Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by MarkinDurham, Apr 1, 2019.
With the area around Cornholme mill seemingly little changed since the demise of the cotton industry around these parts, 'Tornado' powers her way up Copy Pit with the 'Mad Hatter' rail tour of 11 May 2019.
Perhaps appropriately, there's also a 'Moggy' 1000 in the shot.
And here's me looking for a flippin' cat!! Just spotted the 'Moggy' in the background.
Anyway, the north when it WAS a powerhouse.
44874 & 45017 at the same location, 4th August 1968, oh, and a Ford Consul / Zephyr?
touché- and a great blast from the past
Last time I was up Cornholme it was behind a Deltic (#22 RSG, both engines) hauled rail tour, Capt. Kirk driving. It ran out of fuel at Chesterfield on the return journey. i wish I'd a shilling for everytime I'd been over Copy Pit by road, regular route from our terminal to Burnley . If by car (before motorways) it was West Yorkshire to Blackpool vis Rose Grove.
You can’t beat the old gags
@Where's Mazeppa? kindly supplied me with some information about the crew, this necessitated a couple of minor changes to my previous post - now done.
I have taken a more detailed look at my GPS data as Tornado neared the summit at Copy Pit. As the loco passed under the Burnley Road overbridge speed was a little over 32. At the same time as the loco reached the summit I, in coach K, passed under the overbridge and speed was increasing, a little over 34. When I reached the summit the weight of the train was gathering pace down the hill 38.6 quickly became 40, 42, 44 . . .
Thanks to all who posted photos and vids, I've only had time for a quick glance but they look a cracking selection; taking a proper look is next on my list.
Tornado looks to be back on song...
Thanks very much - much appreciated. Always good to see & hear steam over Copy Pit, if somewhat sporadically.
I returned home in the early hours of this morning, and have just seen the tour guide issued on the train. Very good indeed. Also we have a copy of the "Mad Hatter" tour poster, designed by Mandy Grant. What a splendid souvenir to have
I was fascinated to read that the tour took in 49 junctions or sites thereof, and that some of the lines traversed hadn't seen steam for a very long time indeed.
Crackin stuff David the way it should be action all the way. Classical
Mad Hatter 11th May 2019 - A Day to Remember
My first main line steam outing of 2019, (joined at York), and a decisive vote in favour of a tour offering the less-expected and less familiar rather than the customary sprints along principal main line arteries that characterise many of Tornado’s outings.
With an itinerary that joined up some of the North Country’s more interesting secondary routes, the Mad Hatter managed to traverse the metals of almost all of the pre-grouping railway companies represented in this region - including the North Eastern, Lancashire and Yorkshire, London & North Western, Birkenhead Joint (LNWR/ GWR), Cheshire Lines Committee, Manchester South Junction and Altrincham (briefly) and the Midland Railway’s former routes to both Manchester and to the West Riding (as was). Only the Great Central and Hull and Barnsley were omitted.
In doing so the Hatter’s outward routing encompassed the passage of no fewer than twelve unique sets of measured and posted mileages and chain-ages, and eighteen on the return. In summary, a trip with a real expeditionary feel about it. Sort of like a Tin Bath concept, but much grander in scale and execution.
On the one hand, not a trip likely to fulfil the yearnings of those with a “Need for Speed”. Start to stop schedules typically averaging between 33 and 38 mph illustrated the inevitability that only modest speeds would be the flavour of the day.
But these seemingly modest schedules should in no way be interpreted as leisurely timings given the number of speed-restricted junctions and sites encountered, and lengthy sections with a ruling line-speed limit below Tornado’s authorised maximum. In practise, some real hard work was involved in maintaining scheduled times; on the outward run, recovering what turned out to be severe delays along the Calder Valley section to come back from (at worst) 23L to almost RT by Chester. And on the return, an amazingly aspirational Hazel Grove HL Junction to Chinley 8.2 miles, all against the grade/ 13 minutes/ 37.8 mph.
Oswald T Wistle (OTW) has already given a very full and absorbing account chronicling the day’s proceedings (Posts 74 and 87), so to this I would just like to add a few observations of my own on what, for me, would be the real highlights of the day - the demonstration of Tornado’s power and grunt on the three principal hill climbing sections. Copy Pit – obviously - but just as interesting the climb along the old Manchester-Derby Midland Main Line, from the restart at Hazel Grove High Level Junction to Chinley, and then again from the restart there to Cowburn Tunnel. And finally, the climb through Chapeltown to Tankersley Tunnel on the “Barnsley Branch”
With Steve Hanczar on the regulator and Steve Matthews on the shovel, the enthralling Copy Pit climb was notable as much for Tornado’s recovery from the 22 mph slack at Cornholme as the headline achievement in surmounting the climb at 34 mph. All superbly covered in the video contributions to this thread - and what a magnificent spectacle they all make. A nice touch in Coach J was the running commentary offered by our steward, Calderdale born and bred, of life, times, places, and reminiscences locally, based on what was obviously a long and intimate knowledge of the Sowerby Bridge/ Hebden Bridge/ Portsmouth area
Dwelling on this section for a moment, also worth a mention was the passage of Blackburn at 49/ 50 mph, where it became clear as we bowled along past Daisyfield Junction that there would be no letting up through the station itself. It must have been quite a spectacle for any bystanders on the platforms – and a very rare one to boot. I wondered when would have been the last time that a Pacific heading a 12 coach rake would have been seen hurrying westward non-stop through Blackburn station at anything like this sort of speed.
I was particularly looking forward to the relatively short 8.2 mile hop featuring the continuous and demanding climb up from Hazel Grove High Level Junction to Chinley. The 13 minute allowance for this section (s/s 37.8 mph) has already been noted. In the hands of Keith Murfin on the regulator with Dave Proctor on the shovel, from a starting position on the overbridge above the Stockport-Buxton line, we accelerated up the first 1.3 miles at 1 in 100 to enter Disley Tunnel in 4m 26s at 30 mph. The passage of the tunnel (1 in 132R) in 3m 31s (average 37.4 mph) saw us exit the tunnel at 37 mph. A brief level respite past Disley and over Knathole Viaduct saw a rise to a maximum of 46 mph at the entry to the short 90 yard Newton Tunnel, 4.7 miles/ 9m 47s.
Thereafter, a progressive attrition of speed up the rising 1 in 100/ 98/ 87/ 89/109/ 90 gradients yielded 41/ 40 past New Mills south Junction, falling away further to 32 mph at Buxworth before slowing for the Chinley crew change. Overall, the 8.2 miles consumed 15m 55s (s/s average 30.9 mph). For perspective, in the final days of 7P steam on the Manchester Central-St Pancras expresses in the late 1950’s/ 1960, a pass-to-pass time of around 10 minutes would have been typical for the Hazel Grove-Chinley section, but based on Load 8 or 9. So although, as OTW has pointed out, nothing exceptional was being attempted, this still represented a substantial performance given our load of 12 coaches/ 440 tons tare/ 470 gross (est). Nevertheless, our lateness had therefore increased from 4L to 7L on arrival at Chinley.
With Tony Jones now at the helm and Dave Proctor still on the shovel we started gently but purposefully away from Chinley up the still rising 1 in 90 gradient to Chinley North Junction (1.03 miles), passed in 4m 28s at 25 mph. Now onto the Hope valley route, a slight easing of the gradient to 1 in 100 up to the western portal of Cowburn tunnel saw a further progressive gain in speed to 35 mph at the entry to the tunnel (2.5 miles/ 7m 15s/ 20.7 mph start-to-pass). The climb continues inside the tunnel at 1 in 150 to a point around half a mile from the eastern portal where the gradient levels, our passage consuming 3m 29s, averaging 36.2 mph and departing at this speed.
The romp down the falling grades though the magnificent scenery of Edale and the Hope Valley, chronicled in detail by OTW, was a joy to experience in the evening sunshine, and under an azure blue sky. We stormed through Totley tunnel at an average speed of 65.3mph and so, in summary, we achieved a time of 14m 23s from the eastern portal of Cowburn Tunnel to the Eastern portal of Totley Tunnel, representing an average speed of 63.4 mph over the 15.2 intervening miles, before we slowed for the passage of Dore Station and Junction/s.
Much time – 54 minutes in all - was consumed from arrival at the pathing stop south of Sheffield Midland station to departure from the Brightside water stop. After an initial slow crawl from the Brightside loop, and a slow passage of Meadowhall, we set off down the Barnsley route with some purpose, speed rising to around 41 mph at MP164/(Ecclesfield West). On through Chapeltown speed fell on the 1 in 100 to 26/ 27 mph (railhead conditions?? – we experienced a short, but very sharp heavy shower around this point), but then rose slowly but surely to 30mph on the still rising grade at entry to Tankersley Tunnel, exiting at 32.5 mph and averaging 30.6 through its 1,498 yards.
On through Barnsley to Wakefield, with nothing higher than 65 mph after Woolley runnel, we were running arrears of between 6L and 9L. All of this was recovered back to 1E at York by dint of steady running (max 70.5 at the Leeds-Selby line overbridge), and a more relaxed schedule, from Wakerfield to York. And for a memorable finale to the day, we were graced with a simply stunning angry crimson-red sunset on the western skyline as dusk began to fall around Wakefield.
All in all, a long day out but a really great one – the lines from WBQ to Chester and from Chester to Hazel Grove represented totally new mileage for me, and about 90% of the overall York-York mileage was new steam mileage too. So lots of thanks, due to so many, for reviving this tour from last year’s moribund programme and making it happen in such a successful way. OTW has already mentioned the superb effort contributed by each and every member of the DB crews involved. To this I would add my thanks to and praise for the stewards (especially our man in Coach J) and A1SLT staff who helped to manage the in-board experience, and in passing helped to relieve some of us of our hard-earned wonga in the name of striving to maintain an orderly financial position for Tornado.
And lastly a word of tribute to UK Railtours, now operating in a much diminished Booking Agent role only for A1SLT, which I gather is soon to disappear. Their professionalism and the quality of the promotion and service that they have provided over the past number of years has been instrumental in making me want to travel with Tornado; and in so doing forsaking a previous dedication mainly to those outings that featured something with a copper-capped chimney at the head end. Hopefully they will have set the bar sufficiently high in terms of marketing and customer service standards, quality and reliability, to give A1 SLT something to really aim for and aspire to.
So, to sum up, a magnificent “North Country Panoramic” of a tour, (or more like an odyssey), with the changing scenes and landscapes of the Vale of York, Ouse Basin, Calder Valley, Lancashire Pennines, Lancashire/ Cheshire Plains, the City of Chester itself – (a city I’d never visited) - and then Delamere Forest, Peak District, and Yorkshire’s eastern Pennine flanks. Difficult to imagine how it could be bettered.
11/10 for Concept, and something more than that for Execution. Great Stuff indeed !! As the Beach Boys once sang (and so did Steely Dan, but somewhat differently) "Do It Again"...........Please!!
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