Track tours kick off the new year

Two successful outings were staged by Pathfinder Tours and the Branch Line Society during January.

ALTHOUGH January is always a lean month when it comes to railtours, the second weekend of 2017 was one where ‘track bashing’ enthusiasts were faced with a difficult choice.

Pathfinder’s tour turns left at Frodsham Junction, Cheshire, onto the freight-only curve towards Runcorn. No. 66182 is leading with No. 66056 at the rear. Colin Partington

The Branch Line Society’s ‘Vossloh Voyager’, raising money for the Railway Benefit Fund, was one option on January 14, while Pathfinder’s ‘Mersey Weaver II’ ran from Westbury on the same day. It goes without saying that, had the two tours not clashed, both would probably have experienced a greater number of bookings.

The BLS tour was worked by Class 455 EMUs Nos. 5732 and 5870, and it visited a variety of non-passenger destinations on the South West Trains network, including Clapham Yard and Wimbledon depot.

Pathfinder’s offering was a traditional freight line tour round the North West using a pair of Class 66s, making best use of available winter daylight. It began at Westbury with
No. 66182 being provided by DB Cargo as the main tour loco, hauling the train to Crewe where No. 66056 was added to the rear in readiness for numerous reversals during the course of the day.

The appearance of No. 66056 came as a surprise to most on board, who had been expecting No. 66198 from Warrington to be used as ‘top and tail’ engine. The only known passenger working for No. 66198 was back in 2002, while No. 66056 is much more common – having most recently appeared on a UK Railtours trip to Portbury in July 2014, as well as having been used on tours with Compass, Pathfinder and the BLS previously.

Read more in the March issue of RE – out now!

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