Locomotive Performance

Main Line Steam from Carnforth

In the 1980's the approved steam routes from Carnforth were 1) The Cumbrian Coast line to Sellafield, subsequently extended to Maryport, and 2) The route through Wennington to Settle Junction and Hellifield, then on to either Skipton, Leeds, and York, or to Blackburn and Manchester Victoria. 

The highlights of the "Cumbrian Coast Express" were the ascents, in each direction, of Lindal bank, together with the splendid scenery, particularly the estuary views from the many viaducts. And there was the chance of a ride on the splendid Ravenglass & Eskdale railway. And if I remember correctly the fare, to and  from Birmingham, was 8. 

Many of the workings on the Hellifield line were the "Cumbrian Mountain Express" workings on what was known as the "bottom leg", whilst the workings through to and from Leeds and York were often used to effect locomotive changeovers between Carnforth and York steam depots, to the mutual advantage of both. 

The selection of runs below are the better ones, performance wise. They are dealt with by Locomotive, in "Regional" order, then descending power classification. First are the Southern engines (Western locos were taboo in these parts), then London Midland, then Eastern. Double headed runs are dealt with last. I had many runs on some locos, only one on others. Carnforth drivers worked most of the services, and we always knew we were in for a thrash if Fothergill was on the regulator. Interesting days indeed.
 35028 CLAN LINE 4-6-2:  28th June 1979: Cumbrian Coast Express: Carnforth to Sellafield: This was my first and only Coast journey on "Clan Line". With a 12 coach load, we ran competently, topping Lindal bank at 28 mph  [view log of 35028] 
 34092 CITY OF WELLS 4-6-2:  28th July 1982: Cumbrian Coast Express: Maryport to Carnforth: Once south of Sellafield, the running with a heavy 423/460 ton train, was vigorous, We reached 66 mph near Silecroft, and climbed excellently from Dalton up to Lindal  [view log of 34092]
18th August 1982: The White Rose: Leeds to Carnforth: This was the day that Driver Knowles went through the gates at Cononley. With a heavy 432/460 ton train the running was good throughout.  [view log of 34092].
 850 LORD NELSON 4-6-0:  28th July 1982: Cumbrian Coast Express: Carnforth to Maryport: Driver Frank Shaw was an expert on how to get the best out of 850. With the usual 12 coach train, he ran hard where possible, though the timings beyond Sellafield proved too ambitious. Top speed was 66 mph near Bootle.  [view log of 850]
4th August 1982: The White Rose: Carnforth to Leeds: With a 57 minute late departure from Carnforth, there was every incentive to run hard, and driver Newton did just that, particularly on the uphill section past Borwick, and again from Wennington up to Clapham. With load 12, an excellent run. But not all runs with 850 were as good. [view log of 850]
 46229 DUCHESS OF HAMILTON 4-6-2:  4th August 1982: The White Rose: Leeds to Carnforth: With many checks in the early part of the run, it was only after Settle Junction that Driver Knowles could put the engine to it. So he finished the day with a rousing climb past Giggleswick, and 72 mph downhill past Low Bentham.  [view log of 46229]
18th August 1982: The White Rose: Carnforth to Leeds: Driver Harry Bush ran well and punctually with a 468/495 ton load. We reached 67 mph at Kirkstall.  [view log of 46229].
 6201 PRINCESS ELIZABETH 4-6-2:  25th August 1980: Cumbrian Coast Express: Sellafield to Carnforth. A good steady run. Top speed 61 mph at Askham.   [view log of 6201].
 5690 LEANDER 4-6-0:  11th July 1979: The North Yorkshireman. Grange-over-Sands to Skipton and return to Carnforth: Steady but unspectacular running throughout with a 12 coach load. But nothing higher than 58 mph.  [view log of 5690]
6th September 1979: The Cumbrian Coast Express. Ravenglass to Carnforth: The best part of this run came after the signal stop at Dalton Junction. Leander sounded superb climbing away up the 1/100 gradient up to Lindal summit. [view log of 5690].
   44767 class 5MT 4-6-0:  4th February 1984: Cumbrian Mountain Express: Carnforth to Hellifield: Driver Bush gave us a steady run with a 423/450 ton train. [view log of 44767].
 5305 class 5MT 4-6-0:  12th April 1980: Cumbrian Mountain Express: Carnforth to Skipton: Good running up the bank from Wennington, and 64 mph down to Skipton got the day of to an excellent start. [view log of 5305].
 5407 class 5MT 4-6-0:  28th August 1981: Cumbrian Coast Express: Carnforth to Ravenglass: 5407 ran the CCE in both directions on this date, coming back tender first. This is the outward leg with a 12 coach load. Top speed was 60 mph near Askham, but there was single line working in force from Silecroft to Bootle. [view log of 5407]
14th September 1983: Cumbrian Mountain Express: Hellifield to Carnforth: With a 434/465 ton load, we climbed Giggleswick bank superbly, then came down through Low Bentham at 68 mph, and an unusual 65 mph at Borwick. Driver Fothergill of course. [view log of 5407].
 13809 class 7F 2-8-0:   3rd April 1982: Cumbrian Mountain Express:  Hellifield to Carnforth: With a 380/405 ton load, it seemed a case of "How much time shall we lose?". But Fothergill had other ideas. Like coming down fast past Bentham, and taking the curve at Wennington (45mph limit) at 58 mph. We reached 60 mph at Melling. Is this the fastest that a S & D 7F has ever travelled?. Exciting stuff!  [view log of 13809].
 4498 SIR NIGEL GRESLEY 4-6-2:   3rd May 1980: The Mancunian: Carnforth to Blackburn and Manchester: With a 373/405 ton load, the A4 ran leisurely out to Hellifield. Then followed the speed restricted line to Blackburn, though we climbed well up the grade past Wilphsire. But from Blackburn things livened up considerably, with an excellent 32 mph at Sough Tunnel, and a trail of fire behind us. Beyond Bolton I got a 75 mph from the rail joints at Kearsley.  [view log of 4498]
13th February 1982: Cumbrian Mountain Express: Hellifield to Carnforth: With a modest 10 coach, 380/405 ton load, 4498 stormed Giggleswick at 46 mph, my best ever, then ran well on to Carnforth in 36 min 59 secs, with a top speed of 64 mph at Skew Crossing. Well done Driver Parkinson. [view log of 4498].
 4472 FLYING SCOTSMAN 4-6-2:  6th September 1979: Cumbrian Coast Express: Carnforth to Ravenglass: This was the best of several Scotsman runs I had to Ravenglass. We had the usual 12 coach load, and topped Lindal bank at 26 mph. Single line working delayed us later in the journey. Maximum speed was 59 mph at Bootle. [view log of 4472]
3rd March 1984: Cumbrian Mountain Express: Hellifield to Carnforth: With a heavy 13 coach train of 454/485 tons, 4472 topped Giggleswick bank at 31 mph, and reached 63 mph at Bentham. My best "bottom leg" run with the loco. [view log of 4472].
 4771 GREEN ARROW 2-6-2:  5th May 1980: The Royal Wessex: Sellafield to Carnforth: 4771 was a substitute locomotive for this railtour. Booked non stop from Sellafield to Carnforth, we got no further than Drigg before we came to a stand. No tail lamp!. Then we reached 67 mph at Silecroft, and went round the Foxfield and Kirkby curves at 32 mph and 43 mph respectively. Then more good running until we were stopped at Plumpton Jc to pick up a pilotman. Single line working was in operation to Cark, where we stopped to set him down. Finally we had a lengthy wait for a platform outside Carnforth. But our net time was 76 minutes. My shortest net time for the route my some margin. [view log of 4771].
 2005 class K1 2-6-0:  7th November 1981: The Trans Pennine Pullman: Carnforth to Leeds: With a load of 10 for 380/395 tons, the K1 struggled all the way to Skipton. It seems to me that the K1 design is a classic example of a locomotive having a tractive effort (32,080 lb) without the boiler capacity to match. Fine for short spells, for example on the 1 in 49 grade from Grosmont to Goathland, and the West Highland line in Scotland, but the opposite where any sustained steaming is required. On the easier section beyond Skipton things improved. But overall there was some time to book against the loco. The return journey from Leeds to Carnforth the following week was exactly the same. And yet the locomotive is a great favourite of mine. [view log of 2005].
 1000 4P 4-4-0+5690 LEANDER 4-6-0:   5th May 1980: The Royal Wessex: Carnforth to Sellafield: The Crimson Duo made a splendid sight on this tour. They were deputising for an unavailable ex Southern locomotive. We were delayed by single line operation between Cark and Plumpton Junction, but therafter the running was excellent. From a walking pace at Plumpton Junction, we topped Lindal bank at 40 mph. Later, we reached 65 mph at Silecroft. With "Green Arrow" in charge of the return run (see above), this was certainly my most enjoyable trip ever on the Cumbrian Coast line. [view log of 1000+5690]
 1000 4P 4-4-0+4771 GREEN ARROW 2-6-2:   3rd May 1980: The Mancunian: Leeds to Carnforth: These two National Railway Museum locomotives were working west to take part in the 1980 Rainhill event. With a 373/405 ton load, we were 42 mins late from Leeds, and the scheduled Skipton stop was omitted. The running was good throughout, particularly from Hellifield, with a 71 mph top speed at Lower Bentham. [view log of 1000+4771]
  2005 K1 2-6-0+5407 class 5MT 4-6-0:   5th February 1983: Cumbrian Mountain Express: Carnforth to Hellifield: This double headed combination on the "bottom leg", had a huge 527/565 ton train. They made a fine job up the grades from both Carnforth, and after the Wennington stop. And the sounds were superb.  [view log of 2005+5407].
I had well over a hundred log from which to make a selection. Initially I worked on the basis of one run for each locomotive, in each direction on each route. That gave me 49 logs. Far too many for inclusion. So I started again, on the basis that each route in each direction, was included, and that each locomotive was covered, though not more than twice. And So I eventually got the number of logs down to a more manageable 24.