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CME 2023

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Oswald T Wistle, Jan 6, 2023.

  1. AMP

    AMP Member

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    For the avoidance of doubt I'm not looking to start the circular debate. The restart on wilpshire was a truly great piece of enginemanship I think I've ever had the misfortune to witness.

    Quite simply assistance was required, definitely from Hellifield probably from Carlisle

    Andrew
     
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  2. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I'd say the 20mph slack over the Arches has played a huge part here.
     
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  3. D1004

    D1004 New Member

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    Train has run late all day due to 86259 being hemmed in at Rugby and the substitute Class 57 not being able to match the timings to Carnforth. Being regulated behind the 1720 ex Clitheroe did not help the momentum up the bank given poor railhead conditions….It was a masterful piece of enginemanship to surmount the bank in these circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2023
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  4. 33056

    33056 Member

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    Strangely enough, the last steam-hauled tour I did before C***d was a "Cumbrian Mountain" with 35018 on 29/02/2020 and exactly the same thing happened!

    Perhaps I am a jinx though I did have a successful trip with 46115 earlier this year.
     
  5. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Well the 57 only lost 8 minutes to Carnforth on the 86 schedule so not sure, other than its failure in the loop at Carnforth, it was "not able to match the timings". I have been on 86 hauled CME's that have arrived more than 8 minutes late at Carnforth. Also remember the earlier Euston departure now means longer at Carnforth as the departure time remains the same. So without the failure there would not have been an issue.
     
  6. AMP

    AMP Member

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    Slack has gone. Talking to the driver he said he could have taken the foot of the bank flat out and it wouldn't have made the slightest difference as it would have still slipped in the tunnel.

    Still only 62 late from Preston.

    Andrew
     
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  7. D1004

    D1004 New Member

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    Tbh I had forgotten about the recalcitrant class 57 not wishing to get away from the train at Carnforth in a hurry..
     
  8. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    The difference was that the 2020 trip was a brake failure on the train that stopped us around MP 16.25 after going over the viaduct in the mid thirties. Same load and also wet. Given the conditions it was a sure-footed restart with Steve Chipperfield at the controls and once under way a steady 17 dropping away to 12 at the summit before all the same nonsense again at Daisyfield Junction. Two hours late into Preston.

    So whilst I accept that some would argue today was firm evidence that BIL needed help, I would simply observe that restarting a train on the most difficult part of the journey is evidence that loco and load were well matched, even in tricky conditions.

    No doubt someone on the train this time will have a definitive view.
     
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  9. 33056

    33056 Member

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    I don't know enough to comment on loadings (nor wish to open that can of worms again!) but I do appreciate the excellent engine handling skills to restart in those conditions in both cases.
     
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  10. Shep Woolley

    Shep Woolley Well-Known Member Friend

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    CME BIL 2 NP.jpg

    Dire windy conditions today as SRMN class No. 35018 'British India Line' works the 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' over Birk Beck viaduct on the approach to Greenholme and onto Carlisle with Steve Chipperfield driving, Martyn Soames firing and Roly Parker today's crew north and south

    CME BIL 3 NP.jpg

    A slight improvement in the weather as 'British India Line' works the return 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' through Dent and onto Preston
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2023
  11. nige757

    nige757 Member

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    35018 seen from Shap Wells in dismal conditions and Aisgill in blustery conditions.

     
  12. Shep Woolley

    Shep Woolley Well-Known Member Friend

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    View attachment 79931

    Dire windy conditions today as SRBB class No. 35018 'British India Line' works the 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' over Birk Beck viaduct on the approach to Greenholme and onto Carlisle with Steve Chipperfield driving, Martyn Soames firing and Roly Parker today's crew north and south

    View attachment 79932

    A slight improvement in the weather as 'British India Line' works the return 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' through Dent and onto Preston
     
  13. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    Srbb class ? I presume you mean merchant navy class
     
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  14. Shep Woolley

    Shep Woolley Well-Known Member Friend

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    Oops
     
  15. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    So BIL+11 and the day's events had unfolded such that there was no diesel on the back - Wilpshire would be a challenge. In East Lancashire leaf fall is not particularly advanced. On Thursday and Friday we had almost continuous rain, Saturday was dry and in the afternoon we had broken sunshine but everywhere remained soggy.

    Mrs W joined me for a trip to Ransgreave & Wilpshire, we chose the Clitheroe end of the eastbound platform. A late departure from Carlisle had increased and it seemed unlikely that the CME would take its allotted path before the 17.20 Clitheroe to Rochdale, and that proved to be the case. Instead of passing R&W around 17.20 it was likely that it would around 18.00. So we waited, Mrs W was in a good mood as her team had won 4-0 away from home.

    We waited and waited and waited, then a hissing of steam from around the distant bend. It sounded as though BIL had come to grief at the site of the old Wilpshire station - a notorious spot! There were plenty of tantalising sounds; hissing, slipping, a few tentative exhaust beats but progress was (understandably) slow. Finally a slip and some exhaust drifted across in the trees, the process was repeated and BIL slowly edged into view. Steve Chipperfield in a masterly display of skill coaxed the pacific slowly up the hill and onto "better track". Slowly and steadily the train edged closer to platform, as BIL drew level I exchanged waves with Martyn Soames and gave him a "thumbs-up". There was a large gallery waiting and watching from the road bridge, BIL responded with a long whistle. Finally she eased up to and over the summit - job very well done. 17C, 66L & 8.5mph (through the station).

    It was now almost 18.30, the light had long gone and my apologies for the quality of approach shot, that camera struggles in low light.

     
  16. 30910

    30910 Member

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    35018 on a really dirty day at Greenholme and then at Helwith Bridge in much better conditions:

    Apologies for the atrocious shot at Greenholme but that is what it was like.
     
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  17. iancawthorne

    iancawthorne Well-Known Member

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    Seems to have only got as far as Milton Keynes according to RTT. Has it been terminated there?

    edit: never mind, it's reappeared at Harrow.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2023
  18. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Part of the furniture Friend

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    Haven't been on the site since Saturday as I didn't want this report to be influenced by posts on here. This is what it was like on the train.

    Tour 945; 13th in 2023. Total proper steam hauled mileage in 2023: 3297.


    A very eventful Cumbrian Mountain Express; 7th October 2023

    At Crewe there was a fair bit of chaos as announcements told passengers that due to the predicted severe weather in Scotland no trains would be running north of Preston. Not good but a check on BBC Weather showed nothing of any concern as far as Carlisle and further north.

    There were a lot of passengers with RTC Letters in their hands around in the chaos but no Stewards to keep them informed about our train. It was running a bit late and when it rolled in 57601 was on the front. what was going on. We found out ontrain that 86259 was trapped in a siding in Rugby behind an engineering train. Nothing on the rear apart from the Brake Compartment Carriage. Les told us that a Tailgunner wasn't planned but as last year it was going to be wait and see.

    57601 wasn't going that well and we arrived in Preston late and despite a green signal didn't move. The driver had problems restarting. Just as well he was only going as far as Carnforth. We got there more or less at the old time and not a lot seemed to be happening. Les came through and told me the Class 57 had failed and they had to go fire up a Class 47 and hopefully move the 57 into the yard.

    The Class 47 coupled on and succeeded in dragging the 57 into the yard. 35018 and the POB backed on and did the brake test. The big Bulleid or any other 4-6-2 Pacific isn't the best to have out in the leaf fall season with an 11 coach train so there was talk of putting a Class 47 on the back of the train to assist. We were already late and they would have had to do a fair bit of shunting and manoeuvring, including sending the Tailgunner down the main towards Lancaster to allow it to gain access to the loop. This was going to take well over half an hour and after discussions with the crew - who Les was told by the guard was Mick Rawling Driver and Martyn Soames Fireman - it was decided to take the train out unassisted.

    When we had the road the Big Bulleid whistled up and we set off 29 minutes late with the short climb of Yealand Bank just over a mile away; then there were the little matters of the long drag to Grayrigg followed soon by the mighty Shap.

    We had a careful start but then with a nice bit of acceleration passed mp7, the start of the 2 1/1m 132r, at 37.8. A mile in we were still climbing well at 35.7 but we thought we felt a slip even 9 1/2 carriages back. A speed drop to 31.2 by the summit suggested a slip had occurred and they weren't going to risk slipping again. Proper driving. Down grade then towards Milnthorpe. 60+ at Mo13 is good but no expectations of that today. Then again.. the big Bulleid with only 11 got to 62.4 as we passed mp12 1/2 on the level. Up the 3m+ of 173r saw speed fall to 52.4. Then over the 1 1/2m of 153r/392r, we hit the mile of 111r at 523.. Came off it at 47.6 onto the 176r thought Oxenholme, 48.1 - more than decent this time of year. The nasty 3/4m of 104r dropped us to 43.3 with the wind noticeably rising and the mist over the hills falling to make for a damp atmosphere.

    3/4m of 124r led us to take 42.6 onto the 2 1/2m of 131r, left at 41.4. the bank was far from done with us as this led to 2m+ of 106r. Noisy enough for us to hear it back whgere we were. Ther smoke was mice and white most of the climb and the big Bulleid let loose at the Safety Valves more than once so we had plenty of steam. Over Docker Garth's Viaduct at 40.9 and past mp25, a mile from the summit at 38.4. the final mile of 3/4m 131r then 1/4+ of 396r took us past the summit, mp26 at 36.2. that was seriously good in the probable track conditions they faced up front.

    All downgrade now to mp30. Our speed rose steadily down mile of 204f to 53.2; then through Low Gill at 58.3. bit of level, 59.8, then down the mile and a half of 425f where some serious acceleration took us to 68.6. hard work going on up front on the level mile to mp31 1/4, to take 72.2 onto the 1 3/4m of 146r approach to the mighty Shap. Still just about fine but cloudy and breezy with visibility deteriorating.

    A mile in we were still rattling along and passed mp32 1/4 at 70.9. Seriously noisy that we heard 35018 as we hit the start of the 4 1/2m of 75r at 66.6, the mark of the beast! 1/2m in, mp33 1/2, 60.9, a squall hit us from the west. Hard to see the posts through the raindrops. We passed mp34 at 56.4; mp34 1/2 at 51.6; and mp35 at 45.7. Excellent climbing thus far. We crossed Scout Green Path at 43.8 and despite the adverse weather, passed mp36 at 36.6 then mp36 1/4 at 35.2. A very low attrition rate thus far. A mile to the climbing summit, 3/4m of it in the open with the weather still coming hard at us from the west.

    Shap bit back as it usually does. Due to the wind we only heard some snatches of sound as 35018 battled to the summit. The four quarters/speeds were: mp36 1/2, 33.4; mp36 3/4, 32.1; mp37, 31.2; then into the very damp cutting to pass mp37 1/4, the end of the 75r at 30.3. That was some climb in the conditions. My GPS recorded a minimum of 29.2 on the right hander where the greaser is and we drifted past the Summit Board, mp37 1/2, at 32.5. Guess how much time we'd lost to the schedule thus far? None. 29 minutes late leaving the loop; 29 minutes late at Shap Summit.

    We had a very decent run down the other side with a max of 78.4 at mp48 1/2, 125f. I'm sure the passengers waiting on Penrith North Lakes station enjoyed watching us charge through the station at 70.5. A great watch as a steam loco with all maroon carriages rounds the curve through the station. We ran close to 75 for mile after mile down to mp60, then a gradual slowing to arrive at Platform 3 in Carlisle Citadel at just past 1305 on the station display; only 24 late.

    As far as the leaf fall effect on the railway, we didn't expect there to be any on the WCML and there wasn't. There are likely to be some tricky sections of the run from Carlisle to Appleby; and we'll be lucky to have a slip-fre climb of Wilpshire Bank. A lot will depend on whether the Rail Head Treatment Trains have been regularly running from Daisyfield down to Hellifield.

    We spent the layover on the station eating stuff we'd brought. Still not doing crowded pubs as there's quite a bit of COVID around. We watched the loco and POB detach and run through the middle road to access the triangle and then trundle down to Upperby Yard for watering. Then we joined Julian J in the high ceiling 301 where he and I enjoyed a couple of pints of the excellent Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted. Di just opted for coffee. It appeared I was given duff information about our driver. Julian spoke to a friend of his who told him it was Steve Chipperfield, not Mick Rawling.

    At 1410 we wandered back onto the station. The loco plus POB was on its way back from Upperby and was on the front of the train just before our booked departure time. Les came to tell me that Steve was our driver for the day. Apparently he was told Mick had been rostered for the train but Steve decided to give him the day off. All we can rely on at Carnforth in the morning is what we're told as it's impossible to see the crew as the locomotive and POB set back.

    We rejoined the train and I swapped sides to milepost the Carlisle to Hellifield section. Now middle of the 4th carriage so well placed to hear what was going on up front. Checked the board and the Leeds service was due to depart at 1450. Long blast of the Bulleid whistle and we were away at 1432, 12 minutes late. In the conditions that was more than a little worrying as the timings to Hellifield were tight and we needed to leave there close to our booked time of 1632 to get to Horrocksford Jn before the return Rochdale Flyer left the junction for Clitheroe Station at 1715 for a 1717 departure, provided it was running to time.

    As I said above, we were more worried about the Carlisle to Ais Gill section that the WCML this morning. A steady start from Steve and 15.8 across Petteril Jn. We passed mp307, 840f at 18.6 then it was on to the 7 1/2 miles of 132r. The first 3 miles were potentially problematic as there are trees and bushes close to the running line. We passed the first quarter at 23, the second at 21.7. Looking down for the posts there were lots of leaves on the ballast so odds are they were on the rails and had been 'pulped' by previous trains. Then the inevitable; the big Bulleid slipped and speed fell to 17.3. Steve held the slip well but as we feared there must have been leaves crushed onto the line by previous trains. With gentle handling we got to 19.7 at mp305 3/4, but slipped again. Down to 19. Gentle handling and back to 20 past mp305 but that led us to a couple more short slips.

    Every time Steve tried to pick up speed the big pacific slipped. Down to 18.7 at mp304 1/2 but then things got better and we got to 22 as we passed the old Cumwhinton Station - but slipped again. We lost little speed and thankfully left the close tree lined section. Speed rose nicely then and we passed Howe and Co, just after mp303 at 34ish. Despite the slipping we'd only lost a minute to schedule. Plain sailing then and we passed mp302 at 34.7. more trees close to the track and I think Steve eased the big loco a little as speed fell a little to 31.4 over Eden Brows Viaduct, a speed held past mp300 1/4, the end of the 132r.

    Speed rose down the 132f to hit 54.2 at mp299. The gradient rises back to 132r for the mile to Armathwaite passed at 51.3; then 1/2m+ of 220f that saw speed rise to 53.9. normal running now and we picked up to 58 over the 1/2m of level track. 1/2m of 176r took us into Armathwaite Tunnel at 55. That was followed by a mile and a half of 220r to Baron's Wood Tunnels, 50.7. Falling grades averaging 170f for a while now, speed up to 62.2. We blasted through Lazonby and Kirkoswald Station, level, at 57.7 and on 264f got back to 60 at Long Meg. Back to 264r to mp290, 59. Bit of a climb again, a the mile of 264f, 59.5; then 2m+ of 132r saw a fall to 51.2 at Langwathby.

    Undulating towards Culgaith; mp287, 264f, 59.2; mp286, 330r, 59.9; then we blasted through Waste Bank Tunnel at 60; Culgaith Tunnel, 60; Crossing Box, 60. From mp284 1/2, 132r, 60, the line climbs virtually all 7 miles to Appleby. We passed the old New Biggin Station, 220r, at 55.9; Kirby Thore Box, mp282, 490r, 58; mp281, 660r, 60; Long Marton, 300f, 63; mp279, 120r, 57.8; mp278, 176f, 52. Normally we slow for Appleby but today we were booked non-stop and blasted last mp277 1/1 just past the shelter, 440r, at 55.5. We blasted past mp277, 440r, at 55.6 and Steve used the mile of 176f to get to 62.2 at mp275 1/2. Across Ormside Viaduct onto the 100r, 62.2, then we passed mp275, the start of the Blue Riband section for trains stopping at Appleby, 100r at 60.8. that's a good speed to take forward.

    Not many trees close to the track for a few miles now. Plenty of the distinctive three cylinder sound from 35018 as we charged up the 100r. Speed fell slowly to 53.3 at mp274; then we ran into Helm Tunnel at 48, and left it at 47.2. very decent. Then speed began to fall more rapidly, mp272 1/2 passed at only 41. Trees close to the track for a bit here and the big Bulleid slipped just after mp2 1/4 with a speed fall to 38.2. A respite then, a mile of 166r to mp271. We got to 38 but then suffered a further slip. Not much effect on speed as we were now on a mile of 200r to Crosby Garret. Out in the open again we got to 41 then to 43.6 on the 1/2m level to the tunnel.

    Back onto the 100r at mp268 3/4, 44.5 but by mp268 we were back down to 38. The next mile through Waitby Cutting has become somewhat of a speed killer on the last few CMEs we've done. Unfortunately today was one of the worst. By mp267 we were down to 30 and on the curve towards Kirkby Stephen Station, speed dipped below 30. Speed fell to 28 but recovered on the 1/4m of 264r through the station to 29 as we passed the Signal Box. There was a damp mist hanging over the fells now that wasn't going to help. Speed fell to 25.6 as we passed mp265 and just after the post we had a long slip and seppd fell to 21.5 as we entered the tunnel. This tunnel is a bit notorious for being wet inside and sure enough we slipped a few times and only left it at 18.9.

    More trees near the running line and a succession of short slips, mp264 passed at only 15.4. A bit of a respite them; the 3/4m of 330r around Mallerstang where despite an odd slip speed rose to 30 as we passed mp263. Lots of leaves on the ballast so presumably some on the rails. Only one slip just after mp262 3/4, 27.1. probably due to the track conditions speed slowly fell. We passed mp262 at 23.9; mp261 at 22.1; crossed Ais Gill Viaduct at 20.7 and then passed the Climbing Summit, mp260 at 20.2. as soon as the gradient eased speed picked up to 23.5 as we passed the Summit Board that is now virtually unreadable at 1549. We were now 15 down so we'd only lost 3 minutes to the schedule.

    On the level speed rose to 33 by mp259 1/4 and to 41 just before Shotlock Hill Tunnel, where 2 miles+ of 165r began. Into Moorcock Tunnel at 57 and across Dandry Mire Viaduct at 56. Around the curve then through Garsdale, 288r, 52. Not flat across the top to Rise Hill, but nothing significant and we entered the tunnel at 50.6. Brakes on to slow for the 30 through Dent Station then across Arten Gill Viaduct, 330f, at 49; Dent Head Viaduct, 264r, 52.2, then into the mile and a half long Blea Moor Tunnel, 440r, left at 43, slowing for the crossing of Batty Moss Viaduct, 22. The wind was seriously strong on the viaduct. Once off it we ran through Ribblehead Station, mp247 1/4, 176f, at 34 before the 12 miles of 100f to Settle Jn. The line speed is 60 and we got there by mp245. As we were late we ran a little over 60 through Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The sun came out then. Down to Sheriff's Brow, 62, where the brakes came in for the wet cutting down to Taitlands Tunnel, 51.6; Settle Station, 58; mp236 58 and onto the Leeds line to pass Settle Jn Box at 56. The mile+ of 181r saw speed fall to 46.5 at mp233. We ran through Long Preston Station, mp232 1/1, 290r, at 35 and coasted up the 114r to enter Hellifield Goods Loop at 11. We came to a stand at 1628, just 13 down. Only losing a minute to the schedule was quite remarkable but we had little chance of taking our scheduled path through Horrocksford Jn.

    I don't think the watering took long but we had to wait for the Carlisle to Leeds Service that arrived at the Station at 1648, 9 minutes late. We probably caused some of that. Julian joined me at the Timing Table as the mileposts were now on the other side. We had the signal and left the loop at 1650, 18 late with only 11 minutes, or possibly 15, to get to Horrocksford Jn, 13 miles away on a freight only section with a line speed of 45 mph. Despite a rapid start and running at line speed most of the way, just after Chatburn we had a red signal at mp22 3/4, a mile short of the junction. It was 1711 so control's decision was the sensible one.

    We stood for 11 minutes and then were held for 3 minutes between Clitheroe Station and Low Moor Level Crossing, now 28 minutes late. Then we were held just above Whalley for a further 5 minutes to allow the Flyer to clear the track to Daisyfield. It was now 1743 and we were 35 minutes or so late.

    Rapid acceleration down the 203f led to us running through Whalley Station at 38.5. The bank starts with 3 1/2 miles at 81 1/2 r a short distance past the station with the famous 1/4m+ long Whalley Arches being on the steep climb. No speed restriction today. We came off the Arches at 34.6 and passed mp17 at 31.8. Trees on the left now and we had our first series of slips over the next half mile and speed had fallen to 22.3 as we passed mp16 1/2. Not much in the way of 'open' track now and further short slips saw speed fall to 18.3 at mp16 1/4 and at mp16, 15.9 with the safety valves lifting, and falling to 15.1 at mp15 3/4. Plenty of steam but difficult to use. More open on the approach to Langho and speed stabilised at 15.4 and increased to 18.9 at mp14 3/4 and to 19.6 at mp14 1/2. Excellent but we were entering the seriously damp and slippery at the best of times tree lined cutting to Wilpshire Tunnel and beyond.

    The gradient eased a little to 88r but the big pacific slipped just as we passed mp14 1/4 and speed fell to 17.3. More slips followed and we were down to 14.4 entering the wet tunnel. There was a big slip in the tunnel that we left at only 10.8. we were in trouble now. The gradient was 86r to the summit and the trees were close to the rails. We slipped to a stand after a number of slips. Network Rail should be ashamed at the state of the rails. They were a dark grey colour with numerous leaves stretched and pulped on them. Julian was sitting opposite me and neither of us had ever seen rails in such poor condition. I've attached a few pictures to illustrate it.

    Les announced that the support crew were hand sanding the tracks for a decent distance ahead of the locomotive, the usual hopeful solution. Steve set back to restart on the rail polished by the slips and we got away slowly but came to a stand again. Steve dropped back a little again and restarted the train again. Very slow and steady progress and this time we kept moving. We passed the mid-point of the old Wilpshire Station, mp13 1/2ish at 4 mph but we kept moving. We saw David - OswaldTWhistle - on the south end of Ramsgreave and Wilpshire platform as we climbed steadily, passing him and mp13 1/4 at 7.9. Drama over and we passed the summit at close to 12 mph; then mp13 after the bridge at 18.7.

    It was magnificent enginemanship to have restarted the big Bulleid Pacific and kept it moving on such a steep bank on such awful rail conditions. I've attached a few pictures so you can see what Steve had to contend with. It had taken us almost 28 minutes from our first slip to a stand to climb the 3/4m+ to the summit. Over the top but no great speed as we were checked at a signal protecting Daisyfield for just over 5 minutes to let a late running York-Blackpool Service through. We crossed the junction at 1839, 74 minutes late. A check on RTT showed we had delayed the following 1621 Rochdale Flyer that started from Clitheroe 13 minutes late.

    We ran through Blackburn at 32 then had a decent run down to Lostock Hall jn. We passed Mill Hill, 105f, at 26; Cherry Tree, lev, 49; Pleasington 3 miles out at 54 then down the 101f to Hoghton LX, 62.2; Mintholme LX at 61 before slowing as we approached Bamber Bridge, 41.1 as we'd closed on the Colne to Preston Service. We crossed Lostock Hall Jn at 37.4 and had an uninterrupted run down to Preston where we unusually ran into Platform 4 at 1902, 67 minutes late after a very eventful afternoon and early evening out on the rails.

    Wandered up to the locomotive and thanked the Footplate and Support crew for their efforts. Expressed the views of everyone I hope that we really appreciated the exceptional driving skills shown by Steve in getting the big pacific up Wilpshire Bank in such awful conditions. Knowing how much the crews like a drink later in the night I gave them £50 to buy the first round. Really appreciate the skills always shown by West Coast's Footplate Crews and the efforts of the Support Crew who do a lot of work that goes unseen.

    So had a wander down to see WCR's own Class 86, 86401 that had been sent down from Carnforth to take the train back to Euston in the 'electric' path that few diesels could keep to time in. We left at 1940, 62 minutes late. Reminded me of the good old days when an hour late was mockingly referred to as Standard Railtour time!! Not many fellow passengers in coach G were that concerned about the late running.

    It wasn't a particularly fast run down to Crewe where we arrived at 2028, 57 minutes late. We were OK as the Corsa was in Weston Road Car Park. Decent run down the motorways and dual carriageway got us home at 2135.

    It was an eventful day out on the mainline. The speed at Grayrigg Summit would have been decent on a fine day and Shap was going well until the squall hit, but even then we passed the climbing summit at 30.3. Yes the conditions had an effect on the return with the climb to Ais Gill being problematic but not seriously so. Wilpshire Bank was the real problem, caused by the truly appalling track conditions - but we got over the summit without the need of an assistance.

    Thanks to RTC for running the final Cumbrian Mountain Express of the year. Been a mixed year for CMEs with a couple of the trains surprisingly being diesel assisted;

    Thanks to West Coast Railways for providing the stock, though the seats in 5032 are very 'tired'; and for the use of their big Bulleid, though to be honest we'd have preferred a 4-6-0 in leaf fall season. Many, many, thanks for taking the risk of allowing the big Bulleid to run unassisted. I must admit we sort of expected to find a Class 47 waiting for us at Hellifield to make sure we got over Wilpshire Bank in good time. Pretty sure if they'd seen the track conditions that would have happened. Thanks for our footplate crew who did us proud, ably assisted by the Support Crew, and the guard who no doubt had a furrowed brow at times!

    Thanks to Network Rail for allowing us out on the WCML and over the S&C and Wilpshire in the leaf fall season. A big negative rider to that is their failure to ensure the rails on the route were fit for purpose. They certainly weren't near the old Wilpshire Station where I'd be surprised if the service trains ran slip free.

    That's it for us for 2023. Stay Safe out there as there's lots of COVID around.

    Here are the pictures. Network Rail should be ashamed.

    IMG_20231007_180413~2.jpg IMG_20231007_180457~2.jpg IMG_20231007_180540.jpg
     
    mgl, gricerdon, dublo6231 and 18 others like this.
  19. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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  20. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for your excellent report, a very eventful day. Good to find out what happened around the curve at Wilpshire.

    The RHTTs often start relatively late in the year. The first one was yesterday! 3J11 leaves Carlisle at 14.38 via the S&C to Skipton (rev) back to Hellifield (rev) and thro' Whalley 17.43 to Blackburn . . . Even had they started a week earlier it would have "swept" the route 24 hours before the CME, so don't know how beneficial it would have been. Well done, Mr Chipps!
     

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