Railtour Archive 2010
Bristol - Cheltenham - Birmingham New Street - Lichfield - Derby - Chesterfield - Wakefield - Huddersfield - Standedge - Denton - Stockport - Buxton
After a long spell of fine weather, virtually from the minute the ECS left Eastleigh, the blue skies deserted us and the tour was run under leaden skies and frequent rain. However, despite this, most on board appeared to be in good spirits, glad to see old friends again after the Winter break and enjoy some Maybach Music.
Good time was kept as far as Birmingham including the now customary solid climb up the Lickey. However our departure from Birmingham was delayed by the closure of the main line to Derby due to an earlier train striking objects placed on the line. Delayed 30 minutes awaiting a pilotman we departed North and took the line via Lichfield to join our booked route at Wichnor Junction.
Bizarely our last pick up point, Chesterfield, was also a set down point for those who had opted for a visit to Chatsworth House and a coach tour of the Peak District. The train avoided Sheffield via the Old Road to Rotherham and then on to Wakefield for a crew change before blowing the platform roof off at Huddersfield. The picturesque climb up to Standedge was taken very much in D1015's stride. It was noted that many of the dark satanic mills had been turned into some very plush, and no doubt expensive, apartments, what would the workers of the industrial revolution have thought?
Much of the lost time had been recovered by Denton allowing us to make the scheduled photo stop, this station boasts one service train a week! The climb up to Buxton was somewhat stop and start as we followed a local service but our elegant Spa destination was still reached reasonably close to time.
Buxton - Great Rocks - Chinley - Chesterfield - Derby - Birmingham New Street - Cheltenham - Gloucester - Bristol
After a relaxing break of around 3 hours we set off on the return run, this time via the freight route to Chinley via Great Rocks. This necessitated the loco to run around the train a short distance outside Buxton before we wended our way around the Peak District under brooding skies. Once back on the mainline at Chinley the tour picked up pace again and Chesterfield was reached in good time. With the main line South of Derby now open again, and with some spirited running, arrival at New Street was 30 minutes ahead of schedule but unfortunately the inflexible powers that be dictated that we stand until our booked departure time.
Due to planned engineering work the train reversed in Gloucester before heading South on the final leg and depositing the remaining weary but happy travellers at Bristol Temple Meads.
Paddington - Bath - Bristol - Exeter (Steam to Penzance)
Penzance - Exeter - Bristol - Bath - Paddington
A repeat of last years two engagements for the Railway Touring Company. On the Saturday D1015 did the diesel honours on The Royal Duchy, a traditional out and back from Paddington to Penzance, this time via Bristol. A sell out train with a waiting list, this popular itinerary required an 11 coach formation and a West Coast Class 47 at the rear for heat - an equivalent of over load 14. D1015 was more than equal to the task and timing was good throughout.
The tour put steam locomotives 44871 and 70013 Oliver Cromwell in position in the West Country for the Great Britain III tour and following the tour D1015 was stabled at Southall before travelling Light Diesel to Bristol on the Monday.
Bristol - Plymouth
Following the Royal Duchy Railtour, D1015 worked the diesel leg of the Great Britain III tour from Bristol to Plymouth. Originally intended to be the Penzance leg, impending industrial action had caused the foreshortening of the schedule, although the strike was called off before the day.
D1015 once again acquitted itself in fine style, although to be fair the schedule was not exactly onerous. At Plymouth there was a break of two and a half hours before the train was returned to Bristol by steam locomotives 44871 and 70013 Oliver Cromwell.
Crewe - Penzance
Birmingham International - Swindon - Bath - Bristol - Plymouth
This tour had been billed as the 'Tour of the Year' so there was lot riding on the backs of 40145 and D1015. We shouldn't have worried as two of the premier preserved diesel locomotives came together for the first time and combined to give us all a weekend to remember. Once again the DTG Nameplate Offer was used and the loco was sponsored as D1012 'Western Firebrand'.
40145 had set off at 05:20 from Crewe and it wasn't until Birmingham International that D1015, running as D1009 and D1012, joined the train for the 09:43 departure. The pair set off in fine form and never let up for the entire weekend. The outward route was via Coventry, Banbury, Oxford, Foxhall Curve, Swindon, Bath and Bristol. A short break at Bristol was followed by an impressive run over the Somerset Levels, Whiteball and along the Sea Wall before taking the South Devon Banks with little trouble. At Plymouth D1015 ran round to the rear of the train and this was to be the formation for the whole of the Cornish section of the trip. Arrival in Penzance was to time and the tour participants set off to their various hotels and B&B's.
Penzance - Falmouth - Penzance
The fun was not over with the arrival in Penzance, this tour had an evening Special, a trip to the much saught after Falmouth branch. D1015 took the train out of Penzance to Truro and then the train reversed so that the 40 led down the branch. A Mid May tour meant that although the evening was well advanced by the time we approached Falmouth it was still daylight, this far outpost was new track for a 40 and had not seen a 'Thousand' on a passenger train since the 4th December 1976. The tour stayed at Falmouth just long enough for everyone to take their photographs before retracing our steps to Penzance. Day One had gone perfectly and the contented tour participants trooped off to either get a good nights sleep or burn the candle at both ends in the nightspots of Penzance.
Penzance - Crewe
Penzance - St Ives - Penzance - Par - Newquay - Bristol - Hullavington - Oxford
In contrast to day one, where for most part the sun had shone, the Sunday morning at Penzance had some light drizzle, although this did little to dampen spirits as we set off for St Ives with D1015 leading. The St Ives branch is one of the most beautiful on the network and St Ives tends to have its own micro climate and, as if to prove the point, the sun came out as we turned off the main line at St Erth. A leisurely trip down the branch was followed by a few minutes for photographs at the short St Ives platform, the tour then returned to Penzance to collect those that had opted for a Sunday lie in and leisurely breakfast.
D1015 led out of Penzance again, this time to take the tour to Par. At Par the train drew forward and then reversed onto the Newquay branch with 40145 leading up Luxulyan. It would have been a tough ask for 40145 to take 11 coaches and a 52 up the bank but a sharp shower put pay to any hope of that and after a few yards of climbing Western Champion was given the nod and gave the consist a substantial push to the summit. The climb to Luxulyan is the highlight of the branch and much of the rest is a steady totter resulting in the 20 miles taking around an hour. After more photographs D1015 returned the train to Plymouth where the 40 ran round and D1015 was taken off and dropped on the front.
The run from Plymouth to Bristol was another highlight of the tour with the two drivers combining well to produce an exhilarating run over the banks and along the Sea Wall. Oxford was eventually reached 15 early and a change of plan saw D1015 taken off in the platform before heading back Light Diesel to Eastleigh, a tough job very well done. The tour eventually arrived in Crewe late at night and only a few minutes down. A tour which 12 months earlier had seemed a mad pipe dream had happened, all objectives had been achieved and the locomotives had performed admirably. The 'tour of the year' certainly turned out to be just that and will certainly take some beating.
The DTG would like to thank John Stephens, Chairman of the CFPS and a DTG Shareholder, for all the hard work and dedication that he put in to make this tour happen. Take a bow John it was an absolute cracker!
London Paddington - Slough - Reading - Westbury - Minehead
This was our first tour for UK Railtours, eight years after returning to the mainline and long over due. D1015 was required to work the outward leg of the tour to Minehead with Great Western Steam locomotive, 6024 King Edward I, working the return. The loco's would work in tandem both ways over the West Somerset Railway.
The tour departed Paddington bang on time and made the now traditional sedate run to Reading, this time picking up additionally at Slough. However once we had departed Reading D1015 got into it's stride and the trip down the Berks & Hants was a swift one. Arrival at Westbury for a crew change was a good ten minutes early and the opportunity was taken by some to get a few extra photographs.
The pace picked up even more on the next leg and Westbury-Taunton was achieved in a creditable 36 minutes for the 46 miles. The fast running resulted in an even earlier arrival at Taunton and a wait of over 20 minutes ensued. Once on the WSR, 6024 dropped on the front at Bishops Lydeard and formed what we think is probably the first pairing of these two loco types since 1962. By this time the sun had begun to show itself and the WSR looked its beautiful best. On arrival at Minehead the passengers had three and a half hours to enjoy the Somerset resort in perfect weather.
The return set off at 15:40 with the reverse pairing of the Thousand leading the King as far as Norton Fitzwarren, here D1015 came off and would follow the train all the way back to Paddington. The Great western King did a sterling job returning the tour to London and conclude a very successful first tour for D1015 with UK Railtours.
Taunton - Exeter / Par - Penzance
This was our first tour for Steam Dreams and D1015 was used very much as the support loco for an ambitious 2 day tour from London to Penzance and return with 6024 King Edward I and 5029 Nunney Castle. The outward journey was on the Saturday and the return on the following Monday with 6024 working the train from London and 5029 joining the train at Exeter.
The original plan was for D1015 to work just the Par-Penzance leg but 6024 experienced steaming difficulties in the early part of the trip and D1015 was called upon to travel Light Diesel from its overnight stabling point at Exeter to Taunton to top the King forward. The two engines worked the train for the 30 mile stretch to Exeter and, in so doing, created a little history as a King and a Western had not headed a train on the main line together since 1962. At Exeter the tour reverted to plan A and the Thousand set off Light Diesel to await the tour at Par.
By the time the tour arrived in Par it was about 20 minutes down, not bad considering that at one time it was around an hour late into Taunton. D1015 took over and worked the train to it's destination and Penzance was reached around quarter to nine on a perfect Summer evening. D1015's last duty of the day was to take the stock back to St Blazey.
On the Monday it was an early start, as the loco was used to haul the steam back down to Penzance, with an 02:15 departure from St Blazey. Once the stock was shunted and the steam locos ready to return the tour, D1015 departed light back to Eastleigh.
Special Thanks to Simon Howard and Mark Jamieson for allowing the DTG to use their photos.
Westbury - Appleby and return
D1015's 50th mainline tour should have been a triumph for the Diesel Traction Group but the path of heritage diesel preservation rarely runs smoothly for long and the best laid plans are often derailed by the hand of fate.
It seems inappropriate to witter on about the details of the day when it ended with D1015 suffering a major failure to it's B engine on the ECS back from Westbury to Eastleigh. The loco will now be out of traffic for sometime while our highly skilled and professional engineers work their magic. We all hope to see D1015 back on the main line as soon as possible.
Not many words but at least we have a few photographs of the day.