Latest recordings

NELPG's 50th Anniversary at the NYMR

With the way things have gone this year I wouldn't have been at all surprised if my recordings from the Harz in June had been my last for the year but a friend suggested going to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on 30th October 2016 where the railway was having a mini-Gala to mark the 50th Anniversary of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group.
The timetable that day was just the normal one that would have been in operation anyway and featured a few two hour gaps between trains so some careful planning was required to get as many recordings as possible without too much hanging about and we decided that our best plan was to start at Levisham for the first train off Pickering, booked to be hauled by the BR Standard Class 2 2-6-0 76084, a loco that I had never seen, much less recorded, on its only booked working for the day. While not a NELPG loco, 76084 was restored at Ian Storey's workshops so there is a connection.
We recorded 76084 departing from Levisham from a spot about half a mile north of the station and it seemed to be going well enough when it passed on the gradient.
As I said earlier, I hadn't even seen the loco before and indeed, I still haven't as, from the spot where we recorded, the line is hidden by trees so all we saw was the smoke.

76084 departing from Levisham. - 30th October 2016
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63395 Levisham



As the spot we had picked seemed fine, we stayed where we were for the next train from Pickering booked to be hauled by the ex LNER Q6 0-8-0 63395 but as this recording begins, the ex LNER K1 2-6-0 62005 can be heard departing for Pickering before the Q6 departs for Grosmont.

63395 departing from Levisham.
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62005Our last recording here was of the K1 returning from Pickering.
I was pleased to see 62005 back on the NYMR as although it was once a regular performer, since for the last 10 years or more it has spent much of the year north of the border, it has been a rare visitor to the Moors.
According to the timetable we had downloaded from the NYMR web site, the K1 wasn't due to cross anything at Levisham but shortly before it arrived we heard something that sounded like either a light engine or a very short train pass. This proved to be 69023 with a single coach running from Grosmont to Pickering and back for NELPG members.
Departing, the K1 sounds to be making fairly easy work of its train as it passes heading off into Newton dale.

62005 departing from Levisham.
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After a visit to the Weighbridge for the inevitable bacon sandwich we headed off to the other end of the line and set up our recorders at Thomason Foss between Grosmont and Goathland and the first train we could record was the diner.
This was an eight coach train and while no speed records were being broken, 63395 sounds to be doing fine on the gradient heading for Goathland.

63395 passing Thomason Foss.
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69023 62005Next came 62005 which had worked through to Whitby.
Earlier, just after the Q6 had passed, I commented to my friend that the railway was doing remarkably well as each train we had seen so far not only had the booked motive power but was also pretty much on time. I should have known better.
About 30 minutes later than it should have been, we started to hear the K1 coming up the gradient much faster than the Q6 had and that proved to be partly due to the fact that, on the front of the K1 was 69023 which, although inaudible, must have been providing some assistance on the 7 coach train.

69023 & 62005 passing Thomason Foss.
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With another two hour gap in the proceedings we headed back to Levisham getting there before the late running K1 and in time to get our recorders set up for 63395 departing on its way back from Pickering with the 8 coach diner.
Unusually the Q6 had been turned at some point during the weekend and was running chimney first towards Grosmont.

63395 departing from Levisham.
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For our last recording; and maybe my last for the year, we went to a spot further into Newton Dale at Wethead just opposite Yorfalls Wood about a mile north of Levisham station.
With the clocks having gone back an hour the previous night, it was just about dark when we heard 62005 leave Levisham.
It sounds as though there are currently speed restrictions around here as the K1 is eased as it approaches then, after it has passed, eased again as the sound fades away.
Not a bad recording to end with

62005 departing from Levisham.
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Back Again for Steam in the Harz

HSBIn early June 2016 I made my annual pilgrimage to Wernigerode in Germany for steam on the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen. Whatever happens elsewhere, you can always count on plenty of steam and some good noise.
Tuesday 7th June 2016 proved to be a fine day and saw a friend and myself on the first train to the Brocken with the intention of leaving the train at the summit to walk down to a spot we had recorded at last year with excellent results. This was Eckerloch where, with a light easterly wind blowing, we hoped to hear trains approaching from Schierke for some considerable time.
After the walk down the rocky path, which seemed to me to be rockier than last year (or am I just getting too old for this sort of thing?) it was very pleasant on this warm day sitting among the trees enjoying a cooling breeze with nothing but bird song and the occasional train disturbing the peace.
Sound did carry well but one thing that was different from our previous recording session here was that last year we could clearly hear trains above us in the Brocken Spiral. This year the wind direction wasn't quite right and we only really heard trains whistling at the Brockenstraße crossing.
Still, we had no complaints and 99 7237 on the second train we recorded sounded fine as it approached, passing at the other side of the valley before rounding the tight curve at Eckerloch and passing below us.

99 7237 at Eckerloch. - 7th June 2016
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HSBOn Thursday 9th June, after the usual ride to the Brocken on the first train we returned to Schierke and set off along the path alongside the railway, the Bahnparallelweg, heading for a spot that I thought might have some potential for good recordings.
The spot I thought might have potential was between the Alte Bobbahn footpath crossing and the Brockenstraße level crossing. Being at the middle point of a convex curve in the track we got a reasonable amount of noise on the approach but going away, thanks to a westerly wind, the sound carried really well all the way past Eckerloch until the train passed round to the other side of the hill. Possibly a better spot than Eckerloch when the wind has any west in it. The only downside was the midges and other biting flies. I wonder what they eat when they can't get sound recordist?
We made three recordings here and the best of the three was this one of 99 7247 which sounded to be going very well when it passed our spot then, as you can hear, sound carried back very well as we had hoped it would.

99 7247 between the Alte Bobbahn and Brockenstraße. - 9th June 2016
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HSBOn Friday 10th June 2016 I decided that a visit to the Selketalbahn was in order as while my English friend had travelled between Quedlinburg and Alexisbad when we visited last year, he had never been further so thanks to a German friend giving us a lift we were able to join the train which is steam hauled only on Thursday to Saturday train at Steige.
I should add that this second steam diagram is usually in the hands of the Selketalbahn's Mallet 99 5906 leaving the 2-6-2 99 6001 to work the regular steam hauled trains. Now, this visit makes my fifth time here in as many years and I have yet to have a ride behind a Mallet. And that's not been through want of trying, I can assure you.
Before I left the UK I already knew that 99 5906 had a problem with, I understood, a broken slide bar but that happened some time ago so I had expected there was a good chance it would be fixed by the time I got there. It was not to be.
Not only was the Mallet not repaired but I later discovered that it had been sent away to Meiningen.
I think it's a plot!
Instead of the Mallet we found the 2-6-2 99 6001 on our train which was somewhat better than getting a 2-10-2 for our run down to Eisfelder Talmühle then back to Gernrode where we found that the other loco out on the Selketalbahn was 99 7239. Aan attempt at recording the 2-10-2 on the climb from Gernrode was foiled by a strong wind but the next attempt with 99 6001's train a little later was much better.
Instead of trying to record from the open field near the Osterallee level crossing we went further up the climb and made our recording on the dam holding back the waters of Osterteich.
We were pleasantly suprised to hear 99 6001 soon after it had departed from Gernrode station and all the way up the climb to pass our recording spot. In the past, recordings on this section had always been quite short.
We were lucky in one other respect too. The railway here seems to get regular use as an unofficial footpath for those wishing to go to the other end of Osterteich where there is open air swimming and it was fortunate for us that the group of potential Olympic swiming champions only arrived as the train was passing!

99 6001 passing Osterteich, Gernrode. - 10th June 2016
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To record 99 6001 on its return from Alexisbad we went to a spot near Mägdesprung.
I have recorded near here in the past but only at a spot very near the line and the road between the two level crossings but this time we climbed the path to a spot near the Heinrichsburg ruin high above the railway.
Although we heard little of 99 6001's approach, the wind carried sound back for a long time and we heard the train all the way to the summit at Sternhaus Ramberg.

99 6001 passing Heinrichsburg near Mägdesprung.
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Our last full day in the Harz was Saturday 11th June 2016 and we started our day at Steinerne Renne.
Starts from here are usually very good but the geography helps with getting a long recording as once the train has left the previous station, Hasserode, the line curves to run down the opposite side of the valley before reaching the station via a sharp curve thus trains pass first from right to left and then, as they depart, left to right.
After a slightly dissapointing recording of the first train of the day from Wernigerode, next came 99 7240 which was certainly loud leaving Steinerne Renne.

99 7240 arriving and departing at Steinerne Renne. - 11th June 2016
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After the first three ordinary trains from Wernigerode there was another to record as the regular 'Traditionszug' was operating that day.
This train is made up of a number of ex DR coaches; 5 on this occasion, and was hauled by Mallet 99 5901.
Although 99 5901 didn't stop at Steinerne Renne, I was more than happy with this recording. Well, while there's definately nothing wrong with hearing the big 2-10-2s, it's nice to have a bit of variation.

99 5901 passing Steinerne Renne.
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HSBMy final Harz recording for this visit was made while travelling back from a final ride to the Brocken at the end of the day from the train at the Goetheweg siding.
99 222 was on the uphill train and had been stopped at the signal protecting the siding restarting promptly as soon as we were out of the way. 99 7247 was on the downhill train and once the uphill train is out of the way it propels our train back out onto the main line ready to continue the journey back to Wernigerode.
So, another very good visit to the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen but you can be sure I'll be back next year if I can; I'm still determined to get that ride behind a Mallet!

99 222 passing the Goetheweg siding.
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The NYMR Spring (not entierly) Steam Gala

76079The North Yorkshire Moors Spring Steam Gala held over two weekends in May didn't quite work out as the railway had planned, or as we might have hoped, this year.
When the railway realised that the two guest engines weren't going to arrive they had a major change of plan altering the event to a Scottish Branch Line Gala and added a few diesels to the mix. Not what we wanted at all.
Despite the change of plan and the diesels there was one loco that I was quite keen to get a few recordings of which would only be there for the first weekend due to commitments further north; this was the K1 62005 which, although once a regular performer on the line, now is something of a rarity but any thoughts of going over there for the first weekend were quickly shelved when they broke it on the first day.
As far as the second weekend was concerned, I will admit that my enthusiasm for a visit was at an all time low. After all, I felt that I would do as well to go on a normal operating day in the summer when the peak timetable was running and probably do better for steam than I would do at this gala. However, a friend decided that he was going over there on the second Saturday, 14th May 2016, and offered me a lift, so I went.
The main reason for going was for the trains running to Battersby but before that we had a chance to record the first train off Grosmont hauled by the Q6 and we went to Beck Hole Bridge where we were horrified to see that the lineside trees there had been given a serious clearance. While there was now a much better view, there was very little shelter from the wind of which there was plenty. I tried to find some shelter without success and in the end, didn't even switch my recorder on as there was no point in recording lots of wind noise.
Of course, that would have been the best recording of the day as we could hear the Q6 right from exiting the tunnel at Grosmont. Typical.
After a visit to Grosmont to see the interesting diesels; one was a Deltic which made the visit a bit more worthwhile, we set off for Glaisdale and a spot to the west of the station where the train, hauled by 76079 masquerading as 76001, was booked to stop to cross a service train.
There was plenty of wind here too but we found what shelter we could and hoped for the best.
This train was running top and tail with a diesel on the rear, the diesel being the aforementioned Deltic; 55 022 masquerading as 55 007 and when we heard the Standard 4 approaching we thought it was going very well if it was hauling 5 coaches plus a switched off Deltic. As you can hear, the Deltic was not only not switched off but providing substantial assistance.
Now I quite like to hear a Deltic but I could have done without it this time.

76079 near Glaisdale. - 14th May 2016
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Although we had intended to stay at the north end of the line and record the later train to Battersby, after what we had just experienced we decided not to bother and set off for Levisham where, if nothing else, we could get a decent bacon sandwich!
We stayed at Levisham for three recordings and our last was of BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4T 80072, running as 80007; all these number changes were to assist with the Scottish Branch Line theme though, to be honest, I can't really see the point.
Anyway 80072, which I understand is staying on the railway for a while, probably gave us our best recording of the three at Levisham but being cold and a little windswept, we weren't tempted to stay for more and made that our last recording for the day.
Hopefully, the railway will have more luck with locos for the Autumn gala. I'd guess that will be a dead cert as, since they decided to push the date back a week, I'll be in Switzerland and will miss it!

80072 departing from Levisham.
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Royal Scot on the main line

The fact that my previous recording of a steam hauled train running on the main line was made back at the beginning of November last year tell you that steam on the main line has been a bit thin on the ground for me for a while now and that is something that's likely to be the case, probably for the rest of the year.
First we had WCRC's suspension that threw a spanner in the works for a while and that was followed by the problems on the S&C north of Appleby resulting in the closure of that section of the line. The closure seems likely to last well into 2017 and has caused most of the regular steam hauled trains that run in the north west to be either cancelled or run elsewhere. The result for me means that there will be precious little easily accessible main line steam for me to go out for so it was good to be able to get out for one on 16th April 2016.
There were actually two trains booked to run that day, the first and most interesting was running with steam from Crewe to Carlisle out via the Cumbrian Coast and back over Shap hauled by a loco that I hadn't yet had a chance to record; ex LMS Royal Scot 4-6-0 46100 'Royal Scot'.
After a far too early start from home our first recording of 46100 was on the climb away from Wigan, where the train stopped to pick up passengers, not far from the summit of the climb at Boar's Head.
We had recorded here before with mixed results but we were both pleased with what we got and considered that it was just about worth getting out of bed before 5 o'clock to get this one.
We were also pleased to note the lack of a diesel on the rear of the 11 coach train and that it was running just about on time.

46100 near Boar's Head, Wigan. - 16th April 2016
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After that recording we had plenty of time to get to our next recording spot as the train spent about 30 minutes standing at Preston then a further hour was allowed in the Up & Down Goods Loop at Carnforth for water.
We headed for Lindal Bank and found a suitable spot near Pennington a little way west of Ulverston and about half way up the bank where the gradient is 1 in 80, the steepest part of the climb.
Before the Scot arrived a service train passed and gave us some concern that the section of track might be subject to a speed restriction as the DMU was crawling towards Barrow but our fears proved unfounded as 46100 was going well and coping with the gradient in a much better fashion, despite the 11 coach load, than had the two car DMU preceding it.

46100 on Lindal Bank, Ulverston.
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46100 The Scots next stop was at Sellafield for water and, due to the low line speed and frequent speed restrictions we were easily able to get to Sellafield for a recording. Indeed, we almost beat the train.
On the map there is a very well marked footpath heading north up the coast parallel with the line though we had some difficulty finding it on the ground but did eventually find our way to a spot not too far north of the station which, aside for being suitable, we hoped, for our recording also gave a splendid view out to sea on this sunny day with the Isle of Man clearly visible; the view inland was a little less splendid - unless nuclear power stations are your thing.
As far as the recording was concerned, we were quite happy with this one of the Scot getting underway heading for Whitehaven and Carlisle.
As I mentioned, there was another steam hauled charter that day, also running on the Cumbrian Coast route but running south from Carlisle and we'd hoped to get a recording of this one too but Network Rail, almost at the last minute decided that there weren't sure if it would fit on the northern part of the route so instead, 45699 was sent light engine to Sellafield and the train was steam hauled from there instead of Carlisle. Not very satisfactory for the passengers.
As getting a recording of the Jubilee would have jeopardised our chances of another recording of the Scot we decided to give it a miss.

46100 departing from Sellafield.
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After a very scenic drive across the Lake District we ended up at Harrison's Siding not far north of Shap Village for our final recording of 46100 and were well pleased with this recording of the Scot going very well on the gradient heading for Shap summit.
All in all, a successful day's linesiding; it's just a shame that there may not be many more opportunities this year.

46100 passing Harrison's Siding.
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Flying Scotsman on the Moors

With no real prospect of any main line steam to go out for the foreseeable future, Sunday 13th March 2016 found us at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to get a few recordings of their visitor for the week, the recently returned to traffic after an eye wateringly expensive overhaul, 60103 Flying Scotsman.
Flying Scotsman had been out an about since late February, drawing the crowds wherever it went and the NYMR was no exception; I've never seen the place so busy. The trains Scotsman was hauling had been sold out for months but the number of spectators around the railway was astonishing.
60103 Flying ScotsmanKnowing that any of the popular spots would be crowded, we started our day at a spot off the road above Esk Valley which, it being a hazy day and the view being straight into the sun, we expected to be, and were, undisturbed.
As the trains Scotsman was hauling were 8 coaches, it was deemed necessary to provide a banker as far as Goathland and as 45428 had been banking the previous day, although from our position, we identify what was on the rear, we assumed it was the Black 5. However, a little later we saw 45428 on another train so changed our view wondering if 44806 was back in use. It was only after we'd got home that we discovered thanks to ever useful YouTube that it had been 76079.
Not too bad a recordings mainly thanks to the noise from the banker!

60103 banked by 76079 at Esk Valley. 13th March 2016
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We set off for Levisham after that to get Scotsman coming back from Pickering.
Levisham was busy, much busier than I can recall seeing it so, after finding a parking spot; which wasn't easy, we walked away from the station up to Raygate Slack about half a mile away and walked up into the trees for this recording of 60103 passing through Levisham without stopping heading back to Grosmont.
Well, most of my recordings of Scotsman from past years have been from the time when it was fitted with a single chimney and, with the new double blastpipe and chimney, while the loco's performance might be improved, I can't say that the sound has. Can we have the single chimney back please?

60103 at Levisham.
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45428Not being particularly bothered about getting another recording of Scotsman being banked we stayed at Levisham for a bacon sandwich and a recording of one of the other trains that the NYMR were running that day no doubt to try to get some income from the crowds of spectators.
Two other trains were running; one was a three car DMU but the other was a 5 coach set topped and tailed with 45428 and a Class 37 diesel and it was this that we stayed to record.
This time we went to a spot high up above Raygate Slack and although the train had gone to Pickering with the Black 5 leading, it had been run round and was piloting the Class 37 when it came back.
With just 5 coaches these two get the train on the move in fine style with some decent noise from the Black 5 too.

45428 & 37 264 departing from Levisham.
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Flying Scotsman came next and we stayed at the same spot to record it.
I was happier with this recording than I had been with the previous one. 60103 seemed to be worked a bit harder than last time but recording from higher up helped too.

60103 at Levisham.
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60103 Flying Scotsman



With three hours before Scotsman returned we went back to the other end of the line for another recording of the loco being banked up to Goathland and went to a spot we've often used before at Thomason Foss which, to our surprise, wasn't crowded with onlookers though we were less pleased to see and hear a Microlite buzzing around the place. Worse still, shortly before Flying Scotsman arrived, the Red Barron, who has spoiled our recordings on other occasions, with his bi-plane appeared overhead.
It was a shame too since this time, Scotsman had no banker on the climb.

60103 at Thomason Foss
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60103 Flying ScotsmanAfter that, we had one more opportunity for a final recording of 60103 coming back from Pickering and headed for a remarkably muddy path at Newton on Rawcliffe high above Levisham station.
Once again, Scotsman passed through the station without stopping and didn't sound too bad heading off into Newton Dale.
Heading the other way was the topped and tailed train that we had recorded earlier though now it was just topped without the Black 5 being in evidence.
I make no apology from including the Class 37 (37 264 if anyone is interested) at the end of this recording; if we have to have diesel hauled trains, at least this one makes a decent sound!

60103 at Levisham.
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The Keighley & Worth Valley Winter Gala

As seems to have happened each of the last few years, recording opportunities early in the year came to naught so my first recording opportunity was at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway's Winter steam gala but I nearly decided not to bother...
When I booked a night's stay in a hotel back in December, the railway was intending to have 45212 and 62005 as visitors for the gala, both of which would arrive by rail as the weight restricted bridge which prevented, among other things, 'Wells' return to the railway last year was still on-going. However, both 45212 & the K1 dropped out fairly early. 44871 was supposed to be the replacement for 45212 and there were suggestions of something else coming but that never got beyond suggestions.
Then the West Coast Railway Company getting another suspension made 44871's move unlikely and despite valiant attempts to get another train operator to move it, it never made it.
From the home team 90733 was an early withdrawal then with a few days to go 75078 had a problem preventing it from running.
So, that left the S160, 4F, Coal Tank, 85 & Nunlow. Not exactly the gala everyone was expecting then.
K&WVRThe timetable had a few changes too; no goods train, no shuttles beyond Ingrow but there was an 'Express' which actually stopped at Oakworth when I recorded it despite the timetable saying first stop Haworth.
Arriving at Keighley on Friday 26th February I headed for Oakworth and set off down towards the loop to find that, in the adjacent caravan site, building work was going on though it didn't seem too noisy.
The first train I could record was double headed by the Coal Tank, 1054 piloting newly returned to traffic, Taff Vale Railway 0-6-2T 85.
On 6 coaches the pair didn't have to work too hard but still managed to start a small fire on the banking opposite which did nothing to warm the place up and burnt itself out fairly quickly. There were a few more fires later in the day but it was just last year's dead stuff burning off and not really a major problem.

1054 & 85 departing from Damems Loop. - 26th February 2016
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The next train up from Keighley was the 'Express' hauled by S160 2-8-0 5820.
On previous visits the Express has often not seemed all that 'Express' but this time the S160, having got through the loop without stopping, sounded to be accelerating its train nicely - until it shut off and appeared to stop at Oakworth. The train was supposed to be first stop Haworth.

5820 passing Damems Loop.
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As the building work in the caravan site had increased in volume I decided to try a recording at the other side of Oakworth station and exchanged the noise from the builders for two chain saws and the inevitable and unavoidable car horns.
The train I recorded there was hauled by 43924 and sounds fine departing and heading for Haworth.

43924 departing from Oakworth.
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Having had enough of car horns I returned to Oakworth station and set up in the goods yard for my last recording which was another one of the S160 coming up from the loop.
5820 was going very well as it approached but the driver shut off much earlier than I expected. Possibly a bit too early as the regulator had to be re-opened to get into the platform.
And after that I felt I'd done enough and headed back to Keighley for some much needed food.

5820 arriving at and departing from Oakworth
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For my recordings on Saturday 27th February I decided to stay in the vicinity of Keighley station and headed for G.N. Straight.
My first recording was of 43924 going well heading for Ingrow.
My next attempted recording was of the Coal Tank on a two coach shuttle but it was making so little noise that it was hardly worth switching the recorder on for.

43924 on GN Straight. - 27th February 2016
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The next train was double headed with Taff Vale 85 piloting 5820. The S160 seemed to be making most of the noise.

85 & 5820 on GN Straight.
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Knowing that the builder's merchant, the source of many noises off in previous recordings, would be closing for the afternoon I returned to nearer Keighley station for my last few recordings.
The 4F was on the first train I could record and as usual, didn't disappoint for noise.

43924 departing from Keighley.
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There was just one loco that I hadn't recorded so far; that was the Bahamas Loco Society's 0-6-0T 1704 Nunlow and that was the next departure from Keighley on a two coach shuttle to Ingrow.

Nunlow departing from Keighley.
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My final recording was of the S160 2-8-0 5820 which is a loco that I'm always happy to hear.
As the S160 vanished round Globe Curve, the Taff Vale tank came out of the station heading down the headshunt at quite a pace. Having passed my recording spot, it stopped so that the crew could deal with the small lineside fire the S160 had started.
I wonder if this is going to be a regular job for the loco? If it is, perhaps they'll paint it red, replace the whistle with a siren and fit flashing blue lights!

5820 departing from Keighley.
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Recordings from 2015

A little German main line steam

38 2267 HagenWith having had a complete lack of main line steam so far this year as far as riding is concerned I had to travel to Germany for a ride on the main line and on 6th September 2015 rode from Hagen to Bochum-Dalhausen and back on one of the regular, first Sunday of the month, steam runs to the Bochum-Dalhausen Eisenbahn Museum.
These trains, made up of some of the museum's vintage coaches, are hauled by the Prussian P8
(DR BR 38) 4-6-0 38 2267.
To be fair, these trains are aimed at providing a family day out rather than something for the enthusiast and as the line, running alongside the Rhur for most of the journey doesn't provide much in the way of gradients I didn't really expect much in the way of noise to record.
This is how 38 2267 sounded leaving Hagen.

38 2267 departing from Hagen. - 6th September 2015
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During the return journey from Bochum-Dalhausen we called at Ruine Hardenstein, close to the ruined Hardenstein Castle which, according to legend, was once the home of the kobold King Goldemar who happened to be invisible and was reputed to have killed, cooked and eaten someone for attempting to see his footprints!
If Goldemar is still around, we didn't see him as 38 2267 departed.

38 2267 departing from Ruine Hardenstein.
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The intermediate station that sees most passengers is Zeche Nachtigall.
Translated, Zeche Nachtigall means Nightingale Mine and at one time this was the site of one of the many coal mines in the Rhur and is now an industrial museum.
With a few more visitors to the industrial museum back on board this very full train, 38 2267 is heard departing from Zeche Nachtigall heading for Hagen.
While it might not have been the nosiest main line steam ride I've ever had, it was interesting and I can recommend a ride as a pleasant way to visit the museum at Bochum-Dalhausen.

38 2267 departing from Zeche Nachtigall.
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The North Yorkshire Moors Autumn Gala

34092The North Yorkshire Moors Railway actually had a couple of interesting visitors for a change; the ex SR U Class 2-6-0 31806 and 34092 but, also as usual, only made minimal use of them with 'Wells' only being booked to work 1 round trips by itself and the U, 1½. However, that was according to the loco roster so there was every chance that things would change.
To maximise our chances we were at Thomason Foss ready for the first train of Grosmont on Sunday 27th September 2015 and to our surprise, not only did the booked locos appear but the train was on time; could this last?
This recording is of 34092 double heading with 76079 making easy work of the gradient on the way to Goathland.
It didn't last...

34092 & 76079 passing Thomason Foss. - 27th September 2015
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The next train off Grosmont was booked for the other visitor, 31806, a loco that I was keen to get a good recording of.
It soon became apparent that something was wrong and when the U put in an appearance it was about 45 minutes late and the train was being banked by 63395.
It had stalled on the gradient, made two unsuccessful attempts to restart and then had to wait for a banker to arrive.
Our prospects for a recording of it by itself didn't look good.

31806 banked by 63395 passing Thomason Foss.
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The lateness continued for the rest of the day and there were quite a few changes to the booked motive power and instead of the K4, the next train turned up with the Q6 which had returned following its banking duties.

63395 passing Thomason Foss.
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The ex LNER K4 2-6-0 61994 'The Great Marquess' turned up on the next train and we were pleased to get a recording of as it is soon to come out of traffic, possibly never to reappear as a working loco.

61994 passing Thomason Foss.
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Our next recording should have been of a short working to Goathland but this never turned up. If it and subsequent short workings were cancelled to try to regain some time, it didn't work as trains remained consistently late for the rest of the day.
The diner came next.
This train was booked to be hauled by 34092 and to our surprise, that's what turned up and seemed to be making fairly easy work of this heavy train on the gradient.

34092 passing Thomason Foss.
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34092After the diner, when the Q6 returned from Pickering on the back of a train with the U on the front which should have been single headed, I realised that if we wanted to try for another recording of Wells by itself we would have to leave straight away for Levisham as Wells would have to return on the diner there being nothing else at Pickering to work it; the diner should have been the Q6 coming back leaving Wells to double head the last train with the U.
The recording we got of 34092 at Levisham wasn't all that exciting and certainly wasn't enhanced by numerous low level fly pasts by the Red Barron in his bi-plane!
We had noticed this bi-plane presumably doing pleasure flights from a grass strip somewhere close by on other occasions but had never been 'buzzed' at low level by it before. I always thought there was a minimum altitude for these things...

34092 departing from Levisham.
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31806On the train that crossed Wells at Levisham we were quite surprised to see the U all by itself and, there being nothing at Pickering to double head, it looked like we were going to get a recording of it by itself; providing the Red Barron didn't return...
I'm pleased to say that the bi-plane stayed away but again, the recording wasn't all that good. 31806 wasn't worked particularly hard as it departed but it still started priming as it passed.
Better than nothing I suppose.

31806 departing from Levisham.
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A little UK main line steam

45699On 3rd October 2015 I had the rare, for this year, opportunity to get out for some main line steam with two trains running in the North West.
The first one was a charter for the Lune Rivers Trust running from Carnforth to York and, is this train picked up Bentham, we were there for our first recording well before 8AM.
Conditions were almost perfect with only a very light breeze which we expected to carry the sound back to us.
At about the right time we heard something with three cylinders approaching which then sat in the station for a while; this proved to be 45699 Galatea.
The start sounded far too fast to me without the expected noise and no trace of a slip. The reason soon became apparent; a Class 47 on the back shoving hard. Not what we wanted at all and a further attempt at Hellifield gave no improvement.

45699 departing from Bentham. - 3rd October 2015
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45231The other charter that day was running from Cleethorpes to Carlisle over the Settle - Carlisle line hauled by 45231 and we headed off through the fog to Selside where the fog cleared to mist and we even saw a little sun.
When 45231 appeared, from the sound, it didn't appear to be being assisted and we got a good, long recording. However, as the back of the train came into sight we were surprised to see not one but two diesels, one of which appeared not to be under power and the other doing very little to assist; perhaps just moving its own weight.
Now that's the sort of diesel assistance we don't object to.
We stayed at the lineside for a further charter train and made a recording of it too but I couldn't possibly include it here, even if it was of a Deltic...

45231 passing Selside.
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The Keighley & Worth Valley Autumn Gala

90733The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway didn't have a lot of luck with their arrangements for visiting locos for their Autumn Steam Gala this year.
They originally had two interesting ex-Southern locos lined up but an ongoing problem with a weak bridge made getting locos in by road impossible, a problem that also meant that 34092 was absent.
Instead they arranged to get one of the Tyseley Halls to visit and as that could arrive by rail there would be no problem getting it to the rail. Unfortunately, at almost the 11th hour, Network Rail decided that, as they weren't certain about clearances on the route, they veto'd the move.
Despite the lack of visitors I still went as I'd pre-booked a hotel stay and arrived at the railway at about mid-day on Friday 9th October 2015 just in time to get this recording of 90733, which was carrying a Low Moor WD number and some decidedly unconvincing weathering, leaving Keighley with a shuttle to Damems.

90733 departing from Keighley. - 9th October 2015
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After that I took a train up to Oakworth and walked down to a spot near the loop.
The next train up from Keighley was hauled by 90733, this time going all the way to Oxenhope and sounding good on the gradient and passing non-stop through the loop and Oakworth even if it sounds as though it stopped there.

90733 at Damems Loop.
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Next came the S160 2-8-0 5820 which also sounded good climbing towards Oakworth especially with the extra long whistle specially arranged for a certain lineside sound recordist!

5820 at Damems Loop.
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If you were a passenger at Oakworth wishing to travel to Oxenhope and you'd have been a little disappointed to find that instead of the usual one 'Express' run, this afternoon, there were two.
The next 'Express' was hauled by the Coal Tank, 1054 piloting 75078.

1054 piloting 75078 at Damems Loop.
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My last recording at the loop was of 43924 which, as usual, doesn't disappoint for noise.

43924 at Damems Loop.
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90733Having recorded four trains at the loop I walked down to a little way beyond Damems station to record the goods train which was only going as far as there.
The goods, made up of about 10 wagons was hauled by 90733 with 5820 on the rear to take the train back to Keighley.
As it makes a change to record something other than a passenger train, I kept the recorder on for the train's return just to hear the wagons and the WD clanking past.

90733 with 5820 on the goods train at Damems.
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The following morning, despite only having a limited amount of time, I went back to Keighley but, as everything seemed to be running about 20 minutes late, as had been the case the previous day, I only made two recordings.
The first was of 90733 heading for Oxenhope along GN Straight.

90733 on GN Straight. - 10th October 2015
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5820After that I walked back to nearer Keighley station to make this recording of a shuttle heading for Ingrow.
The loco was 5820 which sounds to be worked very gently out of the station to avoid a slip.
The Coal tank, 1054 was at the rear of the train but banking passenger trains isn't permitted.
The reason for my early departure from Keighley was so that I could get home in time to record a train running from Scarborough down the coast through Bridlington but although I was there in good time ready to record, the train, which should have been hauled by Galatea never put in an appearance. Galatea was failed at Scarborough with, of all things, a flat battery. That's one I've never heard before.

5820 departing from Keighley.
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Scarborough Spa Express

45699After the problems experienced over the previous two summers, it came as no surprise that there were no summer Scarborough Spa Expresses in the West Coast Railway Company's programme for 2015. There were however three trains booked to coincide with the school's half term autumn holidays so it looked as though, after not getting a main line steam ride in the UK last year, I wouldn't be drawing a blank for 2015.
For various reasons I was only able to do the very last train during its morning run round the Wakefield circuit and while I enjoyed the run, mainly because it gave me the chance to meet up with quite a few people who I hadn't seen since last year's trains ran, I have to say that from a performance and noise point of view, this Scarborough Spa Express was just about the most dire I've experienced since first riding on the trains in the 1980s.
The main reason for the lack of noise was the diesel attached at the rear of the 12 coaches which at times provided a great deal of assistance.
Still, while I and other enthusiasts might not have been too happy with that aspect, it didn't seem to affect passenger numbers as all three trains ran pretty well full so maybe we'll see the same sort of thing again next year though I can't see a return to a full summer programme.
Probably my best recording was the departure from Normanton. 45699 was the loco.

45699 departing from Normanton. - 29th October 2015
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44871It's bath time again!

On Sunday 1st November 2015 the Railway Touring Company ran another train titled 'The Tin Bath', a name which must puzzle many.
The route as usual saw the train running through Manchester Victoria, the Hope Valley then back to Manchester via Penistone and Brighouse. Motive power was provided by Ian Riley's pair of Black 5s, 44871 & 45407 recently returned from a season working trains on the West Highland Extension.
Our first recording was of the pair, on 12 coaches, on the climb out of Manchester Victoria.

44871 & 45407 departing from Manchester Victoria. - 1st November 2015
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After that, a very scenic run via the Snake Pass and Ladybower got us to Hathersage where the train was booked to stop for a pick up; for one single passenger, I gather.
We found a suitable spot not far east of the station and got this recording of the pair departing.

44871 & 45407 departing from Hathersage.
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Then it was off to Barnsley to get a recording of the two Black 5s climbing the 1 in 50 gradient towards Penistone and went to a spot not far from the site of the long vanished Summer Lane station that we had used before.
Thanks to the very light breeze we could just hear the pair all the way down at Barnsley station but the sound soon faded away as the train entered the cutting on the first part of the climb.
Once clear of the cutting, 44871 and 45407 sound fine on the climb and even seem to be accelerating slightly on the gradient as they pass.

44871 & 45407 passing Summer Lane.
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44871We had one final recording opportunity after that.
The train stopped at Brighouse for water and once we had seen it arrive, we went to an overbridge a little way down the line where a friendly farmer allowed us access to one of his fields so we could get a little further away for our recording of the departure.
This might not be an earth shattering recording but I have to say that it was good to get out and be able to get 4 recordings of the same train and, after the various recent disappointments with diesels pushing and locos failing, to get four good recordings to boot.

44871 & 45407 departing from Brighouse.
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