Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by 61994, Jul 21, 2020.
I went out to Brock to see BIL working from Preston to Carnforth and was disappointed.
Whoop, congrats to who had 'Never happens with DBC/Clan Line' in the sweep!
Ultimately in all this people are missing the point, WCRC managed to let one of their 47's have a lovely old day out and piddle a load of their cash up the wall on driver wages and fuel for no apparent operational reason.
Its a sign of how profitable the charter market is that they have the cash available to waste it in this way.
Or perhaps they are professional railwaymen making professional decisions based upon their years of experience, who knows eh?
Based on the weather we have had up here the last week and (having been out on my bike) the amount of slippery slimey crap its caused to be dropped to the floor I would have been amazed they would have risked it, it was bloody lethal out there this weekend.
I think you may have been a bit fortunate, especially if you travelled on the line in BR days- admittedly the S&C was very lightly used then which would have probably added to the problems with rail-head conditions during the leaf fall season.
Consecutive CMEs came to grief within 2 miles of leaving Carlisle in October 1990 involving 46201 & 45596 (20th), both slipping to a stand in the heavily tree lined Scotby Cutting. The following Saturday (27th) 46201 needed banking assistance from Stainforth up to Blea Moor. That particular area saw a number of steam hauled charters slipping badly, I have an old video somewhere of 34092 being banked away from Stainforth.
On 1st October 1994 I was on 46203 southbound with a 470 ton gross charter. Slipping was particularly bad once we had cleared Birkett, Ais Gill was passed at 17mph. It was probably the most skilful piece of driving that I had the privilege to witness as Brian Hayton somehow managed to keep the train moving. The regulator was left in second valve, never touched, and each slip controlled by use of the reverser. He must have been one tired individual after it all. We were followed up the bank later that day by 46229 with another charter and they also suffered heavily from slippage, but they too managed to reach the summit.
Mike Notley had been with us that day and he sent me a copy of his log of the run which I have attached. It may be of interest to yourself, and others, about the events that day.
Looking at the list that Ian has posted, I wonder if the present day rail treatment is somewhat better than the old sandite train that was employed by BR. I think that could be a 'yes'!
And that's the reason why there are 30,000+ new COVID cases a day. I hope your luck holds.
As today's joint parliamentary Select Committee report "Coronavirus: lessons learned to date" amplifies. Not least the statement that at present policies and practices seem to be normalising the continuing high rate.
I think that's incorrect. Most cases are in the 7 - 11 age group. Not usually many youngsters on railtours.
Nifty bit of analysis there Ian once again proving the value of your website. (Anyone who doesn't know settlecarlislesteam.co.uk - well worth a look). On the face of it absolutely the correct conclusion. However, WCRC should/do/must review what happened. 2017 - 45690 slipped to a stand at Wilpshire and somehow Mick Kelly restarted the train. 2020 - 45699 slipped and was down to 9mph at Wilpshire. Both were with 12 coaches and probably/certainly should have had a diesel on the rear. Perhaps WCRC are becoming more risk averse and maybe from now on, irrespective of the loco, if the October CME loads to 12 coaches then there will be a diesel (and possibly with 11 or even 10 coaches). Perhaps RTC needs to be upfront with prospective passengers and say for operational reasons the October CME may/will have a diesel.
Thanks for the insight into the past difficulties and the wonderful peek onto the footplate with "textbook" driving in evidence - I can but marvel at the skills and experience of those guys. Another factor perhaps worth considering was that steam operated later in the year, as you state late October and even into November when the leaf fall even in the low lying Scotby would be more advanced. I do recall (1st November 1980) seeing 46229 slipping away in the cutting at Stainforth before a class 40? was pinched from the following goods train to assist the train up the hill.
Graham, I have been struggling to come up with a reply, but here goes. I do not disagree with your assessment that Shap would have been fine and the same for the S&C (although @46203 offers some caution - but earlier times, later in the year, lighter line use and different railhead treatments). So let's agree no diesel needed for this part of the route.
Now for Wilpshire, in 2017 (45690+12) we slipped to a stand and only through the superb efforts of the driver did we restart. In 2020 (45699+12) slipped down to 9 mph in the same spot - exit of tunnel/old station). There was simply no margin for error. Perhaps WCRC thought that 2017 was a one off and gave it another go in 2020 or perhaps they have become more risk averse (as perhaps they should).
Without diesel assistance lets say that BIL had slipped to a stand and couldn't restart. The following Rochdale train would have left Clitheroe and be held at Whalley. How do you go about rescuing the stricken train? In BR diesel days at this time of year it was not unknown for goods trains to get stuck around the same point. As Blackburn was a stabling/signing on point another diesel would be sent wrong line to help pull the train over the top. Not an option.
As it is Wilpshire bank, and only Wilpshire bank, that appears to be the problem what about taking the steam off a Hellifield and putting a diesel on, or leaving the steam in situ and sticking a diesel on the back (or front)? With a booked stop of only 19 minutes at Hellifield in which to water the loco and do whatever, I doubt that there is sufficient time, bearing in mind that the train needs to run in front of the 17.23 service train departure from Clitheroe.
It seems to me that if WCRC decide on a diesel for Wilpshire then it's with you all day. As for how it is driven remains, to me at least, one of the mysteries of the universe. I don't know at what loading WCRC have decided that a diesel becomes appropriate. Let's say no diesel up to 11 but RTC can fill 12 but you and some others don't want 12, are you collectively going to pay for a coach not to run (£6k of revenue)? Perhaps RTC should have made it clear to potential passengers that the October CME may have a diesel. My advice that if you are diesel averse then perhaps the October CME is best avoided was well meant
And all those 7 to 11 year olds live on their own do they?
There are increasing numbers of family members catching Covid from children who have in turn caught it from schools where it is indeed rife.
Additionally, there are also increasing numbers of double jabbed people catching Covid as immunity wanes. A colleague and wife in their 60s were very ill last month (close to being hospitalised), having completed their course of jabs in February.
There are still hundreds of people dying each week.
Unfortunately there does seem to be an outbreak of herd immunity in England, whereby a minority not wearing masks is turning into a majority. Government recommendations is that masks should continue to be worn in crowded places, it remains the law in Scotland and Wales for masks on public transport. I would count 8 to 10 hours facing strangers on a train as close proximity.
I understood the post from @1020 Shireman to imply that steam railtours were spreading Covid. They are not a significant factor. Going to school is a significant factor.
I thought I posted this before lunch so maybe it went into the ether, or I was on the wrong thread. Apologies if this is a duplicate post.
Following on from the tour on Saturday I have had a few thoughts about what could have happened if the loco had run with diesel assistance. This assumes there would have been no adhesion issues which could have made even further risk and delays of course. These are ROM assumptions (rough order of magnitude) of course, or as we used to call it at BA Procurement a WAG (wild ass guess).
I have taken the performance of BIL on a load of 11 the last CME in travelled on in 2019 March 2019. The time taken on Saturday would probably have been longer due to laod 12 and the rail condition.
I believe we would have been looped at Greyrigg for 1S48 (Avanti Euston to Glasgow) to pass, this was already making its stop at Preston when we left Carnforth. Also the same at Penrith to allow 1S51 the TPE from Preston to Glasgow to pass. This would have probably given an arrival at Carlisle of 1335, but it would have had to be a very quick offload and shunt to not delay 1S52 the next Avanti Glasgow service at 1348.
By the time the shunting and loco servicing was undertaken ( if all went without any hitch) the earliest departure looked like around 1515 or 1520 so around an hour late. This is based on platform space being free between service trains and those on diversion. Assuming no further delays or interference with 2H94 the Northern Leeds service due at Hellifield 1740 (it in fact was 9 minutes late there). So an hour late to Preston (or more?) assuming no other issues.
Les Ross has often made up 30 minutes Preston to Euston, but the later into the evening the less flexibility due to the ever present engineering work and slow line running.
Back into Euston 2330 or later not great, last trains are earlier post Covid to many places, no night tube of course, and Thameslink at least was in melt down due to points failure at Kentish Town cancelling most trains northbound and many southbound. So there would have been many passengers fretting about connections at places like Nuneaton, Rugby and London.
So what where the other possibilities?
Cancel the train due to the diesel? Maybe please 40 or 50 hard core enthusiasts and annoy around 400 others many of whom would be celebrating birthdays, anniversaries etc.
Run Les Ross to Carlisle and steam from there? Still a risk with 12 and to me misses the best steam part of the whole day.
Shorten the train to load 8 was suggested, not sure if this is 8 passengers coaches or 8 in total (so 6 plus support and kitchen). So most cost are fixed, stock hire, track access, crewing etc so even if you only removed a third of the seats you are looking at a price hike of about 50% I suspect on a standard fare if you remove just one standard coach. Even as a steam fan I would not pay 50% more to travel in October rather than some other month of the year. Without knowing the cost elements of food in First or Dining difficult to even come up with a WAG figure really.
Go via the Upperby curve at Carlisle and stop at Appleby? An alternative during ECML diversions but I believe it is designated as a freight line so no idea how long beforehand an application has to be made and I believe a MOM needs to be in attendance. Plus where to all those people eat in Appleby, and how do the less mobile cope with the hill to the town? I did a CCE once where due to diversions we were not allowed into Carlisle and hence nobody was able to get off the train all day. Most passengers were not that pleased and some of the toilets ran out of water long before we even got back to Carnforth, not a pleasant day really.
I think what happened on the day was the best that could be made of the situation. Maybe without the late departure from Carnforth due to the ever late (it seems) service from Manchester Airport BIL may have been able to be more involved going up Shap, (I accept that would not keep some happy though). However avoiding Carlisle on a diversion day may be a good idea.
I believe we should be grateful that we have companies like RTC and WCRC who are prepared to allow us all to enjoy steam on the mainline, and accept that sometimes on the day it just turns out to be not what we hoped it would be.
This was my first all day stewarding trip since before Covid, (I have only ridden on my local heritage line once this year) and I think I have said before I have found it very difficult to be around a lot of people since the pandemic, so the whole weekend was a bit of a trip into the unknown and perhaps my last ever tour? So to me this day may have been a challenge, (in reality the tour was not too bad, although I stayed on the train in Carlisle). The fuel thing made the weekend worse as I had to travel to and from London by train rather than drive, and there I felt far less safe on service trains. So yes the lack of unassisted steam was a disappointment to me as well, I choose CME's as usually pure steam and of course unlike my London based steward colleagues cost me two nights hotel and travelling costs. Plus this time travelling to London by train I also had to miss the Bluebell Gala.
Just a note the TPE that I was on today used platform 1 at Carlisle so it's back in use after the platform rebuild.
Only the north end of the platform was available to use on Saturday when I passed through, so only TPE and Northern can use it so far.
I will be changing there tomorrow so I will have a wander over to have a look if I've time,.
Is the work part of Boris’s “Levelling up”? or have I misunderstood?
I suppose it depends if they have used a spirt level on the platform Victor!
Platform looked complete to me and a lot of the barriers have been removed.
Carlisle platform 1 was being done half a platform at a time so it could still be used by TPE, Northern and 5 coach Voyagers (in an emergency). I imagine that it will either be nearly done or finished as the work has been going really well and when I was there in September on the Botulism express (GBRF Tour) it looked nearly finished
Has anyone taken a close look at the route of the return (diesel hauled) York to Ealing Broadway tomorrow?
Unless you're into unusual track around London, I suspect a single ticket from St Albans City to central London would be advantageous for earlier arrival home.
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