The “Royal Scot” Railtour, Saturday December 12th 2020
With Covid issues still restricting much of normal life i was pleasantly surprised when the tickets for the tour arrived. A 0755 departure from the Keynes meant the 0624 departure off Leighton was the only safe move to make the tour.The hours plus fester was enlivened by 92018 on M16 sleepers and 2 x 86 on 4M41 down liners.
A good 10 early an immaculate LSL 90002 arrived with 7 equally tasty Mk III’s in tow. The consist was made up of 10416, 11068, 11070, 11098, 10411 (our coach) , 11076, 11087 and 82139. Interior screens separated us from the punters in the bay of 4 behind and masks only had to be worn when you left your seat.
90002 accelerated nicely with such a light load and we were soon flying through Weedon. The punters were well spread out due Covid but around 250 of us were going out for the day in style. The rain had set in by Rugby and was to remain till Rutherglen, not that deterred hundreds of photographers out to record what was “only a Skoda!”
Our Northbound progress remained fast on tight timings, no Pendos were to overtake us till Rugby on the return trip. Unfortunately at Oxenholme we caught up a down Intermodal hauled by 88009 only passing it at Kingmoor. Unfortunately the ugly face of Covid returned as we arrived at Glasgow Central for a “20 minute leg stretch” , because of tighter restrictions North of the border the doors were not released! Kind tour staff borrowed punter’s cameras to phot the 90 at the blocks for them, nobody complained we were just glad to be out for the day! So after watching various ugly and empty looking new units to and froing we departed South from central
20 minutes after arrival with the DVT leading. The Southern Uplands in daylight are rare for me these days, usually passing these broody hills in the dead of night. The hills were impressive as ever , helped by improving weather but low mist kept the snowpatches hidden. A 3 hour break in Carlisle was welcome and we all photted the tour, did the chippie and then went our separate ways.
A 156 move to the required shack of Gretna Green with a 15 minute break on Scottish soil before a second 156 returned me to Carlisle was my leap!
The return run was equally fast but was obviously dark all the way. It was good to be on a tour with just enthusiasts aboard no stroppy grannnys today! At Rugby ahead of time we were held for 2 Pendos to overtake us, the first ones of the day.
At the Keynes there were farewell phots of the tour then a fester for 350369/247 home where we arrived at 2127, our enjoyable “day trip to Glasgow” was over ….