The Swanage Belle 14th May 2011 "2 for 1"
No, this isn't a special offer where you can buy two tickets for the price of one and treat a loved one to a trip on a steam train at no extra cost. By the way, that really really doesn't work, they always get to find out that it was a cheapo offer and then they get seriously miffed - much better to pay full price and get the brownie points - besides that way your favourite engines might get a bit of the income - so it would be a win win situation!
No, this is two reports of the same trip by two different authors - one was with the Brit, the other was with the Five and both have sent in reports of their involvement in the different legs of the trip - confused - read on and find out more.
First we have Gerry's report of 45305's involvement in the weekend's work, then Peter Maynard takes up the story with the Brit's involvement, starting with the engine and van move on the Friday and finishing up back at Southall.
5305LA provided both locomotives for last Saturday's Swanage Belle from Waterloo to Swanage and return. Black Five 45305 worked the outward trip and 70013 Oliver Cromwell the return. 70013 had gone down to Swanage on an "engine and van" move the previous day, turning at Eastleigh in order to face the correct way for its Swanage Belle leg.
A failed freight train in the Willesden area caused serious delay to the empty stock movement from Southall to Waterloo.Instead of taking the booked route via Kensington Olympia, the train reversed at Acton Wells with diesel loco originally at the rear of the train being employed to haul the stock and 45305 into Waterloo via South Acton, New Kew Junction and Clapham Junction. Fortunately arrival at Waterloo was before the booked departure time and so the situation was saved. The "Five" performed well with the ten coach train, taking water at Winchfield. Although it is about 92 miles from there to Swanage, there was no other watering point booked but such is the "Five's" efficiency in the use of coal and water, it arrived at Swanage with ample reserves in the tender.
After some complicated shunting moves at Swanage, 70013 took over for the return journey. The ten coach load was handled with ease with the climb from Eastleigh to Worting Junction being particularly good. Again only one water stop was included this time at Southampton. The distance back to Waterloo via Staines is about 88 miles and despite the tender not being full due to exhausting the taker's supply at Southampton, the 'Brit' arrived on time at Waterloo with 1600 gallons left. This is another engine that is economical on coal and water.
45305 is expected to work the return leg of the next Swanage Belle on the 16th June.
Peter's Report starts here:
‘THE SWANAGE BELLE’ (PART 2)
There are far worse places to visit than Swanage – sparkling sea, beautiful beach, bracing coastal walks, fish and chips, plentiful hostelries… oh, and a delightful steam railway. So a pretty good destination for a railtour then: hence ‘The Swanage Belle’ on Saturday 14 May.
Two of the engines we look after were involved, ‘Black Five’ No. 45305 hauling the train down and the NRM’s ‘Britannia’ No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell bringing it back. With both engines being at Southall after their exploits the previous week, the ‘Brit’ had to be transferred to Swanage on Friday (the 13th…), and so three of us prepped and made her presentable for the engine-plus-support coach move via Reading, Basingstoke and Eastleigh. To end up with her facing the right way for the journey back we turned at Eastleigh, an interesting move that involves peeling off the Fareham line, running through the remains of the old steam shed and emerging between the works and the main line to re-enter the station where we ran round the support coach. Then it was tender-first all the way to Swanage.
45305 arriving at Swanage
The next day was very pleasant indeed. Plenty of time – we weren’t away till just gone four – to prep, charge the OTMR, TPWS and NRN radio, finish off the cleaning and enjoy the sunshine and bustle of the Swanage Railway. The ‘Five’ arrived dead on time just after two o’clock, heralding a whole series of engine and stock moves to enable the Swanage folk to run their timetable despite the presence of and extra two extra engines and 12 coaches.
The view from the coaling stage at Swanage.
But manage it all they did, and with No. 45305 and her support coach tucked away on the pit road opposite the signal box and the incoming support crew and their gear loaded into Cromwell’s coach, we were away right-time bound for Norden, the Motala Ground Frame (boundary between the Swanage Railway and Network Rail) and Worgret Junction where the branch meets the Weymouth main line.
Awaiting the tip Bournemouth
The run back to London Waterloo was uneventful but satisfying, particularly the rousing ascent of Parkstone bank, the 25 miles of solid climbing from Eastleigh through Winchester and Micheldever to Litchfield tunnel, and our arriving back at the terminus with plenty of water in the tender – our only water stop was at Southampton, so it could have been tight.
Dave & Charlie (Driver & Fireman) at Waterloo.
All in all No. 70013’s support crew had a very pleasant couple of days: nothing too taxing, a solid run with a loco on top form, and clearly dodging anything that Friday the thirteenth had been trying to throw at us. And we had the benefits of the Swanage Railway’s excellent facilities and friendly company – for which we thank them very much.