SRPS Railtours in 2013
Forth Circle Steam Specials on 21 April 2013
SRPS Railtours 2013 programme opened with Forth Circle Steam Specials. The ten coach train hauled by A4 Class 60009 Union of South Africa comprised the locomotive, support coach and nine passenger coaches. As usual there were two excursions round the Forth Circle. The morning train was from Linlithgow and the afternoon train from Dalmeny and Inverkeithing. The weather was showery with some sunny periods, significantly better in the afternoon. 60009 performed excellently and the trains ran close to time throughout the day.
Glenrothes with Thornton to Mallaig on 4 May 2013
The nine-coach train, which was top-and-tailed to Fort William by West Coast Railways 47 786 Roy Castle, OBE & 47 760, ran close to schedule throughout the day. The weather started bright with sunny periods but at Fort William it was wet. In order to pass The Royal Scotsman at Glenfinnan three coaches were removed at Fort William and the remainder of the train was then hauled by 47 786 between there and Mallaig. The unseasonably cold weather meant that passengers were able to view many herds of deer close to the line as the train traversed the highland moorland.
Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 6 May 2013
The nine-coach North East Railtours charter was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 760 & 47 786 Roy Castle, OBE. The train ran close to time throughout the day. The locos ran round at Fort William, so 47 760 led both northbound and southbound.
North Berwick to Kyle of Lochalsh on 25 May 2013
The ten coach train was top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways 47 854 Diamond Jubilee & 47 786 Roy Castle, OBE. The weather was excellent and the spectacular scenery of the Kyle Line was seen at its best. The train ran close to time throughout.
Ayr to Mallaig on 1 June 2013
This train featured steam-haulage between Fort William and Mallaig. From Ayr the nine-coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 786 Roy Castle, OBE & 47 854 Diamond Jubilee and from Fort William six carriages continued to Mallaig hauled by Black Five 44871. The weather was excellent except for around Fort William on the outward journey. The views of the mountains, glens and lochs were excellent. 44871 performed superbly and passengers enjoyed travelling over Glenfinnan Viaduct on a steam train. A late running service train caused delays on the outward journey but time was made up in the later stages of the return journey.
Berwick-upon-Tweed to Inverness on 8 June 2013
SRPS Railtours once again welcomed a large party from Diageo Retirement aboard for their annual rail excursion. The nine coach train was once again top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways 47 854 Diamond Jubilee & 47 786 Roy Castle, OBE. The weather was excellent and passengers were able to visit Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway, or stay on board to the 'Highland Capital', Inverness. There was a delay at Edinburgh Waverley on the outward journey due to a very late platform change delaying passenger boarding, but time was recovered and the train arrived arrival at the destinations a few minutes early. The southbound journey was delayed at Kikcaldy by a broken-down ScotRail train but our train arrived back at Berwick only a few minutes behind schedule.
Forth Circle Steam Special on 16 June 2013
This Father's Day afternoon steam special ran from Edinburgh round the Edinburgh South Suburban Circle and Forth Circle. The fully-booked thirteen coach train hauled by the new A1 Class 60163 Tornado comprised the locomotive, support coach and twelve SRPS Railtours passenger coaches. The weather was bright with some sunny periods. 60163 performed excellently and at Manuel there was the spectacle of two SRPS steam trains together as Tornado, travelling at 74mph, rushed past the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway train with a loud exchange of whistles.
It had been planned to run a morning Fife Circle train but this had to be cancelled two weeks before due to the unavailability of a locomotive crew. By this time the afternoon train was fully booked so the few places available from late cancellations were quickly taken by passengers who had booked on the morning train.
Inverurie to Oban on 14 September 2013
The nine coach train was hauled by preserved Deltic diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey with 37 516 on the rear of the train throughout. The weather was excellent with superb views of the spectacular scenery of the West Highland Line. Due to engineering works the train ran via the Tay and Forth Bridges and timetabling issues meant that the time in Oban was significantly less than planned. The return from Oban was delayed by an hour due to a problem on an incoming ScotRail service, but almost all of the delay was recovered during the return journey.
Dundee to Blackpool on 21 September 2013
The seven coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 57 313 and 47 804 via Fife and the Edinburgh Suburban Circle. Leaving Lockerbie 57 313 failed and 47 804 was run round to the front of the train. The train stopped in a loop at Carnforth where 47 760 was attached to the rear. Despite the problems passengers were still able to spend two and a half hours in Blackpool. The weather was generally fine except for some drizzle over the northern fells and initial low cloud at Blackpool gave way to warm sunshine. The return journey was via the Settle & Carlisle line and ran close to time throughout.
Linlithgow to Ravenglass & Grange-over-Sands on 28 September 2013
This tour was organised jointly with North-East Railtours. The nine-coach train was top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways 47 245 and 47 804 and ran close to schedule throughout the day. The route was down the east coast to Newcastle then along the Tyne Valley Line and over the direct curve onto the Cumbrian Coast Line. The weather was clear and sunny giving excellent views of the sea and Lakeland Fells. Passengers were able to enjoy a trip on the narrow gauge railway from Ravenglass to Eskdale or travel by coach from Grange-over-Sands to Lake Windermere for a cruise on England's largest lake. The train also took the Park South to Dalton curve avoiding Barrow. The return journey was via Carnforth then over Shap Summit to rejoin the Tyne Valley Line using the direct Upperby Curve at Carlisle.
Polmont to Fort William Steam Special on 26 October 2013 featuring 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier & 44871
This steam special was arranged to coincide with the movement of steam locomotives south from Fort William. The eight-coach train was diesel-hauled from Polmont to Fort William by West Coast Railways 47 760 in fine weather which provided outstanding views of the autumn colours along the West Highland Line. The ten-coach southbound train, comprising the passenger carriages and the two locos' support carriages, was double-headed from Fort William to Polmont by Black Fives 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier & 44871. Contrary to a forecast of heavy rain for all of the return journey there was sunshine for the impressive climb through Monnessie Gorge and it remained dry until the water stop at Crianlarich. The locomotives performed excellently throughout the journey.