The Practical Joker Railtour, Sat April 1st 2000
A fast car courtesy of Tony Ewer took me and both my kids South from Leighton around 5am on a chill, frosty morning. A few minutes down required 58005 arrived with the tour and a good crowd piled on. Near Cheddington a big red rising sun emerged through the mists as our bone powered North.
A slow loco change at Crewe perhaps in part due some rancid Kettle chuffing around to work the Buxton tour forward. Eventually 92017 and 56115 tucked inside coupled up and we were soon experiencing the awesome acceleration of a 92. A sad sight passing Wigan Springs Branch of classes 37, 47 and 56 awaiting stripping. We powered through the Lune Gorge in full Spring sun, a superb section of railway, overtaking a looped 92009 on MGR’s at Tebay . Obviously Shap was no problem to the 92. At Carlisle we had a booked 3 hour break, most of the train doing the nearby Chippie.!
The Carlisle break was extended as a headlight problem with 56115 was “rectified” so we departed Carlisle via a sunlit S n C 30 mins late. From Clitheroe our grid was in totter mood due a total headlight failure as far as Blackburn where the farce began. We arrived Blackburn at 1902 (60m late) but didnt depart until 2051 (2h 44m late). Mercia advising 56094 was to rescue us drew cheers, but in the end an emergency headlamp came in a taxi from Warrington!
On departure from Blackburn Tour Organisers Mercia went into assisting people home mode, doing an excellent job of arranging taxis for many. The tour atmosphere was now obviously subdued by now, but we did enjoy storming down an empty WCML behind the bone apart from the totter via Northampton. We finally got back to Watford Jn at 0135 instead of the booked 2258! (2h 37m late)….
A fast car on a still busy A41 saw us home for 2am exhausted but content with our days with all 3 locos required with that awesome 92 the personal favourite.
The Tour Moves
58005 0615 Watford-Carlisle Railtour “Practical Joker” 1Z92 (via Cov, Nun) Watford Jn – Crewe
92017} 0615 Watford-Carlisle Railtour “Practical Joker” 1Z92 (via Shap) 56115}(d} Crewe – Carlisle
56115 1517 Carlisle-Watford Jn 1Z93 Railtour (2h 40m late ex Blackburn due h/lgt failure.) (via Settle/Clith) Carlisle – Crewe
58005 1517 Carlisle-Watford Jn 1Z93 Railtour (via Stechford, Northampton)
Crewe – Watford Jn
Other gen from the day
86426 ECS for a Northampton-Buxton Kettlex
86610/86623- up liners
Rugby-47721, Cov 310112
90142 0725 Wolves-Euston
37426 0634 Holyhead-Birmingham
Carn-37174 Lune G-92009-mgr
Organiser – Mercia (incl support from Traction Magazine)
Timekeeping 10-30 Late North, 2h 40m Late Southbound
Stock 13 x Mk I, incl Gen van
Two of the tours three locos are seen at Crewe, 58005 which had worked from Watford Jn to Crewe with 56115 which was to be dead in tow behind the 92 on April 1st 2000
After an awe inspiring run from Crewe 92017 and now started up “grid” head for Kingmoor at Carlisle on April 1st 2022
With what i assume is the supervisor pointing to his watch 56115 brings the tour stock into Carlisle, delayed by 30 minutes due loco headlight issues on April 1st 2000