Clockwise Cromwell Causes Cumbrian Crumble
Last Saturday, 25th February, 70013 Oliver Cromwell was in charge of the fourth and final train in the February Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express programme sponsored by the Railway Touring Company (RTC). Two weeks earlier the locomotive had worked the second of these charters over the Preston-Blackburn-Settle-Carlisle-Shap-Carnforth route, rapidly becoming known as the "anticlockwise version" of this Cumbrian Fells circular. On this occasion the reverse, or "clockwise" route was taken, attacking Shap first in the more fiercely graded northbound direction. The 12 coach train started at Euston behind preserved electric locomotive 86259 Les Ross. By the time it left Preston the train was bursting at the seams with passengers who had boarded there and at several other locations on the West Coast Main Line. Cromwell replaced the Class 86 in the loop at Carnforth and did a fine job lifting the train over Shap and down in to Carlisle. A slightly late departure from Carnforth was turned into an early arrival at the Border City.
During the Carlisle layover 70013 was serviced on the through siding at Upperby and the passengers were serviced in various locations in the town. The loco was back on the train a good half hour before departure time and took the charter away to Appleby, where the tender water was replenished, before attacking the long climb to Ais Gill summit. This was achieved in fine style with plenty of noise from the engine's exhaust. The relatively new water column at Hellifield, the final water stop, means a shorter period there can now be included in the timings, resulting in the potential for earlier arrivals further south. This is a bonus no doubt appreciated by those passengers who travel from the furthest locations. On time running was achieved pretty well throughout the steam hauled section.
Cromwell was taken off the train at Farington Junction to be replaced once again by 86259 which would be in charge for the return journey to Euston. 70013 and its support coach then made their way back to Carnforth depot. The loco now has business elsewhere and moves to its London base at Southall next Thursday, 1st March. On Saturday 3rd March Cromwell will take another RTC charter from Kings Cross to Cleethorpes via the South Yorkshire Joint Line and back to Peterborough. After another three trips, all for RTC and including a visit to Scotland, 70013 will be back on Settle-Carlisle duty on the 31st March with a repeat performance of the 25th February run, i.e. another "clockwise" outing over the Cumbrian Fells.
By Info | Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Tags : 70013