XC Class 47 Stop - September 2001 - The ongoing modernisation of Virgin's Cross-Country operation would bring about the end of daily nationwide traditional loco-hauled service trains in Britain.
Soon the entire fleet inherited from British Rail would be replaced by Virgin Voyagers, with only a handful of HSTs soldiering on from the nationalised era.
But with the sun still rising on the new dawn, another tradition fell victim to modern-thinking; all Virgin trains were to become 'anonymous' as Virgin controversially 'de-named' all it's titled trains as a precursor to a new interval timetable.
Pre-Voyager most were HST operated, but the Sussex Scot, Midland Scot and most notably the Pines Express were all loco-hauled and had a certain kudos and heritage.
First named in 1927 (with roots dating back to 1910) the last era of the locomotive hauled 'Pines' would officially end on 30th September 2001... with this in mind Virgin Trains allowed Oakwood to adorn the Pines Express with its traditional headboard for the first time since dieselisation in 1965!
This is the memento of that historic event.
After a brief review of 'Pines history' we begin our journey at Manchester Piccadilly on 12th September 2001.
47750, Atlas, arrives from Longsight with the ECS before 47843, Vulcan, receives the famous headboard ready to work the 1O09, 08.09 Manchester Piccadilly to Bournemouth, The Pines Express.
To complement the view forward, scenes of driver Ken Cossey are included, along with lineside shots of 'Vulcan' complete with headboard.
The Manchester Piccadilly departure, sweep through Heaton Chapel and departing Stockport set the scene, although lineside shots of other classmates add variety.
Notable are latter day celebrities, 47829 in BT Police colours, 47840 in rail blue and 47853 in XP64 livery.
Departing Manchester we traverse former LNWR metals, passing Longsight Depot, Stockport and Cheadle Hulme, to Macclesfield, thereafter joining the principal route of the erstwhile North Staffordshire Railway, the Knotty.
North Rode Viaduct is crossed as we pass through the Potteries, call at Stoke-on-Trent and see the numerous soon-to-be-closed manual signal boxes of this West Coast artery.
Beyond Stone the 'West Coast' proper is joined at Norton Bridge for the run to Stafford, thence to Wolverhampton and into Birmingham New Street.
After a crew change, highlights of the run to the south coast include several lineside shots of the one-off headboard run, concluding with 'Vulcan' arriving in Bournemouth.