The Coal Scuttler Tour, May 91

Coal Scuttler Railtour, Sat/Sun May 25/26 1991

Sat May 25th 1991

The 05blip departure off Leighton with 321415 taking the usual Friday nighters home in various states. Steve Wolverton joined en route and at Northampton where we crossed the platform to doss out in the warm comfort of 310106 on the 0629 Brum. Northampton Mick joined us but we were all dossed most of the way to New St.  A good crowd were gathered on the footbridge here by the buffet, all sorts of quoted tour power too!

A rather dull 47818 arrived right time at 0805 with the “Coal Scutler” tour with 12 Raspberry Ripple Mk I’s in tow and we all piled aboard. Many familiar faces, the atmosphere was good already. Warrington BQs platform monitors kindly had all the tour power displayed, a nice touch by the nearby PSB. Also at Warrington BQ the exotic tour power began, 20117/20121 backed on but were failed prior to departure with 20131/20175 substituting  for the slog up  Shap to Carlisle.   

Shame they couldnt drop this on the tour too!, 85104 at Warrington BQ, 250591

A smart very recently repainted 86241 at Carlisle, 250591

37714 under the footbridge at Carlisle on cements 250591

The mixed pair of 26038 and 37245 about to work the tour forward from Carlisle, 250591

The mixed pair of 26038/37245 were provided for the Carlisle – Ayr (and return) leg so some decent “tea cup” mileage ensued. At Falkland Yard classic rare Ayr power in 20138/20124 topping and 26002/26007 tailing the tour on the rateable freight only coal branches to Killoch and Waterside.   For the record the 20’s powered to Killoch, the xos 26’s back, the 20’s powering to Waterside, 20138 starting a lineside fire due severe wheelslip! for the xos monsters back to Ayr. I was very pleased to get 26002 in the book, my last xos and 26 i could still get. A much needed 4 hour evening  break saw the chippers, pubs and a few carry outs visited. No doubt Ayr’s finest “GJ”  won’t  agree but the town seemed a bit run down, nicer by the beach though, better than Derby at 4am but  that pleasure was still to come!

the rare, tempremental 26002 after a good run with 26007 back at Ayr with the tour, 250591

Sunday May 26th 1991

With the tour atmosphere refreshed and very upbeat the 26/37 duo returned us East via Kilmarnock. Sleep set in for most of us till a mass bail at Carlisle around midnight to confirm 20013/141 the forwarding power. Deep sleep then set in for me and many others so we missed out on us whistling South to Preston where 56018 took over for a scream through Manchester and onwards to Derby. I stirred at a very grey Chesterfield so enjoyed some grid thrash before the whole tour woke at Derby around 4am. Obviously everything was closed no chance of a full breakfast a few hoped for.

56015 backed on to top and tail the tour down the rare Denby colliery branch famous for its air piped brake vans on rakes of HAA’s.  We didnt go far before stopping for the first unmanned level crossing, the first of too many! So the Denby branch was personally a disappointing stagger . A welcome but brief  blast of fast running took us South to Burton before curving onto the freight lines to Coalville. We arrived at Coalville around 0950 for a 2 hour break to enjoy the impressive open day power display which included…..

09008, 20058, 20057, 26025, 31174, 31326, 33051, 37019, 37350, 37904, 45133, 45135, 47001, 47634, 47973, 50008, 58048, 60006, 60035, 73104, 90045, plus preserved, D4, D8, 1013, 5410, 5583, 5705, 9000, 9016, 4472(k), 46203(k)..

The immaculate Co-Bo 5705 looking superb at Coalville Open Day on 260591

 With the weather getting increasingly sticky we watched  initially with amusement a serious farce develop. A signal failure caused delays then the inaugural class 60 hauled passenger train with Hertfordshire’s “Coalville Swansong” took several attempts to stop the train where the BSK’s at the centre of the train were positioned for a rapid unloading.

Around 3 hours late (1500) we gleefully left Coalville after a shunt release from 58048, with the pair of 60s up front taking us via Wigston to Nuneaton. Our Northampton colleague Mick was in a dilemna as he was supposed by now to be enroute to Weymouth from New St with his Mrs. Unfortunately  he was still at Nuneaton and he needed the forwarding grid 56021. No mobile phones back then.

Once we had run round at Coventry 56021 literally flew and screamed westwards to New St, the grid was to work through to the tours final return destination Bristol, how i would love to have stayed on board but reluctantly i bailed at New St. Watching the grid depart it was farewell to a true classic tour that had everything from 17 locos, rare freight track and some fast running….simply superb!

For me it was more basic traction in 321418 on a mileage move back to Leighton!    

Tour Organiser – Pathfinder

Headcode 1Z36

Ching £55 

The Moves

250591 Sa

321415  0424 Euston – Northampton             L.Buzzard -Northampton

310106  0629 Northampton – Birmingham     Northampton – New St

47818  0612 Bristol – Ayr “Coal Scuttler” Railtour   New St – Warrington BQ

20131}  0612 Bristol – Ayr “Coal Scuttler” Railtour   Warrington BQ – Carlisle


26038}  0612 Bristol – Ayr “Coal Scuttler” Railtour  Carlisle – Falkland Yard


20138} top  0612 Bristol – Ayr “Coal Scuttler” Railtour  Falkland Yd – Ayr

20124}                                                            (via Waterside/Killoch)          

26002} tail  0612 Bristol – Ayr “Coal Scuttler” Railtour  Falkland Yd – Ayr

26007}                                                            (via Waterside/Killoch)

37245}  2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                     Ayr – Carlisle  


260591 Su

20013}   2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                    Carlisle – Preston


56018    2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                     PR-Coalville (via Denby)

56015  2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                     Derby – Coalville (via Denby)

60057}   2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                     Coalville – Nuneaton 


58048  2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                      Coalville – Coalville W

56021    2200 Ayr – Bristol rtn Railtour                     Nuneaton – New St (via Coventry)

321418  1742 Birmingham – Euston               New St – L.Buzzard

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