Wings and Wheels Society.

The Edinburgh Flyer Rail Tour 19-3-2022.

The Railway Touring Company's tour to Edinburgh in March 2022 offered me sought after steam haulage over Beattock. Only problem was an early start and late finish at Preston. This meant a three day trip was needed, but after being stuck indoors for much of the last two years a road trip was definitely in order. I travelled out via Newport to avoid the Gold Cup day carnage at Cheltenham. 67010 took me north on the Holyhead Premier service, and I played spot the signal box most of the way to Shrewsbury, where I saw a very large pair indeed! A break in Chester for Fish & Chips (well it was Friday!) washed down with a few pints of fine Cheshire Breweries ale followed. Then a quick trip to Crewe on a tatty Voyager unit to pick up a Blackpool bound Pendolino to Preston. Preston looked leery on a Friday night, so I made straight for my hotel for an early night. Departure at 06.17 next day was a drag, but my coach was at the front, result! 37706 took us to Carnforth where 35018 British India Line was waiting to take over, looking a world away from the last time I'd seen it as a Barry wreck at the Mid Hants on a school trip in 1980. There was much excitement at this because no Bullied Pacific had visited Scotland before. "BIL", as she is affectionally known, has a reputation as a quiet engine, and the climb over Shap was certainly serene if very smoky. By contrast the climb over Beattock was the noisiest I've heard a Bullied, with speed dropping away while South West Scotland was blanketed in a total smoke screen. It was glorious in Edinburgh, and after a stroll around Princes Gardens and the Royal Mile my knee's protested. Having negotiated the Covid protocols I secured a seat at the bar of the King George IV pub in Greyfriars for a few pints of reviving Stewart's Edinburgh Gold. On returning to Waverley station I realised I now had some dodgy looking Scottish bank notes. When I dashed into Smiths to use it on a newspaper, the first thing I saw was a stand promoting Heritage Railway magazine with a cover shot by W&W chief Rich Kelsey no less, so I bought that instead! Right on cue 47802 dragged the ECS into platform 20, which saw BIL parked next to a Kings Cross bound Azuma service. We exited via the Edinburgh Suburban line and retraced our steps back to Preston without any drama bar a touch of characteristic Bullied slipping on the exit from Carlisle. I returned via Birmingham with the roulette of Sunday engineering works. This resulted in a drinks stop at the Pelican in Gloucester, and as I sipped their lovely Butty Bach ale I could reflect on an successful trip across three nations, using all four forms of traction to be seen on the National network, steam, diesel, electric, and er replacement bus service!

Copyright of all pictures in this gallery belong to N Clarke.