Locomotive Performance

Main Line Steam in the North East

In the period following the resumption of steam working on BR lines, ie from 1971, the occasional railtours  tended to run between the steam centres that existed at Didcot, Tyseley, and Hereford in the south, or Dinting, Carnforth, and York, in the north. 

The approved steam routes in the north and north east were therefore broadly within the Dinting, York, and Carnforth triangle, and included: Dinting/Guide Bridge via the Hope Valley to Sheffield, and onwards to Leeds or York. Carnforth to Leeds and York via Hellifield, and the lines radiating from York to Harrogate, Leeds, Scarborough, Sheffield and Hull. Also The Bridlington  line. Further north, there was the coast route from Middlesborough to Sunderland and Newcastle, and the Newcastle to Carlisle line. Subsequently Leeds to Manchester via Standedge was included. 
We deal here with all of the above routes, except Carnforth to Leeds and York, which was dealt with in an earlier edition of Locomotive Performance. The variety of locomotives that was available to work the routes that are included was considerable and varied. I have also had runs on of 850, 5690, 4472, 34092, and 6201. But this page is already too long.
11th November 1978: 6115 Scots Guardsman:  It was 20 years since my previous run on this loco (see West Coast Steam page). What a pity that this run was beset with signal delays and fog. With a 12 coach load, the loco struggled on the wet rail up the grade from Chinley, but then ran well down the Hope Valley. But after Sheffield there was more fog, and we were late into York. The log covers Guide Bridge to Sheffield only  [view log of 6115]
11th November 1978: 35028 Clan Line:  York-Leeds-Harrogate-York:  Fog or no fog, 35028 gave us a splendid run around the circle on load 11, with speed well into the 70's by Church Fenton, and an excellent climb up to Micklefield  [view log of 35028]
26th May 1979: The Curator railtour had Compound 4-4-0 no 1000 & V2 class 2-6-2 no 4771 Green Arrow double heading with an 11 coach load. The route was from Guide Bridge to York, and the running as far as Chinley was lethargic. But down through Edale and Hope, we ran briskly. I have ended the log at Sheffield, since onwards to York was badly affected by p.w. slowings and signal checks  [view log of 1000 & 4771]
2nd May 1981: This was the inaugural run of newly restored S & D class 7F 2-8-0 no 13809. The appropriately named "Pines Express" ran from Guide Bridge to Sheffield and on to York, then back to Sheffield. It was a real struggle up past Chinley with our 10 coach load, and speed was down to 10 mph at one point. But after Sheffield, on the old Midland route, the loco ran quite well. On the return we took the Pontefract route. Top speed of the day was 53 mph in Totley tunnel. [view log of 13809]
26th August 1982: On the Scarborough Spa Express outward leg, Class 5MT 4-6-0 no 5305, with a 10 coach load, ran very leisurely to Harrogate, dropping over 3 minutes. Out of Leeds, a steady climb to Garforth was followed by delays on to York. But the running onwards to Scarborough was good, with a top speed of 67 mph at Heslerton, and a time of 53 mins 17 secs from York  [view log of 5305]
18th September 1982: This was the day we found out what a splendid engine no 777 Sir Lamiel, the newly restored King Arthur class 4-6-0, was. On an itinerary of Hull to Scarborough, then back to York and Leeds,  777 went roaring out of Bridlington, topping the 1 in 90 bank at 34 mph. And with a 375/400 ton train. After that, the running was tame by comparison. The top speed of the day was 69 mph beyond Bempton. [view log of 777]
29th December 1982: On the HLPG (Humberside Locomotive Preservation Group) 1982 "Santa" train, 777 Sir Lamiel was booked Leeds to Hull and return, with Black 5 no 5305 working Hull to Scarborough and back. So what excitement would 777 provide for us this time?  Well, for a start, an excellent climb out of Leeds, with 42 mph at Cross Gates, and 53 mph at Garforth. Certainly my fastest climb. So we wondered about the nice falling gradient beyond Micklefield, at which point we were already up to 68 mph.  70mph, 75 mph, then 80 mph, and still rising, to a maximum of 84 mph at South Milford. So we ran to our booked stop at Selby in 27 min 19 sec. On to Hull, the running was more moderate, with nothing higher than 67 mph. [view log of 777]
29th December 1982: 5305  on the HLPG Santa  on the Hull to Scarborough section was a great disappointment. A mere 26 mph up Bridlington bank, and nothing higher than 60 mph on to Scarborough. On the return toHull, the running was poor throughout, with no attempt being made to keep time  [view log of 5305]
22nd January 1983: The NELPG (North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group) promoted railtours were always interesting affairs. This one, the Northumbrian Pullman,  was an early morning start from Middlesborough, round the coast to Sunderland and Newcastle. Across to Carlisle, then back home via the S & C.  An arduous assignment for K1 class 2-6-0 no 2005 on a load of 416/440 tons. Initially there was some quite vigorous running, with 34 mph up the climb to Cemetery North Jc. But after Newcastle the loco was struggling, and would barely have kept the Newcastle to Carlisle timing without the p.w slowings and signal checks that we encountered. My log ends at Carlisle, though I can disclose that 2005 struggled over the S & C, with 15 mph over Ais Gill summit. But nevertheless the tour was a hugely enjoyable experience  [view log of 2005]
2nd April 1983: Over easter 1983, Severn Valley based, NRM owned Class 5MT 4-6-0 no 5000 went visiting up north. On Easter Monday it worked the Yorkshire Pullman from Leeds to Scarborough, then on to Bridlington and Hull. With a 378/395 ton load, the running from Leeds was respectable. But we we badly checked through York, and with mediocre running onwards to Scarborough, we dropped 8 minutes. On the coast route through Bridlington and on to Hull, we dropped more time on an admittedly tight schedule.  [view log of 5000]
14th August 1983: 92220 Evening Star: The logs included are of the morning and evening York circulars of a Scarborough Spa Express. I have not included the York to Scarborough section since a) the running was dreadful, and b) there are several other logs of the route included on this page. On the morning circular, we lost time out to Harrogate, then ran reasonably to Leeds. Then there were checks on the Leeds to York section, which included a top speed of 61 mph.The evening circle included a reasonable run to Leeds, then an excellent and loud climb up to Bramley tunnel. Then back to normal.  [view log of 92220]

6th April 1985: 46229 Duchess of Hamilton: This circular tour included York to Bridlington, via Gascoigne Wood, Selby, and Anlaby Road Jc (Hull). Then on to Filey and Scarborough, and finally Scarborough back to York. Driver H Wilson was in charge throughout, and ran steadily as far as Bridlington. He then decided to see what the loco was made of on the 1 in 92 bank up to Speeton. The answer was that the 13 coach 474/490 ton train reached 46 mph up the 1 in 92 gradient. Then it was back to to gentle running. The highest speed of the day was 64 mph at Gilberdyke. But it was an interesting tour.  [view log of 46229]
18th May 1985: 777 Sir Lamiel worked from Sheffield to Manchester Victoria via the Hope Valley, and back on to Leeds, via Standedge, and York. The load was 10 coaches, 362/385 tons. On the Hope Valley section, there were 5 mph clearance restrictions at Grindleford, Hathersage, and Edale. The highlight of the return run  was a fast run from Church Fenton in to York, with a 72 mph at Copmanthorpe. [view log of 777]
26th April 1986: 4771 Green Arrow worked from York to Manchester Victoria and return, out via Sheffield and the Hope Valley, and back via Standedge and Leeds. The load was 12 coaches, 428/455 tons. On the Hope Valley section, there was a 15 mph clearance slowing at Grindleford, and stops at both Hope and Earles Siding, possibly a block failure or single line working. On the return journey, the highlight was a splendid climb from Stalybridge to Diggle. [view log of 4771]
29th December 1986:  3440 City of Truro worked a festive railtour from York to Scarborough and return, The only intermediate stop was at Malton in the outward direction. With a huge load (for the loco) of 10 coaches, 365/390 tons, the running was steady rather than spectacular. We reached a maximum speed of 58 mph at Weaverthorpe on the return journey.  [view log of 3440]
The routes we have covered above varied greatly, particularly in the effort required from the locomotives and their crews.  The Standedge and Hope Valley routes over the Pennines were taxing. At the other extreme was the almost level Scarborough line. And as we have seen on other Main Line Steam routes, there were good runs, and bad ones. But it does seem to me that two locomotives from the above stand out "above the crowd". The first is the ex LNER V2 class 2-6-2 no 4771/60800 Green Arrow, and the second, the ex Southern King Arthur class 4-6-0 no 777/30777 Sir Lamiel.  I cannot recall a really poor run on either locomotive, either in the north east, or elsewhere.