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Torbay Express 2019

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by 1020 Shireman, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. AlexGWR1994

    AlexGWR1994 Member

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    My footage of No.9 excelling on her final Torbay Express in her career before retirement next year. I filmed her at Newton St Loe, Bunns Lane nr Frome, Burlescombe and an exceptional and incredibly loud climb of Brewham Bank.:Woot::) Enjoy.
     
  2. CLN_WVR

    CLN_WVR Member

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    Unfortunately due to leaving Bristol late, No. 9 ended up behind a stopper, so it was a relatively sedate pass through Oldfield Park

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    Will miss the usual Sunday steam to watch
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  4. AnthonyTrains2017

    AnthonyTrains2017 Member

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    Still great picture
     
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  5. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    It's a pity so little is being written about what might be No9's final year in service. We all hope John will have a change of heart. This is quite a detailed report of No9's final run on the Torbay Express of 2019.

    The Final Torbay Express of the 2019 Season

    After yesterday's Sugar Loaf Mountaineer II and catching up on the day's Test Match Cricket until 0100ish, it was off to bed for a few hours. Up at 0510 hrs for breakfast and then just after 0610 hrs we set off for the 50 minute drive to Bristol Temple Meads. It was a beautiful morning in Bristol, fitting for the final Torbay Express of the 2019 season and possibly the legend that is 60009's final run in the South West.

    It's been the worst year for the Torbay Express; one ran on the Steam Ban Day with a diesel on the front and lost us £200+; one ran via Weston with No9; one didn't run at all; and now there's this, the final train of the season on the longer route via Westbury, our favourite way around. The shunting at BTM didn't go to plan and No9 finally brought the train into Platform 7 at 0817, just as the 0818 Weymouth Stopper was whistled away. Such Joy following that. It looked like Spike Hodges in the driver's seat but couldn't see the fireman. We were 'tail end Charlie's, 12 of 12 on the outward, but fortunately milepost side for the greater part of the day. The TSO was full as was most of the rest of the train.

    A long chime as we got the right away and with a nice bit of acceleration No9 got us away from the Meads and into St Anne's Tunnel, 1.7 miles out at 43.4. Most of the run to Bath Spa is over Mr Brunel's gently graded line at 1320r. The stopper was already having a negative effect on us and we only passed through Keynsham at 61.4 had a max of 65.4 just before Twerton Long Tunnel. BTM-Bath Spa in 17m 05.7s.

    Still close to 20 mins down as we left Bath with the usual slip from a big wheeled Pacific. No hurry as the crossover at Bathampton Jn is only 40mph. Freshford is a stop for the Weymouth and we were checked by a signal and slowed to 16 under Dundas Aqueduct. A bit of a crawl with a min of 9 at mp3 1/4. Signals with us and off we went climbing the short 286r/99r past Limpley Stoke, 25; then up the 242r to Freshford, 41. That's better we thought. Speed had picked up to 46 by Bradford-on-Avon but that was it as No9 was eased for Bradford Junction before we rolled in to Trowbridge for our pick up, some 20 mins down. Less than five miles to Westbury over a few miles of 187r/237r, 40; then after 1/4m level, 45.5; then 1/2m 178r, down to 44.4. Onto the mile of 120r, with 32 at mp109 1/4 as we braked for Westbury North Jn.

    In recent years we've we had some cracking better than even time runs from Westbury to Taunton and hoped for the same. Long chime and we were away, still 20 down - but the timing to Taunton is really slack. Green signal on the junction and a good start on the 117f, passing mp110 1/4 at 28, but then only 37 as we passed mp111 just before Fairwood Junction, also passed at 37. There's a steady climb to Clink Road; end of 3/4m of 226r, 40.3;end of 1/2m 157r/374r, 40.9 onto the almost 2 miles of 151r. Half way in speed had risen to 43 and with a nice bit of noise drifting back, we left the 151r at 44. We ran over Clink Road Jn on the 138f at 49 and Blatchbridge Junction at 61, bit below par on previous years.

    Brewham isn't a serious climb on the outward but always seems to pull speed back and we lost a few mph to the 3/4m of 259r/116r past the site where Woodlands Box once stood. The gradient rises gently after mp120, 59, 1/2m or so of 409r, left at 60, before an increase to 3/4m of 112r, left at 58 after East Somerset Junction. There is a 1/2m of 107r to the summit and No9's speed did fall to 54.7.

    Now hopefully the fun bit and No9 was powered down the 81f/98f bank, but unlike the norm of 75, only ran through Bruton station at 70. Back on cue and down through Castle Cary at 76; then we passed the site of the old Keinton Mandeville Station on the 330r at 73. Another mile of 330r saw speed fall to 70.4 at mp121. Down the bank to pass mp124 at 75 and half a mile on at mp124 1/2 we hit the 2 miles of 264r to Somerton Tunnel at 73. Plenty of the characteristic loud chatter from an A4 saw speed only fall to 70.3 into Somerton Tunnel. Up to the speeds set by Tornado and Clan Line in previous years with load 12.

    As every year, the one big difference this year being a WCR not DB crew, we sped down the long 264f to reach 77. We crossed Langport Viaduct on the 330f at 76 and left the 264f at 75. Then however, unlike DB crews in previous years, No9 wasn't worked very hard along the level with speed falling below 70. This led to a further fall as we hit the last 3/4m of 330r to Holly Moor Crossing, 68. We ran through Athelney at 72 and then it did get noisy again on the mile+ of 330r, speed off the section 70. After a max of 75 on the 650f, we ran at 72/3 on the level before easing after Cogload Jn, passing mp159 at 70 and mp161 at 49.3. No9 wasn't worked much to the station then which was a shame as an even time had been well within our grasp. You can't quite drift into Taunton as there's a bit of a rise; 1/2 mile of 604r, 48; 3/4m 311r to mp162 1/2, 36, and 221r up into the station. We came to a stand in Taunton Station, 3mins down, in a time of 47m 24.34s for the 46 3/4 mile run from Westbury.

    On the whole No9 sounded and ran like a locomotive in fine fettle so we wondered whether we could hit the timer's target of 40 mph into Whiteball Tunnel with load 12. Not an easy task.

    Last year's final TBE was via Weston but it's the same route from Taunton so I've put the speeds of Clan Line's run on the final TBE of 2018 on 9th September last in brackets for the Taunton-Paignton and return runs, including the westbound and eastbound climbs to Whiteball Summit. It's interesting to see the difference between a rebuilt Merchant Navy with 6' 2" diameter driving wheels and a mighty A4's with 6' 9" drivers. Little is usually best on the banks.

    We left Taunton only 2 down with a careful start on the level. Once on the 322r we passed mp163 3/4 at 31 (32), and mp164 at 30 (32). 1/2m of 329r took us to Silk Mill at 43.5. The climb to Whiteball isn't very steep for the first 6 miles. The sound volume rose from up front as we crossed Victory LC at the end of a mile and a quarter at 369r, at 51.9 (53). After 3/4 of a mile at 203r we were still running at 51.9 (54). We crossed Bradford-on-Tone LX at the end of 3/4 of a mile at 338r at 53.1 (54); then 1/2 mile 222r, 1/4m 490r was left at 53 (53). Even so far. The next 1 1/4m, starting at mp168 is at 174r, left at 51.3. Then there's a short easing over 1/4m of 667r, where speed rose slightly to take 52.5 onto the 1/2 mile of 170r; left at 52. There's a chance to pick up some speed then as there's a half mile of lev/850r/lev to Wellington, left at 54.3 (54.5); then the last of the gentler grades, 1/2m of 288r/133r, left at 53.4 (53). On a par with Clan Line thus far.

    Now for the real Wellington Bank, met with a much louder chatter from the A4 as we passed the start of the 3/4m+ of 90r, mp170 3/4, at 52.7 (53). The bank began to bite and despite even more volume and bits of coal rattling along the roof, No9 left the 90r at mp1711/2 at 46.9 (46.7). The final 3 miles+ of the climb are the steepest. Quarters on the 86r were: mp171 3/4, 45.6 (46.7); mp172, 43.8 (45); mp172 1/4, 42.8 (43.9). Then on the 80r: mp172 1/2, 40.1 (42.3); mp172 3/4, 38.5 (40.8); mp173, 37.5 (38.4); then into the tunnel at 37.3 (38.1). we passed mp174, the climbing summit, at 41.6.

    Elapsed time to the tunnel was 14m 18.13s (14m 42.26s); to mp174, 15m 36.42s. A very decent climb by the A4 with load 12.

    No rapid acceleration to Tiverton Parkway, 68 (76), and we only reached 70 (76) close to Cullompton. We ran through Exeter St Davids at 30.8 with a clear road in front. We charged off to St Thomas, 42.3 (17) and despite a decent bit of noise drifting back, only passed Exminster, mp198 3/4, at 66 (72.3). On the level we passed mp200 at 67 (64); mp201 63.3 (66); amd mp202 64 (66) before we passed Starcross, mp202 1/2, at 62.8 (66). No adverse signals and through Dawlish Warren at 60.8 (oddly 25 through the platform road last year). We drifted around the sea wall and through Dawlish Station at 55.2 (24) and through Teignmouth at 61 (26). We drifted through Newton Abbot at 39, and passed the old Aller Jn at 42 (44). The run down to Kingskerswell is very different now and we heard No9's exhaust drumming under the new bypass tunnel at the end of 1/2m of 152r at 44.7 (49). We blasted past the old Kingskerswell Station platform at 43.4 (48.4); then on the 110r, mp217 at 46.2 (47.3) and then to the summit at mp218, 34.4 (42), well down on what was expected. This has happened in the past when crews didn't quite get the summit right and eased off a little early.

    Down through Torre at 36.7 (33) then through Torquay at 40.3 (43). The short 1/4 mile at 1in56 was dismissed at 40 (41) and we arrived into Paignton a little ahead of RT.

    Sadly the PDR don't allow A4s to run over their steeply graded line so their Class 37 was attached to assist over Churston bank.

    We took the car ferry across to Dartmouth and had lunch in the Royal Castle with a new acquaintance from Cardiff. They only had fresh plaice so I had a Sunday Lamb Roast. Rather good it was too, as was Mrs S's beef. Don's Chicken was a bit dry though. Mrs S and I shared a bottle of the 2018 Sharphams Special Reserve, an excellent white. Dessert was an excellent White Chocolate Cheesecake with clotted cream that finished off the meal superbly for me; and the usual local ice cream for Mrs S.

    We walked along the riverside and watched Lydham Manor take the service train out at 1515 then took the Higher Ferry across to walk alongside the line back to the station.

    No9 was a bit late returning, 1615, but was attached and ready to go well before the Manor brought the 1645 arrival into Kingswear a little late. Again we were banked out and over the summit and the diesel wasn't detached until the changeover to the mainline crew below Goodrington Sands. Have no idea who crewed us back. There were too many folk around the locomotive at Taunton and none of the stewards knew.

    We were 1 1/2 coaches back now and looking forward to some noisy climbing on the return. Long chime and a steady start out of Paignton and passed mp222 at 13.3 (14). Then it got noisy and we charged the short bank from mp221 1/2, 91r for 1/2 mile, left at 26.7 (28). Down the 56r to Torquay, passed at 35.7 (44.5) and onto the 3/4 mile at 55r. We dropped to 28.8 and despite a lot of noise, we only left the section through Torre at 28.7 (33.7). The gradient eased to 3/4 mile at 73r and our speed held at 28.7 (30 with slips) at the summit. Not bad at all for a big wheeler.

    We hit line speed of 60 through Kingskerswell (52) but slowed for Aller, 28.5 (62). We crossed over and ran through Newton Abbot at 35.3 (44). Loved the loud chatter from No9 as it was worked on the 600r past mp213, 44, then onto the long level around the curves to Teignmouth. We reached line speed of 60 as we passed mp211; passed Teignmouth at 58; and ran through the tunnels at 61/2. We burst out and flashed through Dawlish, chime whistle sounding, at 64 (63). Serious noise level now as we roared through the Warren, mp204 1/2, at 69.7 (67). now out onto the 5 miles+ of level track and the A4 treated it like the racetrack on the North Eastern. We'd reached 73.9 (72) as we dashed through Starcross, mp202 1/2; and then 75 (75) at mp200 1/2. No let up and a solid 75 (72) at Exminster, mp198 3/4; then a max of 76 at mp197 3/4 as we hit the end of the level. No9 was worked up the 1070r/311r/213r to mo 196 1/2, 74.2, before being eased for Exeter Railway Jn, mp195 and a bit. Our speed was brought right down at St Thomas, 34; then worse, at mp194 1/4, only 13.3 before we had a green for the station.

    Long blast on the chime whistle and speed picking up to 28.4 (45) as we flashed through Platform 6. On across Red Cow LC to pass mp194 3/4 on the 515r at 32 (46.3). Then not what we expected at all - not much noise and a slow run on the gentle 2 miles 620r. We only passed Cowley Bridge Jn at 48 (49.3); mp192 at 47 (51.7); and mp191 at 52.1 (55.4). From mp190 1/4 there's a mile and a bit of 217r with Stoke Canon LC 1/4 in, passed at 57 (59.7), then coming off the section at 57. No9 picked up speed on the 3 1/2 miles of ave. 300r. Mid point we were up to 61, but speed fell back at mp186 to 58 (60). It was so bright it was easy to spot the mileposts, rare for September. On slightly falling grades we crossed Hele and Bradnich LC at 63 (65). The next 3 1/2 miles are gentle; 523r, 64 (65.8); 824r, 63 (66.2) then on a 1/4m level track, 54 (68) at mp182 1/4.

    No let up as there are still just over 8 miles to the summit, almost all of them climbing. The gradient increased to 284r through Cullompton, 65 (68) and unlike what we've come to expect, there was no real increase in sound or pace from the front. We hit the 2 1/4m of 1in155 at mp181 1/4 at only 65.1 (75); mid-point mp180 1/2, 62.2 (62.4); and end of section, mp179 1/4, 60.9. this took us to Tiverton Junction, now just Loops. The gradients ease to 1/4m level, 62; then almost 1/2m of short 207f, 66.2 (67). Getting better... We came off the 3/4m of 216r at mp177 3/4 at 65, and held it through Tiverton Parkway, 65 (69). Now onto the 3/4 mile of 242r, left at 64.4 (69), then a slight fall on the 162r to 62.3 (69). Now we were on the steepest section, the 2 1/4+ miles at 115r. Plenty of noise now as No9 charged the grade, but speed was falling steadily. We passed mp176 at 61.9 (68); mp175 at 56 (63); Burlescombe 56 (61). The summit isn't a straightforward one on the gradient profile. The quarter between mp174 1/2 and 1/4 has a change of gradient from 115r to 212r, we passed it at 52 (59.5); then what is taken to be the summit despite most of the quarter being 203f, was passed at 52.7 (56.4). We dived into the tunnel at 53.5 (55.7)

    To be truthful, a bit of a disappointing climb; time elapsed from Exeter St Davids was all of 23m 15.15s, (19m 35.87s) almost 4 minutes longer than Clan Line's run last year.

    We were in City of Truro mode charging out of the tunnel and at mp171 the GPS showed 80.4, eased back to 76.5(76) by Wellington. We crossed both Bradford-on-Tone and Victory Level Crossings at 76 and the brakes only came on at mp165 1/2. Still doing 60 at mp165 and 41 at mp164. We rolled into Taunton Station 69m 57.32s (63m 46s) after leaving Paignton. 6 minutes is a lot in 59 miles.

    It was supposed to be a short 'splash and dash' but it turned into an 18 minute stop. Still we were well behind the PNZ-PAD so should have an uninterrupted run to Somerton Tunnel and thereafter, to Brewham Summit.

    What is needed for the sort of speeds we've become used to behind Clan Line and Tornado is a smart run from Taunton to Cogload, 70ish, then some serious hard running all the way to Brewham Summit. No real respite. The speeds in brackets refer to the last Taunton-Brewham run Clan Line did on a Torbay Express, the 3rd June 2018.

    Long chime whistle and we were away. Not the hoped for acceleration down the 311f, 47 by Taunton East. On the level, 57 by mp160; and hardly any pickup on the 1/2m of 483f. We did pick up to 60 down a short 288f, then onto the level over Cogload Jn at 61.4 (64). Bit slower than optimum. Out onto the 'Berks and Hants' now and past mp137 3/4 on the level still at 61.4 (65). Mostly level except for a short 288r to mp136 1/2, 62.6. then a mile of 330f, better, 65.8. We roared past Athelney LC at 66.3 (73) and took that onto the close to mile of 330r, 65.4; then a mile of 330f with a level bit in the middle, end section 66.7. Really noisy now and on the level speed rose to 69.1 by mp131 1/4, 69.1 (74), where the climb to Somerton Tunnel begins. First is almost 1 1/4m of 264r through Langport, 65 (70) across the viaduct; 3/4m 330r, 63.7; then the solid 2 1/2 miles of 264r from mp129 1/4,63.5. at Long Sutton, mp128, 61.6 (68) and then falling to 60.5 (64) as we charged into Somerton Tunnel. 60 minimum was the timer's target for an A4 with load 12 so a tick in the box - just. Really thought No9 would have bested Clan Line on that section.

    On the 264f, our speed picked up to 68. Then there's 1 3/4m of 264r to tackle. No problem just a fall to 61.2. Oddly then on the 1 1/2m on the level through Charlton Mackrell speed fell to 58. No real sound from up front either on the 2m of 330r where previous crews have used the downgrade to race through Keinton Mandeville, mp120, we were down to 58.6 (75). Problems with the fire perhaps? We'd soon know. Next came a mile of level; 1/2m of 660r; 1/2m level that we left it at mp118 at only 49.9; expected to be nearer 70; so not good.

    As we passed the site of the old Arford Halt, the gradient starts to rise; 1 1/2m of 264r. A fall to 44.8 (71) across Parsonage Farm Crossing then someone up front lit the blue touch paper and the sound level increased two fold to some kind of a crescendo. No9 came off the 264r at 46 (71) and accelerated slowly up the mile of 330r/366r to Castle Cary, 48.3 (71) with lots of smuts hitting the toplights. We came off the 1/2m 143r at 51.6 (71) as we passed mp128 1/2; then used the 1/2m lev to hit 55. No loss over the next 1/2m of 358r and acceleration over the 1/2m of 78r/lev/98r to pass mp127 1/4 at 56.7. Odd climb Brewham. Next comes 3/4m of 98r, left at 53.3 (67); then it levels off for a mile through Bruton station and beyond; station 53.5 (67); end of section a very noisy 57 (62.3).

    We lost a couple of mph to the 1/2m 140r, 54.6; but over the 1/2m of level track, speed rose back up to 57 (Clan Line was checked by a signal in 2018 so no comparable summit speed). No9 was really being driven hard and over the 3/4m of 98r speed only fell to 55.9. There's an odd quarter with a bit of lev/81r, left at 55.1 with No9 sounding like nothing I've ever heard from an A4. Ear splitting! The steepest section of the bank, 1/2m+ of 81r took a bit of a toll and despite the racket from up front we passed under the summit bridge at 51.4. What a weird bit of running between Charlton Mackrell to Castle Cary approach. No trains anywhere near. A mystery. Even weirder is a negative attrition between Castle Cary and Bruton Station and then only 2mph attrition between Bruton Station and Brewham Summit.

    We bowled down the grades to East Somerset Jn, 69; and passed Blatchbridge Jn at 73; Clink Road Jn after a bit of 138r, 64; then 65 at mp66 on the 151f. Everything slowed down then as we were quite early. We weren't held at Fairwood Jn though and rolled into Westbury only 6 down. After our set down we still had time to depart before the Portsmouth-Cardiff. We were still 6 down but bowled down the bank in the 50s but had to brake through Trowbridge, 43. Everything seems to be slowed for Bradford Jn, 27, then down the bank through Bradford-on-Avon, 34; Avoncliff 51; then the 414r/242r to Freshford, 52. No restriction under Dundas Aqueduct, 61 and straight out over Bathampton Jn, 45, and almost right time arrival at Bath Spa.

    Perhaps it was too much to expect but a Class 8 with load 12 could get to 70 between Bath and Keynsham, mostly on the 1320f. The usual slip as we left and then a decent bit of acceleration accompanied by showers of fireflies!! A mile or so out at mp108, Oldfield Park, 41.3; A mile further into Twerton Long Tunnel, 53; on the level at mp110 1/2, 62.3; into Saltford Tunnel, 65.6; back to 1320f, mp112, 66.4 ... tantalisingly close to 70... mp113 66.6; then .... nothing. No9 was eased and we ran through Keynsham at 62.3; Foxes Wood Tunnel at 59; St Anne's Tunnel at 56; North Somerset Jn at 40 before being allowed straight into Platform 8 at 2038.22 on the board, just 3 down.

    Many thanks to John Cameron for allowing us to use his magnificent A4. We all hope it wasn't, but if it was No9's final run in the South West it was a good one; to No9's Support Crew for their hard work and professionalism all day; to WCR for stepping in and providing the footplate crews for the TBEs to run this year; to Riviera Trains for providing a generally tidy rake of carriages, though the TSOs really are tired externally and internally; to Pathfinder for handling the bookings and for providing the friendly ontrain stewards, a number of whom, like us, did the Sugar Loaf Mountaineer on Saturday; and to NR for letting us play on the big railway. Not sure what happened at Bristol in the morning but good regulation for the rest of the day; mostly due to all Service Trains running on time for once.

    So only 1 Torbay Express for us in 2019. The wrong kind of record. We hope 2020 will see a more normal year.
     
  6. No.7

    No.7 New Member

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    Many thanks for the report. For the record the Whiteball times on the TE on the 19th Aug with 60009, also 12 coaches, where 13m 34.08s (to tunnel in, 43 mph) and 14m 43.62s (to MP174, 47 mph). Time to the tunnel it is pretty much equal fastest that I know of from a standing start and with load 12 (less than a second slower than 6024 on 14/4/2001).
     
  7. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Typically I was too ratted off with Barry and TBEL after the diesel hauled run of 28 July that we lost dosh on book the 18th August; then we were out for a long day on the WSSE on the 17th so didn't even turn up to do a POTD. Getting old!!
     

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