It has been a while since the last Steam Gossip, mainly due to a hectic April and May on the work front and on steam trip duties. The programme for the summer months is now published and there is certainly a plethora of tours on offer – some would say that there are too many, but the market seems to react to the demand for seats, with full trains still a regular occurrence.
70013 Oliver Cromwell runs round at Carlisle - CME – Saturday 31 March 2012
Picking up where we left off, it was a Cumbrian Mountain Express on Saturday 31 March that saw 70013 Oliver Cromwell working over Shap Fells. The weather was very good for most of the day, save for the odd shower as we passed through the edge of the Lake District. The Brit came on the train at Carnforth, having relieved 86259 Les Ross that had brought up the train from London. Nice to have a proper electric locomotive on a train once again instead of these tilting Pendadoodahs things or noisy rattling Voyagers. There was a Class 37 attached to the rear (37676) ostensibly for fire risk insurance, although it did not do anything in the way of pushing. The climb to Shap was very good and we arrived in Carlisle on time.
The southbound run over the S&C was bathed in glorious sunshine, which is always a pleasure to experience. A quick water stop at Appleby allowed for an ice cream of the platform sales trolley before we continued through Kirkby Stephen to Ais Gill Summit. Garsdale and Dent Dale were particularly splendid in the afternoon sunshine, followed by a slow run over Ribblehead viaduct. Water was taken at the Hellifield pit stop, with use being made of the water butts recently installed on the hillside. We worked over the Hellifield to Blackburn section, continuing to Farington Junction where we would rejoin the West Coast main line. Oliver Cromwell and its support coach were detached here and Les Ross backed on for the run back to Euston. The steam loco went back to Carnforth.
These winter CME trains have been very popular, filling a gap in the rail tour calendar that would have otherwise seen no trips at all. There would be a few more of these in April on Thursdays.
34067 Tangmere arrives at Carlisle – CME – Thursday 12 April 2012
34067 Tangmere brings a rare appearance of a ‘Spam Can’ at Carlisle – Thursday 12 April 2012
34067 Tangmere draws the stock into the station off the Warcop branch at Appleby
You can read the entire Steam Gossip column if you download the PDF file by clicking here.