23rd August 1997

Pathfinder Tours
The Duchy Deltic

Locos Used D172 'Ixion' & D9000 'Royal Scots Grey'

Route : 1Z64 throughout

Loco Route
D172 Crewe - Stafford - Wolverhampton - Soho South Jn - Birmingham New Street - Bordesley Jn - Kings Norton - Stoke Works Jn - Abbotswood Jn - Cheltenham Spa - Bristol Parkway - Bristol Temple Meads
D9000 Bristol Temple Meads - Bath Spa - Westbury - (via Frome avoider) - Taunton - Exeter St Davids - Plymouth - Penzance
D9000 Penzance - Plymouth - Exeter St Davids - Bridgwater - (via Weston-super-Mare avoider) - Bristol Temple Meads
D172 Bristol Temple Meads - Bristol Parkway - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - Stoke Works Jn - Kings Norton - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Aston - Bescot - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Crewe

Notes :
(1) First ever visit of a Deltic to Penzance!

Source : Gary Thornton (joined/left the train at Cheltenham Spa)

Tour Review
(by Gary Thornton)

When I received a call from a colleague a few weeks before with details of this tour - over 400 miles of Deltic, quite a bit of it over previously uncharted Deltic territory and some testing gradients as well - well, lets say it did not take me too long to decide this tour was a must! Ixion from Crewe was also tempting but I was put off that bit by the 05.05 start time from Crewe (and 23.04 return) and settled on joining at Cheltenham at a slightly more respectable 07.15.

Checking back through my railtouring records revealed details of the last Deltic to venture down to Devon, 55003 "Meld" on RPPR's "The Deltic Ranger Re-run" tour of March 5th 1978. On that occasion our destination was Paignton for a return trip over the P&DR behind Westerns "Ranger" and "Courier" (which didn't actually happen owing to a problem on the preserved line, caused by the poor weather that had also prevented us getting beyond Bristol on the original tour with 55018 "Ballymoss" two weeks previously). By coincidence, our other mainline locomotive on the re-run tour was a class 46, as on the return from Paignton we changed to 46003 at Newton Abbot for a run to Par and back. Still, enough of ancient history and back to the present.

To make Cheltenham for me still involved a 4.30am alarm call but a good run through the Cotswolds (funny, not much traffic about) and I was parked up in the station car park just after 6.30am. I wandered on the station hopeful that the buffet might be open (out of luck) and I noticed we were shown on the departure screen....23 late already! Back to the car and my colleague arrived soon after. Time for a quick chat, including the news that our coach (B) had met with some mishap and we were now in coach C but it was still the second one in the formation (confused? yes, so was I at that time of the morning).

A helpful announcement that the first class coaches were at the front of the train enabled us to be at the right end of the platform when, about half an hour down, D172 "Ixion" complete with "Das-Boat Sea Side Special" headboard rolled in, looking as good as always. Apparently the train was late off Crewe - awaiting motive power! Comments on board suggested that with some good running between Birmingham and Cheltenham D172 had already pulled about ten minutes back.

The run to Temple Meads was quite reasonable and once there we said goodbye to "Ixion" and her ever-present support coach in favour of D9000 which, as we were running out via Bath, rolled onto our end of the train. Time for a few photos and then just before 9am we were off.


D172 at Bristol Temple Meads (photo: Gary Thornton)

RSG laid quite a smoke screen over the Bristol suburbs as we ran past North Somerset Junction and the speed quickly rose. Our first scheduled stop was at Westbury for a crew change. Noted in the yard were 59002 "Alan J Day" and an EWS liveried nameplate - no, hold on, there was a class 37 (37717) visible behind the "St Margaret's Church of England Primary School City of Durham Railsafe Trophy Winners 1997" nameplate!! As we pulled onto the mainline on leaving Westbury we passed a 100mph board, hmm, tempting or what? The run to Taunton (pick up) and Exeter (passed at 1043, 2 minutes early) gave time to savour D9000 at quite respectable speeds. The run along the sea wall at Dawlish was captured by quite a few trackside photographers then soon we passed through Newton Abbott and onto new track for a Deltic.

A photostop at Totnes was typical of railtour photostops - it was raining and the locomotive was off the platform and under a road bridge! Still, credit to the crew as after a few minutes the train set back a coach length or so, allowing us to photograph RSG off the bridge.


Photostop in the rain at Totnes (photo: Gary Thornton)

With all the rain the climb from Totnes up Rattery bank was quite slow - most of the way we only held around 20mph or so. Another crew change at Plymouth and we were soon onto the Royal Albert Bridge and into a county that had never had a Deltic visit before. The run through Cornwall to Penzance was probably the days highlight for me. The gradients, curves and speed restrictions meant D9000 was constantly on and off the power - absolute magic.


D9000 rounds the curve near Moorswater (photo: Roger Geach)

A layover of one and three quarter hours enabled some exploration of Penzance then by 15.35 it was all on board for the return run.


The classic Penzance view - with far from classic traction! (photo: Gary Thornton)

Being at the back of the train meant we didn't hear much of RSG's performance but plenty of views of her as we twisted and turned through the Cornish scenery. Another photostop was arranged at Plymouth, no problems there (except it started drizzling again).


Dull conditions at Plymouth, but who cares? (photo: Gary Thornton)

We departed only a minute behind schedule and despite being held on the approach to Bristol, arrival was still some seven minutes early. We managed sustained high speed running from Exeter right through until the outskirts of Bristol. We must have made an awesome sight hurtling through Taunton and Bridgwater stations "flat out"! What speed did we reach? Two of us in our coach with stopwatches agreed the same figure, but you just had to be there...

At Bristol it was goodbye to D9000 (for seven days anyway...) and hello again to D172. The run to Cheltenham was also electric, too dark to time but I think the crew were trying to match RSG's performance of earlier! At Cheltenham we bade farewell to Ixion as the train departed for Birmingham and Crewe.

Verdict - An excellent day out. I hope someday someone will repeat it (who knows, maybe one day we could even be doing the same with D10xx on the front??)

Gary Thornton

Timings (Booked & Actual)

Locomotive : D172 "Ixion"

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 Crewe 05.05d 05.43
08.06 Madeley 05/16 ?
19.08 Norton Bridge 05/26 06/02
24.37 Stafford 05.32a ~ 05.34d 06.08 ~ 06.11
39.68 Wolverhampton 05/54 06/29
45.28 Dudley Port 06/01 06/37
49.13 Galton Junction 06/05 06/41
52.72 Birmingham New Street 06.12a ~ 06.15d 06.49 ~ 06.53
54.68 Bordesley Jn 06/22 ?
60.04 Kings Norton 06/28 07/08
65.12 Barnt Green 06/34 07/14
68.55 Bromsgrove 06/38 ?
70.68 Stoke Works Jn 06/40 07/21
82.05 Abbotswood Jn 06/51 07/28
92.72 Ashchurch 07/02 ?
100.03 Cheltenham 07.12a ~ 07.15d 07.42 ~ 07.45
106.33 Gloucester Yard Jn 07/27 07/52
112.43 Standish Jn 07/34 07/58
125.68 Charfield 07/45 08/07
134.01 Westerliegh Jn 07/54 08/15
138.51 Bristol Parkway 08.00a ~ 08.02d 08.20 ~ 08.22
139.70 Filton Jn 08/04 08/25
144.09 Bristol East Jn 08*12a ~ 08*25d 08/31
144.33 Bristol Temple Meads 08L27a 08.33

Locomotive : D9000 "Royal Scots Grey"

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 Bristol Temple Meads 08L48d 08.54
0.24 Bristol East Jn 08/50 08/56
11.35 Bath Spa 09/02 09/06
13.51 Bathampton Jn 09/06 09/09
22.73 Bradford Jn 09/17 09/19
28.17 Westbury 09c27a ~ 09c30d 09.28 ~ 09.32
32.73 Clink Road Jn 09/36 09/40
34.75 Blatchbridge Jn 09/38 09/41
47.64 Castle Cary 09/49 09/51
70.24 Cogload Jn 10/06 10/07
75.27 Taunton 10.11a ~ 10.13d 10.11 ~ 10.14
89.41 Tiverton Parkway 10/28 10/29
106.07 Exeter St. Davids 10/45 10/43
116.49 Dawlish Warren 10/54 10/53
126.21 Newton Abbot 11/04 11/03
134.78 Totnes 11p16a ~ 11p35d 11.16 ~ 11.36
147.34 Ivybridge 11/51 12/00
151.25 Hemerdon 11/56 12/05
156.50 Lipson Jn 12/02 12/10
158.10 Plymouth 12c05a ~ 12c08d 12.13 ~ 12.16
162.28 Saltash 12/17 12/26
167.26 St. Germans 12/23 12/31
175.68 Liskeard 12/32 12/41
181.03 Largin 12/39 12/48
185.05 Bodmin Parkway 12.44a ~ 12.46d 12.53 ~ 12.55
188.36 Lostwithiel 12/51 13/00
192.71 Par 12/56 13/04
197.28 St. Austell 13/02 13/13
206.31 Probus 13/11 13/22
211.59 Truro 13/18 13/31
224.42 Camborne 13/32 13/46
231.69 St. Erth 13/41 13/55
236.14 Long Rock 13/47 13/58
237.52 Penzance 13.50a ~ 15.35d 14.01 ~ 15.38
239.10 Long Rock 15/39 15/42
243.35 St. Erth 15/43 15/45
250.62 Camborne 15/52 15/54
263.45 Truro 16/07 16/08
268.73 Probus 16/14 16/14
277.76 St. Austell 16/25 16/23
282.33 Par 16/32 16/30
286.68 Lostwithiel 16/37 16/37
294.21 Largin 16/46 16/46
299.36 Liskeard 16/52 16/53
307.78 St. Germans 17/00 17/03
312.76 Saltash 17*08a ~ 17*12d 17/09
317.14 Plymouth 17p24a ~ 17p36d 17.18 ~ 17.37
318.54 Lipson Jn 17/39 17/40
323.79 Hemerdon 17/46 17/46
327.70 Ivybridge 17/50 17/51
340.26 Totnes 18/03 18/02
349.03 Newton Abbot 18/13 18/11
358.55 Dawlish Warren 18/23 18/21
369.17 Exeter St. Davids 18/33 18/30
385.63 Tiverton Parkway 18/48 18/45
399.77 Taunton 18/59 18/54
405.00 Cogload Jn 19/03 18/58
411.42 Bridgwater 19/08 19/02
425.05 Uphill Jn 19/21 19/11
427.78 Worle Jn 19/23 19/12
444.63 Bristol Temple Meads 19L41a 19.34

 Locomotive : D172 "Ixion"

M.C Location Booked Actual
0.00 Bristol Temple Meads 19L58d 19.59
0.24 Bristol East Jn 19/59 20/00
4.43 Filton Jn 20/05 20/08
5.62 Bristol Parkway 20.07a ~ 20.09d 20.10 ~ 20.12
10.32 Westerleigh Jn 20/15 20/19
18.45 Charfield 20/23 20/28
31.70 Standish Jn 20/34 20/36
38.00 Gloucester Yard Jn 20/40 20/43
44.30 Cheltenham 20.47a ~ 20.50d 20.52 ~ 20.55 
51.41 Ashchurch 20/58 ?
62.28 Abbotswood Jn 21/07 21/08
73.45 Stoke Works Jn 21/20 21/16
75.58 Bromsgrove 21/23 ?
79.21 Barnt Green 21/28 21/23
84.29 Kings Norton 21/35 21/26
86.43 Selly Oak 21/38 21/32
89.74 Birmingham New Street 21.45a ~ 21.48d 21.40 ~ 21.44
92.50 Aston 21/54 21/50
94.72 Perry Bar North Jn 21/57 21/53
99.29 Bescot Stadium 22/05 ?
106.14 Bushbury Jn 22/13 ?
119.71 Stafford 22.26a ~ 22.34d 22.20 ~ 22.22
125.20 Norton Bridge 22/42 22/28
136.22 Madeley 22/52 ?
144.28 Crewe 23.04a 22.46

Pathfinder tour sheet mileages for the whole tour were given as;
D172 : 288 miles and 61 chains
D9000: 444 miles and 63 chains


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