of the established procedure. Branch engine 37262 (yawn) then attached itself to the rear of the front portion and drew the stock forward towards the Thurso end of the platform. We then watched a mass bail from the rear portion, signal wire trip ups, flying bags and even a flying kilt followed as participants on what was usually a heavily stewarded operator did their all to get 37262 in. Now 2 hours down the service train men were relieved to see us arrive at Thurso.

An immediate run round and return did little to give us much spare time at Inverness before a late evening departure. We departed right time only to be checked by a station staff pulling the butterfly as a harassed Smudger Smith, his chips flying across the concourse just made the tour. Much doss then average 20's in 20175/20043 were attached for the short run to the exotic destination of Dumbarton Goods Loop. Here the bombs run round and took us to Springburn. The pre-planned depot visit was cancelled so we had 2 hours to phot 37155 from assorted angles on a ballast turn. A few escaped over the locked station gate to get a carry out. 40122 eventually turned up for a quick run to Edinburgh where a desperately needed stock watering occurred.

The advertised rats from Leicester were an uninspiring, very dud 31126/31167 so we leapt at Bedford, a 1,600 mile marathon was over.

Nick Ross

Back to "The Railtour Files"