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RTC 'The Mancunian', 26/03/22

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Bulleid Pacific, Feb 24, 2022.

  1. Bulleid Pacific

    Bulleid Pacific Part of the furniture

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    Just got back from an excellent day out. The sunshine really made the day, and the line between Kidsgrove and Cheadle Hulme is very scenic, and there are some surprisingly lofty viaducts. It is a shame little steam heads that way!

    I know of nothing that has done the new formation towards Stoke, although 60163 was advertised to do it for 'The Illuminati' of 2019 - think engineering work or lack of a path scuppered it. Equally, I still don't know if a steam special had passed over the Ordsall Chord before - I think an ECS move has, but I can't think of a tour carrying passengers going that way.

    The Duchess did well, and was in good voice when extended. What assistance there was seemed mainly to get the train up to speed, such as after Stafford, when I could see a haze from the rear of the train while rounding a curve. Nothing I'm complaining about, as its a case of keeping up with the modern railway. Thanks to all who made it happen.

    Regarding LSL's 27 April tour, for which 70000 is now the advertised motive power, I am keeping a watching brief, as it has the potential to mop up a bit more of the old NSR system. Reading LSL's write-up, it's not entirely clear which way it goes after Stoke.

    There are several ways of doing it from Stoke, ranging from:

    1. Searchlight Lane - Stafford - Bescot - Galton Junction;

    2. Colwich - Rugeley - Cannock - Bescot - Galton Junction;

    3. Another 'tour de East Midlands' via Uttoxeter, Loughborough, Nuneaton, Coleshill, Bescot and Galton Junction.

    There are other permutations. I guess 3 (ironically the one I would be most interested in doing!) is far too ambitious for the time available, factoring in the return run from Crewe to Kidderminster as well as a return trip over the SVR with time to spend at Bridgnorth.

    As such, 1 or 2 seems the more likely, although 2 may be the more difficult, as no steam has passed through Cannock in recent years. Again, 60163 was advertised to do it on a 'Chester Chuffer', but it was still being repaired and 34046 ended up taking the direct route. I think I'll await developments on RTT before committing money!
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
  2. leander

    leander Member

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    Thanks to the signal person who let the Duchess run in-front of the Castle,they realized LMS rule on the WCML ;);)
     
  3. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    The Duchess was through Stafford at 18.10 with the Castle at 18.26 2 minutes down, so it was logical to let the Duchess continue passing Whitehouse Junc at 18.16 with the Castle still 6 minutes behind at 18.22 so to have stopped the Duchess would have been the work of a jobsworth.:)
     
  4. billbedford

    billbedford Member Friend

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    And as a result clun had to be held outside nuneaton station for five minutes while the duchess hogged platform 5!
     
  5. jsm8b

    jsm8b Well-Known Member

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    Yes - guilty of putting 2 and 2 together and assuming 1) really was the answer - will be interesting to see.
     
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  6. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Put those two together and it's interesting to note that as far as charters are concerned 'the path is the path' except when signallers decide it isn't.

    Anyway, two good trips it seems with great locos.
     
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  7. DismalChips

    DismalChips Member

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    I've lived in Manchester 20-odd years and never managed to catch a steam train over that bit of track. Pretty sure it was also the first steam over the Ordsall Chord.

    Personally I went to see it pass through Levenshulme. Didn't take photos, just enjoyed the sight of a Coronation on home turf going like the clappers.
     
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  8. jsm8b

    jsm8b Well-Known Member

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    A few late pictures of 6233 on Saturday ( technical problem with a card reader)
    Yarnfield Junction where the Norton Bridge Grade separation opened in March 2016 rejoins the original line (left) from Norton Bridge.
    Unless I'm mistaken this was the first steam over this new route.
    Just before the Duchess arrived the old route was used by a Voyager which had obviously used the down fast north of Stafford to overtake.

    The return is on the climb to Whitmore between Betley Road and Madeley. Some of that OHLE has been there since before the last Duchess's were withdrawn in 1964, the yellow cab side stripe indicating they were prohibited under the wires south of Crewe -- times change !

    22D_0398 6233 Yarnfield Junction 260322.jpg 22D_0409 6233 Wrinehill 260322.jpg
     
  9. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    There's a typo: your 18.26 should be 18.16. As the Duchess stopped (f0r water?) at Stafford whereas the Castle ran straight through, the Castle would have been catching up. But it's not obvious either why the Duchess was scheduled to stop again after only a few miles to let the Castle overtake nor why in the event that didn't happen.
     
  10. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Oops, 18.16 was the due time of the Castle through Stafford, actually 18.18, The Duchess left Stafford at 18.10 and was at Whitehouse Junc at 18.16, 6 minutes ahead of the Castle.
     
  11. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    what is noticeable from the videos is how much the volume is up to 11 on the castle compared to the Duchess which seemed to be toying with the load, whereas the Castle was a cacophony of sound and vision
     
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  12. Bill2

    Bill2 New Member

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    I can only report the northern half of the trip as I joined at Nuneaton. The weather was perfect all day and it was noticeable how many people were out on the North Staffordshire route enjoying a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon in fields alongside the line and on the canal towpath. Shows how popular steam is and how rare in this part of the world. Load was ten coaches plus the 47, around 490 tons tare and 515 gross, by no means unusual for a train on this route in the past. My seat was near the front of the train and I am unable to comment on any assistance from the back, but there was nothing impossible for a Duchess with this load.

    The Duchess pulled in to Nuneaton slightly ahead of time and restarted punctually, running on the slow line. Speeds reflect the gentle gradients on the Trent Valley line, a steady acceleration to 56 mph at Atherstone 73 down the easy descent to Polesworth falling to 69 on the level to Tamworth and a maximum of 73½ in the dip before crossing the river Tame after Coton. Lichfield was passed at 63 mph on the subsequent climb with a minimum of 60½ at the summit before Elmhurst and 73½ again crossing the River Trent after Armitage. This was more than enough to keep time and we were stopped for a minute before Colwich to let a Pendolino overtake and for a couple of minutes on Queensville curve doubtless for something to clear the junction ahead. The water stop was in the loop just south of Stafford station, left 4 minutes early. There was a cross country in the down fast platform at Stafford that overtook before Great Bridgeford and must have used the connection from the fast line at Norton Bridge towards Stone as we were held up on the new line from Searchlight Lane with another check before Stone, but several minutes of allowances in the schedule let us approach Stoke ahead of time where we were held in the platform because of a local ahead. Maxima 52 mph before Norton Bridge and 54 approaching Stoke,

    From Stoke we accelerated to 42½ mph up the 1 in 316 to Longport with a minimum of 27 on the Harecastle diversion and 54½ down the 1 in 85 to Kidsgrove. Doubtless in the knowledge of a train ahead speed was held in the low fifties on the easy stretch to Congleton but then followed an impressively noisy climb to Macclesfield Moss, from 53½ mph through Congleton, falling to 45 at the top of the 1 in 264, then with 49½ before North Rode viaduct 45½ up the first 1 in 176 and 49½ at at the top of the second section at the same inclination. Despite running cautiously down the hill to Macclesfield we had a signal stop after Adlington, presumably having caught the train ahead, and several further minutes of allowances in the schedule suggested it was not worth hurrying over the remainder of the distance. In fact we ran on the fast line through Stockport and at Slade Lane came alongside a train from the Airport that caused a final signal stop to let it clear that put us just a couple of minutes late at Piccadilly, most remarkably in platform 13 the up South Junction line.

    A successful journey, report on the return to follow. Meanwhile thanks to Duchess and support crew, RTC for promoting the tour, West Coast for operating it, and with special mention to Network Rail and staff for finding a path.
     
  13. Bill2

    Bill2 New Member

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    Now for some comments on the return trip. The whole train was turned at Castleton so my seat was again near the front, but now on the wrong side for the mileposts until I moved at Crewe. Start from Manchester Victoria was three minutes late, partly because the previous train from platform 3, the 1552 to Stalybridge, was also slightly late. Full marks to Network Rail and the signallers for giving us greens all the way round the new curve at Ordsall Lane and over the South Junction line; speed 19 mph at Deansgate, 23 at Oxford Road, and 20 through platform 13 at Piccadilly; I believe the gradient here is 1-in-80. We ran on the slow line from Piccadilly and again from Slade Lane, speed mainly 45 – 46 mph until slowed approaching Stockport for a signal check almost to a stand at Edgeley no 2 junction to allow an a train from Sheffield off the Buxton line, with a further check before Adswood for the 1615 Manchester – Euston to overtake; I suspect this had also been delayed by the Sheffield train.

    Once the Pendolino had cleared, there was a good run through the outer suburbs and into Cheshire with 42½ mph through Cheadle Hulme, 58 up 1 in 445 at Handforth, 66 through Wilmslow, 69 at Alderley Edge and just making 70 at the minor summit beyond. The train was booked into the loop at Chelford, I think to allow the Welsh Marches service to overtake, but it was soon clear that this was not going to happen as speed rose to 73½ down the slight descent to Chelford, with 72½ on the subsequent level section and 73½ again downhill before Goostrey where we started to get signal checks from a local ahead.. The most severe slowing came while it called at Sandbach, down to 22½ mph, but we then managed 52½ before a signal stop approaching Crewe to allow a train in the other direction to depart and possibly for other conflicting moves as the stand lasted 6 minutes. Nonetheless passage of platform 6 at Crewe was ten minutes ahead of time, using the slow line beyond. Speed rose from 49 mph past Basford Hall to 59½ mph up the 1-in-269 to Betley Road and further to 61 on the 1-in-177 of Madeley bank, though I rather suspect some contribution here from the diesel, mainly because speed then dropped to 57 on the level over the site of Whitmore troughs. The subsequent descent was taken quite easily with a sustained maximum of 71½ mph down the 1-in-590 to Standon Bridge, dwindling to 66 on the rather more gentle fall to Norton Bridge and 61½ at Great Bridgeford before slowing to run into the mail platform at Stafford where arrival was 6 minutes early. The 27 minute schedule for 24½ miles from passing Crewe to Stafford included 2 minutes of allowances and might be regarded as somewhat optimistic given the inevitable slow approach to the stop, and with the train ahead of time it was not too surprising to exceed it,

    It was necessary to pull forward for the Duchess to take water in the loop at the same loocation as the outward trip, and the diesel then towed the formation back into the platform as there is no access to the up line from the loop. We were on the move from Stafford three minutes late; the schedule showed a pathing stop on the slow line before Whitehouse Junction while Clun Castle on the Vintage train from Chester passed, but in the event we carried on ahead of it with a maximum of 55½ mph at Milford reduced to 41 at Colwich to cross to the slow line. Subsequent progress up the Trent Valley line was fairly subdued, possibly to allow time for the diners to complete their meals. Speeds were 62 crossing the River Trent before Armitage, 58 at the summit near Elmhurst, 64½ maximum downhill through Lichfield, 53½ on the climb before Tamworth accelerating to 54½ on the level to Amington, 53 before Polesworth and 57 in the dip beyond with 50 at the summit near Atherstone. An easy run in saw arrival at Nuneaton ten minutes early, and I could then wait to see the Castle arrive and depart towards Leicester.

    Thanks again to the Duchess and crew, RTC for promoting the tour and West Coast for operating it.
     
  14. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Thanks for that @Bill2, I was at Goostrey and it was certainly a fine sight passing at around 70 albeit having shut off shortly before the station. :)
     

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