HEROICS ON SHAP AND AIS GILL
August has been one hectic month for the 5305 Locomotive Association. We have supplied the motive power for no less than 11 railtours using ‘Britannia’ Pacific No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell and ‘Black 5’ No. 45305, both of which have been based at Crewe. And September promises to be pretty much the same, especially at the beginning of the month now that the ‘Brit’ has been reinstated at short notice on ‘Scarborough Spa Express’ duty.
It was because Cromwell needed a boiler washout before her engine-and-van move to York on Monday 29 August in readiness for the ‘Scarboroughs’ that No. 45305 was substituted for the ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’ on the 27th. This involved a leisurely meander from Crewe (dep 6.04 am) to Preston, picking up at Wilmslow, Stockport, Manchester Victoria and Bolton, and then via Shap to Carlisle, returning by way of the S&C and Blackburn – and then, having regained the WCML at Farington Junction, diverging at Euxton Junction to retrace our outward route.
At Carlisle waiting for the road.
Now this was a 12-coach load grossing 470 tons originally devised for a class 7, 75 mph locomotive, so the ‘5’, limited to 60 mph, faced a real challenge. But boy did she rise to it, recording minima of 29 mph on Grayrigg and 20 mph on Shap, and topping the latter at 21.5. On the return leg, after a water stop at Appleby, the engine dug into a superb, sure-footed climb to Ais Gill, surmounting the summit at 24 mph. Timekeeping? Well just a few minutes were lost here and there, but nothing to delay any service trains and nothing like the delays we were caused in the Denton Junction area east of Manchester in both directions owing to signal failures.Watering at Hellifield
Really, it was a heroic performance by No. 45305, and due credit must be given to the crews, who handled the locomotive so well. Just one of a huge class that totalled over 800 the engine might be but, once again, the old girl demonstrated she’s easily one of the very best. What an engine!At Carlisle with a NR PW recording train