SRPS Railtours in 2019
Sir William McAlpine Memorial Charter from London to York on 11 January 2019
This special train commemorated Sir William McAlpine who was a major figure in many aspects of railway heritage including rescuing 60103 Flying Scotsman when it was impounded in the USA. For 42 years he was President of The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and helped the Society in many ways, so SRPS Railtours was honoured to provide the coaches and stewards for this special event. The train was organised by the National Railway Museum, Lady Judy McAlpine, DB-Cargo, Network Rail, LNER, SRPS Railtours and UK Railtours, who organised the ticket sales for the general public. The front two carriages were reserved for guests of Lady McAlpine.
The eleven-coach train was hauled from King's Cross to York by 60103 Flying Scotsman. The weather was fine and large numbers watched the train from stations along the route. At York there was a ceremony in the National Railway Museum where Lady McAlpine named electric locomotive 90 028 Sir William M cAlpine. After being posed for photographs with 60103 Flying Scotsman, 90 028 Sir William M cAlpine hauled the train back to King's Cross.
Charter from Edinburgh to Aberdeen on 14 March 2019
The Tornado Railtours ten coach train was hauled throughout by 60163 Tornado with 37 706 on the rear. The weather was bright and mostly sunny giving good views along route through Fife to Perth then along the east coast to Aberdeen. At Aberdeen 60163 became the first steam locomotive to use the recently re-installed turntable at Ferryhill. The train ran close to time throughout the day.
Charter from Bo'ness to Crewe and Crewe to Gourock on 26-28 April 2019
This Branch Line Society charter ran over three days and traversed many loops and several freight lines along the route.
On Friday 26 April the nine-coach train started from Bo'ness and was hauled by SRPS-owned 47 643 to Manuel. Here DRS 66 425 took over to haul the train via the Edinburgh South Suburban Circle, Waverley, the Shotts line to Motherwell then the West Coast Main Line to Crewe.
Saturday's train started from Crewe hauled by 88 007 Electra with 88 002 Prometheus at the front and 68 018 Vigilant on the rear to Carlisle Kingmoor, from where 88 007 was taken off and 88 002 hauled the train to Mossend Yard. 88 002 was replaced by 37 038 & 37 218 which hauled the train via Shettleston, Queen Street Low Level, Anniesland, Maryhill, Springburn and over the City Union Line to join the line to Gourock. South of the border the weather had been poor but it cleared in Scotland with bright sunshine except for a heavy shower co-inciding with the stop at Gourock. 68 018 Vigilant hauled the train back to Shields Junction where it reversed and was hauled by 37 038 & 37 218 via Newton on Ayr, Annbank and Mauchline, then along the Nith Valley line through Dumfries to Carlisle. 88 009 Diana then hauled the train back to Crewe.
On Sunday the train was hauled by 66 305 from Crewe via Motherwell and Coatbridge Central, Stepps, Springburn and Falkirk High to Polmont where the tour ended.
Linlithgow to Aberdeen on 5 May 2019
SRPS Railtours 2019 programme opened with a steam special from Linlithgow to Aberdeen. The eleven coach train, hauled by A4 Class 60009 Union of South Africa, comprised the locomotive, support coach and ten passenger coaches. The train crossed the Forth Bridge and then ran along the Fife Coast, continuing via Perth and Dundee. The weather was generally good with sunny periods giving excellent views along the east coast through Arbroath, Montrose and Stonehaven. At Aberdeen the locomotive ran to Ferryhill where it was turned on the recently restored turntable, ready for the return journey. The locomotive performed well and the train ran close to time throughout.
Forth Circle Steam Specials on 19 May 2019
Three SRPS Railtours Forth Circle Steam Specials were hauled by A3 Class 60103 Flying Scotsman. The eleven coach train comprised the locomotive, support coach and ten passenger coaches. The morning train was from Linlithgow, the afternoon train from Dalmeny and the evening train from Inverkeithing. The weather started damp and cloudy but soon improved, giving good views of The Forth Bridge, Fife Coast and the Ochil Hills. The fully booked morning and afternoon trains ran close to time, but a problem with the locomotive during the third trip resulted in a diesel, 37 706, being attached at Stirling to ensure that the train was able to continue to Inverkeithing 45 minutes late. The final part of the evening trip, as intended, featured crossing the Forth Bridge when floodlit. The locomotive performed well for the first two trips and much of the third. Passengers and many others watching from along the route were able to enjoy the experience of travelling behind or just seeing and hearing one of the world's most famous locomotives.
Charter from Newcastle to Oban on 27 May 2019
This ten-coach North East Railtours charter was double headed by preserved 37 025 Inverness TMD and 37 402 Stephen Middlemore. The weather was wet through Northumberland but cleared as the train headed north and there were excellent views of the lochs and mountains along the West Highland Railway. The train ran close to time throughout the day.
Linlithgow to Kyle of Lochalsh on 1 June 2019
The nine-coach train ran via Edinburgh where it reversed and was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 854 Diamond Jubilee and 47 832 through Fife and Perth. The weather was good with sunny periods and passengers were able to enjoy clear views of the mountains, lochs and glens through the highlands and along the spectacular Kyle Line. The train ran close to time throughout.
Glenrothes with Thornton to Chester and Llandudno on 15 June 2019
This ten-coach train was hauled by DB-Cargo 67 001 and 67 012. Contrary to the forecast the weather was good with sunny periods, Passengers were able to enjoy good views as the train headed south along the West Coast Main Line then choose to visit Chester or remain on board along the North Wales coast. As the train approached Llandudno there were particularly notable views of Conway Castle and bridges. The train ran close to time throughout except for a short delay leaving Edinburgh on the return journey.