Part Five ~ North Eastern Region
I was always disappointed to see main line railtours running on a Sunday, when delays could be encountered due to engineering work. On the plus side however, Sundays gave increased availability of rolling-stock, train crews and crucially they were easier to path. On Sundays 20th and 27th August, 1967, Nº4498 worked tours in the NE. The first was from Doncaster to Edinburgh and back via the East Coast Main line. In both directions it suffered South of Thirsk, either by running "wrong road" or on the slow line. The 27th August train started from Leeds City, and travelled via the Settle and Carlisle line and Hexham to Newcastle. It arrived there a shade over 9 minutes late, was booked to stop for 14 minutes, and departed 5½ minutes late.
I was wondering what lay ahead, bearing in mind the previous week's crawl near Thirsk. After a slow start via Gateshead West, with a moderate load, we achieved a maximum of 68mph in the dip after Low Fell and, travelling uphill, Sir Nigel achieved a maximum of 66mph before the brakes were applied for the Durham restriction. We had regained 2 minutes by Durham, but a temporary restriction at Ferryhill meant we passed Darlington just over 2½ minutes late. Ahead lay the famous racing stretch to York and we were allowed 40 minutes for the 44 miles. As can be seen from the log, despite some fast running and suffering 2 minor delays, we ran into York 2¾ minutes in arrears. I have calculated a net time of 79½ minutes for the 80.70 miles from Newcastle, and 38 minutes for the 44.10 miles from Darlington (pass). So the engineering work wasn't too painful after all, and we did have a rather excellent loco..........
Next time will be my favourite with Nº7 still in BR ownership, AND working from "Top Shed".
While looking at Sir Nigel and Kingfisher's runs, it must be remembered that the maximum permitted speed throughout the Scottish Region at the time was 75mph! Its also good to see that three of the pacifics featured are still with us today. Sadly, the "Strathmore" route to Aberdeen via Forfar now sees no through trains at all. Perhaps if I were to return to the site of Eassie Signal Box I may see the ghost of an A4 hurtling towards me at well over 80mph... ... ...
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