Locomotive Performance

Main Line Steam: Midlands & North

 
We have already covered much of Main Line Steam in the north of England in the Settle & Carlisle, Steam from Carnforth, and Steam in the North East, pages. This page covers the Midlands, and lines from the Midlands to Sheffield, Carlisle, and the North Wales Coast. Also included are a number of "Vintage Trains" local trips using 0-6-0 pannier tanks, and a locally organized Derby to Matlock service using a BR Standard 2-6-4T. 
 
As part of the Rainhill 150 celebrations in 1980, British Rail sponsored a series of Sunday summer excursions from Manchester Victoria to Edge Hill, and return. The intention was to use a variety of locomotives, though in practice only two locomotives were used. 6201 Princess Elizabeth (the first trip) and 4-6-0 Leander (all the remaining trips).
29th June 1980: 6201 PRINCESS ELIZABETH: Manchester-Edge Hill & return: On the first trip, we suffered delays leaving Manchester. Thereafter the crew seemed ill at ease with the loco, which never really got going. To add to their problems, vandals dropped threw a brick from an overbridge at Roby, which broke a cab window. From a performance point of view, the trip was a non event.  [view log of 6201]
27th July/10th August 1980: 5690 LEANDER: Manchester-Edge Hill & return:  I had two trips on Leander to Edge Hill and back. It was clear that the crews preferred the smaller engine, which ran competently on both trips. On 27th July, with a 12 coach load, 5690 reached 65 mph on the return journey st Barton Moss, and on 10th August, with 11 coaches, the top speed was 61 mph on the return at Earlestown and again at Astley.  [view logs of 5690]
16th November 1985: 34092 CITY OF WELLS: Tyseley-Sheffield: 34092 was returning home, having had a holiday in the south running trains from Marylebone. Here we deal with the second part of the run, from Tyseley to Sheffield, via Castle Donnington, Trent, and the Erewash Valley. We ran respectably, 68 mph max, until the approach to Burton, where we set off a hot box detector. Thereafter, the Stenson Junction to Sheet Stores Jc line was speed restricted, and, after the Toton servicing stop, Wells never really got going. There was a lot of slipping up to Bradway Tunnel. Not one of 34092's best.  [view log of 34092]
26th September 1987:  46443 Birmingham Moor St-Dorridge & return: To celebrate the re-opening of Snow Hill station, and to say goodbye to the Old Moor Street, several steam trips ran from Moor Street to Dorridge and back, using 46443 from the Severn Valley Railway and 7029 Clun Castle from the Birmingham Railway Museum. The trains had to be fitted into the intensive service of local services through Tyseley, so checks were inevitable. But with 46443, we did reach 58 mph at Acocks Green on the inward journey.  [view logs of 46443]

22nd May 1988: 80080 Derby-Matlock & return: This locally sponsored initiative was most successful, and the trains were made up to 11 coaches. I did two round trips to Matlock, and most enjoyable they were. There was some hard running between Derby and Ambergate, in both directions, although pathing was clearly a problem and we suffered several checks. And now there is a ban on steam on the Matlock line, so I am glad I did the 1988 trips. [view logs of 80080]
1st July 1990: 71000 DUKE OF GLOUCESTER: Crewe-Holyhead & return: 71000 had a 13 coach, 477/505 ton load, and intermediate stops in each direction at Chester, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, Penmaenmawr, Bangor, and Llanfair.. But the 60 mph "steam limit" meant that 71000 was never extended. We ran more or less punctually throughout. Top speed was 68mph at Bodorgan. [view log of 71000]
8th August 1990: 34027 TAW VALLEY: Crewe-Holyhead & return: In a rash moment, I booked 3 trips on the "North Wales Coast Express" in the summer of 1990. This was the second. We did reach 67mph at Abergele and at Worleston on the return journey. The first trip had been on 60009, which ran punctually, but ambled along for most of the day at around 55 mph. The third trip, I tore my ticket up and didn't bother.  [view log of 34027]
23rd February 1994: 34027 TAW VALLEY: Banbury-Sheffield: I joined "The Yorkshireman" tour at Banbury. 34027 ran excellently to Leamington, 80 mph down Fosse Road bank, and was going well up to Hatton until adverse signals intervened. After the Dorridge water stop, there was 72 mph at Tyseley, but at Landor Street, we stood 39 minutes awaiting a fresh engine crew. We ran steadily to Derby, 69 mph max at Tamworth. By this time it was snowing hard. 34027 primed out to Ambergate, but then came some superb running. 80 mph below Chesterfield, and through Blizzards up to Bradway tunnel, 53 mph minimum. At Sheffield, with weather deteriorating further, and the train already late, it was decided not to proceed with the onward journey to Bradford.  [view log of 34027]
26th March 1999: 6024 KING EDWARD I: Carlisle-Preston: Pathfinder's "Mountain King" tour started in controversial manner. Railtrack alleged a serious breach of the 75 mph limit on the Crewe to Preston section, then steaming difficulties arose on Grayrigg and Shap banks. So we will draw a veil of the northbound run. At Carlisle, great efforts were made to ensure that the southbound run did not suffer the same problems. They were not in vain, for 6024's run from Carlisle to Shap summit, with a 12 coach load of 447/480 tons,  is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of King running ever. From Carlisle, we were through Penrith in 24 min 20 secs, reaching 63 mph in the dip beyond, and eventually settling down to a steady 44 mph on the 1 in 100 past Thrimby Grange and Harrisons Siding. So we passed mp 37, close to Shap summit, in 40 mins 38 secs. Downhill to Carnforth, top speed was 76 mph, at Milnthorpe. And by Preston, our 89 min late departure from Carlisle, had been reduced to 49 minutes. The running onwards to Crewe is not tabulated. There were several delays, and as we neared Crewe, there were signs that all was not well.  [view log of 6024] 
30th September 1999: 9600 Tyseley-Nuneaton & return: This Vintage Trains evening excursion had Pannier tank no 9600 with a 5 coach load. The loco was restricted to 35 mph, and the running was steady to Whitacre Junction. Then up the 1 in 100 to Arley tunnel, we accelerated to 42 mph, and made a lot of noise in the process. There were no indulgences on the return journey, and we arrived back at Tyseley, almost on time, at 11.05pm. An excellent way to have spent an evening. [view log of 9600]
9th October 1999: 35005 CANADIAN PACIFIC: Dorridge-Blackpool & return: Another Vintage Trains excursion, which started at Stratford-on-Avon. The load was 11 coaches of 365/385 tons. Outwards we ran via Sutton Park and Walsall, to Wolverhampton, and from Stafford to Crewe we ran slow line. So the main interest was from Crewe to Blackpool. A firing mishap at Winsford caused a slowing, but we were through Warrington at 75 mph. We were switched to the slow line at Bamforlong Jc, switched back at Springs Branch Jc, then on to the slow again at Balshaw Lane. With a check before Preston, and leisurely running beyond, we were 21 mins late into Blackpool. The return journey started 56 late, and there were delays out to Kirkham, but then we had a clear road. Through Wigan there was some excess over the 75 mph speed limit, and by Weaver Junction we had pulled back 10 minutes. But then inevitably there were checks before Crewe. After the Water stop and a crew change, the running was poor, and we ended 56 mins late at Dorridge. [view log of 35005]
21st May 2000: 7760 Tyseley-Walsall-Rugeley: A day out with a Pannier on the "Cannock Chase Shuttles", With 6 coaches. We ran from Tyseley to Walsall, via Sutton Park, then did two trips from Walsall to Rugeley Town and back, then back to Tyseley in the evening. A splendid day's entertainment, including stops to restore the boiler water level on the return journeys from Rugeley, the first at Cannock, the second at Hednesford. [view log of 7760]

1st October 2000: 9600 & 7760 Birmingham Suburban tour: Probably the best of the Tyseley Pannier tours. And a warm and sunny Autumn day certainly helped. Tyseley to Nuneaton, then on through Coventry to Leamington Spa (reverse). Hatton and Stratford (reverse) Henley in Arden, Hall Green, then on through Snow Hill to Stourbridge Junction (reverse). And to end the day, back up through Old Hill, on past Snow Hill, and back to Tyseley. And lots of thrash up Arley, Hatton, Wilmcote,  Earlswood, and Old Hill banks. Top speed of the day. 43 mph. [view logs of 9600 & 7760]