Saturday, 16th September 2000, Class 50s D431 & D449 arrived at
Glasgow Central with Pathfinder’s ‘Celtic Hoovers’ railtour on a
journey that had brought the two locomotives back to their former London
Midland haunts. This WIRED FOR SOUND cab-ride features the return
run along the West Coast Main Line on a 243-mile journey from Glasgow
Central to Crewe. With a respectable load of 13 coaches in tow, the two
‘Vacs’ set about recreating a piece of railway history on a route
that is as challenging as it is nostalgic.
The departure from Glasgow Central is accompanied by a fanfare
of horns and that’s followed by a storming run past Polmadie depot.
After that, the 50 thrash begins in earnest! A standing start at
Motherwell makes for a rousing climb to Craigenhill summit and the
ensuing climb up Beattock. South of Carlisle there’s the arduous
30-mile slog up Shap before the big drop to Tebay makes for an
exhilarating run through the picturesque Lune Gorge. After a short climb
to Grayrigg there’s another spirited downhill run through Oxenholme. A
standing start at Carnforth provides an entertaining run past Hest Bank
and that’s followed by another impressive climb from Lancaster up
Ripley Bank. South of Preston there’s a taxing run from Balshaw Lane
up to Coppull Moor summit. Wigan is then ‘thrashed’ from a standing
start, after which the train passes lines of withdrawn locos littering
EWS’ Component & Recovery Centre at Springs Branch.
The rooftops of the former Vulcan Foundry are glimpsed at Golborne.
That’s followed by Winwick Junction after which the ‘Vacs’ blast
their way through Warrington before pounding across the bridges of the
Mersey and the Weaver. Appropriately, the train is finally checked at
Weaver Junction, which in the late-sixties and early-seventies, marked
the northerly point of the route’s electrification. The programme
concludes with an atmospheric arrival at the loco’s spiritual home -
Crewe. To reinforce the nostalgia factor, both locos were transformed
into original BR blue livery for this trip, thus turning the clock back
25 years to the days when Class 50s ruled the West Coast route between
Glasgow and Crewe.
Like many of our re-releases on DVD, this programme has been be
digitally re-mastered, and contains approximately an extra 25 minutes of
footage that was not included in the original VHS version. David Maxey
has also provided a new and updated narration for the programme.
"History re-created in splendid style."
Voted "Best Class 50 Video" by readers of
the Vaclads website