The “Pennine Forty” Farewell, March 12th 1988
The tour brochure stated “This will be the last chance to feature that stalwart class 40 – the one and only D200 at the head of a Pathfinder train on the main line. We have devised a special routing that incorporates fast WCML and grinding Trans Pennine running, as both have been especially associated with the class for the last thirty years”.
the tour’s itinerary
Its not often you get the chance of a pre tour lie in but a booked 1034 departure off Euston allowed this rare luxury. My colleague “The Buzzard” aka Smudger Smith loved his 50s and apparently had left Leagrave flat very early to make 50001 on the inbound tour at Swindon. On 310076 Euston bound i passed a whistling beast at WN depot South end but was puzzled as it seemed to be in railfreight grey!
About 10 down 50001 arrived at Euston and the regulation at the blocks phot of this rare sight followed. Then we all watched a grey ghost like 40122 attach to the tour with former class 25314 now Ethel 3 tucked inside for therms.
Once on the move we were informed 40122 was still in grey undercoat due to a maintenance dispute at Stratford where her repainting to museum standards was being undertaken. Once clear of Watford it was obvious that all was not well up front as we did little above 75mph even on the level. At Lichfield TV we were checked for a procession of service train to pass before tottering North.
After a long stop at Stoke, my mate commentated “now thats what i call a decent fast departure”, not knowing 47332 had been attached here. At Stockport the forwarding driver agreed to give 40122 a go unassisted but the late running worsened as did the tour atmosphere. Field divert issues was the apparent cause of the slow running.
Our destination of Liverpool was never made, as to make up some time we were routed onto the WCML at Winwick Jn. The highlight of the day for many was a breathtaking fast run out of Crewe by tour replacement roarer 85008 with New St soon reached for 47575 forward. The “Buzzard” stayed aboard as his beloved 50029 was quoted for the tour from Gloucester.
For the two of us locals it was 310070 South on the 2130 Birmingham – Euston. Conversation was a bit muted, 40122 had let us down, something she had never done to us before, would she be fit for her final real tour on the North Wales Coast in 3 weeks we mused. …Even typing these notes up nearly 30 years later memories of a grey day, a grey 40 and a grey tour atmosphere still remain sharp..
This would all change 3 weeks later though!!
Pennine Class 40 farewell phot spot
Only Euston views i’m afraid…Has anybody else got phots en route to Crewe?
50001 arrives at Euston with the Taunton – Padd leg of the tour
Always rare at Euston, a 50 on the blocks of platform 14
85021 roars off to the A sidings at Euston
As 87032 departs, 40122 and Ethel 3 are about to back on
40122 and Ethel 3 backing on
40122 in undercoat, no numbers nothing
Link to the very different Tubalar Belle tour a few weks later