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Cotton Mill Express 2020

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by iancawthorne, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. nige757

    nige757 Well-Known Member

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    45562 is seen and heard leaving Lancaster, Miles Platting bank, from above Portsmouth and finally Copy Pit.

     
  2. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Damn and Bu**er is all I can say. I decided not to go in view of predicted storms and floods . Clearly a wrong call.
     
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  3. jsm8b

    jsm8b Part of the furniture

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    You and me both mate :(
     
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  4. and60007

    and60007 Member

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    I would like to say thank you very much to everyone for watching my footage of 45562 and thank you to everyone for liking my footage? :)
     
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  5. Landshrew

    Landshrew Member

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    Many thanks John, both Mr Rawling and Mr Kelly produced some stunning performances out of her yesterday. Then again, with such a perfect route and perfect loco, how could they not?! Let’s all hope this can be repeated a lot sooner than the previous Cotton Mills Express!
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  6. Robert Batty

    Robert Batty New Member

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    IMG_5590.CR2.jpg IMG_5717.CR2.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. JohnRobinson

    JohnRobinson Well-Known Member

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    29/02/2020 - LMS Stanier Jubilee - 45699 "Galatea" in 45562 "Alberta" guise runs into Huncoat Station on a running of "The Cotton Mills Express"
    DSC_18945.jpg
     
  8. Jontie

    Jontie New Member

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    Here's mine from Copy Pit, IMGL7907 (1).jpg
     
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  9. 61994

    61994 Member

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    [​IMG]
    Jubilant effort
    by Matthew Evans, on Flickr

    One more from the many taken at Copy pit, fantastic performance from Galatea yesterday, brilliant and interesting railtour as well. Hopefully it can be repeated!
     
  10. Stephen Hughes

    Stephen Hughes New Member

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    What @Bulleid Pacific and @Mick45305 said! A great tour, the run from the water stop at Sowerby Bridge to Rochdale was exhilarating, even more so for me as my previous journeys over this route had been when I lived in Tod for a few years in the late 1970's and was a frequent traveller on the DMU services at the time which definitely were not of the same calibre as this run! As an aside I also managed to get a photo of my old house at Cornholme as 'Galetea' slogged up to Copy Pit...the line only saw occasional passenger use when I lived there. Looking forward to a rerun next year.
     
  11. Davo

    Davo Member

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    Fingers crossed another cotton mills express may happen again next year before the line to stalybridge from machester gets electrified and from leeds to dewsbury on the T.P.E. route.
     
  12. Macko

    Macko Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps the highest viewpoint at Lydgate ...

    I second all requuests to make this a more regular train. It seems such a good choice of lots of climbing entertainment and good scenery for the passengers, loads of great spots for the photographers and all done in a reasonable timeframe, what's not to like?

    [​IMG]
    A jubilee in the Calder valley
    by Phoenix Images, on Flickr
     
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  13. Paul42

    Paul42 Well-Known Member

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  14. jonathonag

    jonathonag Well-Known Member

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  15. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    I was thinking that to ring the changes it could do a sort of figure of 8, Lancaster to Victoria but then straight on through Rochdale but then over Copy Pit, Blackburn and back to Victoria as yesterday, then Rochdale again but this time turn right to Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield and back to Victoria and Lancaster.
     
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  16. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    Cotton Mill Express 29 February 2020 – 45562 Alberta hauling 9+POB

    The date is significant: a family friend celebrates her 17th birthday yet has daughters who are in their forties; WCRC are operating no fewer than 3 steam hauled trips in the NW and “The Cotton Mill Express” returns after a lengthy absence and with the rare eastbound journey over Standedge (twice). I last made the eastbound trip on 17 July 2010, on the Cotton Mill, behind 46115; later in the day the “Fragile Scot” succumbed at Man Vic.

    Friday had seen snow, hail and finally rain at Twistle HQ but Saturday dawned dry and calm; storm Jorge was forecast for later in the day – another weekend, another named storm! The journey to Preston was uneventful and, just a couple of minutes late, Alberta steamed into platform 6; standard was at the front and there was NO diesel on the back – a good start. I took my seat in coach F, the 4th, alongside @RalphW who had joined at Lancaster. Ralph told me that they had already had speeds in the low 70s. It was also good to see @Mick45305 who was sitting across the aisle.

    A little over 2L we set off south on the FL with Mick Rawling driving and Rob Russell firing. By Farington Jn we were up to 41, on the 1/314r this increased to 47.7 at Leyland. Alberta was making all the right noises as we passed Euxton Jn at 49.4 (4¼L) and we shot past Euxton Balshaw Lane at 59.8, down to 58.3 at Balshaw Lane Jn and onto the climb up to Coppull (min 48.6). There was just time for a 66.5 as we dropped down to Wigan before stopping in the station (4¾L) to collect more passengers. We were off again (3L) and although 5L at Golborne Jn such are the vagaries of the schedule that we were ¼E at Parkside Jn as we headed towards Manchester on my least favourite route in to the city. The running was in the high 50s with 61 at Astley SB (¾L). Soon we were slowing for our first water stop in the UGL at Eccles (2¼E); water was taken from the hydrant on the adjacent over bridge. We left 2½E to make the short, slow journey, to Manchester Victoria for our final pick up of the day.

    The weather was dry and more importantly so were the rails, Miles Platting beckoned and the toplights were opened. We were off (1½L) and Alberta shot out of the station reaching 18 then onto the 1/59r and speed settled around 14 as the exhaust thundered skywards; 14.3 at Bromley St, up to 16.6 as we crossed under Rochdale Rd (now 1/47r). The sound was awesome, sheer brute force. Speed dipped to 13.5 at Collyhurst St but the gradient eases and we crossed over Queens Rd at 22.6 as we headed towards Stalybridge. The brutish hammering from the exhaust was replaced by the more familiar roar as we gained speed on the easier grades; Baguley Fold Jn (38.9 & 4½L) up to 46.3 as we crossed Clayton Bridge Viaduct (1/586r) then falling back as we climbed the 1/135/100r to Ashton-Under-Lyne (38.2 & 4¾L). Soon we were easing as we approached Stalybridge. We had a planned pathing stop in Diggle loop but this was out of action consequently, we would make our stop at Stalybridge. This meant that we would “get a run at the bank” – the day was getting better and better! We waited whilst 3 TP trains passed; the first was headed by 68023 Achilles pushed out more decibels than Alberta as it left with the Liverpool to Scarborough service.

    Now 28¼L we set off and began our climb to Standedge (just over 7 miles of ave. 1/145r). This was a battle and Alberta was in determined mood; 29.2 but 31L as we passed through Mossley, up to 36 through Greenfield (31½L and roaring) up to 40.4 (max) as we passed the canal locks approaching Diggle and 38.8 past Diggle Jn SB (29¾L) and 39 at the summit and into Standedge Tunnel (3m 66yds). Level through the tunnel and out at 42.6 and soon through Marsden (43 & 2¾L). Now on a falling gradient of 1/105f the fireman could take his seat. Up to a max of 62.3 approaching Slaithwaite (known as Slowit – rhymes with cow) and through the eponymous station at 57.7 (2¾L) but then slowing for a tsr (thanks Mick45305 – local knowledge is best). The sun was shining, it was a splendid winter’s day as we ran along the back of Huddersfield station (4L), then off to the left at Bradley Jn and left again at Bradley Wood Jn. We stopped at Brighouse (7L); our booked 7 min stop was cut to under a minute and we left ¾L. Ralph told me that @Victor had turned out to see us; he only got the briefest look.

    Brighouse is often used for water stop but the demands of the timetable meant that it had, instead, been planned to take water at Hebden Bridge but late in the day this was changed to Sowerby Bridge. The Calder Valley Line rises continuously at around 1/300r to 1/500r and should suit a Jubilee with 10 coaches. Speed built to 47.5 at Elland and reached 50 before Greetland Jn (49.5 & 3½L) then we were held for 2 mins at Milner Royd Jn whilst a Leeds-Manchester train joined from Halifax (Last Tango anyone?). We left ½L for our water stop and stopped in Sowerby Bridge 2¾L. Water was taken from a tanker parked at the west end of the station. I had a quick walk to the front and a word with Rob Russell who said that Alberta was steaming well and that this was his first turn over the route.

    We left 14½L with another 9 miles to go and then off to the right and Copy Pit. Up to 40 at Luddendenfoot, through Mytholmroyd at 48.2 (18¼L), no need to stop at Hebden Bridge (49.5 & now 8¼L) and we just touched 50 beyond; Alberta was roaring as she romped along. Speed remained in the high 40s and wouldn’t that help on the climb to Copy Pit but unfortunately there are 30 mph westbound PSRs at both Hall Royd and Stansfield Hall Jns. So 25.6 at Hall Royd Jn and off to the right towards Stansfield Hall Jn, where the re-instated curve joins from the left, and up to 28.6 (8L) but now faced with 2½ miles of 1/65r. Speed soon fell back to 16.5 into Kitson Wood Tunnel and 16.7 out, down to 15.9 as we left Lydgate Viaduct and down further into the 13s and 12s as we neared Cornholme – this was brutal, but oh so enjoyable. As we approached Portsmouth the gradient eases to 1/80r and speed increased to 17.9 as we passed the site of the former station and reached 20.9 as we reached the top of the 1/80r. There follows a “smidge” of 1/104r and a “touch” of 1/69r before the gradient settles to 1/77r to the summit; speed fell back to 19.5 but increased to 20.1 under the road bridge and up to 23 as the 4th coach passed the gradient marker and the weight of the train began to gather pace down the hill. A monumental climb, in ideal conditions and witnessed by a multitude strung out on the hillsides like re-enactment of a scene from Zulu. Now, it was downhill all the way.

    We dropped down through Burnley Manchester Rd at 46.2; on past Rose Grove (44.6 & 4L), Hapton (48.6) and Huncoat (45.5) before slowing to 10mph for the tight curve through the platforms of Accrington station. As we left the curve the building to the left was Globe Works part of what was once Accrington’s largest employer, Howard and Bulloughs. From the mid 19th century “Bulloughs” manufactured textile machinery and at its peak employed around 6,000 people. Further along the line around stood Accrington Shed and just to the south was another large building, Bulloughs’ Foundry. Most people living in the Accrington area worked at Bulloughs or had a relative who did, Oswald was no exception . . .

    [On an earlier post, we left grandpa, Frank Wistle at Cherry Tree. In 1889 Frank’s cousin married the then Works Manager of Bulloughs. Any Wistle family members who wanted jobs were found them and in 1907 a newly married Frank started his family life in Accrington working as a clerk in the wages office. Later, my dad and two of his brothers were apprentice fitters. In the 1930s Frank and his wife moved to a house just one street away from Accrington Shed. In the 1950s Sunday visits were always preceded by a look over the boundary wall to see what might be about].

    Always worthy of a mention; we passed through Church and Oswaldtwistle (43 & 5¾L), up to 49 in the dip before climbing to Rishton (40.5 & 5¼L) then out along the causeway that crosses (a very full) Rishton reservoir before we dropped down to stop in platform 4 at Blackburn station (3L). I remained on the train; I’ve seen Blackburn more times than . . .

    I understand that, to take water, the loco and support were detached and travelled forward to a siding near Blackburn Bolton Branch Jn rather than using the hydrant that serves the loops behind the station. I had brought sandwiches and settled down for a chat with Ralph and later we were joined for a few minutes by @pjhliners who introduced John Heaton (RPS). The watering took longer than expected and we departed 16L; badly “out of path” how would we fare?

    To be continued
     
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  17. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    Cotton Mill Express 29 February 2020 – 45562 Alberta hauling 9+POB (Part Two)

    We enjoyed the first part of the trip so much, that in the words of 1980s song, we decided to “Let’s go round again”. In part 1 we were about to leave Blackburn (16L). This we did with Mick Kelly driving and Clive Gault firing. If there is a driver who likes a challenge, I would suggest that Mr Kelly is your man. There was no mistaking the intention as we left Blackburn (in a hurry). We were up to 43.1 at Mill Hill, Cherry Tree 44.9, Pleasington 51.3 (16L), soon we were past Hoghton summit and dropping down the hill; with 65.5 near Jacks Green, under the M61 at 64, across Hospital Xng 61.3 before slowing with 52 under the M6 and 48 through Bamber Bridge (13¼L). We were stopped (for only 15s) before Lostock Hall Jn then slowly down the chord to join the WCML at Farington Jn. We were booked to travel on the UF but were sent along the US. We trundled along and were held for over 12 min waiting to cross over to the take the Manchester line at Euxton Jn.

    We passed Euxton Jn 27L and despite our best (noisy) efforts the deficit remained unchanged as we tackled the gently rising gradient; Buckshaw Parkway 29, Chorley 38.2, Adlington 48.9, Blackrod 47.1 and Horwich Parkway (the summit) 48.8. Now on falling gradients we passed through Lostock at 56.2 then up to a max of 58.8 before we began to brake for Bolton (25 & still 27L). The gradient is around 1/200f towards Manchester and we gathered speed; Moses Gate 49, Farnworth 54.5, Kearsley 58.9 and Clifton 66.3, where we had shaved just over a minute from the deficit. We slowed before Salford Crescent then passed through the platforms of Salford Central (this morning we had passed round the back (front?) of the station). We ran unhindered into pl 3 at Man Vic (26½L). Despite rumours that we had stopped further back in the platform to get a better run at the bank, I can confirm that we stopped in an almost identical position.

    Now the question on everyone’s lips was, would lap 2 be faster or slower than lap 1? As was the case this morning we set off like the proverbial hound with a firework up its bottom whilst making considerably more noise (and more noise than this morning). By Bromley St we were up to 16.6 (14.3), Rochdale Rd 19.3 (16.6), Collyhurst St 16.2 (13.5) and Queens Rd 17.0 (22.6); one and a bit miles of noisy, mesmeric fun. Like this morning we took the fork at Brewery Jn then at Philips Park W Jn but this time we headed south at Philips Park S Jn and took the line through Ashburys, Gorton and Fairfield and on to Guide Bridge and thence to join the main line at Stalybridge. This is a rare bit of line for preserved steam and passes through East Manchester with distant views of the Etihad Stadium. There is a 20 mph psr through Ashburys (19 & 23L), we then climbed towards Guide Bridge; Gorton (30.3 & 24¼L), Fairfield (29.5 & 24¾L) and through Guide Bridge (28.7 & 25¼L) before joining the main line at Stalybridge Jn to stop in pl 3 (25½L).

    We had a booked 14 min operational stop but, running late, we now had to wait for a suitable gap in the traffic. We did not have long to wait as 3 mins later we were off. As with the climb of Miles Platting who can resist a direct comparison with this morning’s climb up to Standedge, not me – so faster or slower? We passed through Mossley at 33.4 (29.2) onwards to Greenfield 36.5 (36), a max of 42.9 (40.4) running alongside the canal locks approaching Diggle. We passed Diggle Jn SB at 40.7 (38.8) and on to 41.4 (39) at the summit and the respite of the level in the tunnel. We emerged at 43.8 (42.6) and began our descent towards Huddersfield. I suspect that for a Jubilee with 10 coaches the climb was as good as it gets; certainly acoustically. Through Marsden (44 & 15½L), a max of 63.6 before Slaithwaite then slowing to 54.2 through the station in preparation for the approaching tsr. Again we passed behind Huddersfield station (17¾L) before curving to the left at Bradley Jn and left again at Bradley Wood Jn where, surprisingly the NT all stations stopper to Wigan Wallgate was held for us to run in front. This was perhaps understandable if we weren’t due to stop for crew reasons at Brighouse and water at Sowerby Bridge – lucky us; not so lucky NT passengers. We made a 52s stop at Brighouse and set off 13L, next stop Sowerby Bridge.

    Just 5¾ miles to Sowerby Bridge; up to 47.1 at Elland, 48 at Greetland Jn (15L), no stop needed at Milner Royd Jn (20.9 & 9½L) finally stopping at Sowerby Bridge (10½L). It was getting cooler but I took a stroll to the front just to stretch my legs; it had been a long day “on the cushions”. After only 11½ mins, at 17:15 (22L) we were off, anxious to clear the road for the Wigan train.

    Time for one last round of “Faster or Slower” and here is a clue, Mick Kelly had the bit between his teeth! Alberta was soon roaring as we passed through Luddendenfoot 46 (40), more roar, more speed and through Mytholmroyd 51.3 (48.2) on towards Hebden Bridge 53.7 (49.5). It is hard to imagine a Jubilee making a better noise – “hairs up on the back of your neck” sort of sound. We now had the advantage, no slowing for Hall Royd Jn (51.6) and on towards Todmorden (52.2 & 13½L). The climb to Summit Tunnel was entirely to Alberta’s liking (1/182r) she roared and roared but speed gradually fell away, through Walsden (49.9 & 13¼L) and 47.3 where the GPS settled between Dean Royd and Summit Tunnels – wonderful stuff. Passing through Walsden the first streaks of rain brushed against the windows; if it had to rain then this was perfect timing, all the main climbs had been accomplished and darkness was approaching.

    The rain was becoming heavier as we dropped down towards Manchester; Littleborough (58.7 & 11L), Castleton (54.6 & 8L), Mills Hills (65.2 & 7½L), Vitriol Works SB (64.5 & 7½L) and we began slowing through Moston (57 & 6¾L) before stopping for water in the loop at Brewery Jn (5L). Up on the embankment the wind was blasting the heavy rain against the carriage window, with the toplight shut tight water was still dripping in – storm Jorge had arrived.

    It was time for tea. You may be familiar with the Six Ps Principle – Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. This was something that old Oswald should have heeded, for when he went to the cake tin he found that all of the Christmas cake had gone and there was nowhere on this trip to buy an ice cream! Luckily a couple of mini chocolate chip muffins stepped into the breach.

    Watering took longer than anticipated, hardly surprising in the appalling conditions. We left the loop 18¼L and dropped down to Man Vic where Ralph and many other passengers left. 21L we were off again into the dark and the rain, up to 52.8 at Eccles and 56.9 at Patricroft. We crossed Barton Moss and turned north at Parkside Jn and onto the WCML at Golborne Jn, there were no hold ups and this allowed us to stop in Wigan NW 14L; more passengers left. Off again (13L) and faced with 2 miles of 1/104r up to Boars Head and in far from than ideal conditions. Alberta powered up the bank building speed with every blast of her wonderful exhaust; we topped the 1/104r at 33. The climb continues on easier gradients up to Coppull Hall Sdgs (as was) with 45.3 at the summit and wonderful chimney music throughout. Alberta was far from finished as we reached 70 at Balshaw Lane Jn, up to 74 at Euxton Balshaw Lane, 69.2 at Euxton Jn, 72.9 through Leyland and 70.6 at Farington Jn before slowing for an unchecked entry into pl 5 at Preston (12L) – what a finale!

    As always, there was just enough time to stroll to the front for one last look. As I was leaving the platforms there was a blast from the hooter and the exhaust beats quickened as the train headed to Lancaster. The rain had stopped and I headed home arriving at 20.34 (4L). Mrs W was playing a game on her ipad and sipping wine. She had been to football, her team drew thanks to an injury time equaliser – but this was not a reason to be happy.

    So an absolutely excellent trip with a loco at the peak of her form and crews who knew how to make her respond – and boy how she responded. This was an interesting and demanding route with a bit of rare track. We had superb weather, standard class was near the front and there was no tail gunner. I had excellent company throughout. @Spike, who was one of the stewards, came along for a chat and I saw Andy but didn’t get chance for a chat, and the same with @Paul42. I have had a chance to look at some, but not (yet) all of your photos and vids and they appear to be the usual very high standard. My thanks to all who planned and operated this trip and to those who have posted material for our delectation.

    That makes three trips in 3 weeks all hauled by green Jubilees – lovely stuff! I did hear a rumour that one party with a green Jubilee would be amenable to running a train with double headed green Jubilees; I hope that the other party would also be interested – where do I book?
     
  18. YorkyLad

    YorkyLad New Member

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    The light rapidly begins to fade as 45562 sets away from the Sowerby Bridge water stop, crossing the confluence of the Ryburn and Calder Rivers and the A58 road. DSC_0353 (2).JPG
     
  19. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    My apologies for not specifically mentioning @Where's Mazeppa? and @Bulleid Pacific who both stopped by for a chat. It was a pleasure to meet Graham for the first time and Tom who I have met several times before. In future I may be better sticking with a variation of the Ken Bruce show, "Anyone else who knows me"

    The RTC guide for the trip had a table giving the mileages for various sections, the total (Lancaster return) was given as 286.75 with ECS moves 300+ in the day. Preston and back was 244.75 very, very enjoyable miles.
     
  20. pjhliners

    pjhliners Member Friend

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    ‘Alberta’ leaps round the cotton mills 29 February 2020


    Ian Riley and Andy Staite in the early 2000s devised a way of using the Bury Black Fives for a circular tour from Manchester round the southern parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and they called it the Cotton Mills Express. RTC later took it over but, after a series of engine failures, abandoned it. A similar concept on a different route became established as the Tin Bath.

    So the revival of the Cotton Mills Express was most welcome. Even more so was the choice of locomotive: No 45699 Galatea has been repainted in BR green as defunct classmate No 45562 Alberta. The last run 0f the original Alberta was an excursion in October 1967 which ran on part of our route today.

    The tour began at Lancaster but I boarded at Manchester Victoria, so we were straight into the climb of Miles Platting bank. We attacked it with noise and vigour, quickly reaching 17 mph then after a short slowing were back up to 22 before the right turn towards the east. 45 at Clayton was our maximum before stopping at Stalybridge to allow Transpennine expresses to pass. Then we slogged steadily up the bank to Diggle with a maximum of 40 at Saddleworth. Rattling down from Standedge Tunnel we reached 62 before a tsr at Slaithwaite, then on through Huddersfield and turning left at Heaton Lodge Junction. We chuffed briskly westwards along the Calder Valley in bright sunshine to a water stop at Sowerby Bridge then on through Hebden Bridge to Hall Royd Junction, where our major challenge was to begin. We had reached 27 before the real climbing began, which slowly reduced our speed through the teens through Lydgate and down to 12 at Cornholme. Slowly we clawed back some speed as the engine passed Portsmouth and reached 20 just before Copy Pit summit. Then a nice brisk run down to Burnley and through Accrington to our lunch break at Blackburn.

    We set off briskly westwards again through Mill Hill at 42, Cherry Tree at 45 and Pleasington at 52, then over Hoghton summit we touched 64 on the way down to Bamber Bridge. From Lostock Hall and Farington Junctions we moseyed along the WCML to Euxton then along through Chorley and Adlington (49) then down through Bolton and on towards Manchester, touching 67 at Clifton. Then began our second circuit, and this time we were even faster up the first section of Miles Platting bank, quickly storming up to 20 mph though dropping back a little to 17 before the junction. Then we turned right again at Philips Park West junction, on the ‘rare track’ for passenger trains, towards Ashburys, picking up the line from Piccadilly to Guide Bridge and then to Stalybridge again. We got away very smartly this time and were well into the 30s past Mossley, touching 38 before Greenfield and into Standedge tunnel at 40. Rollicking down the other side we touched 64 before the slack at Slaithwaite then 54 again before Huddersfield and 45 at Hillhouse. We ran steadily along the Calder Valley to our second water stop at Sowerby Bridge then we made rapid headway westward with 51 through Mytholmroyd. We went straight on through Hall Royd Junction this time towards Todmorden (55 just after) and 44 into Summit Tunnel. Downhill again we touched 60 at Littleborough and, after a slowing for Rochdale, touched 55 again at Castleton, 63 at Mills Hill and still 56 at Moston before slowing past Newton Heath depot for our water stop at Brewery Junction.

    The short run down into Victoria brought to an end (for me) a magnificent day out with a fine engine in fine form and looking great in its BR green. An interesting and demanding route and bright sunshine most of the day topped off a wonderful experience – one of the best!

    12 photos are at https://pjhtransportpix.zenfolio.com/p81442127

    Peter on a sunny afternoon in Manchester
    https://pjhtransportpix.zenfolio.com
     

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