On Saturday, 16th September 2000, Class 50s D431 and 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 Wigan is then ‘thrashed’ from a standing start, after which the train passes lines of withdrawn locos littering EWS’ Component & Recovery Centre at Springs Branch.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.
Produced by - Locomaster Profiles
First Published: 2001- on VHS
Running time - 115 Minutes