PRACTICE & PERFORMANCE
Left: : With the footplateman leaning out to get a better view, B16/3 No. 61476 passes through Elland with a Mirfield-Mytholmroyd goods on April 8, 1963.
Right: On ex-LMS territory, Stanier 8F 2-8-0 No. 48340 pounds along near Padiham power station, Lancashire, with coal empties on July 23, 1968.
platform. “The doors were not locked,” he writes, “so I got on board and settled down in a comfortable ex-LMS side corridor coach for a snooze. Some time later there was a knock on the door and in came a member of the station staff with a mug of tea!” The 10¼-mile Kirkcudbright branch left the Dumfries-Stranraer ‘Port Road’ at Castle Douglas, a 30-mile journey if the main line section to Dumfries is included. The loco was BR 4MT 2-6-0 No. 76072 and it was on the return leg at 8am from Kirkcudbright that it ran with tender leading. Even with just two coaches and a van, performance was in the best tradition of the old ‘Sou’ West’. From Castle Douglas to Dumfries, the ‘Port Road’ was double-track and well-aligned, with a summit at Lochanhead, near milepost 6. With the help of a downhill start, the Class 4 Mogul touched 52mph before braking for Dalbeattie, reached in just under eight minutes for the 5¼ miles (Table 3). Even with its paltry load, the tender-first loco must then have made the welkin ring, with speed rising to 35mph up the 1-in-80 from the restart, to 52 on the 1-in-250 through Southwick and to 57mph on the ensuing 1-in-150/200 to Kirkgunzeon (has this location ever previously featured in ‘Practice & Performance’, I wonder?). Doubtless with machine-gun exhaust from the Mogul, speed continued to rise, to 61mph on easier grades to Killywhaun and to 66mph on the ensuing 1-in-250, before a falling-off to 56 on the short 1-in-100 to Lochanhead summit. Possibly the loco was eased here as the summit
TABLE 3: C. DOUGLAS-D’FRIES
Train: 8.00am Kirkcudbright-Dumfries Loco (tender-first): BR 4MT 2-6-0 76072 Load: 3 vehicles, 73/80 tons Date: June 13, 1963 Recorder: D. Houston
Miles Timing point Actual Speed Gradient m s mph (1-in-) 0.00 CASTLE DOUGLAS 0 00 - Level 2.75 MP 17 4 23 52 100F 5.25 Dalbeattie 7 53 - 100R 2.00 Southwick 4 10 46 80R/250R 4.50 MP 10 7 00 57 150R/200R 5.50 “ 9 8 02 61 Level/450R 7.50 “ 7 9 54 66/56* 250R/100R 10.50 “ 4 12 53 60/65 73F 14.80 DUMFRIES 17 44 - Level
Notes: * at Lochanhead. R = rising, F = falling.
presaged a continuous and winding threemile descent at 1-in-73 to the low country flanking the Solway Firth. Not that the curvature had much effect on the crew of No. 76072, which was allowed to nudge all of 65mph before slowing for Dumfries. But men of the old ‘Sou’ West’ were a hardy lot and knew their mounts and difficult roads intimately. Talk of the ‘Port Road’, sadly closed in 1965, leads one across the Irish Sea to yet another tender-first run, this time by an exGreat Northern Railway (Ireland) Class U 4-4-0. Known as the ‘Irish North’ engines
TABLE 5: HARROGATE-RIPON
Train: 9.38pm Harrogate-Ripon 11.15pm Leeds-Topcliffe Loco (D49/4 4-4-0): No. 62753 The Belvoir (tender first) No. 62727 The Quorn (chimney first) Load: 3 coaches, 75/80 tons 6 vehicles, 147½/155 tons Date: August 31, 1955 September 4, 1955 Recorder: N. Proudlock N. Proudlock
Miles Timing point Sched. Actual Speed Sched. Actual Speed min. m s mph min. m s mph 0.00 HARROGATE 0 0 00 - 0 0 00 1.75 Bilton 3 43 46 4 20 45/40 3.45 Nidd Bridge  6 15 37 6 10 60 6.60 Wormald Green 10 40 45 9 20 60 9.70 Littlethorpe 14 43 50 12 25 61 11.50 RIPON 17 17 30 - 16 14 55
Notes:  = 2min recovery time . Gradients: favourable, with 1-in-66 downhill start.
22 • The Railway Magazine • April 2009
TABLE 4: SKERRIES-DUBLIN
Train: 10.25 Mosney-Dublin excursion Loco (tender-first): U 4-4-0 No. 199 Lough Derg Load: 5 coaches, c155 tons full Date: June 24, 1961 Recorder: D. Houston
Miles Timing point Actual Speed Gradient m s mph (1-in-) 1.95 MP 16 (summit) 4 24 40 150R/333R 3.95 Rush & Lusk 6 48 56/60 173F/163F 6.45 Donabate 9 23 55 400R 8.95 Malahide 12 20 43 Level/200R 13.15 Howth Jct 17 30 52 Level/200R 14.25 Raheny 18 48 48 200R/313R 15.60 Killester 20 27 42/45 213F 17.30 East Wall Jct 23 00 - * sigs 173F/800F 17.85 AMIENS ST 24 58
Notes: R = rising, F = falling.
because of their association with the Enniskillen area, the original Us were slight of stature, weighing just 44 tons 6 cwt: with 5ft 9in driving wheels, 18in x 24in inside cylinders and 175lb boiler pressure, their nominal tractive effort was a mere 16,765lb. Later versions built in 1948 had Stanier-style tenders and, initially, 200lb pressure, although this was subsequently reduced to 175lb, presumably to reduce maintenance costs. David Houston’s log features CIE-owned U No. 199 Lough Derg returning to Dublin with a Saturday ‘extra’ from the station serving Mosney holiday camp, adjacent to the BelfastDublin main line. It was because there were no turning facilities at Mosney that blue-liveried No. 199 was running in reverse: one of the 1915 batch, it would have had a low tender. From Skerries, the train was non-stop along the main line to Dublin Amiens Street (now Connolly) and this section of Mr Houston’s run is summarised in Table 4. With five lightweight but full coaches, the gross load was probably a little over 150 tons. On the initial climb out of Skerries, speed rose to 40mph, before increasing rapidly to 60 on the descent to the coast at Rush and Lusk. Gentle gradients with a rising tendency then saw a gradual decline in speed to 43mph at Malahide and, after 52mph at Howth Junction, the second minor summit, at Raheny, was cleared at 48mph. Signals were briefly ‘on’ The world’s longest running railway series, established 1901
TABLE 6: SALISBURY-ANDOVER
Train: 14.26 special train Loco (tender-first): 4472 Flying Scotsman Load: 6 coaches, 211/220 tons Date: June 20, 1987 Recorder: D. Veltom
Miles Timing point Actual Speed Gradient m s mph (1-in) 0.00 SALISBURY 0 00 - L/610R 1.80 MP 81¾ 3 53 47 733R 4.55 “ 79 7 09 49 169R 6.55 “ 77 9 41 47 140R/245R 7.55 “ 76 10 54 51 245R 8.55 “ 75 12 02 54/57 735R 10.30 “ 73¼* 13 55 55 440R 12.55 “ 71 16 05 69 165F 13.55 “ 70 16 58 67 264F 17.25 ANDOVER 21 35
Notes: *summit; R = rising, F = falling
at East Wall Junction before the ‘special’ drew to a stand at Amiens Street in 25min for the 17¾ miles from Skerries. Moving back ‘across the water’ into England, we come to a couple of ‘snippets’ timed by Noel Proudlock between Harrogate and Ripon, on the now-closed ‘Leeds Northern’. The locos were again 4-4-0s, although these three-cylinder 66-ton D49s in the rotary-cam poppet-valve ‘Hunt’ series were comparable in size and power with the GNR (I) Class V compounds rather than the insidecylinder U class. The first column in Table 5 shows The Belvoir running tender-first, while The Quorn, in the second, was the normal way about. Topcliffe, the destination of the second train, was on a branch linking Melmerby, north of Ripon, and Thirsk, on the East Coast Main Line. The Quorn had nearly double the load of The Belvoir and was a little slower on the sharply downhill start from Harrogate; but, on the favourable section beyond, it quickly overtook its ‘back-to-front’ rival by attaining just over 61mph. No. 62753 was held to the 45mph limit until a brief spell at 50mph through Littlethorpe, at the approach to Ripon. Thus No. 62727 was 2½min quicker to the Ripon stop, while the tender-first 4-4-0 lost half-a-minute on schedule, despite the inclusion of two minutes’ recovery time. Although the June 1955 Trains Illustrated carried a photograph of the A4 Sir Murrough Wilson negotiating the points and crossings of Newcastle tender-first as pilot to a K1 Mogul on a coal train, one does not associate mighty East Coast Pacifics with such indignity. At least, not until the preservation era: in June 1987, Flying Scotsman operated a special shuttle service between Salisbury and Andover, running in the up direction with tender to the wind. David Veltom was on the ‘special’ on June 20 and has sent me a very detailed log, summarised in Table 6. At that time, No. 4472
had a single chimney and one tender. (Propelling the two tenders with which it had been paired a decade or so earlier would have been intriguing!). Mr Veltom’s notes include the comment “one slip, then hard” – although a singlechimney A3 was a vocal beast and could give the impression it was going harder than it actually was. With only six coaches behind
“Flying Scotsman accelerated to 57mph before dashing up to no less than 69mph – tender-first! – downhill to Andover”
the smokebox, a minimum of 47mph on the 1-in-140 past Porton was acceptable but not outstanding with six coaches. On the gentler grades to the summit at MP73¼, No. 4472 accelerated to 57mph before dashing up to no less than 69mph – tender-first! – downhill to Andover. The driver doubtless knew what he was doing; that he exceeded the 45mph limit by more than 50 per cent is too long ago to be of consequence now and, with ‘black boxes’ and rigorous attention to safety, it would not happen today. So, what is the highest speed ever attained by a tender-first working in Britain? Perhaps the ultimate in tender-first operation occurred during World War Two when the Austerity Q1 0-6-0s of the Southern Railway were brandnew. Their designer, O.V.S. Bulleid, had given them tender-cabs for regular reverse running, but there were rumblings of discontent among some of the footplate crews concerning the safety aspects of such practice. So, to reassure them, Bulleid staged a demonstration from Ashford to Maidstone and back with No. C21. The authors of the RCTS’s ‘Locomotives of the Southern Railway’ put the speed of this trial run at 55-65mph – but Bulleid’s son and biographer, H.A.V. Bulleid, confirms that not only did his father ride on the loco but that the tender-first 0-6-0 reached no less than 75mph! The drivers’ objections to tender-first running by Q1s were promptly withdrawn!
Bulleid Q1 No. 33001 pauses at Sharnal Street station, Kent, on June 18, 1960.
JOHN PHILLIPS/DUNCAN CHANDLER COLLN.
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