The Slug and Slog Tour, June 98

The Slug and Slog Railtour, June 13th 98

 Watford Jn between 2330 and our eventual departure at 0130 saw an impressive amout of freight. 90’s, 47’s and pairs of 86’s in abundance. 37886 passed South on the Rugeley PS – Thameshaven oil empties, a rare train to view.

By departure time a good crowd of around 400 cranks gathered on the St Albans platform and the trackless bay. Returning local drinkers were intrigued one asking “where were we going!”. Departure time came and went (the ED’s not working in multiple with the ECS) but the non stop freight, vans (86416) and even the Glasgow sleeper (90021) kept us all amused. An hour down 73128/73131 arrived and after a prolonged loading up on the short platform, we were again delayed, whilst the 73’s multiple working gear was sorted. An hour down our down a deserted branch to St Albans Abbey where we stayed just a few minutes before 47245 pulled us away powerfully up the grade back to Watford Jn.

One of many irritating en train announcements saw us instructed to all get off at Watford Jn’s St Albans platform (plat 11) and rejoin the tor on platform 8 whilst the ECS went through the yard. The St Albans platform – main line junction track remained rare, until a late evening Euston – St Albans through service train was introduced in the later half of 2022 but finishing in Dec 2022.

Emerging from the platform subway we had the bonus of seeing 56067 storming South through Watford on the up Enterprise. On departure from Watford, 2 x 47 on a down liners overtook us on the up slow!, the rare parallel running continuing to Watford North crossovers with our ED’d taking the DF, the 47’s the DS.

We then proceeded to slug it out along the WCML at a sleep inducing 50-60mph. The 321 unit on the 0200 Euston – M.Keynes “party train” overtook us on the DS several times despite it stopping all shacks. At Tring 3 of the “party trains” passengers saluted us on passing! Once over Tring Summit speed increased a little as we sped through Leighton, sleep then passing Rugby then a grey drizzly New St at 0440! We bailed as the main tour was now starting with 58030 hauling the tour Redditch – New St. Those who stayed on for the bone received anasty £15 excess, more than the £14 for the Watford – Brum and back mini tour.

73131, 73128 TNT 58030 Redditch 130698  (1a)

Thanks to Stephen Widdowson’s excellent Flickr site for this dawn image of 73128 and 73131 at Redditch on the then “Birthday bash” tour, June 13th 1998

A day on North Wales bound 37’s, plus a few 86/87’s and 310113 as shown below.

37418  New St-Crewe                                                0502 Birmingham-Holyhead

37420  Crewe-New St                                                0422 Holyhead-Birmingham

37420  New St-Crewe                                                0810 Birmingham-Bangor

37079  Crewe-Chester                                                1017 Crewe-Bangor

37079 looks good at Chester with the 1017 Crewe – Bangor on June 13th 1998

37421  Chester-Crewe                                                1022 Bangor-Crewe

37420  Crewe-New St                                                0810 Birmingham-Bangor

87008  New St-Bir Int’l                                  1419 Wolves-Euston

87009  Bir Int’l-New St                                  1315 Euston-Wolves

310113  New St-Stafford                               1551 Birmingham-Liverpool

37422    Stafford-New St                               1721 Birmingham-Holyhead

86254 looking good in parcels red with the 1515 ex Euston at Wolves on June 13h 1998

86254    Wolverhampton-New St                   1819 Wolverhampton-Euston

After chips there began a long fester at New St’s barren platform 1 for the return tour. The delay became a worry when we heard 73131 had derailed at BS yard! About an hour down 73128/37675 arrived and hordes of Gloucester/Cheltenham crowds ran for their held connections, this had a real sense of irony considering the times we had sweated it out for the last London connection on previous Chingfinder tours.

37675/73128 complete with a F n W headboard of old pottered off to Nuneaton, Rugby and then via Northampton. Once over Hanslope some impressive 90 mph running followed, losing only a little speed on the climb to Tring Summit. At Watford 200 or so finally left the tour at 2330, almost a 24 hour trip. On a fast restart 37675 made impressive thrash on leaving Watford. The 321’s had us home by 0030 to end a long, varied day.              

The Moves

                                                            12/6/98 fri

321413}          L.Buzzard-Watford Jn                                    2231 M.Keynes-Euston


                                                            13/6/98 sat

73131} Watford Jn-St. Albans                     0015 Watford Jn-St.Albans Railtour


47245  St. Albans-Watford Jn                     0125 St.Albans-Watford Jn Railtour

73131} Watford – Birmingham NS              0205 Watford Jn – Birmingham Railtour


73128} New St-Watford Jn (via Nun)          2008 Birmingham-Watford R’tour 


321412} Watford Jn-L.Buzzard                     2334 Euston-M.Keynes


Organiser: Pathfinder

Headcode: 1Z55

Load 13 x Mk I

Ching £14 (An ECS tour Watford – Brum for main Birthday Bash Tour)

Timekeeping 60L 

Power 73128/73131, 47245, 72128/37675


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