Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by mike1522, Dec 31, 2019.
I’d call it quarantined with the gin cupboard opened
Gin? Is that all that’s left in oh yaaaaaaah village?
For yourself I was implying... I’ve cracked open the Stagg Bourbon from the cabinet while the Chateau Petrus decants in the cellar while I see this through.
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I too received an email offering me the choice of transferring to a trip later in the year or receiving a refund. The whole steam industry will come under enormous economic pressures in the coming weeks and months; little or no income, regular outgoings and whatever reserves of cash or credit they may have. Which company might be most at risk is impossible (for me) to assess. I feel that many of us owe RTC a debt of gratitude - for many years they have taken us to places we couldn't think would be accessible to steam (and to Carlisle) all fronted by one (or two) many magnificent steam locomotives (and often at a discounted price).
As I guess several others may already have done I've asked RTC to keep the money for this trip; it may put a loaf of bread on someone's table or a toilet roll (if you can get 'em) in someone's bathroom. I understand that other people's circumstances may be different, but if you've already paid then maybe you could think about doing the same for this or a booking later in the year. Maybe those who do not travel but who take photos and videos could contact RTC and make a small gift? Rest assured without RTC mainline steam would be a much poorer place - think about it!
Within the next couple of days I, Mrs W and Oswald Jnr will be confined to barracks for the duration. I am within touching distance of 70, Mrs W is much, much younger (she says) and Oswald Jnr is a mere spring chicken. Unfortunately my medication puts me in the high risk category so that means all of us will have to be "locked in" - as of yesterday, Oswald Jnr is now working from home.
I guess many others will find themselves in the same boat so stick to the advice, keep calm and good luck!
Despite my best attempts the lady at RTC says that they are grateful for the offer but would prefer to hold the money on my account; this they have now done. Short of stuffing some notes in an unmarked envelope I have reluctantly had to give up. Other operators may be more willing to accept a gift.
They do a good job putting up with us Senior passengers, allegedy. I'm praying a new date for my booking on GB2020 doesnt clash with a holiday already booked. I with others were so prepared for and looking forward to another feast of steam travel.
P.S. Can I re purpose the M & S biscuits I dropped them off in December when passing, was also for now lol.
I was booked to travel on yesterday's WCME which, of course, was cancelled. I did wonder what might have happened had it just "sneaked under the wire". I offer the following in hope that it might provide a few minutes reading and provoke a few thoughts for those of you staying at home. I further hope that the forum elves, aka the Mods, may show a generosity of spirit and allow it to remain here for a few days before sweeping it into the darker recesses of the forum.
The Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express 28 March 2020 – 60009 Union of South Africa hauling 10+POB
Well it was postponed, but as Jim Bowen could have said, “Let’s see what might have run.” It is a little known fact that Oswald attended the same secondary school as Jim Bowen; he was there several years before me. Another much earlier pupil was one, Oliver Vernon Snell Bulleid who, whilst attending the school, lodged with a family in Oswaldtwistle – small world (and this paragraph IS true!).
Tickets on this train were by invitation only; one passenger and one steward per coach. I drove to Preston on almost deserted roads. The sunny weather of the last week had been replaced by bright, cloudy conditions but with a brisk and cool easterly wind. I counted six cars on the (no charge today) station car park. In the station the platforms were eerily empty. Bang on time Les Ross drew the train into the station and stopped. (I say bang on time based, not on any available information – there was none – but compared with the usual schedule). I boarded and took my seat at the front of coach E, West Brom Tom was “my” steward and was seated at the other end of the coach; all of the top lights were open. We stopped in Carnforth loop and Les Ross was detached. There was the sound of a chime whistle; a shiver ran down the back of my neck, as promised the old girl had made it. Shortly afterwards there was a slight jolt as No 9 and support were attached. I was now in the 6th coach (of 11; no kitchen car today). We waited for the Manchester Airport to Edinburgh to pass (5L) even on a day with a much reduced timetable it had somehow managed to be late.
There was a long blast on the chime and with Peter Walker driving and Martin Soames firing we were away (6L). No9 was soon chattering merrily away; 36 before Yealand Bank, back down to 33 on the climb but back up to 36 as I passed the summit. Next, some very good acceleration as we reached a max of almost 68 at Beela Viaduct, this fell back to 66 at Milnthorpe (5L); the start of the climb to Grayrigg had begun.
[Half a mile north of the now defunct Milnthorpe station we pass under Rowell Lane. A couple of hundred yards east of the bridge lies the farm of Rowell acquired in 1535 by my great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great-grandfather, Christopher Croft. His son, Leonard bought the farm outright together with more land in the area (including the route of the WCML) and it remained in Croft ownership until 1775. Late in life, Leonard moved to Sedbergh. His 3 greats granddaughter married into the Wistle family at Dent in 1754; she was the mother of Leonard Wistle (miller of Gawthrop). So, Oswald has a very, very long standing connection with the route of the CME].
The wonderous sound from No9’s kylchap exhaust was a measure of the power being produced as we shot through Oxenholme at 56 (4L); the chime whistle sounded the length of the platform and more. The 1/178r at Oxenholme soon stiffens with five miles of 1/131r (or steeper) to Lambrigg, despite this speed held well (46). The final couple of miles to Grayrigg are at 1/106r and UoSA responded with a battling 44 at the summit (2L), minimum on the climb 42. So far, so very good (for an old girl at the very end of her ticket), but what would recovery be like?
We were up to 48 as we crossed under the M6 to the north of Grayrigg loops and 61 as we gently climbed past Low Gill, now for the charge with a max of 76 through the Lune Gorge. Still over 74 at Tebay S, 72 as we crossed the North Lune Viaduct, 70 as we crossed under the M6 and still 66 as we crossed Birbeck Viaduct – this had the makings of a seriously good climb. Another half mile and we passed under the Greenholme road bridge (60) on past empty roads and fields. The exhaust was wonderfully noisy but Shap has no respect for steam locos, last run or not. We reached Scout Green where speed had fallen to 44; No9 was starting to dig in with 41 at Shap Wells. On the side of the cutting at Shap Wells were 2 men with video recorders (at least 20 metres apart, and I saw 2 cars). It was the Kendalinos; travelling separately – well done lads, but how did they find out about this “hush, hush” train? Speed fell to 37 at MP37¼, with a minimum of 35.5 but recovered to 38 at the Summit Board. This was a terrific climb, and a splendid way for No9 to bow out.
With the help of gravity we were soon gathering speed; 73 at Thrimby Grange and a max of 77 before Clifton and Lowther. Speed remained high and we shot through Penrith at 74, chime in use long before we got there; long mournful blasts, short rapid blasts and everything in between telling the world “A4 coming through!” Speed climbed imperceptibly and we were up to 78 around Plumpton, then approaching Calthwaite, on falling gradients, we touched 88 and speed remained above 80 until we began slowing as we reached the M6 north of Wreay. As we approached Carlisle, Scots Guardsman and support were waiting in High Wapping siding, facing south. We ran straight into platform 3 and stopped. Carlisle station was deserted.
Observing a strict protocol those of us on board were allowed to make our way to the front; @1020 Shireman and @gricerdon appeared to be having an animated discussion about the “true” location of Shap summit. We looked on as No9 and support were detached; the signal cleared and, with a long melodious blast from the chime, she set off for her final home in Scotland. We watched until steam was no longer visible and the sound of the chime whistle was only a cherished memory.
Whilst our backs had been turned SG and support had been attached to the south end of the stock. A couple of blasts on the hooter signalled that we should re-join the train which we did. The service trains on all the lines, in and out of Carlisle, had been cut back to a bare minimum so it seemed to be “run when ready”. Mick Kelly and Rob Russell were on the footplate and, less than 20 minutes after arriving, got us underway. I was now in the 7th coach and, as before, all the windows were open.
We passed under the M6 at 30, this increased on the 1/132r to 34 at Cumwhinton. Speed built on the short level section and we were up to 44 at Howe & Co but as we climbed the 1/132r speed fell to 36 beyond Cotehill. Once past the summit we were up to 45 at Low House Xng and still under power we crossed Drybeck Viaduct at 57, through Armathwaite at 54 and up to 62 across Armathwaite Viaduct and a shade under into the tunnel. The sound of the exhaust was tremendous as we climbed the 1/220r, in and out of the tunnels, with a shade under 60 at the summit beyond Baron Wood No1 Tunnel. On through Lazonby & Kirkoswald (62) and up to 66 across Long Meg Viaduct where the river had returned to its more usual flow. We blasted up the 1/132r and were still a shade over 60 as we passed Little Salkeld before speed fell to 55 at Langwathby. Speed remained around the 60 mark as we tore along before finally slowing as we approached Appleby. Express running on a former express line – awesome, enjoyable, noisy, all of these and more.
We were not allowed out at Appleby; the ice cream ladies were nowhere to be seen. [I had planned to end my self-imposed ice cream fast; begun 24th December last year – how the fates conspire! I would gladly forgo ice cream forever if it would somehow end this madness and uncertainty.] It took just under 15 minutes to take water. SG’s safety valves lifted noisily and with a blast from the hooter we headed south.
The rail conditions were conducive to a quick start and we reached 57 as we left Ormside Viaduct and the start of the 1/100r. Speed fell back to 53 at Ormside where the safety valves shut and the roar from the chimney no longer had a competitor. We were charging along and into Helm Tunnel at 42, down to 33 across Griseburn Viaduct, where the gradient eases and up to 47 at Crosby Garrett with a max of 56 just after leaving CG Tunnel. Beyond here the gradient reverts to 1/100r and the roaring stepped up a level, 54 across Smardale Viaduct, 46 through Kirkby Stephen, into Birkett Tunnel at 40 and out at 41. The gradient eases to 1/330r before Mallerstang (47) and up to a max of 49 just beyond Sycamore Tree Farm; SG showed no signs of tiring. The roar was unbelievable, cinders the size of rice grains were showering in through the windows. The ruling gradient was back (1/100r), but SG was having none of it; roar, roar and ROAR again, no surrender, 45 across Ais Gill viaduct, 43 under the road bridge and then she was eased slightly, back to a minimum of 42 and up to 46 at the summit board.
That glorious chimney noise was now quiet as we dropped down towards Garsdale, through Dent, past Blea Moor SB and down the hill, alongside the still flooded fields approaching Long Preston before finally stopping in Hellifield loop for more water. It was here that I remembered that I had not eaten since leaving home that morning. A “hand wash” with sanitising gel was a necessary prelude to eating a hot cross bun filled with vintage cheddar. Exactly 20 minutes after stopping we were away again, past the signal box and easing to the right and towards Clitheroe. The countryside was becoming greener; Spring had arrived (just).
The number of services from Clitheroe to Man Vic had been greatly reduced and there were huge gaps between trains and we were bang in the middle of one of those gaps. Clear through Horrocksford Jn and up to 50 at Clitheroe and speed settled around this figure until we sighted the distant at Whalley; green. SG was opened up and we blasted through Whalley station at 56 and across “The Arches” to begin our climb of Wilpshire Bank (1/81½r). Speed fell away, as it must, 49 as we passed behind Billington, 47 through Langho, 43 into Wilpshire Tunnel and down to 39 as we thundered through Ramsgreave and Wilpshire with a minimum of 37 at the summit. This was a terrific performance and an awesome soundtrack.
We had an uneventful run back through Blackburn and were unchecked as we ran along the WCML to stop in pl5 at Preston (ridiculously early). I was the only passenger who left at Preston and I remained on the platform just long enough to see SG and support head home and I did the same arriving at 17.40. Mrs W was finishing a jig saw and drinking a glass of wine; at a little after half past five in the afternoon!! – just what time does she start?!
My thanks to all those who weren’t involved in the planning or operating of this trip. I wait with eager anticipation for the videos and photos – I really do! This was an unbelievable day, so good that you couldn’t possibly make it up. Remember no speed limits were actually broken, no infrastructure was damaged and Oswald never left home.
This was an OTW production and was just a bit of fun to maybe help pass a few minutes of what could become endless steamless days “confined to barracks”. Stay Home and Save Lives and remember, coronavirus is spread by aerosol action and spread more rapidly by the action of arseholes who won’t heed the advice.
UoSA may now have gone without a fitting send off so, thank you Mr Cameron for allowing many of us to travel behind or watch your magnificent machine.
Lovely! Thanks for brightening my day!
A few days? Some hope....
Did you get a virtual picture of Ralph (West Brom Tom) in his Hazmat Suit??? Please post here. Congrats on winning the Shap challenge!!! How do we input a virtual like mods??
Don't worry Oswald if Al dares to remove it I'll put it back, I've already taken a copy just in case.
Well Graham, I did get a photo but the film wouldn’t rewind and I had to open the back of the camera and that’s how the light got in. Yes, the only time that I have won the Shap challenge so I’m 20p up . . . hang on it was my 20p. Now I am really looking forward to your log, just the climbs will do.
Thanks Ralph, always good to have friends in high places.
Wonderful David, thank you so much for providing such an tonic in these dark steamless days.
What about an encore?
Almost two years ago, Tornado was due to run Kings Cross to York with a 90 mph maximum. But it didn't.
But what if it did?
Peter on a fine March morning
A lovely flight of fancy, staying (just?) within the bounds of possibility. Thank you. Anyone care to estimate the VDHP (virtual drawbar horsepower) produced by UoSA? 11 Mk1 coaches (all Commonwealth bogies?) but almost empty (10 passengers, 10 stewards, guard & support crew).
Never mind that, I want to see the picture of Ralph in his Hazmat suit standing in an otherwise emptied Mk 1
Thanks Peter, we need a bit of fun in these problematic times; if you wan’t to be miserable watch the news. We were both on the Tornado trip, I confess that I don’t know the route well enough to do justice to such a momentous day (and Big Al’s blood pressure is already higher than an unrebuilt Bulleid) - I’m out!
Thanks, I’ll take a look at the VDHP figures.
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