(17th) - 18th May 2002
(in association with Pathfinder Tours)
The Rhins & Machars Crompton
|Locos Used||33021, 33108 & 56106|
1Z33 : Crewe to Glasgow Central
1Z34 : Glasgow Central to Crewe
|33021 + 33108||Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford - Rugeley Jn - Bloxwich - Walsall - Bescot Stadium - Perry Barr North Jn - Aston - Stechford - Birmingham International|
|33108 + 33021||Birmingham International - Stechford - Proof House Jn - Birmingham New Street - Galton Jn - Dudley Port - Wolverhampton - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Crewe - (via WCML) - Lostock Hall Jn - Blackburn - Clitheroe - Hellifield - Settle Jn - (via S&C) - Carlisle - Gretna Jn - Kirkconnel - Mauchline Jn - Annbank Jn - Newton Jn - Falkland Yard|
|33108 + 33021 (1)||Falkland Yard - Barassie Jn - Byrehill Jn - Dubbs Jn - Largs|
|56106 (2)||Largs - Dubbs Jn - Byrehill Jn - Barassie Jn - Ayr - Girvan - Stranraer Harbour|
|33021 + 33108 (1)||Stranraer Harbour - Girvan - Ayr - Falkland Yard|
|33108 + 33021||Falkland Yard - Barassie Jn - Byrehill Jn - Paisley Gilmour Street - Shields Jn - (via City Union line and "through siding" past Smithy Lye sidings) - Glasgow Central|
|33108 + 33021||Glasgow Central - (via WCML) - Crewe|
|33108 (3)||Crewe - Norton Bridge - Stafford|
|33108 + 33021||Stafford - Bushbury Jn - Wolverhampton - Portobello Jn - Bescot Stadium - Perry Barr North Jn - Aston - Birmingham New Street - (4) - Soho South Jn - (4) - Perry Barr North Jn - Bescot Stadium - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Crewe|
(1) 56106 on rear.
(2) 33108 + 33021 on rear.
(3) 33021 was shut down between Crewe and Stafford to rectify a technical fault.
(4) Booked route was to have reversed at New Street and travelled back via Proof House Junction & Aston to Perry Barr North Jn.
Source : Gary Thornton
(on the train throughout)
(by Gary Thornton)
Here are some photos taken on the day of the locomotives used.
My second overnight railtour to Scotland in three weeks! By comparison the the last one however this stood to be far more interesting on account of the motive power - a pair of Class 33's there and back with a 56 over part of the route. My booking went in as part of a much larger group (twenty-plus) with the usual request to be seated at the "sharp end" for the thrash. Timings were interesting in that the train started at Crewe and called there again later on it's way after heading to Birmingham and back. A similar choice of leaving time was offered by the reverse move on the way south.
So it was that I found myself in Crewe late on the Friday afternoon, ready for 18.32, the first departure time. The 33's (021 "Eastleigh" and 108 "Vampire") were viewed in process of fuelling on the adjacent diesel depot. By the time they wended their way over to the carriage sidings it was looking likely that an on-time departure wasn't to be.
It wasn't! Crewe station was rather busy so the 33's had to wait it out for a path to scurry across the layout into platform 12 and then to run-round. No matter, once the stock arrived I found a seat in a four-bay in coach L amongst our group. Three colleagues Stuart, Paul & Miggy were to be joining me at Birmingham International, Stafford and Crewe (second time round) respectively. Nice to find our coach was the leading one out of Crewe - OK that would put us at the rear for the run north (overnight, so at least quiet enough to let us get some kip) then at the front for the 56 which would haul the train from Largs to Stranraer.
We finally got away at 19.07 against the booked 18.32 - the time however being useful as I'd managed to score 66516, two 175's and a Super Voyager ("supermarket") since I'd arrived on the station. 33021 & 33108 made plenty of noise as we headed off southwards to Birmingham. The route was via Stafford and Rugeley then Cannock Chase, Bescot and Aston to Birmingham International. Our time keeping took a further knock at Hednesford as we got stuck behind a local train - all too soon we'd achieved "Railtour Standard Time" (RST) i.e. an hour late!
Various exchanges of phone calls and text messages helped keep those yet to join abreast of our progress, or rather, lack of! After a much enjoyed thrash we finally arrived into International station at 21.29, 63 minutes late. The run-round managed to take longer than planned so we departed yet a few more minutes late! Never mind, it was a long night and day ahead of us, plenty of time for things to improve, deteriorate, improve etc.
About New Street Stuart received a text message from Miggy - he was taking orders for kebabs! Our requirements were duly texted back and we arrived at Crewe to be greeted by Miggy complete with our order - to marks that man!! A couple of beers, one kebab and another couple of beers later and I left the land of the awake around midnight, somewhere north of Wigan. By daylight we should have travelled via the Settle & Carlisle and Glasgow & South Western lines and be somewhere around Ayr.
My recollections of the dark hours were quite limited - but the best was waking as we pulled into Dent where we had a short stop booked to take on board fresh beer supplies - this being at a little before 1am I hasten to add! In the event it was on the approaches to 3am. I wandered to a door for a look out, opened the window and discovered it was blowing somewhat of a gale outside! The fact several punters actually joined the train at Dent too must make for one of the more unusual joining points for an enthusiast railtour! I'll bet they had a cold wait for us too!!
I vaguely remember Carlisle, then I came too as we were getting close to Ayr, having travelled over the line through Annbank. We were routed into the yard at Falkland where 56106 was duly appended to the back end of our train. Being as it wasn't required for a while yet the driver shut down the engine. We carried on northwards towards Glasgow, but turning off to take the "commuter" branch to Largs. A nice move that as I required the side of the triangle onto the Largs line.
Being at the back of the train we never actually saw Largs station, the train being much too long for the platforms. It was now around 6.30am and things got a bit louder again for us as 56106 chugged into life and proceeded to cover Largs in a cloud of white exhaust as we set off again.
I should point out at this stage that the grid was my second required loco on this tour, 33108 being the other. It should also be commented that both 33's had performed well to this point - a surprise to some I suspect, but probably not to those involved in their restoration and return to mainline use. I have to admit those of us in coach L had organised a sweepstake based on predicting when each of the 33's might fail...many of us having lost our money already!
We retraced our steps towards Ayr, then continued southwards all the way to Stranraer Harbour. I pity anyone who missed the thrash along this stage of the tour - I spent most of it in the front vestibule with an ear at the window (me, hang out of a window...no, never...). Being a wet morning the many stops we had to endure for the single line working meant quite a bit of wheelslip and careful driving was required. On the long climbing stretches the 56 really got going - though a strange heavy beat to the engine led some to comment they thought we had a steam loco up front!!
Although we were given time at Stranraer to photograph the locos, the location wasn't exactly one of the better ones. Some people used the opportunity to get of the train to walk up to the buffet car and get the days first beer in. We departed at 09.07 (I hasten to add, my first beer wasn't until sometime later, though not that much later!).
Another case of retracing our steps, as far as Falkland Yard where we lost 56106. A late arrival but almost one hour fester meant we actually departed "right time" - the first time on this tour that we'd not been late! Our thrash to Glasgow was such that an early arrival was secured, and that after a small diversion at Shields Junction over the non-passenger track round the back of Smithy Lye sidings - required track for quite a few on board I'd guess (including me).
We had about two and a half hours in Glasgow. After a fodder break (it was lunchtime by now) I used the break as an opportunity to score some of my outstanding 334's for sight, as well as photographing some of the remaining orange SPT liveried Class 314 units.
The tour stock came back in to the station behind 90016, a required loco for haulage for me. As I'd been told, the stock had been reversed by taking the train via Shields Road to Polmadie where it had been serviced. This was done to keep the 33's at the end where the share holders and hangers-on of 3311 Charters and The Class 33/1Preservation Society were sat. A shame for those of us in the rear of the train - we'd have to wait until Birmingham New Street another 300-odd miles away before we'd get the shredders back on our end of the train. Worth giving credit to those who serviced the train - they did a much better job than those on many railtours I travel on, several blocked toilets for example having been unblocked and thoroughly cleaned during the layover at Polmadie. Other railtour operators please take note!!!
The run south was a simple one straight down (sorry, up) the West Coast Main Line. Carlisle brought the amusement of three railtours in the vicinity at the same time. We passed Deltic D9000 in the yards to the north, it was on a Cleethorpes to Carlisle railtour then we arrived to see a steam-hauled tour just leaving. D9000 rolled in with the stock for that tour then we followed the kettle tour out along the WCML.
All credit to the locos concerned (4936 "Kinlet Hall" and 4965 "Rood Aston Hall") as we never caught them up, nor seemed to be slowed for them much at any stage.
Our next bout of amusement was at Carnforth where we were pathed into the loop to allow a Virgin service past - the kettle-ex being already looped on the other side of the mainline to us. Some friendly banter was shouted across the gap between the trains. We departed first so quite a bit more banter was exchanged (though I didn't hear that much coming from the steam tour participants now I come to think of it) as we left them still sitting. I heard a rumour that they had suffered a hot axlebox on one of the locos, but that wasn't confirmed. (Several people have contacted me since to say neither loco had suffered a "hot box", it was a planned water-stop. I stand corrected).
A cheer went up as we passed through Wigan North Western - the infamous "spinning dog" was seen on the platform, doing exactly as it's name suggests!!
Despite having been on the train some 24 hours by now I was still quite perky so decided to "go the whole hog" and stay on for the run to Birmingham and back. On leaving Crewe I noticed the acceleration away was somewhat lack-lustre. It soon became evident why, 33021 had been shut down to affect some technical repair or other. All being well it was anticipated the loco would be restarted at Stafford.
It was. Acceleration away towards Wolverhampton was somewhat more swift than the attempt to escape from Crewe! Our routing to New Street was the "usual" railtour one after a Wolverhampton stop of going via Bescot, Aston and Proof House Junction. We pulled into New Street about on time. Here the Cromptons were booked to run round because engineering works were restricting our options. With no apparent activity to get them run-round we soon realised we were in fact heading homeward via Soho and Bescot. Bags were grabbed and we made for the other end of the train - after about 600 silent miles we wanted to hear some more thrash from the pair! Seats were available in the second coach and 33021/33108 performed well all the way back to Crewe - time saved by not having the run-round meant we were 15 early home too! We were though held at Bushbury Junction for a couple of minutes as a pair of Fragonset 31's passed us, hauling the already seen (and commented on) kettle-ex on it's way homeward.
Verdict : An excellent 27 hours out on the bash! I had a very "profitable" day scoring some track, two locos for haulage and several 66/5's, a couple of 175's, several Voyagers and half a dozen 334's for sight. Both 33's performed well and it was pleasing not to have to report one failing beyond repair on the day (33021's shutdown could best be described as a technical failure as, had it not been shut-down when it was, a failure was on the cards). 56106's performance was worth being "up front" for, just a shame maybe that those of us in L didn't get more time with the 33's at our end of the train.
Well done still to all those people involved in the trains organisation and on the day running.
Timings (Booked and Actual)
(by Gary Thornton)
|1.64||Basford Hall Jn||18/38||19/11|
|33.41||Rugeley North Jn||19/15||(19.44a) ~ 19.54d|
|39.18||Hednesford||19/33||20.30a ~ 20.44d|
|55.11||Perry Barr North Jn||20/11||21/11|
|Birmingham International||20.26a ~ 20.46d||21.29 ~ 21.52|
|7.44||Proof House Jn||20/57||22/01|
|8.18||Birmingham New Street||20.59a ~ 21.13d||22.03 ~ 22.08|
|10.19||Soho South Jn||21/18||22/13|
|21.02||Wolverhampton||21.32a ~ 21.34d||22.25 ~ 22.28|
|21.45||Wolverhampton North Jn||21/37||22/29|
|36.33||Stafford||21.50a ~ 21.51d||21.44 ~ 21.45|
|60.70||Crewe||22.22a ~ 22.29d||23.12 ~ 23.17|
|61.48||Crewe Coal Yard Jn||22/32||(23.20)|
|83.14||Acton Grange Jn||22/48||??/??|
|85.01||Warrington Bank Quay||22/50||23/42|
|95.32||Springs Branch Jn||23/01||??/??|
|96.61||Wigan North Western||23/02||23/57|
|104.32||Balshaw Lane Jn||23/09||zzz|
|110.08||Lostock Hall Jn||23/20||zzz|
|163.61||Dent||00*44a ~ 00*52d||01.54 ~ 01.56|
|210.04||Low House Crossing SB||01/43||zzz|
|217.41||Petteril Bridge Jn||01/53||zzz|
|217.60||Carlisle London Road Jn||01/54||(03/00)|
|218.33||Carlisle||01.57a ~ 02.52d||03.03 ~ 03.33|
|311.07||Newton Jn||04/41||05.17a ~ 05.19d|
|311.20||Falkland Yard||04L44a ~ 05L19d||05.24 ~ 05.37|
|329.27||Ardrossan South Beach||05/40||06/06|
|Largs||05.55a ~ 06.00d||06.23 ~ 06.32|
|11.49||Ardrossan South Beach||06/14||06/46|
|28.60||Newton on Ayr||06/33||07/07|
|43.33||Kilkerran||06x52a ~ 06x55d||07/27|
|51.32||Girvan||07t07||07.38a ~ 07.39d|
|63.52||Barrhill||07x32a ~ 07x44d||08/07|
|Stranraer Harbour||08.25a ~ 08.55d||08.48 ~ 09.07|
|17.42||Glenwhilly||08x56a ~ 08x58d||09/33|
|46.16||Kilkerran||09x46a ~ 10x00d||10/20|
|60.65||Falkland Yard||10L25a ~ 11L20d||10.41 ~ 11.20|
|93.63||Paisley Gilmour Street||12/09||11/57|
|99.30||Shields Jn||12/15||12.06a ~ 12.09d|
|Glasgow Central||12.19a ~ 14.45d||12.17 ~ 14.48|
|0.68||Eglington St Jn||14/48||14/50|
|3.75||Rutherglen East Jn||14/53||14/54|
|28.64||Carstairs South Jn||15/22||zzz|
|102.27||Carlisle||16*26a ~ 16*38d||16.22 ~ 16.38|
|165.28||Carnforth North Jn||17/47||17/53|
|165.44||Carnforth UPL||17*49a ~ 18*04d||17.54 ~ 18.06|
|169.44||Morecambe South Jn||18/9||18/12|
|192.34||Preston||18c31a ~ 18c33d||18.36 ~ 18.39|
|199.73||Balshaw Jane Jn||18/43||18/48|
|207.44||Wigan North Western||18*51a ~ 18*59d||18/58|
|207.58||Wigan Station Jn||19/01||18/58|
|208.73||Springs Branch Jn||19/02||18/59|
|219.24||Warrington Bank Quay||19/11||19/08|
|221.11||Acton Grange Jn||19/12||19/09|
|226.15||Weaver Jn SB||19/19||19/14|
|242.57||Crewe Coal Yard Jn||19/36||19/30|
|243.35||Crewe||19.37a ~ 19.39d||19.32 ~ 19.36|
|245.19||Basford Hall Jn||19/45||19/40|
|267.72||Stafford||20.14a ~ 20.15d||20.08 ~ 20.12|
|282.60||Wolverhampton North Jn||2/29||20/30|
|283.23||Wolverhampton||20.32a ~ 20.34d||20.32 ~ 20.34|
|293.61||Perry Barr North Jn||20/49||20/47|
|298.03||Proof House Jn||21/00||20/56|
|Birmingham New Street||21R03a ~ 21R22d||21.01 ~ 21.06|
|0.56||Proof House Jn||21/25||DIV|
|?.?||Soho South Jn||DIV||21/12|
|4.78||Perry Barr North Jn||21/36||21.17a ~ 21.19d|
|16.20||Bushbury Jn||21/49||21.34a ~ 21.36d|
|54.42||Basford Hall Jn||22/25||22/10|
a : arrival time
c : crew change
d : departure time
DIV : diverted
L : loco change
R : loco run-round
t : token collection/drop off
x : crossing other train on single line
zzz : asleep!
* : operational stop
/ : passing time
A time or mileage in brackets is approximate.
All distances, in miles and chains (M & C), are taken
from the timing sheet given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify
the mileages given and those back from Birmingham New Street on Saturday night
need require adjusting to account for the diversion.
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