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Torbay Express 2018

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by 1020 Shireman, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. mike1522

    mike1522 Long Time Member Friend

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    I was really glad the sun was out for Clan Line yesterday because both runs last year I recall were in wet conditions.
     
  2. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Just looked again at the @Hemerdon clip of Clan Line approaching Tiverton Parkway. That pace would be fine in the westbound direction at that point but going east!!? Remarkable.

     
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  3. Hemerdon

    Hemerdon Member Friend

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    Having been at Tiverton Parkway quite a few times for steam, I don’t know if this was the fastest through there but there was definitely a ‘wow’ feeling that it was definitely something special.
     
  4. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Part of the furniture Friend

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    No it wasn't. We blasted through at 76.9, undoubtedly a record for 12 up; but 60009 did it with 11 up at 82 on the day it did 70 mph into Whiteball Tunnel eastbound.
     
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  5. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Part of the furniture Friend

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    Another season of the Torbay Express. Wasn't going to report it but as it was so good...

    A somewhat special Torbay Express, 3rd June 2018

    The day started well with a beautiful morning in Bristol where Mrs S and I were being joined by friends, one a first timer to mainline steam, to share a table for 4 in Coach J. The 11 coach Chocolate and Cream MK1 rake wasn't on the up through road where it should have been and on which the shunting times had been based. As has been posted earlier, this was down to the new signalling system and the axle counter thing. Coach J was on the front from Bristol and it was smiles all round when the train pulled into Platform 7 with coach J right behind the tender.

    We finally departed 37 down and our crew for the morning, Vince Henderson in the driver's seat; Steve Mathews wielding the shovel and Geoff Ewans as TI got us underway. We were behind the 0823 Weymouth but well enough behind for it not to be a nuisance. For Clan Line it was the now typical rapid acceleration, taking us into St Anne's Tunnel, 1.7 miles out at 45. Speed increased across Mr Brunel's billiard Table track to peak at just under 70 before Twerton Tunnels. BTM-Bath Spa in 16m18s, almost 2 mins off the schedule.

    You can't charge hard out of Bath Spa on the Westbury route as the cross over at Bathampton Jn is restricted to 40. However what you can do is hit it at 40 with a full head of steam and that is what we did, to the extent that we tore under Dundas Aqueduct at 60 mph. Not done that before. Up to Freshford which was passed at 58 and to a max of 62 through Bradford-on-Avon. Plenty of water rushing through the weir and quite a few photographers around. By our next pick up at Trowbridge we'd reduced our deficit to 27 minutes. Less than five miles to Westbury, but still a max of 53. Last year we had some spectacular runs from Westbury to Taunton and hoped for the same.

    Green signal on the junction and Vince made a very rapid start, reaching 29 in half a mile and 44 a mile out. We passed Fairwood Junction at 45 and with a right old racket from the front charged up the mile and a quarter of 1in226/157/374 to take 49 onto the 2 miles of 1in151 to Clink Road Junction. The sound from the front belayed the 'rebuilds are quiet' comments often made as Vince made nothing of the bank, coming off it at 52. The three cylinder notes echoed around the countryside as speed increased on rolling grades to pass Blatchbridge Junction at 66. Brewham isn't a serious climb on the outward but always seems to pull speed back and we lost a few mph to the 1/2 mile of 1in116 past the site where Woodlands Box once stood.

    Despite serious the noise from the front, speed dropped to 58 on 3/4 mile 1in409. The steeper climb to Brewham starts with 3/4 mile to East Somerset Junction and here Clan Line lost nothing to the bank, nor on the 1/2 mile at 1in134/216. The final charge to the summit up the 3/4 mile of 1in107 saw speed fall to 51. Power wasn't eased off at all and we sped down the bank in fine style and flashed through Bruton at a speed the tannoy claimed was the engine's maximum of 75. We charged down the bank through Castle Cary at the same speed and hit the 2 miles of 1in330 through Keinton Mandeville at 76, losing only 2 mph. We hit 77ish passing mp124 and an increase in sound level accompanied the assault on the final 2 miles of 1in264 to Somerton Summit, passed at 71.

    We got the feeling Vince intended making up all the time we were down on what is a slack schedule and sure enough speed rose to 75+ as we crossed Langport Viaduct. There was a blip down to 74 on a couple of bits of 1in330 but basically we ran at 76/7 to beyond Cogload Junction and even passed mp161, 2 miles from Taunton Station at 72. After a truly exhilarating run we came to a stop in a better than even time of 44m 7s for the 46 3/4 mile run from Westbury, now only 10 minutes down.

    It was very obvious that the engine was in tip top condition with coal to match and we and fellow enthusiasts opposite us looked forward to something special on Whiteball. We left a minute early. Not sure if Steve was driving as the start seemed a different style. We passed mp164, 3/4 miles out at 30. This is the foot of the 9 miles+ long climb to the tunnel. Not a tough climb until the final 3 miles+. 35028 sounded superb as Vince attacked the foot of the bank. We got to 49 over the 3/4 mile at 1in724; crossed Victory Crossing, the end of a mile and a quarter at 1in369 at 53. After 3/4 of a mile at 1in203 we were up to 54; crossed Bradford-on-Tone LX at the end of 3/4 of a mile at 1in338 at 56.5; then 1/2 mile at 1in222/490 was left at 57. The 2 miles to Wellington is mostly at 1in174, with a bit of 1in667 then 1/2 mile at 1in170. We topped the section at 57+ and on the 1/2 mile of level track picked up to 59. We held that over the half mile of 1in288/133 and then hit the serious part of the climb.

    The engine's note changed noticeably as the bank bit back. We passed mp171, the start of the 1in90 at 56.3; left it at mp171 3/4 at 51.2. Then it got noisier on the final stretch. Quarters from mp172 on the 1in86 were: 48.8; 47.8; 45.8; then on the 1in80; 172 3/4 43.3; 173 41.5; tunnel entrance 40.7. The engine slipped in the tunnel but recovered to pass the summit at just over 41. Time to the tunnel was 14m 19.29s. Not half bad though we expected better if truth be told.

    We were entertained to a rapid run through Tiverton Parkway, 76, and then down the bank at around 75. We were surprised to be stopped in the platform at Exeter St Davids, but a check on RTT showed the Exmouth-Paignton left 8 down with the Penzance HST between it and us. Not the usual charge to St Thomas, 17. But then with green signals we charged towards Dawlish and the sea wall. The Exminster Challenge was off the table and we did well to get to 60 there.

    Vince had 35028 almost snarling along as speed climbed to 64 at mp200; 66 at mp201; and a max of 67 at mp202, a speed held through Starcross. mp202 1/2. Unfortunately now we were too close to the trains in front and braked. We were pathed through the platform at the Warren which was odd as there was nothing close behind us, but it was Sunday. We drifted through Dawlish at 24; Teignmouth, mp209, at 26 and then under greens maxed at 58 at mp212. For a change we were put 'around the back' at Newton Abbot and noisily passed the site of the old Aller Jn, mp215 1/4 at 44. Bit of entertainment followed on the climb through Kingskerswell to the summit at mp218 and a bit. Loved the three cylinder sound as it drummed under the new tunnel (the bypass). We came out and passed mp215 1/2 at the end of 1/2 mile of 1in152 at 49.

    We blasted past the old Kingskerswell Station platforms at 48.4; mp217 at 46.2, and then as is usual, lost speed steadily to top the climb at 42. A good one as we've come to expect. We drifted down through Torre at 33 and down the steep grade through Torquay at 43. The short 1/4 mile at 1in56 was dismissed at 41 and we arrived into Paignton some 14 minutes down. The DSR got the crew exchange done in rapid time for us to leave 7 minutes later. Think we slightly delayed their service.

    Churston Bank a bit of a beast. The gradient steepens through Goodrington Sands to almost a mile and a half at 1in71, met at 24 and left at 25.5. We picked up to 27 on the 1/4 mile+ of 1in93 then the hard part begins, almost a mile of 1in60 on tight curves in cuttings most of the time. Quite remarkably we held 25 over Hooks Hill viaduct where the 224 1/2 milepost is an old Great Western 'oval' with a filial top, and 35028 had to be eased on the approach to the station. The DSR crew had done an excellent job, Clan Line's best climb of the bank to date.

    We took the car ferry across to Dartmouth and had lunch in the Royal Castle. The men had Torbay Sole on the bone, and the ladies roast beef. That sounds wrong but was true. Great food accompanied by the excellent local Sharphams Special Reserve. Dessert of passion fruit and elderflower cheesecake with clotted cream finished off the meal superbly for me. The other three had the local ice cream which was also seriously good. We walked along the riverside and watched Lydham Manor take the service train out we stopped for coffee and biscuits at the Dart Marina. Then we took the Higher Ferry across and walked alongside the line back to the station. Clan Line came in a little late as we crossed the line by the bridge.

    It was hot and the sun very bright and made mileposting seriously difficult on the return so it was 'reference' mileposts and the GPS trip for the rest of the day. The DSR crew made an excellent start and we passed the Higher Ferry LX at a little over their line maximum. The climb to Greenway Tunnel is just over a mile at 1in66 eastbound. We met it at 27.2; passed mp227 at 24.7 and entered the tunnel at 20.3. we slipped a few times inside but recovered to 22.5 at mp226. It's mostly a mile of 1in75 to the summit at mp225 3/4, passed at 22.2. Excellent enginemanship from the DSR crew.

    Our crew from Paignton was Driver Graham Ward; fireman Dave Proctor, both of Didcot, and TI Tommy Rees of Newport. There were long queues waiting for the extra service from Paignton after the air show and they watched us leave to attack the climb to Torquay and onward to the summit above Torre. We made a steady start and then Graham really attached the bank from mp221 1/2, the 1in91 for 1/2 mile, left at 28. Down the 1in56 to Torquay, passed at 44.5 and onto the mile at 1in56. Graham has a knack of finding the sweet spot on 35028 and we left the section through Torre at 36. The gradient eased to 3/4 mile at 1in73 but as it usual speed dropped to 30 by the summit.

    Not fast track to Aller and we maxed at 55. We had a slow approach and then accelerated hard and ran through Newton Abbot at 29. We could hear the engine in the rear coach as we accelerated around the curves toward Teignmouth. We reached line speed of 60 around mp210 1/2; passed Teignmouth at 58, and held that through the tunnels and Dawlish. Just as we'd accelerated to 65 on the Warren approach we braked hard down to 35. Must have been a signal check. It cleared and we were back up to 57 through Starcross but again got checked and only passed Exminster at 44. No fireworks on the way round to Exeter.

    As tail end charlies I used mp164 as Exeter for the timings to Whiteball as we were about 1/8th of a mile behind the engine. We passed it at 45.5 and passed mp193 3/4, the other side of Red Cow crossing at 46.3. Then the fireworks started as Graham wound the big engine up on the gentle 2 miles at 1in620. We tore past Cowley Bridge Jn at 56; past mp192 at 59.3; end of section at mp191 at 63. By Stoke Canon LC speed had risen to 65.3 and we accelerated up the 3 miles of 1in300 average. We could hear the noise from Coach 12 as speed increased to 73. The sun was very bright and made it difficult to read the GPS. Really needed to 'window hang' to do the mileposts as it was obvious by now it was a special day, but that's not possible anymore. The grade eased a bit and speed rose to 75 at Hele and Bradnich LC. The next 3 1/2 miles rose gently at 1in523(75); 1in824(76) and Graham used a bit of level track to hit 77 at mp182.

    Still over 8 miles to the summit and the gradient increased to 1in284 through Cullompton(76.6). the noise got louder as we attacked 1 1/2 miles at 1in155, left at mp180 at 72.4. There's a dip at Tiverton Junction and Graham used is superbly to get 35028 to 76+ and we snarled past mp178 on the 1in178 ay 77.2. Thoughts of the 70 into the tunnel formed and wouldn't that be something. We stormed through Tiverton Parkway at 76.9onto the 3/4 mile at 1in242, left at 76.4, a speed held on the short 1in162 that took us onto the final 2 1/4 miles at 1in115. Remarkably we passed mp176 at 74.2; mp175 at 71 and only Burlescombe did speed drop below the magical 70. The summit after a short 1in212 at mp174 1/4, easy to see under the trestle bridge, was passed at 68.5. We'd picked up to 69.2 as we passed mp174 on the downgrade and dived into the tunnel at 70.6. Bit of mental arithmetic estimated the engine's speed in to be 68, verified later by Sean on Taunton platform. A quite remarkable climb; 17m 27.28s for the 20 miles and a bit from Exeter mp194.

    We ran down the bank mostly at 75 and arrived in Taunton 71m 31s after we left Paignton. Good or what? As I posted earlier, Graham told me he'd used 36% cut off. As usual Dave had provided all the steam he'd needed for a remarkable climb. The 12 coach record was well and truly destroyed and by a Southerner???? albeit a rebuilt one. We won't get the chance to see Tornado attack it this year but an on song No.9 might get close, though the big driving wheels don't help on the climb.

    What next? The run to Somerton and the climb to Brewham Summit. 35028 already holds both 'bests' from last year but things seemed so good at the front. The coal was excellent and Dave was always up to a challenge. A good start after we'd waited for 2 services to leave. Cogload passed at 64 and up to 67 on the level by mp137. Up to 73 down the grade through Athelney; speed held on the undulating bit and we took 74 onto the 4 miles+ of mostly 1in264 to Somerton Tunnel. A mile in we crossed Langport Viaduct at 70; passed mp129 at 68; Long Sutton, mp128 at 68 and despite the noise from the front, speed dipped to 64 as we entered the tunnel. A very good run so far.

    Its miles of level/down grade then speed rose to 75 by mp120, just past Kenton Mandeville. After mp118 the line climbs for a few miles at 1in264(71) and 1in330(70) before it levels out through Castle Cary, passed at 71. The gradients fluctuate for a few miles where speed remained around 71 until we hit the 3/4 of a mile at 1in98 that took us back to 66. We blasted through Bruton Station on the level at 67 and left the level section, mp125 3/4, at 68. Odd finish to Brewham Bank as there are a couple of level bits. First up on the 3/4 of a mile it got very noisy as speed fell to 62. We picked up 4 mph on the half mile of 1in140/level to attack the 3/4 of a mile at 1in98 at 67. We left the section at 62.3 and just as we were about to use the 1/4 mile of level track to build up speed to attack the 1/2 mile at 1in81 to the summit, we braked for a signal check, due we were later told to cattle near the line. Shame as it looked like another 60+ summit top climb.

    A late running Weymouth-Temple Meads service restricted our run to Frome but it and the Newquay-Pad had cleared so we didn't actually stop there. As the Cardiff-Portsmouth was showing 18 late on RTT we hoped we'd be allowed into Westbury and away before it, and for once we were. After a nice restart we'd got to 50 by mp108 when the brakes came on and we slowed appreciably through Trowbridge and came to rest close to Bradford Jn. The HST had been routed Bradford Jn-Chippenham and there seemed to have been a problem with the signal/points that delayed it and consequently us. Nice restart and 44 through Bradford-on-Avon; 50 through Avoncliff and 45 up the bank through Freshford before we drifted down to Bathampton Jn and on to Bath Spa.

    Good restart again and 51 by Twerton Short Tunnel made us wonder if 75 would be achieved, the unofficial challenge for the final section to Bristol. We charged into Saltford Tunnel 5 miles out at 64; passed through Keynsham, 7 miles out at 68 but that was as high as we got. Churlish to moan about that after such a brilliant run. Only 10 down into Temple Meads after a superb day out behind the Southern interloper.

    Many thanks to the MNLPS for the use of their engine. It looked superb and provided a performance to match. The eastbound climb of Whiteball will stay in the memory for a very long time. Sadly it looks like only one more TBE and the Cornishman Express for Clan Line in the South West this year. Good to see sales items for the MNLPS this year. Seemed to be doing good business.

    Thanks to TBEL for running the TBE; to Pathfinder for handling the bookings and for providing the friendly ontrain stewards; to Riviera Trains for providing an all Chocolate and Cream Rake of very tidy Mk1s; to DB for providing the excellent crews and the on-day operation; and to NR for letting the train run. Bit of a mixed day for them. Shambolic in the morning at BTM; but generally good regulation for the rest of the day in the face of late running and extra trains for the Air Show; and of course very good regulation at Westbury where we've often sat outside the station and waited for late running Portsmouth-Cardiff services.

    You got to love the Torbay Express. Not too long a day out; a great scenic route; mile after mile of fast running; banks to climb; and great places to have lunch or mess about on the river. Plenty for day trippers and enthusiasts alike. The bookings reflect it too with a loading only around 60 below full, scattered between all classes for the this train, with the next 3 virtually/fully booked.
     
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  6. The34097

    The34097 New Member

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    A fantastic start to this year's 'Torbay Express' runs with a great performance from a true thoroughbred locomotive.

    34411595_829374693928406_5997712831460409344_o.jpg
    In glorious weather near to the site of the former Exminster station on the run down to Kingswear.

    34344333_829374680595074_5795087359745720320_o.jpg

    Bathed in early evening sunshine as 35028 leans into the curve passing Langstone Rock.
     
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  7. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That second photo of '28 leaning into the curve... Wow! What a cracker! Just been catching up with this thread and I'll say what I always say say about 35028, it's beginning to sound like a mantra but 'you can set the tea by Clan Line' what a machine it is.
     
  8. The34097

    The34097 New Member

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    Thanks for the comment.... first time have tried to get a shot like that with my new camera so was pleased when the shot came out so well. Gives me confidence can get the shots I always imagined taking
     
  9. hatherton hall

    hatherton hall Well-Known Member

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    And 100mph down the bank through Wellington! I was on it. Totally unexpected and had the massive WOW factor on the day. Driver's last day.
     
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  10. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Was on that run. Was in Premier dining at the back. Soon moved up front with my sound gear. The experience was far more enjoyable than whatever meal I missed. :)
    The atmosphere on the train as the speed rose and rose was incredible.
     
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  11. dublo6231

    dublo6231 Member

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    Apologies for the thread drift...but I think this is a clip of that specific moment - and possibly one of my favourite You Tube videos of all time...
     
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  12. mouse

    mouse New Member

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    Brilliant. According to UK Steam Clan Line is booked for the 15th July TBE. Can anyone confirm that?

     
  13. Kylchap

    Kylchap Member

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    Magnificent! An A4 at speed always looks so effortless. How about a new-build one made to modern standards?!
     
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  14. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Did you notice that on the day before Clan Line is taking the Pullmans around the Surrey Hills?
     
  15. mouse

    mouse New Member

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    Yes can she get to Bristol for the following day?
     
  16. CLN_WVR

    CLN_WVR Member

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    The Surrey Hills is the standard afternoon (lunch) tour that finishes in London at around 16:10, so should be plenty of time to run LE down to Bristol. They could even do it on the Sunday morning before the TBEL as the Black Five seems to be doing this coming weekend.
     
  17. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    Thanks again Shireman for the excellent write up.

    Rarely do I quibble with Mr Shireman, but I made the time from Westbury to Taunton 44m 09s for the 47.13 miles, so a start to stop average of 64.0 mph.

    Have done a lot of number crunching. Something we perhaps all overlooked was the excellent restart from Trowbridge, which produced the best performance output for the outward run of 1,800 edhp.

    St Annes - Keynsham 3.19 miles ave 1 in 1332 @ 51.5 mph - 1,362 edhp
    Yarnbrook 1.31 miles ave 1 in 288 @ 38.6 mph - 1,800 edhp
    Clink Rd Jn 2.64 miles ave 1 in 171 @ 49.0 mph - 1,658 edhp
    Brewham (from Blatchbridge) 5.99 miles ave 1 in 284 @ 59.3 mph - 879 edhp
    Brewham (from Witham) 1.86 miles ave 1 in 164 @ 55.4 mph - 1,150 edhp
    Whiteball (from Norton Fitz) 8.76 miles ave 1 in 156 @ 51.8 mph - 1,543 edhp
    Whiteball (from Wellington) 3.66 miles ave 1 in 102 @ 48.2 mph - 1,497 edhp
    Whiteball (from Beam Bri) 1.76 ave 1 in 94 @ 42.4 mph - 1,453 edhp
    Kingskerswell 1.36 miles ave 1 in 110 @ 46.6 mph - 1,570 edhp
    Goodrington 1.60 miles ave 1 in 70 @ 25.1 mph - 1,401 edhp

    Note that the average edhp from Norton Fitzwarren to Whiteball (Tunnel West end) was more than that on the last 1 3/4 miles from Beam Bridge, confirming the impression on the day that Clan Line was not pressed on the steepest part of the bank.

    I was fortunate to have been on 60009's epic run on 19 Feb 1995 and will tabulate a comparison of the two runs.

    Sean
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  18. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The Torbay isn't showing on the Clan Line website

    https://clan-line.org.uk/diary/
     
  19. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    According to the Torbay Express web site the next trip is 15th. July this year which might explain things. It seems last weeks was a special to coincide with the Torbay Air Show.
     
  20. IamDaniel

    IamDaniel Member

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    I'm looking to book onto a Torbay or two this season depending on what's up front, so I'll give them a ring tomorrow and see if I can get any intel.
     

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