Cumbrian Coast news

kevsmith Apr 26, 2018

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    On the Cumbrian Coast line in North West England recent developments have seen Direct Rail Services Class 68 becoming more and more prominent. Reliability issues of the Class 37/4s tasked with hauling some of Northern Rail's passenger services has seen one set converted to 'Top and tailed' Class 68s retaining the DBSO driving car behind the south loco to provide train crew facilities.


    This set has worked pretty much faultlessly since deployment albeit with a loss of seating capacity.


    Alongside this the Nuclear traffic is now exclusively hauled by 68s with the occasional appearance by the new Class 88 hybrids. In a new development a 'Nenta' railtour also used T&T 68s on a Norwich-Carlisle and return excursion and recently two 68s were commandeered to haul the heavy Barrow-Drigg stone train after problems with the two Class 66s allocated to it

    Top and tailed on a flask working at Park South passing the original Furness railway signal box

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    on the S bend at Thwaites Flats where the single line rejoins the Dalton Loop

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    Powering the Norwich-Carlisle-Norwich NENTA railtour at Kirkby in Furness
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    These locos are really proving their mixed traffic credentials now. The video shows members of the class on a varity of working along with a trip inland to catch 68 025 Superb on a Carlisle-Crewe Basford hall SCO working at Armathwaite on the settle and Carlisle line



    More in a mo

    Kev
     
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  2. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    For those interested the role call of the video is as follows

    Park South and Lindal in Furness 68 004 'Rapid' and 68 017 'Hornet' on 2C32

    Pennington and Askam in Furness 68 005 'Defiant' and 68 001 'Evolution' on 6C53

    Pennington 68 017 and 68 004 2C47

    Askam in Furness 68 023 'Achilles' and 68 028 on the stone

    Park South 68 005 and 68 025 'Superb' on 6C53

    Askam and Lindal 68 028 and 68 023 on 0K73

    Sowerby Lodge 68 018 'Vigilant' and 68 030 on 6C53

    Armathwaite (in the pouring rain) 68 025 on 674C

    Ravenglass (in more pouring rain!) 68 017 and 68 004 on 2C32

    Park South and Lindal 68 030 and 68 018 on 6C51

    Dunnerholme 68 004 and 68 017 on 2C41

    Thwaites Flats 68 020 and 68 025 6C53 followed by

    68 030 and 68 018 on 6K73

    Oak Lee Road 68 004 and 68 017 on 2C40

    and finally

    Kirkby in Furness 68 023 and 68 001 on the Carlisle-Norwich


    [​IMG]

    However there are still some variations


    As I said the 20 JNA long stone trains have been running for a few weeks with a pause now until some serious tonnage starts to run later on. These also run top and tailed empty to Barrow and laden return. The top and tailing making accessing the Ramsden Dock branch and a train reverse at Sellafield a lot easier. The JNAs were hired in which meant that we had the incongrous site of DRS locos hauling brand new GBRF wagons!


    [​IMG]

    Skirting the fells at Kirkby in Furness

    and accelarating hard as the line straightens

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    These EMD built Co-Cos were once a common sight on this line but are quite rare now

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    The Coast line also had a rare treat when a pair of preserved Class 50s passed on an excursion 'The Cumbrian Hoovers' Hoover being the popular nickname for this class introduced in 1967. 50 007 Hercules and 50 049 Defiance were both resplendent in immaculate BR Railblue


    [​IMG]
     
  3. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Video show some of the stone workings, These have stopped for a while prior to a massive increase in the tonnage being moved in the future



    Next up will be the challenge of deploying the class 68s on the upgraded 'Trans Pennine Express' services when their haulage power and reliability will be tested on the Northern English hill routes. needless to say I'll be out with the cameras!

    Kev
     
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  4. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    Kev, thanks for your usual fine report.
     
  5. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Kev, I understand a pair of 68s on a nukie train for reliability issues. But a pair of 68s assigned to three lightweight passenger cars. A bit of overkill doncha think? An ALCO RS-3 could have handled that with one hand tied behind its back. The New York Central carried my father 40 miles into Grand Central Terminal every workday with 6-7 heavyweight 65-seat cars behind a single RS-3.

    OK, I'm teasing you, but we colonials don't understand you Brit's use of available power. BTW, I always look forward to seeing your photos and videos. Thanks so much for sharing them.
     
  6. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Well..

    The reliability of the Class 37/4s had plummeted so far that the 68s had to be deployed to rescue some of the situation. But because the driving car is a different system they were not an option to allow the use of one 68. Hence the 'Top and tailing' However being an old fashioned railwayman I would have used one 68 and run round at either end like the good old days.

    The other factor that complicates matters is that the drivers on the 68s are DRS drivers whereas Northern Rail drivers are passed out to drive DRS 37s and are normally rostered on these two trainsets. So we have one set with an all Northern crew and the other with Northern Train managers and conductors and a DRS driver. I agree tying up 7,600 HP of motive power on three coaches is a bit excessive But it is quite spectacular when they blast away uphill from Dalton station on the Lindal bank from a standing start.

    The other latest rumour is that we are going to acquire 5 Class 60s. These 3,100 HP sluggers were introduced between 1989 and 1993, built by Brush traction with a Mirrlees 8MB275T engine. designed for 60mph max they were built for heavy haul work and allocated to the Coal, Petroleum, Steel and Construction sectors

    [​IMG]

    We used to get them coming through Chesterfield ex-works on test trips and later on Driver training hauling a set of empty coaching stock that used to baffle people.

    Kev
     
  7. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the explanation, makes good, though not logical, sense. BTW, always fun to "baffle people", especially the ones who think they know everything. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    On the first post of this thread, the picture of the level crossing looks to have some kind of bumpy material at the edge of the road. What is the purpose of that? It reminds me of sound deadening foam, but I have never seen something like that in connection with railroads before.
     
  9. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    It is anti pedestrian strip to stop animals and people accessing the infrastructure from crossings. Most of the U'k rail network is securely fenced off for that reason and the strip closes that gap.

    Having seen what a flock of sheep can do to a Class 142 DMU at 40mph I'm all for keeping everything apart from trains off the running lines

    Kev
     
  10. wingnut1974

    wingnut1974 TrainBoard Member

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    this like the cattle gaurds that are common out west here in the us
     
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  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Very true. (y)
     
  12. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Kev, I didn't understand why these C66 powered freights are running in a push-pull mode. Any hint ? ;)

    Dom
     
  13. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Dom
    They are not push-pull as there is no command control control between the locos (no through wires) they are just 'top and tailed'. the rear loco is either shut down or just idling

    there are two reversals of the train, once when it goes onto the Ramsden Dock branchline for loading and again at Sellafield sidings to access the Drigg LLW site for unloading. Rather than run round with the loco it is operationally better for the driver to just change ends and drive from the other loco at the other end.

    This also explains why when we replaced a Class 37 and a DBSO (driving brake standard open i.e cab car) it was with top and tailed Class 68s on one of the Cumbrian Coast Loco hauled sets

    Kev
     
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  14. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    So..

    Since 1976 the timetable for the Cumbrian Coast has had no Sunday service and very little in the way of passenger services after mid evening. There a couple of special weekends when some Sunday services were trialed but it was a travesty that this spectacularly scenic line with some big tourist attractions was to all intents shut down on the busiest day for tourists (there also some cracking real ale pubs that are cut off as you cannot drink and drive)

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    So with the introduction of the new timetable on May the 20th Sunday services were re-instated. There was some doubt about whether there would be sufficient train crew to man the services but the first train of that Sunday arrived and departed at Askam on time. DMUs only for now and the trains were very lightly loaded as it will take time to build up rhe ridership but a brave new dawn has arisen

    The first schedules Sunday train for over 40 years. A class 153 single unit DMU heads for Millom just after 09.00

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    Later that morning a Class 156 sets a pastoral scene as it rounds the curve at Thwaites Flats on it s way to Barrow

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    In essence this bucolic scene is reminiscent of the the lines history but I anticipate it getting a lot busier as word of mouth spreads

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    No Class 37s and 68s thrashing sadly but here is the video of the day many of us thought would never come



    being the selfless, public spirited, person I am I'll make the sacrifice of catching a Sunday train this summer to the 'Prince of Wales' pub at Foxfield with its associated 'Tigertops' micro brewery and will report back (if I'm able)

    cheers

    Kev
     
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  15. trainman-ho

    trainman-ho TrainBoard Member

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    Now Kev. ........one mustn't over imbibe!!! (I think that's the word I want to use!)

    LOL

    Have a good time Kev, and thanks for Posting this info!!

    Jim
     
  16. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    OK Kev, thank you, sounds clear... ;)

    Dom
     

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