SRPS Railtours in 2003
Dunbar to Mallaig on 4 May 2002
SRPS Railtours 2002 Programme started with a fully-booked tour from Dunbar to Fort William and Mallaig. The eight coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 415 and 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, unusually, the complete eight coach train continued to Mallaig. Around Arisaig and Morar there were superb views to the Western Isles.
Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 6 May 2002
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 double-headed by EWS 37 415 and 37 405. The May Day Holiday weather was excellent, very warm with almost unbroken sunshine, giving clear views of the spectacular scenery along the West Highland Railway. For the return journey the train was double-headed by EWS 37 421 and 37 415.
Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 25 May 2002
This nine coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 405 and 37 427. The weather provided a mixture of sunshine and showers which was much better than had been forecast, and the views were generally clear. Due to the taxi bringing the relief loco crew being delayed in Edinburgh by road closures for a Royal Visit, the train started late, but the lost time was recovered by Perth. The weather brightened for much of the return journey and passengers enjoyed seeing large herds of deer near Dalnaspidal. The train was ten minutes early back to Edinburgh. Due to engineering works, passengers from East Lothian then transfered to coaches.
Paisley to Kyle of Lochalsh on 1 June 2002
The eight coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 426 and 37 405. Contrary to forecasts the weather was fine and dry throughout. The train ran close to time for much of the journey, but a late-running ScotRail service caused a prolonged, but pleasant, wait at Achnasheen and the time at Kyle of Lochalsh was reduced to 1½ hours. Another late-running ScotRail service and a poor signalling decision caused a delay at Pitlochry on the return journey, but the lost time was recovered and the train arrived back early.
Kirkcaldy to Leeds on 15 June 2002
It was a wet start when over 200 members of Diageo Retirement (Guinness/Distillers pensioners) boarded the train, but the weather soon brightened. The ten-coach train, hauled by Res 47 746 The Bobby, arrived a few minutes early at Leeds. Passengers enjoyed warm dry weather in both York and Leeds, and both cities were unusually quiet at first due to England's participation in the World Cup. On the return journey some passengers were preparing for a twenty minutes early arrival in Edinburgh when the locomotive failed in Calton Tunnel, in sight of Waverley station platforms. It took 80 minutes for 47 780 to rescue the train and haul it into Waverley station. More time was lost with 47 780 hauling the dead locomotive and train and it was nearly an hour and a half late reaching Kirkcaldy. However after a period of very poor weather passengers were pleased to have enjoyed an excellent day out.
Charter from Newcastle to Inverness on 29 June 2002
Ten SRPS Railtours coaches were chartered by North East Railtours. The train was hauled by 47 767 Saint Columba. Passengers had the option of visiting Pitlochry, Aviemore or Inverness. Aviemore was the most popular destination and a trip on the new Cairngorm Funicular Railway had been arranged. On the return journey the locomotive failed at Pitlochry with a hot axle box. A rescue locomotive had to be brought from Millerhill (Edinburgh) and after a delay of four hours the train continued, hauled by 66 180. It arrived back at Newcastle shortly before 1.30am.
Edinburgh to Mallaig on 3 August 2002
The route of this tour had to be rearranged at short notice due to serious flooding on the Argyle Line at Dalmarnock. With less than 48 hours' notice the tour was rerouted and passengers booked from Uddingston and Glasgow Central Low Level were contacted and told to use Holytown and Queen Street Low Level. The eight coach train, double-headed throughout by EWS 37 427 and 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society, ran via Mossend and the Whifflet to Coatbridge Sunnyside line to join the Queen Street Low Level line.
The weather started poor, but improved throughout the journey. Despite the diversion through Glasgow, the train arrived at Fort William ¾ hour early and once again the complete eight coach train continued to Mallaig. On the return journey the train ran via Westerton, Springburn and Coatbridge Central, and was only slightly delayed.
The Circumforth charter to the Branch Line Society on 10 August 2002
EWS liveried 37 426 and Mainline blue liveried 37 203 top-and-tailed this seven coach train throughout the trip. The railtour started from Linlithgow and traversed various lines in the Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Fife areas. The train returned to Linlithgow on time.
Grampian Railtours Charter on 25 August 2002
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 37 401 Royal Scotsman and EWS liveried 37 405. The weather was excellent and the train ran close to time throughout.
Ayr to Mallaig on 31 August 2002
This eight coach train was almost fully booked and, despite problems with locomotive availability ran close to time throughout. Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428 Loch Awe hauled the train to Fort William and back to Ayr. 37 427 was added at Fort William to double-head with 37 428 over the Mallaig extension. The weather was generally good with much sunshine and a few showers, excellent conditions to view the West Highland scenery.
Berwick-upon-Tweed to Oban on 7 September 2002
This nine coach train was hauled throughout by EWS 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 427. Departure from Berwick was delayed by 30 minutes, but the locomotives performed well and arrival at Oban was over twenty minutes early. This early arrival meant that some passengers were able to enjoy a ferry trip to the Isle of Mull. The weather was generally warm and sunny with some showers, and the views on the journey were very clear. The return journey ran to time.
Charter from Morpeth to Chester on 14 September 2002
The ten coach train was chartered by North East Railtours and was hauled throughout by EWS 37 405 and 37 411 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society. The train was delayed just north of Newcastle by a lineside incident. The route was via the Tyne Valley, the Settle and Carlisle line and Blackburn to Chester. The weather was warm and sunny. The return journey was via Lancaster and Carlisle.
Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 21 September 2002
Although a points failure at Edinburgh delayed the train, this time was recovered and the train reached Kyle of Lochalsh a couple of minutes early. The eight coach train was double-headed throughout by EWS 37 421 and 37 427. The sun came out for the return journey giving passengers superb views of Loch Carron and the Highland scenery.
Newcastle & Edinburgh to Stranraer on 12 October 2002
The final tour of 2002 was a ten-coach train organised jointly with North East Railtours. This replaced the tour planned to Kidderminster and Worcester which could not be run due to engineering works. The almost full ten-coach train was double-headed by EWS 37 427 and Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428 Loch Awe. The tour started in torrential rain and the outward route was via the Shotts line. Locomotive problems and a failure by the driver to stop at Ayr caused serious delays. Once the train set back into Ayr station a large group were able to enjoy a coach trip to Culzean Castle. The train was fifty minutes late reaching Stranraer which meant that the visit was only brief, but by this time the sun was out and the return journey, via the Nith Valley and the Tyne Valley, was in excellent weather. Having enjoyed good weather at the destinations the passengers returned home to find that it was still raining.