The Grampian Highlander tour, Nov 84

The Grampian Highlander from Nov 1984 remembered

Not the best of starts with 86325 taking messrs Evans, Chapman and myself South on that “solid roarer train” 1A76. At Pancras “the Buzzard” joined off a unit from his Leagrave home…after that it was sit back and enjoy the power, scenery and craic , the ching back then was just £25

Amazing that its 27 years since this tour now! A few more memories from “TC”with thanks

  My first trip to Scotland was on RESL’s “Easter Highlander” in April 1984. Having done a couple of “Freedom of Scotland” tickets in between, the “Grampian Highlander” was a tour that had to be done.

  I remember there was large turnout of Bedford cranks (at least 4!), for this tour. 25057 was well recieved, a clawback for a couple after it burst at Bedford on the “Easter Highlander”. The 40’s had only months left in service, and the 46’s had even less, so the use of 46026 from Derby was appreciated, although I would have preferred required 46045, which was at York. The Peak men advised that 46026 had come from Severn Tunnel to work this train. On arrival at Newcastle, 46026 retired to Gateshead Depot, and was withdrawn.

  With 31175+31106 now in charge, sleep beckoned, tomorrow was going to be a long day! The consist of many RESL tours included the inevitable buffet with hard orange seats plus and a restaurant car. I remember crashing out on one of those RESL tours in the restaurant car, no one was booked in there, so you could stretch out a bit. All I remember was the rattling of the crockery and cutlery. Might even have been this tour.

  Stumbling off the train at Edinburgh to be greeted by 26003+26007 was a bit like still being in a dream. This is because there is a chap from Bedford, who at the time was down to two 26’s for haulage. Trouble is, he was still in Bedford!

  26003+26007 were superb over the Highland mainline, although I don’t think Inverness appreciated getting a pair of NB 26’s in November. With the return being overnight, Inverness had to supply some power for us.

  27008 took us from Inverness to Dufftown, Burghead, and Elgin East Goods, and back to Inverness. We lost loads of time on the Dufftown branch as we kept slipping. Back at Inverness, we all headed for the chippy!

  26026+27004 were both dud for me, although others in our group were quite happy. Personally I would have preferred 26034+26041 which were on the Aberdeen route, but we passed them.

  After a fitfull nights sleep, we ended up at Glasgow Central, having ran via Aberdeen and Edinburgh. 26026+27004 followed the 20’s to Gourock, and then worked back to Edinburgh. Mega mileage of this mixed pair!

  Back at Edinburgh, 47009 took over for the run south. The lack of a driver trained on 31’s meant we were getting the 47 to Newcastle, Haymarket wanted it back though. I was hoping 46045 might appear at Newcastle, and although we got a Peak forward, it was 45042. I later found out 46045 was on the Leeds – Portsmouth to Birmingham, with a sizeable crowd of Peak men aboard! 

  I was impressed with 31404 forward from Derby as it was my last 31/4 for haulage, although it was in steam heat mode on this tour.

  Verdict: one of the classics, even better when they pick up / set down at your local station as well!


From Neil Evans “Here’s a memory form the Grampian Highlander tour for you. 46026 backs on at DY, on it’s last run, and someone from Leighton Buzzard shouts out “Wagon!” Can’t think who……..???!!!”


2 depot logs from the trip

Inverness depot ect, 171184

08568, 08621, 08717, 08754, 20125, 26026, 26031, 26032, 26034, 26035,

26038, 26040, 27004, 27005, 27008, 27050, 27063, 37031, 37035, 37264,

47012, 47118, 47206, 47517, 47520, 47541, 47614

Eastfield, 181184 Su (we were all bussed to ED from Central)

08343, 08348, 08564, 08575, 08721, 08738, 08755, 08938, 08952,
20009, 20022, 20039, 20048, 20064, 20095, 20111, 20115, 26021
27026, 27043, 27051, 27103, 27206, 37011, 37027, 37033, 37037,
37039, 37081, 37085, 37090, 37112, 37147, 37149, 37157, 37164
37175, 37184, 37188, 37190, 37237, 47005, 47469, 47586, 47604,
47610, 47710, 97250, 97251, 97252 (all 3 Ethels)

                                                            16/11/84 Fr

86237  1714 Euston-Northampton

85031  1718 Euston-Northampton

81008  1745 Euston-Northampton

85039  1815 Euston-Northampton

86325  1730 Birmingham-Euston                                           LB-EU

25057}2130 St.Pancras-Inverness Railtour                            SP-DE


46026  2130 St.Pancras-Inverness Railtour                            DE-NE

46 deputising for an absent boilered 40, this was 46026’s last class 1 turn, and “LADY” went well too

                                                            17/11/84 Sa

31175}            2130 St.Pancras-Inverness Railtour                            NE-WA


26003}            2130 St.Pancras-Inverness Railtour                            WA-IS


Fantastic, xos over Drumochter and some cretins were moaning about the lack of train heat!

08717  2130 St.Pancras-Inverness Railtour                            IS plat 1-2

47550  1020 Inverness-Euston

27008  1255 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           IS-KE

47108  1235 Inverness-Aberdeen

47520  1220 Inverness-Glasgow

47120  1140 Aberdeen-Inverness

47210  1340 Aberdeen-Inverness                                           KE-IS

We leapt at Keith, the organiser asking us “if we were sure we wanted to?”, with hindsight Fickes was right, sections of the Dufftown and Burghead lines 27008 did are lifted now.

47012  1435 Inverness-Aberdeen

37264  1730 Inverness-Wick/Thurso                          IS-MU

37035}1755 Inverness-Kyle                                       MU-DI


Rare 26 to Kyle by this time and we had to leap at Dingwall to make return tour!

37025  1710 Kyle-Inverness                                       DI-IS

47108  2047 Inverness-Aberdeen

08717  2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           IS plat 4-1

27004}2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           IS-GC (via Ab,Ed)


26034}            2040 Aberdeen-Inverness                                          


                                                            18/11/84 Su

20116}            2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           GC-GO


27004}            2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           GO-WA


47001  1317 Edinburgh-Dundee

47009  2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           WA-NE

Last minute “ped” replacements as no peddle car trained driver available, 47009 removed at Newcastle as Scotrail wanted it back!  

45042  2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           NE-DE

31404}            2130 Inverness-St. Pancras Railtour                           DE-SP


088      2302 Euston-Northampton                                         EU-LB

We were about 2 hrs late on return, can’t remember why and few cared. 31404/206 went like the wind on the final leg, we felt as if we were still doing 80 plus at Kentish Town and was a fitting end to a truly classic RESL tour

Tour photspot

 Plenty “Teacup thrash” on hand from 26003 and 26007 nearing Drumochter with the tour mid morning on 171184

 Former Cricklewood machine 47206 and 60A resident 27005 on the sidings South of the station on 171184 now occupied by Morrisons

 “Tippy” 27008 is about to slip to a stand leaving Keith on the steep leaf strewn climb towards Dufftown. 3 attempts saw 27008 valiantly make it, unfortunately we’d got off, so these are unique phots!

 Loco hauled to Gourock, 20015 and 116 are photted by the tour crowds

More Grampian Highlander phots

26003 and 26007 swing onto Culloden Viaduct on the descent from Daviot into Inverness, 171184

37031 is a long way from home at Inverness

The late Neil Webster, 20015 and 303108 at the blocks at Gourock, 181184

08938 getting the attention of the 65A paint crew, 181184

Thanks to Craig Simmons for this view of 31106 and 31175 plus 27004 and 26026 at Waverly on 181184. The 31’s didnt work due staffing issues, 47009 deputised

Any more “Grampian Highlander” memories to share??

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