1: South Devon, April 6-7


The beginning of a fantastic trip loosely chasing the "Great Britain II" special by train with many detours to museum railways and regular traffic. We start our journey at Luton Airport with East Midlands 222s, the last HST leaving London Paddington, Riviera Sleeper pulled by 57602 "Restormel Castle" and class 142s early morning at Exeter, sunrise shift at Dawlish and move on to Totnes where the 40-years-anniversary celebrations of the South Devon museum railway took place. Participating locos were 6695 - GWR Class 5600 0-6-2T (with photo freight at Totnes), 5542 - GWR Small Prairie Class 4575 2-6-2T and 6435 - GWR Class 6400 0-6-0PT (pannier tank). After the Great Britain II stormed past Totnes with D1015 "Western Champion" in charge we took a bus to a landscape spot at a stone bridge across the River Dart near Staverton.
2: Plymouth - Wales, April 7-8


We continue with regular trains on the great (and windy) Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash near Plymouth. Sadly the Great Britain II was heavily delayed, so we only could catch it entering Plymouth station with 34067 "Tangmere" - SR Battle of Britain Class 4-6-2 (instead of 5029 "Nunney Castle" which should have been running) and 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" - BR Britannia Class 7P 4-6-2 in charge. Via CrossCountry HST to Birmingham the overnight stop was Shrewsbury where in the morning two loco hauled passenger trains are almost meeting: Wrexham & Shropshire with class 67 and the Arriva Wales service Holyhead - Cardiff pulled by a class 57. The rest of the morning was spent on the scenic Llangollen museum railway at Llangollen and Glyndyfrdwy where 6430 - GWR class 6400 0-6-0PT did its duties, the nearest mainline station is Ruabon.
3: Crewe - North Yorkshire, April 8-9


After leaving Ruabon via Chester and Crewe (with a lovely female announcer ;-)) we caught the Great Britain II at Wrenbury again pulled by 34067 "Tangmere" (instead of 6291 "Princess Elizabeth"). The next day was spent at the North Yorkshire Moors museum railway leaving York in the morning by double decker bus through the narrow roads of Yorkshire. First stop was Goathland where we even got the treat of Black 5 45212 "posing" in front of a freight train. Other engines in regular service were NER class Q6 63395, GWR Class 5600 6619 and Southern class S15 825 which took us to Whitby on the coast with its great scenic views where the departure was filmed.
4: Central Highlands, April 9-10


Caledonian sleeper from Crewe (again with lovely announcer voice ;-)) to Aviemore with regular traffic and on by bus to the Strathspey museum railway at Boat of Garden and Broomhill. The staff was very hospitable and invited us into the signal box. After taking a landscape shot at Broomhill we took the steam train pulled by #17 "Braeriach" 0-6-0T (Andrew Barclay & Son, Kilmarnock works #2017, built in 1935) back to Aviemore. We pokered high and won by going to Dunkeld & Birnam where the Great Britain II would cross our train. As we got out it just pulled into the station with a Black 5 double header formed by 45231 "The Sherwood Forester" and 45407 "The Lancashire Fusilier". Just a few minutes later we were on our way north again to Inverness.
5: Western Highlands, April 10-11


For the next day we chose the "West Highlander" diesel railtour hauled by DB Schenker 37401 and 37670 Fort William - Mallaig - Fort William, so we took the bus from Inverness passing Loch Ness to Fort William through sunshine and heavy rainshowers until finally at Fort William we had sunset and rainbow for the final daylight trains including Caledonian sleeper pulled by class 67. Next morning the first spot was Glenfinnan viaduct for the two 37s, sadly the train didn't stop at the station there as long as it was supposed to, otherwise we would have caught the departure as well. The return was filmed near Beasdale which required a very tiresome and muddy Highland moors hike. From Beasdale we enjoyed the more than five hour direct ride to Glasgow Queen Street through amazing landscapes and weather moods.
6: Firths - Montrose, April 11-12


Glasgow Queen Street in the evening, then a short night in Edinburgh and a great Firth of Forth sunrise including freight. After the first HST of the day at North Queensferry chatting with a local policeman and other passers-by we moved on to Dundee and the Tay bridge crossing the Firth of Tay to Wormit by bus. In the afternoon we caught up with the Great Britain II again, hauled by the double Black 5s 45231 "The Sherwood Forester" and 45407 "The Lancashire Fusilier" passing Montrose. Firth of Forth sunset on the way to our next overnight stop, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
7: Berwick - Newcastle, April 13


Fantastic quiet morning at the Tweed bridge with even a DB Schenker class 66 double headed freight passing by. Around noon the Great Britain II with A4 60009 "Union of South Africa" departed from Tweedmouth after taking some water there. Next stop: Newcastle.
8: East Coast Mainline, April 13


Starting with the Great Britain II pulled by A4 60009 "Union of South Africa" arriving at Newcastle (also, to create confusion, the "Great Briton" with two 67s ;-)) we work our way south via Darlington (again the Great Briton and A4 speeding by with cool whistle Doppler effect) and York (change to class 47 diesel) to London Kings Cross where a class 37 pulled the Great Britain II off the platform after its final arrival.
9: Great Central & HSTs, April 13-14


Unmodernized Grand Central HST with buffers smoking at London Kings Cross in the evening, a last day at the Midland mainline with lots of HSTs and the Great Central museum railway at Loughborough, Rothley and Quorn & Woodhouse (how stupid do you have to be to stand in the way of your own video? ;-)). Loco in charge was 7999 "A. J. Hill" (BR No. 69621) LNER Class N7 0-6-2T as part of the Easter weekend tank engine festival. Last shots at Luton Airport Parkway before flying home.
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The Great Britain II Railway Tour 2009
A Video Chase Through England Scotland and Wales  by  Roni Kappel