20th September 1997

RT Railtours
The Slate & Narrow

Locos Used 37211, 37509 & 47777

Route : 1Z50 throughout

Loco(s) Route
47777 Skipton - Shipley - Whitehall Jn - Engine Shed Jn - Methley Jn - Altofts Jn - Wakefield Kirkgate - Horbury Jn - Mirfield - Huddersfield - Diggle Jn - Stalybridge - Ashton - Miles Platting - Manchester Victoria - Eccles - Newton-le-Willows - Earlestown - Winwick Jn - Warrington Bank Quay
37211 + 37509 Warrington Bank Quay - Walton Old Jn - Acton Grange Jn - Helsby - Chester - Llandudno Junction - Blaenau Ffestiniog
37211 + 37509 Blaenau Ffestiniog - (reverse of outward route) -  Acton Grange Jn - (WCML route) - Warrington Bank Quay - (reverse of outward route) - Wakefield Kirkgate
37211 + 37509 Wakefield Kirkgate - Wakefield Westgate - Leeds
37211 + 37509 Leeds - Whitehall Jn - Shipley - Skipton

Source : Ian Dobson
(joined/left the train at Shipley)

Timings (booked & some actual)
(provided by Ian Dobson, from the tour brochure)

Location Booked (out) Actual   Booked (rtn) Actual
Skipton 06.52d -   22.07a -
Keighley 07.04a ~ 07.06d - ~ -   21.52a ~ 21.54d - ~ -
Shipley 07.16a ~ 07.18d - ~ -   21.35a ~ 21.41d - ~ -
Dockfield Jn 07/19 -   21/38 -
Apperley Jn 07/23 -   21/35 -
Wortley Jn 07/30 -   21/29 -
Whitehall Jn 07/35 -   21/27 -
Leeds   21.05a ~ 21.25d 21.12 ~ 21.32
Engine Shed Jn 07/45 -  
Methley Jn 07/58 -  
Altofts Jn 08/05 -  
Wakefield Kirkgate 08.13a ~ 08.15d - ~ -   20.21a ~ 20.43d 20.23 ~ 20.50
Horbury Jn 08/19 -   20/17 20/07
Mirfield East Jn 08/27 -   20/10 -
Mirfield 08/32 -   20/06 -
Heaton Lodge Jn 08/34 -   20/04 -
Huddersfield 08.38a ~ 08.40d - ~ -   19.55a ~ 19.58d 19.50 ~ 19.52
Marsden 08.47a ~ 09.01d - ~ -   19/48 19/38
Diggle Jn 09/06 -   19/44 19/34
Greenfield 09/08 -   19/41 19/31
Stalybridge 09/14 -   19.31a ~ 19.33d 19.24 ~ 19.25
Ashton Moss North Jn 09/18 -   19/23 19/20
Philips Park No.1 09/23 -   19/18 19/16
Miles Platting 09/29 -   19/17 19/15
Manchester Victoria 09.30a ~ 09.33d - ~ -   19.00a ~ 19.12d 19.06 ~19.10
Deal Street 09/36 -   18/58 19/04
Ordsall Lane Jn 09/37 -   18/55 -
Eccles 09/40 -   18/50 18/58
Astley 09/46 -   18/43 18/53
Newton le Willows 09/53 -   18/37 18/47
Earlestown 09/58 -   18/34 18/46
Winwick Jn 10/02 -   18/32 -
Dallam Jn 10/04 -   18/30 -
Warrington Bank Quay 10/05 ??.??a ~ 11.25d   18/29 18.37a ~ 18.39d
Walton Old Jn 10/07 -  
Acton Grange Jn 10/08 -   18/25 18/33
Frodsham Jn 10/14 -   18/20 18/26
Helsby 10/18 11/37   18/15 18/22
Mickle Trafford 10/24 11/42   18/11 18/17
Chester 10.33a ~ 10.35d 11.47 ~ 11.49   18.04a ~ 18.06d 18/12
Chester South Jn 10/37 -   17/59 18/10
Roodee Jn 10/50 -   ??/?? 18/09
Saltney Jn 10/51 -   17/57 -
Rockcliffe Hall 11/00 -   17/50 -
Holywell Jn 11/06 -   17/44 17/53
Rhyl 11/17 12/15   17/33 17/36
Colwyn Bay 11/29 12/29   17/23 17/23
Llandudno Junction 11.35a ~ 11.55d 21.34 ~ 13.10   16.58a ~ 17.08d 17.06 ~ 17.18
North Llanrwst 12.13a ~ 12.23d 13/30   16.33a ~ 16.40d 16.46 ~ 16.47
Blaenau Ffestiniog 13.00a 14.06   16.00 16.13


A message from Michael Owen of RT Railtours

Many thanks to the 24 Growler Group members who supported our railtour. Two Class 37s cost an extra 1,000 approximately so it is important that Class 37 support groups support Class 37 hauled railtours.

Operationally, the tour was fraught with problems. The booked Class 37/0s failed to materialise. Class 47, 777 'Restored' went like a bat out of hell departing Skipton seven minutes late i.e. 06.59;Keighley five minutes down, Shipley right time! The tour was mistimed because of having to wait for time (25 minutes) at Wakefield Kirkgate. All was well until we attempted to depart Manchester Victoria. Forty eight minutes later we did, thanks to the electricians at Salford Crescent power box!

We had an unscheduled halt at Warrington when our driver Tom with his mate put 47777 to bed in the station bay, just in time to hear Class 35/5 37509 and 37/0 37212 growl into view having just returned from a wild goose chase to Chester and back.

Coupling up/brake tests carried out smartly meant that we were 65 minutes adrift. Prompt action by Train Manager (Riviera Trains) to the Fat Controller at Crewe pleaded our case to go in front of the 29 minutes late running 'Irish Mancunian' 37/4 Saturdays only 37425 'Sir Robert McAlpine'. The E.W.S. control agreed, Railtrack control agreed, and we were given precedence by being routed through the Goods relief road, thereby going round the service train, expresso to Llandudno Junction.

The EWS Traction Inspector insisted that both locos should head the train in order to maximise full power up the 1 in 60 gradient which is encountered north of Betws-y-Coed. Railtrack argued its case (and lost). Blaenau Ffestiniog run-round loop was not long enough to release two locos. May I suggest to Railtrack Director North West Zone that his staff familiarise themselves not only with the rules of the route, but the ACTUAL route; for example, physically walking it as was the practice in L.N.W.R., L.M.S., and British Rail!

No problems encountered on the branch as the local driver gave both locos a push up the 1 in 60 / 1 in 100 constant gradients all the way to the two mile Blaenau Ffestiniog tunnel.
The load was 400 tonnes of Riviera Trains stock, made up of 3 F.O.s, 1 R.M.B., 1 K.C., 1 B.S.K., 4 Mk 2A T.S.Os.

Michael Owen ~ RT Railtours
Phone 01270 611799/fax 01270 611855/ e-mail mgowen@enta.net

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