Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Princess Coronation to Carlisle...

Hi guys. Following on from our 'lads day out' aboard the 'Pannier Rambler' (otherwise known as the 'Waterstop Express') last April we had decided to book on the Railway Touring Company's "Cumbrian Mountain Express". There had been much debate about the haulage for this midweek tour to Carlisle, with the initial locomotive planned to be 46115 "Scots Guardsman". With 46115 in dispose, it was hoped that newly restored preservation marvel "Galatea" would take her place but, allas, not so. The tour was then to be hauled, as todays on train program stated, by the snowplough...A4 No9 "Union of South Africa". However, at the very last minute, the A4 couldn't make it and the RTC picked a final substitute...none other than 46233 "Duchess of Sutherland", fresh from her sea-air run to Scarborough a week or two ago (which we were also on!). I certainly wasn't disappointed about getting the Duchess again: she's a tremendous piece of kit. The C.M.E would take us from Nuneaton, hauled by a Class 86 up the WCML to Crewe and then on to Carnforth. At Carnforth, the Duchess replaced the Class 86. Some occupants on the train were certainly excited about Princess Coronation haulage...
Having left Carnforth the Duchess accelerated quickly & easily and the main gradient in the distance was the infamous Shap. Below, Youtube user Stephengthompson has captured the Duchess at the summit of Shap, still doing a good speed, plus with two bonus shots of the Duchess returning from Carlisle...

As I said the run from Carnforth took us over Shap (which the Duchess easily stormed) and then into Carlisle. The return run would take us back via the beautiful Settle & Carlisle line (another first for me), with the Duchess being replaced shortly before Warrington, by the Class 86. At Carlisle, the huge Duchess was admired by her adoring fans...

Leaving the Duchess to be serviced and turned, we headed off into the border city for a pint. There was a 90-minute or so break here and we returned to the station refreshed, finding the 4-6-2 back at the head of the train. The weather was lovely...
As stated in the Scarborough post, the Duchess is in immaculate condition. I crossed over the footbridge to have a look at her close up once again...
Royal Train Nameplate
Leaving Carlisle the Duchess took it easy through the fabulous scenery of the S & C. Any speed that she gained once again seemed completely effortless for the 8P pacific. The train halted for a water stop at Appleby. Once the Duchess had watered she propelled the train back into the sidings to allow a service train (a Class 158 unit) to pass. The passengers had all disembarked for one of Appleby's station ice creams before returning to the train...
Over in the yard at Appleby stands 4979 "Wooton Hall". Withdrawn in December 1963 the 4-6-0 went to Barry Scrapyard in 1964 and was the 179th locomotive to leave there for preservation: in October 1986. Looking at the condition of the locomotive now, it looks like very little of it could be salvaged and that it would be a huge restoration project for anybody. Preventative maintenance is being carried out on the loco until it can be fully restored but it looks like it could be stood at Appleby for some time yet. 4979 won't be turning a wheel for a good while yet but, fingers crossed, it will be started one day...
4979 "Wooton Hall" Stands Lonely at Appleby
With the 158 unit on the approach, 46233 reversed into the sidings with the Maroon rake...
Back on the train, 46233 accelerated away from Appleby and headed towards Ribblehead...

In the Ribblehead area...
The Duchess slowed for Ribblehead and then began to accelerate away...
The run over the S & C was fantastic and then, after Settle, the Duchess got back up to speed towards Farrington Junction where the Class 86 took over again. There we said goodbye to the Duchess after a brilliant day out. The 86 really tore back down the West Coast main line, making up time after losing a path. The Mk2 coaches aren't the best ride at 100mph and I wouldn't even be surprised if we slightly overtook 100mph...the coaches were rocking like mad! Click HERE to see the 86 on the run in either direction during the day. Thank you very much to Eddie, John & Arnold for the company during the day and what a brilliant run it was. The Duchess was certainly in fine form! Cheers guys, Sam...

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