SRPS Railtours in 2004
Dunbar to Mallaig on 1 May 2004
The first tour of SRPS Railtours 2004 Programme ran from from Dunbar to Fort William and Mallaig. The fully-booked nine coach train was double-headed by EWS 37 401 Royal Scotsman in its special livery and 37 427. The May Day weather was excellent with clear views of lochs and snow-capped mountains. At Fort William 37 401 was replaced by 37 410 Aluminium 100 and the train was top-and-tailed between Fort William and Mallaig. The return journey ran well to time with the sunny weather continuing until sunset.
Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 3 May 2004
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 eleven coach train then went to Newcastle for a charter by North East Railtours. It was double-headed by EWS 37 427 and 37 410 Aluminium 100. The May Day Holiday weather mixed with some showers, but the views were excellent. The train ran well to time.
Ayr to Mallaig on 22 May 2004
This nine coach train, double-headed by EWS 37 667 Meldon Quarry Centenary and 37 410 Aluminium 100, ran via Glasgow Central Low Level and Westerton. The weather was excellent throughout and the cold conditions overnight created early morning mist patches over water but by the West Highland Line these had dispersed giving way to flat calm with mirror image views of the mountains on the Lochs. The train was top-and-tailed between Fort William and Mallaig. An error in driver diagramming resulted in a delay at Crianlarich. Fortunately, the weather was glorious in the evening sunshine as the passengers stretched their legs. Some time was regained on the return journey to Ayr.
Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 12 June 2004
This fully-booked ten coach train was double-headed by EWS 37 401 Royal Scotsman and 37 410 Aluminium 100. The train was delayed at Dunkeld due to a problem with 37 401 which was diagnosed as an electrical fault and fixed by the crew. Much of the time was recovered and a scheduled wait was made at Dingwall instead of Garve to allow passengers to get off the train for a short break. Complicated manoeuvring when passing the Royal Scotsman at Strathcarron resulted in a late arrival at Kyle of Lochalsh. The return journey in the early summer sunshine ran close to time. Due to engineering works the train could not return to East Lothian and instead terminated at Brunstane where passengers transferred very easily to coaches.
Kirkcaldy to Scarborough on 19 June 2004
Passengers on this fully-booked tour included nearly 250 members of Diageo Retirement (Guinness/Distillers pensioners) who boarded the train for their annual rail excursion. The eleven-coach train was hauled by EWS 67 010 Unicorn from Kirkcaldy to York. There was a break of 80 minutes in York on the outward journey which gave passengers the opportunity of a quick visit to the National Railway Museum. Some passengers chose to spend the afternoon in York but most rejoined the train for the short run to Scarborough hauled by 66 006. The weather was good during the journeys but there were showers during the time at the destinations. After reversing at York, the train was hauled back north by 67 024.
Charter from Newcastle to Inverness on 26 June 2004
A ten-coach SRPS Railtours train was chartered by North East Railtours. The train was hauled by 67 004. Passengers had the option of visiting Pitlochry, Aviemore or Inverness and those choosing Aviemore had the best weather. The train arrived half-an-hour early at Inverness and completed the return journey about 15 minutes early.
Edinburgh to Mallaig on 7 August 2004
The nine coach train was double-headed between Edinburgh and Fort William by EWS 37 418 East Lancashire Railway and Royal Scotsman liveried 37 401 The Royal Scotsman, and top-and-tailed between Fort William and Mallaig. The weather was excellent and the train arrived in Fort William a few minutes early..
Grampian Railtours Charter on 29 August 2004
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 37 421 and Royal Scotsman liveried 37 401 The Royal Scotsman. The weather was a mixture of sunshine and showers with some excellent views during the journey.
Charter from Morpeth to Chester & Llandudno on 11 September 2004
This ten coach North East Railtours charter was hauled by EWS 67 004 Post Haste and ran via the Tyne Valley and the Settle & Carlisle Line. Despite a delayed start, the train reached Llandudno only two minutes late. The weather was mostly dry except for a heavy downpour during the latter part of the visit to Llandudno. Passengers who chose to spend the afternoon in Chester had dry weather but missed the trip along the North Wales Coast. EWS 67 012 took over for the return journey from Chester via Shap Summit.
Linlithgow to Lincoln on 3 December 2004
The final railtour of 2004 was organised jointly with North East Railtours. The ten-coach train was hauled by EWS 67 007 throughout. The weather was mostly overcast but remained dry for the visit to Lincoln so passengers were able to explore the historic city and its large Christmas Market. During the return journey Christmas Dinner was served to and enjoyed by over half of the passengers.