THE DELTIC RANGER RAILTOUR (RE-RUN)
This tour featured a Class 55 Deltic. This Class of locomotive would have normally only been seen on the East Coast Mainline running between London Kings Cross and Scotland. The original 'Deltic Ranger' was run on the 19th February 1978. It featured 55018 running between London Paddington and Paignton. However due to severe blizzards in the South West at the time, the tour was cut short at Bristol and sent back to London.
Another 'Deltic Ranger' was quickly organized this time using Class 55 Deltic No. 55003 'Meld' . It ran on the 5th March 1978 using a slightly revised itinery, the tour operated as follows:
55003 London Paddington - Paignton - Newton Abbot
46003 Newton Abbot - Par - Newton Abbot
55003 Newton Abbot - London Paddington
Class 55 Deltic No.55003 'Meld' is seen at Taunton Station during a brief pause to pick up passengers before departing for Newton Abbot. (Photo: Unknown/Via Ebay)
55003 is seen passing 40 Steps, Taunton on the 5th March 1978 working the 1Z15 08:15 London Paddington - Paignton railtour. (Photo: Les Awford)
DELTIC TO DEVON - CROMPTONS TO CORNWALL
The Deltic to Devon - Cromptons to Cornwall tour was operated on the 16th October 1977. As the name suggests the tour was originally booked for a Class 55 Deltic from London Paddington to Newton Abbot via Yeovil and Honiton. However the Deltic's were Blacklisted by the Southern and instead two Class 40's were provided for the run to Newton Abbot.
The tour only passed through Taunton in one direction on the return leg, taking the more direct route back to London Paddington .
Details of the Railtour are as follows:
40081+40083 London Paddington - Reading - Westbury - Yeovil Pen Mill -Honiton - Exeter (Run Round) - Newton Abbot
33017+33022 Newton Abbot - Plymouth - Bodmin Road - Par
33017+33022 Par - Bodmin Road - Plymouth - Newton Abbot
40081+40083 Newton Abbot - Exeter - Taunton (17:23) - Westbury - Reading - London Paddington
40081+40083 are seen at Taunton before departing on the return leg of the tour heading for London Paddington. Not the tour was routed via Platform 2. (Photo: Steve Awford)
SEA SIDE SPECIAL
There is not a lot of information available about this Railtour, other than it was operated by a Class 40, a class of loco which never normally operated in the South West. 40079 was used to operate a Sea Side Special on the 16th September 1984. The tour started in Swansea and worked through to Paignton.
40079 is seen passing 40 Steps, Taunton with a Swansea - Paignton charter (Photo: Dave Jones)
THE DEVONIAN WITH CLASS 40's!
The 28th May 1984 saw another rare Class 40 foray into the South West, L.L.S./ T & N Railtours operated 'The Devonian' utilizing a pair of Class 40's to head South. Running as the 1Z26 throughout, the tour operated as follows:
40057+40135 operated the tour from Preston - Exeter St Davids. At Exeter the train was split, The Class 40's took 4 coaches on to Paignton. The remainder of the train then took in the delights of Meldon Quarry and the Heathfield Branch before ending up back in Paignton. 31259 & 31180 were used for this leg.
Once back in Paignton the train was reformed and the two Class 40's worked the train back to Bristol Temple Meads. At Bristol the Class 40's were removed (as 057 had failed) and 47199 was utilized for the trip to Crewe, before 40177 was added for the remaining distance to Preston.
40057 and 40135 make a rare appearance heading South at Taunton storming past Norton Fitzwarren complete with 'The Devonian' headboard (Photo: Paul Clarke)
The 8th July 1984 saw perhaps the first visit of Class 20's to the South West. Run by F&W railtours 'The Devonshire Dart' used a total of 6 locomotives throughout the day and operated as 1Z38 throughout. Details of the traction and route are listed below:
37176+37206 Bristol TM - Birmingham New Street
20169+20184 Birmingham New Street - Gloucester
20184+20169 Gloucester - Plymouth North Road
37185+37207 (T&T) Plymouth North Road - Bere Alston
37185+37207 (T&T) Bere Alston - Plymouth Friary
20169+20184 Plymouth Friary - Meldon Quarry
20169+20184 Meldon Quarry - Exeter St Davids
20169+20184 Exeter St Davids - Birmingham New Street
37176+37206 Birmingham New Street - Bristol Temple Meads
20169+20184 pass through the centre road at Taunton under the famous gantry, Class 20's heading to the South West as a rare event hence the large amount of bodies hanging from the windows behind as they chopped their way South, no doubt Network Rail would ban this appricaition in the current climate of Health and Saftey. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
The return trip North took in some very rare track indeed, using the Taunton Station avoider, 20169+20184 exit from the relief onto the station avoider at 40 Steps having just crossed over from the up main at Norton Fitzwarren, before working via Tanton East Yard. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
It's worth noting that 20169 still exists having escaped the cutters torch, and is currently under restoration at the unlikely location of Kirkby Stephen. 20184 sadly didn't make preservation and was cut up in October 1986 was Vic Berry's in Leicestershire.
THE CHOPPER TOPPER
The 8th June 1986 saw F&W Railtours/ Pathfinder Railtours operate more Class 20 hauled madness into the South West. 'The Chopper Topper' was due to visit Penzance, but due to the derailment of 37196 the tour schedule was thrown into complete chaos.
The tour operated as 1Z36 throughout and was as follows:
20011+20054 Wolverhampton - Truro via Glocuester & Weston Super Mare
37207 Truro - Falmouth Loop
37207 Falmouth Loop - Plymouth
20011+20054 Plymouth - Wolverhampton via Gloucester only.
Although the derailment of 37196 (which should have worked in T&T formation with 37207 on the falmouth section) caused single line working South of Truro. The Class 20's made it through (but without their train) to go and get fuel at Penzance!. Meanwhile enthusiasts were treated to a 2.5hr extended break at Plymouth to wait for them to return. By means of an apology a second tour was hastily arranged which would make Penzance. It just goes to show what could be done when paper work, EWS and Network Rail were not involved!
Still complete with it's indicator disks, 20011 and 20054 pause at Taunton on the 8th June 1986 before heading South with 'The Chopper Topper' railtour. It's worth noting that just 7 months after this image was taken 20011 was cut up at MC Metals in Glasgow during Feb 1987, 20054 followed in September 1989. (Photo: Pete Rowland)
THE CHOPPER TOPPER (RE-RUN)
After the trials of the previous 'Chopper Topper' in June 1986, August 31st saw a second attempt to make Penzance. Operated by F&W and Pathfinder Railtours the 'Chopper Topper Re-run' was operated on the 31st August 1986. This time the tour also took in the rare Parkandillack Freight only branch on route to Penzance. It operated as follows:
20124+20094 Wolverhampton - Par
37235 & 37251 (T&T) Par - Parkandillack
37251 & 37235 (T&T) Parkandillack - Par
37235 Par - Penzance
20124+20094 Penzance - Wolverhampton
20124 leads 20094 South through Creech St Michael on the approach to Taunton working 'The Chopper Topper Re-run'. Note the wrong line working, as two weeks previously the Cement derailment had happened at Cogload Jn, some tracks were out of use because of the recovery operation. (Photo: Paul Clarke)
A chance to view 20124 & 20094 as they approach Taunton station having just passed under Obridge, an effective photograph, taken when walking down to the end of the platform wasn't considered a Health and Safety issue! (Photo: John Mills)
Just to prove they made it all the way to the end of the line at Penzance we have located this image of the pair waiting to depart from the Cornish Termini, Penzance.
20124 never made preservation, 20094 had spells at Ruddington and Barrow Hill (but mainly as a source of spares ) until 2001 when it was recycled, 20124 went for scrap in 1991.
THE TONE BONE!
'The Tone Bone' was the aptly named railtour which utilized a multitude of traction resulting in the use of a Class 58 to Taunton. The use of the name for the railtour came from Taunton's River 'Tone' and the nickname for the Class 58's 'Bones'.
The Tone Bone is one of the very few tours which have ever used Taunton as a destination. It was operated by Pathfinder Railtours on the 27th October 2001. Originating from Crewe, the 1Z46 was hauled and routed as follows:
56063: Crewe - Stafford - Wolverhampton - Galton Jn - Birmingham New Street - Camp Hill - Barnt Green - Cheltenham Spa - Standish Jn - Stroud - Swindon - Swindon Cocklebury Yard
66156: Swindon Cocklebury - Swindon - Chippenham - Trowbridge - Westbury Down Reception
58030: Westbury Down Reception - Fairwood Jn - (via Frome avoider) - Castle Cary - Yeovil Pen Mill - Yeovil Junction - Honiton - Exeter Central - Exeter St Davids - Taunton
67026+59203: Taunton - Bridgwater - (via Weston-super-Mare avoider) - Bristol Temple Meads - Filton Jn - Pilning - Severn Tunnel Junction - (via down relief line) - Newport
60062: Newport - (via up relief line & Bishton flyover) - Severn Tunnel Junction - Chepstow - Gloucester
56063: Gloucester - Cheltenham Spa - Barnt Green - Selly Oak - Birmingham New Street - Aston - Bescot - Bushbury Jn - Stafford - Crewe
58030 hauls the empty stock into Taunton's Platform 5 ready to detach from the train and head back light engine to Westbury. (Photo: Lester Solway)
67026 & 59203 prepare to set off with the 1Z27 Taunton - Crewe return charter (Photo: Brian Garrett)