"They can't cancel the tour", October 1/2nd 1993
A lateish start with a variety of loco and unit power taking us North to Stockport where we bought Greater Manchester rail rangers, the day ticket to the world! A 101 DMU purring nicely, took us to Bolton where we photted 47's at the parcels depot, sadly in its last day of operation.
31408 staggered back to Manchester Victoria on the Barrow. A very short 0.74 miles were then sampled behind the livelier 31410 to Salford Crescent. A 142 back, then a very noisy 37422 on the Southport "club" train which we enjoyed a good run out to Wigan Wallgate. Dino mileage followed but we were concerned on glimpsing a "tour cancelled" notice at Piccadilly. "Perhaps its a wind up, they can't cancel the tour now" we pondered.
At Crewe a good few cranks were gathered some hours before the tour was due. The rumours of massive tour tractors and 3 26's featuring were now history as the tour was caped. A Notice at Crewe plus several announcements saw the last tour stalwarts, heads shacking and muttering "they can't cancel the tour" as alternative plans were drawn up. Apparently the tour organisers had rung my home line around 8 o'clock to advise the mrs, this was far too late for the many people who had 4 hour plus trips to make the tour at Crewe. We couldn't get home from Crewe on a proper train, by tour capeage confirmation time and we joined in a hollow cheer from the 100 or so very stranded tour participants at the 2238, the booked tour departure time.
Well a rancid overnight was on the cards. To save on the "Friday Saver ching" we joined after midnight a quiet 158 unit for limited doss to Holyhead. At Holyhead it was straight onto the 0320 Holyhead - Brum with 37414 up front. We found the last bay of 4 in the front coach with bashers dossed out in various, almost comical positions. The "grip" on leaving Holyhead was a shout "you all on rovers lads" with a few "yes's", and that was that!
It was a struggle to leave the cosy warmth of the early Mk II and reassuring thrash at Crewe but the East Lancs beckoned! Loads of "dino" mileage followed but we were still darkly depressed from the tour's cancellation and while festering at Levenshume my mate commentated "it's hardy Lairg is it!"
To be fair the East Lancs put on a superb show but the grey, wet weather, our depressed dog tired state made it hard to really enjoy and we dossed out for long periods. 20031, 24054, 25309, 40135, 47402, 50015, 821/832 and even 08479 thrashed nicely. The only loco that didnt thrash was 81002!! which was dragged by the" rat" on at least one round trip. This was perhaps the last ever time a "roarer" has "worked" a train, albeit not under power. Still at least the East Lancs got the 81 out, much better than festering around in some depot near Chesterfield for years on end!
More 304. 305's and 310 mileage took us home, still fighting to stay awake, 87025 was the only loco sampled on the homeward leg. I got home shortly after ten, the girlfriend wryly saying "your early!".
The class 26 farewell tour was organised by Manchester's "Cigar Alley" based "Victoria Travel". It was to depart 2238 from Crewe for Inerness then Wick and Thurso. Return late afternoon from the Far North, 05blip back into Crewe on the Sunday morning. At least 3 26's (on their final day in service) plus some big 37's Crewe - Perth would have made this a true classic.
Refunds came through quickly, the rumoured reason (never confirmed) was that a bounced cheque for a block tour booking saw the coaching stock supplier refuse the stock (green, Pilkington rake, we think) to leave the sidings. BR had already got the tours loco moves well underway but by 1993 the railway was well broken up and no replacement stock could be found..Writing up these notes 24 years later, the bitterness at the time is still clearly remembered, but a reasonable couple of days bashing, none the less were raked in.
321405} 0824 Euston - Northampton L.Buzzard - M.Keynes
86210 0910 Euston - Birmingham M.Keynes - Coventry
47829 0934 Reading - Manchester Coventry - Stafford
304010 1236 Stafford - Macclesfield Stafford - Macclesfield
86260 1235 Birmingham - Manchester Macclesfield - Stockport
51478} 1258 Chester - Wigan Stockport - Bolton
31408 1335 Barrow - Manchester Vic Bolton - Manchester V
31410 1648 Manchester Vic - Barrow Manchester V - Salford Crescent
142043 1617 Blackburn - Rochdale Salford Crescent - Manchester V
37422 1735 Manchester V - Southport Manchester V - Wigan Wallgate
150217 1755 Southport - Chester Wigan Wallgate - Manchester Ox Rd
53269} 1852 Warrington - Manchester Manchester Ox Rd - Manchester P
304014 1930 Deansgate - Macclesfield Manchester P - Stockport
304036 2000 Deansgate - Crewe Stockport - Crewe
2238 Crewe - Inverness/Wick class 26 farewell tour - caped!!!
158810 2326 (1/10) Liverpool - Holyhead Crewe - Holyhead
37414 0320 Holyhead - Birmingham Int'l Holyhead - Crewe
304005 0634 Crewe - Manchester Ox Rd Crewe - Stockport
304040 0721 Hazle Grove - Manchester Stockport - Manchester P
304040 0756 Manchester - Hazel Grove Manchester P - Levenshume
305420 0756 Manchester P - Hazel Grove Levenshume - Manchester P
54055} 0818 Manchester - Rose Hill Manchester P-Guide Bridge
54347} 0810 Rose Hill - Manchester Guide Bridge - Manchester P
1011 0845 Manchester P - Bury Manchester P - Manchester V
1013 0908 Manchester P - Bury Manchester V - Bury
20031} 1000 Bury - Rawtenstall Bury - Ramsbottom
24054 1000 Rawtenstall - Bury Ramsbottom - Bury
40135} 1045 Bury - Rawtenstall Bury - Ramsbottom
40135 1045 Bury - Rawtenstall Ramsbottom - Rawtenstall
40135 1130 Rawtenstall - Bury Rawtenstall - Ramsbottom
40135} 1130 Rawtenstall - Bury Ramsbottom - Bury
08479} 1221 Bury - Depot shuttle Bury - Depot (and back, 2 rnd trips)
50015 1300 Bury - Rawtenstall Bury - Ramsbottom
832} 1300 Rawtenstall - Bury Ramsbottom - Bury
25309} 1345 Bury - Rawtenstall Bury - Rawtenstall
25309} 1430 Rawtenstall - Bury Rawenstall - Bury
1007 1538 Bury - Manchester Picc Bury - Manchester Picc
305515 1610 Manchester Picc - Manchester Apt Manchester P - Manchester Apt
305515 1640 Manchester Apt - Manchester Picc Manchester Apt - Manchester P
305401 1704 Manchester Picc - Crewe Manchester P - Stockport
304037 1711 Manchester Picc - Stoke Stockport - Stoke
310107 1845 Stoke - Stafford Stoke - Stafford
87025 1818 Liverpool - Birmingham Stafford - New St
310104 2036 Birmingham - Northampton New St - Northampton
321430 2138 Northampton - Euston Northampton - L.Buzzard