17th July 1999
|Locos Used||D9009 & 55019|
|D9009||Crewe - Stockport - Guide Bridge - York - Newcastle|
|55019||Newcastle - Edinburgh Waverley - Stirling|
|55019||Stirling - Edinburgh Waverley - Newcastle|
|D9009||Newcastle - York - Leeds - Crewe|
Source : David Clark
by Ralph Barrett :
One of the big advantages of being a member of the Deltic Preservation Society (apart from the excellent Deltic Deadline magazine!) is that the DPS have an agreement with VSO-E to allow the Deltics to be used on regular railtours. These railtours offer unbelievable value, and the DPS's second railtour from Crewe to Stirling on Saturday 17th July was only 19.50 GBP to DPS members.
Tour was advertised as giving several hours in either Stirling or Edinburgh, and was booked to run via Diggle and the ECML, using both of the DPS's mainline certified locomoties in the process. Tour had been advertised as using one Deltic to Newcastle, and then the other onwards to Edinburgh and Stirling.
As the railtour was booked to start from Crewe at around 06:20, I decided to drive to Leeds and gain an extra couple of hours in bed. Not really a problem missing the long slow crawl over the Pennines, as I was more interested in the ECML thrash from Leeds to Edinburgh, plus the required Deltic track to Stirling. Apart from D9000 running light engine from Edinburgh to Perth in 1985ish, I think that this was the first visit of a Deltic to Stirling since the early 80s.
Just as I arrived on the platform at Leeds City, I could hear the unmistakable sound of those twin Napiers approaching, and I was surprised to see that both Deltics were attached to the front of the train. Deltic 9 was the pilot engine, with Deltic 19 being hauled dead-in-tow as the train engine. Stock was from Crewe, and was mostly a selection of those well- maintained chocolate and cream Mk1's (as used on 'Charlie's' North Wales Coast Line).
Deltic 9 performed faultlessly to Newcastle, although the schedule would have been pathetic for a freight train, let alone a class one passenger train. We waited time at every station, and were put on the slow lines north or York, and later looped, to let various GNER and Virgin service trains passed.
Uncoupling D9009 from 55019 at Newcastle.
Upon arival at Newcastle, D9019 was removed, and 55 019 was started up, to work solo to Stirling. We had a good run to Edinburgh, where we arrived about 15 minutes early on a very easy schedule. Plenty of time to take photos, although the suburban platforms at Waverley are not particularly conducive to taking good photographs. After a long wait, we finally departed for Stirling, and managed to demonstrate a fine display of speed along the ex-NB main-line to Falkirk.
As we approached Stirling, there appeared to be a small crowd of 'normals' on the platforms awaiting our arrival. They must have been awaiting our arrival, as they were waiting on the outer platforms which were once used by the Motorail services in the days of old. It appears that the local Stirling 'rag' had published a story about the planned appearance of the DPS special, and I guess that many of the locals had believed that Flying Scotsman (or similar) was arriving ! Appears that few special trains ever visit Stirling these days, despite the town being an excellent destination. Nice to see that the fine arrays of semaphore signals are still in use at Stirling, but for how much longer?
55019 at Stirling.
Once the statutory piccies of Deltic 19 under the semaphores had been taken, just about the whole train set off for the local Hogshead hostelry, which offered a fine selection of food and ale (especially so as this was Scotland!). One of the beers was 'Independence', a Perth brew which presumably commemerates the opening of first the Scottish Parliament since the early years of the 18th century.
Once the punters were watered and fed, it was back to the train to take a few more piccies of the Deltic under those semaphores. On departure the whole population of Stirling came out to wave us goodbye [not true, just added this to see if you were still awake ;-) ], and a brisk run to Edinburgh followed in heavy rain.
Once on the ECML 'proper' again, we had a slack schedule, but an otherwise clear path all the way to Newcastle. This part of the route is very interesting from the performance loggers viewpoint, as a high standard of driving skill is needed to negotiate all the speed restrictions. Very much a case of full power, then brake hard, then full power again. Shame that we could hardly hear 19 even though we were at the front of the third coach back. Deltic 9 appears to be even quieter than 19 ! Hopefully they will make more noise the more they run - this appears to be what's happened to D9000.
An unscheduled stop was made at Alnmouth station, much to the surprise of a local photographer. DPS engineer was noted walking down the platform to the locomotive, and it was later made known that Deltic 19 had suffered a minor flashover on a main generator. Affected power unit was switched off as a precaution, and then we then ran on one power unit to Newcastle. Just like the old days (tm), running behind a blue Deltic on one power unit ;-) It was good to be able to log the performance of 19 on one engine, as there is little oppertunity to record Deltics on one engine on the main line these days. Suffice it to say, we managed to reach 89mph on the downhill grade near Heaton, and managed to arrive at Newcastle Central early on our published schedule. Luckily there was a spare Deltic available on Heaton depot ;-)
We then waited for Deltic 9 to re-appear... and waited, and waited. She finally reappeared from Heaton just after our booked departure time, but hey, she now had some time to make up. Indeed the scheduled time to York was just 68 minutes with an apparent clear run, although there was an up HST booked to arrive at York just 4 minutes behind us.
With 55019 dead-in-tow once again, D9009 departed from Newcastle almost 11 minutes late. We had a slow start, and we'd only reached 82mph by Chester-Le-Street station. We finally hit the 'ton' after Ferryhill, before having to brake to 90 on the through lines at Darlington. Alycidon then demonstrated that she is still a thoroughbred racehorse (once she gets going!) on the Vale of York racetrack, and ran all the way to York on the fast lines at just over 100mph. We managed to arive at York one minute early on the schedule, and did not cause any delay to the following HST. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the day for most of the tour participents.
I baled out at Leeds, and I guess that the long crawl back to Crewe was an anti-climax after the excellent ECML thrash. Verdict another excellent Railtour. The next tour appears to be at the planning stage, so now is a good time to join the DPS, is you're not already a member.
Where do you want to go next ? Deltic to Mars ?
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