How very transitional, a steam engine coming to the rescue of a failed diesel, or even been given the job of piloting one. However, in this instance the diesel is there to alleviate the fire risk caused by this summer’s drought; though as can be seen, No.45699 Galatea was putting in a little effort too. And, if one can be thankful for small mercies, at least the diesel almost blends in; unlike the hideous blue one with the Union Jack, which sticks out further than a sore thumb.
No.45699 Galatea has just hit the 1:100 gradient, you can see that change about 4 coaches back, as she powers across Birkett common towards Birkett tunnel. This stretch of the line has, over the years, seen some memorable test running; during 1937 it was the turn of Leeds crew Driver W. North and Fireman H. George of Holbeck who with engine No.5660 Rooke completed the Carlisle – Leeds run of 113 miles in 115mins 38sec. On that test run the section from Carlisle to Aisgill summit, a distance of 48.4 miles, was made in 48 mins 36 sec, the load was 305 tons.
On the marginally more difficult north bound working this same engine and crew made the Leeds – Carlisle run in 117 mins. In his book the “Jubilees of the LMS”, John Clay, (from which this information has been taken), notes that on the banks the engine was worked at 35 – 40% cut-off and full regulator. He also comments that the fireman was to be commended as there were no reports of steaming problems. Nice to see the fireman being given his dues.
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If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751