Published at 15:00 on Saturday 3rd February 2018
Tags: Charter, Branch Line Society, 565 Railtours, Colas Rail, Class 37, Norwich, Railtour, Tractor

On their more normal duties, Colas Class 37/0 No. 37254 Cardiff Canton and 37175 'top and tail' a Network Rail test train through Larkhall Rise on 22nd December 2017. In May this year, a pair of Colas '37s' will head to Norwich on a joint 565 Railtours/BLS Charter. Jim Dowsett

Following the success of its previous joint venture with Simon Pilkington of 565 Railtours back in September, the Branch Line Society has once again teamed up with the same promoter to run another locomotive-hauled excursion.

The ‘565 Special – Take 2’ is scheduled for 12th May, and will be operated by West Coast Railways. The tour is expected to originate at Carnforth before 06:00 behind a Class 37, and head south along the West Coast Main Line to Crewe, where the WCR locomotive will be detached, giving way to a pair of Class 37s from the Colas fleet. The charter then travels to Loughborough by way of a final pick-up at Stafford, before taking the Lichfield curve and passing through Wichnor Junction. Having taken the Syston curve south of Loughborough, the tour will continue through Melton Mowbray to Peterborough and onwards into East Anglia through March, Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, navigating the up and down goods loop at the latter in order to reverse and continue to its destination of Norwich.

Following a two-hour break in the City, the return journey will begin with the train running via Wymondham and Ely West Curve to Peterborough, then by way of Melton Mowbray and the Leicester to Nuneaton line, taking the north chord at the latter. From here, it is back to Carnforth via the West Coast Main Line, with the Colas Class 37s being replaced once again by a WCRC loco at Crewe.

The tour promises over 600 miles of Class 37 haulage and is expected to be extremely popular. All proceeds from the day will be split between three charities, the Midlands Air Ambulance, the Stroke Association and Hope House Children’s Hospice.

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