Black 5 – Blackford

44871BlackfordThis year’s GB IX tour has not been without its trials and tribulations, the engine in the photograph, No.44871, set off to work her turn and promptly broke a radius rod. It was little short of miraculous that the organisers, support crew, and others, managed to repair the damaged rod and get her back in action, to take any part in the tour, let alone work from Bristol to Grange – over – Sands and then tackle the very demanding route from Edinburgh to Inverness via Perth and the Highland mainline, with its daunting climbs of Druimuachdar  and Slochd.

No.45407 was, originally, booked to double head with No.44871,  however, No.44871 was not alone in her efforts, the exhaust, somewhat fortuitously, is obscuring the diesel assistance in the rear.  In this photograph No.44871 has just passed Blackford, and rather less fortuitously, the signal box is also obscured by the exhaust – you win some, you lose some. Speaking of winning some and losing some, the locos which were booked, at one stage or other, to work the GB IX tour and didn’t make it include, Nos. 34046 Braunton, 34067 Tangmere, 45407, 46115 Scots Guardsman, 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, 70000 Britannia, and 70013 Oliver Cromwell, which is quite a list.

No.44871 as well as hauling the Bristol to Grange – over – Sands leg is also working the Inverness – Thurso and Inverness – Kyle of Loch Alsh trips before working back over the Highland main line and on to  Mossend, where she will be replaced by No.45699 Galatea for the journey to Oxenhome.  Presumably No.44871 will then head off to Fort William, where she is rostered to work her share of the Jacobite services from Fort William to Mallaig and back. Phew!

I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:

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By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

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‘treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’

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