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Cotton Mill Express 2020

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by iancawthorne, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. daveannjon

    daveannjon Member

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    Interesting that on part of and60007's video she has a leaking draincock but not on another part (so called Stanier disease).

    dave
     
  2. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    Caused by bits of piston ring getting stuck in the cock causing it to stick open, also a disease of the BR Standards
     
  3. Kylchap

    Kylchap Member

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    Sounds painful.
     
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  4. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Part of the furniture Friend

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    Some old drivers used to reckon that a hard kick to the cock would often displace a ring piece.
     
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  5. osprey

    osprey Member

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    Now that is....PAINFUL:Wtf:....
     
  6. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think most things with steam the manual says; hit it with a hammer, if that does't work, hit it harder!!
     
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  7. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    As an engineer one of the old sayings was 'If in doubt, give it a clout'.

    For some strange reason I never heard the saying once during the 37 years that I worked at Rolls-Royce. ;) <BJ>
     
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  8. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    At BA it was when all else has failed read the manual!
     
  9. 46223

    46223 Part of the furniture Friend

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    ......or put the kettle on!
     
  10. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    A week of dealing with other priorities has also created a little time and space to reflect on a most enjoyable day’s outing with the Cotton Mill Express. In the fullness of time I’m sure this trip will be seen as right at the pinnacle of the best rail-tours of 2020. Some of the best things about the day have already been alluded to; steerage at the front of the formation for a ringside seat to absorb the full acoustic benefit of what was at times a very busy and very forthright three- cylinder chatter; the magnificent climbs of Miles Platting and Copy Pit, and the workman-like performances on the longer but gentler climbs to Standedge and Summit Tunnels, already covered on some detail by OTW’s absorbing account and also PJH Liners neat sum-up of the day; and the marvellous industrial landscapes of the industrial Pennines viewed in the soft clear light of a sunny early spring day (at least until dusk fell and the heavens opened around Manchester!).

    There were a number of underlying aspects of the day that also made this a truly outstanding outing, best explained by way of a retrospective overview of the day’s events.

    First, the way in which the working timetable schedule for the day was flexed to deal with operational factors and ensure that out of course running was fully recovered to minimise the delay to both the Cotton Mill Express and to other scheduled services. First example : the Stalybridge call on the first (morning) circuit to deal with the non-availability of the Diggle Loop, necessitating the dovetailing of the Cotton Mill behind Scarborough, Hull and Newcastle TPE services to enable a clear run through to the Brighouse call, which itself then became just a pause as the water stop was shifted to Sowerby Bridge. In so doing, what had become a 28L arrears at Stalybridge departure had already been whittled down to 6L by the time we had passed Hebden Bridge (from where the water stop had been shifted, back to Sowerby Bridge instead) and to just 2L by the time we had reached the mid-way break at Blackburn.

    And again later in the day, the progressive recovery from arrears totalling 27L at Euxton Junction to a mere 4L by the time we has completed our second circuit via Todmorden and Rochdale to our arrival back at Brewery Junction on the Manchester Victoria eastern approaches. This was accomplished by neatly dovetailing into a slightly later slot within the succession of TPE services over the Diggle/ Standedge route, (of which more in a moment); and then just pausing momentarily at Brighouse and recovering back to just 12L on departure from the second Sowerby Bridge water stop of the day – which again replaced the Hebden Bridge “operational stop”. This pattern of recovery was then rounded off with a further 8 minute gain thereafter along the Calder Valley main line.

    All very impressive, and just a shame that the delayed departure from our lunchtime layover at Blackburn, and the spectre of further incalculable delays that could have been caused by the resultant lost path (the subject of an announcement at Euxton), caused some disquiet to the extent that one fellow passenger at our table in Coach G decided to bale out at our mid-afternoon MVC call, for fear of missing a later connection in a lengthy journey back to a West of England home base.

    The second outstanding feature of the day, and in many ways a direct result of the first, was the lengthy spells of decent uninterrupted running that we were able to enjoy even with significant variation from the intentions of the working timetable. This was something of a surprise or at least something of a relief as I had expected that the Cotton Mill’s itinerary, weaving as it did through a complex network of junctions, important rail arteries and intensive service patterns would prove to be a recipe for faltering progress that would jeopardise the ability to run at hoped-for sustained speeds. But no, after waiting 12 minutes for a path over the junction, we recorded an unchecked time of 39m 32s from Euxton Junction (M6 Overbridge) over the 25.8 miles to Manchester Victoria – and this included the slow 25 PSR passage of the Bolton station layout. This was accomplished with speeds rising progressively to around 58 at Lostock Junction before Bolton and after to 67 at Clifton, north of Salford Crescent. And the unchecked run into Victoria itself was remarkably brisk, with a time of just 4m 46s for the final 1.7 miles from Salford Crescent over the junctions on the western approach to the stop at MVC, and a fleeting maximum of 31 the Oldfield Road overbridge between Windsor Bridge South Junction and Salford Central.

    We had clearly benefitted from the way in which our out-of-path progress was shoe-horned into existing Northern and TPE service patterns, nowhere more clearly demonstrated than by our traverse of the Stalybridge-Huddersfield-Brighouse-Sowerby Bridge section of the itinerary, and especially between Stalybridge and Huddersfield.

    Devising a path within what is a fairly intensive service pattern here must have been quite a challenge; even with out of path running, it all worked successfully in the morning, but slightly less so in the afternoon. Clock-face calling/ passing times at Stalybridge follow a cyclical pattern that allows little leeway for the operation of a slower steam hauled path; roughly x.42 Scarborough, x.50 Hull, x.56 Newcastle, xx.10 Edinburgh, and xx.24 Tees-side/ Redcar. Working timetables for these TPE services allow 19/20 minutes from Stalybridge to the Huddersfield call made by all TPE services. We managed a start-to-pass time of 30 minutes in the morning and 29 minutes on our afternoon circuit. So all other things being equal, we would always need a headway of perhaps 12-15 minutes between services to avoid delays to following trains, as well as a fairly fleet-of-foot performance over this section to make sure of this.

    The morning circuit worked just fine. Departing at 10.58, immediately after the passage of the Nova 3 Newcastle service, we were still just over four minutes ahead of the following Liverpool-Edinburgh service at Huddersfield, so the headway was just about adequate. Not so in the afternoon however. Our original planned departure time of 15.58 was delayed to 16.13 – precisely in the path of the scheduled hourly local all-stations service due to depart at 16.12. (2M81 15.58 from Manchester Piccadilly), which requires an overall time of 29 minutes along this section with four intermediate calls. Its departure was delayed to 16.17 and subsequently ran 5L / 6L to Huddersfield thus delaying in turn the closely-following Teesside service which then arrived at Huddersfield 8L.

    Having completed our passage of this section, we also enjoyed further good fortune along the Calder Valley line, where 2L67 16.17 Leeds-Wigan Wallgate would have preceded the Cotton Mill with a call at 17.07 at Sowerby Bridge. This would have inevitably hampered recovery of our late running after our Sowerby Bridge water stop with the local’s all-stations calling pattern. Instead, our water stop complete, we departed at 17.15, some 6 minutes ahead of the local. It appears that, having been just 2L at Greetland Junction, (which would have placed it ahead of the Cotton Mill on our delayed timings), its lateness had expanded to 15L 1.7 miles further on at Milner Royd Junction. I gather from OTW’s account of the day that this reflected a helpful priority that had been awarded to our late running service from Bradley Wood Junction onwards through Brighouse, albeit at the expense of measurable delays to the Wigan service over this section. So we were spared what could have turned into a real trundle over the Calder Valley section following the local, and instead enjoyed some of the day’s brightest running.

    And this, as a final tour-de-force for the day, turned out to be a simply magnificent dash from the Sowerby Bridge water stop to Summit Tunnel, and an overall 30m 14s start to pass time for the 24.6 miles from Sowerby Bridge to Moston – equating to a 48.8 mph point to point average, prior to slowing for the approach to the Brewery Sidings operational stop. What a finale!!

    All of which I hope adds some perspective to the information about the speeds we achieved along these sections and performance against schedule, already chronicled by OTW and PGHL. I wonder when was the last time the Calder Valley route saw a westbound performance of this stature – with steam - on anything like a comparable basis?

    A third distinctive feature of the day was the opportunity that it afforded through the two circuit itinerary to indulge in and enjoy a kind of self-contained “Jubilee+10” time trial that enabled a direct comparison between the morning and afternoon runs over the sections between Stalybridge and Hall Royd Junction. As would be gauged by the comparative speeds reported by OTW, the second (afternoon) run was marginally the quicker of the two, and this is reflected in a series of timings from restart as follows…….

    From Stalybridge to Mossley (2.6 miles) 26 seconds quicker, to Greenfield (4.8 m) 33 seconds quicker, to Diggle Box (6.84 m) 50 seconds quicker, and the same into Standedge Tunnel. Passing Huddersfield Station (17.85 miles), 59 seconds quicker in 28m 55s from Stalybridge, it was clear that most of the gains on the second run had come from a faster start and sustained higher climbing speeds thereafter as far as the tunnel, with not much to choose between them after that. But in perspective, these were remarkably good times anyway when compared with runs in BR days. Looking at eastbound runs with 7P Royal Scot power in the late 50’s/early 60’s, typical times for Stalybridge (pass) to Huddersfield (stop) averaged 28 – 30 minutes with Load 12 or 13 (390 – 410 tons tare) compared with our Load 10 estimated at 370 tare / 395 gross (any advance on this??) and our times of c.29 and c.30 minutes. A fair sum-up, 6P versus 7P, and 60 years on?…….“Not far short of Not Bad” as Eric Morecambe might have pronounced!!

    A similar pattern of faster starts on the afternoon circuit was also seen from the Brighouse pause, with a time some 18 seconds quicker in 5m 44s to the exit from Elland Tunnel (3.1 miles); and from the Sowerby Bridge water stop to the Eastwood Footbridge (i.e. like-for-like, before the slowing for Hall Royd Junction on the morning run), where the afternoon run covered the progressively steepening 6.9 miles in 10m 41s, some 41 seconds quicker.

    Overall, and with so many praiseworthy aspects of the performance by Alberta/ Galatea and her crews on offer, I finally concluded that the run along the Calder Valley main line from Sowerby Bridge through Summit Tunnel to Brewery Junction was probably, for me, the stand-out memory of the day. I must admit my expectations hadn’t been particularly high, but how the day really had delivered as it unfolded! And with the sought-after traverse of rare mileage from Phillips Park to Ashbury Junctions thrown into the mix too, the day turned out to be an all-round delight.

    And aside from the Cotton Mill Express itself, there was the very great pleasure of meeting David/ OTW and RalphW for the first time during our lunchtime stop-over at Blackburn. And intriguing to learn via David that John Heaton, RPS member, doyen of British train timers and author of the monthly Practice and Performance column in the “Railway Magazine” was on-board. With such an auspicious presence, perhaps we will be fortunate enough to see a record of the day’s events appear in its columns in a future edition. I do hope so!

    So back to my opening gambit. This really must qualify as a leading contender for a 2020 Rail-tour of the Year accolade, even if the year has barely started, because I just can’t see how its many ingredients could be bettered in any all-round setting. Seems a little ironic to laud this praise and appreciation on an RTC excursion on the very day when, just a few tens of miles further north in the Pennines, much less fortunate customers of RTC were enduring such a difficult day on the WCME. But the praise and appreciation stands for what we were able to enjoy on the Cotton Mill Express, and my thanks go to all at WCRC and RTC who made such a great day happen. I hope those who clamour for a repeat Cotton Mill won’t, in the fullness of time, be disappointed!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
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  11. pjhliners

    pjhliners Member Friend

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    John Heaton has asked me to pass on that he has written a full article about the tour for the Railway Magazine, which should appear in the May edition unless circumstances intervene.

    Peter on a wet Manchester morning
    https://pjhtransportpix.zenfolio.com/p81442127
     
  12. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    It would seem that thanks should also be extended to some signallers for helping the railtour on its way.
     
  13. pjhliners

    pjhliners Member Friend

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    Well here we are in May, in a completely different world. But at least the Railway Magazine has delivered John Heaton's article on the Cotton Mill trip in its May edition, just out. Galatea in disguise is the title , and over six pages there are many tables and photos as well as a full account of the run, the route and comparisons with earlier runs.

    If you are not a subscriber and cannot get to a newsagent, you can order a digital or paper copy here:
    https://www.classicmagazines.co.uk/...buy-the-latest-issue&utm_campaign=title-sites

    My own account and photos of the day are still at https://pjhtransportpix.zenfolio.com/p81442127

    Peter on a lovely sunny May morning in Manchester
    https://pjhtransportpix.zenfolio.com
     
  14. 46236

    46236 Member

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    Thanks for a superbly illustrated and well written account of what was a great day in the northern hills. It was almost like being there. knowing the area quite well I was able to relate to the locations easily and really enjoyed my virtual trip.
     
  15. RalphW

    RalphW Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Of course you could have always dipped in you pocket and travelled on board thus supporting RTC and enjoying it in real time . :rolleyes:
     

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