Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Davo, Feb 22, 2022.
Thank you, much apprecaiated
I can only echo the plaudits. While my locomotive interests lie elsewhere, I'm not so partisan that I shun what seemed an attractive itinerary with what was, for a good slice of the journey, the right type of locomotive for the right route.
There was some very nice running earlier in the day around Cosford, but that was clearly a warm-up. Looking at various YouTube videos, there's no discernible effort from the diesel, so it makes the day rather more impressive.
I think bowling along between Chipping Sodbury and Wootton Bassett will stick in the memory for a while. The run through the middle roads at Oxford at speed was also impressive, as was the climb of Hatton Bank, which was loud enough from the penultimate carriage. To top it off, a 19-minute early arrival allowed a no-nonsense(-ish, thanks to the satnav) departure for points north in the car.
Generally speaking, after reading about some of the snagging issues on here, I felt I should give VT the benefit of the doubt and experience things for myself. I'm glad I did, as things seemed to run smoothly from my perspective, and as such, given the right itinerary, I would be happy to do another long run in future.
A very enjoyable day, I hope you enjoy the video.
Here's my footage of Clun Castle roaring up Llanvihangel Bank and passing Huckford Viaduct at Winterbourne with The Welsh Marches Express in beautiful sunshine and making an outstanding noise for such a beautiful locomotive. Also included is Flying Scotsman on the Cotswold Venturer on the same day. I hope you enjoy the video.
A day later and I can only echo the views many have expressed. I booked this trip quite quickly when I saw it advertised and having been impressed by the set up from the Duchess trip last year - it really didn't disappoint. I am a VT shareholder and I am pleased to see what they have done.
I wasn't born until 1983, so I have no recollection of regular mainline steam, but from what I can gather from those on board (& on here) yesterday provided a pretty close recreation. I have done a few mainline trips in the last 20 or so years and this was from the very top drawer and will live long in the memory.
I think the comments from our Australian posters above should perhaps provide a reality check - the fact that yesterday's run took place at all, 54 years on from 1968, is a miracle and we should all count ourselves lucky and fortunate. I remember another account from some American enthusiasts who saw more working steam locos in 5 days visiting the UK last year than in all of the USA.
Nearly 300 miles of mainline steam, much of it above 60mph (and a bit more), is remarkable and a tribute to those who strive to keep it there. They deserve our support, not negativity, so we can keep it going a bit longer, because I don't know about anyone else - I quite fancy a repeat?!!
Couple of shots my son took at Hereford station yesterday. The sun came out just at the right time!
Tyseley’s finest throughout.
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Superb video (as I was hoping/expecting!). The second clip alongside the foot crossing at Dudgeley Mill is a little bit 'different' from usual and all the better for it I reckon. (The bridge in the background of the going away shot is Farm Lane, along which my parents used to live!)
Many thanks and for providing the details for the locations.
Clun down the Marches and the long way home 5 March 2022
For their first steam excursion of the year, Vintage Trains chose to take their pristine GWR 4-6-0 No 7029 Clun Castle for a run down the Welsh Marches. But as you will read, we didn’t just turn round and come back again, we took a wide anticlockwise sweep along several iconic GWR routes, arriving back (fittingly) at Birmingham Snow Hill after nearly 300 miles of steam.
Some 11 hours earlier we had set off on a lively run north to Wolverhampton, where we turned left to pick up the old GWR route from Paddington to Chester and Birkenhead. The sun was shining on us as we headed briskly westwards, passing Oxley at 60, Bilbrook at 67 and 72 at Albrighton. We hammered on downhill for a while through Cosford until the gradient up to Shifnal restrained us a bit, but we were nine minutes early by Shrewsbury.
We were held on the triangle awaiting a departure from the station, and revelled at the view of the massive manual signalbox in full sun. Then it was off down the old North and West route towards Newport. Straight into the climb, we were doing 35 at Bayston Hill, 40 at Condover and 50 at Dorrington. As the gradient steepened we were down to 35 at Leebotwood and 31 at All Stretton, but made it back to 37 at Church Stretton and 36 over the top. We cantered in the 50s and 60s on the mostly downhill stretch, and by Shelwick Junction had made up for our four minute late start from Shrewsbury. So we had an on-time arrival into Hereford for a 2.5 hour break, with more photo opportunities in the continuing sunshine.
On the restart we made gentle progress, reaching 64 at Pontrilas but then the climb to Llanfihangel began to take its toll. We were down to 44 at Pandy: the speed gradually degraded and we went over the top at 30. We roared away downhill and were well up to line speed by Abergavenny, but slowed after Nantyderry by the next uphill stretch. Little more of note on the following saw-tooth stretch, and we were soon at Maindee where we would join another great GWR line, from Paddington to South Wales, now electrified.
Heading east now past the derelict Llanwern steelworks site, we dawdled along with time to kill before our path through the Severn Tunnel. When the time came we stormed away down the hill, presumably to gain as much momentum as possible. We gradually slowed on the upward 1 in 100, emerging at 18 mph, averaging 57 mph over the tunnel stretch. Slowly onward through Pilning, Patchway and Bristol Parkway, we passed Westerleigh Junction at 51 and came out of Chipping Sodbury tunnel at 56. Then away we went. Downhill from Badminton we burst out of Alderton tunnel at 70, our speed rising steadily upwards for ten miles down the 1 in 300 through Hullavington and Little Somerford. But the brakes went on after Brinkworth and we passed sedately through Wootton Bassett Junction: the excitement was over. After a pathing stop at Swindon (our engine’s birthplace) we chuffed along in the 60s over Brunel’s billiard table to our water stop at Milton, then turned left once more at Didcot to head back north.
60 through the middle road at Oxford was an exciting new experience, but it was getting dark now and I was enjoying the conversation in the coach, so my records got very thin. At Aynho Junction we returned to the southern section of the Paddington to Birmingham and Chester main line. On through Banbury and Leamington Spa, then slowing to 18 through Warwick for a known speed restriction. We whizzed back up to 39 in the mile to Warwick Parkway and I suspected shovage, so took no further notice of the climb to Hatton. Then in through the suburbs , past Tyseley and Moor Street and up through the tunnel to another iconic GWR location, Birmingham Snow Hill. This was where I alighted, after an excellent day of sunshine and steam. Many thanks to all who made it possible.
16 pictures are at https://pjhtransportpix.zenfolio.com/p660056235
Peter at the end of a sunny afternoon in Manchester
As I mentioned before and agree, this was one in the special category that I’m still reliving now especially the noise climbing Hatton.
Tata Steel's Llanwern is not derelict.
Some of the site is mothballed, such as the hot mill, and yes the 'heavy end' was demolished 20 years ago and is now housing, but the site is very much active. The high end products for automotive are 'finished' at the plant, having been transported up from Port Talbot.
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