Our friends at Pathfinder have turned to us again to fulfil “Thunderbird” duties following the very sad decision of the DPS to withdraw 55009 from all mainline work in 2023 whilst they investigate and rectify a recent fault which occurred on its last tour. We wish them well with their repairs.
This means that 40145 now has another railtour working in 2023, something which even a week ago looked unlikely. Those of us of a certain age always associate the Christmas period with the class, whether that involved a Christmas eve bash on the Bangor, or a day out on one of the legendary Christmas Cracker tours.
This tour will take us onto southern metals for visits to Christmas markets in Winchester, Southampton, and Salisbury. Starting in the midlands again, the tour picks up at many points from Burton to Bristol, making it accessible from a wide area.
As always it is critical workings like this are supported. The other option open to Pathfinder when the Deltic was withdrawn was to cancel the tour. Thankfully they have taken a chance on 145 pulling in the punters, so lets show them that our loco is just as much of an attraction as the Deltic! CFPS members will have been sent a code by email to use when booking, please use this to help Pathfinder gauge support (and also increase your chances of being near the front).
The tour can be found here: The Winchester Christmas Excursion – Pathfinder Railtours (pathfindertours.co.uk)
Photo: One of the last BR class 40 Christmas workings (at least in blue!) was the tour with 40152 and 40086 on 28th December 1984. Pictured at Carlisle on the outward working. Many passengers then went on to have 40118 the day after on the 10.40 Carlisle-Leeds and return. Photo by Jake Atkinson