Railtour Archive 2008-09
Ealing Broadway - Reading - Didcot Parkway - Oxford - Banbury - Leamington Spa - Coventry - Birmingham Intl - Birmingham New Street - Stafford - Crewe - Chester - Llandudno Junc - Holyhead - Llandudno Junc - Chester - Warrington Bank Quay - Manchester Victoria - Ashton Moss North Junc - Denton Junc - Stockport - Macclesfield - Stoke on Trent - Stafford - Birmingham New Street - Birmingham Intl - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Banbury - Oxford - Didcot Parkway - Reading - Ealing Broadway
Due to the current ban on the operation of diesel hauled railtours in the Irish Republic, ITG Railtours took the opportunity to operate its first mainland UK railtour. D1015 was the chosen motive power running from Ealing Broadway to Holyhead, the destination of the original 'Irish Mail' boat train, returning via Manchester Victoria and Stoke on Trent.
The weather was cold and misty as we departed Ealing Broadway and it wasn't until North of Crewe that the sun finally came out. Following a scheduled photo stop at Rhyl we quickly sped along the North Wales coast and an on time arrival at Holyhead was easily achieved. A break of 90 minutes at Holyhead was enough to refuel the loco and water the stock while the tour participants had excellent weather in which to photograph the loco.
The return departed at 15:15 and this time the photo stop was at Bangor. One of the highlights of the tour was Manchester Victoria with the engine opened up fully through the station although the anticipated assault of Miles Platting Bank was something of an anti climax with the loco hardly breaking sweat. Much of the schedule during the day was very slack but the tour was finished off in style with some high speed running up the Thames valley resulting in Ealing Broadway being reached 20 minutes ahead of schedule. A first class day out and a notable success for the ITG.
Paddington - Reading - Westbury - Exeter - Plymouth - Bodmin Parkway - Penzance - Exeter - Bristol Temple Meads - Bristol Parkway - Reading - Paddington
To the purist the Paddington-Penzance return trip is what travelling behind a Thousand is all about. The train departed Paddington close to time at 07:12 and set out on a sluggish trip to Reading, dogged by some esoteric train regulating and ultimately getting held outside because the HST that we had let pass suffered door problems. However once we had picked up a good number of passengers at Reading D1015 got into it's stride as we headed westward.
The generous pathing stop and crew change at Westbury allowed any lost time to be made up and the tour kept good time for the remainder of the day. The sunny weather brought the photographers out and most vantage points were occupied by camera and camcorder toting enthusiasts. Plymouth saw a 30 minute wait for time and Penzance was reached as per schedule as was the stop en route at Bodmin Road to let off visitors to the Bodmin Diesel gala. D1015 ran wearing the number and nameplates on one side as D1068 'Western Reliance', this is in association with a promotion that the DTG runs enabling travellers to purchase a replica nameplate and have them carried on the loco.
Smart work at Penzance saw the Loco fuelled and the stock serviced during a relatively short 90 minute break. Another prompt departure and excellent running was typical of the return which this time was not via the 'Desert' but Bristol Temple Meads and Hullavington. Our on train timer reported several records during the day including the fastest ascent of Hemerdon and the fastest time to Cowley Bridge from the stop at Exeter. The leisurely hour given for Reading-Paddington was brushed aside and a 30 minute early arrival capped off a truly excellent day.
Tame Bridge Parkway - Sandwell & Dudley - Birmingham New Street - Wolverhampton - Crewe - Preston - Shap - Hexham - Newcastle - Edinburgh
Edinburgh - Polmont - Coatbridge - Motherwell - Beattock - Carlisle - Preston - Crewe - Wolverhampton - Birmingham New Street - Tame Bridge Parkway
In sharp contrast to the previous tour the Western Scot covered anything but familiar territory for the Class 52's. I doubt if Tame Bridge Parkway has seen quite so many passengers for one train before and especially not at 5 o'clock in the morning! The mood was one of anticipation for this, the most ambitious D1015 tour so far, a round trip of over 700 miles heading North of the Scottish Border.
Departure was a few minutes late but the curse of railtour regulating was not to afflict the Western Scot, throughout the day the tour was pretty much to time. After picking up in the Birmingham area and up to and including Preston, the route North was via the West Coast Main Line. D1015, to the best of my knowledge, was the first Western to climb Shap since running in trials for the Crewe members of the Class in the early 60's. Shap was taken with little fuss and the summit breasted at a creditable 43 mph with load 13. Instead of continuing North into Carlisle the train was routed via the scenic Tyne Valley to Newcastle along which the sharp eyed would have spotted the remains of Hadrians Wall.
A brief stop at Newcastle was followed by some spirited running North and the next landmark, the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick. Arrival in Edinburgh was to schedule and crowds flocked to the end of the platform to appreciate the incredible sight of a Western Region Hydraulic at Edinburgh Waverley. Following D1015's departure to Millerhill for fuel and servicing in a cacophony of screaming Maybachs and black clag, the contented passengers retired to the shops and public houses of Scotlands capital for a three hour break. Departure, once again, was prompt as our train this time headed West towards Scotland's other major city, Glasgow.
The route was via Falkirk before skirting the East side of Glasgow and then rejoining the West Coast Main Line at Motherwell. The more direct route to Carstairs via Cobbinshaw had been precluded due to engineering work. As the day drew slowly to a close as we headed South the pre-tour poor weather forecast was proved totally false as we were treated to a splendid sunset and beautiful scenery. D1015 performed flawlessly throughout and certainly made a few more friends and admirers along the way. This was the first visit of a Class 52 to Scotland but considering the success of the tour and the way the locomotive was received it may not be the last.....
Salisbury - Warminster - Trowbridge - Bath Spa - Bristol Temple Meads (Run Round) Bristol Parkway - Cheltenham Spa - Barnt Green - Birmingham New Street - Wolverhampton - Stafford - Crewe - Liverpool Lime Street
Liverpool Lime Street - Crewe - Stafford - Wolverhampton - Birmingham New Street - Barnt Green - Cheltenham Spa - Bristol Parkway - Dr Days Junction - Bath Spa - Trowbridge - Warminster - Salisbury
D1015 made the first ever visit of a Class 52 to Liverpool hauling Pathfinder's "The Festival of the Sea" railtour to the European Capital of Culture.
Departure from Salisbury was around five minutes late due to some late arrivng passengers however, D1015 quickly got into her stride and pathing for the trip allowed 30 minutes for a run around at Bristol Temple Meads. A Spirited departure followed with a stunning assault of the 'Lickey' incline in which the speed never decreased below 30mph. After a crew change at Birmingham New Street we arrived on time in Liverpool allowing passengers six hours in which to enjoy Liverpool's Festival of the Sea - The Parade of Sail event.
In late afternoon sunshine we departed on time from Liverpool for the return journey to Salisbury, after dropping passengers at Bath Spa we were delayed due to a broken window in one of the toilets at the back of the train and awaiting a route conductor to join the crew, this led to us arriving 15 minutes late back in Salisbury. All in all another superb railtour with D1015.
Bristol Temple Meads - Nailsea and Blackwell - Yatton - Weston-Super-Mare
Taunton - Exeter - Kingswear and return
After an absence of three years D1015 made a return to Kingswear by working Past Time Rails 'The Dartmouth Arrow' railtour, taking passengers to the Royal Port of Dartmouth Regatta. Following a mid-morning departure from Bristol Temple Meads D1015 soon got into it's stride as we headed westward.
The loco ran wearing the number and nameplates on one side as D1005 'Western Venturer', this is in association with a promotion that the DTG runs enabling travellers to purchase a replica nameplate and have them carried on Western Champion.
After arrival at Kingswear passengers had a five and a half hour break to enjoy the Kingswear Regatta with the main highlight being a fly past over the Port by the RAF Red Arrows. We departed Kingswear for Bristol at 19:00 and after some spirited running notably along the sea wall arrived back on time at Bristol Temple Meads.
London Liverpool Street - Cheshunt - Harlow - Cambridge - Ely - Thetford - Wensum Curve - Great Yarmouth (Run round) - Norwich (Run round) - Diss - Ipswich - Colchester - Shenfield - Stratford - London Liverpool Street
To Conclude the 2008 Railtour Program, yet another first for D1015 by becoming the first Class 52 Western to haul a train to East Anglia and from London Liverpool Street. The tour originally started from Swindon and was Class 67 hauled to Liverpool Street where D1015 took charge for the run to Yarmouth and Norwich. This train was very well supported with tour passengers on board in festive mood. Once again the DTG Nameplate offer was taken up by a traveller and D1015 ran wearing replica name and number plates on one side as D1032 'Western Marksman'.
As a tribute to Chris Broadhurst who recently passed away the loco ran wearing a wreath attached to the left hand side lamp bracket, and a photo stop at Ely saw a seminar photo taken of friends of Chris.
Upon arrival at Great Yarmouth, there followed a short break before D1015 ran around its train to take the charter to Norwich following another break we departed for London Liverpool Street, on the return journey following a crew change at Witham there was a round of applause and a blast on the horn by driver Middleton before applying full power to the power handle in memory of Chris Broadhurst. More spirited running saw us arrive more than 30 minutes early at London Liverpool Street.
For Detailed Timings of D1015's run back from Norwich to London Liverpool Street see Richard White's timing log, available to view as a PDF file. To view or download please click here.
Paddington - Slough - Reading - Didcot Parkway - Swindon - Westbury
Light engine to Par then - Par - Bodmin Parkway - Exeter - Taunton - Westbury
Newbury - Reading - Slough - Paddington
Following the new transmission being fitted into D1015 back in January, its first tour of 2009 saw the loco visit Cornwall, booked to work the Diesel leg of The Railway Touring companys 'Royal Duchy' Railtour. On a bright and sunny day we departed Paddington and D1015 made light work of the run to Westbury via Swindon and Melksham.
At Westbury the train was handed over to Steam locomotives 5029 Nunney Castle and 70013 Oliver Cromwell to go forward to Par, 5029 Nunney Castle developed a tender problem between Exeter and Newton Abbot and after being removed at Newton Abbot D1015 performed a rescue act after being sent from Laira and coupled up to 70013 Oliver Cromwell to take the train forward to Par.
D1015 was uncoupled and following a swift run-around departed for London Paddington, some superb running turned a late tour into a 7 minute early arrival into the capital.
Bristol Temple Meads - Taunton - Plymouth - Penzance (Break)
Penzance - Plymouth - Exeter - Bristol
Following the Royal Duchy Railtour D1015 returned to Cornwall working the Diesel Leg of "The Great Britain II" a tour that had started the previous day from London Victoria steam hauled to Bristol. This trip is eight days long and travels from Penzance to Kyle of Lochlash.
Again the weather in the South West was kind to us and we departed Bristol Temple Meads at 07:45 in glorious sunshine, D1015 was again in fine form making light work of the Devon Banks before storming through Cornwall to reach Penzance on time to hand the tour over to steam engines 34067 Tangmere and 70013 Oliver Cromwell who worked the return journey to Bristol Temple Meads.
Upon Arrival at Penzance D1015 propelled the stock out of the station before being coupled to a support vehicle and working 5T09 13:20 Penzance to Bristol before retiring on shed to Bristol Barton Hill.
(Bristol - Birmingham) - Bescot - Crewe - Carlisle - Mossend - Perth - Inverness
This tour was the most ambitious attempted by D1015, over 1,250 miles including positioning moves, from its new home at DBS Eastleigh to the North West coast of Scotland and back. The tour started at 07:03 on the Friday morning from Bristol behind 'Royal' Class 67, 67005. After picking up at Cheltenham, Worcester and New Street D1015 took over from the 'skip' at Bescot for the daunting 455 mile run to Inverness. The tour picked up along the West Coast main line to Carlisle before crossing the border into Scotland for only the second time, however this time not for a brief flirtation but the real McCoy to the Highland Capital of Inverness. The locomotive performed impeccably all day and the Highland mainline was dispatched with consummate ease, including the challenging climb to Druimachdar. Apart from a brief shower at Dalwhinnie the weather had been kind and the tour participants retired to their hotels in Inverness hoping that the following day would bring more of the same.
Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh - Inverness
Saturday morning saw a very sociable departure time of 11:23 and there was plenty of time for a relaxed breakfast and a look around Inverness. Departure, like virtually the whole weekend, was pretty much to time and the scenic trip to Kyle started in pleasant weather and only got better as we headed West. Arrival at Kyle was around 2:30pm and D1015 had reached its ultimate destination, the loco had been breaking new ground since Larbert the day before but the sight of a 'Thousand' with the Isle of Skye in the background was quite surreal. Our passengers now had the luxury of a four hour break to enjoy the veritably tropical West Highland weather, sink a pint or two, eat a meal and generally enjoy the beauty of the setting. Return was again to time and without incident arriving back in Inverness around 10pm.
Inverness - Perth - Cardenden - Edinburgh - Suburban Lines - Carstairs East to South Junction - Carlisle - Crewe - Bescot - Birmingham - (Bristol)
10:20am on Sunday saw our final departure from Inverness as it was time to head South. Impressive as ever, 'Champion' made light work of the climb to Slochd Summit as the twin Maybachs disturbed the peace of a quiet Highland Sunday morning. After a photo stop at Aviemore D1015 set about the southbound assault of Druimachdar, a notice on Aviemore station had stated 'No Loitering' and this seemed to have been heeded as Druimachdar was topped with ease.
The stop at Perth revealed that we had a coolant leak on the leading engine but the engineers were confident it wouldn't be a problem. However things got worse as we headed towards Edinburgh and the engine was shut down to try and effect a repair. As the passengers sat back and enjoyed the view from the world famous Forth Bridge, it was anything but relaxed in the engine room as DTG Engineers, Williams and Vial, attempted to sort out the coolant leak.
Departure from Edinburgh saw the loco only a few minutes late and back on two engines, a successful repair having been carried out with minimum disruption and few on the train realising that anything was amiss. The remainder of the journey South was without mishap and the train was back on time by Preston. As 66206 relieved D1015 at New Street the job was done and D1015's most ambitious tour had proved to be a massive success.
More than a few have declared this tour the best one that they have ever travelled on and on reflection they may very well be right!
Paddington - Reading - Westbury - Taunton - Bishops Lydeard - Minehead and return
After visiting Inverness and Kyle D1015 returned to the West Country being utilised by GBRF to work a Special GBRF 10th Anniversary charter. Departure from the Capital was at a civilised 08:24 picking up further passengers at Reading and Westbury with a final pick up on the West Somerset Railway at Bishops Lydeard.
Heavy rain greeted us upon our arrival on the West Somerset Railway and the weather remained humid and overcast for the rest of the day. Hymek D7017 was put to work on the 13:15 Minehead to Bishops Lydeard replacing the booked DMU Diagram, many railtour passengers took advantage of this and did a round trip before we departed Minehead at 18:10 back up the Berks and Hants line arriving right time at London Paddington.
Didcot - Oxford - Banbury - Leamington Spa - Coventry - Bescot
Crewe - Llandudno - Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno - Crewe - Alsager - Stoke-on-Trent - Colwich - Cannock - Bescot - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Banbury - Oxford - Didcot
It was an early start for many as they made their way to Didcot Parkway for an 06:30 departure to the North Wales slate capital of Blaenau Ffestiniog. D1015 had travelled up overnight with its 9 coach rake of Riviera stock and DTG engineer Andy Venn had worked the graveyard shift to ensure that the loco was prepared for the journey ahead. The weather was mild and although not a 'scorcher' was pleasant enough throughout the day. After departing Didcot the train picked up at Oxford, Banbury, Leamington, Coventry, Birmingham International and finally Tame Bridge Parkway.
The schedule was hardly punishing and there was an extended break of around half an hour at Birmingham International for pathing purposes, D1015 comfortably kept time. After a final crew change at Crewe we set out along the North Wales coast, unlike some coastal stretches in the UK the North Wales coast is hardly scenic and one of it's most prolific features are caravans! At Llandudno Junction D1015 ran around its stock in order to take the steeply graded branch to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The climb up to Blaenau was taken in its stride by D1015 and I am told that the driver commented that it was all a bit too easy compared to runs he had had up there with other traction!
A break of 3 hours in Blaenau was more than adequate for those who didn't choose to take a trip on the narrow gauge steam railway. The pub did a roaring trade but even with the arrival of an excursion full of people Blaenau was not exactly busy, Morrissey's "Everyday is like Sunday" came to mind more than once!
The return journey departed on time and D1015 retraced its steps as far as Crewe where we took the Stoke line via Alsager, a first for D1015 in preservation. The journey south was via Cannock, another new bit of track, before rejoining the outward route at Bescot. Arrival at Didcot was on time and another successful D1015 tour was completed.
Kings Cross - Potters Bar - Stevenage - Peterborough - York - Scarborough
Scarborough - Driffield - Beverley - Hessle - Gilberdyke - Selby - York
York - Peterborough - Stevenage - Potters Bar - Kings Cross
After having successfully received attention to a cracked cylinder head D1015 was once again at the head of a tour, this time heading North out of Kings Cross with York and Scarborough as the destinations. This was the first time a Western had worked out of Kings Cross since D1023 Western Fusilier did the honours on the 20th November 1976.
It had rained for days and it was therefore a pleasant change that the journey Northwards was made in excellent weather, picking up at Potters Bar, Stevenage and Peterborough. The journey to York was uneventful and arrival was roughly on time. Many of our tour participants left for a day fighting the Christmas crowds around York but these were replaced by many more who joined for the trip to Scarborough.
The line from York direct to Scarborough and then back via Hull and Selby was, unsurprisingly, new for a Class 52 Western and the photographers were once again out in force. Arrival in Scarborough was around midday and there was a good three and a half hour break for the local shops and hostelries to be enjoyed.
The trip back down the coast to Hull was made at a leisurely restricted 45mph and after a brief stop at Bridlington the remainder of the journey was in darkness. Arrival and departure at York was a few minutes late but some spirited running up the East Coast soon put that to rights. The highlight of the journey was a fast and noisy run through the centre road at Doncaster.
Arrival back at Kings Cross signalled the end of another successful D1015 tour and brought the curtain down on our programme for 2009.