The Grampian Gyrator.
Friday 18th & Saturday 19th July 2003.
Railtours to Scotland using a variety of motive power are but a rarity these days, far removed from the 1980s when such gems as The Grouser, The Ayr-Aberdonian and the "Skirl o' The Pipes" series of tours ran. These usually set off on the Friday night never to be seen again until quite late on the following Sunday.
Also long gone is the famous (or should it be infamous) "Gricer's Grill" served in its nice little plastic container which one could then eat whilst sitting in an 'egg cup' seat in the buffet car which was generally from the W19xx series.
Meanwhile back in today's world it must be quite a nightmare to actually organise such a tour given the politics and procedures which seem to dog modern day railway operations.
The next series of pages cover the Grampian Gyrator which was ably run by Pathfinder Tours with a little help from Riviera Trains (coaching stock), EWS and Freightliner who supplied the motive power.
For one reason or another the tour started at Stafford with 66001 at the sharp end. At Crewe one of the rather powerful 92s (92039) took charge for the run to Carlisle where 56088 took charge to Mossend Yard. Now a shadow of its former self this erstwhile scene of locomotive changes saw 66190 taking over for the run up to Inverness. Passengers had the option of alighting at Aviemore for a trip along the Strathspey Railway behind 31327 which has been restored at the Bo'ness Railway. This particular device did have an outing to the region once when it worked the 'Burntisland Bellower' railtour.
At Inverness 37698 + 37701 (37246 and 37001 respectively) were then attached for the run to Edinburgh. Alas the Sulzer Type 2s are long gone and the station area at Inverness has altered quite considerably since these locos reigned supreme.
In Edinburgh the train was reunited with 56088 which then worked to Carlisle via Newcastle. At Carlisle 86612 and 86627 took over and worked to Crewe where 66001 was waiting for the short run to Stafford.
Follow the links below for pictures and other details of this very enjoyable tour.
Actual timings | Coaching Stock Review | Pictures