Scottish Winter Rover, Jan 85

“Tippies to Thurso and beyond”, January 85.     

 Brora tippies, 290185

To the enthusiast the magic of Scotland in the 80’s was steam-heat mileage,the air of the unexpected along with the sociable people and scenery.The Summer time week Scottish was part of our routine but many of us enjoyed the winter bash as well. In Winter, Scotland took on an even more special magic to me, gone were the backpackers, tourists and pringle sweater types the trains were quiet, but the power remained as solid as ever.Jan 85 was to contain all the classic ingredients.                                                                  

As 87009 headed North with our lightly loaded Euston-FWilliam/Inverness overnite we woke at Motherwell where the snow was falling steadily. At Queen St we were still virtually asleep as we checked our  Cowlairs portion loco (37039) before moving up the freezing platforms to join 37191 plus Ethel with the far more comfortable Mk 1’s at the head of the overnite stock which were added at Glasgow.        

Our sleep was broken when the guard requested alarm call obliged minutes before arrival at Tyndrum Upper.We quickly gathered our gear and leapt from the cosy warm ETH of our Mk 1 to over a foot of level snow in crisp, clear sub-zero temperatures.From Tyndrum Upper the only bashers move was down the trail to Tyndrum Lower. This trail today had more ski tracks than footprints and our regulation hand held Adidas bags saw new use by being put in the ski rut and given a gentle push to see them ski down to the bottom of the hill.With no time for the famous Tyndrum full breakfast we waded through the snow to Tyndrum Lower where a right time ex Welsh 37184  arrived with the morning service from Oban steaming superbly to take us South. That day also saw mileage accumulated behind 37012/090/111 before returning to Glasgow to cover the rush-hour.              

The best that evening was 27021 which gave a superb “Tip-Top” performance on the 1730 Carlisle. From Carlisle it was the usual dull booked 86 on the short formation of 1S81 the famous 2050 Carlisle-Perth.This had its usual G-force acceleration and we were so impressed we fell asleep only to be awoken by a real engine backing on in the form of 27056. Arriving at Perth we had the luxury of viewing several overnites before continuing with 27056 on the 0105 Perth-Aberdeen. Arrival at Aberdeen at 3 o’clock on a Saturday morning needs improving and the sight of 27005 already at the head of a steaming rake of Mk 1’s was enough for us.                                                                                                                               

                        The early afternoon saw us back in Dundee raking in 27023 and 046 on the circuit(Edinburgh-Dundees) The Birmingham crowds were up for the day on one of the long running Edinburgh Adexs renown for their low fares. We ended up in Glasgow where a big crowd had gathered for the 1650 Fort William service. We were puzzled as this would presumably be a steam-heat 37 or 27 at best. Before we could get the gen a grubby freight beast complete with salmon logo and Ethel came out of Queen St Tunnels. When 37133 arrived at Gairlochead we were even more amazed at a mass bail of syphon bashers.We were about to follow when they all piled on again after the”friendly”signalmen told them we were crossing the up at Arrochar. The Glen Douglas signalmen had other instructions the 1415 ex Fort William had “priority due nae heat”……What followed 20 minutes later will remain in our minds for a long time as 37250 with its frozen up,icicled, stock and  a few ghost like passengers stormed passed us in the dark. Bashers from both trains bellowed “your bowled” ,yes we all were. We later found out 37043 had failed earlier in the day and a road coach had been put on for passengers wanting heat!!! .                                                                                                            

Back at Larbert that evening for S81 we were pleased  with 27051 steaming in.      More witherings came from some bashers abroad. Our 27 had been paired up with 26015 for the return Birmingham “nedex” earlier that evening but had split from the 26 at Motherwell.26015 was one us Southerners all needed at the time I never did bash it! Awaiting  the Edinburgh-Inverness overnite at Perth we gathered round a roaring brazier to keep warm in serious low temperatures.A hose was leaking water about 9 inches from the fire as it hit the ground it froze, despite the heat. On returning home we were to find it was below -20 in the Highlands that night. The strength of 47096’s boiler made our overnight a good night’s doss,only some smashed Pitlochary bound locals disturbing us with their noisy waking rituals                                                                                                                                        

Inverness on a Sunday morning offers just one move, the Lairg papers. We were getting rumours that a bus may be laid on due to the late running of the overnight vans from the South.Fortunately 27055 was turned out and over an hour down we departed. By Dingwall our tip-tops boiler had died and our guard advised us to leave the train for our own safety.We opted for very cold mileage with 2pairs of trousers,3 jumpers ect in the retained heat of a declassified mk 2a bfk.1 of our number tried to stay awake by putting his weeks moves in the book but the severe cold saw him make errors.Out came the Tippex but he was finished when this had frozen also! Lairg was Xmas card material with snow,ice and fog the Dornoch Firth looked partly frozen up..Helping the guard offload the papers and general provisions it proved what a lifeline rail link this really was. After enduring that, we awaited at Inverness, the 1700 Edinburgh service with its booked pilot engine to Perth. As 1700 passed we started flapping as the 1620 Glasgow with 47546 had still not gone.Then came the announcement we are sorry for the delay but we are awaiting the OK to go via the highland line due to worsening weather conditions. Within minutes 47546 departed followed by us with a rateable combination of 37287 and 47096.At Aviemore we were delayed another hour while the plough cleared the line and 47096 was moved forward to refill her boiler.

We eventually moved forward and our 37/47 combination threw up the snow in spectacular style over Dromochter. Furthur South on double track we passed the Kings X-Inverness tram with an unidentified 26 piloting it! Later photo gen obtained makes it probable that xos 26006 piloted the tram that night, from at least Perth, Massive! With our train now hours late the planned moves were gone and at Perth we joined the first Inverness-Euston overnite which had been routed via Aberdeen to avoid the problems further North.                                                                                                           

At Motherwell we joined the Euston-Fort William overnite and were awoken by the guard many hours later asking us where we were going to.”Tyndrum” came our bleary reply we had no idea where we were.”No your not, you’ll have to get the bus from Crianlarich”.apparently the Fort William snowplough had been derailed near Tyndrum.We flagged the bus for 37191 on the southbound Oban to spend a day on the Perth-Stirling routes 47’s as a fill-in for the rumoured 25044 on the 1730 Central-Carlisle.This duly produced and to celebrate Scot-Rail provided free tea and a letter apologising for the disruption to that mornings services due to the bad weather. As the train emptied after Kilmarnock there was a muffled bang and our rats steambag apparently flew past the window. Obviously we were no-heat but our rat stormed on.                                                                                                             

Returning North on S81 27020 was the real engine from Moss End to Perth. We opted for the internal(Highland Line) overnite with 47546.Because of the severe low temperatures Scot-Rail had allocated pairs of locos on the Far North to cover for boiler failures and alike.37260/27005 on the 0630 Far North took us to Dingwall where we awaited 37114/27014 on the Kyle on the expected move to the Achnasheen crossing point for the Kyle back as we all did.The station staff asked us if we were doing this move,” yes” we replied.”Not today I’m afraid”they advised…”Our Kyle’s syphon had a faulty radio and this would swop power with 37025 off the incoming Kyle at Dingwall. Our 37 and etheling, unpowered 27014 was taken in bus-stop tradition to Muir Of Ord where an even better 26040/27054 followed on the inbound Wick/Thurso. I had to chuckle years later on reading in some mag that 27014 “may have got” to Kyle during this period, “some claim!”

At Inverness 27051/27055 were on the blocks with the 0740 ex Aberdeen,cursing our wrong move again, we were to see our luck improve…The pair were refuelled and watered and put on the 1130 service to Wick/Thurso.A pair of 27’s on the Far North was a rare event for us and an excellent mileage move. It is no exaggeration to say that the snow fences and barriers between County March and Altnabreac had drifts of snow some 10feet above the height of our train. Earlier the previous week some Welsh bashers had been stranded in Wick for several days the only way out being by air…Just 27055 returned us South for 47/4’s on the internal overnite move to Blair Athol our sociable guard waking us up as requested. Back at Inverness the 0630 Wick/Thurso was to produce an excellent 26008/040 steaming away.I bailed at Ardgay for a  37261 and 27055 again on the early morning up service. My reasons were simple I needed the syphon, but how I wish, looking back, that I had stayed on they 26’s.                          

                        47467 took us South  to Edinburgh where 27010 was out on the Circuit. That night a rateable 85019 worked forwards from Carstairs on the Edin/Glas-Bristol V62 overnite.Detraining at Carlisle it was a short wait for 47578 on the Euston-Stranraer overnight. One of our groups slumbers was disturbed by a whistling 20192 backing on as pilot at Newton on Ayr. Thinking he had plenty of time as he thought he was at Ayr he had to run to make the train as we were right away from Newton in seconds..The 20 worked hard across the grades as we all struggled to stay awake for this quality haulage.                                                   

Returning from the usual cold and grey Stranraer Harbour we slept all the way to Glasgow behind 47562.Over in Edinburgh 27010 and 27045 were out on the circuit as was 37012 until it failed!.27054 later performed in style on the 1735 Glasgow-Perth, 27046 also appeared on the evening circuit before 81013 on the Edin/Glas- Bristol V62 overnite took us back to Birmingham and the rover was sadly over                                                                                               

Getting off 81013 at Birmingham all was quiet at 0620 in the morning with just a few 304/310’s of interest.I returned home using 85029 forward from Northampton on a morning cobbler. With the commuters fighting their way aboard and a packed coach of cheerless penguin suits it was as if 81013 had brought me from another planet not just 350miles North.   oday the type twos have gone ,a few preserved, but most cut-up. Some of the Syphons  and 47s survive but not in passenger service. The stock has also gone as have the overnites.  Sprinters are the power today and not suprisingly the bashers have gone as well.


 Former Landore machine 37184 arrives at Tyndrum Lower 0800 Oban-Glasgow QS, 250185

 Steaming Crianlarich nicely, 37111 waits time with the 0840 Fort William-Glasgow QS, 250185

  Former push pull machine, 27066 at Stirling, 260185

 27055 had to fester around Inverness for some time before getting the RA to Lairg with the 0805 Papers. As described in the text, the return run was very cold , 270185

 Snow, ice and snow at Lairg for the run round!, 270185

 Teacup at the blocks!, 26040/27054 with the 0600 Wick-Inverness, 290185

  Unforgettable!, 27051/27055  head for Forsinard with the 1130 Inverness-Wick/Thurso, 290185

27051 was detached at “gorgeous Georgemas” to work the Thurso portion of the 1130 ex Inverness, 290185

Rare by 1985, 26008 and 26040 pause for a Southbound service at Ardgay with the 0630 Inverness-Wick/Thurso, 300185

Moves and other gen from the time.

24/1/85 Th

081                         2000 Euston-Birmingham                                 LB-MK

87009                    2100 Euston-Inverness/F.William                    MK-ME

                                                                                                25/1/85 Fri

47593                    2250 Shrewsbury-York                                     

37191}                  2100 Euston-Fort William                                 ME-QS/QS-TY U


47405                    2100 Euston-Inverness

37039                    2100 Euston-Fort William                                 CO-QS

37192                    0430 Edinburgh-Glasgow

47464                    2350 Inverness-Euston

37184                    0800 Oban-Glasgow                                           TY L-ARR

37090                    0820 Glasgow-Oban                                           ARR-CRI

37111                    0840 Fort William-Glasgow                               CRI-HEL U

37039                    0950 Glasgow-Fort William                              

37012                    1220 Glasgow-Oban                                           HEL U-CRI

37090                    1300 Oban-Glasgow                                           CRI-QS

37192                    1638 Glasgow-Dundee                                      

47405                    1725 Glasgow-Aberdeen

27021                    1730 Glasgow-Carlisle                                        CE-CAR

86252                    2050 Carlisle-Perth                                              CAR-ME

27056                    2050 Carlisle-Perth                                              ME-PE

                                                                                                26/1/85 Sat

27056                    0105 Perth-Aberdeen                                          PE-AB

47464                    2030 Inverness-Euston

27005                    0447 Aberdeen-Inverness                                  AB-EL

47118                    0600 Inverness-Aberdeen                                  EL-AB

47614                    0852 Dyce-Glasgow                                            AB-DU

27023                    1028 Dundee-Edinburgh                                    DU-WA

47007                    0918 Edinburgh-Dundee                                   

27046                    1018 Edinburgh-Dundee

47096                    1118 Edinburgh-Dundee

47270                    1218 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    WA-KI

27046                    1228 Dundee-Edinburgh                                    KI-WA

47007                    1418 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    WA-HA

47701                    1430 Edinburgh-Glasgow                                  HA-QS

27020                    1545 Glasgow-Carlisle

47443                    1220 Inverness-Glasgow                                   

47709                    1325 Aberdeen-Glasgow

37012                    1300 Oban-Glasgow

37133}                  1650 Glasgow-Fort William                               QS-CRI 


37250                    1415 Fort Willliam-Glasgow

37192                    1800 Oban-Glasgow                                           CRI-QS

37191                    1820 Glasgow-Oban

47469                    2138 Glasgow-Perth                                            QS-LA

27051                    2050 Carlisle-Perth                                              LA-PE

                                                                                                27/1/85 Sun

47434                    1740 Fort William-Euston (to Stir)

37033                    2330 Glasgow-Perth

47096                    2325 Edinurgh-Inverness                                   PE-IS

27055                    0805 Inverness-Lairg                                          IS-LA

27005}                  1250 Inverness-Aberdeen


27055                    1127 Lairg-Inverness                                          LA-IS

47712                    1615 Inverness-Glasgow

47546                    1620 Inverness-Glasgow

37287)                   1700 Inverness-Edinburgh                                                IS-PE


47467}                  1625 Glasgow-Inverness


47434                    xxxx Glasgow-Dundee

                                                                                                28/1/85 Mon

47439                    0105 Perth-Aberdeen

47460                    1930 Inverness-Euston                                      PE-ME

87002                    1930 Inverness-Euston                                      ME-MO

87031                    2100 Euston-Fort William                                 MO-ME

37111}                  2100 Euston-Fort William (term Cri)               ME-QS/QS-CR


37191 0800 Oban-Glasgow CR-QS

37012                    2100 Euston-Fort William                                 CO-QS

37250}                  0800 Glasgow-Oban-term Dumbarton



47540                    0905 Aberdeen-Glasgow

37090                    1220 Glasgow-Oban

47593                    1325 Glasgow-Inverness

47270                    1335 Glasgow-Inverness (to Perth)  QS-PE

47434                    1335 Glasgow-Inverness (ex Perth)

47460                    1220 Inverness-Glasgow                                    PE-ST

47610                    1325 Aberdeen-Glasgow                                    ST-QS

DMU                      1638 Glasgow-Dundee

37111                    1650 Glasgow-Crianlarich

37051                    1715 Glasgow-Edinburgh

25044                    1730 Glasgow-Carlisle                                        CE-CA

86101                    2050 Carlisle-Perth                                              CA-ME

27020                    2050 Carlisle-Perth                                              ME-PE

                                                                                                29/1/85 Tues

47593                    2330 Glasgow-Inverness

27020                    0105 Perth-Aberdeen

47546                    2325 Edinburgh-Inverness                                PE-IS

47211                    0555 Inverness-Aberdeen                                 

37260)                   0630 Inverness-Wick/Thurso                            IS-DI


37114}                  0655 Inverness-Kyle (to Dingwall)                  


37025                    0710 Kyle-Inverness

37025                    0655 Inverness-Kyle

37114}                  0710 Kyle-Inverness                                           DI-MU


26040}                  0600 Wick/Thurso-Inverness                            MU-IS


27051}                  0740 Aberdeen-Inverness                                 


47460                    1032 Inverness-Aberdeen

27051}                  1130 Inverness-Wick/Thurso                            IS-GE    


37114}                  1055 Inverness-Kyle


37260}                  1200 Wick/Thurso-Inverness


27055                    1130 Inverness-Wick/Thurso                            GE-WI

27055                    1800 Wick-Inverness                                          WI-IS

37261                    1730 Inverness-Wick/Thurso           

47118                    2045 Aberdeen-Inverness

47469                    2350 Inverness-Glasgow/Edinburgh                IS-BA

                                                                                                30/1/85 Wed

47610                    2305 Edinburgh/Glasgow-Inverness                BA-IS

08754                    2305 Edinburgh-Glasgow/Inverness                IS shunt Plat 2 to 4

47118                    0555 Inverness-Aberdeen

26008}                  0630 Inverness-Wick/Thurso                            IS-AR


37114}                  0655 Inverness-Kyle


27051}                  0600 Wick/Thurso-Inverness                            AR-IS


27003}                  0719 Elgin-Inverness                                         


37025                    1055 Inverness-Kyle

37261                    1130 Inverness-Wick/Thurso

47546                    1020 Inverness-Euston

47460                    1032 Inverness-Aberdeen

47007                    0706 Edinburgh-Inveness

47211                    1235 Inverness-Aberdeen

47467                    1220 Inverness-Glasgow                                    IS-QS

37090                    1638 Glasgow-Dundee

37112                    1650 Glasgow-Fort William

37111                    1715 Glasgow-Edinburgh

37043                    1735 Glasgow-Perth

47539                    1730 Glasgow-Carlisle

47706                    1800 Glasgow-Edinburgh                                  QS-HA

47213                    1728 Edinburgh-Dundee

DMU                      1722 Glasgow C-Edinburgh                              HA-WA

47041                    1918 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    WA-HA

47528                    0730 Penzance-Aberdeen                 

47040                    1828 Dundee-Edinburgh                                    HA-WA

27010                    2018 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    WA-KI

47269                    2128  Dundee-Edinburgh                                   KI-WA

47702                    2230 Edinburgh-Glasgow                                  WA-HA

47413                    2020 Aberdeen-Bristol                                       HA-WA

47708                    2020 Aberdeen-Bristol                                       WA-CA

85019                    2020 Aberdeen-Bristol                                       CA-CAR

                                                                                                31/1/85 Tues       

47578                    2110 Euston-Stranraer                                       CAR-STR

20192                    2110 Euston-Stranraer                                       AYR-STR

47562                    0730 Stranraer-Glasgow                                    S|TR-CE

47702                    1030 Glasgow-Edinburgh                                  QS-HA

47269                    1118 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    HA-INK

37012                    1028 Dundee-Edinburgh (term Invk-stk fail)

27010                    1128 Dundee-Edinburgh                                    INK-WA

27045                    1318 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    WA-HA

47040                    1228 Dundee-Edinburgh                                    HA-WA

47270                    1328 Dundee-Edinburgh                                   

47707                    1430 Edinburgh-Glasgow                                  WA-QS

DMU                      1545 Glasgow-Carlisle (25044 boiler failed)

37039                    1300 Oban-Glasgow          

47614                    1220 Inverness-Glasgow

37090                    1638 Glasgow-Dundee

37112}                  1650 Glasgow-Fort William


37192                    1715 Glasgow-Edinburgh

27054                    1735 Glasgow-Perth                                            QS-PE

47460                    1630 Inverness-Edinburgh                                                PE-IK

27049                    2018 Edinburgh-Dundee                                    IK-BI

27046                    2028 Dundee-Edinburgh                                    BI-WA

47707                    2230 Edinburgh-Glasgow                                  WA-HA

47451                    2020 Aberdeen-Bristol                                       HA-WA

47704                    2020 Aberdeen-Bristol                                       WA-CA

81013                    2020 Aberdeen-Bristol                                       CA-NS (via BS)

                                                                                                1/2/85 Fr

87015                    0627 Wolves-Euston                                          NS-RU

074                         0730 Rugby-Euston                                            RU-NO

85029                    0813 Northampton-Euston                                               NO-LB

Any more Scottish gen during this wonderful week would be very welcome,,,,


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