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SRPS Railtours 1998 Reports

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SRPS Railtours in 1998

Fife to Mallaig on 2 May 1998
SRPS Railtours 1998 Programme started very well with a fully booked tour from Glenrothes with Thornton to Fort William and Mallaig. The eight coach train of SRPS maroon Mk1 coaches was hauled throughout by 37 413 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society.

Charter to Birmingham on 16 May 1998
This charter train of eleven maroon SRPS Railtours coaches conveyed over five hundred passengers from Edinburgh Waverley to Birmingham New Street. The train was hauled throughout by EWS 47 627 in unique all maroon livery. The outward route was via Carlisle and Crewe, and the return was via Derby, Sheffield, Ferrybridge, York and Newcastle.

The Lochalsh Special on 23 May 1998
The second SRPS Railtour of the season ran from Dunbar to Kyle of Lochalsh. This fully booked train of ten coaches was double-headed throughout by 37 413 The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and 37 405, both in EWS livery. The return journey was delayed by a late-running Far North service at Muir of Ord and by a late-running HST at Kingussie. This tour was the first locomotive-hauled train to call at the recently opened Dalgety Bay station where over sixty passengers joined.

Carlisle to Oban on 6 June 1998
This train of nine coaches was hauled throughout by 37 410 Aluminium 100 in Transrail livery. The train kept good time throughout, but the weather was not kind with heavy rain for much of the day which fortunately held off for most of the time in Oban.

Falkirk to Chester on 13 June 1998
The ten-coach train was hauled throughout by 47 572 Ely Cathedral in Res livery. The train made very good time throughout and arrived at Chester 25 minutes early. Despite a forecast of heavy rain, it remained dry throughout the time in Chester. An unusual feature of this tour was that in both directions the train ran non-stop through Carlisle.

Paisley to Keighley on 20 June 1998
The eight-coach train was hauled throughout by 47 776 Respectable in Res livery. The locomotive lived up to its name and made very good time throughout, arriving about 15 minutes early at Keighley. After enjoying superb views along the Settle & Carlisle line, some passengers chose the option to leave the train at Skipton and travel by vintage coach to Embsay for the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway Steam Gala. The remaining passengers were made very welcome at the Keighley & Worth Valley railway where a special train hauled by Standard Class 2MT 2-6-0 No 78022 was waiting. SRPS Railtours passengers were also able to travel on the normal service train hauled by Class 8F 2-8-0 No 48431. It was a very hot day, although there was some thundery rain during the return journey.

Kirkcaldy to Blackpool on 27 June 1998
Kirkcaldy station was crowded when 350 members of Fife Link (Guinness/Distillers pensioners) boarded the train. The full set of eleven SRPS Railtours coaches was hauled south by 47 572 Ely Cathedral. Although there was some late running early in the journey, the stopping times at Carlisle and Preston were reduced sufficiently to complete the journey on time. At Preston 47 793 Saint Augustine was attached to 'top and tail' the train to Blackpool. The weather forecast had been poor and there were heavy showers during the journey south. However, at Blackpool the sun shone and a very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all participants. On the return journey 47 572 was detached at Preston and the train was hauled north by 47 793.

Charter from Aberdeen to Berwick on 9 August 1998
Nine SRPS Railtours coaches were chartered by Grampian Railtours for an excursion from Aberdeen to Berwick-upon-Tweed. The train was hauled south by 47 773 Eastern Star and returned north behind 47 771 Heaton Traincare Depot.

Edinburgh to Mallaig on 29 August 1998
The SRPS Railtours Programme resumed with this eight coach train of SRPS maroon Mk1 coaches which was hauled throughout by 37 405. The full compliment of passengers enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the West Highland Line in excellent warm and sunny weather.

Tour to Manchester and Chester cancelled
The tour scheduled for 5 September from Linlithgow to Manchester and Chester was unfortunately cancelled. Due to engineering work it was necessary to reroute the train to call at Manchester Oxford Road instead of Victoria. However subsequently proved impossible to find a return path for the train through Manchester, and it would be necessary for passengers to rejoin the SRPS train by travelling on service trains to Stockport. It was therefore decided to cancel the tour.

The Lochalsh Special on 19 September 1998
This ten-coach train was double-headed throughout by Transrail 37 409 Loch Awe and EWS 37 405. The tour started from Linlithgow and ran via the Edinburgh suburban circle to Waverley, before heading north over the Forth Bridge. An unusual feature was that the train ran non-stop past Inverness using the Rose Street curve. The train ran to time (or early) for the outward journey. The weather was very good and a large number of passengers took advantage of the stop at Plockton to explore the haunts of Hamish Macbeth. However, the return journey was delayed at Inverness by a late-running ScotRail service and subsequent delays on the single track sections.

The Glenfinnan Explorer on 3 October 1998
A much earlier start than expected (05.06 from Berwick-upon-Tweed) resulted in lower passenger numbers for this train and seven coaches were sufficient. The train was double-headed by the Royal Scotsman liveried 37 428 and Regional Railways liveried 37 425 Sir Robert McAlpine / Concrete Bob. After a prolonged stop at Upper Tyndrum news was received that up ahead, on Rannoch Moor, the Caledonian Sleeper had failed. A locomotive had been taken off a freight train at Bridge of Orchy and sent to assist. With further delays at Bridge of Orchy and Gorton, our train reached Fort William 70 minutes late. The train was top-and-tailed to Glenfinnan where the stop was reduced to 40 minutes. The weather was good, giving excellent views of the West Highlands in autumn. A very good performance by the two locomotives on the return journey resulted in the train being back on time at Westerton. A few minutes were lost by the time the train reached Berwick.

This tour marked the end of another successful season for SRPS Railtours.

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