Late in the winter of 2007, Central Trains laid on this popular additional service between Birmingham New Street and Cheltenham, in connection with the Cheltenham Races. The locomotives (top and tail – hired in from West Coast), were 47826 leading, and 57601 at the rear. The same diesels powered the train each day through the week of the Festival, although the leading/tailing loco would alternate from one day to the next.
Interestingly, rather than run out of New Street directly down the Cross City line via Church Road, this service would slip out the back way and run via Camp Hill to Kings Norton.
This shot was taken at Barnt Green station, five years ago today, on 13th March 2007. The mix of coaching stock is as interesting as the vintage diesels, comprising not only West Coast liveried Mk.2 opens, but also Virgin ‘Kit-Kat’ liveried Mk.2 air cons, and an Anglia liveried air con for extra colour variety. Incidentally, 47826’s Inter City livery is not an original British Rail paint job. The loco was repainted into this Inter City livery in late 2001 as part of the Virgin CrossCountry loco haulage finale. However, prior to that it wore its BR Inter City livery, and so never received the Virgin colours at all. It was the only 47/8 to serve the full term with Virgin and never adopt the ‘Kit-Kat’ red and grey scheme.