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2020 Cumbrian Mountain Expresses

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by mike1522, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. Shep Woolley

    Shep Woolley Part of the furniture

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    T'was a bit fresh!!
     
  2. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    What a day. Respectable performance all round without anything exceptional. Good climb from Appleby. 27.5 min to top. But then the vacuum brakes started playing up.

    I have to say that Steve Chipperfield was really impressive in restarting BIL on Wilpshire Bank in the rain. So much for Bulleids and their supposed tendency to slip.

    Baled out at Preston and only a little adrift at EUS from when we should have been back.
     
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  3. walkerp1

    walkerp1 Member

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  4. Will RL

    Will RL Member

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    Not long home after a very late return.

    Having lost out on last year’s opportunity to travel behind 35018 owing to injector failure, I took my chances with the discount offered to try again. BIL has become a well bedded in member of the Carnforth fleet and I was looking forward to a good run.
    I’m always impressed by 86259’s contribution to the CME’s tearing up the WCME to get us to the “action” without having to endure silly hours to get to and from it. Northbound was no exception.
    BIL on at Carnforth, away we went. Nothing particularly noteworthy on the run north, Grayrigg and Shap dismissed without seemingly great amounts of input, especially noting such a drastic drop in speed on Shap...
    As for the return, again wasn’t much of a typical BIL romp as we’ve come to know so well. Ais Gill seemingly took a while to get to. After the Hellifield stop however is where the problems lied... As storm Jorge hit, as did brake problems - three times we stopped, first near Clitheroe, once on Wilpshire and finally before Blackburn. There were a fair few slips on Wilpshire but credit to Mr Chipperfield for getting us over the top in harsh conditions.
    Unfortunately back at Preston two hours out of schedule, difficulty was then found uncoupling the POB from the train, which in term delayed 86259 backing on. Eventually off some two and a half hours late, we got away only to be told we were too late to beat the Trent Valley engineering block, and so we went through Birmingham... those for Nuneaton and Northampton were set up with Taxis and at 23:51 (little over three hours late), we arrived at Rugby.

    It’s more so a summery of the day rather than the great reviews we are given by the likes of Oswald, Shiremam et al... I appear on the odd tour here and there and take it all in. My thanks to those enduring such a long day and providing us all with a days entertainment!

    34C03D4B-5C6B-4325-98AB-09BD665025B2.jpeg
     
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  5. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Very unusual to see the sun out on Shap in winter. The minimum was actually 26.2 with BIL not being pushed there or on Grayrigg
     
  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    So in the cold light of day, how did yesterday go in all its elements? I'll try to be brief and leave the extended detail to the story tellers and those who have an hour or two to read such stuff.

    We left Carnforth in our path, courtesy of on time northbound services - 11 for 430 gross. Yealand was climbed at a steady 32 and the push to Grayrigg was started at 62 with a 38 minimum. A steady recovery through the Lune Gorge with 72 just before Tebay before what I'd describe as a steady but not a particularly punchy attack of Shap. There was no reason for this although Steve Chipperfield said that he was a little wary of adhesion with the loco despite the dry rail. Down to 40 by Scout Green and over the top at 26 after a little more muscle in the last half mile or so. The usual descent into Carlisle reached in a respectable 71 min 40 seconds and on time.

    We were five late away on the return due to other Carlisle movements. After a tentative exit passed Durran Hill it was a decent climb to Low House and we pushed on close to 60 towards Appleby reached in 43.31. Leaving Appleby we were up to 54 across Ormside and made a steady ascent to Ais Gill without any real effort to go over the top in an average time of 27.24 at 37. Surprisingly, we then dropped three minutes in a very muted descent to Hellifield that perhaps was a sign of things to come.

    Much track-side activity for an hour in the rain on the approach to Clitheroe where we sat out of harm's way while the West Coast crew, guard and engineers fiddled with the coaching stock. Away again and going well until the brakes touched on at Whalley for no apparent reason and then dragged as we climbed Wilpshire until we stopped at MP 16¼. I honestly thought we were now stuck but, amazingly, Steve got us going again after another twenty minutes stationary while the poor West Coast folk toiled in the rain. Quite a feat of enginemanship and credit also to the loco.

    And so to Preston in a very jerky manner that told us all was still not well with the vacuum brake and at the rear we did wonder whether there was some 'brake coordination' taking place between the footplate and the guard's brake in the rear coach. Anyway, two hours down at Preston.

    Now the sad side. The announcements were not working properly through the train (again!) and so information was sketchy for those in Standard even though the train manager did what he could. With the prospect, now, of a Euston arrival at least two hours late - and enthusiasts all know what happens to late running trains on the WCML at night - I was expecting some clear advice to passengers. But no; each to their own. So a group of us saw that the 2005 to Euston was due in a few minutes and we left the train. For me it was so I could actually get home across London and to the south. For others it was so they could guarantee a connection at Crewe, down to Wales, for example.

    I know that it's not helpful to use hindsight but I honestly think that at this point at least those bound for London should have been told to leave and get the train from Glasgow. It was obvious back at Whalley that this was necessary when calls could have been made and favours asked. Milton Keynes? The same could apply. Presumably those who eventually arrived at 0030 had cars and taxis that could help. But, after the diversion via Birmingham, this was not good. And I felt particularly sorry for the 'non enthusiast' couple with me who I left at Preston when clearly they would be in trouble when the train eventually rolled into Euston three hours late.

    My heart also goes out to the poor stewards who, unlike me, were imprisoned on the train. And what could have been a swift loco change-over at Preston turned into a classic Network Rail, 'when we are ready' activity lasting an hour rather than 40 minutes. They will have known the worst was yet to come.
     
  7. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Thanks Al. Yes I got the impression that BIL wasn't being pushed at all and the only noise I heard from 3 coaches back was the final mile up Shap and then not that deep roar you get from an MN being worked in full and 40. Just a morning jaunt then. Maybe Stev was being easy on the new fireman but apparently there was plenty of steam. We had already decided to return early so caught the 1449 Avanti to Euston, which arrived 23 late after losing time the whole way, combination of station overtime and lost path. Bring back Virgin where we were often early in Euston especially off the 1903 Preston. This followed our 20 late arrival at Crewe in the morning. Anyway we missed the fun later on and I have to say that RTC were very remiss in not arranging alternative travel from Preston. Did nobody take charge? Did you all have to pay on Avanti? Did you get home Graham?
     
  8. Paul42

    Paul42 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your report. When company provides a product/service ( not just charter trains) how they manage things when things go wrong, will determine whether people use them again, particularly new customers. Graham and yourself definitely made the right decision although agree it should have been arranged for others to travel on the same train particularly with the closure of the West Coast mainline.
     
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  9. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Just for the record, the minimum at the summit just before Yealand was 33.0, at Grayrigg 38.4 and at the top of the 1-in-75 on Shap (which is MP 37.5 Graham, not 37.25) was 26.2. Very little noise anywhere.71 min 40 secs Carnforth loop to Carlisle 63.22 miles on the GPS.
     
  10. 30567

    30567 Part of the furniture Friend

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    When I saw Will's post on the bank in heavy rain and with the Clitheroe-Rochdale unit one section behind, I thought you might be up the creek without a paddle. Quite an achievement by the whole of the crew to get out of that.

    My impression is that in general, BIL has been driven well within herself. A 75 min schedule to Carlisle and 108 mins from Carlisle to Hellifield with that load is not testing if the aim is to time the train. What will be interesting one day in good weather will be a 10 late departure from Carnforth with the following trains on time.
     
  11. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Yes with a mere 11 on I am sure that 35018 could do it in 63 minutes. Any of the Carnforth crews would be OK.
     
  12. leander

    leander New Member

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  13. Britfoamer

    Britfoamer Well-Known Member

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    Just missed the sun at Grayrigg, raw day at Aisgill, just caught in the gathering gloom away from Hellifield, just made it back to the car before the rain. P1120156.JPG P1120159.JPG P1120160.JPG
     
  14. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    As one who traveled on this service I wonder what effect the strong winds had on performance; I don't sense much comment on this from some of the postings on this thread.
     
  15. Optom1

    Optom1 New Member

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    The best reference I can find on the effects of wind effect is in O.S. Nock's “Sixty years ofWestern Express Running”, page 202. 4074 ran three dynamometer test runs from Swindon to Taunton on three different days. Shap and the S&C have areas exposed to westerly winds intermittently, unlike Yatton to Taunton which is exposed low level flat lands. To maintain 64 mph with the train having to cope with a strong crosswind (all fifteen coaches of it) a 38% increase in h.p. from870 to 1200 hp was needed when strong cross winds were encountered. Not quite the S&C, but towards the top of Shap 3-4 mph?
     
  16. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    Whilst agreeing in principle with your comments, as a passenger in Coach H I was aware of announcements once information became available and therefore praise the stewards for keeping passengers informed. Having caught the 20:05 to Euston you would - presumably - have been unaware of problems detaching 35018 + POB from the train (IIRC the same difficulty had arisen at Carlisle with Coach J on the outward journey) hence the delay in attaching 86259 and the lost opportunity to catch up sufficient time to traverse the Trent Valley before Network Rail took possession for engineering works.

    In fairness to RTC their tours normally work well but with all mechanical things faults can - and do - arise and yesterday was one such occasion. The footplate crew; the stewards on the train and the WCRC staff did their best and their efforts at least ensured a successful albeit delayed arrival at Preston. My congratulations to them all.
     
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  17. Paul42

    Paul42 Well-Known Member

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  18. nige757

    nige757 Well-Known Member

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    35018 seen at Deep Gill as Storm Jorge blows in

     
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  19. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    The delay could have been prolonged even further had this happened on Saturday evening. <BJ>

    From National Rail Enquiries 1/3/2020:

    ''A landslip at Weaver Junction, which is near Acton Bridge, is resulting in all lines being closed today to allow Network Rail to carry out emergency repairs.
    Trains between Wigan North Western and Crewe may also be cancelled or revised.''
     
  20. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    I too wondered if you had to cough up a walk up fare or if Avanti took pity on you. I have read on other forums many horror stories of how badly Avanti are treating their own ticketed passengers (including only being able to choose a seat if you use a third part booking site such as Trainsplit). Just wondered how those of you that bailed got on.
     

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