This week has been mostly about the Britannia. We picked up an extra job for her as a last minute substitution; The Railway Touring Club’s “The Hadrian” from Hellifield to Carlisle and thence to York via Newcastle. (But read on...) The engine was prepped on Friday in torrential rain and the shunting began at 05.22 on Saturday when the Brit was sandwiched tender first between her own support coach and the eleven coaches of the “Lune Habitat” which 46115 was taking from Carnforth to Chester. The appearance of part of the Nation’s Heritage tagged on the back of the Scot’s train surprised the lineside photographers as 70013’s late substitution meant that the move from Carnforth to Hellifield was un-expected. Once at Hellifield, the Scot took the Lune Habitat away and the Brit moved into the loop for water, then over onto the main line to await the Hadrian which was arriving from Leicester. By this time the rain, which had been heavy overnight had set in again and news of line closures began to filter through. The Brit put in a great performance over the S&C to Carlisle where Ron Smith and Ian Walker were relieved by David Blair and Pete James, by this time the Tyne Valley line had been closed due to flooding and the route back was in doubt. Within a short time it was decided to take the train back over the S&C and then from Hellifield to York. The second “Britannia Sandwich” of the day was achieved when the engine and support coach came back from servicing and brought the stock back into the station prior to the engine & support coach running round ready for the southbound leg.
The trip back over the top will not appear in any record books, apart, possibly for “heaviest rainfall”, wet rail and driving rain meant that the engine was unable to find firm footing and any attempt to coax extra speed out of her met with a slip. The change of route meant that the train was late arriving in York where 70013 was detached and sent into the NRM for servicing ready for a light-engine trip to Southall on Sunday. The weather on Sunday morning was much better which meant that the support crew, plus a new recruit (and our newest life member – he joined on the spot!) were able to get the engine much cleaner – not quite our usual standard maybe, but much better than the soggy, soot drenched engine which had arrived the night before from Carlisle, the first drops of rain began to fall as the engine went off shed.
This picture shows 70013 taking water at Conington, you can see where the rain has already begun to make its presence felt in the form of streaks on the tender, but overall the engine is much cleaner than she was on Saturday.
The light engine trip on Sunday got off to a bad start when the Engineers’ Triangle at York was closed due to a possession so there was no way to turn the engine and coach at York. The only realistic alternative was to run round the coach and run tender first in the rain to Milford where the engine turned on the triangle then ran round the coach again took the Hambleton Curve before eventually resuming the booked path as far as the water stop at Conington where the plans changed again.
After taking water from “Bells and Two Tones’s” fire bowser, Control informed the driver that a possession at Camden made it impossible to get the engine into Southall Depot, and therefore they were being sent to Hornsey Depot for the night and stand ready for a move at 11am on Monday to Southall. Luckily some of the support crew were intending to stay over ready for the Norwich trip on Tuesday so there would be enough people available for this extra move. The trip down the East Coast Main Line from there to London was uneventful and the engine duly arrived at Hornsey where she was made welcome by the shunting staff and had almost reached the un-electrified sidings when the driver had another call to say that the possession had been lifted and he was to take 70013 to Southall after all.
70013 at Hornsey Depot, thanks to Phil Marsh (fireman / Railway Magazine) for sending us the photo. - He said that if he'd known that his firing trip would turn out to have such an interesting route he'd have brought a proper camera instead of test-driving a pocket sized one.
In the end the engine arrived in Southall only about half an hour later than booked, having made some interesting and unexpected route detours. The support crew will, by now, be well on the way to getting the engine ready for the Norwich trip on Tuesday and the Salisbury trip on Thursday, both for Steam Dreams www.steamdreams.com .
Meanwhile, back at Carnforth, the support crew for the Wednesday Dalesman trip will begin prepping 30777 tomorrow, let’s hope that the weather up there has improved since Friday.
By Info | Monday, September 8, 2008 | Tags : 70013