5th September 2007

UK Railtours
The Severn Weaver

Locos Used 67012 & 67023
Stock Used ?????

1Z70 : St Albans to Shrewsbury
1Z72 : Shrewsbury to St Albans

Loco Route
67023 St Albans - Luton - Bedford - (2) Wellingborough - Kettering - (2) Kettering North Jn - Kilby Bridge Jn - Wigston North Jn - Knighton Jn - Bagworth Jn - Coalville - Birmingham Curve Jn - Branston Jn - Wichnor Jn - Lichfield Trent Valley Jn - Lichfield High Level Goods Loop Jn - Colwich Jn - Stafford - Norton Bridge - Basford Hall Jn - Crewe Sorting Sidings North - Gresty Lane - Gresty Green No.1 Siding
67012 Gresty Green No.1 Siding - Nantwich - Wem - Shrewsbury - Wellington - Telford - Cosford - Oxley - Wolverhampton - Portobello Jn - Darlaston Jn - Pleck Jn - Walsall - Ryecroft Jn - Sutton Park - Park Lane Jn - Water Orton - Nuneaton - Hinckley - Glen Parva Jn - Wigston South Jn - Kilby Bridge Jn - (reverse of outward route) - St Albans

Notes :
(1) Keith Hayward comments: this is believed to be the first ever railtour, and the first loco hauled train to have called/picked up at Luton Airport Parkway, and possibly the first ever train of slam door stock (HST's don't call at Parkway) to do so.
(2) Due to the loco problem, from Sharnbrook the train took the Up & Down Slow or Wymington Deviation, picking up in platform 3 at Wellingborough, and then on the Up & Down Slow to Harrowden Junction, and finally at Kettering South Jn going onto the Up Slow and sitting in platform 1 for an 75mins, finally hitting the fast lines (Down Main) at Kettering North Jn.

67012 after arrival at Shrewsbury (photo: Stuart Chapman)

Sources: various including Stuart Chapman & Keith Hayward

our Review
(from Stuart Chapman)

What better way to celebrate the news that the 'Wrexham and Shropshire' proposal for regular class 67 trains between Wrexham, Shewsbury and London had been approved by the office of rail regulation than a class 67 hauled tour from the London area to Shrewsbury albeit via a roundabout route.

The tour started well with 67023 arriving pretty much right time at St Albans. Pickups at Luton Airport Parkway, and Bedford were made pretty much on time and we headed towards our booked final pickup at Wellingborough at 09:01. However not long out of Bedford, near to the village of Radwell we came to an ominous halt. After a while we were informed there was a problem with the locomotive (even more ominous) but we eventually got underway at slow speed to eventually arrive at Wellingborough 29 minutes down (it was to get much worse). The problem was identified as an AWS fault, and we were therefore speed restricted until we could pick up a traction inspector (or man in a long distance taxi) at Kettering. When we eventually made it the seven miles to Kettering we had to wait for the taxi to arrive, which turned into a very long leg stretching stop which went on and on and on, with the odd update to the effect that control definitely tell us he's on his way. Our booked time from Kettering was 09:17 but we eventually made it away at 10:59 some 1 hour and 42 minutes late. We made reasonable speed up the Midland main line and turned off at Knighton South Junction for the Coalville line, one of the highlights of the tour. Having been along the line a couple of years before on a steam tour I was quite surprised at our early speed, but I needn't have worried as we soon slowed to the standard sedate pace of this freight only line, even managing to loose a further ten minutes off our booked time by the time we reached the other end of the line. Apparently the Coalville line is now the longest freight only line in the country and has much of interest along the route. 66089 was waiting with an aggregate train to leave Stud Farm and at Bagworth 60002 was in the sidings along with an industrial shunter. Passing through Coalville itself, where a few months ago Fragonset had a depot, 56011 and 56021 were seen still stored in the sidings.

After a small wait for a freightliner 66 at Branston Junction we made our way onto the mainline south of Burton and onto our second freight line at Wichnor Junction. This is a nice little line that follows the canal for most of its route through rural scenery. A five minute wait at Lichfield for a path onto the west cost mainline left us almost 2 hours down, but we then sped up the west coast mainline, passing a number of held freights and Pendalinos heading south at Rugeley. Had they all been waiting for us to cross the West Coast mainline at Lichfield or was there some other problem. Allowing a Virgin service to pass us at Stafford we then made our way up to Basford hall, taking the freight only lines round the far side of the yard. We rounded the curve into Crewe Gresty Lane past the new DRS depot and went into Gresty Green Number 1 siding for an unscheduled locomotive change to 67012. This at least left the track bashers pleased as this is extremely rare track. An uneventful run into Shrewsbury left us almost 2 hours down but still with almost 3 hours to explore the city. Most headed for the high street and the castle giving fine views back over the station.

67012 left Shrewsbury on time and unlike the morning kept pretty much to schedule all the way home. 3 Virgin thunderbird 57's were seen at Oxley (57303, 304, 306) and at Wolverhampton the old GWR station was almost unrecognisable as it undergoes redevelopment. We passed 66230 and 66105 on two separate trains at Walsall and made our way onto the Sutton Park line for a leisurely trip down to Water Orton. The final freight track of the day was the small south curve at Glen Parva Junction.

On the way home we learned this was to be UK Railtours penultimate trip as John Farrow is now back with Hertfordshire.

All in all despite a frustrating few hours in the morning a really great trip with lots of freight only track, one more loco than booked, and a good amount of time in Shrewsbury on a sunny day.

Stuart Chapman

Timings (Booked Only)

Location Booked (out) Booked (rtn)
St Albans 08.06d 21.44a
Luton Airport Parkway 08.16a ~ 08.19d 21.30a ~ 21.33d
Luton 08/21 21/27
Flitwick 08/30 21/18
Bedford South Jn 08/38 21/09
Bedford 08.40a ~ 08.43d 21.04a ~ 21.07d
Bedford North Jn 08/45 21/02
Sharnbrook Jn 08/53 20/57
Wellingborough 09.01a ~ 09.04d 20.44a ~ 20.47d
Kettering South Jn 09/12 ?
Kettering 09/17 20/37
Kettering North Jn 09/22 ?
Market Harborough 09/33 20/27
Kilby Bridge Jn 09/41 20/18


Location Booked
Wigston North Jn 09/54
Knighton Jn 09/57
Bagworth Jn 10/13
Bardon Hill 10/18
Mantle Lane 10/23
Lounge Jn 10/35
Moira 10/47
Birmingham Curve Jn 11/01
Branston Jn 11/03
Wichnor Jn 11/08
Alrewas SB 11/11
Lichfield Trent Valley Jn 11/21
Lichfield T.V. Low Level 11/28
Armitage Jn 11/32
Colwich Jn 11/37
Milford & Brockton 11/39
Stafford No.4 11/44
Stafford 11/44
Norton Bridge 11/49
Madeley 11/58
Basford Hall Jn 12/06
Basford Hall Sorting Sidings 12.14 ~ 12.16
Gresty Lane 12/27
Nantwich 12/31
Wrenbury 12/36
Prees 12/45
Wem 12/48
Harlescott Crossing 12/56
Shrewsbury 13.00a ~ 17.56d
Wellington 18/10
Madeley Jn 18/17
Cosford 18/22
Oxley SB 18/30
Wolverhampton North Jn 18/31
Wolverhampton 18/33
Portobello Jn 18/38
Darlaston Jn 18/41
Pleck Jn 18/43
Walsall 18/45 
Ryecroft Jn 18/47 
Park Lane Jn 19/21
Water Orton West Jn 19/23
Water Orton 19/25
Whitacre Jn 19/29 
Abbey Jn 19/40
Nuneaton 19/43
Hinckley 19/49
Croft Jn 19/58
Glen Parva Jn 20/03
Wigston South Jn 20/05

Timings continue in first table.

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