Wings and Wheels Society.

Mancunian Rail Tour 26-3-2022.

Railway Touring Company's Mancunian tour of March 22 provided the rare opportunity for steam haulage between Stafford and Manchester Piccadilly via Stoke. On the down side it was six hours each way from London due to pathing and water stops. This meant another 3 day trip in practise. I travelled up via Birmingham New Street, it takes longer but is cheaper, and I could visit the Wellington for a few of their fine Black Country ales. Then across town to Moor Street to pick up 68015 to Marylebone. The evening was spent washing down a fish supper with Fullers finest in the Leinster Arms before an early night. Euston at 6 o'clock on a Saturday morning looked as drab as always, but 6233 Duchess of Sutherland looked glamourous in the dull sea of Pendolino units. A regal run to Manchester then followed with the Duchess toying with the schedule, which meant a unplanned photo-stop at Milton Keynes. The run saw the first ever steam train over the 2020 installed fly-over at Norton Bridge Junction, and huge crowds turned out all the way thereafter to Manchester. Arrival at Piccadilly was sadly on the through island platform rather than under the magnificent train shed, so a right scrummage for photos. Manchester's trams were out of action, so I had to walk across town to Victoria for the return, stopping for a few pints of quaffable Lees Best in the Millstone pub. Arrived at Victoria to find a station transformed from my last visit in the Eighties. Now a slimmed down version of Birmingham New Street, the only photo option was a shot of the Duchess arriving down Miles Plating bank under the road bridge. The return to London was via Piccadilly and Crewe, so we became the first steam passenger service to use the Ordsall chord. Highlight of the return should have been being passed by Clun Castle during our water stop at Stafford, but we were ready to go early and the Castle was 2 minutes late so we ran ahead of it all the way to Nuneaton. Arrival at Euston was just 2 minutes late so got back to my hotel in time for Match Of the Day. Cancellations (Covid related?) delayed my return home via Paddington on Sunday but it had been worthwhile.

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