The "Independent" Railtour, Saturday 4th July 1987
310068 on the 0740 ex Leighton was a very relaxed start for a railtour. The weather was already warm and sunny, this weather lasting all day. Spirits fell at Watford with the main tour traction 37044 and 37091 arriving, both being very dud.
Still 2 x 37 through your local shack and storming North via Weedon was well impressive, then the expected totter via Aston, Perry Barr and Soho before a steady descent of Old Hill bank.
At Kidderminster our 11 mk i's were quickly offloaded and we all piled across to the adjacent Severn Valley station. Here 1Z37 had 1013 "Western Ranger" as power and boy, she impressed, Maybach music aplenty! At Bridgnorth we noticed several older tour enthusiasts all wearing cowboy hats, "twats"!!
After more phots at Bridgnorth it was 1062 "Western Courier" for the return thrash to Kidderminster. None of the cowboy hat brigade leant out for the thrash as their stupid hats would have blown off into the river...
Back at Kidderminster we joined 37044 and 37091 again to return North but taking the by now, rare railtour route of Stourbridge Jn, Kingswingford, Dudley FLT, Dudley low level and into Walsall. A booked photo stop here provided entertainment but the tour atmosphere remained flat, perhaps the lack of BR loco variety on the tour a factor here.
From Walsall it was over the rural delights of Sutton Park before crossing Nuneaton flyover before reaching Leicester and eventually Loughborough BR. Another mass bail and a mile walk although a vintage bus was laid on for a few of the fossils aboard. The highlight of the day followed from Loughborough (GCR) followed with 40106 and "kettle" Mayflower (USA independance day, cowboy connection, yawn) powering. The 40 was thrashed manically absolutely blistering thrash for the short run to Quorn, then the Southerly limit of the GCR. A repeat performance back saw our spirits lifted on the walk back to Loughborough BR.
Back at Loughborough 37044 and 37091 (yawn!) were still on the tour for the return journey.
We were routed via Syston North to East and then returned to the Midland via Corby. The Bedford - Bletchley line the featured, quite rare for tours especially with 2 x 37 up front. A ritualistic bellow passing Leighton and a Watford bail (the tour continued to Finsbury Park).
310062 on the 2122 Euston - Keynes returned me home but on reflection, the tour had been very, very average but by 1987 many tours were!
I marked the tour as just 6/10 at the time which seems a bit harsh in retrospect. Still we had a 20 tour the next weekend to look forward too!
The "Independant" Railtour phot spot