The EM2 Farewell Railtour, Saturday June 14th 1986
Pre Tour Moves
With 81002 passing Leighton on 0911 Euston-Holyhead there must be a good chance of a "roarer" on 1B01 the following 0925 Euston-Northampton "half cobbler" set. Lovely
86405 then droned in on B01! At the Keynes 25176 passed South on vans, an eh 47 did the Liverpool-Dover and then i was rewarded with 85031 on 1B02 1110 Euston-Northampton which was thoroughly enjoyed both to Northampton and back on the 1313 Northampton-Euston. At Euston it was cover a few more "roarers" but on meeting up with the "Axeman" it was walk to Liverpool St time with the City Bars bursting out on the streets aplenty.
We were booked on the Harwich Relief train which was a reasonably rateable Clacton unit combination of 309602/624/605.
What appeared to be a very new shiny, huge ship in the "Konigen Beatrix" impressed us big time as we found a bar after finding our cabins. To be fair we had slight apprehension about doing our first "Foreign tour". Would our compo be full of foreigners, would the buffet staff speak English, we were missing a UK Summer Saturday, would there be any atmosphere or photo stops across Holland.
We on waking early as we arrived at The Hoek, saw our apprehension vanish on a sunny warm morning, we were about to join in many enthusiasts eyes, the "best railtour ever"...
At the Hoek EM2's 1503 (E27004, Juno) and 1501 (E27003, Diana) looked superb complete with restored BR nameplates and Gorton builders plates. The tour stock was 11 x DB primarily open stock with big slide down windows which were ideal for bellowing out of! A BR built 08 shunter in NS's 621 adding to the overall Britishness of the Hoek.
A virtual right time took us to the large Rotterdam Central station where an enormous "kettle" with EM2 1505 (E27000, Ariadne) backed on. Here a young enthusiast put his green model EM2 on a running board of the full size 1505. Several Dutch staff showed a great interest in this model, the youngster glowing with pride.
The big kettle took us North East to Utrecht from where 1505 fired up to Boxtel Goods Yard. The name "Boxtel" will remain in enthusiast folklore for ever on the line up of all 4 EM2's here. The hour here was spent with several miles of film being exposed on the unique line up for the final time. "I love NS" stickers were spotted on several staff cars, well we all did now too!
1503 and 1501 then took us furthur East to Nijmergen and Arnhem where the 50 minute break was enjoyed watching passing service train traffic with "Dutch Deltic" 1216 on freight being much admired. We returned West to Amersfoort where NS had a mini exhibition of power including a Belgian electric 1181, 2 more Dutch Deltics and KLM liveried double deck units.
What as show NS were putting on for us all. By now mid afternoon 1502 (E27000, Electra) and 1505 departed West for Uitgeest which included some fast running and a brief crew change at Amsterdam Central.
From Uitgeest 1505 and 1502 having run round worked to Harlem Goods Yard. From here that mighty impressive "kettle" and 1502 multied up for the run to Den Haag. The allocated piper produced here to play a lament for 1501 leaving on the penultimate leg of the tour
to Rotterdam Central station and Rotterdam Yard as the sun began to set.
The final leg saw a triple headed 1502/1505/1503 leave for the Hoek passing some flashers at Rotterdam Central station too. With the light fading the tour mood dropped as we realised we were soon to be off back to Blighty and what would become of the EM2's that had worked for 20 further years on NS after leaving BR service.
As we boarded the British ship "St Nicholas" there was time to dwell in the tatty cabins on a fantastic railtour, a massive well done to EM2 Loco society and NS for the superb organisation.
Tour phot spot
The EM2's were withdrawn from NS the following day. 1501 was preserved by the "Werkgroep 1501" in Holland, 1502 was preserved by the EM2 Society and was shipped home via Harwich to Butterly. Likewise 1505 was preserved at the Manchester Science Museum and again was shipped home via Harwich before returning to Manchester via the WCML. Sadly the tours other star 1503 was eventually cut for spares.
Writing up these notes over 30 years after the tour the memories of that warm, sunny June day remain happy ones, definitely the best tour ever! in my eyes.