THE FELLSMAN 2011

 

By Ted Buckley

 

A complete record of weeks 1 - 10 at varying locations in and around Preston, East Lancs & Ribble Valley

 

 

THE FELLSMAN

A Personal Review of 2011

 

This year, the season started on Wednesday 20th July

and The Fellsman operated every Wednesday from then

until Wednesday 14th September - a total of nine weeks.

 

According to websites, all the trains ran fully-booked,

so can we look forward to an extended season next year, I wonder?

 

The Fellsman ran from Lancaster to Carlisle “the long way round”

via Preston, Blackburn, the Ribble Valley line via Clitheroe to Hellifield,

and then over the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway.

 

The return was over the same route.

 

I photographed the morning train on the outskirts of Preston,

needing to get to work in City Centre Preston after its passing,

 

and the evening train photographed on the Ribble Valley line

between Whalley and Wilpshire.

 

Relevant timings are as follows:

 
 
Outward 1Z48
 
 
 
Lancaster
  dep. 08:08  
  Preston   arr. 08:33  
    dep. 08:35  
           
  Return 1Z49      
  Hellifield   dep. 17:52  
  Clitheroe   arr. 18:22  
    dep. 18:25  
  Blackburn   arr. 18:51  

 

 

 

 

The timing over the Ribble Valley line on the return journey was critical.

 

Normally, the local service to Manchester leaves Clitheroe on an hourly basis,

but in the early evening there are scheduled departures at 18:08 and 18:39,

the consequence of extra services from Manchester to Clitheroe in the early evening rush hour.

 

The fact that The Fellsman runs between them is only possible

thanks to the resignalling of the RV Line several years ago,

with the reinstatement of intermediate blocks, removed many years ago

creating additional paths.

 

The downside is that a late departure from Hellifield after the 20 minute water stop

led to The Fellsman being held in the Clitheroe area

until the 18:39 unit had cleared Whalley,

delaying its onward progress by around a half-hour.

 

The ‘pool' of locos allocated to haul The Fellsman was

(a) Black 5 44932, (b) 8F 48151, and (c) Royal Scot Class 46115 “Scots Guardsman”.

 

Originally, Jubilee Class 45690 “Leander” was also to be included,

but was withdrawn from service

earlier than planned for a ten-year boiler overhaul.

 

And so follows a week-by-week selection of views.

 

 

 

Week 1 – Wednesday 20th July 2011

Outward

Preston Station

 

Royal Scot class 46115, “Scots Guardsman”, awaits the right of way from platform 3.

 

On a dull, overcast day, the first train of the season arrived 7 minutes late,

and departed 10 minutes late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Langho Station

 

The weather has not improved, and neither has the timekeeping.

 

On this first week, the returning train was delayed at Clitheroe,

and ran through Langho at 19:08 approximately 30 minutes behind schedule.

 

The loco carries a garland of flowers on the smokebox, which I understand was a tribute to the late Paul Kane,

a West Coast Railway Company employee and main line steam fireman,

 

who sadly passed away on the footplate of 60019 “Bittern” last December.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 2 – Wednesday 27th July 2011

Outward

Coupe Lane Bridge, Lostock Hall

 

“Scots Guardsman” on parade again.

1Z48 has left the WCML at Farington Curve Junction to take the East Lancs line,

swinging first westwards and then climbing steeply to swing eastwards over the WCML

and through Lostock Hall station.

 

On a balmy July day, allowing say 6 minutes to this point from Preston Station,

the train passed at 08:48 , around 7 minutes behind schedule.

 

The spire of St Walburge's, Preston , the tallest parish church spire in England, can be seen in the right background.

 

It was a good job none of the assembled photographers was taking video,

as just before the train hove into sight, some adjacent workmen, repairing the footpath next to the bridge,

started up their stihl saw, almost completely drowning out the Scot's 3-cylinder beat

as she climbed purposefully up and around the curve.

 

The extent of the curve can be gauged by the fact that, for the second view (below),

I am standing on the bridge directly above the coaches to the rear of the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Proctor's Foot Crossing, Billington, just south of Whalley Arches

 

Disaster! Our injured Scot is assisted by Brush Type 4 47760, courtesy West Coast Railways.

The Scot had apparently dropped a fire brick at Carlisle, requiring the brick arch to be rebuilt when the firebox is cool.

 

The decision was taken to send her south in light steam with the class 47 doing all the hard work.

 

Despite this mishap, Billington was passed at 18:33, just 8 minutes after Clitheroe's scheduled departure time, so the train was on time.

 

Sadly, this was to be 46115's final appearance on the 2011 Fellsman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 3 – Wednesday 3rd August 2011

Outward

Coupe Lane Bridge , Lostock Hall, again

 

It had been dull earlier on in the morning, but the clouds had broken up and the sun was shining

– until just before The Fellsman appeared,

with cloud cover until just after the train had passed!

 

The imminent arrival of 1Z48 was announced by a loud slip emanating from Farington Curve Junction.

 

The train passed at 09:05 , a full half-hour after the scheduled Preston departure time,

so around 20-25 minutes behind schedule at this point.

It's a good job I'm on flexi-time!

 

I was particularly pleased to be able to photograph Black 5 number 44932,

as this loco, whilst notionally in the 2010 Fellsman loco pool, did not actually appear,

spending much of the summer in the south of England; I had not seen this loco on the main line for many a year.

 

A touch of summer – the Rose Bay Willow Herb in full bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Langho

 

44932 works hard up the 1 in 84 incline, storming across the bridge over the A666 Blackburn road.

 

The Fellsman passes at 18:37, just 12 minutes after the scheduled Clitheroe departure time.

 

I had wondered how a class 5 loco would perform over the S&C with no less then twelve fully-laden coaches,

and clearly such a loco is up to the task.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4 – Wednesday 10th August 2011

Outward

Bee Lane Bridge , Penwortham

 

On a wet morning, 8F 48151 bursts from under Skew Bridge,

almost obliterating the City of Preston skyline.

 

The southbound freightliner was headed by class 66 number 66434.

This freight follows the steamer down from Lancaster,

and, in 2010, I witnessed it often passing through Preston station,

just as the Fellsman had re-started from the station.

 

This regular occurrence precluded any photography of 1Z48

from the east side of the line from Preston's Avenham Park

or the playing fields down by the River Ribble.

 

The 8F then takes the Blackburn line at Farington Curve Jct (below)

as the freight disappears under Flag Lane Bridge.

 

The passing time was 08:53, so around 13 minutes behind schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Ramsgreave & Wilpshire station

 

The 18:08 from Clitheroe had been cancelled owing to unit failure in the station,

and the unit concerned, 156488, was dragged behind 150139, forming the 18:39 service.

The shenanigans held up 1Z49, which eventually appeared at R&W at 19:14,

some 30 minutes behind schedule,

and the rain was pouring down incessantly the whole time.

 

This week's headboard read “Railway Modeller Fellsman”.

 

Whilst the 8F had come storming around the curve and on up the grade towards R&W station,

the driver shut off completely just before the station – he must have thought he was at the top of the incline.

The photo shows the thick black smoke which was emitted immediately after he shut the regulator.

 

The train slowed visibly as it progressed through the station,

and around two thirds of the way through, the driver must have realised his error.

 

With a great roar, the regulator was fully opened again,

but, to his credit, there was no slipping on the wet rails.

 

The train then struggled slowly over the summit, some 200 yards south of the station.

 

All-in-all, it had been quite an experience, despite the rain. This was the first of four consecutive weeks featuring the 8F.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 5 – Wednesday 17th August 2011

Outward

Flag Lane Bridge, Lostock Hall

 

I arrived at the location on a bright, sunny morning at around 08:10.

8F number 48151 finally arrived at 09:03, so again 20-25 minutes late.

The sun, however, was still shining.

 

1Z48 has just taken the Blackburn line, and is accelerating away from the junction,

to tackle the climb up and over the WCML.

 

In the second photo (below), the difference in height can be gauged by contrast with the Ormskirk single line,

which leaves the Blackburn line immediately after the point,

to where the 8F has progressed in the first photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Proctor's Foot Crossing, Billington

 

On a bright sunny evening, 48151, these days named “Gauge 0 Guild”,

hauls her heavy twelve coach train off Whalley Arches,

and attacks the four miles at 1 in 84 up to Ramsgreave & Wilpshire with gusto.

 

The time was 19:05 , so the scheduled path had been lost to the 18:39 ex-Clitheroe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6 – Wednesday 24th August 2011

Outward

Flag Lane Bridge, Lostock Hall, again.

 

I arrived at the location on a bright sunny morning,

as the previous week at around 08:15.

8F number 48151 finally arrived at 09:15, so this time 35 minutes late.

 

Unlike the previous week, the sky had completely clouded over from the west,

and the sun was definitely no longer shining!

 

The bi-directional Ormskirk line can be seen coming in from the left to join the down Blackburn line.

 

Photography at this location is very limited on account of a rusty girder bridge

carrying pipework over the tracks, just out of shot above the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Vicarage Lane Bridge, Wilpshire

 

48151 rounds the curve at the top of the Langho Bank straight,

and continues to pound up towards the summit.

 

She will haul 1Z49 under this bridge carrying a farm track,

and shortly plunge into Wilpshire Tunnel.

 

The Fellsman reached this spot at 18:40, so well on time this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 7 – Wednesday 31st August 2011

Outward

Lostock Hall Station Bridge

 

48151 has left the WCML, rounded the curve, crossed over the WCML,

and is now heading eastwards downhill towards Lostock Hall station.

 

The time was 08:52 , so maybe around 10 minutes late.

 

I had imagined that the loco would be drifting down the grade at this point,

but not a bit of it – the driver had opened the regulator,

and the 8F was charging ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Station Close, Wilpshire

 

Having left Wilpshire tunnel some quarter of a mile back, 48151 storms round the curve

past the site of the former Wilpshire station, closed to passengers in 1962.

 

The concrete down platform is still in place, along with several station lamp-posts,

and part of the former station building, now a private house, can be seen on the right.

 

It had been a dull evening, and the nights were beginning to draw in,

so I was lucky to get a reasonable photograph at 19:25 ,

with 1Z49 running some forty minutes late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 8 – Wednesday 7th September 2011

Outward

No photo

(see narrartive below)

It was a dreadful start to the day, with rain coming down in torrents,

so I decided to abandon plans to photograph the outward journey.

 

As I drove into Preston , I found the weather much better there,

and I later discovered that there had been a change of loco, after four weeks with the 8F.

 

Furthermore, the loco used on this occasion was not one in the original Fellsman pool,

but one drafted in late in the season, namely Black 5 number 45231, these days named “Sherwood Forester”.

 

So I was not the happiest chap in Preston that day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

Ramsgreave & Wilpshire station, in the pouring rain.

 

Black 5 number 45231 pounds purposefully up towards the station.

 

The smoke is white, the exhaust is crisp, and the ejectors are on,

so the loco made a fine site as she stormed through and up to the nearby summit.

 

Twelve fully-laden coaches? No problem!

 

The time was 18:40 , so well on time this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 9 – Wednesday 14th September 2011 – the final week

Outward

Lostock Hall station

 

Black 5, number 45231, has a second outing on The Fellsman.

 

She bursts from under the station bridge accelerating hard through the station.

The day had started off dull and wet (again!), and had 1Z48 run to time, a dull photograph would have ensued.

 

However, by 08:56 , when The Fellsman turned up some 15 minutes behind schedule,

the sky had cleared and the sun was shining.

 

Ten minutes or so later, it was raining again.

 

It was a close shave in the weather sense,

but also, as the second photograph (below) shows, from another point of view!

 

The Black 5 had just left the platform, when a Pacer (142094) came into view

on a service bound for Blackpool South.

 

Fortunately, this was also running several minutes late

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so to Langho station for the finale.

And what a finale it was!

 

The Fellsman had been held for the 18:39 service train ex-Clitheroe,

and arrived at Langho at 19:07, some half an hour behind schedule.

 

The weather had been poor, and the nights were drawing in.

The sinking sun was covered in dark cloud, and twilight was gathering fast.

 

Despite all this, such is the pull of steam locos pounding up Langho bank,

that there were no less than twenty souls on the station,

all out to witness the spectacle, service trains having called in each direction over the previous twenty minutes.

 

The driver did not let us down; the Black 5 pounded through the station displaying awesome power,

and, as she charged on up the bank, the light dropped again, and the heavens opened.

 

I hope these photographs, although grainy on account of the necessarily high ASA setting,

capture something of the drama of the occasion.

 

It was a fitting end to the 2011 Fellsman season.