The “Royal Scot” Railtour, Friday December 28th 1984
Its around 0530am on a Friday morning at Leighton station, the rest of the world still seems to be in bed so what am I doing up at this rancid hour on a Friday morning? An ontime up “Irish Mail” roars South with 85011 up front with the regulation sleeper coach on the back. My 310 unit soon arrives and my doss is disturbed by a local “soche” Bletchley TTI. He laughs on me telling him I’m off to Glasgow.
Reasonable crowds of bashers milled around at Euston, our 11 coach Mk I compo rake had a “proper electric” in 85021 up front. Said “roarer” and driver were “good un’s” as we had a seriously fast run North. We lurched round the Weedon slack at great haste and arrived at Crewe just the 15 minutes earlier!. With our 85 detached a decent pair of 40’s with required nb 40152 and boilered 40086 backed on. With rumours of 40’s having not long to go it was a real bonus to get a pair of these fine workhorses.
We headed North via the main line at respectable speed with a really good atmosphere throughout the train. The booked crew change at Preston didn’t happen so the unfortunate group of bashers hoping to join at Preston, were treated to bucketloads of thrash echoing off the station roof and a serious withering as we passed through non-stop.
From Lancaster onwards we were treated to a thick snow cover which seemed to enliven the post Christmas atmosphere that bit more. We thrashed over Shap, toured the far West of Kingmoor yard, Kingmoor Flyover, then a steady but noisy ascent of Beattock. Because of the ongoing ban on 16 wheeled locos over Glasgow Central’s complicated pointwork our tour was booked a loco change at Polmadie. RESL’s Neil Webster (sadly since deceased), had arranged another “decent pair” in “Scottish bomb’s” 20067 and 20048 to Glasgow Central.
We had about an hour in a grey late December Glasgow to rake in the standard basher’s moves of a chip supper, beers or carry out. Back at Central there was gloom in the news that the second pair of 20’s had been failed by the driver and nobody seemed to know what was now being kicked out. Most were not impressed by 26042 producing for the trip to Polmadie, but I was well happy on getting my last Inverness 26 “in the book” some 12 years after my first 60A stalwart mileage!
Having been turned on the Hamilton loop 40152 lead 40086 for the return leg to keep the steam heat flowing. Once on the move with us all leaning out to enjoy the noise we soon viewed “sparks, flames and smoke” coming from 40086’s bogie. Apparently the cord was then pulled, the loco’s handbrake reset and the guard had a serious rant! A good return run with pulses of thrash but it was total darkness once past Carstairs.
Back at Crewe the rumours were rife that 40152 and 40086 were going through to Euston rather than an electric. With no movement off Crewe’s holding sidings for a few minutes it did look as if we were getting 40086 to Euston again (40086 and 40084 had worked the CFPS Silver Jubilee tour to Euston in March 83). Then the “man with the gloves” arrived, the 40’s were detached and the only downer of the day in a hugely dull 86318 arrived from Crewe ED to work the “Royal Scot” tour forward.
86318 took a now lightly loaded tour back to Euston, I bailed at the Keynes to keep the “can” mileage down. On the 310 back to Leighton there was just time to reflect on a superb tour, unforgettable!.
068 0500 Northampton - Euston L.Buzzard-Euston
85021 0725 Euston - Glasgow “Royal Scot” Railtour Euston - Crewe
40152}0725 Euston - Glasgow “Royal Scot” Railtour Crewe-Polmadie
20048}0725 Euston - Glasgow “Royal Scot” Railtour Polmadie-Glasgow C
26042 1540 Glasgow - Euston Rtn Railtour Glasgow C - Polmadie
40152} 1540 Glasgow - Euston Rtn Railtour Polmadie - Crewe
86318 1540 Glasgow - Euston Rtn Railtour Crewe - M.Keynes
069 2021 Birmingham - Euston M.Keynes-L.Buzzard
Other Gen from the day
81021 0350 Euston - Bletchley “milk empties”
85011 0115 Holyhead - Euston
33064 1003 Crewe - Cardiff
81019 0726 Coventry - Glasgow C
87022 1827 Blackpool - Euston
86213 2100 Euston - Inverness
Royal Scot phot spot