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faulcon1

Preservation Great Train Race

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In the UK with a fair few preserved steam locos mainline certificated I'm surprised that you "poms" haven't taken a leaf out of the Australian book and staged a Great Train Race. Although it's called a race the locos aren't going all out in an actual race. It's just parallel running but on the main line usually close to a major city. There are diesels on the rear of each of the trains taking part. You can have two trains "racing" or three or four. 

Ours (in Australia) happens on an annual basis usually one in Sydney and the other at Newcastle during their Annual Steam Festival.

Here's is a couple of videos to show you what I mean and that even in a totally nanny state that New South Wales has become it is still possible.

 

The "race" was from Sydney to Strathfield and the Garratt was deemed to have won. The green loco 3526 was one of 35 two cylinder locos built in 1914 although she entered service on the 29/3/1917. So she is 101 years old. She is the only survivor and for UK standards has quite small wheels for an express passenger loco of 5'9". The Garratt 6029 is a baby by comparison having been built in the UK in 1953. She is one of 42 Garratts and 4 survive in preservation, 6029, 6039, 6040 and 6042. She entered service on the 24/4/1954. Going on when she was built she is 65 years old. The "DC" on the left side of  her number stands for "Dual Control" which in steam days meant that she could run in either direction with the crew facing the direction of travel. The two "crosses" on the right side of her number mean she is fitted with enlarged cylinders and that happened with her conversion to dual control on the 17/2/1959. She was withdrawn from mainline service in September 1972 and condemned on the 4/1/1973. In her steam days service she traveled 996,827km. She was never designed to haul passenger trains, she was bought to haul goods train especially coal trains. 6029 is the only Garratt of the 60 class that has been returned to operational condition. She has driving wheels of 4'71/2" and she weighs 260 tons and requires a turntable of 120' diameter.

 

We are on board 3265 one of four 32 class locos to have survived 3203, 3214, 3237 and 3265. She is the youngest of the four being built by Beyer Peacock on the 6/1/1902 as a saturated loco. She was superheated on the 30/6/1933 and withdrawn in January 1968. She was condemned on the 21/10/1968. She has a new boiler fitted to her which was constructed in Australia at the time the biggest job the engineering company had taken on. Although the race looks fast it's certainly no faster than 100kph or 60 mph. 3265 has driving wheels diameter of just 5' and although initially bought for express passenger working the class of 171 locos worked all types of train including goods and pick up goods trains.

 

 

This video shows 3642 returning from this years Maitland Annual Steam Festival climbing Cowan Bank. This is like running the full length of the Worth Valley Railway in that the bank is five miles long but steeper at 1 in 40 with steeper sections and twice as many tunnels (four instead of two). Unusually the loco tackles the climb with no diesel assistance.

The tunnels are known as Boronia Tunnels one to four. Originally there were five tunnels but Boronia number five was bypassed many years ago. You can see it's portal just after the passing of the second diesel hauled coal train. It's to the left of the up mainline which the 36 is slogging away on. The lines are now bi directional to allow faster moving passenger trains to overtake diesel hauled freight trains. Yes the diesels also have to slog their way up Cowan Bank. The line climbs 616 ft from Hawkesbury River to Cowan and it snakes around many 11 and 12 chain curves.

3642 is one of 75 36class and three survive. 3609, 3616 fitted with a Giesel ejector in 1957 and 3642. She has driving wheel diameters of 5'9" for our steeply graded mainlines. She was built in Sydney in 1926 and withdrawn in 1969. She is 92 years old and has recently been retired from operational status. 3616 is the next 36 (being worked on now) for operational status. She's slightly younger at 91 years of age.

Edited by faulcon1
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I think they do something similar (parallel running) in Germany, in the Black Forest. Search for parallelfahrt schwarzwald for videos.

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In the UK with a fair few preserved steam locos mainline certificated I'm surprised that you "poms" haven't taken a leaf out of the Australian book and staged a Great Train Race.

 

You mean something like this?

 

On your marks, Get set, GO!

 

https://youtu.be/PVr-ImqEkgw?t=23

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Do any parts exist that could be used to get either of the other 3 garratts back on the rails or would they have to be all made from scratch.

I don't know about spare parts they'd all be gone by now but all the other surviving Garratts exist in one piece so to speak. They are all complete but that doesn't mean they can operate. They'd all need a heavy overhaul with many replacement parts having to be made from new. But to operate them like 6029 one needs a lot of cash. It's said that one bunker of coal alone cost $10,000. Unlike the South African Garratts and that includes the NGG's on the Welsh Highland where they only have a water tank over the front engine unit, the 60 class have the same plus a water/coal space over the rear or hind unit. The 60 class are far from economical runners and on longer tours an old petrol tank wagon has been converted to a new role of holding water. Coal consumption isn't economical either and the locos have an automatic stoker they aren't manually fired. In the old days a 60 class on a coal train had it's stoker fail. The crew hand fired it to the end of it's journey. They then just slid off the engine suffering from fatigue and total exhaustion.

Edited by faulcon1

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must be one hell of a climb to be brought down to a crawl for so many miles

Although the ruling gradient is 1 in 40 there are steeper sections of 1 in 37. Now although the Lickey Incline is 1 in 37 that gradient is only 2 miles long and arrow straight. Cowan Bank is 5 miles long and far from straight. The load behind the 36 is a "water gin" which is the half round tank wagon and five heavy mainline coaches. I think even a Duchess would find the going hard on that gradient. In the old days standard goods 2-8-0 banking locos were stationed at Hawkesbury River to assist trains up the gradient.

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You mean something like this?

 

On your marks, Get set, GO!

 

https://youtu.be/PVr-ImqEkgw?t=23

Yes something like that but all participants being steam. You could have in a four engine race an A3 or A4, Merchant Navy or West Country, A Duchess or a Princess and a King or Castle with all trains being run for the benefit of the general public not just steam fans. In other words no pre-booked tickets. Show up on the day and buy a ticket. 

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I've done it several times in Germany and Switzerland, but it will never happen in the UK, too few places bidirectionally signalled with few enough trains for it not to get in the way, too many problems with tresspass, absolutely no leaning out of windows (much less shaking hands with those in the opposite coach) and the costs would be astronomical.

 

Jon

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I did daydream about a pre-opening event on HS2 when it’s finished but no public trains, with Tornado racing Prince Of Wales side-by-side....

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I've done it several times in Germany and Switzerland, but it will never happen in the UK, too few places bidirectionally signalled with few enough trains for it not to get in the way, too many problems with tresspass, absolutely no leaning out of windows (much less shaking hands with those in the opposite coach) and the costs would be astronomical.

 

Jon

 

 

 

 

The usual British bureaucracy, H & S and all that, plus the other anti's that seem to come out of the woodwork would preclude this kind of thing.   Somewhere though shrouded in the mists of time, was there not a publicity type picture of such an event?   The NYC had one on the Waterlevel Route ages ago!

 

Brian. 

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Actually the great train race in Sydney has just featured on Quest in the UK! 

 

Where in the UK has double track bi-directional-y signalled and a gap of over an hour between trains that would even make that possible? We saw from the tresspass incidents when the overrated apple green engine was first out and about that trespass and the general public is a problem.

 

Jon

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We'd probably have a better chance on a paired by direction 4 track - and in fact didn't VTEC do that kind of stunt north of York a while back?

 

That video of the 36 climbing Cowan bank - if I were a dinosaur, I'd have been honoured that my remains might be used for such a purpose. An excellent use of coal.

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You may have seen on the side of the Garratt's frame small white rectangles which are actually self adhesive reflective strips. You may have noticed that the carriages have them too. Our level crossing only have half barriers like they do in the US and some have no barriers at all. There is no slow approach and stop for trains here. People will frequently try to beat trains on the crossings and some pay the price for doing so.

Also 3526 is at last in her proper livery. For years she carried royal blue with gold lining but that was incorrect. The 35's only carried that livery and only a few of them carried it 3526 being one of the few but in her original condition or as built condition to haul the Caves Express in the 30's. She was rebuilt in the 1940's and out shopped in lined green the livery she now wears. Oddly enough she and her sisters were designed by a Mr E.E Lucy who trained........on the G.W.R His wife had terrible joint problems and her doctor told him to get his wife out of England to somewhere much warmer. So Lucy got a job as the Chief Mechanical Engineer on the New South Wales Government Railways.

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We'd probably have a better chance on a paired by direction 4 track - and in fact didn't VTEC do that kind of stunt north of York a while back?.

Virgin took advantage of an ECML possession in the Thirsk area (which meant rail replacement busses were in use anyway thus no extra disruption to passengers) to stage a bit of parallel running just north of York.

 

There is no way track capacity exsists to do this on a regular basis in the UK (nor even just 2 trains racing side by side as per the Australian experience).

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Get Hardwicke, Stirling Single No.1, Caley No.123 and NER No.1621 back in steam, match them up with some surviving WCJS/ ECJS carriages and stage an exhibition re-run of the Races to the North....

 

.... well, I can dream, can't I?

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Its a common event in Germany, Heres what it looks like from the train...

 

I did this once in horrendous rain at Day 2 of Dampfspektakel Trier in 2018, then again on the opposite train on days.

 

It was much better weather on day 3... notice the line of photographers wedged between the two trains ! At 3.47seconds as it passes Trier Sud.

 

 

It included several miles parralell running including over taking, apologies up front for the wind noise on the rainy day on day 2, but heres the other side of the train here.. apologies the videos rubbish but the excitement isnt

 

 

And the runpast / overtake

 

Its fun when you pass steam on the mainline too..

 

Edited by adb968008
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Perhaps in the UK it's the suing culture that now rules. Perhaps that's what frightens the authorities is this culture of a guaranteed lottery type win if you have some sort of mishap that you can blame on someone else. In the 60's yes it was different. You could ride in open wagons on little used freight only lines and when the Drummond T9 and Caley Single 123 went to the Bluebell on the third rail network photographers streamed off the platform onto the permanent way. Even Ivo Peters said he was waiting for a bright flash and a cloud of smoke as a photographer stepped on something they shouldn't have, namely the third rail.

If the authorities told people if you act in a foolish way and injure yourself you aren't entitled to any compensation whatsoever from either network rail or the owners and operators of the steam trains. People these days don't want to take any responsibility for their own actions. It always has to be someone else fault so I can get money out of them. If that culture was terminated quite a lot of things that were once common place could become common place again.

Perhaps also in the UK and I don't mean this unkindly there is a culture of "we can't do this". Rather than look for solutions to problems we'll just say "too much H&S, other regulations so we can't possibly do this". 

 

I like those German clips although they seem to like very parallel running which does make it a bit too smokey for passengers on the trains as no one is going to have the windows closed. The Germans have a very busy rail network and they seem to manage it and this steam parallel running isn't something that happens every weekend. It may happen once a year. So you have an altered timetable. People are used to that with permanent way work, late running trains, accidents. But in the UK "oh we can't do that". 

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I've done it several times in Germany and Switzerland, but it will never happen in the UK, too few places bidirectionally signalled with few enough trains for it not to get in the way, too many problems with tresspass, absolutely no leaning out of windows (much less shaking hands with those in the opposite coach) and the costs would be astronomical.

 

Jon

I didn't see any shaking of hands with the people in the carriage opposite either in Australia or the clips from Germany. If people trespass and get run down then that's their problem. Look at the girl in the US who was standing right on the sleeper end with the UP 4-8-4 coming at high speed towards her and it knocked her down and killed her. That's not a problem for the UP it was her problem. People trespass onto the railway lines all the time and you don't see trains being banned because of it.  

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But then there are different laws, rules and responsibilities.

 

In the UK it is the railway's responsibility to ensure that people and animals cannot stray onto the rails.  Any failure is the fault of NR and makes them open to being sued.

In Germany it is the individuals responsibility to keep off the rails and a landowners' responsibility to keep his stock fenced in.  Any failure is a tragedy.

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In Trier the track was too far apart for handshakes, similarly with that metal pole which is a signal between the trains at frequent intervals... it was quite close enough !

 

However chatting to one Dutch enthusiast, he mentioned an occasion where the footplate crew filmed one loco, and footplate then passed the camera to the parallel loco whom did the same.

 

Here in the UK there’s no chance, Doors have to be locked & windows closed, passengers are not permitted to stand in carriage corridors whilst the train is in motion. This was introduced following WCRCs SPAD incident when Tangmere passed a red light, though there is no link between the incident and passengers actions, other than their ability to witness it.

 

I gave up UK Mainline steam because I disagree that all windows need be shut, and ask permission to go to the toilet on a slow moving steam train, yet on any GWML/ECML/MML service in rush hour one is forced to stand and can open and be at a window on a 125mph service. The UK is exclusive in this behaviour, with no precedent as to why, in 50 years of Mainline steam there has only ever been 1 fatality at a carriage window, which was in dubious circumstance in the middle of a tunnel on a Holyhead run with Scotsman in the early 1990’s.. the result was prison bars on windows for a decade... only in Britain does this hysteria exist, which is maliced by desire for control & self protection rather than care of any individual. i’m Frankly amazed we still sell tea in an open container.

Edited by adb968008
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There is a ~5minute section of the 90 years of class 01, about 12 minutes in here https://www.swr.de/eisenbahn-romantik/archiv/ebr-sofa-teil-zwei/-/id=2250046/did=17119396/nid=2250046/g95vcp/index.html

 

And from about 6 in minutes here on the Gotthard 

 

Both were really good trips. I've done perhaps 250miles behind mainline steam in the UK, yet thousands of KM (probably tens of thousand) in Germany.

 

Jon

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Actually the great train race in Sydney has just featured on Quest in the UK! 

 

Where in the UK has double track bi-directional-y signalled and a gap of over an hour between trains that would even make that possible? We saw from the tresspass incidents when the overrated apple green engine was first out and about that trespass and the general public is a problem.

 

Jon

 

If that is the same programme I watched the other day (and I think it is), there was a bizarre incident where one of the trains stopped because the Driver thought they were on the 'wrong line', only to realise that they were not and to then restart. I would seriously question the Driver's route knowledge, assuming of course that what was shown in the programme was the full story.

 

Anyway, given that the trains in such a 'race' have to obey line speed limits, loco and vehicle maximum speeds, and signals, it is not actually a race at all. I do agree that two steam trains running parallel would be a great sight, but as others have said there are few if any locations in the UK where that could be achieved, not without seriously disrupting normal traffic anyway, with of course the risk of trespassers. 

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Didn't that occur a few years ago with a steam hauled train & another engine (black 5 ?) & support coach on a 4 line section ?

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Perhaps in the UK it's the suing culture that now rules. Perhaps that's what frightens the authorities is this culture of a guaranteed lottery type win if you have some sort of mishap that you can blame on someone else. In the 60's yes it was different. You could ride in open wagons on little used freight only lines and when the Drummond T9 and Caley Single 123 went to the Bluebell on the third rail network photographers streamed off the platform onto the permanent way. Even Ivo Peters said he was waiting for a bright flash and a cloud of smoke as a photographer stepped on something they shouldn't have, namely the third rail.

If the authorities told people if you act in a foolish way and injure yourself you aren't entitled to any compensation whatsoever from either network rail or the owners and operators of the steam trains. People these days don't want to take any responsibility for their own actions. It always has to be someone else fault so I can get money out of them. If that culture was terminated quite a lot of things that were once common place could become common place again.

Perhaps also in the UK and I don't mean this unkindly there is a culture of "we can't do this". Rather than look for solutions to problems we'll just say "too much H&S, other regulations so we can't possibly do this". 

 

I like those German clips although they seem to like very parallel running which does make it a bit too smokey for passengers on the trains as no one is going to have the windows closed. The Germans have a very busy rail network and they seem to manage it and this steam parallel running isn't something that happens every weekend. It may happen once a year. So you have an altered timetable. People are used to that with permanent way work, late running trains, accidents. But in the UK "oh we can't do that". 

 

Maybe it's the fact that the railways in the UK are trying to run a service for tens of millions of people and thousands of freight trains rather than being used as a plaything for people to play with trains.

 

You can do this sort of thing in Australia and the USA as nobody uses the railways. Try to explain to millions of commuters that the fact they can't get to work, go home, go on holiday, get to the football match, etc. is because some idiot wants to take over a railway to play with "choo choo trains". There would be a riot.

 

It was bad enough a few months ago when Flying Scrapiron closed Victoria by setting off the smoke alarms. Things like that are more likely to get the whole lot banned. And quite rightly too.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44324691

 

 

It's not "elf and safety gone mad" or "suing culture" it's called common sense.

 

 

 

Jason

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Maybe it's the fact that the railways in the UK are trying to run a service for tens of millions of people and thousands of freight trains rather than being used as a plaything for people to play with trains.

 

You can do this sort of thing in Australia and the USA as nobody uses the railways. Try to explain to millions of commuters that the fact they can't get to work, go home, go on holiday, get to the football match, etc. is because some idiot wants to take over a railway to play with "choo choo trains". There would be a riot.

 

I beg to differ, try saying no one uses the railways when standing at Wynard station in Sydney, or Grand Central or Penn station in NYC, or for that matter tha Altamont express into SF.

 

We have a high degree of concentration at greater density, but only at select choke points on our network... if you stand at Reddish South at 9am your in for a lonely wait.

 

Just because a country is bigger than the UK doesnt diminish its abilities to handle concentrated traffic volumes at choke points in exactly the same way as the UK, and just because the UK is small with a lot of railways doesnt mean every line us well used.

 

Its mentality thats the issue preventing activities such as paralell running steam from occuring., theres 4 tracks out of Manchester Victoria climbing platting bank, and not much using them on a sunday, indeed London Cannon street has nothing at all on a sunday.

 

The UK does have its occasional moments though, by accident than design I have this video of 46233 passing 4464 at Rugby a few years back. Turn up your volume, theres a lot of whistling..

Https://youtu.be/FNZLRW90z2U

 

You have to remember UK railways are pretty unique in their matrix of Network, competing operators and compensation culture. The spirit of cooperation is largely negated by competing interests, as such unusual events require humungous amounts of cooperation and planning. Theres not many countries where track access is maintained by a seperate entity to that of which who operates the trains.

 

The second part is steam charters elsewhere are preservation orientated community events, this is how the movement started in the UK. However in the last decade steam has moved quite considerably into commercial retail for profit activity, to the point most preserved steam locos are off the network, and those that remain are mostly owned by for commercial profit entities. Theres no incentive to run paralell, or run plandampf as theres no extra money in it for the effort.. they can get the same doing what they always do.

 

Finally its the country itself, many occasions these events overseas are subsidized by regional and local governments to benefit the community. The UK is to poor for this kind of support for events in the community, quite simply the furore that would be created if a government body was to subsidize this activity over a humanitarian need or minority support activity would be too great, community spirit for benefit of all isnt something that exists anymore unless its at a National level, something which railways activities would never get focus. Events like Shildon 175, Rainhill 150 and GW150 will probably never happen again.

 

Its nothing to do with how many people use the railways, even Dampfspektakle in Trier had to tone down its Monday operation to fit commuter services, and moved to freightlines instead, its about planning to suit what you can do and having the spirit & support to do it.

 

You should grab what you can when you can here, for example another page in history closes in two weeks, when 9466 retires from the mainline, by taking a 3 coach charter up the Greenford line and onto the Chiltern line.

Edited by adb968008
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