28th December 2002
(in association with Railtrails Travel Services)
The Settle & Carlisle Excursion
1Z63 : Birmingham New Street to Carlisle
1Z64 : Carlisle to Birmingham New Street
|D9016||Birmingham New Street - Sandwell & Dudley - Wolverhampton - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Stone - Stoke-on-Trent - Macclesfield - Stockport - Manchester Piccadilly - Salford Crescent - Bolton - (1) - Chorley - Preston|
|D9016||Preston - Pleasington - (1) - Blackburn - Clitheroe - Hellifield - Settle Jn - Garsdale - Petteril Bridge Jn - Carlisle|
|D9016||Carlisle - (via WCML) - Preston - (reverse of outward route) - Birmingham New Street|
(1) Booked route was direct from Bolton to Blackburn via Darwen however the train was diverted because the driver didn't know the route via Darwen. A further diversion in and out of Preston station was made to enable watering of the stock as several coaches began the day out of water or very low. With us missing the 45 minute pathing stop at Burnden Jn the diversion and and 54 minute wait at Preston did not prevent us being early through Blackburn!
Sources : Gary Thornton (joined/left the train at Sandwell
(by Gary Thornton)
Here are some photos taken during the day.
What were you doing on 14th August 1980? In my case I was on an East Midlands Railrover and my haulages that day were;
|55016||Grantham - Doncaster|
|55007||Doncaster - Grantham|
|55018||Grantham - Newark|
|55021||Newark - Cleethorpes|
|55021||Cleethorpes - Newark|
|55010||Newark - Peterborough|
|55013||Peterborough - Doncaster|
|55017||Doncaster - Grantham|
All in all quite a top day out! To date, this occasion is my one and only visit to Cleethorpes! As it turns out, this was also the last occasion I had 55016 "Gordon Highlander" on the mainline...until this day at the end of 2002!
Pathfinder chose to finish off their year with two "normals" type excursions to Carlisle, both using 55016 (a.k.a. The Purple Peril) as motive power. I chose to travel on the Saturday outing as it was from Birmingham rather than the Monday trip from Derby. My 10 seat booking was, as requested, in coach A so we could enjoy the bash from our seats. The ranks on this trip were very much boosted by Pathfinders link up with Railtrails Travel Services who had sold many seats to non-enthusiast families etc in the Manchester/Cheshire area. Some seating bays in the front coach looked more like a SAGA outing than a railtour! Maybe this is what a Pathfinder Tours leading coach will look like on a railtour in about 20 years....("Farewell to the Voyagers" perhaps...).
The advertised 07.00 start changed into a "slightly earlier than anticipated" 06.00 (Pathfinders words, not mine) - seems Vermin Trains don't like the thought of someone else's trains getting in their way at Birmingham New Street, henceforth all railtours etc must depart New Street no later than 6am!
Three of my days travelling companions turned up at my front door at about 4.40am and we headed for Sandwell & Dudley which was made comfortably for the 06.10 departure. A warning I had that the police were heavily enforcing the roadworks speed limits on the M6 between Coventry and Birmingham, and through Birmingham, seemed well founded as we saw one car pulled over and another police car patrolling the 40mph stretch, all this not long after 5am! You have been warned.
No.16 looked (despite the purple livery, which is actually growing on me as time goes on) and sounded nice as she pulled in on "load 13". Coach A was at the front so we would get the outward thrash to Carlisle (over the S&C) then be able to doss homeward in the quietness at the rear of the train. Whilst on the platform I had been told there was a slight change of plan with a diversion from Bolton to Blackburn via Chorley and the WCML as the driver didn't know the direct (booked) route via Darwen. With a 45 minute fester at Burnden Jn being avoided the diversion wouldn't however reduce the 3 hours 40 minutes at Carlisle (pity that, perhaps the only downside of this trip was having so long in Carlisle!).
Riviera Trains stock was up to its usual standard with toilets in the first two carriages already dry only a few miles into the journey! This however drove a diversion off the diversion and, instead of taking the curve at Farington Jn, we ran into Preston to reverse. Whilst here the stock was watered, the whole operation taking almost an hour but not impacting our subsequent running (we were actually 4 minutes earlier than booked through Blackburn, our next booked passing point). From previous experience, the toilets in coach A had a more severe problem than just lack of water and, as has happened before, shortly after the filling operation was completed we had our very own shower cubicle in the vestibule. It appears the water tank located in the roof has a rather large hole in it (Riviera Trains to note...again...).
A quiet journey now ensued to Carlisle, but any run over the S&C is always notable whether at the front or rear of the train. At least this meant we would have the thrash all the way home again!
Carlisle....3 hours and 40 minutes.....
Lunch in the House of Fraser restaurant took up about 75 minutes (I think we were pleased to find a queue to be served as it would fill some more time!). Three of us then wandered back to the station for some spotting & photting. Not much to report but the latter part of the wait was taken up photographing D9016 when she returned with the tour stock and ran round the train. It was however interesting to note just how wedged the Virgin Voyagers were that passed through the station - even to the point where Edinburgh passengers were told to catch a class 87-hauled train to Glasgow and change there "because of extreme overcrowding on the following Aberdeen service". If you ask me VT have made a very serious error in judgement adopting the "more frequent shorter trains" policy - bring back proper length trains at sensible intervals I say!! To persist with the current policy I suspect will end up reducing the number of passengers as I doubt many will want to repeat their bad travel experiences by rail in the future.
The journey home was quite entertaining with a very good run up Shap and quite a fast run onward to Preston, with only one quite sudden, unexplained, stop just north of Lancaster.
Trundling our way via Manchester and various shacks to set down our passengers it was noticeable that our coach was getting cooler. It appears that D9016's Electric Train Heating was no longer working. With it being a very unseasonably mild day this did not have any real effect on the passengers still on the train (many got off in the Manchester area). It does however beg the question as to why the loco engineer wasn't riding on the loco (as is usually the norm with "preserved" traction) as this is the kind of problem that could be tackled on the move rather than delaying the train en-route to try and resolve...
This tour was a good way to end 2002. What a year too....with the return of D1015 "Western Champion" and Class 40, D345, to the mainline to join the ranks of "preserved" traction now mainline approved. As the range of available traction from the likes of EWS reduces we can take time out to re-live old days of Deltics, Westerns, 40's, 50's etc on the mainline...long may they continue!
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(from Gary Thornton & Jonathan Wilcox)
|0.00||Birmingham New Street||06.00d||06.01||21.30a||21.24||203.49|
|5.28||Sandwell & Dudley||06.09a ~ 06.10d||06.12 ~ 06.15||21.18a ~ 21.19d||21.12 ~ 21.13||198.21|
|12.64||Wolverhampton||06.20a ~ 06.21d||06.25 ~ 06.28||21.05a ~ 21.08d||20.55 ~ 20.59||190.65|
|28.15||Stafford||06.36a ~ 06.38d||06.42 ~ 06.44||20.44a ~ 20.45d||20.34 ~ 20.37||175.34|
|37.20||Stone||07.00a ~ 07.04d||07.00 ~ 07.03||20.26a ~ 20.28d||20.18 ~ 20.22||166.29|
|44.28||Stoke-on-Trent||07.18a ~ 07.20d||07.13 ~ 07.20||20.13a ~ 20.15d||20.05 ~ 20.08||159.21|
|56.33||Congleton||07.36a ~ 07.38d||07.34 ~ 07.37||19.57a ~ 19.59d||19.49 ~ 19.51||147.16|
|64.25||Macclesfield||07.49a ~ 07.51d||07.48 ~ 07.54||19.44a ~ 19.46d||19.35 ~ 19.37||139.24|
|76.22||Stockport||08.06a ~ 08.08d||07.07 ~ 07.09||19.07a ~ 19.25d||19.08 ~ 19.16||127.27|
|92.60||Burnden Jn||08*43a ~ 09*31d||DIV||---||18/27||110.69|
|???.??||Preston||DIV||09.06a ~ 10.00d|
|157.01||Garsdale||11.47a ~ 12.04d||11.40 ~ 12.03|
|200.01||Low House Crossing||12/51||??/??|
|207.38||Petteril Bridge Jn||13/01||12/58|
|Carlisle||13.06a ~ 16.40d||13.02 ~ 16.40|
|50.01||Oxenholme Lake District||17/28||17/26|
Timings continue in first table.
a : arrival time
d : departure time
* : operational stop
/ : passing time
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. The above mileages also take no account of the diversion via Preston in the morning. Steve Goulden has calculated the effect of the diversion and I agree with his figures...based on the tour brochure to Bolton then from Blackburn the outward journey became as follows;
Birmingham New Street to Preston : 113m 42ch
Preston to Carlisle : 113m 26ch
Back to "The Railtour Files"