The Vital Stastician Tour, Feb 84

The “Vital Statistician” Railtour, Feb 84 remembered

A feast of small power, much rare freight track and mileage for 600 plus of us to enjoy on 13Mk I’s.

Rerouting of this tour into New St because of a landslip blocking the advertised Stourbridge Jn-Dudley-Bescot route meant a very sociable 0915 departure from New St so no rancid Crewe overnight needed.. Service trains viewed here included 31403 on the 0804 Birmingham-Norwich, 45109 on the 0710 Bristol-Leeds plus 47533 on an 0818 Wolverhampton-Weymouth Adex.

37233/37176 arrived a few minutes down to be swapped for boilered rats 25035/25048 which were soon thrashing away Sulzer style with a packed 13 coach consist towards Bescot, Walsall, Brownhills and over the WCML at Lichfield TV. With the track bashers already happy and rumours of small engines aplenty, the 600+ souls all contributing to a superb atmosphere on an otherwise dull, grey day in the Midlands.

From Toton “goyles” 31205/31208 took us North to Pyre Bridge Jn and more fright track through Shirebrook to Worksop yard where the “goyles” ran round. A trip through Sheffield, Barrow Hill and Chesterfield returned us to Toton.

20135/20165 were attached here to thread us through East Nottingham and onto the Linby colliery branch coming to a halt at the level crossing gates just to the North of Linby. We all piled off to phot the bombs and forwarding power in 31425/31305. The EH goyle was not well received, we wanted “nb” power even in February!. The goyles returned us South the highlight being a rare unchecked non-stop run through platform 6 at New St, a first for me anyway. Somebody decided to leap at New St anyway not the wisest move at 20 mph! An hour later after the Sutton Park circuit we were back at New St again. A Stourbridge Jn stop on the return allowed most to get 37233/37176 in. We stayed on down the bank to Cheltenham to rake in the Lickey Banker on S19 (37296). Some were staying on for 46032 on the tour forward from Bristol.

As the “syphons” growled out of Cheltenham near 10 at night it was farewell to a very special tour we had all enjoyed. It’s of no surprise that writing up these notes in 2014 some 30 years later, this tour is remembered by so many as a “top tour” and fitting that it was an F & W Railtour too.

 Tour Itinerary 1

 Tour Itinerary 2

Pre and post Tour moves

                                                            11/2/84 Sa

094      0530 Euston-Birmingham                                           L.Buzzard – New St

31403  0804 Birmingham-Norwich

31412  0722 Derby-Birmingham

47602  0600 Derby-Poole

45109  0710 Bristol-Leeds

50026  0550 Padd-Manchester

47545  0720 Liverpool-Poole

47533  0818 Wolverhampton-Weymouth Adex

37182} 0400 Plymouth-Linby Railtour (Ply-Br)


37233}  0400 Plymouth-Linby Railtour (Br-NS)


25048}  0400 Plymouth-Linby Railtour                              New St-Toton


31205}  0400 Plymouth-Linby Railtour                              Toton-Toton (via Worksop)


20153}  0400 Plymouth-Linby Railtour                              Toton-Linby Colliery


31305} 1434 Linby-Plymouth Railtour                               Linby Colliery – New St


47602  1640 Manchester-Padd

37233} 1634 Linby-Plymouth Railtour                                New St – Cheltenham                                   


45108  2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                               Cheltenham – New St

37296  2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                               Bromsgrove – Barnt Green (banking)

47437  2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                               New St-Crewe (via Cannock)

                                                            12/2/84 Su

86316  2350 Euston-Liverpool

47468  2350 Euston-Liverpool

47491  0410 Crewe-Birmingham

40015  0250 Manchester -Crewe

 Hopefully catching some of that Crewe overnight atmosphere, 40015 amongst mail and Adidas bags with the 0250 ex Manchester on 120284

45038} 2355 Glas/Edin-Bristol                                              Crewe – New St (via Cannock)


45124  2355 Glas/Edin-Bristol

31403  0810 Birmingham-York

47440  0800 Wolverhampton-Euston

50035  0910 Birmingham-W.S.Mare

47533  0900 Birmingham-Manchester

47538  0930 Birmingham-Blackpool

45108  0900 Wolverhampton-Euston

47560  1000 Wolverhampton-Euston                                     New St – Nuneaton

87025 was failed by the driver so 86008 was sent from Rugby to work our train

86008  1000 Wolverhampton-Euston                                     Nuneaton – Rugby

082      1236 Rugby-Euston                                                    Rugby-L.Buzzard

Vital Statistician phot spot    

 After being “trapped” on the tour since leaving New St, a mass bail at Linby to view the 20’s

 A crowd free view of 20165 and 20153

 31305 and 31425 at Linby with Steward Neil Wyatt (Granny) keeping us all in order!

 Lots of local Linby colliery detail here, sadly the colliery closed in March 88 and an industrial estate covers the pit site

 Our return home next day saw 87025 fail at Nuneaton and 86008 deputise. 86’0’s were rare on Wolves-Euston turns by 84, the 1000 Wolves-Euston has the road to leave the “real” Rugby, 120284

Any more “Vital Statistician” memories to share?

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