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SRPS Railtours 2011 Reports


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SRPS Railtours in 2011

Forth Circle Steam Specials on 24 April 2011
The eleven-coach train hauled by A4 Class 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley comprised the locomotive, support coach and ten SRPS Railtours coaches. As last year 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 almost fully booked. The weather was bright with sunny periods and 60007 performed excellently with the trains running close to or even ahead of time throughout the day.

Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 2 May 2011
This 10-coach North East Railtours charter was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 760 and 47 826. Early morning mist on the east coast gave way to warm and sunny weather with clear blue skies on the West Highland Railway. There were clear views of the moors, lochs and mountains with some patches of snow still apparent on the highest peaks. The train ran close to time throughout the day.

Glenrothes with Thornton to Mallaig on 7 May 2011
The nine-coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 760 and 47 826 until Fort William on the return journey from where 47 826 hauled the train for the remainder of the journey. The weather was showery with bright periods and the passengers enjoyed the views of the mountains and lochs as well as herds of deer along the West Highland Railway.

Polmont to Fort William Steam Special on 14 May 2011 hauled by 61994 The Great Marquess & 45231 The Sherwood Forester
This steam special was arranged to coincide with the movement of steam locomotives to Fort William for The Jacobite. The ten-coach train, comprising eight SRPS Railtours carriages and the two locos' support carriages, was double-headed from Polmont to Fort William by K4 Class 61994 The Great Marquess and Black Five 45231 The Sherwood Forester. Despite a poor weather forecast the day was bright with sunny periods and showers and the locomotives performed faultlessly through the spectacular scenery along the West Highland Railway. After a break in Fort William the return journey was diesel-hauled by West Coast Railways 47 760.

North Berwick to Kyle of Lochalsh on 28 May 2011
The eleven-coach train was hauled throughout by preserved Deltic diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey. West Coast Railways 47 804 was on the rear of the train throughout. The weather was mixed with sunny periods and heavy showers and there were fine views of the lochs, mountains and herds of deer along the Highland Railway and Kyle Line. For passengers choosing to visit Plockton the weather was mostly fine while there, whereas only a few miles away at Kyle of Lochalsh the weather was rather wet. The train ran close to schedule throughout the day.

Glenrothes with Thornton to Leeds, Keighley & Skipton on 11 June 2011
SRPS Railtours welcomed a large party from Diageo Retirement aboard the train. The eleven-coach train was top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways 47 826 and 47 804. The southbound journey was along the East Coast Main Line. In bright and mostly sunny weather passengers were able to visit Leeds, or from Keighley experience the Rock and Rail event on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Other passengers chose to visit Skipton where the town's annual gala proved an attraction. The return journey was over the Settle and Carlisle Line.

Linlithgow to Thurso & Wick on 17/18 June 2011
The nine-coach train set out late on Friday evening for an overnight journey to the Far North of Scotland. Being close to the longest day, it was light for the journey over the scenic Far North line. The train was top-and-tailed by preserved Deltic diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey and West Coast Railways 37 676 Loch Rannoch, with the locomotives swapping ends so that 55 022 led for almost all of the journey. The weather in the Far North was fine and sunny with excellent views of the coast, moors and mountains. Passengers were able to spend time at both Thurso and Wick and there was an optional coach tour to John o' Groats which took a route so that passengers could enjoy views of the Castle of Mey and Dunnet Head, the northernmost point on the British mainland.

Charter from Alnmouth to Chester & Llandudno on 25 June 2011
This 10-coach North East Railtours charter was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 760 and 47 804. The outward route was via the Tyne Valley and Settle & Carlisle lines. Passengers had the choice of visiting Chester or continuing along the North Wales coast to Llandudno. Although the weather further north was poor, at the destinations it was bright with sunny periods. For those visiting Chester the historic city was busy with visitors to the races. At Llandudno many passengers chose to take the cable tramway to the summit of the Great Orme from where there are stunning views of the resort and the North Wales Coast. The return journey took the West Coast Main Line over Shap and, although delayed by a late running service train between Llandudno and Chester, was almost back on time by Alnmouth.

Aberdeen to Kyle of Lochalsh on 14 August 2011
The nine-coach train, which was top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways maroon 47 804 and blue 47 237, included several West Coast Railways coaches which were provided so that WCR could use several SRPS Railtours coaches on a steam excursion south of the border for which their coaches were unsuitable. 47 237 had been recently acquired by West Coast Railways and this was the first passenger train it had hauled for eighteen years. The weather was excellent with bright sunny periods, and a couple of short heavy showers did not affect the spectacular views of the lochs and mountains along the Kyle Line. The train ran close to schedule throughout the day and was twenty minutes early back into Aberdeen.

Forth Circle Steam Specials on 21 August 2011
The ten-coach train hauled by Black Five Class 45231The Sherwood Forrester comprised the locomotive, support coach and nine SRPS Railtours coaches and followed the same format as previous Forth Circle specials. The weather was mostly sunny and 45231 performed well except for a short delay near Cowdenbeath on the second trip. Apart from this the trains ran close to time.

Berwick-upon-Tweed to Oban on 3 September 2011
The nine-coach train was double-headed by West Coast Railways 37 685 Loch Arkaig and 37 676 Loch Rannoch and travelled over the recently re-opened line through Bathgate and Airdrie. During the outward journey the weather was rather wet but improved for the visit to Oban and the return journey. An early start meant that there was plenty of time for passengers to take the ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull from where some visited Duart Castle or took the bus to Tobermory.

Linlithgow to Buxton on 8 October 2011
This railtour was organised jointly with North East Railtours. The ten-coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways blue-liveried 47 580 County of Essex and 47 270 Swift. The route south was via York, Doncaster, Sheffield, the Hope Valley Line and Peak Forest and arrival at Buxton was on time. The weather was autumnal and despite being rather damp passengers enjoyed the trip to this attractive spa town and the autumn colours of the Peak District. The return route was via Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge, Stockport, Stalybridge then through Standedge Tunnel, Huddersfield and Leeds.

Linlithgow to Lincoln on 2 December 2011 hauled by Deltic 55 022 Royal Scots Grey
The Christmas Special to Lincoln was an eleven-coach train hauled by preserved Deltic diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey with 47 854 on the rear of the train throughout. As in previous years this tour was organised jointly with North East Railtours. The locomotive performed excellently throughout demonstrating how these locomotives performed on the East Coast Main Line prior to replacement by Inter-City 125s. The train ran close to time throughout and arrived at Lincoln exactly on time. The bright and sunny weather was ideal for passengers to visit the historic city and its famous Christmas Market. Christmas Dinner was served to passengers soon after leaving Lincoln. After last year's disappointment when this excursion had to be cancelled due to adverse weather, this almost full train was a good finale to another successful programme.

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