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SRPS Railtours 2007 Reports

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SRPS Railtours in 2007

Charters to West Somerset Railway and Victa-Westlink Rail from 9 March to 30 April 2007
The SRPS Railtours train was chartered by the West Somerset Railway to carry large numbers of passengers at their Steam Gala events on 17, 18, 24 & 25 March. It also featured on a series of photocharters on the same line on 20, 12, 13 & 16 March. Several SRPS Railtours volunteers accompanied the stock.

Saturday 28 April : Excursion from Minehead to York hauled by 47 847 and 47 815.

North Berwick to Kyle of Lochalsh on 5 May 2007
The first tour of the SRPS 2007 Programme was a ten-coach train was top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways maroon 47 245 and green 47 851 Traction Magazine. The Network Rail timings gave a much shorter time at Kyle of Lochalsh than anticipated, and RETB problems caused delays on the northbound journey. Despite omitting the Plockton stop the train reached Kyle after the scheduled departure time, although wet weather meant that it was not a good time to look round Kyle anyway. Despite further RETB problems and faults with one locomotive, the train was only fifteen minutes late arriving back at North Berwick.

Charter from Newcastle to Fort William on 7 May 2007
The stock from Saturday's tour did not return to Bo'ness but ran to Newcastle for a charter by North East Railtours. It was top-and-tailed throughout by green 47 245 and 57 601. The weather was variable. As on Saturday's tour, the train was delayed by RETB problems on the outward journey, but the return journey ran to time.

Glenrothes with Thornton to Mallaig on 19 May 2007
This nine-coach train was top-and-tailed throughout by West Coast Railways maroon 47 245 and DRS 47 802 and ran close to time throughout the tour. The weather was poor, with a sunny spring evening for the return journey.

Darlington to Stranraer on 9 June 2007
The Class Forty Preservation Society's 40 145 featured on this tour. DRS 47 501 was on the rear to provide train heating and haul the train back from Stranraer to Barassie. The ten-coach train ran close to time throughout. A misty start on the East Coast gave way to hot sunshine in the west. On the return journey there was an hour's stop at Ayr, then after reversal at Barassie the train took the freight line via Annbank to Mauchline.

Linlithgow to Thurso & Wick on 22/23 June 2007
Class Forty Preservation Society's 40 145 was to share this tour with Deltic Royal Scots Grey, but a fault with the Deltic meant that West Coast Railways maroon liveried 57 601 was a last minute stand in to top-and-tail and provide train heating. The weather was overcast with mist and showers but fortunately it was dry in the Far North and passengers were able to enjoy the coach trip to John o' Groats. 40 145 hauled the train north to Georgemas Junction and south from Wick back to Linlithgow. Delays caused by an administrative misunderstanding within Network Rail meant that the time at Wick was only sufficient to pick up the passengers from the coach tour. Once again 40 145 performed faultlessly throughout the tour and thanks are due to the Class Forty Preservation Society.

Charter from Alnmouth to Ravenglass on 30 June 2007
This ten coach North East Railtours charter was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways maroon 47 804 and 47 854. The train ran via the Tyne Valley, the Settle & Carlisle Line and Ribble Valley before joining the West Coast Main Line at Preston. Some passengers left the train at Grange-over-Sands for a coach trip and cruise on Lake Windermere. The train then continued along the Cumbrian Coast Line to Ravenglass from where a special train hauled by River Irt took passengers along the narrow gauge Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway to Dalegarth. The departure for the return journey was delayed by a late running service train. The return route was over Shap Summit and, despite the earlier delay, arrival back at Alnmouth was only a few minute behind schedule.

Polmont to Broomhill Steam Special on 18 August 2007 hauled by 61994 The Great Marquess
The seven-coach train was hauled by West Coast Railways maroon 47 804 between Polmont and Perth. At Perth the diesel was replaced by 61994 The Great Marquess and the train headed north over the Highland Line through Pitlochry and Blair Atholl then over Drumochter Summit to Aviemore. Despite wet weather the steam locomotive performed well, although it had to stop once when it ran out of steam on the northbound climb. At Aviemore the train was welcomed by members of the Strathspey Railway. Following a prolonged locomotive servicing break during which 61994 was turned on the turntable, the train ran along the Strathspey Railway through Boat of Garten to the end of the line at Broomhill (Glenbogle in the BBC TV series Monarch of the Glen). After returning to Aviemore the train continued steam-hauled south to Perth where it arrived 20 minutes early. It was then diesel-hauled by 47 804 to Polmont.

Carlisle to Fort William on 25 August 2007
The ten-coach train was top-and tailed by the Class Forty Preservation Society's 40 145 and West Coast Railways 57 601. The route was through Dumfries, Kilmarnock and Exhibition Centre (Glasgow). The weather was very poor for earlier parts of the trip but cleared up by Rannoch Moor and was bright and sunny for the rest of the day. A delay due to pathing issues in the Glasgow area resulted in late arrival in Fort William where it was decided that there was not enough time to run the locomotives round the train. On the return journey 57 601 led to Craigendoran where 40 145 ran round.

Grampian Railtours Charter on 16 September 2007
For over 20 years Grampian Railtours have organised excursions from Aberdeen. This year's train to Dunrobin Castle was arranged by John Begg, founder and owner of Grampian Railtours. After he suffered a fatal heart attack in June his widow and family decided to run the tour. The ten-coach train from Aberdeen to Dunrobin Castle was top-and-tailed by West Coast Railways 47 804 and 47 787. The weather started wet and was later showery. For passengers who wished to spend extra time at Dunrobin Castle a coach link over the Dornoch Bridge from Tain was arranged by SRPS Railtours.
Linlithgow to Inverness on 22 September 2007
The nine-coach train was hauled by preserved diesel 40 145 East Lancashire Railway via Fife and the Highland main line. West Coast Railways 47 787 was on the rear of the train to provide train heating. There was an optional coach tour from Aviemore through Speyside including a visit to the Glenlivet Distillery at Ballindalloch, with passengers rejoining the train at Elgin. The locomotive perfomed excellently and arrival in Inverness was over half-an-hour early. The weather was good apart from some low cloud and drizzle around Drumochter summit. After a pleasant few hours in Inverness the train returned via Aberdeen along the east coast main line over the Tay and Forth Bridges.

Dundee to Oban on 6 October 2007 hauled by Deltic 55 022 Royal Scots Grey
This ten-coach train was hauled by heritage Deltic diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey. West Coast Railways 37 248 Loch Arkaig was on the rear to provide assistance in the event of greasy rails or leaves on the line. A bright dawn was breaking as the train left Dundee over the Tay Bridge and continued through Fife and over the Forth Bridge. However the weather in the west was wet. The train arrived in Oban on time. On the return journey vandals at Garelochhead station broke three windows as the train left. Emergency repairs were carried out at Helensburgh Upper and the train was not significantly delayed. It is understood that a teenage girl was apprehended following the incident. 55 022 performed excellently throughout the tour which arrived back at Dundee about 15 minutes behind schedule.

Linlithgow to Lincoln on 7 December 2007 hauled by Deltic 55 022 Royal Scots Grey
The fifth annual Christmas Special to Lincoln was an eleven-coach train hauled by preserved Deltic diesel 55 022 Royal Scots Grey. As previously this tour was organised jointly with North East Railtours. During the early part of the day there was a technical problem with 55 022 which was fixed and the locomotive performed excellently throughout the remainder of the day. Arrival at Lincoln would have been early but the train was held at signals on the approach to the station. 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. The return journey was significantly delayed up to Durham but the train was back on time by Edinburgh, demonstrating how these locomotives performed on the East Coast Main Line prior to replacement by Inter-City 125s. While our train was stopped at Edinburgh Waverley a failed GNER IC-125 was hauled into the adjacent platform by an EWS class 67. Ironically it was named Deltic 50 in honour of the 50th Anniversary of its predecessor. The final SRPS Railtours train of 2007 arrived back at Linlithgow a few minutes early, completing a difficult but successful year for SRPS Railtours. The engineering works at Edinburgh Waverley had prevented previous tours calling there but it is expected that Edinburgh and East Lothian will be better served by next year's SRPS Railtours Programme.

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