Out at the Lineside

46115One of my earliest recordings (with a mono cassette recorder) was of 'Scots Guardsman' a loco which I first saw stored at Carlisle Kingmoor then later at Haworth and Dinting from where it managed a couple of main line outings before disappearing from the main line scene with little likelyhood of returning, or so we thought...

On 11th November 1978 I spent a day at York where I recall, it was very foggy.
Late in the afternoon LMS Rebuilt Scot 4-6-0 6115 'Scots Guardsman', heard from the end of Platform 15 departs into the fog heading west with one of the two trains it ever worked on the main line.
At the time I thought I might never get the chance to record a Scot again!

6115 departing from York. 11th November 1978
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In the 1980s I spent a lot of my spare time riding around the country behind steam locos on the main line so got very few chances to make recordings from the lineside; I did get lots of on-train recordings though.
However, one feature of steam charters, now no longer permitted apparently, that did allow the occasional lineside recording was the photo run past.

On 19th March 1983 after a very good run from Hellifield with 46229, at Appleby we had two runs past. Here's a recording of one of them.

46229 performing a run past at Appleby. 19th March 1983
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4472For most of 1985 the A3 Pacific 4472 'Flying Scotsman' had been undergoing overhaul at Carnforth but had been expected to take its turn working trains out of Marylebone during the later part of the year.
These repairs weren't completed in time and it wasn't until after Christmas that the loco was ready.
The A3 headed south on 27th December 1985 with it's support coach and a saloon but, from Leeds, the loco also had a further 9 coaches added which were to go ECS to Tyseley.
The route out of Leeds was via Wakefield Westgate which meant that 'Flying Scotsman' had to take this 11 coach train up the 1 in 100 gradient to Ardsley.
Sadly, 4472 was not being worked particularly hard as can be heard in this recording made about half a mile from Ardsley tunnel but, as this route saw A3s working Leeds to Kings Cross trains in steam days, it was nice to get the opportunity to see and record this.
We made further recording of the loco on the climb out of Sheffield but 'Scotsman' was being worked no harder than it had been on the climb out of Leeds and later, we heard that there was a reason for the locomotive being worked so easily. Apparently there was a problem with the regulator which was preventing it from opening fully.

4472 near Beeston on the climb out of Leeds. 27th December 1985
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7029During the weekend of 7/8th June 1986 the Birmingham Railway Museum ran a series of trains between Tyseley and Stratford-upon-Avon and motive power for these trains was provided by GWR Castle 4-6-0 7029 'Clun Castle' and LMS Jubilee 4-6-0 5593 'Kohlapur'.
With the final train of the day on 8th June 'Clun Castle' is heard not far from Wood End Tunnel making a very fine sound climbing the gradient to the summit at Earlswood.

7029 near Wood End. 8th June 1986
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35028For some time previously the Settle - Carlisle line had been under threat of closure and, by the beginning of 1989 a closure date in May had been announced. In view of this much of the steam programme for the first part of the year was centred on the line. In addition fares for these trains had been increased to £38 with the 'final' trains in May selling at what was then a massive £50 a seat, double the cost of trains in the previous year.
While these prices sound like bargains now, in 1989 they were very high indeed so, on 7th January 1989 I decided to do a bit of lineside recording for ex SR Merchant Navy Pacific 35028 'Clan Line' heading north over the line.
I started at Horton in Ribblesdale where I got a fairly average recording of the train passing in the fog then, thanks to the train having a long stop at Appleby, I was able to catch the following service train and get another recording of 35028 departing for Carlisle.
By this time steam heating was not an option since no one was prepared to maintain a reliable steam heat circuit in what steam heated stock was available and, rather than have a diesel loco attached to the train we had ETHEL!
The ETHEL train heating units were a bit of a nightmare for sound recordists. These units were Class 25 diesels with their traction motors removed; ETHEL being short for Electric Train Heating Ex Locomotive and a noisier diesel could hardly have been found.

35028 departing from Appleby. 7th January 1989
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Ais GillBy the mid 1990s I'd started travelling a bit less and getting to the lineside a little more.

Ex LMS Princess Royal Pacific 46203 'Princess Margaret Rose' worked a southbound Cumbrian Mountain Express on 28th August 1993 and is heard in this lineside recording going particularly well climbing the gradient from Mallerstang and passing Ais Gill.

46203 passing Ais Gill. 28th August 1993
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One of the most hyped events in 1994 was the visit of GWR Castle 5029 'Nunney Castle' to the north culminating in two runs north & southbound over the S&C. Great Western fans were certain that the Castle would show us all how good it was and that our northern hills would be flattened by this fine machine. Others were not so sure!
The northbound run took place on 12th February 1994 and this is how the Castle sounded making a steady ascent passing Selside. The rumbling audible as the rear of the train passes is a Class 47 diesel attached there but only there to provide power for the electrical train heating (honest!).
A run southbound a month later, on which I was unfortunate enough to be a passenger, was even less successful when the Castle stalled short of steam not far from Kirkby Stephen though the writing had been clearly on the wall for not long after the start from Appleby!

5029 passing Selside. 12th February 1994
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A day with two LMS Pacifics out on the main line tempted me out to the lineside even though it was the same day as the Grand National!
Having recorded 46229 on the climb to Diggle earlier in the day followed by a brief visit to the East Lancs Railway, the second LMS pacific out on the main line was 46203 'Princess Margaret Rose' returning from Carlisle with Cumbrian Mountain Express.
The loco sounds fine near Langho climbing Whalley Bank.

46203 climbing Whalley Bank. 30th March 1996
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48151With the successful completion of much of the track refurbishment which culminated in a 4 week possession of the Settle - Carlilse line in November 2000 Railtrack decided to mark the event and generate some rare positive publicity for themselves by operating a steam hauled ballast train from Hellifield to Carlisle using David Smith's ex LMS 8F2-8-0 48151.
I have to admit that when I first heard about this I was sure that it had to be a wind-up since Railtrack have never been particularly pro-steam. However, on 19th December 2000 the train, reporting number 7P50, made up of 20 Dogfish wagons with a brake van at each end was booked to leave Hellifield at 8.55 am taking the empty wagons up to Ribblehead for loading with stockpiled ballast still remaining at the temporary depot set up there.
The weather could have been worse, but not much, at least it stayed reasonably dry but it was very dull and there was a moderate south easterly wind which made recording a little difficult at times for a first recording near Selside where the 8F was making very easy work of the 20 empty wagons.
On arrival at Ribblehead 48151 and train set back into the siding at the west side of the station and loading of the wagons commenced.
As the train wasn't due to leave until 12.57 we had plenty of time (or so we thought) to go for a cup of tea.
Returning to Ribblehead at about 12.00 we thought that we would have plenty of time to find a suitable spot somewhere near Blea Moor signal box. However, as we walked up the path we were somewhat dismayed to hear the unmistakable sounds of an 8F preparing to depart while we tried to assure each other that they were probably only shunting!
It soon became obvious that this was not the case so, it was out with the recorder, find a bit of shelter and hope for the best - and only just in time.
Since I was, for various (mainly financial) reasons unable to get any successful recordings of my own in 'real' steam days it was nice to get this one.
Despite the conditions the recording that I got was excellent.
48151 was audible right from the start at Ribblehead and all the way into Blea Moor Tunnel.
Now with loaded wagons behind the tender the 8F sounds to be having to work far harder than it did in the previous recordings once off the easier gradients over Ribblehead Viaduct and on to the 1 in 100 gradient past Blea Moor Signal Box. And the weather was a little brighter too.
It would be nice to think that this sort of thing might happen again. If it does, whatever the weather, I'll be there!

48151 passing Blea Moor on freight. 19th December 2000
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