Locomotive Performance

Main Line Steam: Settle & Carlisle


 Part 1: Northbound runs: 

Here you will find one log of each locomotive that I travelled behind northbound over the Settle & Carlisle line during the years 1978 to 1985. Where I had several runs behind the same loco, the log that is included covers the best run. In the case of 46229 Duchess of Hamilton, I had four runs of such exceptional merit, that I have included all of them. Southbound runs will be dealt with in a future edition.

The journeys below are classified in Regional Order. So Southern locomotives come first (I have had no northbound runs behind ex Great Western locomotives), then London Midland, then London and North Eastern, and finally British Rail Standard locomotives. 

   35028 CLAN LINE:   23rd September 1978: York to Carlisle: This was only my second steam run on the main line since 1966, and I had great hopes. Rebuilt Merchant Navy no 35028 Clan Line certainly had a heavy load of 465/500 tons. Initially the running from York to Leeds was quite reasonable. But the loco seemed to be in trouble leaving Skipton, making a very poor start up to Gargrave. Once  past Settle Junction, we soon fell to 25mph, and that was the norm for most of the 1 in 100 grades up to Blea Moor. Rather poor. And beyond Ais Gill, two p.w slacks, combined with the 60mph linespeed, made it a disappointing day all round. Not at all what I had hoped for. [view log of 35028]
   34092 CITY OF WELLS:  3rd December 1983: Leeds to Carlisle: I had 3 northbound S & C runs on 34092, and this was the best of the three. With load 12, the running from Leeds to Hellifield was reasonable, but once past Settle, the loco slipped, and slipped, and slipped. Once past Horton we sustained 32 mph on the 1 in 100, which with a 445 ton load, was respectable. Beyond Ais Gill, we ran up to 73 mph at Smardale, and thereafter  more speeds in the mid 60's after the Appleby stop. For a locomotive that subsequently ran so excellently north from Marylebone, and west from Salisbury, the running on the S & C was poor by comparison. [view log of 34092]
   850 LORD NELSON:  25th February 1984: Hellifield to Carlisle: Lord Nelson was another loco which could on occasions, perform brilliantly. On other occasions, the running could be very poor. Southbound S & C runs were good, but northbound the first was dreadful, and this run, though better, was still sub standard. Certainly a 13 coach, 454/485 ton load was a hard task, but 18 mph beyond Stainforth, and 19 mph at Selside, was poor by any standards. [view log of 850] 
   777 SIR LAMIEL with 5407:  27th March 1982: Hellifield to Carlisle: This trip, the inaugural run for 777 on Mainline Steam, was doomed from the moment BR decided that the train would have to be piloted. So Black 5 no 5407 assisted. To be fair, 777 did most of the work. In the early stages, speed was down to 24 mph at Stainforth, but recovered well to a respectable 38 mph beyond Helwith Bridge. But then two p.w.slacks intervened. Nothing higher than 60 mph was reached downhill. [view log of 777 & 5407]
   46229 DUCHESS OF HAMILTON:   29th October 1983: Hellifield to Carlisle: Early runs with 46229 on the S & C had given mixed results, but on this trip we found out with a vengeance what 46229 was made of. With a massive 14 coach, 496/530 ton train, we averaged 46.8 mph from Settle to Blea Moor. [view log of 46229] 

4th February 1984: Hellifield to Carlisle: Another splendid run. What Wilkinson could do, so could  Robinson. This time an average speed of 48.5 mph from Settle to Selside with a 13 coach, 459/485 ton train. (By 1984 Ribblehead Viaduct had a 30 mph restriction, so the effort reduced shortly after Selside). [view log of 46229] 

23rd March 1985: Leeds to Armathwaite: From Leeds we called at Skipton, where Driver Helliwell gave way to Edwin Altham. Another huge train, this time 14 for 504/535 tons, and we got a signal check to 20 mph at Settle Junction, right at the start of the 1/100 gradient. By Settle station, we were doing 38 mph, and we averaged 47.4 mph from there to Selside.  [view log of 46229] 

19th October 1985: Leeds to Carlisle with driver Jim Melia on a 12 coach load of 435/455 tons. A stop at Skipton, then a water stop at Long Preston. Steady running up past Stainforth, but still a slip or two, but once past Helwith Bridge, 46229 was opened up and sustained 55 mph on the 1 in 100 past Selside. We ran a little faster than usual after Appleby. [view log of 46229]  

   5690 LEANDER:  26th April 1980: Hellifield to Carlisle: The northbound leg of the "Leander Limited" railtour, with 5690 tackling a 435/465 ton load. The northbound climb to Blea Moor was spoiled by single line working between Horton, where we stopped to pick up a pilotman, and Blea Moor, where we slowed for him to alight. Otherwise the running was very respectable, given the load. [view log of 5690]
   5690 LEANDER with 1000:  5th February 1983: Hellifield to Appleby: The itinerary of the tour was rearranged on the platform at Hellifield as news came through of a blockage on the West Coast main line, And so we set off 76 mins late for Appleby, where the train would terminate, and where passengers would return south on diverted West Coast services. It was snowing hard and by Settle we had run into a severe blizzard. The next hour was magical, as our locos battled up to Blea Moor, through the tunnel, then in improved conditions, headed across through Dent to Ais Gill, then down the valley to Appleby. An unforgettable experience. And with a 14 coach, 565 ton load, the locos did well, covering the 12 miles up from Settle to Blea Moor tunnel in 23 minutes.  [view log of 1000 & 5690]
   4767 (Black 5):  21st February 1981: Hellifield to Carlisle: With a 380/405 ton load, the loco ran well in the early stages, but after Horton seemed a little winded. We were down to 23mph by Blea Moor tunnel. We ran leisurely down from Ais Gill, with an additional photo stop inserted at Armathwaite.  [view log of 4767]
   44767 (Black 5) with 5690 LEANDER:  23rd February 1985: Manchester Victoria to Carlisle: A Cumbrian Mountain Express with a difference. Two Stanier 4-6-0's up front, and a tour that started at Manchester Victoria, then took in the Bolton to Blackburn and Hellifield line, before continuing to Carlisle. Hard work was needed up to Sough tunnel, and later on, we we stood for signals at Settle Junction, and so were unable to get a run at the 1 in 100 gradient. The uphill work was respectable, and downhill a little brisker than usual. A most enjoyable tour. Drivers Alexander and Lister were in charge.  [view log of 44767 & 5690]
   5305 (Black 5):  15th March 1980: Skipton to Carlisle: Competent running on one of the first "Cumbrian Mountain Express" tours. The Skipton start subsequently gave way to Hellifield, to allow longer on the S & C for "Run-pasts" and "Photo-stops". We sustained 33 mph up past Selside, good with a 360/385 ton load. [view log of 5305]
   4498 SIR NIGEL GRESLEY:  28th November 1981: Hellifield to Carlisle: Always a competent performer on the S & C, but rarely extended. This was the best northbound run I had, with a modest 380/405 to load, we averaged 49.3 mph from Settle to Selside. A much quicker than usual run down to Appleby, max 68 mph, followed. [view log of 4498]
   60009 UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA:  28th April 1984: Hellifield to Appleby. With the steam section of this tour already curtailed at Appleby through fire risk, driver Edwin Altham decided he would get to Appleby in the shortest possible time. He did, and this became the "record run", time wise, up to Ribblehead. From 68 mph at Settle Junction, he was still doing 52 mph before braking for Ribblehead viaduct, leaving a blazing trail behind him. And he followed that with some "brisk" running down to Appleby. We shall hear more about Edwin when we come to southbound  S & C runs in a future edition. [view log of 60009]
   4472 FLYING SCOTSMAN:  22nd June 1983: Hellifield to Carlisle. The timing fraternity nick-named 4472 "The Flying Heap". I usually avoided the loco, but on this occasion I thought I would give it another try. It was a typical 4472 performance. A huge amount of noise to  take an 8 coach, 315/330 ton train up to Ribblehead without falling below 29 mph. All the runs I have had since 1964 have been poor or worse. I do know that since 4472 reverted to it's 1963 condition, it has been a much improved performer. [view log of 4472]
   92220 EVENING STAR:  21st April 1984: Hellifield to Carlisle: 92220 was another "Jekel and Hyde" locomotive. Excellent on occasions, but poor for the rest of the time. This run fell into the latter category. With a heavy 459/490 ton load, we were down to 23 mph at Stainforth, and 25 mph at Selside. [view log of 92220]