13th December 1997

Pathfinder Tours
The Festive Fiend

Locos Used 56035, 58026, 58042, 60018, 90127 & 92011

Route :
1Z28 : Swindon to Tonbridge
1Z29 : Tonbridge to Swindon

Loco(s) Route
58042 Swindon - Bath Spa - Bristol Parkway - Cheltenham Spa - Abbotswood Jn - Worcester Shrub Hill - Droitwich Spa - Stoke Works Jn - Barnt Green - Kings Norton - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Proof House Jn - Stechford - Birmingham International - Coventry
56035 Coventry - Kenilworth - Leamington Spa - Banbury - Aynho Jn - High Wycombe - Greenford - Ealing Broadway - Mitre Bridge Jn - Stewarts Lane Jn - London Victoria
60018 London Victoria - Stewarts Lane Jn - Denmark Hill - Lewisham - Sidcup - Dartford - Strood - Maidstone West - Tonbridge
92011 (1) Tonbridge - Sevenoaks - Swanley - Bickley - Catford - Denmark Hill - Longhedge Jn - Kensington Olympia - Willesden WL Jn - Wembley (2)
90127 Wembley - (WCML via Weedon) - Rugby - Coventry
58026 Coventry - (reverse of outward route) - Stoke Works Jn - Abbotswood Jn - (reverse of outward route) - Swindon

Notes :
(1) plus 60018 dead-in-tow.
(2) Precise location for loco change is required - was booked to take place at Willesden No.41 Signal.

Source : Ian Jessop (joined at Birmingham New Street, left at Birmingham International)

Tour Review
(by Ian Jessop)

Oh my...out of my pit at a ridiculous 4am...down to York to join a fast car to Coventry, then by service train to New Street and breakfast (not food!) at Maccy-Dees, then still plenty of time for a chat before clambering aboard the tour at 0933. That's 5 hours after getting up...oh my oh my oh my...I simply must be mad.

So, that's it really. We got on the tour at New St at 0933, and off we went. 58042 painted in a rather dodgy looking shade of blue on the front, first stop Coventry. Normal procedure here, train stops, fall off with camera, toddle up to the front, push and shove past all the morons with the video cameras (if you're one of those people, then you need to know that all of us with still cameras simply hate you...why the does anybody want to watch a video of something that not moving??? In the future, piss off out of our way...) then rattle off a couple of shots, let the next person in (the videographers won't have understood that bit...) wait for the fresh engine and then take fots of that, then get back on the train, and go to sleep... Yes, that's right, sleep. And lots of it. I can give you a very good reason for this...the Chiltern Lines. 56035, looking rather fetching in a coat of Load Haul black and orange, was attached at Coventry, and was destined for London Victoria via the blood-curdling-boring Chilterns. I awoke at Ruislip, in time to see the Central Line sidings full of new stock that belongs on another line. Similar looking to the Central stock, but noticeably different...I think it was something to do with the windows that gave it away, slightly smaller perhaps? Anyhow, Biggus-Griddus turned right at Greenford and crawled along to Ealing, then had a short burst of speed before stopping at Acton for a crew change. Our coach stopped alongside the locos stabled at the end of the yard. I'd like to be able to tell you which ones they were, but I'm not a ned, and I can't remember. Upon leaving Acton we turned left, then did a wide U-turn sort-of-thing at Willesden to get us pointing South. I then fell asleep again (get to like those words, you'll be reading them a lot in this report!) and awoke as we passed Stamford Bridge. Now this was around past 1, and there were already some Chelsea fans in the ground...can they really not have had anywhere better to be? Over the Thames we rolled, then down and round past Stewarts Lane, where all the neds went into headless chicken mode over the dumped Southern Peds, all neatly lined up and nicely rotting. Onwards and upwards (literally) we went, and pulled into Victoria with the minimum of fuss for an hours break.

I let everyone disappear then took some fots of the grid, and had a quick gander round, then fotted 60018 which had arrived to take us away. After that I sat on the train, and as others started to arrive with mystery-meat burgers and stuff, I tucked into my Wensleydale and YR sandwiches...a spendid dinner to have while in smelly London! (For all you southerners out there, YR is Yorkshire Relish.) When our hour was up, we left behind the aforementioned 60018. This loco sounded rather queer...as if it had had an engine transplant, with the donor being a 47. Although something was obviously not quite right, it wasn't to let us down. Again, I dozed, this time awaking at East Farleigh, an hour and down the line! We got to Tonbridge without any stopping. It later transpired that someone had collapsed, and needed to be hospitalised at Tonbridge, a long way from his Yorkshire home. He'll not've been happy when he came round I'll bet. (And I dare say the nurses are better looking up here too...!) Amazingly, 92011 was sat in the platform ready for us, but there was some delay coupling it up to the 60, and we left a few minutes down. This time I stayed awake...well, for a few minutes at least. We headed North at last, and up to Wembley via Swanley and Catford. By the way, it was too dark for fots at Tonbridge, in case you're interested...

At Wembley we stopped alongside the freightliner terminal for our next loco change. Usually they take place on the other side of the main line. The 60 came back past us, presumably on it's way to Acton for stabling, before we got moving again. Shortly after we got on our jolly way, an announcement was made to let us know that our new loco was 90127. We had gone under the main line, and as we passed the lines of stabled 47s, all the neds, once again, had fits of hysterics. The numbers were difficult to see...the floodlights were not good enough...eyes got strained as they desperately tried to read the numbers as we accelerated past...more than one person was calling numbers out...confusion reigned...and I laughed...! The train stopped at Watford to let all the part-timers off. They missed out big time... Nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. No, it wasn't a failure. Quite the opposite in fact.

Now I'm perfectly prepared to let it go on record that I don't like 90s very much. Nothing but crap West Coast rubbish I'll say. Horrible. Plastic. Bus stop moves preferred when scratching them in. On this occasion our driver had been given a clear road. More to the point it was a clear road straight down the main line. None of this pissing about via Northampton. It's possible that the driver also needed to pee or something...or maybe he was overjoyed to drive a passenger train for once...or maybe he thought it was actually a liner train...whatever the reason, we got the ride of our lives. I've never before been on a 90 hauled train that has gone so fast! The damn thing positively stormed along...rip-roared along...went like f!

At Coventry it all came to an end. Off came the 90. It soon shot off back to Wembley. It was left to the last loco of the day to continue the trend. We had arrived early. Actually we seemed to have been either early or on time all day...not quite your usual spinner tour! It was 58026 that showed up for the last leg of the day. This was a poor choice of loco. All of the previous locos had been winners for me! So again, not quite your usual spinner! Although this was one of the pair that worked a Sheffield to Cleethorpes special a few years ago (with 56s back. Do you remember that?) one of our party still required the thing, so we got back aboard. As we pulled out of the station, so did a Wolverhampton bound 323. The unit was allowed in front, even though it was an all shacks stopper. This gave a horrible plodding journey to International where the tour was slung aside to let a pair of Birmingham bound bins get past. This stop was actually booked, so we had planned to get off there. Our train back to Coventry was on another all shacks. Eventually we got there, and headed back home along the highways (M1) and byeways (That rancid bendy bit of A1 North of Donny) of Britain.

So that's it really. I guess you've just read something that is much longer than it needed to be...after all, most of the time I was asleep, and all of the time nothing much happened. A good day I suppose, seeing as there were no delays, or failures, or any of the many other things that go to make a railtour

Ian Jessop

Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Kevin Driscoll)

M.C Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual M.C
0.00 Swindon 06.03d ?   23.10a ? 335.57
5.64 Wootton Bassett Jn 06/10 ?   23/04 ? 329.73
16.53 Chippenham 06.19a ~ 06.21d ?   22.51a ~ 22.53d ? 319.04
27.32 Bathampton Jn 06/32 ?   22/41 ? 308.25
29.48 Bath Spa 06.35a ~ 06.37d ?   22.36a ~ 22.38d ? 306.09
40.50 Dr Days Jn 06/51 ?   22/22 ? 295.07
45.66 Bristol Parkway 07.05a ~ 07.07d ?   22.11a ~ 22.14d ? 289.71
50.36 Westerleigh Jn 07/13 ?   22/05 ? 285.21
58.49 Charfield 07/21 ?   21/55 ? 277.08
71.74 Standish Jn 07/32 ?   21/45 ? 263.63
78.04 Gloucester Yard Jn 07/37 ?   21/39 ? 257.53
84.34 Cheltenham Spa 07.44a ~ 07.53d ?   21.26a ~ 21.29d ? 251.23
91.45 Ashchurch 08/00 ?   21/17 ? 244.12
102.32 Abbotswood Jn 08/09 ?   21/09 ? 233.25
106.19 Worcester Shrub Hill 08.16a ~ 08.30d ?  
111.78 Droitwich Spa 08/42 ?  
116.13 Stoke Works Jn 08/56 ?   21/00 ? 222.08
118.26 Bromsgrove 08/59 ?   20/58 ? 219.75
121.69 Barnt Green 09/04 ?   20/54 ? 216.32
126.77 Kings Norton 09/14 ?   20/38 ? 211.24
129.11 Selly Oak 09/20 ?   20/38 ? 209.10
132.42 Birmingham New Street 09.27a ~ 09.33d ??.?? ~ 09.34   20.26a ~ 20.28d 20.15 ~ ??.?? 205.59
136.27 Stechford 09/38 ?   20/18 ? 201.74
140.60 Birmingham International 09/43 ?   19*52 ~ 20*10 ? 197.41
151.36 Coventry 09L53a ~ 10L09d ?   19L30a ~ 19L40d ? 186.65


M.C Location Booked Actual
155.42 Kenilworth 10/18 ?
160.70 Leamington Spa 10/33 ?
172.19 Fenny Compton 10/45 ?
180.79 Banbury 10/57 ?
186.03 Aynho Jn 11/03 ?
195.05 Bicester North 11/12 ?
213.51 Princes Risborough 11/26 ?
221.72 High Wycombe 11/38 ?
231.03 Gerrards Cross 11/47 ?
238.14 South Ruislip 11/58 ?
241.17 Greenford South Jn 12/07 ?
245.46 Acton Main Line 12c20 ~ 12c22 ?
246.18 Acton Wells Jn 12/27 ?
248.03 Mitre Bridge Jn 12/33 ?
250.28 Kensington Olympia 12/38 ?
253.11 Latchmere Jn 12/44 ?
254.26 Stewarts Lane Jn 12/51 ?
London Victora 12L59a ~ 14L01d ?
1.36 Stewarts Lane Jn 14/07 ?
2.05 Voltaire Road Jn 14/14 ?
4.15 Denmark Hill 14/21 ?
5.70 Nunhead 14/24 ?
7.56 Lewisham 14/31 ?
8.75 Hither Green 14/35 ?
11.52 Sidcup 14/45 ?
15.04 Crayford 14/51 ?
16.71 Dartford 15/02 ?
23.54 Gravesend 15/11 ?
30.70 Strood 15/20 ?
42.24 Maidstone West 15/46 ?
52.10 Paddock Wood 16/06 ?
57.33 Tonbridge 16L12a ~ 16L20d ?
64.66 Sevenoaks 16/30 ?
67.02 Otford Jn 16/34 ?
74.24 Swanley 16/44 ?
78.38 St Mary Cray Jn 16/49 ?
79.17 Bickley Jn 16/53 ?
81.78 Shortlands Jn 16/58 ?
86.67 Nunhead 17/04 ?
88.42 Denmark Hill 17/07 ? [AL]
90.52 Voltaire Road Jn 17/11 ?
90.77 Factory Jn 17/12 ?
92.21 Latchmere Jn 17/16 ?
95.04 Kensington Olympia 17/22 ?
97.29 Mitre Bridge Jn 17/29 ?
97.58 Willesden West London Jn 17/33 ?
98.20 Willesden No.41 Signal 17L46 ~ 18L06 ?
101.10 Wembley Central 18/11 ?
104.36 Harrow & Wealdstone 18/19 ?
110.41 Watford Junction 18.24a ~ 18.25d ?
124.59 Tring 18/35 ?
139.52 Bletchley 18/45 ?
142.71 Milton Keynes Central 18/47 ?
149.33 Hanslope Jn 18/51 ?
162.42 Weedon 18/59 ?
175.26 Rugby 19/19 ?

Timings continue in first table.

Back to "The Railtour Files"