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Saphos-Pennine Moors Christmas Explorer 7/12/19

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Oswald T Wistle, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. sgthompson

    sgthompson Part of the furniture

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    Good to see superb stills and proper videos today in better than forecast weather :)
     
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  2. black5

    black5 Member

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  3. black5

    black5 Member

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  4. Jontie

    Jontie New Member

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    Huncoat crossing IMGL7657.jpg
     
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    Fulwood Flyer Member

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    46100-Pennine Moors Christmas Explorer-07DEC19-Climbing Copy Pit-Peter AinsworthV4.jpg With the weather unexpectedly turning very similar to last year's equivalent trip (i.e.grim!), it was nevertheless good to see Royal Scot back in action.
    View attachment 48283
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  6. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    The Pennine Moors Christmas Explorer 07 December 2019 – 46100 Royal Scot hauling 10+POB+D1924 Crewe Diesel Depot

    This trip was advertised running outward via Man Vic to Copy Pit and returning through Blackburn to the WCML. When the times appeared, like last year, it was out via Blackburn and returning through Man Vic. Unlike last year when water was taken at Burnley Manchester Rd (surely hindering the climb to Copy Pit) this year’s water stop was in the loop at Blackburn. After LSL’s well publicised problems last month I wondered if we would be taking a diesel with us.

    The timings were later than advertised and fitted well with taking the service train from Preston to Crewe (and back); this avoided the unwelcome drive back up the M6 in the dark and also gave me an opportunity to journey with Virgin West Coast on the last day of their franchise. In recent years I have found Virgin to be amongst, if not the best operators, well managed with helpful and motivated staff, a disgrace that peevish politicians chose to exclude Virgin because they wouldn’t commit to clearing up the mess that the self same politicians had made. Ah well, Avanti (maybe).

    Despite her best clairvoyant attempts Mrs W was unable to “see” with sufficient clarity what the loco would be. A couple of days before the trip she received a telepathic communication from Mystic Winskill, “Royal Scot”, and (of course) it was – I expected no less! So just like the Santa Special on 24th November, this trip was also hauled by a Scot and a loco that was running on “false plates”.

    It was raining when I left home to drive to Preston. A Super Voyager, running a few minutes late, arrived to take me to Crewe. The weather brightened as we headed south; almost sunny at times. I arrived in good time for a chat with some of LSL’s staff. The planned crew details were as follows: driver Mark Dale, fireman James Cooper, TI Sean Levell with route conductors, Mike Wylie to Blackburn and Phil Murgatroyd from Blackburn. Mike later told me that he would be driving from Warrington to Blackburn. The addition of Pegasus, the bar car, took the load 11; the generator car would have made 12 and so was replaced by the 47. I took my seat half way along the first passenger coach (only the POB between me and the loco). The coach was a Mk2 but the sliding door at the front was permanently open as were the droplights in the vestibule – this is as good as it gets in a Mk2.

    We left RT on what was 46100’s first revenue earning trip for some time. Acceleration was gradual but by Winsford we were up to 71.2 (2L) we ran to a max of 74.6 before slowing for our pick up at Hartford, we left 3L. We ran slowly to allow a Glasgow train to pass us before Acton Bridge Jn (2¾L); back up to 58.8 across Dutton Viaduct and 74.2 as we crossed under the M56. At Acton Grange Jn we took the “Old Line” (aka the Low Level) – first for me heading north. We had a booked 11 min pathing stop at Walton Old Jn. We arrived 5½L and departed 3L with just a short run into Warrington BQ to collect our last passengers. We made a purposeful start (3½L) and soon settled in the high 50s/low 60s before being slowed to 26.8 at Bamfurlong Jn (5L) and down to 17 just beyond, then the road cleared. 46100 made some lovely sounds as she lifted the train to 35.4 at Springs Branch Jn and 46.9 through Wigan NW (6½L but with whistles). There was a terrific sound from the front as we attacked the 1/104r of Boar’s Head Bank; a max of 51.5 just beyond the foot of the climb and 46.3 as we crossed under the A49. The gradient then eases and we reached the summit at 55.6.

    Running up the FL we reached a max of 72.4 beyond Balshaw Lane (7½L). Some slow running and a 1½ min stop approaching Farington Jn saw us cross over and onto the curve towards Lostock Hall Jn (12¼L). At Lostock Hall Jn, we ran straight out onto the Blackburn line and began the climb to Hoghton. By Bamber Bridge we were up to 31.4 (13¼L); the sound from the front was wonderful and speed settled around 36/7 as we climbed the 1/99/101r. We topped Hoghton summit at 36.0. Speed increased quickly as we dropped down to Pleasington (50.2 & 13L), up to a max of 53.7 before slowing through Cherry Tree (51.4 & 12¼L). After the usual slow run in towards Blackburn we stopped in UDG loop (15¾L) to take water from a tanker parked in the NR compound.

    Water taken and sandwiches eaten, now in light drizzle, we departed 1E and straight into Blackburn Tunnel. The door to the vestibule was open, the droplights were down and lovely smelling exhaust permeated along our coach and into the buffet where it activated the smoke alarm – a first for me! We kept straight on at Daisyfield Jn and onto a climb of almost 2 miles at mainly 1/118r towards Rishton. We reached 30 crossing Rishton Reservoir but eased to 15 (clearance issue through the tunnel?) then back up to 30.4 at Rishton (3¾L) and up to 42.7 across the M65. We reached 49.4 as we crossed the Aspen Valley on the wooden trestle viaduct?! (Mine spoil and ash were tipped after the end of WW1 to form an embankment, a process that took several years – but it is still there, inside). Slowing through Church & Oswald T Wistle, on past the caravan storage and housing estate that was once Accrington Shed and slowly, with whistles, we negotiated the right angle bend at Accrington station (6½L) and across the S-shaped viaduct. A short climb then downhill through Huncoat (49.2 & 8L), Hapton (63.4 & 8L), running alongside the M65, past the site of Rose Grove Shed, slow through Rose Grove 20.7 and onwards to Gannow Jn.

    We were up to 33.7 at Gannow Jn (8½L) where the stub line to Colne leaves to the left. A short dip saw us reach a max of 40.7 as we passed through Burnley Manchester Road (8½L). We were now climbing the 1/71r and speed fell to 33.1 as we passed over Townley Xng with a min of 29.9 at the top of the 1/71r. Next is around a mile of 1/185r; speed improved to 30.6 as we entered Townley Tunnel and further to 35.7 as we left (av. speed 33.9 mph) and reached a max of 38.9 as we crossed Burnley Rd. Next comes almost 2½ miles of gruelling 1/68/70r to the summit. Speed fell back to 28.4 at the top of the 1/68r; on the 1/70r it recovered slightly to 28.7 as we entered Holme Tunnel but fell back to 28.3 leaving the tunnel (av. speed 28.5). The minimum at the summit was 27.7 (7¾L). By the time we passed under the road bridge we were on a falling gradient (1/77f) and speed was up to 33.8.

    We ran slowly down the hill to Stansfield Hall Jn where we took the Todmorden Curve; another bit of line “ticked off” for several passengers. We ran slowly through Todmorden 19.1 (8½L), but the 1/182r seemed very much to 46100’s liking; although 10L we were up to 40.6 at Walsden and 47.1 as we entered Summit Tunnel. The work was now done, it was time to get back to Crewe. Out of the tunnel at 66, 69.9 through Littleborough, Smithy Bridge 69.4, slow through Rochdale 31.8. We continued down the hill; Castleton 51.9, under the M62 at 55.2, up to 61.9 at Mills Hill, 67.1 past Vitriol Works SB and 65.2 through Moston (8½L). We had a booked water stop in the loop at Brewery Jn but surprisingly we were held for 4½ min at Thorpes Bridge Jn. We stopped in the loop 12½L. There was a “fire engine” backed into a side road (Baltimore St) at the foot of the embankment.

    Water taken, we left 14¼L but were held for a further 2½ min at Man Vic E Jn. We had a short operational stop in Man Vic platform 3 and left 19L. Out of path things seldom improve. At various points on the return we were held, waiting to be slipped in between trains. A good run out of the city saw us up to 58.8 at Eccles and 63.8 at Patricroft (18¾L). In fading light we crossed Chat Moss with speeds in the high 50s/low 60s and had reduced the deficit to 15½L at Newton Le Willows. We had to wait to regain the WCML at Winwick Jn. Stopped very close to a bend in the road and visible in the headlights of passing cars a group soon gathered to admire the loco. Once onto the WCML we ran the short distance to Warrington BQ to drop off passengers and left 26½L. A brief run into the mid 60s, then some slow running to juggle us through the traffic and to let some trains past. There was a mercifully brief wait approaching Crewe before we were allowed to cross from the SL to platform 12 and stop 27¾L (and probably just too late to allow those travelling to Euston to board the 17.30 departure).

    I had a 30 minute wait for my train north; just time for a cup of tea (£2.45 – dearer than an ice cream!). Virgin sent another Super Voyager; I had requested a Pendolino. Anyway, back in Preston RT and home at 19.34 (4L). Mrs W was watching TV; she and Oswald Jnr had been to football and had won!

    Although a relatively short trip there are a few climbs of note; Boar’s Head, Hoghton and of course, Copy Pit. 46100 made all the right noises in all the right places and it was enjoyable. Only the driver of the diesel knows what contribution, if any, he made to “assist” the train. On the return the ECS left Crewe station before I could ask him; the guys sitting across the table (and facing backwards) saw no exhaust plumes throughout the day and none of the videos that I have seen seem to show the 47 “working”, so ??

    A word of constructive criticism; the PA was not used throughout the day, I do favour some minimal use, and think that it would be an improvement. “Welcome aboard those passengers who have just joined us”, “We are stopping because . . .”, “Sorry we are running late but we expect to be back in (station) at (time)”

    My thanks to all who planned and operated the trip and especially NR who got us back at a reasonable time despite us running late. Just a word of thanks to Virgin staff; they never failed to get me to and from my trips and it was always a pleasure to travel with them and I hope that all goes well with their new employer.

    It has often been said that Saphos “have raised the bar”, on this trip they “moved the goalposts”! On the return journey, a trio of young ladies, complete with (digital) musical accompaniment visited each coach and entertained the passengers with close harmony singing – think Andrews Sisters. There were a party of 30 or 40, who boarded at Crewe, wearing dinner jackets, evening dresses etc – maybe it was entertainment for them . . . So stewards of RTC and WCRC, I am expecting a bowler-hatted and moustachioed Barber’s Shop Quartet (RalphW and West Brom Tom please note). It was good to meet NP’s @Paul42, not only meet but sit next to him.

    I know that Saphos are not everyone’s favourite, but I understand that more Mk1s are in the pipeline. No7 is expected late next year, Blue Peter shortly after that and Britannia is to hopefully undergo a quick re-cert during the middle of next year. With a stud of locos like that, can you afford to stay away?

    So what was the silly, old sod on about; a Scot and a loco running on “false plates”? Many will have “got it” 46100 is of course a Scot AND was originally 6152 The King’s Dragoon Guardsman before permanently exchanging identities in 1933 prior to “Royal Scot” visiting the USA – so “false plates”. Idiot, I hear you shout (and you’re probably not wrong!)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  7. jsm8b

    jsm8b Part of the furniture

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    46100 at Chapel Lane, Acton Bridge.

    Entertaining report from @Oswald T Wistle as ever.

    On the mention of Walton Old Jct :-
    Walton Old Jct was my old spotting haunt in 67 - 68 , and in those days too the viaduct was just visible from the back bedroom in our house. Steam over the 'old' line now is quite rare and I had intended to head there had the drive from Shropshire not been very slow.


    DSC_5997 46100   Chapel Ln, Acton Bridge 071219.JPG
     
  8. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    Good to meet you too. Geoff and myself made the Manchester - Euston train , which was held due to the late running Liverpo0l to Euston train, passengers had just finished getting off as I arrived on the platform. I had forgotten that there were two footbridges at Crewe. Plenty of spare seats since it was too early for the Man U fans to head home on. Your report is up to your usual high factual and entertaining standards. I need more practise, my brief report will follow in due course.
     
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  9. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    Well this was my first trip with Saphos. I had never travelled over Copy Pit or any part of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and based on the approximate timings the trip only required one night away from home. When the tickets arrived and actual timings arrived I could have made it out and back in a day, but decided to keep my hotel booking have a lie in and breakfast at a civilised time.

    After breakfast I couild hear , but not see a loco in steam ( and with limited time to see any of the top 10 attactions in Crewe which include a retail park and football stadium ) I walked all the way round right up to Locomotive Services entrance where I could see Royal Scot in steam before checking out of my hotel.Royal Scot was a new local for me on the mainline - my 43rd, my previous attemps to travel behind her had failed, one trip cancelled, the other she failed the FTR, slighty better than 46115 which took me
    four attemps, seem to be jinxed with Scots.

    The coaches have been restored to a a high standard, clean the lights all worked, slightly on the cold side but the door to the lobby was stuck open and the 2 droplights fully open ( heating was turned up later when someone from Saphos came round) toilets the best on any charter rake have been on. The buffet had a very smart compact kitchen behind the counter, when I ordered my bottled real ale was given a substantial glass tankerd to pour it into. Downsides - fixed arm rest between seats making it diffcult to get in and out, and PA not used. Saphos have set the bar high. The three young ladies singing provided a more upmarket entertainment than the days gone by of the ones ones selling raffle tickets.

    A very enjoyable trip and good company , little asssistance from the diesel and could clearly hear the loco which I wasn't expecting. My best run behind a Scot ( my only run behind 46115 had noticable diesel assistance ).
    While I prefer a Mk1, I will definately be travelling behind Saphos again, will try out the sandwiches and Bacon rolls to see how it compares with others and would like an unassisted run behind a Scot .
     
  10. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    I have just been taking another look at the excellent pics and videos of this trip, thank you. One video caught my eye, that posted by acw71000 and particularly the sequence at Copy Pit. Earlier in the year @Where's Mazzepa? contacted me to ask if I knew exactly where the summit was at Copy Pit; some sources give it as MP26.25 and others as the Relay Room. Graham did some excellent research and found a copy of an L&Y accident investigation and, with a bit of number crunching, the summit was found to be 3 chains east of the Relay Room. I visited site to see if there was any evidence that would confirm this. I did find a gradient marker about 15-20 yds west of MP26.25, this shows "level" to the west but is missing its other arm. This suggests a short plateau at the summit (around 2 chains) - and is supported by GPS data.

    So Relay Room (26m 14ch). Summit (26m 17ch). Gradient Marker (26m 19ch). MP26.25 (26m 20ch). Burnley Road O/B (26m 30ch). Austin's video, taken from the road bridge shows all the elements, the gradient marker can be seen leaning in towards the track (beware the foreshortening effects of a long lens). The summit coincides with the site of the former pipe crossing over the line. As I was unsure if any trace of this crossing was visible (it is on the adjacent road), I took a time to the Relay Room and when adjusted for the difference, Gannow Jn to Copy Pit Summit 9m 19s.

    CopyPit1.JPG
    CopyPit2.JPG
     
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  11. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    Many thanks indeed - and likewise to acw71000 - for that. I couldn't have wished for a more perfect illustration of the ingredients of Copy Pit's summit section, and armed with this level of precision and clarity, I look forward to my next encounter on RTC's Cotton Mill Express at the end of February.
     
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  12. acw71000

    acw71000 Member Friend

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    Happy to help!
     
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  13. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, Saphos Trains are pleased to present for your entertainment, live from The Brewery Junction Loop here in Manchester, The Three Belles . . .



    Anyway, must dash, I'm off to be interviewed on The Andrew Neil Show, seems someone let them down, oh, and I must get some chicken.
     

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