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THE WAVERLEY EXPRESS

SATURDAY 21ST APRIL 2012

ran very successfully and we thank all our fellow travellers for their part in an excellent day out.

 

A SPECIAL EXCURSION TRAIN TO EDINBURGH

via

THE CUMBRIAN FELLS AND SCOTTISH BORDERS

67027 leads the Chester Model Railway Club charter 6.40am Shrewsbury to Edinburgh Waverley, 1Z44 over Cefn Mawr Viaduct, between Shrewsbury and Chester, 21.4.12.67005 was bringing up the rear.  Click on photo for more pictures at Flickr.  Pictures taken by Jim Knight.

On Saturday 21st April, the Club along with its partners the Ffestiniog Railway Dee & Mersey Group ran its annual railtour, this time to Edinburgh. The Waverley Express had been a long time in the planning, although Edinburgh had been often requested, this was the first year we were able to avoid weekend engineering works en route. Mindful that a substantial minority of our passengers were from North Shropshire and North East Wales we decided to start from Shrewsbury and work northwards, pausing at Hooton to reverse before taking the Frodsham route to the WCML. It was with some trepidation that we chose this arrangement, but actually in an operational sense it worked well with no hiccoughs, and the train ran to time all day. The downside was that the complicated pick ups meant we only had limited time at our destination and we will have to think hard as to whether we would want to repeat this arrangement.

A tale of two Class 67s. Above pictures courtesy of John Cowlishaw; left shows the train on its way north through Balderton with EWS 67027;   right shows the train leaving Hooton in a southerly direction on its way towards Ellesmere Port, which is why there is a different more recently liveried EWS loco, 67005.

After some awful weather during the week previous, the day dawned dry and grey as John Oates and Laurence Wheeler met up at Shrewsbury to greet the train crew and the dozen or so passengers who joined us there. Twenty minutes later, at Gobowen, Jim Parrish and most of the rest of the team joined us to lay out route description pamphlets and deal with dozens of other small jobs that make people’s day that little bit special. We are very lucky that many of our customers come with us year on year and we are greeted like old friends. Quite a time-consuming journey to all our pick up stations, and it was nearly two hours later that we ‘hit the road’ for the north, taking in the unmissable scenery of Northern England and Southern Scotland. All too soon we rolled in to the sprawling Edinburgh Waverley station, incidentally the only station in the world named after a set of novels.

Above; The Waverley Express enters Frodsham. Photo courtesy Roger Schofield

Waverley station is being refurbished and rebuilt after, it is said, sixty years of neglect, and is at present a warren of temporary walkways and signs. Furthermore much of the New Town is similarly disturbed by construction work for the new tram service. Notwithstanding this, in the writer’s opinion, Scotland’s capital presents a tired face compared with the way its old rival Glasgow has improved in recent years. However none of this seemed to worry our customers, judging by the stories we heard on the way back. Some had jumped in to taxis to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, many others had used the discount vouchers we obtained for the Open Top Bus Tour. The weather broke just as we approached departure time, and with everyone safely aboard we started our return journey. The sky cleared, and we were treated to a splendid evening run across the Southern Uplands and then the Lakeland Fells.   Passengers tucked in to their picnic meals they had brought with them or obtained during the day. We were back home at a reasonable hour, and received many complements both on the day and later from satisfied customers.

 Of course we will do it again next year and the two committees will be looking at possible destinations and the arrangements soon.

¨  L. Wheeler

 

Below; DB Schenker Royal Train liveried class 67 No.67005 'Queen's Messenger' heads up the 1Z44 Shrewsbury to Edinburgh 'Waverley Express' charter crossing the River Esk bridge at Etterby, Carlsile on 21st April 2012. 67027 was on the rear of the train. Picture taken by Gordon Edgar (awaiting full approval).

Above pictures courtesy of Laurence Wheeler.  Left; at Gobowen with the photographer (um...); middle; awaiting departure from Hooton; right; at Edinburgh Waverley.

If you have any pictures of the Waverley Express and would like to share them please contact me using the contact page.