Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by 1020 Shireman, May 17, 2021.
Was the return over Ais Gill any good? I will send you a PM. Don
It wasn't totally out of use Ralph. 5-Car Voyagers and shorter TPE trains were using the south end of the platform on Saturday when we were there.
Thoughts on yesterday - first and foremost it was great to be back on a railtour. The S&C never disappoints and the weather wasn't bad compared to the previous couple of days.
West Coast did well to rescue the situation and full credit to Les Ross for a speedy run up to Carlisle, it is a superb machine. My thoughts wondered to what people must have thought when these appeared in the 1960's, must have seemed like something from another universe. Effortlessly dealing with heavy trains, 90+ mph running and superb acceleration - all with no smoke, dirt or noise. Sounds impressive even now - no emissions! Why oh why is this government so reluctant to put up more wires? I digress..
It was obviously disappointing that we missed Shap with steam, it would have been very interesting to see how BIL would have performed with a substantial load, plus the rest of the run was constrained by the 60 mph line limit. Overall she performed well, but seemed a little winded on the climb to Ais Gill, rallying only as the summit approached. From the videos I've seen, Tornado had a much more energetic climb.
Wilpshire was a much better effort, despite severe checks at Clitheroe and Whalley, owing to the Hellifield signalman holding us for the Leeds train, causing us to miss our slot. It was good to hear the loco work.
Yesterday certainly wasn't a classic, but it was however an important step back to normality.
Not really Don. It was a confusing climb as the sound from the front was the usual solid Bullied Chatter but the speed didn't build up as we expected and we hit wet rail after KS. Not the heavy stuff. The filming shows the sanders full on. No idea whether Steve took a slightly cautious approach with BIL. Didn't sound like it but who knows. Barebones was MP275 53.9; wet from mp271 on the 166r and noticeably didn't pick up speed on the easing section; KS 33; Birkett Tunnel 29.3; Mallerstang 28.8 to 36.9; Appleby to mp260 in 29m 38.42s, milepost passed at 31.1. Will write up and post probably tomorrow.
I thought the performance was impressive but I disliked the Mk2 coaches which became increasingly common through the 60s. I preferred, and for mainline touring still do, Mk1s. I hated the electrification generally as it meant the end of the steam locomotives which I loved. As to emissions, they were just moved elsewhere. Only very recently have emissions due to electricity generation been reduced. Contemporary OHLE is hideous.
Wasn't it pretty unusual for electricity to directly replace steam in that era? OK Bournemouth, maybe Southend. But generally it was the class 40s and 47s and the various Class 2s which did the damage. Once D202 rocked up at Liverpool St and D5301 at Kings X, the writing was on the wall. Agree re Mk1s and catenary though!
Not a clagless wonder yesterday, but her efforts paled into insignificance from the new formula one kid in town Tornado. Seen here from ground and the air at Waitby common
BIL the steaming hard wonder at Waitby common! by Inspiring Images, on Flickr.
Merchant Navy 35018 British India Line at Waitby common on the Cumbrian Mountain Express. by Phoenix Images, on Flickr
As far as can be seen from the videos, Tornado, a couple of hours later, didn't need sand. So maybe BIL's crew were just taking it cautiously on a slightly wet rail. Still, it would be good to hear from the horse's mouth.
My contribution, coach and horse at Greenholme and Waitby.
Hopefully shaken off the ring rust. Hoped for better from 35018 but it is what it is. After the start to the day we had we were so grateful to have Part 2 of a CME Steam Hauled.
Cumbrian Mountain Express 22nd May 2021
First Charter for us since last October's CME; indeed first venture back onto the big railway. We'd hardly been out since last October's CME but we did get a steam fix with an excellent Day out with Lady of Legend on the SVR on 7th May. Lovely little locomotive. Sounds more like a single chimney castle than a 2 cylinder one.
As for the CME, we were really looking forward to attacking Shap, the S&C and Wilpshire with the Big Bullied and the 12 carriage 'Covid' Set.
No service train for us at the moment as I've never thought much of the ventilation system on Class 175s. Up bright and early and out of the house at 0615 for an uneventful drive up the A40, M50, M5 and M6. More slacks on the motorways than on the railway these days. Got in at 0815 and had a half decent bacon roll at the Upper Crust. Ominously there was no sign of the train on the board and a check of RTT, if it was telling the truth, showed the stock still at Acton at 0845. Tales abounded until David Hughes arrived and told us what had happened. RTT was telling the truth and the stock didn't arrive into Euston until 0903. Hearts sank as the spectre of no steam at all reared its ugly head.
Met Peter (@pjhliners) who was looking forward to his breakfast in Premier Dining. Going to be brunch we concluded and waited for the train to depart Euston. It did at 0926 and arrived at Crewe at 1150. No worries there as we should get to Carlisle in 2 hours and be able to take our planned path. The plan for the day was Electric to Carlisle and then 'Part 2' of the CME, 35018 back over the S&C to Preston via Wilpshire Bank. My thought, and hope, was that 35018 would be waiting for us with a tender tank full to the brim to run non-stop to Hellifield.
So the Class 86 to Carlisle. From the lack of comment on the timings I posted not much interest in it. Nor from me. I only timed it as I'd had to replace my trusted GPS and wanted to test it and the stopwatch, and me, before the proper CME from Carlisle. As time was passing quickly we ate the backup lunch Mrs S had brought 'just in case' on the way down the bank to Carlisle.
When we got there BIL and Support Coach were in the middle road. Bit of confusion with the ontrain announcements. We were told to be back by 1425 but the station announcement said be back for our booked departure time of 1422. We didn't want to be late as there was still a fairly tight path through Horrocksford Jn to meet later in the day. Blow that and Wilpshire would be compromised as we'd be behind the dreaded Rochdale Unit from Clitheroe.
Weather was fine and sort of set fair. The load was 13 not the expected 12 but that shouldn't be a problem for a big Bulleid. For whatever reason we left at 1434, 12 down on the original departure time. Not a good start. As we passed Petteril Bridge Jn, Tornado and its 13 coach train was waiting to be allowed across the junction. First time I've seen it since the repaint. It and the Support Coach looked superb. We were hoping to set 60163 a bit of a challenge over the Blue Riband section to Ais Gill. Thought a time in the mid 20s would be possible with 13 up, with a summit speed in the 40s.
After clearing the junction, the 7 miles of 132r to Low House is the first test, 40+ being the aim. Lovely loud chatter from the front as we hit the start at mp306 3/4, at 20.4. speed picked up to 33 by Cumwhinton, and mp304, 33. More noise and pick up to 41 as we passed Howe & Co., mp303. Speed held around 41 past mp301 towards Eden Brows; but fell a bit to 38 across the 'viaduct' before rallying to 41.2 at the end of the section. Good start and over the crossing at 48. The one tsr that affects the run was at Armathwaite and we ran just under 20 to the end at mp298. Noisy pick up to 32.3 on the short 176r before diving into Armathwaite Tunnel. Nice running up the 220r through Baron's Wood Tunnels, 37, and Steve used the close to 2 miles of 176f to hit 57 at mp293.
BIL sounded in fine fettle as we ran in the mid 50s to mp291. Through Little Salkeld up the mile+ of 132r speed fell to 53, then to 48 on the short 110r. Interesting that short climbs were pulling BIL back a few miles an hour. We passed mp287 on the short 264f at 55 and came off the mile+ 330r at 50. Through Culgaith and up to 54 on the level. Plenty of noise of the right sort over the rising 132/220 and 490 grades to Kirby Thore, 56 at mp282, a speed held through Long Marton. We came onto the mile and a half of 120r from mp280 holding 55.5 and fingers crossed, we'd blast through Appleby. But not to be as the brakes came on and we came to a stand 47m 38s after departing Carlisle. Not a great time really. Comments at the time were that the loco didn't in fact take water as Steve had overshot the crane and bag. At least the Ice Cream, Double Jersey variety, was some compensation, as must have been the revenue for the hard working FOSCL folk. We later found out they just had to watch 'Train 2' roar past.
The stop did us no favours as by now we were 15 down and getting closer to problems on Wilpshire. We left 14 down and set off for Ormside. Really got to hit mp275 close to the 60mph line speed to achieve what I was hoping for. We had one short slip, well recovered, just after the station, and passed mp277 440r/level at 18; then picked up to 24.5 after the short level bit to mp276 3/4. Down the mile of 176f and past mp275 3/4 noisily but not that rapidly at 47.8. onto Ormside Viaduct and the start of the 100r at 52 with a final charge to 54.2 as we came off the viaduct. Decent enough. The bank bit immediately and with a roar from the front, we were 4 back, we passed mp275, the start of the Blue Riband Section, at 53.9. Again, decent enough with a big Class 8 on the front.
The 2 mile section to Helm Tunnel is a good guide to how well the run will go. Minimal speed loss has to be the order of the day. A mile into the 100r BIL sounded superb but speed fell to 49 at mp274. It was still dry but speed fell to 44.1 as we passed mp273 1/2 and blasted into Helm Tunnel. Out into the cool air and down to 42.2 at mp273 and 37.5 at mp272. Then comes one of the 'respites', a mile+ of 166r, followed by almost a mile of 200r. Got to regain the speed lost here. Didn't really happen as we passed mp271 at 38.8. as we hit the 200r, we hit wet rail. Not heavy rain so not the best. BIL picked up to 43.1 at Crosby Garrett Viaduct, the end of the 200r, and to an impressive 47.4 on the level after the tunnel.
This was much better but BIL didn't hold the higher speed for long as we hit the 2 1/2 miles of 100r to Kirkby Stephen. Over Smardale Viaduct at 46, then an unexpected fall in speed to 39.7 over the 3/4 mile to mp268. BIL still sounded fine but over the next mile our speed fell rapidly to 33.8 at mp267. That's not good and a loss of momentum before Kirkby Stephen usually rules out a decent charge around Mallerstang to the summit. What happened was pretty much as expected. We climbed past mp266 3/4 at 33.2 and even on the short 264r through the station and to the Signal Box, mp266 1/2 speed only rose a little to 32.8. Crews always try to charge the section to Birkett and speed did pick up to 35.6 as we passed mp266.
Then the climb did hit the wall. By mp265 we were down to 31.7 and the skies had darkened and rain wasn't far away. Into Birkett Tunnel, near enough mp264 1/2, we dipped below 30 to 29.3, and left the tunnel at 28.9. it started to rain quite heavily just as we hit the second 'refuge', 3/4m at 330r. With the sanders on BIL rallied to 34.6 as we passed mp263 1/4, and the momentum gained lifted our speed to 36.9 at mp262 3/4. It didn't last and speed fell steadily to a disappointing 31.1 at the Climbing Summit, passed 29m 38.42s after we left Appleby; 24m 17.06s from mp275. We passed the Summit Board, 259 3/4, at 33.5; times: 30m 06.91s from Appleby; 24m 45.55s from mp275. Far from a disastrous run for a Class 8 with 13 up, but not a sparkling one by any means. Worse for us was we were now 25 down and pretty much certain to have our assault on Wilpshire compromised, possibly by the Leeds train at Hellifield as well as the Rochdale Service off Clitheroe.
A rail issue near Garsdale lost us more time, the station passed at 22. We dived into Rise Hill Tunnel at 44.6, drifted through Dent at regulation 30; Blea Moor Tunnel, in at 49; out at 46. Nice bit of noise down the 100f after Ribblehead Station, 41.8, to 60, line speed max, 2 miles down. Close to 60 down to Horton and 58 through Settle. After Settle Jn the mile+ of 181r saw speed drop to 56 then Long Preston 44, before braking for our run into Hellifield Loop to water BIL, still 26 down.
Unfortunately we were held for the Skipton/Leeds Service and left 26 down at 1705. It's just over 13 miles to Horrocksford Junction, line speed 45, and the Rochdale was due at the Junction at 1715, returning to Clitheroe for a 1725 departure. It was on time so we had no chance to get in front of it. This is seriously annoying as there are few signal sections on the 8 1/2 mile section to Wilpshire Summit. Past experience told us we were certain to be held at Clitheroe, and again close to mp19, Whalley Approach, a mile and a half before the start of the 3 mile 81 1/2r climb.
Sure enough that was exactly what happened. We were stopped close to mp19 for close to 4 minutes. Still, we were on the level with 3/4m of 203f to Whalley station. Noisy start and Steve had BIL roaring towards the station at 38.3. The climb starts on the Arches themselves and despite best efforts up front, in the half a mile+ of the climb speed had already fallen to 32.6. Hmmm. The chatter of the big Bulleid was solid but speed fell to 30.2 at mp17; then to 25.3 at mp16. Through Langho, mp15 3/4ish, at 23.9 and down to 22.2 at mp15. It was a fine evening so the cutting to the tunnel wasn't bad and we dived in at 20.9. The gradient eased to 88r but then to a bit of 68r as we passed mp13 3/4 out in the sunny evening at 19.8.
BIL sounded a bit on the ragged edge but still with a nice even valve chatter as we climbed through the old Wilpshire Station on the 86r at 19.1, then the new station, mp13 1/4, at 18.6. The GPS struggled a bit but the old Summit Marker, 86r/73f was passed at 23 before Steve shut off on the 73f. As Terry Wogan was known to say 'Mustn't Grumble'. We got the impression on train that BIL didn't have any more to give on Wilpshire. Not a high speed run down from Blackburn with a max of 63 at Hoghton LC and an arrival oddly in P3 at Preston 38 down. We left 30 down so hope everyone who had service connections got home in a timely manner.
It was good to be back on a steam hauled mainline rail tour again. Shame about the ECS thing on a day that there were other problems on the WCML. Still, the train ran and we did get steam, albeit without my favourite parts, Carnforth to Shap Summit, and a visit to The Woodrow Wilson. Worse, the pub on the station wasn't open either. So no draught beer.
Don't know what to make of 35018's performance on the day. Disappointing to me and many others I spoke to on the train. Hope that wasn't contributed to by the lack of the water top up at Appleby. Poor judgement if the loco did overrun the watering point when it needed topping up.
Thanks to RTC for running the train; for WCR for the train set, their big loco and their locomotive and Support crews; to Les and the stewards; and to Network Rail for letting the train run despite the chaos at Euston and elsewhere, and the very late arrival of the stock into Euston. It was one of those days when we were on the 'wrong train', but who knew. Originally 60163 was doing a Northbound S&C. We're looking forward to our next run which is the CME of June 26th where hopefully we get the full CME steam itinerary.
"Steve" has been mentioned as driver a few times. As I understand it "Steve Chipperfield" was passing out "Steve Clark".
35018 rounding the curve at Waitby.
Once electrification was in place south of Crewe the yellow cab side stripes appeared and locos with them were banned. 1964 I think.
My effort of BIL from yesterday https://www.crozierphotography.co.uk/picture.php?/4054/category/583
Just a thought. Ais Gill isn't just Ais Gill though. If for example you are going over Ais Gill and your engine is also continuing to York, Crewe or Preston you may approach it very differently than if your locomotive was coming off its train at Hellifield. Not only do you have keep the engine in good fettle for many more miles to come but more importantly your fireman! These are major considerations for the philosophy applied to any run. The only place with the answer is inside the drivers head.
For this reason the 'Blue Riband' section is a bit difficult to quantify and any run that used two fireman for example should be void from the records as they are not a true record of driver, fireman and locomotive performance, especially if the locomotive performs beyond its norm. What happened after and before is also relevant to any story of the day.
As one of the lineside observers at Langho I must say that BIL was giving a solid performance with 13 on (or 500 tons gross !) and a cracking sight in the afternoon sunshine. I appreciate that delays affected performance but there are so many unknowns affecting the footplate environment it seems the WCRC crew had the competence to cope.
I don't think anybody can argue with that. Les Ross is kept in good nick and bye 'ell..........it's a great bit of kit.
I've only ever been behind it once and I was mightily impressed by the way it got stuck into the job out of Euston.
For anyone interested here's the Timings pdf file
I assume that at some stage WCR are going to replace Les Ross and start using 86401 on the electric stages of these tours?
Or it could be part of the Carnforth Pool like 45690 is?
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