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The 3rd/4th/6th/ and 8thLeg of GREAT BRITAIN 111


Great Brittania111

A report from David Thompson, one of the support crew on the NRM's Britannia No. 70013's recent tour of Britain.

After arrival at Bristol Temple Meads Station on the 2nd Leg from Plymouth to Bristol, both engines 44871 and 70013 were taken to Barton Hill Depot for servicing ready for the next day Leg 3 of the Great Britain 111.

Driver Ray Churchill and Fireman Ian Riley in charge of 44871 and Driver Andy Taylor with Fireman David (Birthday Boy) Wright in charge of 70013.

Leaving Bristol we were soon hard at work as we climbed the gradient past Lawrence Hill Jct. To the tunnel at Staple Hill.

A good run to Cheltenham where we were stopped by signals. There was also a report of a lineside fire, where the Fire Brigade arrived seconds after our passing. Not ours then.

This delay added 40 mins late running to our time.

A very quick water stop thanks to our friends with a new bigger tanker, helped pull some time back before the main event, the Lickey incline.

A rapid acceleration from the water stop and we started our assault of the Lickey witnessed by massed ranks of photographers, all trying to capture the best shot...

Just as both engines whistled in triumph 70013 lost her feet and slipped, but then we were over the summit and on our way.

Another speedy water stop in Sutton Park and we were back on time, only to be stopped by signals at Bushbury Junction, where we were held for about 50 mins due to a points failure.

Eventually we made our way to Crewe our final water stop, a long stop as the hydrant, not the best had to fill both engines. The drivers were also relieved here

Leaving Crewe and getting into our stride we were again stopped, this time by the accidental operation of communication cord, to be followed by a second incident.

All this added to our delay and we were now about two hours late into Preston, then onwards to Carnforth with the stock, before servicing, another late finish and early start the next day, the time reduced even further due to our late arrival.

70013 had no problems but 44871 had a few minor problems that were soon sorted at Carnforth.

0530 and 70013 and stock back to Preston for the 4th Leg to Glasgow, this time single headed 70013 looking good with New Headboard

Leaving Preston on time Driver Gordon Hodson and Fireman David Wright made good progress to Lancaster before being checked by signals, then rapid acceleration as 70013 stormed through Carnforth, whistle open and travelling at maximum speed, before the first climb of the day Grayrigg. Then five mile to gather breath before the climb to Shap, in dry but cloudy conditions. Downhill now to our water stop at Penrith, further downhill to our next stop Carlisle. This had been a master class in how to work a steam engine. Here Gordon was relieved by John McCabe, six mile climbing the rise past Gretna Green before our next water stop at Lockerbie. Building up the fire for the last challenge of the day Beattock. Bright sunlight now shone onto the immaculate Brit, as chased by many photographers in cars tracking our assault of Beatock. Finally running into Glasgow Central.

This was followed by a long journey with the stock to our home for the next day Cadder Yard, joining 44781 and 45407 who had arrived from Carnforth for the Leg on Saturday the 10th.

Cadder Yard in the middle of nowhere with no running water, no power and no toilet or washing facilities.

The normal coaling, water from a tanker, cleaning the fire, emptying the smokebox and cleaning 70013 all took place in this location. 70013 looking absolutely pristine ready for our trip to the North. The support crew had their fuel tanks topped up thanks to the efforts of Blue Haze Catering who managed to produce different meals on a daily basis. Incidentally this was the first time in five days that the smokebox had been emptied, only four barrow loads after five days and some of the most fearsome gradients anywhere. The self cleaning smoke box obviously works well.

Starting at Springburn Driver Peter Walker and Fireman David Wright in charge we had a fairly level run to Stirling before our first climb through Dunblane and on to Gleneagles and Perth where we crossed the River and on to Dundee our first water stop via a slow hydrant in the station. Dundee to Aberdeen followed the coast looking over the North Sea. 60 miles of up and down.

Aberdeen where we came off the train to water via tanker and also to replenish the coal via bags carried in the support coach.

Leaving Aberdeen it was a steady climb for the next 30 miles to the summit at Kennetmont taking water at Kieth where the whole population was out to witness our visit. This was the same all the way to Inverness as on every bridge and crossing people waved as we passed.

Finally into Inverness the first Britannia class loco ever to visit The Capital of the Highlands.

Then engine a stock into the Old EWS yard for stabling, here 61994 was being prepared for its next day leg to Kyle of Lochalsh

During this trip 61994 had problems, but made it back to Inverness.

Our support crew had another working day off, in a yard where the only facility we had was a hydrant, after another long day the support crew managed to make it into Inverness where we used the shower in David Wright’s hotel room and our only meal away from the coach.

Due to the problems with 61994 it was decided to put 70013 on the front of 61994 and the class 47 Diesel on the back of the train as insurance as 70013 would be doing all the work.

Driver Peter Walker and Fireman David Wright had the task of facing a 22 mile climb away from Inverness to the summit at Slochd then on to our water stop at Kingussie.

Leaving here we then started the 18 mile climb to Druimuachdar another severe test of 70013 and another which she met with consummate ease considering the load.

A fabulous performance amid spectacular scenery in gorgeous sunlight, could anything be better.

Into Perth where both engines were watered, then pulled by the class 47 to Dundee, where the sick 61994 came off to return to its home, leaving 70013 to take the train over the Tay Bridge then the Forth Bridge entering Edinburgh via the suburban line.

The Forth Bridge

Passing 46201 which were to take the next day’s leg to York.

From Edinburgh engine and coach were to go to Boness for stabling about 12 mile away, this Journey taking 5 hours, so a very weary support crew crawled into their sleeping bags.

Thanks to the support crew of Alan Pakes, Dave Thompson, Tom Tighe, Geoff Morris, Gerald Gartside, Nick Broderick and Andy Carter the first day.

Tom, Geoff and Gerry leaving at Carlisle on the second day, then being joined at Glasgow by Kevin Tilbury, Jim Street and Malcolm Clarkson who with Alan, Dave, Nick and Andy stayed to Edinburgh.

Many thanks to you all for your help and hard work 70013 has never looked better

So after a long trip time to go home , where our electric train passed 46201 working the Edinburgh to York about 30 mins from York, Here at York 60019 stood with its support coach ready to take on the trip to Kings Cross.

Overall not a bad trip involving seven steam engines and a preserved Diesel, The south Devon banks, the Licky, Shap, Beatock Slochd and Druimuachdar, Travelling from Penzance to Inverness and all taken in its stride.Well done Oliver Cromwell a tribute to all who have been involved in its restoration.

Apologies if I have left anyone out


By Info | Sunday, April 18, 2010 | Tags : 70013

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