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46233 to York: 10/12/16

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by LMarsh1987, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Big Dave

    Big Dave New Member

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    BR had the most sensible policy even when all locos were restricted to 60 mph but to regain time you could go faster to get back on time. Most now know that back in the 80's when the SVR was involved in mainline running 5000 was timed at 85mph on the North and West route regaining lost time I was on the William Shakespeare when 46229 came south, much time was lost on the Castle Donnington line due to the repeated setting off of hot box detectors, after Branson junction the run was memorable showing the high speed capabilities of the duchess'es. Seems to me that a bit of flexibility could make every ones life easier.

    cheers Dave
     
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  2. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    A day of high drama topped off nicely on the return leg with a 70+ dash through Newark in the pouring rain ! Hope you enjoy =)

     
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  3. FlyingScotsman4472

    FlyingScotsman4472 Member

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    Excellent footage Liam, great camera work throughout with a great finish at my home station....thanks Simon
     
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  4. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    As one who was engaged in problem solving during my working life it seems perfectly reasonable to accept that steam traction has a specific set of problems when operating on the modern network therefore it is best to identify and enumerate them in order to provide the best solution that allows their continued use on the network. You suggest "constant whining" whilst I suggest "problem identification" but as I have been interested in steam locomotive operation for more than 60 years I'll put your comments down to the timeless "generation gap".
     
  5. chessie1

    chessie1 New Member

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    I think that most operators of steam locomotives on the national network would be grateful if there were 'a specific set of problems' to deal with. It just isn't so, usually the ones that bite you in the backside happen through a combination of circumstances that are invariably unforeseen even with the greatest of forethought.
    If you had a working life solving problems then I would suggest that most problems are exactly that, ie not a specific set of problems. If they were that then you would have been out of a job once you had identified that set...so you are somewhat contradicting yourself.
     
  6. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    I fully respect both positions and - like you - would prefer to see unassisted steam in operation but the modern network does make that difficult. I have no knowledge of the circumstances that dictate the use of any rear-end diesel on charter trains but would presume that the decisions would be made on the day after discussion between train crews, charter operators and Network Rail staff. I agree that on certain routes the situation is more favourable than others due to geography whilst on others (e.g. the ECML) the provision of a dedicated path seems to prove effective in handling a variety of situations from poor steaming to adverse weather. The bodies concerned have to identify their specific solutions from the provision of rear-end assistance to the reduction of loads as opted by Vintage Trains and I look forward to the Load Table that has promulgated by Network Rail and is - I understand - in the final stages of preparation.

    The circumstances that lead to decision-making on the day do make it difficult for travellers to note which charter will have the best chance of operating without assistance and - in that context - I note your references to DBC / RTC / VTR which I endorse but I also take cognisance that there are those within Network Rail adverse to steam operations hence the need to protect the current arrangements. It is very well for many to demand continued steam operation under the rule of "Open Access" but if such access affects the day-to-day operation of network services (both FOC / TOC operated) then such access could be restricted by conditions being placed on steam locomotives. Enthusiasts need to know that "Open Access" is not without responsibility; one operator has already been cautioned on this score (with withdrawal of licences for a period of time) hence what we would like (i.e. unrestricted steam haulage) may come at a price (e.g. restricted loads / routes) that operators may be reluctant to pay.

    But the basic concern is that the Operating Environment of steam traction on the national network is fraught with problems especially as technical upgrades are made that cannot be implemented on steam locomotives without great cost or difficulty. To solve these problems there will be a variety of solutions proffered by those most closely involved, including the use of rear end diesel assistance. My personal view is that steam haulage with diesel rear end assistance is preferable to no steam haulage; my personal preference is for steam haulage with no diesel rear end assistance; recent experience suggests that steam operation on the network is still a fragile venture - and likely to become more fragile as further technical upgrades take place - hence one has to accept what is on offer - good or bad !
     
  7. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Perhaps I should have replaced "specific set" by "specific range" but I contend that steam locomotives present operating problems that arise with no other traction (in the same way that electric traction presents a specific range of problems that arise with no other traction). In that context problems need to be analysed to see how they arise and how best to deal with both the problem(s) and their underlying causes. The concern is that the problems become so troublesome that Network Rail solves the problem (of steam operation) by banning steam on the main line and justifies refusal of "Open Access" on the grounds of failing to meet "operating standards".
     
  8. chessie1

    chessie1 New Member

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    I think you are looking at this from a glass half empty perspective...when an excursion utilising steam traction goes wrong it generates huge volume of criticism, opinion and ire from people such as yourself. What doesn't generate any headlines are the amount of excursions which actually run correctly, pretty much to time with no huge problem.

    For one reason or another these don't attract any attention, which is a shame because they by a huge margin outweigh the ones that do run withoutproblems.

    As far as NR are concerned they are happy enough to accept steam hauled trains on their rails as long as it is done properly, which, as stated, is in the vast majority of cases.
     
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  9. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    Cheers Simon, much appreciated. I would of joined you at Alfeton if both tours had ran to time.
     
  10. hatherton hall

    hatherton hall Member

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    Union of South Africa doing 100mph (that was speedo reading but on train recorders said 98mph) down Wellington back in the early 2000's on the day the driver retired, was as memorable and thrilling as it gets. Back in those days, "Big Dave" recalls, some steam tours raced over the network either to regain time or to celebrate something, like the retirement mentioned above. The late Mike Notley and I congratulated the driver of southern Pacific on arrival at Weymouth during the summer months a few years back, Mike having timed the train at 86mph through Winchester (needless to say, it never appeared in the railway press). Now those really were great days and as with Gricedon, I rarely travel these days for fear of having a box shoving the train around. If you see video footage of yesterday's trip to Bristol behind Braunton (Lord Dowding), on leaving Reading on level track, the diesel was giving it one heck of a shove. No excuses as the train was on time and Braunton was quite capable of proceeding West without it help. Just spoils it for many of us "would-be" travelers.
     
  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I was on that but it was in the nineties not the noughties.
    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments regarding 34052 on the Bristol run.
     
  12. hatherton hall

    hatherton hall Member

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    Was it really that long ago? Crikey. You, like me, will have shared the absolute thrill of such high speed. What is more, the load was 12 I think so not a lightweight train. I can't recall the start to stop timings Exeter to Taunton, but I reckon it matched anything that a diesel ever did between the two. Some brilliant and never-to-be-forgotten memories from the an ere when mainline steam tours really could produce the unexpected!!
     
  13. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    19th February 1995 to be exact. I'd received permission from the train manager to go up front to do sound recording. Got grief from "carrot top" the steward regarding this but soon told him to shove off. It was a scintillating run from Exeter up the Whiteball summit and then it started to get very interesting. I was actually in dining class at the rear of the train but forewent lunch as nothing the chef could prepare would have compared to being next to Number 9 during that epic dash.
     
  14. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    Not really the stuff of a 46233 to York thread, but just for the record, February 95 was the date. Load 11. Start-stop 30m 11s.

    Almost, but not quite, a modern-era "Blue Riband" performance for steam; more recently in September 2010, DoG ran the same course with a Torbay Express and a virtually identical load in a couple of seconds under 30 minutes start-stop, featuring on that occasion a more modest Vmax that was much more in line with ruling limits.

    Not that such a factoid should in any way diminish the joy of recalling that extraordinary 1995 run, though.....as I said, just for the record.
     
  15. abbo

    abbo New Member

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    Bringing this back on thread.

    Never mind NR and future trips I wonder how much the paying punters will put up with such marathon trips . Scheduled 16 hours KGX to KGX with a couple of hours at York. I don't expect many of those punters actually live on or near Kings Cross station and have added time and expense at both ends .

    Personally I have long since given up on UK steam trips and wonder if any review should also consider what is a reasonable day out rather than an ordeal to be endured.

    One of the last trips I did was the 96mph down Shap with Duchess of Hamilton. Perhaps could refresh the actual date ?
     
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  16. jsm8b

    jsm8b Part of the furniture

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    I have the date as 30/11/96 --- I think it was the Crewe drivers last trip before retirement. ( The lovely RES red livery 47 was behind 46229 that day ! ) .
    Have to agree that the marathon day trips aren't for me either.
     
  17. NickPreston

    NickPreston New Member

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    That is a very valid point. As a family we were at Huntingdon in the rain to watch the Duchess through on Saturday, and visit and enjoy several gala's a year, but I have no chance of the Mrs or little un entertaining a 6 hour plus trundle each way, assuming it runs to time. Throw in the 'will it run, won't it run?'. Will it be steam at all?

    It's a non starter for us and must be having a huge impact on the industry. There's the people who haven done it but won't again, plus those like us where it appears to be a hassle that often does not run as advertised.
     
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  18. Dobbs0054

    Dobbs0054 Member

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    And there you go making wild assumptions about someone's age and experience with NO knowledge!

    So you are really saying that the owners of steam locos do not maintain their engines as well as other train operators? As I see it they are very well maintained. In fact compared to the average Northern Stock they are feel new out of the box. They have to pass the same FTR. Anything mechanical has the power to break down. In your world a Pendolino should have a diesel on the back just in case. In my world a Pacer would definitely have one. Steam failures are no more common than other locos. But go on, keep talking steam down...
     
  19. 26D_M

    26D_M Well-Known Member

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    All valid points but keener observers will note reliability of steam locos on the main line does embrace quite a broad spectrum.
    It is also worth noting that Pendos and Pacers are self contained units where the load does not vary and their routes are restricted. LHS are also generally of fixed consist with a load appropriate to the traction and can be rescued by the TOC itself if they fail. Vac fitted charters do not have that insurance without planning.
    Fred has a point in that sometimes these days and perhaps increasingly so with the current model, diesels are an operational necessity. I do not like the fact nor that it is largely unacknowledged by the promoters in advertising.
    For diesel support to reduce in prevalence the operating model will have to change I suspect.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  20. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    I have made no comment regarding the maintenance standards of operators but simply noted the changing environment of the modern railway and the consequence for steam locomotive operation. In one way it is beginning to feel like the annual Brighton Run being diverted onto the M23 and both traffics expected to cope with each other's foibles. Like 26D_M I do not like the fact of change but I accept that if I wish to see steam operation in the future the operating model has to change.

    The question is what changes will be needed and how will paying customers react to them ? Therein lies the nub of the discussion IMHO
     

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