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At 02:26 on Saturday 19th May 2018 Steve Beames took 86259 out of the bay platform at Rugby station to run, light engine, to London Kings Cross to join carriage stock brought by diesel from Southall. Passengers boarded The Cathedrals Express for an 08:18 departure. Jim Clarke drove the train non-stop to York where it met up with 60103 Flying Scotsman! Passengers were required to temporarily disembark onto a York station platform and, using the station platforms as well as the nearby Holgate sidings, the rolling stock was transferred from electric to steam haulage (with a diesel coupled to the end of the train). Flying Scotsman hauled the remainder of the onward journey high over the city of Durham, past the Angel of the North, and over the River Tyne in Newcastle before joining the beautiful coastal route towards Edinburgh.

As I have remarked elsewhere, these two locomotives were built in almost the same spot in Doncaster but did not meet for 50 years and then only when both had retired and were in different livery!

Meanwhile 86259 was stabled overnight in Holgate Sidings so David Grieff and I returned to our respective homes. On the following day 259 was hauled by a Class 37 diesel 37669 across to the West Coast Main Line, avoiding Leeds and using some non-passenger lines somewhat overgrown with vegetation which got tangled with the locked-down pantograph(!), and up to Carnforth for stabling until the following Tuesday.

Cathedrals Express passengers had two days (three nights) to spend in the beautiful city of Edinburgh while Flying Scotsman ran optional tours around Fife. Road coach trips were also available to local attractions.

On Tuesday 22nd May Flying Scotsman hauled the train via the world famous Settle & Carlisle Railway to Preston where 86259 Les Ross/Peter Pan took over once more to whisk the passengers back to London Euston. It arrived 12 minutes ahead of schedule and was taken back to Rugby on the following day.


David Pond









May 19th 2018 86259 crosses the road. Lolham Road to the north of Peterborough. (Photo: © David Pond on flickr.)


Marks Train Pictures










May 19th 2018 Colton Junction. (Photo: © Mark’s Train Pictures on flickr.)


6089Gardener











May 19th 2018 Grantham. (Photo: © 6089Gardener on flickr.)


Stes Rail Pics











20th May 2018 37669 & 86259 at Brighouse on 0Z34 York N.R.M. to Carnforth Steamtown. (Photo: © Stes Rail Pics on flickr.)


Phil Wallis











22nd May 201886259 'Les Ross' at Preston. Preserved Class 86 86259 'Les Ross' is seen at Preston waiting to re-engine a London bound Cathedrals Express for the fast run back to the Capital. The loco would take over from A1 Pacific 60103 'Flying Scotsman. (Photo: © Phil Wallis on flickr.)


Philip Grain











22nd May 2018 86259 Les Ross silhouetted crossing the Coventry canal, Polesworth with 1Z66 Preston - London Euston charter train. (Photo: © Philip Grain on flickr.)


John Whitehouse




22nd May 2018 Evenin' Les. Having taken over from 'Flying Scotsman' at Preston, Class 86/2 No. 86259 'Les Ross/Peter Pan' is bathed in glorious late evening sunshine on the approach to Rugeley Trent Valley on 22nd May 2018. The privately-owned locomotive is heading the return Steam Dreams weekend 'Cathedrals Express to Scotland' charter, 1Z66 1840 Preston - London Euston.(Photo: © John Whitehouse on flickr.)