SRPS Railtours in 2009
Forth Circle steam specials on 5 April 2009
61994 The Great Marquess hauled nine SRPS Railtours coaches for two excursions round the Forth Circle. The morning train was from Linlithgow and the afternoon train from Dalmeny. Both trains were fully booked and in excellent weather there were good views from the Forth Bridge and along the Fife Coast. Each train continued along the Fife Circle to Dunfermline and took the line along the north shore of the Firth of Forth to Kincardine. A highlight of the route was the railway which reopened last year through Alloa to Stirling with fine views of the Ochil Hills, Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle. The circle was completed via Larbert and Falkirk. 61994 performed very well and the trains ran close to time throughout the day.
Glenrothes with Thornton to Mallaig on 9 May 2009
The fully-booked nine-coach train was double-headed to Fort William and back by DB-Schenker EWS liveried 37 670 St Blazey and 37 401, which top-and-tailed the train between Fort William and Mallaig. The day started bright but soon gave way to heavy rain for several hours, which made the rivers and waterfalls spectacular, particularly the Monessie Gorge. After Fort William the weather improved with sunshine and showers for the journey on to Mallaig and the return journey with spectacular views of the lochs and snow-capped mountains as well as herds of deer on the moors and hillsides. The train ran close to time throughout the day.
Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 25 May 2009
This 11-coach North East Railtours charter was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 804 and 47 826. Despite typical West Highland weather passengers were able to enjoy the views of the lochs, rivers and mountains. The train ran close to time throughout the day.
Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh on 30 May 2009
This ten-coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 804 and 47 826 and ran close to time throughout the day. The weather was excellent - very hot and sunny throughout and the views of the lochs and mountains were spectacular, particularly the line along the coastline by Loch Carron. There were herds of deer along the highland sections and llamas by Loch Carron. Many passengers chose to spend the afternoon in Plockton and the rest enjoyed the views of Skye from Kyle of Lochalsh.
Glenrothes with Thornton to York and Harrogate on 13 June 2009
SRPS Railtours welcomed back a large party from Diageo Retirement aboard the train. The train also carried North East Railtours passengers for a shorter excursion from Alnmouth, Morpeth and Newcastle. The eleven coaches were again top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 804 and 47 826. Passengers had the choice of York or Harrogate as destinations. After York the train ran non-stop via Leeds to Harrogate then continued through Knaresborough back to York, where the only delay during the day was due to a track-circuit failure. The weather in York and Harrogate was warm and mostly sunny. Those interested in railways made a beeline for the National Railway Museum to see 6229 Duchess of Hamilton, recently restored into its pre-war LMS streamlined form. Passengers had plenty of time to explore the historic city of York or the attractive spa town of Harrogate.
Polmont to Inverness Steam Special on 4 July 2009 hauled by 60009 Union of South Africa
The nine-coach train was hauled by West Coast Railways maroon 37 676 Loch Rannoch between Polmont and Perth. At Perth the diesel was replaced by 60009 Union of South Africa and its support coach. The ten-coach train headed north over the Highland Line through Pitlochry and Blair Atholl then over Drumochter Summit to Aviemore where there was a water-stop. The journey then continued over Slocht Summit to Inverness. The weather was warm and sunny and the locomotive and crew performed excellently for the climbs to both summits often running ahead of time over these taxing sections. Passengers were able to enjoy nearly four hours in the Highland Capital in the hot summer sunshine. The journey south was equally impressive with the climbs out of Inverness and to Slocht Summit being particularly notable. From Perth the train was diesel-hauled by 37 676 back to Polmont.
Aberdeen to Kyle of Lochalsh on 16 August 2009
This ten-coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 787 Windsor Castle and 47 760. Sunny periods and occasional showers gave excellent views of the dramatic scenery along the Kyle Line. It remained dry while passengers visited Kyle of Lochalsh and those who visited Plockton enjoyed very warm sunshine. The train ran close to time throughout the day.
Forth Circle steam specials on 23 August 2009
The eleven-coach train hauled by 60009 Union of South Africa comprised the locomotive support coach and ten SRPS Railtours coaches. As previously there were two excursions round the Forth Circle. The morning train was from Linlithgow and the afternoon train from Dalmeny and Inverkeithing. Both trains were fully booked and although the weather was dull with some showers there were good views from the Forth Bridge, along the Fife Coast, and of the Ochil Hills, Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle. 60009 performed excellently and the trains ran close to time throughout the day.
Carlisle to Inverness on 5 September 2009
The ten-coach train was top-and tailed by the Class Forty Preservation Society's 40 145 and West Coast Railways 57 601. The route was through Dumfries, Kilmarnock, Coatbridge and Perth, then over the Highland Line to Aviemore and Inverness. The weather was generally cloudy with showers but the views along the route were good. The train ran close to time throughout the day and the locomotive performed very well on the climbs to Drumochter and Slochd summits.
Charter from Alnmouth to Chester on 19 September 2009
The 10-coach North East Railtours charter was top-and-tailed by DB-Sckenker Royal claret liveried 67 005 Queen's Messenger and EWS liveried 67 027 Rising Star. The route was via the Tyne Valley line and southbound over the Settle and Carlisle line. Passengers had over four hours to explore the historic city of Chester. The weather was dry and the train ran close to time throughout the day. The return journey followed the West Coast Main Line over Shap Summit.
Paisley to Kyle of Lochalsh on 26 September 2009
Paisley Gilmour Street Station was opened especially early and the ten-coach train departed on time top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 826
and 47 786 Roy Castle OBE. The train ran via Maxwell Park, Burnside, Hamilton, Motherwell, Stirling and Perth. Passengers enjoyed magnificent autumn weather along the route. At Kyle of Lochalsh there was sunshine and scotch mist drizzle. Many passengers enjoyed a trip in the glass bottomed boat. The return journey ran a few minutes late until Motherwell but arrived back at Paisley 15 minutes early.
Linlithgow to Lincoln on 4 December 2009
The annual Christmas Special to Lincoln was a ten-coach train hauled by DB-Schenker EWS liveried 67 030. As previously this tour was organised jointly with North East Railtours. The weather was excellent with clear blue skies and passengers were able to enjoy over four hours exploring the city of Lincoln, the Christmas Market and the historic cathedral. Christmas Dinner was served to passengers on the return journey and the train ran close to time throughout the day.
This was the final tour of SRPS Railtours' 40th season and we look forward to celebrating the 40th anniversary next year. Despite the unfortunate cancellation of one tour due to low bookings, 2009 has been a record year for SRPS Railtours. The pathing problems which last year caused several cancellations have been overcome. This year's Forth Circle steam specials proved extremely popular and following changes to the ScotRail timetable we have been able to run the ever popular excursions to Kyle of Lochalsh.