The Tay Forth Centenarian Railtour, Sat 14th/15th April 1990
The tour in detail
A fast "Morris Minor" took me with driver Neil Evans west from Leighton around 2am. Live Badgers were viewed nedding about on the road near Rowsham, a rare sight, was this to be an omen for a cracking "day trip" to Scotland??
At Swindon we were soon aboard the West Highland Mk I set for an 0455 departure with Inter City's 47822 the power. As an Inter City charter, their rancid power was allocated!
Door seats in a Mk 1 were allocated to us, and this was bad news for they are a good few inches narrower than the normal seats. Still as far as Gloucester we had a bay of 4 to doss out in. A reasonable run up the Lickey with load 10 in tow. Doss of sorts as we headed North via Doncaster, the ECML and Edinburgh where in the mid afternoon sun the 26's soon replaced the 47'8.
Disappointment on the driver not apparently being passed for the advertised Perth route saw the 26 mileage reduced a little. 26001 and 26005 were the xos pairing, though i would have much preferred the still surviving 26015, very much required (and never had). Still the 26's went through Cardendendenden...to a mini bellow from me and Mr Evans! Crossing the Tay Bridge was perhaps the highlight of the trip, more bellowing. 10 minutes had been booked for the Dundee run round which obviously was unlikely and we departed Dundee 16 late but spirits remained upbeat with the xos pair thrashing away.
During the Markinch photo stop disaster struck. 26005 had a smoking traction motor so somebody decided to call the fire brigade and obviously it was game over for they 26's. We were delayed near on 2 hours and things got worse with the rescue engine being 47822, Boy did we moan!
The late running meant the tour's evening break at Edinburgh was cancelled, meaning we had been trapped on the stock all day, spirits and the tour atmosphere dipped that bit more. 47822 sped us South along the WCML, but heavy doss meant i know not how she did over Beattock or Shap, though 85022 would have been much better received on the tour by many!
Our doss was disturbed at Kings Norton where we learned that 47822 had now also failed! Now with vb stock an exotic rescue engine was unlikely, but a nice dual braked 37 would have done. Over 3 hours late 47852 arrived to haul us incl 47822 to Gloucester where she dumped the failed "twank", before continuing to Bristol and Swindon. At Bath the cheery announcer asked "what kept you lads?" over the tannoy as a few bailed off the very late charter. At Swindon it was a relief to get off the tour, an awful lot of suffering for 100 miles or so behind each 26'0.
Writing up the tour that Easter weekend i gave it a rating of 3 out of 10 which was a bit harsh, with hindsight it wasnt that bad perhaps.., though i still blame those Rowsham badgers!.....
Tour phot spot