The Grampian Highlander from Nov 1984 remembered
Not the best of starts with 86325 taking messrs Evans, Chapman and myself South on that “solid roarer train” 1A76. At Pancras “the Buzzard” joined off a unit from his Leagrave home…after that it was sit back and enjoy the power, scenery and craic , the ching back then was just £25
that its 27 years since this tour now! A few more memories from “TC”with thanks
My first trip to Scotland was on RESL's "Easter Highlander" in April 1984. Having done a couple of "Freedom of Scotland" tickets in between, the "Grampian Highlander" was a tour that had to be done.
I remember there was large turnout of Bedford cranks (at least 4!), for this tour. 25057 was well recieved, a clawback for a couple after it burst at Bedford on the "Easter Highlander". The 40's had only months left in service, and the 46's had even less, so the use of 46026 from Derby was appreciated, although I would have preferred required 46045, which was at York. The Peak men advised that 46026 had come from Severn Tunnel to work this train. On arrival at Newcastle, 46026 retired to Gateshead Depot, and was withdrawn.
With 31175+31106 now in charge, sleep beckoned, tomorrow was going to be a long day! The consist of many RESL tours included the inevitable buffet with hard orange seats plus and a restaurant car. I remember crashing out on one of those RESL tours in the restaurant car, no one was booked in there, so you could stretch out a bit. All I remember was the rattling of the crockery and cutlery. Might even have been this tour.
Stumbling off the train at Edinburgh to be greeted by 26003+26007 was a bit like still being in a dream. This is because there is a chap from Bedford, who at the time was down to two 26's for haulage. Trouble is, he was still in Bedford!
26003+26007 were superb over the Highland mainline, although I don't think Inverness appreciated getting a pair of NB 26's in November. With the return being overnight, Inverness had to supply some power for us.
27008 took us from Inverness to Dufftown, Burghead, and Elgin East Goods, and back to Inverness. We lost loads of time on the Dufftown branch as we kept slipping. Back at Inverness, we all headed for the chippy!
26026+27004 were both dud for me, although others in our group were quite happy. Personally I would have preferred 26034+26041 which were on the Aberdeen route, but we passed them.
After a fitfull nights sleep, we ended up at Glasgow Central, having ran via Aberdeen and Edinburgh. 26026+27004 followed the 20's to Gourock, and then worked back to Edinburgh. Mega mileage of this mixed pair!
Back at Edinburgh, 47009 took over for the run south. The lack of a driver trained on 31's meant we were getting the 47 to Newcastle, Haymarket wanted it back though. I was hoping 46045 might appear at Newcastle, and although we got a Peak forward, it was 45042. I later found out 46045 was on the Leeds - Portsmouth to Birmingham, with a sizeable crowd of Peak men aboard!
I was impressed with 31404 forward from Derby as it was my last 31/4 for haulage, although it was in steam heat mode on this tour.
Verdict: one of the classics, even better when they pick up / set down at your local station as well!
From Neil Evans “Here's a memory form the Grampian Highlander tour for you. 46026 backs on at DY, on it's last run, and someone from Leighton Buzzard shouts out "Wagon!" Can't think who........???!!!”
2 depot logs from the trip
Inverness depot ect, 171184
08568, 08621, 08717, 08754, 20125, 26026, 26031, 26032, 26034, 26035,
26038, 26040, 27004, 27005, 27008, 27050, 27063, 37031, 37035, 37264,
47012, 47118, 47206, 47517, 47520, 47541, 47614
Any more “Grampian Highlander” memories to share??
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