Locomotive Performance

Main Line Steam: Settle & Carlisle


 Part 2: Southbound runs: 

In Edition 8 of Locomotive Performance, we dealt with northbound running over the S & C during the years 1978 to 1985. So now we will deal with the southbound running, where the main interest is the 15 mile climb from Ormside to Ais Gill summit. Where I had several runs behind the same loco, the log that is included is the best run. In the case of 46229 Duchess of Hamilton, I had three exceptional runs, so I have included all of them.

The journeys below are classified in "Regional Order". So Southern locomotives come first (I have not included the one southbound run I had behind a Western locomotive, since we got no further than Kirkby Stephen), then London Midland, then London and North Eastern, and finally British Rail Standard locomotives.

   34092 CITY OF WELLS:   2nd May 1983: Carlisle to Hellifield: This was the best of the three southbound runs I had on this locomotive. We managed 33 mph over Ais Gill summit, with a minimum of slipping. [view log of 34092]
   850 LORD NELSON:    14th September 1983: A nondescript run to Appleby, where a coach defect caused a delay. I believe Inspector Gerrard then took over the regulator, and what followed was a classic ascent to Ais Gill. [view log of 850] 
   777 SIR LAMIEL:   4th December 1982: By late 1982, 777 was beginning to get a reputation for being a "strong engine". If proof was needed, the run up to Ais Gill was it. 777 became a very successful runner on the main line. [view log of 777]
   777 SIR LAMIEL with 5407:   3rd April 1982: BR were nervous about 777, and on it's first southbound S & C trip, it was piloted by Black 5 no 5407. With 777 doing most of the work, the running was satisfactory. But the "train timers" weren't happy, they wanted 777 on its own. [view log of 777 & 5407]
   46229 DUCHESS OF HAMILTON:  19th March 1983: Carlisle to Skipton: Driver D Hines of Carlisle had a massive 535/570 ton load, and ran from Appleby to Ais Gill in 23 min 55 sec, with a 46 mph at the summit. [view log of 46229]

23rd April 1983: Carlisle to Leeds: A case of what might have been. After the Appleby stop, Driver Altham was going for a 20 minute ascent to Ais Gill, and until the signal check at Kirkby Stephen, was on course to achieve it. But he still went over Ais Gill summit at 54.7 mph. Magnificent!  [view log of 46229]  

7th January 1984: Howes Siding to York: 46229 came on at Howes Siding, and was running right through to York. The driver on the first stage was Alexander, from Carlisle. 21 min 48 secs Appleby to Ais Gill was splendid, and was followed by a brisk 68 mph down past Helwith Bridge. Later, with a fresh crew, we ran to York with a pleasing 72 mph past Church Fenton. An excellent trip.[view log of 46229]  

   6201 PRINCESS ELIZABETH:  4th September 1980: Carlisle to Skipton: This midweek B.R. "Cumbrian Mountain Express"  was hauled by Princess Royal class 4-6-2 no 6201 Princess Elizabeth, then based at Carnforth. The running out to Appleby was gentle, but up to Ais Gill, we ran well, 42mph at the summit with our 12 coach load.  [view log of 6201]
   5690 LEANDER:  26th April 1980: Carlisle to Hellifield: This was a "both way" tour over the S & C, and 5690 had already brought us up from Hellifield to Carlisle. The return, with our 12 coach load, entailed much hard work, and ended with a well burned smokebox door. The running was respectable with lots of Jubilee "roar". [view log of 5690]
   5690 LEANDER with 1000:  12th February 1983: Howes Siding to Hellifield: The superb Crimson Combination was on a southbound "Cumbrian Mountain Pullman", loading to 13, 527/565 tons. The locos took over at Howes Siding, then on through the snow, to Appleby, where there was a water stop and a few "snowballs". No heroics up to Ais Gill, just the magnificent snow covered landscape. [view log of 1000 & 5690]
   4767 (Black 5):  28th February 1981: Carlisle to Hellifield: Snow again. Blizzards and heavy snowfall all the way in fact. The running, in the circumstances, was good, and 4767 sounded in fine fettle. Another hugely enjoyable S & C tour. [view log of 4767]
   5305 (Black 5):  10th May 1986: Howes Siding to York: A gentle run to Armathwaite, where we made an additional stop, then next stop Appleby. Carlisle Driver Tibbetts was in charge of a 10 coach load, and ran in Tibbetts fashion, on to Skipton. Here a Neville Hill driver, Holme, took over for the final run to Leeds and York. He enjoyed himself after Leeds, running at 70 to 73mph from Church Fenton to Copmanthorpe. [view log of 5305]
   4498 SIR NIGEL GRESLEY:  24th July 1980: One of early B.R sponsored "Cumbrian Mountain Express" midweek tours that ran in 1980 and 1981. 4498 had a 12 coach load, and the usual stop at Appleby. The run "up the hill" was respectable but not outstanding. We took 26 min 37 secs to Ais Gill, 37 mph minimum speed. [view log of 4498]
   60009 UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA:  31st March 1984: Carlisle to Hellifield: "Number 9" was coming south, and ran from Carlisle to Hellifield in the warm and dry spring of 1984. Driver Cook from Carlisle ran normally to Appleby, but then quite hard with the 456/485 ton train, to Ais Gill, passed in 24 min 56 sec at 41 mph. The loco was subsequently blamed for a forest fire near Armathwaite.   [view log of 60009]
   4472 FLYING SCOTSMAN:  29th January 1983: SLOA held it's AGM at Carlisle on Saturday 28th, and on the Sunday, in conjunction with BR, arranged a "Freebie" to Blea Moor for all SLOA members and guests. BR provided the crews and facilities free of charge, and an invitation was extended to the Carlisle rail men, and their families, for a run on Flying Scotsman. It was a typical 4472 performance. 16 mph at Ais Gill summit. [view log of 4472]
   92220 EVENING STAR:  23rd April 1984: Carlisle to Hellifield: With a heavy 13 coach load, we ran non stop from Carlisle to Garsdale, which was unusual. The performance of the loco throughout was, how shall we say, modest. But what was hugely enjoyable on a sunny spring day, was the stop at Ribblehead, and being able to walk down into the valley below the station to watch two splendid "run-pasts" over the viaduct.  [view log of 92220]

Click here for Gradient Profile: Appleby to Ais Gill

David Bailey's splendid photo (right) I have called "The Man and the Machine". The machine needs no introduction, but the man is Skipton Driver Edwin Altham. Sadly Edwin passed away several years ago, but he will remain in the memory of all who travelled on 46229 on the southbound "Thames Eden Pullman" on 23rd April 1983. He went over Ais Gill summit, with 480 tons of train, at almost 55 mph. And I believe that his run on 60009 Union of South Africa in 1984, is still the record northbound climb, though there was the little matter of  lineside fires. Thank you Edwin, for the enjoyment you gave to so many people.