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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-09 01:23:44


2nd May 2015

BLN Pictorial

Special supplement to e-BLN 1232 2 May 2015 ‘The S&C Desiro Tracker railtour’

This edition of BLN Pictorial is a brief record of the ‘S&C Desiro Tracker’ railtour on 19 April 2015 which took participants from Manchester to Beattock and
back via the classic railtour route of ‘out over Shap, back over Ais Gill’ but, this being a BLS tour, with a number of very interesting digressions on the way!

The histories of both the Lancaster and Carlisle’s line over Shap Summit, and the Midland’s Settle and Carlisle line over Ais Gill, not only deserve books in
their own right but have indeed been the subjects of quite a number. The S&C nearly didn’t have a history in fact, as the Midland unsuccessfully
petitioned Parliament in April 1869 to be allowed to abandon the project before construction started. Those looking for details of more recent changes
along the tour route will find not only those, but also a great deal of historical information of the sort that is bypassed by books focussing quite properly
on their main subject, in David Palmer’s excellent tour notes which were distributed to tour participants and in electronic form with e-BLN 1231.

We start, however, with a reminder of just how close we came to losing the Settle and Carlisle line in the 1980s, when a public inquiry into its proposed
closure was held. After a long and at times controversial
campaign by the line’s supporters the Government (in the
person of one Michael Portillo, Minister of State for Transport
at the time) refused closure in 1989 since when the enormous
increase in passenger numbers has continually highlighted the
importance of the S&C for both passenger use and increasingly
for freight re-routed from the congested WCML. The stance of
the speaker in this 1986 image of the inquiry in progress gives
some clue as to the strength of feeling over the closure!

[Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share
Alike 3.0 Unported licence]

Above left : Mind the gap! Looking at this view of the tour train standing in Platform 1 at Wigan North Western on the outward leg of the tour, you could
almost believe our Fixtures Secretary was being remotely controlled by TPE’s Laura Price just behind him! More importantly, the headboard adorning the
front of 185 120 shows the serious side of many of our events in helping to raise money for charities. It is perhaps particularly appropriate that the Society
should be helping to support The Railway Children.

[Photo © Patrick Chandler 2015]

Above right : The Committee, and the Fixtures and BLN teams in particular, have been working hard at adding value to Society membership and making it
more appealing to families and younger people. With that in mind it was pleasing to welcome a number of younger participants on the S&C Tracker,
including Ruby, seen here making herself ‘hi-vis’ at Wigan North Western.

Next page : The Ribble Viaduct looks a little in need of a coat of paint, as the tour train approaches Preston on the Down Goods lines having left the main
line at Skew Bridge Jct.

[Both photos © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Previous page :
‘Let’s make sure we all know where we’re going’. Fixtures Secretary Kev Adlam discusses the next move with TPE driver Andy at Preston to make sure he’s
happy that we really want to go in there! A certain amount of clarification might well have been needed as we’re sure neither of them thought that
Thameslink had been extended to Blackpool ... On a more serious note, Geoff Plumb’s photo typifies the attention to detail that’s being given to our tours
nowadays by railway staff always ready to go the extra mile for us – literally or figuratively!
[Photo © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Next page :
‘There’ was the Bakehouse siding (also known as 2 Loco) , just beyond the Fishergate bridge at the north end of Preston station at the end of P3a/4a, and also

the 'Shunting Line' in front of the Power Box on the Down side of the Blackpool Line, where the tour is seen in the picture.

[Photo © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Previous page :
So that's where we left that snow plough! In the Fixtures Secretary's words, we ended up "one snow plough short of the buffer stops." The tour train
approaches the end of the very rare non-electrified Colliers Lane siding at Carlisle, outside the station’s main train shed on the east side, behind the P6
wall and often occupied by empty stock. It was reached by reversal in the N. E. Shunt Neck (which was then traversed to its buffer stops). The station car
park is on the right.
[Photo © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Next Page :
Left : the view looking east from the tour train at the end of the electrified ‘North East Shunt Neck’ in Carlisle. The line in the distance under the A6
'London Road' bridge to the right leads to Petteril Bridge Jct., where the Settle and Carlisle and Newcastle lines diverge. The North East Shunt Neck is the
former Up Newcastle line singled in BR days when the railways were much quieter. It has now become a bottle neck (that can be seen top right of the
picture) that is due to be redoubled. The two lines joining into it on the right are the very little used ‘Newcastle Goods Lines’ from Bog Jct, part of the once
extensive 'Carlisle Goods Lines' that avoided the station; in this case directly from the Maryport line at Currock Jct.
[Photo © Kev Adlam 2015]
Right : that same attention to detail by the fixtures team and the TOC, in this case TransPennine Express, which was shown at Preston is also evident in
the reprogramming of the digital destination displays on the 185s. Rather than just ‘Special Train’ or ‘Not in Service’, the full name of the railtour is seen
here on the side display at Manchester Piccadilly. Not all the participants may have realised that 'S&C' stands for 'Switches and Crossings' as well as the
more obvious 'Settle and Carlisle.'
[Photo © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Previous page :
The Tracker ventured beyond the border, our first Scottish fixture in 2015, reaching its northernmost point at Beattock station on the former Caledonian
Railway route from Carlisle to Glasgow. To the right was the back of the Down platform where the train reversed in the Down Passenger Loop before
taking the trailing crossover at 39m 35ch. Beattock was the junction for the short CR branch north-eastwards to Moffat, opened on 2 April 1883 and
closed to passengers on 6 December 1954 and freight on 6 April 1964 – little trace remains of this branch except a short siding headshunt on the Up side
at Beattock itself where A74 road improvements have obliterated the branch beyond. In later years Beattock was probably better known as the home for
the banking locos used to assist northbound trains, both passenger and freight, up the eponymous bank towards Carstairs. Currently there is a campaign
to reopen Beattock station, closed on 3 January 1972, as it is located on the longest stationless stretch of passenger railway in Great Britain.
[Photo © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Next page :
The photographer is looking north as the tour train stands in bright sunshine at the up platform at Appleby station on the return journey from Carlisle over
the former Midland Railway’s Settle and Carlisle line. From 1 September 1952 to 6 May 1968 the station was named Appleby West to distinguish it from
the nearby former North Eastern Railway station (Appleby East) on the Penrith-Kirkby Stephen line. The North Eastern line is now the subject of a
preservation project by the Eden Valley Railway which is based at Warcop, south east of Appleby. Their running line currently extends some 2m 28ch ,
over half the distance to Appleby East. The crossover at the rear of the train still leads to the 'North East Sidings' and a run rounds loop and formerly was
part of a link to the North Eastern Line itself.
[Photo © Patrick Chandler 2015]

Previous page:
Another view of the tour standing at Appleby, this time facing south, where the curved lattice footbridge, platform lights and diagonally braced fencing all
point to the station’s Midland origins.
[Photo © Simon Mortimer 2015]

Next page :
The tour’s next call was at Garsdale, where there are three refuge sidings on the up side. Geoff Plumb’s picture shows the tour train standing in No. 3
siding, furthest away from the running lines. The other two sidings are clipped out of use.
[Photo © Geoff Plumb 2015]

Previous page :
This view from the north end of 185 120 shows the running lines curving away to the north across Dandrymire (also known as Garsdale) Viaduct. Garsdale
was the junction for the Midland Railway branch to Hawes where it met end on with the North Eastern Railway’s line to Redmire and Northallerton. This
branch diverged northwards to the right (east) of where the train is standing. Garsdale, then known as Hawes Junction, was well-known for having a
‘stockaded’ turntable with a high wooden fence round it, intended to prevent locomotives being caught by the strong winds prevalent in this bleak
location. The turntable was situated on the west side of the line, approximately opposite the front of the train in the picture and beyond an additional
siding which used to exist on the down side. Its circular pit was clearly visible from the train.
[Photo © Simon Mortimer 2015]

Next page :
Beyond the train’s shadow can be seen the embankment of the Hawes branch curving away to the right. Garsdale was opened on 1 August 1876 as Hawes
Junction and renamed Hawes Junction and Garsdale on 20 January 1900. On 1 September 1932 it acquired its present name of Garsdale. In the dark (for
railways in Great Britain) days of the post-Beeching era, it was closed on 4 May 1970. Remarkably, while the S&C itself was under threat of closure,
Garsdale was reopened on 14 July 1986. The MR Hawes branch, opened for goods on 1 August 1878 and passengers on 1 October 1878 following
resolution of disagreements with the NER about the joint station at Hawes, was closed on 16 March 1959. Hawes to Redmire remained open until 27 April
1964. Beyond Redmire, the line remains open under the auspices of the heritage Wensleydale Railway, who have very long term ambitions to extend to
Hawes and Garsdale.
[Photo © Simon Mortimer 2015]

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