These two Black 5s, Nos. 45407, and piloting, 44871, are about a mile and a half into the 4 miles of 1 in 54 from Girvan to Pinmore, the 8 mile slog, much of it at gradients between 1 in 67 and 1 in 73, from Pinwherry, up through Barrhill, is yet to come. The train had stopped in Girvan and the climb begins just before the station, dragging ten coaches, something like 350 tons, away from a dead stop on a gradient of 1 in 67 would have been a taxing effort for engines and crew, yet No. 44871 is flying a white feather, she must be right on the red line.
This tour, which was run in 2010, was the first steam over the Stranraer route from Glasgow via Ayr for many years.The return leg saw the engines working top-and-tail back to Glasgow tender first, over some equally demanding gradients, from Stranraer it’s pretty much all up hill for the first 20 miles. How long Stranraer remains a destination is a moot point now the Irish sea ferry trade, which gave it a reason to stay open, has moved to Cairnryan and rail passengers are bussed there from Ayr.
I cannot close without mention of two things about the route, the first is, naturally, Robert Burns who was born in Alloway, just south of Ayr and, secondly, Electric Brae, which is a mile or two off the route near Maybole. I have put in a link to the Electric Brae phenomena, so you can check out for yourselves exactly what an oddity it is.
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