The Pathfinder Tours 'Orcadian' at Gleneagles, Perth & Pitlochry (2006)                

Return to Home Page Return to Orcadian 2007 Page Return to Archive Index Page
  Friday 16 June saw a work colleague and I head off to Gleneagles Station to get a film and some photo's of 'The Orcadian' a heritage train on what is described as a 'four day landcruise'. 

Looking at the timings that sounds like an excellent description of the trip.  The train set off from Swindon and called to pick up passengers at Chippenham, Bath Spa, Bristol Parkway, Cheltenham Spa, Worcester Shrub Hill, over the Bromsgrove bank (remember that in the days of steam?).  It then joined the West Coast Main Line and called at Birmingham New Street.  Further pick up stops were made at Stafford, Crewe, and Preston before the train set off for its final destination on Day 1 to Inverness.  It passed us at Gleneagles on time and was filmed in the video clip on the left.  It was flying along at a great rate of knots, so I didn't even attempt to pan round and follow it!  More video clips are available further down the page.  At the start of the clip some prat says "Here it is".  I'll plead guilty to that!
The 'Orcadian' is a train organised by Pathfinder Tours.  Click the link to visit their site for details of all the wonderful looking excursions they run.
After filming the train at Gleneagles, my colleague Mark and I hotfooted it, or hot drove it, whichever you prefer, back to Perth to catch some still photo's.  So here they are! Class 50 No 50028 stands at rest after a hard days work, at the north end of Perth's Platform 7.  Well, you would need a rest if you had pulled a train over Shap and Beattock, and still had the Highland Line to Inverness over Drummochter Summit to do!  But it was ably supported by the other Class 50 engine, No. 50012.  Note that both engines sport the large BR double arrow logo on the engine sides and also the Highland Rail stag logo on the yellow cab sides.  However, I'm not sure any of these engines worked on the Highland Line in BR's days.  But if someone out there knows differently, I'm always pleased to here from them.  If you want more information on the Highland Line please follow the link.

It's great to get feedback, and, with thanks to Keith, I understand
The Class 50s did work on the Highland LIne in BR days. Keith says, "If I remember correctly, a few were retained after electrification for a while in Scotland before they all went to the Western Region.  I photographed one at Inverness in 1973 heading a southbound Motorail service"

Above left is Class 50 No. 50028 Tiger and above right 50012 Benbow.  These engines were originally numbered D428 and D412.  They were named in May and April 1978 respectively after WWII warships.  A great deal more information about the Class 50 locomotives can be found at the Fifty Fund website, just follow the link.  I am also told by a contact on the Fifty Fund site that these engines have a different number and name on the other side!  I understand there correct numbers and names are 50049 Defiance and 50031 respectively.  In old money that's D449 and D431.  The original 50012 and 50028 have been cut up for scrap in 1989 and 1991 respectively.
The picture below left is a 'The Great Briton' coach 'Wordsworth' taking on water for the remainder of the trip.  Another of that type of coach was named 'Gainsborough'.  Personally I have never seen coaches in this livery before, but they are obviously out there on excursion trips.
Finally my colleague Mark doesn't want anyone to think he may be an 'anorak'!  His excuse was that he wanted to wave his new SLR camera at a train!
  Being a bit more enthusiastic about trains, even diesel ones sometimes, I decided to invite my long suffering better half on an evening drive to Pitlochry.  The video clip above is of the train arriving at Pitlochry and entering the passing loop.  Just cast your eyes away from the train for a second and look at the magnificent Highland scenery in the background.  I had intended to pan round and follow it, but I'm afraid the low evening sun was more than my camera could cope with.  Hence the end before I panned all the way round! 
The video on the left shows the train leaving Pitlochry and heading north for the Drumochter summit and Aviemore.  As the train actually stopped at the station, I was expecting a southbound train to arrive in the other passing loop.  I was therefore meandering up the platform, with all the time in the world, to set up and film the departure, when it started to head off towards Inverness.   This is my exuse for the shuggly (good Scottish word that!) video of the departure.  Having said that it does make an excellent diesel train type noise departing.
With the train departed, I had to make sure my better half's face was kept straight. (another excellent Scottish phrase)  So, being of a generous frame of mind I treated her to a 'Fish Tea' in the chippy at the top end of Pitlochry.  It's on the main street on the right hand side of the road if you are heading north and can be recommended for providing great 'fish suppers'. That's fish and chips to you non Scottish people!
Return to Home Page Return to Orcadian 2007 Page Return to Archive Index Page