The “Dinting York Express” remembered, April 16th 1977
Well the day of my first ever Railtour had arrived. I had returned to suffer a weekend at the parents house in Dunstable being a well established Swansea student at this time. On board the early 61 bus to Luton spirits were high, the sun was high, even Luton seemed to be welcoming!
At the station i met Dave from the local TOPS office “no tour gen, i’m afraid” “but i’m sure you’ll get plenty decent power”. I mused of the tour getting a “Peak” to Guide Bridge, the advertised “Tommy” forward to Wath, for a pair of 20’s to York for a 46 back to Luton.
The train arrived 2 minutes down with 47049 up front, not a bad start. I was in one of the CK coaches in a big St Pancras commuter rake. Compos are great for a tour if you know everybody, but less so if you don’t. With 2 old fossils engaged in “Kettle” speak in my compo and obviously hogging the windows i studied the timing sheet and by Flitwick i wanted to get off!
At the bottom of the timing sheet was the following fateful typewritten text…
“Our request for class 76 electrics has again been turned down…class 76’s cannot be authorised for passenger traffic”.
So that was it then, the whole point of doing the tour ie class 76 haulage was a no no. My face must have been a picture and with my compo colleagues continuing their “B1” and “Royal Scot” kettle banter i opted for a vestibule window to hang out of. Most enjoyable it was too, with the 47 working quite hard on occasions especially through Dore tunnel. Any hopes to see loads of 76’s at Guide Bridge were thwarted as we took the right curve at Romiley before branching onto the long closed and lifted Hyde West- Mottram route where we were now under the wires but with a rancid 47049 still powering!
We stopped at the impressive Dinting Railway Centre where a “Royal Scot” was steaming along with various other kettles. There were no diesel or electric locos on site so i’m not surprised the Railway centre was completely closed in 1991! Whilst we were here a Westbound BOC train with a 76 powering looked superb crossing Dinting viaduct. We departed Dinting a few minutes down and i enjoyed from my vestibule window much moorland scenery and another 76 passing West light engine. We were checked probably at Woodhead station to pick up a tour passenger who presumably had done a fast car move from Dinting!
The Woodhead tunnel structure was hugely impressive, very clean and modern then we continued Westwards passing Penistone where me and 2 mates had been spectacularly bowled for 76 spotting due the miner’s holidays in 1974*! As outlined in the tour notes the advertised Penistone-Wath line was dropped as the line closed at 1300. Through rotting long closed Sheffield Victoria, then any hope of passing Tinsley Yard were thwarted by us being routed left at Darnall and taking the then freight lines through what was to become Rotherham Central
York station for 3 hours offered plenty traffic as did the depot but i didnt risk a move to Darlington or Selby. A slight hope that 47049 may be swapped for something more interesting were raised when 40019 whistled in just before depature time on our platform. Unfortunately the 40 was on a Newcastle- Liverpool! , 47049 soon followed and i collapsed into my compo for the return trip. My 2 kettle commentating compo colleagues soon had me asleep and it wasnt until Sharnbrook that i stirred.
Bailing at Luton right time there were no backward admiring glances at 47049, she was an engine i dispised for many years!
Moves behind 47049
(as 1631) Luton – St Pancras 0650 Derby-St.Pancras 250473
Luton – York (via Woodhead) 160477
York – Luton (via Rotherham Masboro) 160477
Newport – Cardiff 1V79 0812 York-Tenby 110677
Inverness – Aberdeen 1A44 0555 Inverness-Aberdeen 121285
Coventry – New St (dragging failed 47837) 0603 Padd — Glasgow 14/7/90
Writing up these notes some 40 years after the tour i’m glad i didnt bail off the tour. This was my only ever run over Woodhead and i’m told it was quite rare with a 47, not that i wanted it! Dinting Railway Centre surprisingly closed in 1991.
The Woodhead route closed completely in 1981. And what became of 47049 you ask, she was transferred to Eastfield in 1981, returning to Tinsley in 1987. Withdrawn in 1998 and cut in 2000.
* Link to our spectacular Penistone “bowl out in 1974 here