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SRPS Railtours 2001 Reports


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SRPS Railtours in 2001

Charter from Edinburgh to Aberdeen on 31 March 2001
The first trip of the year for the SRPS Railtours train was a special charter from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. The six coach train was hauled by 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society. This was a pleasant surprise to the SRPS Railtours volunteers. EWS had indicated that they would transfer the nameplates from the withdrawn 37 413, but had not given prior notice. It is very pleasing to see these nameplates once again on a main-line locomotive.
The train ran via Stirling and Perth and arrival at Aberdeen was early. The weather was good and the return trip arrived back in Edinburgh 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Fife to Mallaig on 5 May 2001
SRPS Railtours 2001 Programme started with a fully-booked tour from Glenrothes with Thornton to Fort William and Mallaig. The eight coach train was double-headed to & from Fort William by EWS 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 416 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob. Both locomotives had been very recently renamed, the latter only two days before this tour in preparation for a celebration of the centenary of the line to Mallaig. Between Fort William and Mallaig the train was hauled by EWS 37 405. The weather was excellent with much sunshine and very clear views of lochs and mountains which still retained a good covering of snow. The train arrived at Fort William twenty minutes early and kept very good time throughout the day.

Charter from Newcastle to Oban on 7 May 2001
The stock from Saturday's tour did not return to Bo'ness but ran to Millerhill where two more SRPS Railtours carriages were attached. This ten coach train then went to Newcastle for a charter by North East Railtours. It was again was double-headed by EWS 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 416 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob. The May Day Holiday weather was excellent with almost unbroken sunshine, giving clear views of the spectacular scenery along the West Highland Railway.

Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 26 May 2001
This fully-booked train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 416 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob and 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society. Due to requirements of a charter following this tour the train was increased to eleven coaches, the longest SRPS Railtours train to Kyle for many years. The timings for the train had been adversely affected by the recent changes to ScotRail's timetable, resulting in a much later return than expected, and engineering work required the use of buses from Edinburgh to Dunbar. However the changes to times resulted in a longer visit to Kyle of Lochalsh or Plockton and the very good weather was much enjoyed by all on board.

Charter from Preston to Cardiff on 28 May 2001
Once again the stock from Saturday's tour did not return to Bo'ness but ran to Millerhill, then headed south to Preston. This charter carried supporters of Preston North End to the English First Division play-off with Bolton Wanderers, which Bolton won 3-0. A Scottish train carrying English supporters to a match in Wales must be unusual. The eleven-coach train was again double-headed by EWS 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 416 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob. The hirers of the stock complimented the SRPS on their train and buffet service.

Ayr to Kyle of Lochalsh on 9 June 2001
This fully-booked ten-coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 426 and 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society. The timings, when eventually received, were significantly different than expected, with a very early start from Ayr. This early start was soon forgotten when passengers heard that while they were enjoying glorious sunny weather on the Kyle line the weather back in the Central Belt of Scotland had been terrible. On the return journey there were large herds of deer close to the railway between Dalwhinnie and Blair Atholl.

Kirkcaldy to Harrogate on 16 June 2001
Over 250 members of Diageo Retirement (Guinness/Distillers pensioners) helped to ensure that this train was full. The eleven-coach train was hauled by Res 47 776 Respected. The weather was mostly wet on the journey south. Passengers had the option of spending the afternoon in York, where it was mostly dry but there was a very heavy downpour during the afternoon. The train which reversed at York to take the line through Knaresborough to Harrogate where pasengers enjoyed dry weather for their visit to this pleasant spa town. The return journey was delayed by about half-an-hour due to a late running Virgin service.

Charter from Morpeth to Stratford-upon-Avon on 23 June 2001
The train of ten SRPS Railtours coaches, chartered by North East Railtours, was hauled by Res 47 790 Saint David / Dewi Saint. On the outward journey the train ran via Darlington, Ferrybridge, Treeton, Derby and Henley-in-Arden. There were some minor delays at Newcastle, Darlington and York, but the train was seriously delayed further south due to a track machine running ahead near Ambergate, a signal failure at Water Orton, and signalling problems between Tyseley and Shirley. The train arrived just over an hour late giving passengers over 3½ hours to enjoy the glorious hot weather in Stratford. The return, via Hatton North Curve and Sheffield, ran well to time with arrival back at Morpeth 12 minutes early - what a contrast to the outward journey.

Edinburgh to Mallaig on 4 August 2001 postponed to 22 September
This fully-booked tour was postponed at short notice after SRPS Railtours were informed of Railtrack plans to close the West Highland Line near Ardlui on a busy summer weekend for emergency bridge repairs. A group of SRPS Railtours volunteers managed to contact almost all the passengers by phone, and the few remaining were met at the stations where they had expected to join the train.

The Firth to Firth charter to the Branch Line Society on 11 August 2001
EWS liveried 37 670 and 37 418 The East Lancashire Railway top-and-tailed this eight coach train throughout the trip. The railtour started from Linlithgow and ran via the the Edinburgh Suburban Circle to Powderhall. It returned round the sub and took the line through Shotts to Motherwell, then traversed the branch from Gariongill Junction to Watsonhead. The train then ran via Maxwell Park, Kilwinning and Saltcoats to Hunterston where the lines to both the low and high level terminals were traversed. After returning to Paisley the train continued via the Rutherglen to Whifflet line, Mossend and Holytown to Carstairs where it reversed again. The tour then ran via Wishaw, Motherwell, Coatbridge Central and Springburn to finish at Falkirk High.

Grampian Railtours Charter on 19 August 2001
The eleven coach train was chartered by Grampian Railtours for an excursion from Aberdeen to Dunrobin Castle. The train was double-headed by EWS 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 405. Unfortunately the weather was poor with rain for much of the day. The following day the coaches returned from Aberdeen to Bo'ness Junction hauled by 66 107.

Edinburgh to Kyle of Lochalsh on 26 August 2001
This tour was rescheduled from Saturday 25 August to Sunday 26 August because additional services on the Kyle Line, introduced by ScotRail in the summer timetable, resulted in it being impossible to run to Kyle on the Saturday. Despite the need to start from Edinburgh instead of Dunbar the train was very nearly full. It was double-headed by EWS 37 421 and 37 405 and a delay of twenty minutes leaving Edinburgh was recovered by Inverness. The weather was mainly sunny but with a few showers on the Kyle Line. The train made excellent time on the return journey and arrived back at Edinburgh Waverley 35 minutes early.

Carlisle to Fort William on 8 September 2001
Despite a very early start from Carlisle this ten-coach train was very nearly full. It was double-headed by EWS 37 421 and 37 415. The weather was excellent. The train was ahead of time on much of the journey as far as Glasgow, having to wait a total of 80 minutes at stations and signals. Although a mistake with the timings resulted in a delay on the West Highland Line, arrival at Fort William was a few minutes early.

Charter from Morpeth to Wemyss Bay on 15 September 2001
Nine SRPS Railtours coaches were chartered by North East Railtours. The train was double-headed by Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428 and EWS 37 421. The train ran via Carlisle and was top-and-tailed between Polmadie and Wemyss Bay. Most passengers took the option of a special ferry trip to visit Rothesay on the Isle of Bute.

Edinburgh to Mallaig on 22 September 2001
This tour had been postponed from 4 August. Despite a very early start the eight-coach train was almost full. It was double-headed by EWS 37 427 and 37 408 Loch Rannoch and arrived at Fort William twenty minutes early. 37 416 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob took over to haul seven coaches to Mallaig, a very appropriate locomotive for this line during its centenary year. The weather was fine and very calm with some spectacular reflections in the lochs.

Berwick-upon-Tweed to Inverness on 29 September 2001
The ten-coach train set out promptly at 6am double-headed by EWS 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 408 Loch Rannoch. Unfortunately 37 411 developed a fault and had to be replaced at Edinburgh by Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428. This caused a delay but arrival at Inverness was only 17 minutes late. The weather was very poor, but improved during the stop in Inverness. Other passengers enjoyed a coach tour from Aviemore to Elgin including a visit to Glenfarclas Distillery. For the return journey via Aberdeen the train was hauled by 47 791 and to mark the occasion of the last passenger train hauled by an Inverness based class 47 it carried a special commemorative headboard. The weather brightened along the east coast and there was a glorious sunset as the train crossed the Tay Bridge.

Edinburgh to Skipton and Keighley on 20 October 2001
Despite a very early start in the morning, the final tour of the 2001 Programme was fully booked. It was organised jointly with North East Railtours and the ten-coach train was double-headed by EWS 37 405 and 37 415. The weather was poor for much of the journey south via the Tyne Valley line from Newcastle to Carlisle, then over the Settle & Carlisle railway. Passengers had the option of taking a coach tour of the Yorkshire Dales from Skipton. The remainder stayed on the train to Keighley for a trip on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and fortunately the weather had improved for the afternoon. The return journey was via Leeds and York. The train arrived back in Edinburgh on time, completing another successful year for SRPS Railtours.

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