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The Cotswold Venturer - 22/02/20

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Michelliss, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    Where? On the public foot crossings?

    On a more positive note, it was wonderful to witness No.9 at Sapperton and the Cotswolds yesterday on her final run in the area. What a superb and powerful loco she has proved to be.

    Many thanks to John Cameron for restoring and running her on the main line over the many years. <BJ>
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
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  2. Ben Jenden

    Ben Jenden New Member

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    Video of my attempts taken yesterday.

     
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    My footage from the tour! Enjoy!!
     
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    My footage of No. 9 last tour down south roaring up Sapperton Bank and streaking through Eckington. Enjoy.
     
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  5. eggbert

    eggbert New Member

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    My video of the A4 at Kemble and Badgeworth
     
  6. iswise

    iswise New Member

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    My efforts at Bredon and Sapperton tunnel mouth. Thanks to all organisers, crew and paying pax for making it happen. When, aged 9, I first saw Number 9 in 1966 near Retford little did I imagine that I would still be enjoying its iconic whistle 54 years later !!
     
  7. D1002

    D1002 Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  8. Will RL

    Will RL Member

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    Mate of mines video with a couple donated clips of mine in there too.



    It was a great day line side. Weather threatened early, but behaved through the day. Plenty of reports off the train however, any from on board? After this of course, looks as though the A4 is heading North...
     
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  9. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Your wish is my command as they say....

    Cotswold Venturer 22nd February 2020

    For us the sadness of a couple of 'lasts' with John Cameron's magnificent A4, 60009 Union of South Africa started with this train. Annoyingly the earlier start time meant it was going too much of a risk to make the Paddington Start; WCME departure time 0709; BRI-PAD arrival time 0706.

    Our day started at 0300 and by 0400 we were off to Bristol on a very wet and windy morning. The 0530 was on time and we got to Reading well before the 0656 OXF-PAD, non-stop to Slough where we could get to well in time. Love them or hate them, I'm in the latter camp, the IETs are b***** quick. We left Reading at 0656 and arrived in Slough at 0705!! We'd said goodbye at Reading to Jeff, a friend from Weston-super-Mare who gambled on Paddington - and actually made it by the skin of his teeth as the IET was a couple of minutes early into the station.

    Met some familiar fellow enthusiasts on Slough station and we watched the very weathered No.9 drift in. Load 11 with nothing on the back but a tail lamp. Unfortunately Standards were at the front. 4 back on the outward but 9 back on the big climb in the evening. C'est la Vie. I put the SPUD away. It came from OswaldTwistle on Friday by special delivery in a 2m by 2m box. The Conductor on the IET wondered what on earth the stealth finished almost invisible burbling box on the table was. Bit of work still needed there David.

    Just like 16th February 2019's run, Pete Roberts was our driver. The Slough-Reading section wasn't anything to write home about last year, despite the 51 mph pass as there was no pick up in 2019. SPUD 0001 expired immediately on departure, presumably sulking after having failed to detect a diesel on the rear. By the way, it's probably a prototype issue but it then proceeded to fold in on itself and became a very convincing waffle shape, so much so that one of our party ate it and asked could he have another!

    It's always nice to compare runs over the route if it's possible. No.9 was on the front of the 16th February 2019 CV over the same route outward; but the return was via Campden Bank, not Sapperton so I had to go back to 16th June 2018 to find the last time No.9 'did' Sapperton Westbound. Meaningful comparisons from the earlier runs are in brackets.

    Nothing in the way of gradients between Slough and Reading on God's Wonderful; but space for some decent fast running. Gorgeous sound from up front as No.9 got away. Decent pick up and we passed Burnham at 45, chime drifting on the wind. Well before Maidenhead, 1320r, 6 miles out, we hit 60 but yet again that was it. 11 miles to Reading but no high speed running despite a seemingly clear path to Reading. In 2019 we ran non-stop through Slough so no meaningful comparisons. Decent crowd of photographers greeted No.9 as we ran into P13 a couple of minutes down, chime whistle sounding.

    We left 2 down with long blasts on the superb chime whistle. Way out on P13 meant no fun climb to High Level, just a run past new depot 'around the back'. Still a decent restart and 50 mph 5 minutes out as we passed mp38 1/2. Pete got into No.9 and the wonderful 3 cylinder snarl echoed around the Thames Valley. Station passes were: Tilehurst 51; Pangbourne 61; Goring and Streatley 67 (66), the A4 purring along at the head of our train. Greens all the way and fingers crossed for a 75. With 8 miles of decent relief track before Didcot Approach. Did we get there? Unfortunately not. We passed mp46 at 68 but then Pete just allowed No.9 to run up the 1320r, then 1508r through Cholsey, 67, before putting the brake in at mp49, 4miles from our stop at Didcot Parkway. We rolled into the station to a chorus of chimes close to 3 mins down.

    The run to Swindon was never going to be anything special as we were pathed through the long Wantage Road-Challow loop to allow a Bristol IET to pass. We left some 8 minutes early for some reason and didn't even get to 60 in the 7 miles to the loop. We ran through rather slowly and only hit a max of 59 (69) on a disappointing run to our first water stop in Swindon East Yard. We were 4 mins down but had a 21 minute stop scheduled, more than long enough to leave on time. The best laid plans of man.... Word came back that the tanker hadn't arrived and thoughts of 'Wonder if the driver went to Challow?' circulated; but no. Apparently Swindon's 'Magic Roundabout' did it's thing and mesmerised the driver of the Bells and Two Tones water wagon, so much so that we finally left 29 minutes late.

    That was actually a good thing as it meant 1L68, the PAD-CNM service was in the wind so we'd get clear road to Kemble, over Sapperton Summit and down to Standish Junction. Once past Swindon Jn it got noisy and we hit 60 (66), less than 4 miles out at mp81 on the 401f as we crossed Purton Crossing, chime whistle blasting a long warning of an A4 in a hurry. Lots of photographers enjoying a last but one look at No.9. Lovely section to race on this relaid track. No.9 sounded superb on the close to 2 miles of 330r, left at 62 (67). A short 406f and level bit saw a snarling No.9 reach 67, a speed held as we shot across Minety LC (67) just before mp87. Excellent stuff!!

    Speed held on a mile of level track and then we attacked the 3 miles of 330r from mp88 to Kemble at 65 (66). An A4 in almost full cry must have made a wonderful sight trackside; the snarling sounds were certainly appreciated in Coach G. Speed only fell slowly; mp89 passed at 62; mp90 at 61. No.9 roared through Kemble Tunnel and through the station on the level at 62, with long blasts on the chime whistle meeting the approval of the sightseers and photographers. The 3/4m of 143r was dismissed at 63 (67). This was going to be fun. We passed mp92 on the level at 63 (66) and over the next 1/2 mile or so of 400r/200r/lev at mp93 hit the mile of 100r, the beginning of the short westbound climb to Sapperton Summit at 60 (61).

    Tremendous sound from up front but speed fell to 54 (61) with a short slip as we passed mp94, the start of the mile and a bit on 94r to the summit. In the cutting the snarl of the A4 reverberated off the sides as speed fell quarter by quarter to: mp94 1/4, 49.5; 94 1/2, 47.2; into the Short Tunnel at 45.8 (53.2); out into the sunshine at 45 (53.2); and into the long tunnel at just under 45 (53). The summit is in Long Tunnel where it didn't feel as if speed fell much below 45 before Pete eased No.9 and then braked as we left it on the 90f. Certainly a noisy climb and a decent summit speed for 11. In truth a bit disappointing after 2019's thunderous climb; but still an entertaining and noisy climb.

    We felt the brakes come on as we left the tunnel and ran down the 1in90; 1in60 and 1in74 ish in the mid to high 40s; crossing Frampton Viaduct at 45 (45); St Mary's Crossing at 55 (49); and drifting through Stroud at 51 (48), speed restriction is 50. All downhill to Gloucester Yard then. We passed Stonehouse at 48 (48) then slowed for Standish Junction, 35. Time to switch to the other side of the carriage - got into booking four seats across the aisle to be able to sight mileposts all day. Expensive but usually friends take up the seats, though yesterday one was vacant so our friend Dan was able to come down for a along chat or two. A fellow timer, Chris was sitting opposite me which is always good in the quest for the elusive mileposts.

    On the mainline it's 14 miles downgrade to Gloucester Yard. Entertaining run but again our max was a bit of a disappointing 64 (63). We came to a stand in the yard now some 6 minutes early on a very easy schedule. No booked stop in the High Street Loop at Cheltenham this year so we could look forward to a good fast run to Abbotswood Jn.

    Out of the yard there's a mile and a half of 344r then a long 6 miles of 304r from mp92 1/4, Barnwood Jn, to the Spa Station approach. Green signal and we were away. Steady start and we passed Barnwood Jn at 17. On the 304r it got noisy from the front and speed rose steadily rather than dramatically to 26 by mp26; 41 by mp91; 49 by mp90; 53 by mp89; and at mp88, the end of the 304r, 50 with No.9 being eased back for the restriction through the station, passed with chime whistle sounding at 30. In February last we were looped in the High Street Loop just north of the station to let an XC pass.

    Usually entertaining from the station to Abbotswood. What of this day? 2019 speeds in brackets again. Very noisy up front as we ran down the 322f to mp86, passed at 47 (40). Then onto the couple of miles of 305f. Serious snarling noise now as we crossed Morris Hill LX at 60.1 (54); then Swindon Road LX at 65.2 (60). We passed mp84, the end of the 305f, at 66 (66). On the 285f at mp83, 66.3 (66), then we were checked for some reason and speed fell to 55 at mp81 3/4, end of 285f. Then back to a snarling No.9 with speeds as last year around 65 to Ashchurch. In 2019 No.9 produced an excellent performance up the 1in311/301 to mp77 1/2. This year wasn't half bad and we passed mp79, end of the 311r at 64.4 (66 ); mp78 on the 301r at 64 (65); then at mp77 1/2, 64.3 (70). Down the 319f we hit 70 and then on level track 71 at mp76 and 70 at mp75. Unlike 2019 when we slowed on the approach to Eckington, passed at 61, we snarled past the loop at 70. Off the level there's 2 miles of 385r from mp73 1/2, 67, with speed falling to 62.3 despite a lot of noise from the front. Once over the junction we rolled down to Norton Jn and into Shrub Hill a minute early.

    We played safe and Mrs S, Dave and I strolled down to the Postal Order for lunch. Not a very good selection of beers, unusual for them. A couple of pints of a very well kept Shropshire Lad hit the mark - driving later so that was all. Dan, our journalist friend joined us and we had a very convivial lunch. as it was still windy and Dave a bit tired we decided to go over to Shrub Hill on the train. Weird TOC is West Midlands. We were able to get a 4 passenger Group Discount, £4.80 for the 4 of us. We wandered to the beautiful olde worlde Waiting Room on Platform 2 and then I went up to watch No.9 complete the turn. Getting to look a bit like a Gateshead A4 now!!

    No.9 and the stock came into P1 right time so I had plenty of time to set up the GPS. Chris and I were again set up to time the Abbotswood to Standish Jn Section. A right time departure and the usual trundle to Abbotswood Jn, passed at 30.5 (30). On the 2 miles+ of 301f to mp71, No.9 scampered to 58 (51 braking) and then after the short level/848f at mp71 1/2, we took 60 (42) onto the 2 miles of 385f towards Eckington. Noisy acceleration to 67.3 (a signalling issue caused slow running in 2018) at mp73, coming off the section at mp73 1/2 at 68 (Slow).

    We passed Eckington Loop on the level, mp74 3/4, at 68.2 (32). On the level No.9 passed mp75 at 68ish (33); mp76 at 68.4 (???). after mp76 1/4, 68 (35); then over the mile of 301f to pass mp78 1/2 at 71 (68). Closer now and Ashchurch passed at 72 (68) on the 311f. At mp80 the gradient changes to an average of 295r for over 6 miles. No.9 seemed to be worked hard and we passed mp81 at 65.1 ( ). Then speed slowly fell and we passed mp82 at 63.5 ( 70); 83 at 62.2 (69); 84 at 61 (69) before we crossed Swindon Road LX at 59.5 (69) and Morris Hill LX at 59 (68) before the brakes came in for the 40 mph slack through Spa Station. Speed was 42 (38) at mp87, the start of 6 miles of average 320f to Gloucester Yard. We were a bit early now and the running was subdued with a max of only 62 (70) just before mp90. We rolled into the yard some 3 mins early.

    Here we had to wait until our booked departure time of 1722. The reason for the wait was for the CNM-PAD IET that was to stop at both Stonehouse and Stroud. With the long signal blocks on the Golden Valley Line, seriously good judgement was going to be needed from Ray up front to keep a good distance between us and the IET. Our departure was entertaining and by Tuffley, mp95, speed had risen to 48. No.9 lost little to the mile and a half of 104r, left at 47 (70). We slowed to 20 (23) on the approach to Standish Jn, and dropped to a careful 12.5 on the short 720r. With signals in our favour speed rose nicely up the mile and a half of 347r/300r and we roared through Stonehouse at 38 (40). Not sure we had all greens as we only passed mp104 at 44 (45).

    We were too far back to hear a lot and there was no real charge on the approach to Stroud over the mile of 1in276/620, topped at 45 (48). Through Stroud at 45 (48) close to line speed of 50 and out onto the lower reaches of Sapperton Bank.

    Bit of a snarl drifted back as No.9 attacked the 2 1/2 miles at 1in250, crossing Capels Viaduct, just after mp 102 at 46 (50). Ray had No.9 really notched up now and plenty of noise drifted back as our speed rose to 51 (50) at mp101. Unlike 2018 when we were checked to 27 by a yellow aspect signal caused by over enthusiastic linesiders, we crossed Brinscombe Path on the short level bit at 51.5 (37). Speed held on the 1/2 mile of 310r, 52 (40), and straight after that the grade steepens to 1/2 mile+ of 103r. St Mary's Crossing, the mid-point, was passed at 51.1 (42). Then we had our first slip and concern about the state of the railhead as our speed fell rather rapidly to 43.3 (42) over the 1/2 mile of 75r. A bit of a recovery across Chalford Viaduct on the steeper 1/2 mile of 70r, 37.2 (45), then another slip on the mile of 1in74 took speed down to 34.2 (43). Bit of a worry with the steepest gradients still to come.

    We crossed Frampton Viaduct on the 75r at 34 (43) and hit the close to a mile of 60r to Sapperton Long Tunnel at 31.3 (42). Our speed fell away to 25.4 at mp96, with another slip we struggled into the tunnel at 24.8. Very different to the magnificent flat out charge into Sapperton Long Tunnel at 38.2 mph in the dry in June 2018.

    No dash down the 100d with a max of 57 before the brakes came in and we slowed for our Water Stop in Kemble. Due to a track defect between Kemble and Minety we weren't able to charge out of the station on the 330r. We duly crossed Minety LX at 35 and then Ray really had the A4 snarling down the 330f to reach 65 (71) as we crossed Purton LX. That was our maximum speed and we drifted through Swindon at 22 some 13 minutes down.

    Bit of a subdued run over the first mile and a half of 834f saw us only cross Marston at 60 (71). Things improved thereafter and it got much noisier as we blasted past Bourton at 67 (75). We did hit 72 (75) on 754f and for a moment or two a 75 seemed possible. Then the brakes came in and we crossed into Challow Loop. Only a max of 56 after we'd left the loop and we drifted to our second water stop in Milton 7 minutes down.

    Bob Baines took over from Ray at the Didcot Parkway stop. Out on the relief on the 1508f and a bit of a subdued No.9 up the GWML towards Reading, only passing through Cholsey at 55. Got a bit better and noisier on the 1320f/1760f, then we passed through Goring and Streatley at 65 (65) and accelerated through Pangbourne at 69 (65); Tilehurst at 70 (51 - too close to a stopping service) and to a max of 73.7. We arrived into P15 at Reading just 3 down. Dave left us here to get the 2012 back to Newport.

    In recent years steam hauled Charter Trains have not even reached 70 mph east of Reading and our train was to be no different. We passed Twyford at 61 (57); Maidenhead at 65 (crossed to the main in 2018); Taplow 64. We ran into Slough still 3 down.

    The run to Ealing Broadway was better than 2018's. Mostly on the level, station speeds were Langley 47 (43); Iver (54) 51; West Drayton 58 (49). Then on the 1640r, Hayes and Harlington (55) 46. Then Southall on the 1320f, 56 ( 55); Hanwell and Elthorne 57 (55); Ealing Broadway, 30 (a set down in 2018). Again we used the 'underpass' and passed Acton Mainline at 47 (43) before No.9 was eased down to drift into Paddington right time. Unfortunately there was an IET alongside our train that ruined any chance of a decent photograph of what was probably No.9's last visit to the station.

    For we enthusiasts this was a must do train with the changed itinerary including both Westbound and Eastbound climbs of Sapperton Bank. Unfortunately it wasn't the hoped for memorable day for No.9's last on the route. The Westbound climb was 8 miles an hour slower at the summit than 16th February 2018's run. The Eastbound climb was badly affected by the railhead conditions and was a full 13 mph slower at the summit than the 16th June 2018's run which was on a lovely evening. No 75 mph on the GWML again which was a real disappointment for an A4.

    Perhaps the edge has gone off No.9's performance as the big engine approaches the end of its mainline certificate, and possible mainline career. Many thanks again to John Cameron for being prepared to spend more money to keep No.9 on the mainline to the end of its ticket in April; and to Ian Riley's folk for sorting the tender bearing issues. Thanks to RTC for running the train. The loading looked very good unlike last year. Thanks to JC's support group for their efforts on the day; to WCRC for their role as TOC and for providing the excellent drivers Pete Roberts and Ray Poole, duly supported I was told by firemen Roger Griffiths on the outward and Fraser Birrell on the return; to the stewards and ever present Train Manager Les; and last but not least to Network Rail for again letting steam out on the mainline. Shame about the 60 mph path but it's a very congested railway.

    As we won't be doing the March 7th run to York we hope we will get the chance to run behind No.9 over the Cumbrian Fells, a fitting end to running south of the border. Rumours abound about specials in April but nothing is confirmed yet.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  10. Sam 60103

    Sam 60103 New Member

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    Speaking to an SRPS volunteer at Model Rail Scotland on Saturday as far as he knows N0 9’s last run is on the 28th March over the Cumbrian Fells. No SRPS run with N0 9 will happen as they weren’t sure what would happen after the Locomotives failures at the end of last year. This meant JC was too late in getting back to them to declare the engines availability.
     
  11. TheModster

    TheModster New Member

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    Footage of Union on this trip, seen 6 times all with the A4 giving a spectacular performance

     
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  12. OldGit

    OldGit New Member

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    Excellent report from 1020 Shireman. Thanks!
    Seems you had a snarlingly good day!
     
  13. Where's Mazeppa?

    Where's Mazeppa? Member

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    Considering the significance of this landmark occasion, I think this account deserves a big vote of thanks to over-trump just a humble "Like". Certainly enough detail in the fast-paced narrative to explain and understand the very objective assessment of the day's performance. And a perfect complement to all the superb video material contributed to this thread - it gives a kind of context to many of the images. So, all greatly appreciated.

    And nice to have confirmation of what we may have suspected.... that SPUD does indeed have edible properties!!
     
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  14. OldGit

    OldGit New Member

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    Well said!!
     
  15. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Excellent report. For various reasons I didn’t make it but I am told Ray Poole drove Swindon-Worcester-Didcot and Bob Baines on to London
     
  16. Shoddy127

    Shoddy127 Member

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    Fraser Birrell was the fireman on the return.
     
  17. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for that.
    Thanks Don; and for the crew info. Shame you couldn't make it.
     
  18. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Ok Graham. I may use your report in my column if that’s ok with you
     
  19. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Of course it is.
     
  20. Oswald T Wistle

    Oswald T Wistle Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for another top notch report. Just a shame that No9 didn't reach 75 mph (or a little bit more), perhaps we will get that dropping down past Southwaite on the WCME. My fingers are still crossed hoping that it will indeed be UoSA on Mar 28th.

    As regards SPUD, the transmutation should have come as no surprise as it was nothing but waffle. SPUD contained some components from China and one of the "Forum Elves" found that the post was suffering from DVT, no wait, TDV - Thread Drift Virus and consigned it to perpetual quarantine in the darkest recesses of the netherworld that is "General Chat".
     
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