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.
Charters from Edinburgh to Aberdeen on 1,8 & 31 August and 7 September 2019
These Tornado Railtours trains were hauled throughout by 60163 Tornado. On 1 August departure from Edinburgh Waverley was delayed due to a broken-down train blocking Calton Tunnel and on 8 August flooding at Winchburgh Tunnel delayed the arrival of the empty train from Bo'ness. The weather for the first, second and last days was bright with much sunshine giving fine views along the east coast. 31 August started wet but improved later. Tornado performed excellently throughout all four tours.
Sunday Steam Specials from Linlithgow and Fife to Tweedbank from 4 to 25 August
SRPS Railtours again organised a series of steam specials featuring the Forth Bridge and the Borders Railway. These ran on four Sundays during August from Linlithgow over the Forth Bridge and round the Fife Circle, then over the Borders Railway from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank. Passengers were able to book morning coffee and afternoon tea on board which again proved very popular. Borders Council Tourism arranged excursions from Tweedbank to Melrose & St Boswells, Abbotsford House and Seasons Restaurant in Gattonside. Other passengers chose to visit Galashiels. The trains were steam-hauled to Tweedbank with a diesel on the rear which hauled the train back as far as Niddrie, where the train reversed and was steam-hauled for the remainder of the return journey through Edinburgh and Fife. Black Five 44871 was the steam locomotive and the diesel was 37 685 Loch Arkaig on all trains.
The train ran close to time throughout on all four Sundays.
North Berwick to Inverness on 21 September 2019
The seven-coach train ran via Fife and was hauled by West Coast Railways 47 832 throughout with 37 685 Loch Arkaig on the rear. The weather was exceptionally warm and sunny with clear views of the mountains, lochs and glens through the highlands. Passengers had the option of leaving the train at Aviemore for a coach trip along Strathspey and a visit to the Glenfiddich distillery at Dufftown. The remaining passengers continued on the train to visit Inverness, The return journey was via Elgin, where passengers on the coach tour rejoined the train, then to Aberdeen, south along the east coast and over the Tay Bridge. The train ran close to time throughout.
Ayr to Fort William on 28 September 2019
Due to a locomotive problem this train started from Paisley and passengers from Ayr and intermediate stations were able to travel on a ScotRail service to join the train. The departure from Paisley was delayed for this connection, but the seven-coach train, top-and-tailed by 37 685 Loch Arkaig and 47 851, recovered this lost time and ran close to time for the rest of the day. The weather was fine and warm in Fort William. Passengers were able to enjoy stunning views of the mountains, lochs and moors along the West Highland railway.
Newcastle and Edinburgh to Ayr and Stranraer on 19 October 2019
This tour was organised jointly with North-East Railtours. The ten-coach train was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 37 516 Loch Laidon and 37 518. The train started from Newcastle upon Tyne and ran via Edinburgh, Bathgate and the City Union Line across Glasgow. Passengers had the option of leaving the train at Ayr for a coach trip to Culzean Castle. The train continued over the scenic line to Stranraer. The day started very wet in the east but cleared as the train approached the west coast and passengers enjoyed fine weather with much sunshine at the destinations and until sunset on the return journey. The return route was via Kilmarnock and the Nith Valley Line through Dumfries to Carlisle, then over the Tyne Valley Line to Newcastle, returning to Edinburgh along the East Coast, then reversing and continuing via the Edinburgh suburban line to Linlithgow. The train ran close to time for most of the day, but was delayed by about half an hour north of Newcastle in the evening due to late running LNER services.