The "Lancashire Linx" Railtour remembered, March 9th 1985
A very sociable booked tour departure time of 0833 from Birmingham New St
meant the usual rancid pre tour "Crewe overnight" could be flagged. An early start
for the "milk empties" staff train saw me roaring out of Leighton behind 85005 on load
3 around 0510!
After the short run to Bletchley it was a 310 forward to Coventry with some much needed doss, apart from when our Wolverton and Northampton colleagues joined us in the hot, stuffy noisy power car of 310066!
From Coventry things went down hill, 86222 was the forwarding power on the "Scotch" and on arrival at New St we were advised the tour was 90 late off Bristol! Loco issues were claimed and that soon had the comments along the likes of "what do you expect with ped's" being overheard!
The "Lancashire Linx" tour
31273 and 31187 eventually arrived with the tour at 0946 and on joining our TSO there was a very subdued atmosphere on board. The 0400 start from the West Country didnt help perhaps but the tours quoted "rubbish" 20's and 25's had an influence on the atmosphere. We all knew that the initially requested 40 wouldn't feature as they had all been withdrawn and 40122 was on a tour elsewhere.
45069 was the steaming stand in for the Birmingham - Sheffield - Copy Pit - Blackburn -Springs Branch high mileage section of the tour and whilst rateable, it wasn't a whistling
beast! The "Peak" reduced the late running slightly and "Copy Pit" was a first for me and a fair few others. The photo stop at Blackburn allowed a welcome leg stretch and a reasonable phot. Uncommon peak mileage from Blackburn to Wigan NW and Springs Branch Jn where
20060/20160 were attached.
I was one of the few who were happy with 20060 in the book! A short 20 mileage run across the levels to Southport, where on approach 24081 with stock was posing outside Southport Steamport. During the tour's hour's layover at Southport there was a mass hike to Steamport where 2 short depot to sidings running line moves with 24081 (and mk I DVT buffet) were great fun. (some desperate 24 men did 3 trips). Steamport was an atmospheric primarily steam museum in the large former 27C steam shed. Sadly Steamport was to close in 1997.
Back at Southport BR the quoted 25034/25224 in now sunny weather saw us back on a tour with a better atmosphere, head back to Wigan with some serious fast WCML running to boost the tour atmosphere even more.
We bailed to New St where the 31's returned West for 87016 back to Milton Keynes on a Wolves - Euston. A good end to what was eventually an enjoyable enough day.
Known Gen from the day..
85005 2A23 0350 Euston-Bletchley LB-BY
85040 1A04 0110 Holyhead-Euston
066 0430 Euston-Birmingham BY-CO
50002 1E54 0650 Padd-Hull (TO BNS)
47420 1E54 0650 Padd-Hull (ex BNS)
86222 1S53 0726 Coventry-Glasgow CO-NS
45132 1O27 0645 York-Portsmouth (to BNS)
47625 1O27 0645 York-Portsmouth (ex BNS)
31273} 1Z42 0400 Plymouth-Southport Railtour
45069 1Z42 0400 Plymouth-Southport Railtour NS-SP (via Copy Pit)
20060} 1Z42 0400 Plymouth-Southport Railtour SP-SO
24081 1512 Southport-Southport Sdgns 2 trips
25034} 1Z42 1540 Southport-Plymouth Railtour SO-NS
47422 1M23 1440 Poole-Liverpool
87016 1A74 1827 Wolverhampton-Euston NS-MK (via Nor)
85015 Liverpool-Ipswich rtn footex