20th January 2001
Past Time Rail
The Pennine Way
|Locos Used||90028, Black 5 45407 (running as 45157 "Glasgow Highlander")|
|Stock Used||9 coaches from set BN91 (+ support coach on steam section)|
|90028||Northampon - Rugby - Coventry - Birmingham International - Proof House Jn - Birmingham New Street - Sandwell & Dudley - Wolverhampton - Stafford - (via WCML) - Preston|
|45407||Preston - Euxton Jn - Chorley - Bolton - Salford Cresent - Manchester Victoria - Miles Platting - Park - Ashton-under-Lne - Stalybridge - Marsden - Huddersfield - Bradley Jn - Greetland Jn - Hebden Bridge - Copy Pit - Blackburn - Preston|
|90028||Preston - (reverse of outward route) - Northampton|
Source : Malc Thompson
(joined and left train at Crewe)
(by Malc Thompson)
This tour was originally scheduled for last year, but was re-scheduled to Saturday 13th January 2001 due to the problems with the rail network following the Hatfield derailment. After the tickets and timings had been sent out, the tour was further re-scheduled to Saturday 20th January due to Railtrack discovering that there was engineering work on part of the route which had been overlooked. I understand that this second re-scheduling led to 54 cancellations (including a certain Mr Gary Thornton), but Railtrack will compensate Past-Time Rail for the loss of bookings and cost of advising passengers of the change.
The first decision on the day was where to join the train. As I live in Stockport, Crewe is nearer than Preston, but joining at Preston would allow a later start and earlier finish. A Rail-Gen message quoted 90028 as traction for the Northampton - Preston section of the tour and since I hadnít had this for haulage since 1990, I decided to go for the Crewe option.
On arrival at Crewe, there was no sign of the train on the departure screens (what a surprise!). At about the right time a Class 90 appeared at the south end of Crewe station and started to thread its way over to platform 12 - no announcements of course (but the best you can usually hope for at Crewe is ďThe next train to arrive at platform 12 is not in public use. Please do not board this train.Ē). I later learned from the uk.railway newsgroup that some passengers missed the train at Crewe due to this total absence of information, although they were able to join at Preston after catching a service train.
Anyway, departure from Crewe was pretty close to booked time and by Euxton Junction we were four minutes early. Obviously, Railtrack couldnít have us arriving early at Preston so they held us for five minutes the station to ensure that we were a few minutes late. Just as we were arriving at Preston, 45407 flashed past tender-first going to turn on the triangle at Farrington.
45407 was still running as 45157 GLASGOW HIGHLANDER - the change of identity having been applied for the rather eventful Stranraer trip in May 2000. After turning, was re-attached to its support coach, took water and was then attached to the train. At Crewe, I had been pleased to see that my coach was at the rear of the train - this meant it was immediately behind the support coach on the steam section from Preston - all the better to hear the thrash on the climbs to come.
Soon after the more-or-less on-time departure from Preston came the first minor highlight for me as I required the Euxton Junction to Lostock Junction section for steam traction. En-route to Manchester we also passed over the ďWindsor LinkĒ from Salford Crescent to Ordsall Lane Junction - 45407 was the first steam loco ever to traverse this section of track on 18th September 1988. Of course, the first real highlight came after passing through Manchester Victoria - namely Miles Platting Bank - 1 mile of 1 in 59 and 1 in 47 - 45407 put in a very creditable (and noisy) performance on load 10.
The one and only water stop of the tour was at Ashton under Lyne. Unfortunately, only the loco and support coach were on the platform (which was under repair), so we were unable to get off the train. Departure from Ashton was more or less on time, but we were 12 minutes late by the time we arrived in Diggle Loop for a pathing stop (17 minutes start to stop for 8.3 miles uphill virtually all the way was perhaps a little ambitious). We were looped at Diggle to allow two service trains to overtake us. I was surprised at how many people there were at the lineside on this part of the route - not just photographers, but whole families in some cases, suggesting that there may have been some publicity in the local papers about the tour. The Standedge route has not seen much steam recently because of the frequency of service trains on the line nowadays, so that may also have had something to do with it.
Departure from Diggle was again close to time, but from there we started losing a few minutes between each timing point - Iím not sure what the reason was, but there was certainly plenty of noise coming from up front. Shortly after Huddersfield there was a short section of track that Iíd never travelled over before - from Bradley Junction to Bradley Wood Junction - this was re-opened recently to for a new service between Huddersfield and Halifax. At Bradley Wood Junction a Class 66 was noted waiting to follow us - whether this was coincidence or whether it was insurance in case we got into difficulty on the climb to Copy Pit, Iím not sure - anyway, it wasnít needed.
One slight annoyance just as we started the climb from Hall Royd Junction to Copy Pit (2 or 3 miles at 1 in 65) was a PA announcement warning passengers of very tight clearances in some of the tunnels. I fully appreciate the reason for the announcement (one of the tunnels includes metal strengthening rings making it particularly tight), but the it could really have been made before we started climbing - besides, the people who it was really aimed at (i.e. those standing at the doors in the vestibule ends) wouldnít hear it anyway. Thankfully, this was only at the very start of the climb and there were several minutes of Black Five music still to be heard.
We were booked to have a pathing stop at Blackburn and although we were running late it was decided to still take this as a photo-stop - a slightly odd decision as it was nearly dark, but at least it gave a chance for a leg stretch. This meant that final arrival back in Preston was 11 minutes late - not bad - Iíve known a lot worse.
45407 was detached and took water (it must have been pretty low as it was over 70 miles from Ashton - this may explain some of the time loss if the crew were trying to conserve water). 90028 was re-attached and returned the train to Crewe (where I got off) and beyond.
All in all this was an excellent day out. It was not a very long steam section (just over 100 miles and about 4 hours), but in view of some of the gradients on the route, quality more than made up for quantity. From the noise coming from the Black Five, we seemed to be climbing most of the time - I think Preston must have been several hundred feet higher above sea-level when we arrived back than when we left! Also, as somebody on the train remarked - with the combination of a Black Five and Mark 1 coaches in the North West, it could have been 1968. Indeed the stone buildings along many parts of the route also added to this effect - Iím sure there will be some very interesting photos in future magazines.
Route, Distances and Timings (Booked and Actual)
(by Malc Thompson)
|19.0||Rugby||08.26a ~ 08.32d||- ~ -||20.24a ~ 20.26d||- ~ -||135.4|
|30.5||Coventry||08.42a ~ 08.48d||- ~ -||20.12a ~ 20.13d||- ~ -||123.9|
|41.2||Birmingham International||09.00a ~ 09.02d||-||18.59a ~ 20.01d||- ~ -||113.2|
|48.7||Proof House Jn||09/12||-||19/49||-||105.7|
|49.4||Birmingham New Street||09.14a ~ 09.20d||- ~ -||19.44a ~ 19.47d||- ~ -||104.9|
|51.4||Soho South Jn||09/24||-||19/38||-||102.9|
|54.9||Sandwell & Dudley||09.29a ~ 09.30d||- ~ -||19.31a ~ 19.32d||- ~ -||99.6|
|62.5||Wolverhampton||09.39a ~ 09.41d||- ~ -||19.18a ~ 19.20d||- ~ -||91.8|
|63.0||Wolverhampton North Jn||09/42||-||19/16||-||91.3|
|77.3||Stafford No 4||09/53||-||19/04||-||77.0|
|77.8||Stafford||09.54a ~ 09.57d||- ~ -||19.02a ~ 19.03d||- ~ -||76.5|
|103.3||Crewe||10.24a ~ 10.29d||??.??a ~ 10.31d||18.40a ~ 18.43d||18.45a ~ ??.??d||51.1|
|125.6||Acton Grange Jn||10/45||10/55||18/09||18/16||28.7|
|127.4||Warrington Bank Quay||10/48||11/00||18/07||18/11||26.9|
|140.1||Springs Branch Jn||10/57||11/07||17/56||18/01||16.1|
|141.2||Wigan South Jn||10/58||11/08||17/55||18/00||15.2|
|141.4||Wigan North Western||10o59a ~ 11o10d||11/09||17/54||18/00||15.0|
|Preston||11L30a ~ 12L35d||11L33a ~ 12L36d||16L45a ~ 17L39d||16L56a ~ 17L41d||
|29.7||Ordsall Lane Jn||13/20||13/23|
|32.5||Philips Park West Jn||13/32||13/33|
|33.7||Baguley Fold Jn||13/33||13/34|
|36.7||Ashton Moss North Jn||13/38||13/39|
|37.6||Ashton under Lyne||13w40a ~ 14w00d||13w41a ~ 14w00d|
|45.9||Diggle Jn||14o17a ~ 14o38d||14o29a ~ 14o39d|
|60.6||Bradley Wood Jn||14/58||15/09|
|67.0||Milner Royd Jn||15/05||15/19|
|76.5||Hall Royd Jn||15/18||15/35|
|96.6||Blackburn||16o02a ~ 16o17d||16p24a ~ 16p35d|
|105.7||Lostock Hall Jn||16/32||16/48|
|107.2||Faringdon Curve Jn||16/37||16/51|
a : arrival time
d : departure time
L : locomotive change
/ : passing time
o : operational stop
p : photo stop
w : water stop
All distances, in miles, are taken from the timing sheet
given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify the mileages given.
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