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Royal Duchy 2017

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by gwr4090, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Got one you haven't listed that I have a feeling is right up there with the best:
    70013 8th September 2013
    Dainton (westbound) MP215 - Tunnel in 3m 12.69s 36
    Rattery MP223 - MP227.5 7m 41.49 44
    Hemerdon MP242.5 - MP238.5 6m 03.46s 47
    Dainton (eastbound) - MP221.5 - tunnel in 4m 18.66 36



    :
     
  2. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Wasn't going to report the 6th but things happened ...

    The Royal Duchy 6th August 2017

    Take 2, the summary as all descriptions/details are the same. 33207 got us to Taunton on time. Andy Taylor was driving on the outward again. Initial observation was that there appeared to be far less coal on the tender than the 30th; but it was only a 250 mile day out so we weren't that concerned. I've included the 30th's speeds now and again for reference in [ ].

    All seemed well as we passed mp164 at 33 [31] and mp166/Victory LC at 52 [57], but then it went more than a bit pear shaped. Speed fell rapidly: Bradford -on-Tone LC, mp167 3/4, 43 [54]; mp169 1/2, 32.8 [56]; that it was clear all was not well up front. The max we got around Wellington was 38 [61] and we couldn't hold that speed for long. By the foot of the 1 in 90 we were down to 23.6 [48]. The Scot, though noisy, had that 'being held back' feel usually associated with poor coal or a mechanical issue, borne out by a speed of 24 [43] into Whiteball Tunnel. It had taken almost 19 mins from Taunton. Seriously slow and something to be 'investigated' at Exeter.

    We past the summit at mp174 at 34.6 [35] and once over the summit, speeds were similar to/better than the 30th: Tiverton Parkway 76 [74]; Tiverton Junction 74 [74]; Hele and Bradnich LC 75 [76]; Stoke Canon LC 78 [75]. We braked sharply to a halt at Cowley Bridge Jn and despite everything the timings were so generous we were only 6 mins down into EXD. Went down to chat with Andy who told us they'd had a problem with the exhaust (free) injector which made sense of the climb as they couldn't get enough water into the boiler. It hadn't cleared and effectively was shut down.

    The fire looked good but the coal level was already below the top of the tender and as the support crew shovelled it forward it was noticeable how much dust/slack and very small lumps of coal were present. Combined with the dodgy injector it didn't bode well for the assaults on Dainton and Rattery. Then there was the warning that all trains might be delayed due to a fatality near Exeter 'basin' but fortunately it only affected up trains. We left on time, again just 4/5 mins behind the HST that 'troubled' us last week as is stops at both Newton Abbot and Totnes. We got to 63 by Exminster; then speeds were Star Cross 65; the Warren 62; Dawlish 62; Teignmouth 60 before it increased to 65 at mp210 1/2, only 3 1/2 miles from Newton Abbot. We paid for that as we were barely 5 mins behind the HST and not surprisingly had a Yellow as we approached Newton Abbot.

    South Devon Banks Westbound

    Not having a high speed run at Dainton is a bit serious for a large wheeled locomotive. It got as bad as it could as we drifted/eased through the station at 42 [60] the next signal was also Yellow. By the time it changed to green our speed had fallen away to 20.6 [58.5] at mp214 3/4. We guessed the priority up front now was just to get over Dainton as the start of the climb was less than 1/2 mile away. The Scot was opened up and we passed mp215 at 28.5 [59]; mp215 1/4, Aller, at 35.5 [60] and to a max at mp215 1/2 of 39.1 [61.7]. Trouble!!! The Scot still sounded superb as we rounded the tight reverse curves past Stoneycombe Quarry but over the ever steepening gradients we were dragged back to 37.7 [ ] at mp216; 25.6 [42.5] at MP 217; 15.9 [26.5] at mp217 3/4 and were down to 15.5 [26] as we entered Dainton Tunnel where we slipped quite badly. The time taken from NA was 8 mins 20 secs but we got there. The time for mp215 to the tunnel was 6m 0.75s.

    We were watching the HST on RTT and were still only 7 minutes behind it over Dainton and got a bit concerned about Rattery. We were checked near mp222, 49 [14] before the signals turned to green. We passed through the station at 51 [41] after which selected speeds were: 50 at mp223; 44.3 at mp233 1/2; 41 at mp224; 25 [26.5w]at mp225; 24 at Tigley; 29 [32.1w] mp226 1/2 29.4 [32.1w]; mp227, 31.8 [24w]. Not bad with a dodgy injector.

    'Across the top', reference points were Marley Tunnel 39 [34]; Wrangaton summit 50 [49] and Ivybridge 62 [62]. We dropped down Hemerdon quickly and were a minute or two early into Plymouth North Road. Andy Taylor left us there and Spike Hodges joined us for the rest of the day with John Shawe as his fireman. I think it's fair to say they were not impressed by the coal, quantity or quantity, but it had burned well and provided plenty of steam. The station speeds out from Plymouth were: Devonport (27); Dockyard(36); Keyham(43); St Budeaux Ferry Road(28). We passed mp251 on the Royal Albert Bridge at 17. Dropping down into Cornwall we passed through Saltash at 27 on the tight left hand curve.

    The Cornish Banks

    The first climb started through Wivelscombe Tunnel 49 [61] and continued up to/through St. German's, 44 [47]; to the summit at 257 3/4, 33.2 [38.5]. The second came after Menheniot 56 (57) where the summit was topped at 40 [42]. We drifted through Liskeard 55 [58] and attacked the climb to Doublebois at 59 [62] and passed the summit at 33.9 [39.9]. It's downhill then through Bodmin Parkway, 50 [46] with a short climb into Brownqueen Tunnel, 50 [51]. After Lostwithiel, 45 (50) we climbed into Sperritt Tunnel at 29 [42] . We drifted down the bank into Par 7 minutes down.

    This week we went to Charlestown to the Rashleigh Arms. We sampled the Betty Stogs, Tribute and Razor, a Beerd Brewery Pale Ale 'off the barrel', 5.9% and excellent. There was no fresh (non-battered) fish again so I had a lobster and crab open sandwich that was OK. When we got back to Par on the bus, we were just in time to see the Scot shunt the stock with return reporting number 645. The tender was a bit low in coal to say the least! Still we were told the second injector was working again, good news for the climb to Largin and then the South Devon Banks. Same crew.

    We had a spirited start and a good climb saw us enter Sperritt Tunnel at 26 [20.3]. We dropped down through Lostwithiel 45, [44] and a mile or so later tackled the 10 mile climb to Doublebois. Reference points were Brownqueen Tunnel 47.6, [49]; Bodmin Parkway mp274, 39.3 [39.5]; on the 1 in 58, mp272, 34.4 [31.7]; mp271 33.5 [26.7]; top of 1 in 70, mp270 1/4, 30 [24.1]; the summit, mp269, at 32.9 [29.2]. Station speeds on the run down to the Tamar were: 59, [61]; St German's 51, [48] and Saltash 17, [16]. Back in Devon, mo251, Royal Albert Bridge, 19.7; Keyham 38, [42.]; and Devonport 33, [38]. We arrived into Plymouth North Road 18 mins early.

    We were informed that the Support Crew had requested to even out the water stops and stop at Totnes rather than Exeter. Made me wonder if they realised that Dainton was less than 5 miles from the station. It was certainly going to ruin any chance of a good speed into the tunnel.

    Up front we spoke to Spike and John about the excellent climb through Bodmin and about the coal itself. They thought it was Northumberland Coal. It had been sent down to the WSR from Carnforth. The support crew put 4 bags of coal from the POB into the tender but it was still so low that no heads were visible as the crew shovelled it forward.

    South Devon Banks Eastbound

    So, what of Hemerdon 2 with 46100? We roared past Tavistock Yard at 57 this time [60] with plenty of steam. We were doing 59 [57] on Hemerdon Bank proper, mp241 3/4 on 1/2 mile of 1 in 41; 1/2 mile of 1 in 47, 34, [35.5]; mp240 1/4 25.2, [26.6]; mp240 22.8, [23.9]; then a minimum of 19.4 [20.7] at the change of gradient post close to mp239 3/4, the timer's summit. We picked up to 24.8 over the easier 1 in 75. At mp239 1/4, the 'official' summit, our speed was 31.3 [3.8]. Not quite as good as last week but not bad either.

    Then came the water stop at Totnes where we wondered if some coal might have been acquired from the nearby South Devon Railway. It hadn't. Only the Bells and Two Tones Tanker was there. There were discussions about the amount of coal in the tender again but the crew felt it was probably enough to get us back to Taunton. Thing is I'd bet anyone that you use more coal from a standing start; and when you haven't got a lot to start with...

    So, we left noisily and here are the speeds: mp222 1/2 26.6; mp221 1/2 43.6; mp221 43.2; mp220 1/4 44.2 [54.5); mp219 40.2; mp218 3/4 35.2 then we hit a brick wall: mp218 1/4 19.5; mp218 11.5; and into the tunnel at 11.1. We drifted down through Aller, 51; Newton Abbot 49; then around the sea wall; Teignmouth 43; Dawlish 41; then due to the change in our path got looped at Dawlish Warren. No fireworks after, Starcross 41; Exminster 43; and yet we were still early into P6 at Exeter St Davids.

    Originally this was just a set down but we didn't move at the booked time. On the platform there was another discussion about the coal level and, as there was doubt in everyone's mind, it was decided to call the Class 33 down to assist the train. A couple of passengers bailed and got on the last Paddington as the arrival time of the 33 was unknown. After further discussion our Train Manager requested that the Scot and POB be detached as we only had a Class 33 available and his concern was to get passengers back as soon as possible. They were and Network Rail found a path back to the WSR almost immediately. Not that onerous as there were no more northbound trains the timetable on a Sunday night.

    Luckily the driver of the Class 33 had booked on and NR found a path for it and we left Exeter at 2140, 52 down. As there was no slow run down Wellington Bank or locomotive change at Fairwater Yard, by Taunton we'd pulled it back to 21 down. With some good running in the low 80s, by Yatton we were only 15 down and arrived at BTM 14 down at 2259.0

    Some passengers were not best pleased with what had happened. There were a number of 'special occasion' groups who, as non-regular steam hauled travellers, couldn't understand how the 'organisers', their words not mine, could possibly have run out of coal on the day and had no contingency to get some if needed. The initial announcement that it could take an hour and a half to get the Class 33 down from Bristol, only 75 miles away, wasn't met with happy faces either. On the whole I think most were pragmatic and appreciated Les Fishburn, our Train Manager's efforts to find the best solution to get us back to BTM as close to booked time as possible. He made clear announcements and updated us with estimated times of arrival of the Class 33 and the expected arrival times at Taunton, Yatton and BTM.

    I share their views about the coal. That was inexcusable. At least 3 passengers I didn't know said there were 'disagreements' at St. Blazey about the lack of coal. I did find that strange as it was only a 250 miles day out and even with the banks, a full tender should have been more than adequate. Then again, it was far from full at Taunton at the start of the day. Hopefully someone will post and tell us why. Surely the tender wasn't 'filled' on Sunday and whoever was present when it was must have seen the amount of dust, slack and very small lumps of coal in the supply and should have made arrangements to have an additional supply provided. It's far from the first time that the quality of coal from Carnforth has given us grief. Indeed it was more than surprising that coal had been sent down from there to the WSR when it is so close to sources of Welsh Steam coal. We've had superb performance in past years on Duchy's using it, but it is expensive.

    From an enthusiasts point of view the revised water stop at Totnes ruined Dainton Eastbound and backed us into the 1935 Paddington HST that required us being looped at Dawlish Warren. Bit boring that but hopefully on 3rd September, even with a Totnes water stop, we will have enough coal for a decent run around the sea wall and beyond though we follow the Paignton-Exmouth Stopper. Bit sad that the return path is so bad that even with a net time of 49 minutes from Totnes to EXD we were still in Exeter a couple of minutes early!!! The path allows 107 minutes to cover 51 1/2 miles. How times have changed. On 31st August 2002, 6024 did Plymouth to EXD in just over 58 minutes. There were a few others at just under and just over the hour.

    Again, many thanks to: Nigel for running the Duchy. We still had decent climbs over Rattery on the outward and on both the long climb through Bodmin Parkway and beyond as well as Hemerdon on the return, with the added excitement on Dainton both ways of would we make it!!; to LSL for turning the Scot out as immaculately as ever. No-one could have foreseen the injector problem that plagued the outward journey; to WCR for the provision of excellent crews who did a really good job despite the issues on the day; and to WCR and NR who together did an excellent job of salvaging the end of the day. The coal situation wrecked the latter part of the return journey and shouldn't have happened. It looked amateurish to everyone.

    One more to go hopefully with Braunton. The only time we had the West Country before was a very entertaining day out and did not require a water stop at Totnes. Hopefully the same will be true of the 3rd.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the detailed report. It sounds as though this was a case of snatching victory from defeat even with the rescue diesel from Exeter on the way home.

    So who starts any journey without a tender full of coal whatever the distance? Can't imagine anyone doing the same thing with water.
     
  4. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    You couldn't Al, but it did happen on a Duchy a few years ago when Tangmere left Bristol with barely a half full tender. Ray Churchill wasn't best pleased having to take it easy on the usual dash from Yatton to Taunton and then 'coast' up Whiteball.
     
  5. alastair

    alastair Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to do a detailed write-up. Much appreciated.

    Isnt the owner of WCR a coal merchant? You'd think he'd be able to get hold of some decent coal if anyone could!

    I would second what you say about Les, the train manager. He did a great job sorting out multiple issues on a hugely delayed CME back in April.
     
  6. l1avs

    l1avs New Member

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  7. l1avs

    l1avs New Member

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    Thought it looked a bit low!
     
  8. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Copied this off my phone's video. Taken on the bridge at Par during the shunt:

    Scots Tender Par 06082017.jpg
     
  9. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    Blimey, surprised they made Plymouth, let alone Exeter.
     
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  10. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    Where's Wiveliscombe tunnel? They closed the line in 1966?
     
  11. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    Anyone know if 46100 is on the 3rd September duchy please?
     
  12. Steamage

    Steamage Well-Known Member

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    In theory, no. It's advertised for 34046. However, as with all such things, the allocation may change
     
  13. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Shillingham also called Wiveliscombe 0m 451y GW Defiance Platform St Germans which is west of Plymouth.
     
  14. bailey1409

    bailey1409 New Member

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    I think it is Wivelscombe (no letter "i")

    Cheers

    Maurice
     
  15. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    You're right. Put the brewery village name in. Wonder why....
     
  16. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Andy told us that the parts they need to repair Braunton's crosshead are at Southall but they haven't had time to fit them. Expected to be fitted well in time for the 3rd.
     
  17. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Just had the email about the 3rd. No Braunton, the Scot again, hopefully with lots of coal!!!
     
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  18. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    Luckily WSR have Scot on shed, wonder how this affects braunton visiting line for Scotsman week as it was the other loco.
     
  19. gwr4090

    gwr4090 Member

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    Braunton should still move Southall to Bishops Lydeard next weekend, all being well.
     
  20. The Man

    The Man Member

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    Pretty fair reports of the journey. At the Exeter water stop the SLS boys attended to the Exhaust Injector, and no further troubles. The lack lustre climb of Dainton West bound was nothing to do with coal, loco any sort of trouble. I simply let the loco run at about 40%, and part regulator because I knew the HST was in front, and didn't want to catch it at Totnes. (which actually worked out). The coal issue was basically a misunderstanding. Next weekend is 6100 again. Coal booked at St BZ because the Steam loco is going through to Bristol and Southall, topped from Taunton. This is simply to get the loco back to HQ.
    Thanks should be given to the WSR for this season's 'Royal Duchy' jobs. There assistance and cooperation has been first rate.
    Water stop next week is Tiverton Loop, due to restricted access at EXE due to engineering work.
    See you next Sunday!
     

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