A loco-hauled railtour run by the Wirral Railway Circle from Crewe to Loughborough featuring Class 24 haulage and a trip on the Main Line Steam Trust (now the Great Central Railway) on Saturday 4th December 1976.
The train ran from Crewe via Stockport, Guide Bridge, Woodhead, Penistone, Sheffield Victoria, Chesterfield, and Derby. Here 24082 and 24087 wait at the home signal at Penistone as they approach the station from the Woodhead line. Thick fog on the Western side of the Pennines had given way to clear blue skies on the exit from the Woodhead tunnel. This stretch of line closed in 1981 and is now part of the Trans-Pennine trail. The track here was retained until 1989 as there was a plan to move Penistone station closer to the town centre if the line to Denby Dale closed.
There was a photo stop at Penistone in the disused Manchester platforms. The weather was cold and frosty but 24082 (leading) and 24087 were two of the three remaining Crewe 24's able to steam heat a train. The platform the train is standing at closed in 1970 and track was removed after the closure of the Woodhead line, but two other platforms at Penistone remain in use for the service between Huddersfield and Sheffield via Barnsley.
On arrival at Loughbrough, the 24s are seen on the Midland main line, under the disused Great Central railway bridge, removed a few years later. Now 40 years on, plans are in place to replace this bridge to connect the two halves of the preserved Great Central.
At Loughborough, passengers transferred to the preserved Great Central Railway for a return to trip to the end of the line at Rothley, hauled by Black 5 no 5231.
The special train on the GCR was too long for the unsignalled loop at Rothley, so a second loco (an 0-6-0 tank) was provided to shunt the stock. Here it is seen moving out of the loop as the Black 5 waits in the headshunt. At this time, this was the furtheset point of running (and track) on the GCR.
The return was via Toton, Dore South Curve, the Hope Valley line, Guide Bridge and Stockport. Back at Crewe the fog had returned, as seen as 24087 waits in the station, with the searchlight beam of the red signal visible.
The usually comprehensive Six Bells Junction does not have many details on this tour.
Locos: 24082 and 24087
Route: Crewe - Stockport - Guide Bridge - Dinting - Woodhead - Penistone - Sheffield Victoria - Woodhouse - Beighton Junction - Chesterfield - Ambergate - Derby - Trent South Junction - Loughborough Midland
Locos: 24087 and 24082
Route: Loughborough Midland - Trent Junction - Toton - Clay Cross Jn - Chesterfield - Dore South Junction - Dore West Junction - Edale - Chinley - Romiley - Guide Bridge - Stockport - Crewe