Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Achilles Report No32: All On One's Own...

Hi guys. Tonight, in the rain, I took "Achilles" up to RPMR for an organised evening club steam up. Luckily the rain held off for my run but the forecast did put off every other operator, resulting in my tank engine being the only loco to go for an outing this evening. I steamed her up in the damp air, mainly to test the water pump which has had new O-rings and a repack. After 2 laps it was clear that the engine was performing well and that the problems with the water pump had been overcome. That was really all I needed to do...
Feathering At The Valves In The Damp Evening Air
As she was already there and in steam we did do a few more laps before retiring, just to finish off the running in which has been relatively problem free (he says!). The loco had performed very well once again and will be steaming at the GEC on Saturday; all being well. Thanks guys, Sam...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Breezy Evesham & A Footplate Ride...

Hello everyone. On our way back from Devon, having briefly spotted 2-8-0T "Hercules" and 4-6-0 "Lydham Manor" on the DSR, we called in at Evesham Country Park. This rest stop left us only 40 miles from home and so the family looked around the shops whilst I checked out the railway. Regular readers will know that I've been here a good few times and been treated to a few footplate rides and even a drive or two. Today was just a flying visit and saw two locomotives working the bank holiday service: 0-4-0 Exmoor "St Egwin" and Severn Lamb 0-6-0 "Dougal". The locomotives were working a passenger train each around the 1.25 mile 15" gauge railway and passenger numbers looked strong. When I arrived at the station "Dougal" was waiting at the head of an afternoon train...
Having had a look at "Dougal" I walked towards the top of the bank where I photographed "St Egwin". "Egwin" is an Exmoor product; a company that has a reputation of providing solid, powerful and reliable locomotives. Fairly large for a 15" 0-4-0, the locomotive finds EVLR work relatively easy and chuffs along happily. Below, "St Egwin" has crested the top of the bank and is cruising towards Twyford with a modest 3-coach train...
"St Egwin" Having Shut-Off Over The Bank
With "Egwin" having cleared the section, "Dougal" got the 'right away' with a 4-coach rake. "Dougal" is ex-Longleat and was re-boilered by the EVLR when her previous one expired. The new boiler is considerably larger and the addition also saw a tender being fitted, replacing the bunker...
Once "Dougal" was in the section, "St Egwin" was turned and continued to run round...
"St Egwin" Running Round
Owned by Steve Bell: who was driving her today: "St Egwin" was built in 2003 and so is no elderly loco. She has however just returned from her very first 10-yearly overhaul though Steve reported that the engine was nowhere near tired. The chassis was, in his words, "not touched" as the valve gear doesn't wear very easily due to it being made up on roller-bearings rather than brasses. The boiler was apparently in equally good condition and the old tubes were nowhere near life expired. It is interesting to note the differences you see with a brand new engine compared to overhauling an old one! Steve chatted to me for quite a while before backing "Egwin" onto the waiting stock...
I walked back around to the platform to watch "St Egwin" leave on her next run but was soon, rather unexpectedly, invited onto the footplate! Regular readers will know that I jump at the chance of any footplate ride and they are always greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, Steve! I have been on "St Egwin" once or twice in the past and I think there is a post about it on here somewhere! We departed Twyford Station in good time and soon the big Exmoor was chugging along happily, murmuring crisp beats from her chimney...
"Shutting Off"
The EVLR leaves Twyford on easy gradients, and then climbs up to the top of the bank before descending towards the facing point near Evesham Vale Halt. "St Egwin" rolled down this section, being kept in check by the air brake which is provided by a pump in the tender...
Having descended a fair bit of ground, the steepest bank on the line appears. "St Egwin" romped up there and sounded like it could haul a fair bit more weight. The regulator is shut at the top of the bank ready for the tunnel, inside which is a downgrade section. There is then a climb into Evesham Vale station. Halted in the platform, "St Egwin"s fire was attended to...
"St Egwin" feathered away to herself quietly as we awaited the 'right away' upgrade back towards Twyford...
We left Evesham Vale climbing again though "St Egwin" got the train away easily. It was then time for a neat little chuff up the bank (best watched in HD)...

With the bank topped we descended into Twyford with "St Egwin" coasting along with barely a murmur. It is interesting to note how quiet a locomotive is when all you hear is the beat of the exhaust, as there is no ejector roaring away all the time. Back at Twyford, I thanked Steve gratefully for my ride and I had enjoyed it very much. Its always nice to be invited out...
After the return journey I had to get going as I still had to get the family home...I would have loved to have stayed a bit longer though! I would recommend the EVLR to anyone as it is a very nice trip and the locomotives shine like new. Another very pleasant visit and another run on "St Egwin". Cheers guys, Sam...

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Seaside Manor...

Hi guys. We are now in Devon! We travelled down yesterday morning and are staying in Torquay for the weekend. Today we visited Paignton and no trip to Paignton can ever be complete without a ride on the Dartmouth Steam Railway...
The DSR runs daily throughout the season and mostly employs 4 trains a day. One steam locomotive is rostered to work these services and, during our visit, it was Paignton's only authentically named locomotive: No7827 "Lydham Manor". The DSR upholds a tradition of naming all rail vehicles, but 7827 is the only item to arrive there with its own name. The BR (W) 4-6-0, built in 1950, looked absolutely immaculate and was soon running round the stock for the first departure of the day (the 10:30am); made up of 7 coaches. To my surprise, the Manor soon ran back into the sidings and picked up an extra 2 coaches due to the amount of passengers who wished to board the train. In my mind I thought that 9 coaches for a Manor going tender-first up Goodrington bank would present quite a challenge...how wrong was I! The immaculate 4-6-0 chugged happily along to Goodrington where it made a good start + load 9 upgrade. The engine slipped slightly before regaining its feet and digging in for the climb towards Salturn. I was very surprised at how she climbed, with 4 crisp beats leaving the chimney and echoing around the coves at the seaside. The engine took it all in her stride and roared over the two viaducts towards Churston. I just had to have my head out of the window all the way up the climb...she sounded brilliant. From Churston the Manor coasted down towards Kingswear for Dartmouth where pretty much every passenger on the train disembarked.
 
We caught the Ferry across the water to the pretty town of Dartmouth before returning ready for the next train. The weather was lovely. During our return crossing on the Ferry we passed "Kingswear Castle": Britain's last coal-fired paddle steamer, which for 2013 is working for the DSR and offering cruises in steam powered fashion. This was an interesting little vessel with a very loud whistle...
Paddling in Dartmouth
Standing on the end of Kingswear's long platform, it wasn't long before "Lydham Manor" pulled in with her 9 coaches. You can't knock the cleanliness of DSR engines...they are all squeaky clean. Below, the Manor rolls in with the typical GWR vacuum pump ticking away...
The DSR, as I may have mentioned in past posts, owns one of the two Devon Belle observation saloon's (the other is at Swanage). These coaches are very luxurious and spent their lives at the rear of the Devon Belle express'. The coach offers brilliant views and comfort so we decided to take another trip aboard it...
With the Manor hooked up, away we went. We have ridden behind 7827 in the Devon Belle before, when she was green. Below, the loco hisses along the river...
After a loud climb up to the tunnel; inside which her fire created a huge glow which you can only really see from this coach; the Manor reached Churston. From here it is mostly downhill and the loco rolled easily along the seaside...
Best View in the House
Back at Paignton the experienced (and paid = very jealous of this fact!) crew of the DSR drew the loco forward for water before being shunt-released by the Class 08. Paignton station isn't long enough to take 9 coaches and still allow the loco to run-round you see. The Manor is completely immaculate...
7827 "Lydham Manor" - Built 1950
We then left the DSR after another enjoyable trip. Despite what some people say about it, in my mind it offers some of the best scenery in the country as well as immaculately kept locomotives and a much-loved destination...
Cheers guys - Sam

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Princess Coronation to Carlisle...

Hi guys. Following on from our 'lads day out' aboard the 'Pannier Rambler' (otherwise known as the 'Waterstop Express') last April we had decided to book on the Railway Touring Company's "Cumbrian Mountain Express". There had been much debate about the haulage for this midweek tour to Carlisle, with the initial locomotive planned to be 46115 "Scots Guardsman". With 46115 in dispose, it was hoped that newly restored preservation marvel "Galatea" would take her place but, allas, not so. The tour was then to be hauled, as todays on train program stated, by the snowplough...A4 No9 "Union of South Africa". However, at the very last minute, the A4 couldn't make it and the RTC picked a final substitute...none other than 46233 "Duchess of Sutherland", fresh from her sea-air run to Scarborough a week or two ago (which we were also on!). I certainly wasn't disappointed about getting the Duchess again: she's a tremendous piece of kit. The C.M.E would take us from Nuneaton, hauled by a Class 86 up the WCML to Crewe and then on to Carnforth. At Carnforth, the Duchess replaced the Class 86. Some occupants on the train were certainly excited about Princess Coronation haulage...
Having left Carnforth the Duchess accelerated quickly & easily and the main gradient in the distance was the infamous Shap. Below, Youtube user Stephengthompson has captured the Duchess at the summit of Shap, still doing a good speed, plus with two bonus shots of the Duchess returning from Carlisle...

As I said the run from Carnforth took us over Shap (which the Duchess easily stormed) and then into Carlisle. The return run would take us back via the beautiful Settle & Carlisle line (another first for me), with the Duchess being replaced shortly before Warrington, by the Class 86. At Carlisle, the huge Duchess was admired by her adoring fans...

Leaving the Duchess to be serviced and turned, we headed off into the border city for a pint. There was a 90-minute or so break here and we returned to the station refreshed, finding the 4-6-2 back at the head of the train. The weather was lovely...
As stated in the Scarborough post, the Duchess is in immaculate condition. I crossed over the footbridge to have a look at her close up once again...
Royal Train Nameplate
Leaving Carlisle the Duchess took it easy through the fabulous scenery of the S & C. Any speed that she gained once again seemed completely effortless for the 8P pacific. The train halted for a water stop at Appleby. Once the Duchess had watered she propelled the train back into the sidings to allow a service train (a Class 158 unit) to pass. The passengers had all disembarked for one of Appleby's station ice creams before returning to the train...
Over in the yard at Appleby stands 4979 "Wooton Hall". Withdrawn in December 1963 the 4-6-0 went to Barry Scrapyard in 1964 and was the 179th locomotive to leave there for preservation: in October 1986. Looking at the condition of the locomotive now, it looks like very little of it could be salvaged and that it would be a huge restoration project for anybody. Preventative maintenance is being carried out on the loco until it can be fully restored but it looks like it could be stood at Appleby for some time yet. 4979 won't be turning a wheel for a good while yet but, fingers crossed, it will be started one day...
4979 "Wooton Hall" Stands Lonely at Appleby
With the 158 unit on the approach, 46233 reversed into the sidings with the Maroon rake...
Back on the train, 46233 accelerated away from Appleby and headed towards Ribblehead...

In the Ribblehead area...
The Duchess slowed for Ribblehead and then began to accelerate away...
The run over the S & C was fantastic and then, after Settle, the Duchess got back up to speed towards Farrington Junction where the Class 86 took over again. There we said goodbye to the Duchess after a brilliant day out. The 86 really tore back down the West Coast main line, making up time after losing a path. The Mk2 coaches aren't the best ride at 100mph and I wouldn't even be surprised if we slightly overtook 100mph...the coaches were rocking like mad! Click HERE to see the 86 on the run in either direction during the day. Thank you very much to Eddie, John & Arnold for the company during the day and what a brilliant run it was. The Duchess was certainly in fine form! Cheers guys, Sam...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

On "Sir Gomer" For The Day...

Hi guys. Today I spent a cracking day on the footplate of "Sir Gomer". I was on the engine throughout the day and we had a trainee: James. For the first two trips our driver was Pockets, who then swapped with Carl for the three afternoon trains. "Sir Gomer" performed very well; steaming and pulling fine. I drove the 3pm train which was very pleasant indeed. A normal day with everything going to plan. Cheers guys, Sam...

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The LEGO Railway Visits Radford Semele...

Hi everyone. Today the LEGO Railway attended a Charity Day held in order to raise money for the Sunny Dhillon Memorial Fund at Radford Semele, Leamington. We were invited by a lady who attended the Solihull exhibition in February and so were only too happy to help. The 12ft x 4ft layout operated well throughout the day and was very popular. It was situated on a stage in the community centre with the craft fair items. Outside there were various activities going on including a fun run, a few vintage vehicles on display, food stands, a football tournament and competitions amongst other things...
The 12ft x 4ft Railway Layout
The railway operated throughout the day and we were pleased to be invited. Thanks very much for reading guys, Sam...

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Bala Lake 2013: Out with "Marian" Again...

Hello everyone. This morning the rain battered the windows of the accommodation, in fact it woke me up at one point, which didn't fill me totally with confidence for the day ahead. However, it turned into quite a varied day with the odd light shower mixed with warm sunshine. This is however not saying that it was "Alice" weather...it certainly wasn't! Today we were back on "Maid Marian" and we arrived at the shed at 8:30. For the last two days the crews (we were last on on Tuesday) have used the airline to bring the engine round inside the allotted time as the slow-to-start Welsh coal seems to have trouble with the usual amount of draft. However, today I was determined not to be beaten by it and so performed my duties as quickly and effectively as possible before lighting a good, strong wood fire. The wood was then 'blacked out' using larger lumps of coal, allowing good air flow and promoting high heat to get it going. Sure enough, this did the trick and "Maid Marian" came round nicely and made steam quickly. We performed all 4 of today's train journeys with the Maid steaming and running very well. Below, "Maid Marian" waits at Bala for the 1pm departure...
Steaming well, "Marian" barks out of Bala with the lamp clearly seen on the front of the loco. The large road bridge is, as you see, standard gauge scale...
In light rain, we steam along the side of Bala Lake on probably my favourite part of the line. The 2ft gauge track clings to the lakeside on the return run to base...
As soon as we left the lakeside, the clouds parted and the sun began to shine on "Maid Marian" as she chuffed into Llangower. The loco simmered in the platform with 100psi on the clock and 1/2 a glass of water ready for the ascent of the bank towards Flag. The engine looks lovely in red...
As we left Llangower the sun began to shine even harder and the clouds became smaller and smaller. After a strong ascent of the bank towards the base station, "Marian" cruised into the platform and anchored up. The loco was uncoupled but remained on the train so that I could take a photo. The Maid looked spot on...
After drawing off the train we approached the water tower as the sun continued to shine. The loco was then oiled, coaled and watered ready for the 2:25pm departure...
Eddie kindly allowed me to drive the 2:25 whilst he fired. I enjoyed the trip very much but, as I say, you really have to keep on top of it. The trick is to constantly juggle the regulator in order to keep an appropriate speed. The up & down lay of the line doesn't help either as "Marian" will often either slow or begin to run. The engine is however very responsive and will chuff along quite happily notched right back (3rd notch) and with the regulator just cracked. It was very nice driving another train to Bala and back: a new experience...
Driving "Maid Marian" (Photo - Eddie)
After the 2:25 we enjoyed another good run on the 4pm before disposing of the engine. It was then time for the job I hate...packing! We said our goodbyes and then hit the road, crossing the Knockin Pass and then taking the usual route home. Another brilliant time on the Bala Lake and I must thank Eddie and of course everyone at Bala for their hospitality. Loved it. Thanks guys, Sam...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Bala Lake 2013: Track Gang...

Hello guys. After a good meal at the Eagles last night, myself & Eddie joined the Bala Lake Track Gang today, which traditionally operates on a Wednesday. We arose at the normal time and began preparing the P-Way train. Rob & Bruce built a rail vehicle, known to many as "The Thing", a year or two ago. "The Thing" is a 2ft gauge answer to a Wickhams trolley. It has 4 seats, a petrol engine with chain drive to the rear axle, tea making facilities and a tool trolley which tags along behind it. It can carry 4 men along the railway to the designated work point and can then be easily removed from the track using a clever turning device. This device allows it to be placed at the trackside by 3 people relatively easily, with little effort. The line is then clear for trains to operate throughout the day before "The Thing" rejoins the track once passenger operations have ceased, ready for the journey back. It is a nifty bit of kit and is perfect for P-Way work on any scale. Myself & Eddie were very impressed with it! We left the base after the morning cuppa' at 10:30 and proceeded along the line about 3.5 miles to a location in the woods. "The Thing" was then removed from the track and the 4 of us set to unloading the tools. Roy also came to help aboard the first steam run, which past at around 11:35. Roy then got the kettle on...
"Kettles On Lads!"
Today's job was to jack & pack the sleepers. This is done in the same way as it is at Shackerstone, just on a slightly smaller scale. The ballast around the sleeper ends is dug away before a jack is placed beneath the rail, lifting it until the overall rail length is as level as it can be with no dip in any associated joints. Chippings are then tightly packed beneath the sleeper in order to take away the 'slack' if you like. Once you have jacked & packed a good few sleepers the train will approach under caution and will pass over the associated section. The weight of the train will crush down the rail against the chippings ensuring that the track comes level again. The result is checked again once the train has passed before the ballast is shovelled back into its original position. The difference that this task makes is substantial and increases both rail and fishplate life. The general make up of Bala track is rail and fishplate, as standard, but it uses stakes (pins) to hold the rail butt against the sleeper, rather than chairs and keys as is standard gauge practise...
"Job Well Done"
We made good progress during the day and it was a nice feeling to be putting something back into the railway after all the enjoyment we've had on the footplate here. The occasional pass of "Maid Marian" with the service train also meant that we were not completely without a steam fix today! As we were out on the track and trains were running, everyone wore a hi-viz vest as is correct practise. Below, "Maid Marian" passes the track gang with the final train into Bala of the day...
Once "Marian" had passed us again on her way back to base, "The Thing" was quickly re-railed and started off. Then, away we went! "The Thing" chugged happily through the beautiful scenery and, apart from running out of petrol on the bank(!), got us back in good time. It is a great piece of kit and the railway must be grateful for Rob & Bruce having built it...it certainly saves time and promotes the P-Way regime. Well, its off to the Eagles again..."Pint Please Barman...and a Coke for Eddie". Cheers guys, Sam...

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Bala Lake 2013: Firing & Driving The "Maid"...

Hello guys. Last night we arrived in Llanuwchllyn for our 2013 Bala Lake visit. This morning we arose and had breakfast before continuing down to the loco shed at 8:30. Loco for the day on the 2ft gauge line was "Maid Marian", Hunslet No822 of 1903. The red Quarry 0-4-0 came around slowly on wood and slow-to-start Welsh coal. Today we operated 4 trains on the line, as usual, and the "Maid" steamed and ran beautifully. It was a quiet day passenger wise but the rain held off and we had no problems. This afternoon I drove my first two trips on the railway which was very enjoyable indeed. I was very surprised at how 'active' you had to be on the regulator as you had to constantly adjust the steam allowance to the cylinders otherwise "Marian" would either run or slow. Following 4 successful trips we put No822 to bed before heading off for a shower. It was then off to the local pub for a cracking meal and a pint of the finest local ale. Can't you tell we're in Bala?!...Cheers guys, Sam...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Quiet Day at Shackerstone...

Hi guys. Today I went to Shackerstone but only briefly. I rode on the train for 2 trips and enjoyed a Full English in the buffet car. Sometimes its just nice to sit in the coaches and enjoy the ride without worrying about the loco or anything else...

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Princess Coronation to Scarborough...

Hi guys. Today was a lovely day, and probably the best way to travel to any UK destination in fact. After travelling on the main line behind a few locomotives in the past, I'd decided that I'd sort of left the Duchess Pacific; which I have a huge appreciation for; out of the lime light. We normally travel with Vintage Trains Ltd which comes under the arm of Great Western supremo's Tyseley Loco Works. However, as the name suggests, Tyseley haulage is often Western which we have vastly enjoyed in the past. This year though I felt we should finally give the Duchess a try and I booked a table for two in Premier Dining aboard PMR's (Princess Margaret Rose Tours) "Yorkshire Coronation". PMR is the railtour arm which spans from the owners of the Duchess herself. The tour would take us from Leicester, diesel hauled by a lively Class 47, as far as Derby where the regal pacific would take over the train for a run via Chesterfield and York to the seaside town of Scarborough. The train picked us up from Leicester on time at 6:32am ("Yawn"!) and we were soon tearing through the countryside behind the 47...
We travelled in a BR Mk2 Dining Car which was beautifully furnished with the traditional large seats, table lamps and carpets. The 47 continued to pick up passengers at Loughborough and East Midlands Parkway, whilst the waiters began to serve tea in the dining cars. At Derby there was a 30-minute or so break in order for the Duchess to take up the head of the train. Taking a back seat on Derby platform to watch the Duchess, it is easy to appreciate the immense draw that steam has to the general public as many crowded around to see an LMS 4-6-2 in all its glory...
With the Duchess at the head of the train we departed from Derby on time and the diners were immediately served orange juice and cereal. The cereal was followed by a traditional Full English breakfast, served at speed as 46233 "Duchess of Sutherland" marched along the main line at 75mph. I was very impressed with the breakfast...
"Oh Yeah"
With breakfast finished we continued to enjoyed the seemingly endless cups of tea served by the staff of "The Gravy Train" catering company, who supply West Coast with all of their catering services. (West Coast is an operating company which performs the operational side of main line steam, working with companies such as PMR, VTL and the Railway Touring Company to name but a few). The Duchess seemed totally unhindered by the 12-coach load as she threw white steam over her shoulder and cruised mile after mile at speed. With Chesterfield behind us there was a water stop in a Goods Loop where a few passengers took the opportunity for a mid-morning snooze following the early start. Out of the loop the Duchess roared and back onto the main line on route for York. The big green pacific set down some passengers at York station under the impressive overall roof, before continuing out over the river and onto the Scarborough line. From here the Duchess was in her element again, cruising happily towards the seaside with barely a murmur from her chimney. The adoring crowds in the fields surprised many aboard the train as the camera's at each location were too many to count, such is the draw of main line steam. At Scarborough the Duchess enjoyed a well earned rest, arriving a minute or too early at just gone Midday...
Up close she is a very impressive machine and, as I said many times during the day, she is massive! Our Duchess was of course the only operational Duchess: No46233 "Duchess of Sutherland", out-shopped from Crewe in July 1938. She was estimated to cost £13,800 to build when completed at Crewe, a figure which looks almost miniscule when considering that her initial restoration cost £350,000! When she left BR service in February 1964, 46233 was initially saved by the Heads-of-Ayr holiday camp owned by Butlins, where she ended up on static display. The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust acquired the engine later in her preservation life and restored her to working order over a period of 5 years. She has been a popular main line performer and has even hauled the Royal Train twice since her return to steam. The loco has only left service during the 2011 season, and that was for a heavy overhaul, returning to work in March 2012. Long live 46233!...
"Royal Train Nameplate"
As far as the Princess Coronation Class is concerned, they really were beasts! Regarded as the most powerful locomotives ever built for the British rail network: producing 3300 horsepower: they were far more powerful than the diesels that replaced them. Walschaerts valve gear drove 4 cylinders with rocking levers to the inside pair, around huge driving wheels. They employed divided drive, with the inside cylinders driving onto the leading axle, and the outer pair driving onto the centre axle, all connected by the valve gear. Tractive effort was 40,000 and one Duchess even achieved 114mph. They were also fitted with coal-pusher tenders, with coal being forced down to the firing plate using steam power, allowing firemen to keep up with the 299 miles between Euston and Carlisle with Royal Scot trains. They were a hugely successful, and huge in stature, class of locomotive!...
Below, the 250psi boiler of the "Duchess of Sutherland" blows off into the Yorkshire air at Scarborough...
We left the Duchess at Scarborough Station and took a walk around the town and down to the seafront. It was a chilly day but its always nice to be beside the seaside...
Returning to the town from the low-level seafront, we took advantage of one of Scarborough's historic cliff railways. The central cliff lift took us back up to the town level for a gracious 75p!...
Back at Scarborough station the Duchess had been coaled, watered and turned in readiness for the return sprint, wearing her "Yorkshire Coronation" headboard proudly displaying the White Rose of the House of York...
Speaking to the driver at Scarborough he expressed that the Duchess was in immaculate condition both cosmetically and mechanically and went like a dream...no surprise really...
"A Big Lizzie At Scarborough"
We reboarded our Pullman Dining coach and enjoyed a drink...
The Duchess left Scarborough on time and raced towards York...
Best View on the Train
The evening meal was served once the train left Scarborough and included a fabulous soup, sumptuous duck & vegetables and a desert course of sticky toffee pudding followed by, yes you've guessed, a cup of tea!...
Below, we cross the river into York station and can see the Minster in the left foreground...
From York there was another water stop in the same loop before racing to Chesterfield and then back via Belper to Derby. The Duchess really did GO(!) on the way back. The pacific really did fly, mile after mile. This is why we pay the money for main line steam...its just fantastic sitting back with your meal in cosy coaches and enjoying the sound of an LMS pacific racing along the main line with 12 coaches behind her. All too soon we were back at Derby and the Duchess slipped away without a murmur as the sun began to set...
Sunset over Derby
With the Duchess gone we retraced our steps back to Leicester via the other joining stations, top & tailed by two Class 47's. It had been a fantastic day and I can thoroughly recommend PMR tours and any main line steam trip. The Duchess was in tremendous condition and went like a whippet with 12 coaches seeming no problem. A really good day. Click HERE to see a video of the Duchess southbound at Colton Junction taken by a line-sider. Thanks for reading guys...Sam...