Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Strathspey Railway 23rd August 2015

For the first year in a good 10 the Strathspey Railway attempted to make use of their diesel fleet during the Summer of 2015 with the 27 and 31327 alternating each weekend, working two round trips on a Sunday to allow the steam loco to operate the afternoon dinex.

It’s long way to go to get to Aviemore, even for those living up north and basically to cover the Sunday turns it was a weekend out that technically involved two nights out; ours being a night in Inverness having travelled up from Doncaster to Edinburgh courtesy of 91102 and then forward to Inverness on the Inverness HST. We then did it back to Aviemore on the Sunday morning before heading back to Glasgow to do 1M11 Glasgow – Euston throughout, which was unfortunately in the hands of Freightliner’s 90047 and not a 92, before finishing the weekend off by heading back to Doncaster with 91105 on the 0630 out of Kings Cross; which wasn’t bad as 1M11 wasn’t due into Euston until after that!

Back to the reason for this post though; 31327. Having not had it in many years and also not had it since it had been painted in BR Green livery I was looking forward to the day out with it and when we departed Aviemore on the 1030 Aviemore – Broomhill with LMS 2MT steam loco 46512, 31327 was sat on shed at Aviemore; as was 27050! Fortunately when we returned from Broomhill 31327 was already waiting to drop onto the other end of the stock to work the 1230 Aviemore – Broomhill; which suffered a late start waiting for Jimima to arrive from Kingussie as the first northbound train over the Highland main line was late. The staff at Aviemore were more than happy to hold the train though, especially as they knew someone was coming off it.

While the driver on 31327 had driven class 31’s back in the good old days on the main line, he wasn’t giving it a hammering and we probably only got one or two field diverts in all day. Was it any good? Well as 31’s go it wasn’t bad and sounded a lot better than I’d expected it to; after all it does see regular use, working the Royal Scotsman stock along the line, even if it’s not passenger use; and that’s exactly what it did at the end of the day. the guard off the train transformed himself into a driver and worked 31327 back from Aviemore to Boat of Garten with the Royal Scotsman stock, which was just the load 9 with T&T 47’s (both shut down); it was a bloody shame we couldn’t have done that and been out of the front window as it hammered away into the distance let me tell you!

While it was a long way, being quite costly and time consuming I was glad I’d gone up for the weekend and while 5 people making the trip solely for the 31 doesn’t seem a lot the fact that 3 were from Doncaster, one from Manchester and one from Vevey in Switzerland speaks for itself! Hopefully the railway will build on this and use their diesel fleet more often in the coming years as people clearly want to travel up to do them; so use them!

31327 worked the following during Sunday 23rd August 2015:

1230 Aviemore – Broomhill, 1335 Broomhill – Aviemore, 1445 Aviemore – Broomhill, 1550 Broomhill – Aviemore, Royal Scotsman ECS 1730 Aviemore – Boat of Garten

Photos from the weekend:

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