Discussion in 'What's Going on' started by Paul42, Jan 14, 2017.
5043 passing through Worcester Shrub Hill this morning, running 7 minutes late.
Here's my video of 5043 passing Gatcombe, by the River Severn, and conquering Llanvihangel bank, from earlier today:
My footage of 5043 hauling The Welsh Marches to Hereford in pure sunshine. Filmed at Purton and Llantilio Pertholey on Llanvihangel Bank. Enjoy.
A couple of shots at Eckington and Llantilio Pertholey. A wonderful soundtrack, as she powers up the climb to Llanvihangel!
5043 powering away from Droitwich this morning and thundering through Abergavenny this afternoon.
Racing to the summit, 5043 threads the lane overbridge at Little Stretton as the sun sets over the Long Mynd.
Droitwich this morning
5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe by Martin Creese, on Flickr
North of Wistanstow in the last few minutes before the sun dropped behind the hills.
My contribution for today, a photo and video from Blakedown. I've only passed through this station on the train and so on my first proper visit I was surprised and confused to find that the signal box was in a different place to on google streetview! The mystery was solved when I spoke to the very friendly local residents manning the box - they had saved it from demolition by NR and had it moved brick by brick to the new spot. They were having their first ever open day, unwittingly planned to coincide with this tour! I gave them a quick introduction to UK Steam info, RTT and VT.
Anyway, here is 5043 accelerating past the box with Bob Meanley at the cab window:
A very enjoyable trip today behind a very fine locomotive. Some spirited running and it felt like the loco was being driven as it should be, right on the edge of adhesion at times, only losing it's feet briefly a couple of times.
This was my first run behind a Castle since 1964! It was also my first trip with Vintage Trains and I was very impressed by their professionalism. Superbly organised, all timing spot on except when delayed by others. Departure from Hereford was delayed due to a late running service train, but the Earl made up the time easily, arriving early back at Tyseley.
I'm not very familiar with trips behind ex -Great Western locos and I was surprised how black the smoke was compared to the ECML types that I know better. What type of coal do they use?
There were quite a few timers out and about yesterday but sadly I see no-one has posted anything about an exceptional day out with 5043. So here's what you missed if you didn't travel and what you enjoyed if you did!!! Thanks for the superb footage and pictures you linesiders. Great reminders of the day.
Welsh Marches 25/3/17
So, what with all the comments about the relative merits of a Castle and a Scot, what would the day hold for the Earl? The answer was a tiresome start behind a Whitlock's End-Worcester Shrub Hill all stations stopper. We were virtually brought to a stand between Bordeseley and Moor Street, passed at 12 mph, so the climb into Snow Hill was muted if very smoky. The run across the top, quite a highlight last year, was a non-event, Jewellery Quarter passed at only 20. Then it looked good as the Earl charged up the first part of the 1 in 100 towards The Hawthorns at 41 before braking quite hard to drift through the station at 18. Then we rolled down Old Hill and beyond with a max of only 52 near Hagley before more braking for the service train in front.
Things livened up a bit on the approach to Kidderminster and had risen very noisily to 61 through the station with a max of 70 before hard braking for Hartlebury. The max was then 62 down towards our water stop at Droitwich UGL and even that didn't go well as we were held outside the loop for over 5 minutes. Didn't seem to be a reason for it but it meant we left 6 down.
I think Ray was a bit annoyed by the delays and with greens as far as the eye could see, the Earl roared up the mile+ of 1 in 386(49), rising to 63 on the level, maxing at 70 before braking for Rainbow Hill Tunnel and the approach to Worcester Shrub Hill. We drifted through at 16 and got to 53 before easing for Norton Jn(31) and Abbotswood Jn(35). Then the fireworks began with a vengeance, accompanied by some serious noise, easily heard 8 back, and unlike the 11th by mainly black smoke, doing a fine job of obliterating the mileposts! Down the 2 miles+ of 1 in 301, speed rose to just under 70,and further down the bank towards Eckington, maxed at 76.
The 12 miles of mixed gradients from MP 72 to 84 on Cheltenham Spa approach has become a bit of a racetrack and today was no exception. Today it took 9m 59s, an average of 72 mph. There's a 20 mph through the station after which the Earl was opened up again and speed maxed at 72 at mp90, just over 3 miles down gentle 1 in 384/304 grades.
Almost 10 down, we were fortunate to get the middle road through Gloucester(20) so Ray could open the Earl up as soon as we'd crossed the viaduct. We blacked out the west of Gloucester as the Earl roared out into the countryside, getting to 70 just 4 miles out down gentle grades. It's been a while since we really had a good westbound run out of Gloucester, so we were due one. Castles sound superb attacking gentle banks and 5043 certainly did, holding 71/2 up the gentle mile and a half of 1 in 817 and over undulating grades to the 2.5 miles of 1 in 264/311 through Newnham, started and finished at 71. Speed rose to our maximum on the 1 in 316 down Bullo Dock to Awre Jn, before slowing to just under 60 on Lydney Approach. Once cleared, our speed rose very noisily to a very generous 75+ down the 1 in 345 and we gave little to the 1 in 186 approaching Chepstow until the tunnel came into view. We came to a halt in Chepstow station for a short photo stop, 6 down.
Ray really attacked the departure from Chepstow, getting to 43 half a mile out on the downgrade. Again this is often a slow section but over the 2 miles of level track speed rose noisily to just under 70. There's a 15 mph through Caldicot so the Earl was allowed to drift down to Severn Tunnel Junction where we were dumped onto the relief to Newport. Speed never rose above 40 and RTT showed we weren't too close to the Manchester when we left Maindee North Junction to attack the lower slopes of the Welsh Marches.
Once over the Usk River Bridge(20), the sound from the front was racheted up more than a few notches as we attacked the 11 mile climb to Pontypool Road. The 3/4 mile 1 in 122 to Caerleon was met at 42 and topped at 49; the short 0.5 mile 1 in 132d saw speed rise to 55 at Ponthir, the foot of the 1.5 miles of 1 in 120. We came off this and onto the serious 2 miles of 1 in 106 to Cwmbran at 52 but half way into the climb while running at 49, we braked for what a 20mph restriction through Cwmbran Platform. Just at the end of the 1 in 106 where it steepens to 1 in 95 for 2 1/4 miles, the Earl slipped as it had on the 11th, seemingly on the rail greaser which is a fairly recent addition to the infrastructure I believe. Consequently speed fell to 22 but rose very noisily in the cutting to a creditable 38 as we swung left to charge up the 1/2 mile of 1 in 358 around the large Island Platform at Pontypool Road(52) where the slack has been lifted at long last.
The Earl snarled away from the station and Little Mill box was passed at 72. The mile of 1 in 141 was coasted up (62) and then Ray used the 1 in 80 down through Nantyderry to maximum effect (75++). Speed drifted down to 65 at Penpergwm where 5043 attacked the 2 1/2+ of 1 in 154/181/153/short level bit into Abergavenny station at 65. Speed dropped to 54 but rose to 57 on the level as we roared through Abergavenny Station to tackle the steep climb to Llanvihangel Summit 4 miles away. The first part of the bank, 1/2 mile of 1 in 85, commences just past mp22 3/4 on curve on the platform itself. We took 56 onto the next 1 3/4 miles of 1 in 82, and started the final 1 3/4 miles of 1 in 95 to the summit at 49. 5043 showed just what a fine engine it is by storming up this final part of the bank in magnificent style, charging over the summit at 46.7.
I've done many runs over Llanvihangel and this was easily both the fastest summit speed and the lowest speed drop I've ever encountered. Only Tornado may have bettered both. Only dropping 10mph to this bank really is a bit special.
On the downgrade we passed Pandy(73) and got to our max of 75 lower. There's a short climb to Pontrilas SB where speed fell to 64/5, a speed held over the undulating road to Tram Inn and to the bottom of the 1 3/4 mile 1 in 459/301 to Red Hill Tunnel(64). We drifted down into Hereford to arrive 4 early. Some run from Newport. Worth the fare alone.
After a convivial lunch in Hereford I did sigh at the Milford Haven-Manchester Train that was 14 down at Hereford and subsequently close to us. Instead of the 90 mph 175 3-Car unit it was a two car 158 coupled to a 75 mph restricted 2 car 150 unit. The station excuse was amusing - the delay was supposed to have been caused by trespassing! We know from bitter experience how much time is lost when they roll out 150 sets on this route.
So we were expecting a stopper affected run to at least Ludlow. Despite that we blasted out of Hereford, passing Shelwick Jn at 48 and Moreton-on-Lugg at 62. There's just over 4 miles of climbing to Dinmore Tunnel started at 62; then 2 miles of 1 in 1100(66), 1/4 mile of 1 in 200(66) and the final 2 miles of 1 in 100 to Dinmore Tunnel(60). Always a good run when crews get to the tunnel at 60. We rolled down grade to reach 67 before easing for the 20 mph restriction through Leominster.
Speed rose to a max of 63, held up the short 1 in 100/283/154 but we were checked before Wooferton but picked back up to 66 down the 1 in 100 to pass the box at 66 and took 68 onto the climb to Ludlow. Speed fell slowly on the 3/4 miles of 1 in 112(65), and was 61 at the top of the 3/4 mile 1 in 134. Ludlow was passed at 60.
The 12 1/2 mile long climb to Stretton Summit was commenced at 65 but there was an immediate brake application, possibly due to the train in front, that ruined the attack on the bottom of the bank. The 'top of section' speeds are in brackets: 3/4mile 1 in 160(39); 3/4mile of 1 in 425 including Bromfield LC(44); 1mile 1 in 870(47); 3/4mile 1 in 420(53); 1mile 1 in 286 including Onibury LC(55); 1.5mile 1 in 112(45); 3/4mile 'recovery' 245d/207d(52); 1/2mile 1 in 406 to Craven Arms(55); 3/4mile 1 in 403/150(52); 1/2mile 1 in 130(47); 3/4 mile 1 in 105(48); 1/2 mile level(47); 1 mile 1 in 164/180(50); 1/2mile 125d(52); 3/4mile 1 in 110/278(53); Marshbrook LC 53; 1.75miles 1 in 112 topped at 47 after easing down from 50 for a 20 mph restriction through Church Stretton. Despite the slower start, the climb was actually faster from Onibury than the excellent one last year.
Dorringtion was passed at 67 on the way down to Sutton Bridge Jn. Signalling was very good around Shrewsbury with no delays joining the Wolverhampton line at Abbey Foregate Jn(23). There are 10 miles of gentle climbing from MP167(67) and we could hear the 'snarl' from the Castle as it tackled them. Speed was 67 on the foot of the first 2 miles of 1 in 185(63); half a mile of level track/mile of 1 in 200(65); Allscott(65, half way up 2 miles + of 1 in 120(57). The Earl was eased over the half mile of level track(49); the half mile of 1 in 400(47) and the 1.5 miles of 1 in 165 through Wellington(49). We held the speed over the 1.5 miles of 1 in 132 and the short 1 in 150. 5043 was eased half a mile into the 3 miles of 1 in 200 through Telford Central (34), then accelerated up the short 1 in 280(43).
Speed picked up rapidly down the almost 3 miles of 1 in 150 through Shifnal(65) that took us to the foot of the climb through Cosford. Half a mile of 1 in 407(56) led us onto almost 4 miles of 1 in 137. The Earl thundered up the bank and passed Cosford, a mile in, at 60; Albrighton 2.5 miles further in at 58 before our speed dipped to 50 at the summit. Some of our fellow passengers were worried they wouldn't hear any sound 8 back. How wrong they were. 5043 slipped twice on the climb into Wolverhampton, our first set down point. A significantly faster run than last year.
Bit of a muted run with a max of only 45 on the run in the dark to Walsall, our final set down point. I still haven't been able to find any profiles of the climb out of Walsall but again, 5043 made a noisy departure. Speed rose to 36 and only dropped to 31 at 'a summit' just over half a mile from Aldridge, passed at 37. Sutton Park was passed at 46; Washwood Heath(45). On the tricky mile of 1 in 85 between St Andrew's Jn to Bordesely Jn, speed was held at just over 18.
Castles seem really at home on their old stamping ground, the North and West. As on previous occasions we had an excellent day out with 5043. The train was chock a block full and in some ways it was a pity the 'extra' TSO wasn't left in the rake for a selfish reason - timers could have been on the milepost side for the whole journey. Instead I had to rely on my GPS from Newport, using well 'known' reference points and mileposts like the one on Abergavenny Station to calibrate them.
Thanks again to Bob and the team at Tyseley Works for turning 5043 out in what seems to be perfect mechanical condition. It sounded superb yesterday and the performance from Abbotswood onward was exceptional, the best Welsh Marches yet. All that really wasn't true GWR was the dirty coal and the blackness of the smoke most of the day. Looks aren't everything though and it certainly provided the steam needed on an arduous day out. Top marks to whoever was firing. We know Ray drove to Hereford but the platform was too crowded to see who drove back. Many thanks to all the crew for an excellent day, one of the best. Perhaps Ben can fill in who crewed where for us.
Thanks for your excellent report Shireman. I was the steward in your coach and whilst I thought that we had a good run it is interesting to relate your detailed report back to the journey to discover not only how good it was but also to hear about the little hiccoughs we encountered.
I'd like to add my thanks for a thoroughly absorbing account of what was clearly an outstanding performance by an outstandingly smartly turned-out locomotive - as ever. Quick question. There are several references to 20 mph speed restrictions at a number of station sites encountered yesterday (Cheltenham, Cwmbran, Leominster and Church Stretton) and I'm wondering whether these might all be clearance related, specific to the Earl. Nothing is showing for these sites in the weekly TSR summary published by RPS.
If this is the case, do I also recall (from VT's last Moonraker outing) that there may be similar restrictions applicable to 5043 on the Basingstoke-Salisbury section (either in both directions or possibly just in the Up direction??) that the Earl is due to visit in two weeks time? In other words, are such restrictions, whether platforms or structures, part of an emerging pattern across the network, similar to that which seems to be afflicting Rood Ashton Hall at the present time??
On the basis of the chosen metrics (fastest summit speed/ lowest speed drop), and before adjustment for load, you could well be right that this performance has never been matched. Tornado would offer a logical benchmark for comparative purposes, but reading back through (SR/ Mike Notley) accounts and logs of its past visits to this route, I haven't been able to find anything to quite eclipse the Earl's speeds on the bank.
Two Cathedrals Express runs - from 26th November 2011 and 24th November 2012, show just how close Tornado has come to matching the Earl, but still falling slightly short - although after allowing for the significantly greater loads on both runs, there's no doubt of the supremacy of Tornado's 8P might and muscle.
Date/ (Source) Load AGV Station pass Summit (MP19 quoted) Comment
26.11.2011 (SR398) 13/ 470/ 505 60 mph 44.5/attrition 15.5 mph Av. edhp 2000 over 3.5 miles MP22.5 to MP19
24.12 2012 (SR410) 12/ 436/ 470 65mph 43/attrition 22 mph AGV to MP19 4'26"
Maybe someone can come up with other evidence from other runs/ other locomotives that would suggest a different picture, but just as a quick and immediate response to the account of Saturday's run, I felt that these comparisons would be of interest
Thanks, they certainly are. This really was a run I'd have loved to have been on the milepost side to record 'properly'. The GPS is very good and does quarters and didn't fluctuate or jump at all on the bank. But, as I said, the last true reference I had was mp22 3/4 which is high up on AGV station and clear to see as someone cleared the ivy off it (wonder who that was). I didn't see mp22 1/2, Mike's reference, the true start of the bank, and by the time I realised it was going to be something that special, it was too late to try to find a place to set up on the other side. I rather hoped some of the timers who were on the train would have posted on here as I didn't get the opportunity to talk to them in Hereford. Unfortunately I don't have means of contacting them 'between trains' but will hopefully bump into them soon to find out what their scribblings said. If I do get hold of any timings I will post them.
My timings showed the elapsed time between mp 22 1/2 and mp 19 was 4'15".
Deep in the back of my mind I had a feeling one of the earlier VT Welsh Marches trains was quicker speed wise with 50+ at the summit nagging at me after a rapid pass through Abergavenny station. After a good rummage through my 'records' I found the tickets and timing sheet and finally the right timing book. The train was the Welsh Marches of 20th September 2013. It was the lightweight train, 5043+Reg+8 that we diehard GWR fans didn't consider it a 'real train' and half expected the kind of performance we got.
Notably in 2013 there were no restrictions at all through stations on the Newport-Hereford Section and we duly stormed through Cwmbran at 46, and only lost 4 mph to the remainder of the 1 in 106 and the 2 1/2 miles of 1 in 95, topped at 42, before we dashed through Pontypool Road Station at 53. My timings have lots of gaps no doubt because I couldn't see the mileposts at the speeds we passed them! We tore across the Usk River Bridge at 77; passed Penpergwm station at 70; and then passed mp 22 3/4 on Abergavenny Station at 68. Speeds then were: 55 at mp 20 1/2, the top of the 1 in 82; still 55 at mp20, half a mile into the 1 in 95; then on the 1 in 95 towards the summit, 53 at mp 19 3/4; 53 at 19 1/2; and finally 52 at the summit itself. Can't imagine how that run slipped my memory. a senior moment and a half!!!!!! By the way, the elapsed time from mp 22 3/4 to the summit was 4m 12.2s.
Looking back, it's interesting to note the attrition over the early part of the climb, 13 mph between mp 22 3/4 and 20 1/2 in 2013; only 9 mph last week. It was a glorious day in 2013 so no slipping.
So, fastest speed through Abergavenny, 68; faster over the summit, 52; but with a greater attrition, 16 mph. Ray Churchill needless to say was our driver in 2013.
A graet picture, well worth the climb to the top of 'Ragleth' hill
Scott, a lovely picture that one. The framing, the location and of course the subject, are spot on, well done.
This year's Cotswold Explorer to Oxford with 5043 is now up on the VT website. Outbound via Sapperton and Return via the Cotswold Line just as previous years. Unfortunately I'll have to miss it this year as it clashes with UKRT's Border Raider from Birmingham up the WCML with 60163, which I've been booked onto for a while now. It's a shame VT couldn't have scheduled the Cotswold trip for either a week earlier or a week later but I guess it's just one of those things.
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