SRPS Railtours in 2000
Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 1 May 2000
This ten coach train, chartered by North East Railtours, was double-headed by EWS 37 405 and 37 427. The train ran to time throughout and the May Day Holiday weather was excellent, giving clear views of the spectacular scenery along the West Highland Railway.
This was the first run of the SRPS Railtours train this year, following the annual overhaul. Special thanks are due to the SRPS volunteers for their efforts. The demands on their time increase as ever more bureaucracy is introduced.
Dunbar to Mallaig on 6 May 2000
SRPS Railtours 2000 Programme started with a fully-booked tour from Scotland's most easterly station, Dunbar, to Fort William and Mallaig, Britain's most westerly terminus. The day started with mist and low cloud, but as the eight coach train headed north over the West Highland Line the sun broke through and passengers enjoyed the spectacular views.
The train was hauled by five different class 37 locomotives during the tour. The train of SRPS maroon Mk1 coaches was double-headed from Dunbar to Fort William by EWS liveried 37 405 and 37 416, but 37 405 failed at Garelochhead and had to be pushed to Fort William. Even so arrival was on time in glorious sunshine. The train was hauled between Fort William and Mallaig by 37 520. For the return from Fort William, Transrail 37 674 St Blaise Church 1445-1995 and EWS 37 411 Ty Hafan took over.
Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 27 May 2000
The train of ten coaches was double-headed throughout by 37 418 East Lancashire Railway and 37 427, both in EW&S livery. The weather was very wet for most of the journey, but the views were clear. The weather improved at Kyle of Lochalsh, where it was sunny. Although there were some delays due to late-running service trains on the Highland Line and the Kyle Line, this time was recovered and the train returned on time.
Edinburgh & Motherwell to Whitby on 10 June 2000
The passengers on this fully-booked tour included a large party of ladies from Lanarkshire SWRI. The nine coach train was double-headed by 37 411 Ty Hafen in EW&S livery and 37 425 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob in Regional Railways livery. The weather was excellent, sunny and warm. The route was via Cumbernauld, Beattock, the Tyne Valley line, Durham, Middlesborough and the Esk Valley line.
On the outward journey the train ran via Stockton and in Tees Yard 37 411 was moved to the rear of the train to top-and-tail to Whitby. Only a few passengers chose to alight at Grosmont, a large number having been deterred by the Thomas the Tank Engine event on the North York Moors Railway. The train was delayed leaving Whitby but recovered its time by Carlisle and was on time for the rest of the day.
Kirkcaldy to York on 17 June 2000
The annual trip for about 300 members of Diageo Retirement (Guinness/Distillers pensioners) ensured that this train was full. The ten-coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 416 and 37 408 Loch Rannoch. The weather was very hot and sunny throughout the day. The train ran early, arriving in York half an hour ahead of time, giving passengers well over five hours in York. On the return journey the train was about ten minutes early.
Edinburgh to Wick and Thurso on 23 & 24 June 2000
The Far North Explorer left Edinburgh on Friday evening double-headed by 37 419 and 37 416, both in EWS livery. Being close to the longest day it was never completely dark and dawn was breaking at Inverness. The weather in the Far North was not good and it was raining on arrival at Wick. However it soon dried up and, while some passengers took a coach tour via John o' Groats, the train ran to Thurso. Later the train returned to Wick while other passengers used the coach tour. The sun came out for most of the return journey giving fine views along the Far North line and the Highland line. 37 416 failed at Inverness and was replaced by 37 521 English China Clays. Some of the lost time was recovered and the ten-coach train arrived back less than ½ hour late.
Charters from N E England over Settle & Carlisle Line on 8 & 9 July 2000
These ten coach trains, chartered by North East Railtours in conjunction with Green Express Railtours, were both double-headed by EWS 37 427 and 37 418 East Lancashire Railway. On Saturday 8 July the train started from Alnmouth and ran via the Tyne Valley Line to Carlisle, then south over the Settle & Carlisle line to Leeds. There was a visit to York before returning on the East Coast Main Line. The following day's tour started from Newcastle and ran in the reverse direction with an afternoon break in Carlisle. On both days there were photo stops at Ribblehead.
Edinburgh to Mallaig on 5 August 2000
Another fully-booked train to Mallaig set out from Edinburgh rather early in the morning. The final timings, received only a few days before the tour, set the departure time 36 minutes earlier than anticipated. The train then had to wait for time by as much as 20 minutes at stations during the journey. The train was double-headed by EWS 37 411 Ty Hafan and 37 415 which performed faultlessly between Edinburgh and Fort William and return. 37 503 took over between Fort William and Mallaig. The weather, fine at first, soon deteriorated and by Corrour the distant mist had turned to rain, which continued much of the way to Mallaig, although there were some welcome sunny spells. The weather improved on the return journey. Engineering works caused a re-routing on the return with a Hamilton Central stop to allow buses to take passengers back to Carluke and Carstairs.
Charters to the Branch Line Society on 12 & 13 August 2000
These eight coach trains were double-headed or top-and-tailed by EWS liveried 37 415 and Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428. On Saturday 12 August the Durham Coast Railtour started from Linlithgow and ran via the the Edinburgh Suburban Circle, Millerhill and the East Coast Main Line to Newcastle. Then it ran via Ferryhill and Norton North curve to traverse the freight branches to Seal Sands, Hartlepool Docks, Hartlepool Power Station, Sunderland South Docks and Elswick, terminus of the stub of the former Newcastle to Carlisle line. The train then ran via the Tyne Valley and West Coast Main Line to Motherwell.
The following day the route was from Motherwell via Hamilton and Maxwell Park to Glasgow Central. After initially being incorrectly routed from Glasgow Central, the Broomhill Railtour took the line to Ayr and the Chalmerston branch. From Holehouse Junction this was the first passenger train over the recently re-instated freight branch to Broomhill. The tour then ran to Ardrossan Harbour, Barassie Siding and Wemyss Bay before crossing Glasgow on the City Union line and ending at Falkirk High.
Grampian Railtours Charter on 20 August 2000
The ten coach train was chartered by Grampian Railtours for a return excursion from Aberdeen to Kyle of Lochalsh. The train was double-headed by EWS liveried 37 405 and 37 415 which performed faultlessly. The weather for the outward journey was excellent, and there were some short showers during the return journey. One group of passengers, who were on an 'Inside Track' holiday, enjoyed a full catering service provided by the SRPS Railtours volunteers.
Ayr to Mallaig on 2 September 2000
The season's third fully-booked tour to Mallaig ran from Ayr. The train was double-headed in both directions between Edinburgh and Fort William by EWS 37 408 Loch Rannoch and 37 419. The weather was dry and sunny, excellent conditions to enjoy the lochs and mountains along the West Highland Line. Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428 hauled the train between Fort William and Mallaig.
Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 9 September 2000
This ten-coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 427 and 37 419. The weather was bright with much sunshine for the journey to Kyle of Lochalsh, excellent conditions for the superb scenery along Loch Carron. A large number of passengers took the opportunity to visit Plockton. There were some showers on the return journey. The train ran close to time throughout.
Polmadie 125 Open Day on 16 September 2000
The Open Day marking 125 years of Polmadie Depot, Glasgow, was jointly organised by Virgin Trains, West Coast Train Care and the Scottish Railway Preservation Society. SRPS Railtours provided the on-site catering for VIP guests and buffet services for visitors. The SRPS Railtours coaches were moved to the site with steam & diesel locomotives, and the Caledonian Railway coaches from Bo'ness. These locomotives were 65243 Maude, 80105, Class 20 D8020, 25 235, 26 004, 27 001 and 50 021. Main line stock on display included EWS 37 370, 66 227 & 67 028, Virgin class 87 & class 47, and new ScotRail Juniper emu 334 011. The event was well attended despite the travel problems caused by the petrol crisis.
Berwick-upon-Tweed to Oban on 23 September 2000
Over 250 passengers joined this ten-coach train at Berwick, and the train was almost full on leaving Falkirk High. It was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 405 and 37 427. The weather for most of the outward journey was dull and wet but the sun made an appearance before reaching Oban, and the weather remained good for the journey home.
The train was scheduled to be looped at Bo'ness Junction but instead was signalled through to Falkirk High where there was to be a crew change. However, after a delay, it transpired that the EWS relief crew were on the late-running ScotRail service which should have passed the SRPS train at Bo'ness Junction. The service train was by this time waiting to enter Falkirk High. This impasse was resolved by the SRPS train running forward to Greenhill Loop and a taxi bringing the crew from Falkirk. Despite a 45 minute delay the train was back on schedule by Garelochhead and ran to time for the remainder of the tour. On the return journey a West Coast Railways steam special, hauled by BR Class 4MT No 75014 and LNE Class B1 No 61264, was waiting at Crianlarich to take the line to Oban.
Edinburgh to Grange-over-Sands and Ravenglass on 7 October 2000
This tour was organised jointly with North-East Railtours. It was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 419 and Transrail 37 412 Driver John Elliot. The ten-coach train ran via Newcastle and the Tyne Valley and at Upperby took the direct curve onto the southbound West Coast Main Line. After reversing at Carnforth the train stopped at Grange-over-Sands from where a coach trip to Bowness-on-Windermere and a cruise on Lake Windermere had been arranged. The train continued round the Cumbrian Coast Line, through Barrow-in-Furness, to Ravenglass, arriving a few minutes late but in good time for the special train which had been arranged on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway to Dalegarth. It was dry on arrival at Ravenglass but heavy rain soon set in and continued for the rest of the day. Despite this the various trips were enjoyed by all, with the consoling thought that there wouldn't be a Lake District without rain!
The Flying Scotsman Steam Special on 21 October 2000
This was the first time in over thirty years of SRPS Railtours that one of our trains was hauled by 4472 Flying Scotsman. This outstanding end to the 2000 Programme was a late addition and took this world famous locomotive south to York after a visit to Scotland with the Royal Scotsman train.
The ten-coach train was diesel-hauled by 47 739 from Linlithgow to Edinburgh Waverley via the Suburban Circle. Flying Scotsman and its support coach reversed onto the train at Waverley. Departure was about 15 minutes late but after an exhilarating run the train arrived at Berwick-upon-Tweed 10 minutes early. Following a water stop at Tweedmouth the locomotive performed superbly and was approaching Newcastle 45 minutes ahead of schedule. Here the train waited for its crew change and after another water stop at Low Fell was delayed about 15 minutes due to late-running service trains. Another spirited run ended with arrival spot on time at York. This memorable run was enjoyed by over 400 on board and many more watching from the lineside. Alan Pegler, who saved Flying Scotsman in 1963, was on board and posed for photographs with the engine at York. The weather was good, being fine and dry throughout the day.
For the return journey the train was hauled by 47 739 Resourceful which slowed then came to a halt near Morpeth. Living up to the name of the locomotive, the driver was able to diagnose and fix the fault which was dirt in a fuel filter.
The Flying Scotsman Railtour was a memorable finalé to another very successful year for SRPS Railtours. All tours in 2000 were full or very nearly full resulting in turnover and profits almost equal to the record levels of the previous year. All profits go to the SRPS for the development of the steam railway and museum at Bo'ness.