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Vintage Trains - 2021

Discussion in 'What's Going On' started by Will RL, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. Argus

    Argus New Member

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    Apparently the tanker driver had been Stuck on the motorway due to an accident and was late arriving at Milton.
    I spoke with the driver at Banbury and he said no assistance from the diesel had been given out of Severn tunnel.
     
  2. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I was one of the large party in dining at the front. I took a friend who had never been on a railtour before, having seemed uninterested when I had muttered about the possibility. For complex reasons she came this time, and she did enjoy it and may even come on another one some time.

    Apart from the rain, the only major disappointment for me was the lack of heating on the outward. The story was that there was some problem with the steam heating system on the recently acquired Pullman car Eagle, which prevented heat reaching the rest of the train; and also that heating isn't officially required until the end of October: shades of Russia. What wasn't explained was why they didn't (a) realise in advance that the weather would be cold and so heating would be needed, and (b) discover the problem with Eagle and therefore connect everything up for electric heat from the diesel before they set off from Tyseley. At least they did connect it up for the return, which was one good reason for having the diesel, besides the two short sections of the trip where steam was at the back; though at times we were too hot.

    I did notice some very rapid acceleration on a few occasions, which may have been with the diesel pushing, but the Castle was doing plenty of work anyway. We were close to right time throughout, apart from a bit of delay from the reversal at Park Jn, and a few minutes less time in a wet Cardiff was hardly a problem.

    I can't comment on the drinks service in steerage, but the catering crew at the front were amazing in providing for several coaches' worth of passengers from a tiny kitchen, less than half of one Pullman car, unlike the full-length kitchen cars of other operators.
     
  3. 16Ventnor

    16Ventnor New Member

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    I was at the rear and apart from the two nudges from the box I heard nothing until the shameless big push from the moment the speed restriction at Warwick was cleared. Disappointing and ironic for two reasons. The pre-trip blurb made much of Hatton Bank. Secondly we passed Warwick slightly early of RT and as a consequence of the long hard push were 3 to 4 minutes early thereafter requiring us to check to a crawl due to conflicting moves ahead and have to open up when clear presumably using more water. Was the water situation that critical so near to home that the diesel push couldn’t have waited until at least into the climb to see how 7029 was coping. A dampener was put on what otherwise had been a reasonably good day. One final word on the ETH. It isn’t fit for purpose. I have been travelling with VT for years and have felt like I’m resting my legs on an oven hob. In times past I’ve been forced to stand in the vestibule with the window open. Can’t even do that now! I have a feeling my wife will refuse to do Oct-Apr trips with them now which is going to be tricky given the 2pax bubble. And she like warmth but not scalding.
     
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  4. bleeder4

    bleeder4 Member

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    Unfortunately you can never please everyone with the heating. In my coach yesterday there were some people who were too hot whilst others were too cold. On the Riviera coaching stock each coach has various heating on/off switches situated at various intervals down the coach so the heating for specific sections of the coach can be controlled independently. The VT coaching stock didn't seem to have those so it was a case of "one size fits all".
     
  5. lil Bear

    lil Bear Well-Known Member

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    A view from the middle - Premier Dining in a compartment. We’ll bypass the issue of advertising a 6-person dining experience but only providing a table for 4 - that’s been dealt with. We were also not given a specific seat number, we were simply instructed to pick which compartment we wanted in Coach A - there was one left so our choice was made in retrospect. The lack of warm refreshments was due to the failure of one of the water boilers, and whilst the heating issue was unfortunate - neither issue was communicated to our coach until our party voiced our concerns. Credit where Credit is due mind, Adam and his team did offer their apologies once we’d quizzed the staff with Adam making the effort to come and speak with us at a personal level which was most appreciated.

    For the return a free round of drinks was provided, and the heating had returned to the point at times it was too hot. But we weren’t going to complain over that, the day itself on the whole was enjoyable for us despite the shakey start. We were able to hear 7029 working at speed on occasions, and whilst there was a diesel on the back we need to accept its 2021 not 1971. If that is the difference between seeing the tour run or be cancelled I and my family are all for it.

    On reflection, the whole point of us booking this was to ride in a compartment on the mainline - which was achieved. Would we return though? Not at the moment. Whilst I appreciate times change, people move on etc, having experienced Premier Dining under the leadership of Ben the experience was much more enjoyable then than it was on this occasion. There needs to be a rethink on the product, and with there being a reasonable number of other options in the rail tour market at the moment VT would rank below these currently.

    That’s not to say a no indefinitely, we can appreciate VT is still re-awakening after the most challenging of times recently. There maybe something in the 2022 program that stands out, but if given a choice VT won’t be top of the list. Though as I say, credit where credit is due. Adam and his team of stewards were top drawer, and they pretty much did everything they possibly could of themselves yesterday. The issues we experienced were laid out before the first person arrived.
     
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  6. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Well-Known Member

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    My understanding from stewarding on tours with Mk 1 era stock is that steam heat is controllable by the in coach switches, ETH is either on or off. We normally have to get the guard to radio the diesel or electric to turn it on or off when it gets too hot or cold. Problem is of course one end may be scalding and the other end of a coach freezing.
     
  7. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I did exactly that for a few minutes yesterday. I was prepared to argue the toss if challenged, but no-one did challenge me. I did stand well away from both droplights and clear of the gangway.

    The problem of the heat coming from under one's seat is not unique to VT's coaches, and being able to control the amount in some other operators' coaches is only a palliative, given the number of seats affected by each control, draughts from windows and different passengers' different preferences.
     
  8. Davo

    Davo Member

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    It says on V.T. website there taking single bookings now for their tours do i have to ring V.T. booking office to make a single booking? or can it be done via their website or can I board a tour and pay on the day would anyone know?
     
  9. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    For the definitive answer surely it would be best to ring Vintage Trains. <BJ>
     
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  10. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Excess heat of course is perfect to help spread the virus . Yes it’s still there and there are still around 30,000 new cases a day . Much better to be cold as we were on the MHR yesterday with no heat and windows open
     
  11. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    I think the diesel driver was pulling your leg. We only entered the Big Hole at 52 and despite the opportunity to pick up speed down the 90r and along the short level bit at the bottom, after 2 miles of 100r in the tunnel speed had already fallen to 45 as we left it at mp11. It was chucking it down outside so care would have been required to avoid a slip; yet we are to believe that with around 500 tons on the drawbar, 7029 unassisted, accelerated the train to 48.1 in the mile of 100r to mp10; then remarkably picked up almost 10 mph on the 1/4m of 636r and 1/2m of level track around Pilning to pass mp9 1/4, at 57.6. Speed hardly fell then over the mile and three quarters of 100r and we sped into Patchway Tunnel at close to 56. As a certain tennis player was often heard to say 'You cannot be serious'.

    Bit of reality. On 14th July 2019, 60163 with 11 on, a mere 425 tons, did what was regarded as a good climb. We left the Big Hole, mp11, at 51 then lost speed on the 100r to pass mp10 at 46. Over the 3/4m of 636r/lev around Pilning the big loco recovered to a max of 52.3 at mp9 before losing 6 mph up the mile and a half of 100r to enter Patchway Tunnel at 46.
     
  12. Optom1

    Optom1 New Member

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    To back up Shiremans assessment,on 5043’s epic climb of the S&C in 2010(with the load being lighter by the weight of the GUV) 40 mph was the achieved speed on most of the 1/100,until 50%cut off over the last mile to Ais Gill achieved43 mph.You could have heard it in Carlisle!This would suggest that the 47 was”taking its own weight” on Saturday
     
  13. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    There was plenty of noise upfront and there was a decent amount of power coming from Clun up Hatton, so no arguments there, just a bit too much overkill from the rear. Doubt that kind of assistance would of happened under Churchill. We're booked on the Bath trip at Xmas and I hope all issues raised above are dealt with.
     
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  14. Jamie C. Steel

    Jamie C. Steel New Member

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    On the Mk2 coaches and I believe the Met-Cam Pullman coaches that VTL use (I can't recall if true Mk1 coaches have the same equipment) the coaches are dual heat, with pressure ventilation. When the ETH is used there are three banks of heaters, all three should be used when the vehicle is cold and as it gets warmer each bank should automatically be knocked off as the temperature in the coach rises. Using steam heat is similar except there's a flap in the pressure ventilation which should mix hot and cold air. Anybody who has ever travelled on a 1980s Pacer or Sprinter train will know the trains are generally on full heat all year round unless the fans circuit breaker is switched off, and the 1960s technology on these trains is remarkably similar, so whereas the thermostat was a nice idea on the drawing board in an office, in practice it doesn't really work so you just get full heat so the only regulation you have is to turn them off. There is a switch inside the coaches that you can use to turn it on or off, but that is the only control you actually have.

    The fans in the pressure ventilation will run if they detect the ETH heating elements are too warm and will cycle until they are cooled down enough, so the heating may still appear to be running even when turned off.
     
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  15. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I seldom bother with a camera when I'm on a railtour, because linesiders can do much better for both video and stills. I'm disappointed that so few have been posted of this trip (but thanks for those that have). If anyone reading this has any that they thought not worth posting, please think again.
     
  16. LMarsh1987

    LMarsh1987 Part of the furniture

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    Our shots of 7029 will go online midweek, along with 46100 & 45596. The soundtrack up Hatton is well worth a listen, that is until the rear of the train passes.
     
  17. Sean Emmett

    Sean Emmett Member

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    Wasn't on the tour, but am aware there's currently a 50 mph slack in the Severn Tunnel on the up due to defective rail.

    Best climb out of the hole up to Patchway I can recall was 10 years or so ago with 6024 on train from Carmarthen, with a 43 minimum at Patchway station. IRRC load 12?
     
  18. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Thanks for that Sean. Any idea if it's on the 90f or 100r?
     
  19. 1020 Shireman

    1020 Shireman Well-Known Member Friend

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    Wholly disappointing run last Saturday. Hardly a fitting tribute to the Return to Steam as the box did so much on the return journey. Put this together after waiting a bit for footage to appear on YouTube that confirmed shoveage.

    Return to Steam 50th Anniversary Special

    We were in university and had no interest whatsoever in railways when the famed SLS Special to mark the Return to Steam on British Rail ran on the 2nd October 1971.

    Pondered about the worth of doing the 50th Anniversary Train after @free2grice posted on Nat Pres that 'Today's Tour is reported as 7029+ 11+47773'. We had a superb run with 7029 with 2 less coaches on the 25th, but 2 additional carriages took the weight to close to 500 tons. As is the Vintage Trains norm, there was the usual reassurance that there wouldn't be any assistance unless there were dire circumstances. Only intended to do the Cardiff-Snow Hill part of the day but after a couple of pints of Rhymney Export accompanying an excellent all day brunch in the Great Western in Cardiff, decided to go and hope it was another mostly unassisted day. Not likely to be much in the way of performance with a 500 ton load on the drawbar on a wet day though.

    Cardiff to Patchway

    Our seats were on a table for four, milepost side, at the rear of Coach I. As last week, only the Buffet was between us and the box. Such joy.

    Looked like I'd made the wrong decision when we were given the bad news on board that there would be diesel assistance as we'd feared out of the Big Hole (Severn Tunnel). The reason given was not the load but a restriction at Pilning. Didn't know there was one but I hadn't been behind steam on the route for a couple of years. Minimal assistance was promised but any would ruin the climb that would have been interesting with the load in the wet. We were assured that there would definitely be no assistance off the 10 mph restriction through Warwick Station to Hatton Summit.

    Cardiff to Newport is virtually level all the way. We were on the relief with 17 minutes allowed for the 11 3/4 miles run. Nothing other than tickover from the rear and no need to push it. It took until Marshfield, 6 miles or so out, to get to 50 mph. We got to 60 at mp161 before slowing for the run through Ebbw Jn, 35, then through the tunnel and Newport Station, 26. Surprised with the lack of trains about that we were sent out on the relief to Severn Tunnel Jn and hence over Bishton Flyover. Hardly inspired running as we rolled through Severn Tunnel Jn at 29, and on the mile+ of 90r only entered the Big Hole at 52. Since found out there is a 50mph slack due to a defective rail on the Up Road we were on. No rapid increase of speed over the 2 miles of 90r in the tunnel and the diesel cut in as we climbed out of the tunnel on the 100r. We left the tunnel, mp11, at 45.

    Any suggestion that it was unassisted is bonkers. On a dry day with the load we had on the drawbar, the best we could have expected was 35ish into Patchway Tunnel with no restriction through Pilning. What we got was a pick up to 48.1 in the mile of 100r to mp10; then where the 'restriction' was supposed to be, a pickup of almost 10 mph on the 1/4m of 636r and 1/2m of level track around Pilning to pass mp9 1/4, at 57.6. Speed hardly fell then over the mile and three quarters of 100r and we sped into Patchway Tunnel at close to 56. Not remotely possible for a double chimney Castle with such a heavy load even on a dry day.

    Patchway to Badminton

    We hoped the diesel would back off at Patchway. We thought that might have happened as we only left the tunnel's 3/4m of 100r at 45. We ran through Patchway Station at 41 and on the level Bristol Parkway Station at 20.4. A mile on the level followed before the 300r climb to Badminton started at mp111. Not the cacophony of sound we expected from 7029 as we passed the milepost at 34. We crossed Huckford Viaduct close to mp110 1/2 at 39 and passed mp110 at 42.5; mp107 3/4 at 49.7; then crossed Westerleigh Jn, close to mp107, at 50.

    You can easily get fooled into thinking the box is doing nothing on the train and we had been as I found a bit of filming on YouTube from around Coalpit Heath between Bristol Parkway and Westerleigh Junction that showed 2 big vents open on the box with smoke emanating forth as it assisted 7029 on the 300r.

    We can only assume it remained in drive for the remainder of the climb to Badminton so the speeds; 51.3 at mp106; 52.5 at 105 1/4; then mp104, 55; 54.2 into the 2 1/2 miles long Chipping Sodbury Tunnel; left at 55.6 and held there or thereabouts to mp100 1/2, passed at 55.7, 1/4 mile from the 'summit' were immaterial.

    Badminton to Swindon

    After a level mile through Badminton, left at over 60, we had over 9 miles of 300f towards Little Somerford. This was the old 'racetrack' and many reported occasions of 100 mph by Kings and Castles were reported. Of course we aren't allowed to do that these days but we can get to 75 and stay there for mile after mile. We passed mp99 at the start of the 300f at 63.7; mp97 3/4 at 69.7; and got to 75 by mp96 1/2. The rest of the 300f was covered at our maximum allowed speed of 75 ish to mp90 3/4; then through Little Somerford on the mile of level track. After mp89 there was a mile and a half of 300r where speed fell back to 72, then 71 after a bit of level track. No chance of a fast run through Wooton Bassett on the 300r/600r as we were brought to a stand before the junction. Most enjoyable run down through Badminton to Little Somerford.

    When we got the road there was a nice bark from up front and we got to 47 on the 600r before a nice pick up to 54 on the level at mp79. Then the brakes came in and we came to a stand in Swindon while a late running Swansea-Paddington came in and left the station.

    No reason for the box to have stayed in drive as it was mostly downgrade. Can't find any filming to confirm either way.

    Swindon to Milton Sidings

    We left at 1529, a few minutes late, and from the noise up front it was evident Martyn was going to give us something special again. Not as rapid acceleration as on the 25th due to the heavier train but nonetheless impressive on the 834f to pass mp77 at 22.4; mp76 at 42.2; mp75 at 50.9; mp74 at 57.9; mp73 at 62.3; mp72 at 66.4. then we passed Shrivenham, mp71 1/2, the end of the 834f at 67.4. Over the level mile speed rose a little slower, mp70 1/2, 69.5. Then we were on the 754f. To mp69, 73. 7029 reached its allowed maximum of 75 as we passed mp68 1/4 and we ran at a good 75 for the next 6 miles through Uffington and Challow before being eased . we passed Wantage Road, mp60 1/2 at 65.8 on more 754r before Martyn just let 7029 run down to Milton Junction where we were to water in the siding. Happy this was steam only.

    Milton Sidings to Oxford

    We passed Foxhall Jn at 22; ran around Didcot West Curve at 34 and across North Jn at 36. Just like the 25th we were behind a stopper so a bit of a plod over the level to Appleford, 21.3. Nothing inconsistent with steam only traction on the mile+ of 314r to Culham, 31.1. More noise from up front and speed rose on the 3/4m of 298r to 36.7 and then to 39.5 on the short level stretch at mp57. Didn't see the mileposts on mostly falling grades, 266f, between mp57 and then to Radley, on the 470r, 51.2 but it was nice and noisy on the mile of 349r/185r to pass mp59 1/4 at 53. Down to Kennington Jn, 60.1, speed held on the level to mp62 before 7029 was eased to run though Oxford at just under 30 and then to come to a stand at Oxford North Jn for our booked stop. Nothing from the back on footage around Culham.

    Oxford to Banbury

    On almost 2 miles of level track, 7029 made plenty of noise but 40.9 at mp66 was suspicious. On the 25th we passed mp66 at 34ish. On the mile of 240r/150r speed rose to 48.2 as we passed mp67, still a couple of mph faster than the 25th. Then on the 3/4m of 430r there was a slight pickup to 50.3; held over a short level/230r bit. On 1/2m of 330f we got back to 51.1 and passed Kidlington on the level at 52.7. Out of interest we were only 2 mph down on the 25th here. With a fair bit of noise drifting back speed was held at 53.9 for a mile of 498r to mp70 1/4 - now 5 mph slower than the 25th. With the heavier load we thought our crew did a good job maintaining 53.9 on the mile of 498r, then on the 1/2m of 320r, 52.8 at mp71. From mp71 1/2 the gradient steepened to 210r and speed fell to 49 at mp72 before the brakes came in for the restriction at Tackley.

    Through Tackley Station at 16.3 and then on the 266f from mp73. There speed rose rapidly to 59.6 at mp74 where a level mile started. No way was this an unassisted run as speed rose rapidly to 67.2 at mp75. We flashed through Heyford at 66.9 on the 330r - 10mph faster than on the 25th. On the 450r to mp77 3/4 speed only fell to 63 (61 on the 25th). Seemed more like a genuine run from there as on the mile and a half of 621f speed only rose to 67. We ran through the old Aynho Station, level, at 67; then dropped a bit of speed to 66 on the mile of 381r/345r to Aynho Jn, 64.5, 8 mph slower than the 25th. Through Kings Sutton at 63 on the level, 69 on the 25th; then on the short 386r held 64. Over the first mile+ of 1077r speed slowly fell to 61 before the brakes came in on Banbury approach.

    In all probability the box pushed us out of Oxford to get up to speed; and did the same after the restriction through Tackley.

    Banbury to Snow Hill

    As on the 25th we had no service trains in front of us so a clear road to Leamington Spa and on to the climb of Hatton Bank. We'd been told there was no intention to use diesel assistance from Warwick up Hatton bank at the start of the day and nothing was said at Banbury to make us think that had changed. Seemed to be a decent start on the mile long 390r, 26.4 at then on the mile of 304r, to 38.6 at mp88. This was every bit as quick as the 25th with a much heavier train and that was more than a bit suspicious. I listened hard at the toplight and there was the inevitable pitch of Notch 1 or 2 coming off the box. Just how much we were being pushed is shown on @R Skinner's filming on You Tube as the train approached mp89. On the 1/4 level followed by a mile and a half of 330r, we'd picked up 18 mph. It got worse as on the mile+ of 179r where speed rose to 63 at mp91. A staggering 15 mph faster than the 25th.

    Once the profile changed to falling gradients, things returned pretty much to what was expected. Over the 3/4m of 615f speed rose from 70 to 73.5. On the 25th from 56 to 60. Then on the 1/2 mile level followed by a mile+ of 239f, we passed mp95, Fenny Compton at 72.2. We'd got to 71.7 on the 25th.Then comparisons went out of the window as the brakes came in and speed fell to 50. There was a tsr 50 on the up road and we got the feeling there was a similar restriction on the down road to mp97. Who knows whether the box was in or out but there was plenty of noise from the front on the level to back up to 55 by mp97 3/4; then to 58 coming off the short 284f/835f at mp98 1/4. Steady pick up on the 3/4m of level track, mp99, 60, held on the 3/4m of 451r through Harbury Cutting. Picked up to 62 on the 779f, then on the 1/4m 260f to 65.4 into the short tunnel.

    Out of the tunnel and by mp101 up to 70; then down the long 187f to mp103, 75. The brakes came in then and we ran through Leamington Spa at 31.4 on the 347f. No point in wasting coal and water with the pending restriction through Warwick's Platform only 2 miles away.

    We passed mp108 in the middle of the station at 15.5. Then instead of the sharp bark of a castle getting away from the restriction, 7029 was drowned out by the box as the driver must have put it into Notch 3 or 4. The shove was so hard that we flashed through the Parkway, only a mile and a quarter away on the 95r/605r, at 53. For sort of completion we blasted through Hatton Station at 66 and passed mp113 3/4 at 77. We gave up timing then and wondered what the shoving was all about. We were told the reason by Will and the Guard. The tanker driver had been held up in traffic and not enough water was taken at Milton Jn. Pity the tanker driver couldn't have run to Banbury where possibly the train could have been put into Platform 1 and been watered in the 20 minute layover. Even so, the degree of assistance from Warwick beggared belief.

    The driver of the box was a different one to last week. Have no idea what his instructions were so don't know whose decision it was to assist on each occasion; or for how long to continue in drive.

    Sadly that was definitely not the way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Return to Steam.

    An aside

    It was good to talk to the Chairman on the train, but not good to hear the box will be a permanent fixture for 'assurance' when trains are any significant distance from Tyseley. Take away the box and Saturday could have been just like the good old days of Vintage Trains; pre the CBS; a cracking day out with a double chimney castle in full cry with REG + 10 and a true celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Return to Steam.

    Thanks to Martyn and the firemen, Dean and Alastair? who did what they could when 7029 was allowed to run without assistance; and still had to work on the footplate in awful weather when the box did it's thing. Thanks to everyone involved in planning and facilitating the run on the day.

    The only trains we've got booked with Vintage Trains in the future are the Lickey Bankers; more of which from Vintage Trains soon. Not planning to travel with VT again with a box in the consist. Will probably book seats and not use them to support the CBS and keep Castles on the mainline.

    All we can hope for is that once the superheater header is produced for 5043 and the CBS has 2 operational Castles, one might be hired out now and again to a TOC who will run it on 'proper trains'. RTC's Royal Duchys and Cotswold Venturers come to mind. Wouldn't that be something.
     
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  20. free2grice

    free2grice Well-Known Member Friend

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    Retired Rolls-Royce engineer
    Location:
    Bath Green Park / Mangotsfield
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    I get the blame for everything. So unfair. ;) <BJ>
     
    green five likes this.

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