Saturday, 22 September 2012

Diesel Gala at Churnet Valley

Fifth training session at Consall today with Howard, and this weekend is the railway's diesel gala, so no steam locomotives unfortunately. Now quite at home in the 'box. Time to study the rule book for my exam!

Autumn in the valley. A little frost, and damp mistiness dissuaded me from going down to Consall on the bike, and the valley is changing character with the season

 Contrasts of light in the low September sun

Les and Margaret who look after Consall station prepare for the day, including lighting a welcoming wood fire in the waiting room.  Seems like the Black Lion has the same idea!

Visiting for the Gala, a Class 20 diesel from the Severn Valley Railway brings in a service from Froghall

  These Class 20 locomotives are true survivors. Introduced in the 1950s under the BR Modernisation Plan many are still in regular service both on the main line and, like D8059, on heritage railways, decades after much newer types have gone to the scrapyard.
The 20 and the DMU cross at Consall
 Howard ready to collect the Froghall token from D8059
 D2334, a Class 04, hauls the DMU (as stock) from Froghall to Consall

Greg Wilson is driving, and looking anxiously at the oil pressure gauge (which is showing zero). The loco was shut down at Consall and the DMU pushed it to Cheddleton where it was detached.

 Our leather pouch with hoop, for fast collection of the Froghall token from the loco, failed today so here Howard does the retrieval without its assistance 

The Editor of 'The Knotty' (CVR in house magazine) took this picture of me in Consall box

The '20' curves into Consall past the 'Black Lion' to cross the DMU

The DMU in low autumn sunshine

The Black Lion is well placed in the valley to catch the afternoon sun

Them beans again!

Howard paints the Consall Coach, Black Lion in the background

The other side isn't quite as advanced (my MX5, Howard's Renault in the foreground)

Here are some videos I took at Consall:

Captain Charles on the rear of a train awaits departure from Consall

Class 33 approaches, Howard takes the staff

'Captain Charles' departs Consall
'Captain Charles' in Consall station

'Captain Charles' departs Consall for Cheddleton

Class 20 arrives at Consall as a narrow boat passes on the Cauldon canal

Sunday was dry but overcast until 15:15 when the forecast rain arrived, and Howard and I were rostered to the outpost at Leekbrook, known as 'Siberia'. It has no facilities bar an unheated wooden hut, and our job was to operate the points and authorise movement of trains between the Churnet Valley line (Froghall to Leekbrook) and Moorland & City line (Leekbrook up onto the moors to Cauldon Lowe). There isn't even a ground frame at Leekbrook (well, there is, but it isn't connected) so one has to walk to each point that requires to be switched, unlock it, switch it, and re-lock it. There are no signals, just fixed stop-boards which we authorise trains (once they have the relevant token) to pass.

 Our cars at Leekbrook on Sunday, the yet-to-be-restored Leekbrook junction signal box in the background, and our hut!

'Sophie', the CVR's latest Class 33 diesel, named only yesterday at Froghall, heads for that destination out of Leekbrook on the rear of the train (so moving away from us) having come off the eight and a half mile of steep (up to 1 in 40) Moorland & City (M&S) track to Cauldon Lowe

As 'Sophie' heads south, the visiting Class 20 comes north off the Churnet valley to take the M&S tracks up to Cauldon Lowe

The other CVR Class 33, 'Captain Charles', on the front of the Froghall train

 Nick Corby, diesel driver and Consall signalman, in charge of 'Sophie'

The '20' comes off the M&C line from Cauldon Lowe onto the CVR line at Leekbrook Junction. Note the curtailed Churnet line ending at the buffer stops. That used to be the main line to Leek and on to North Rode, the northern terminus of the CVR.

 Moments after the above picture was taken, the '20' passes the M&C line to Stoke-on-Trent ready to give up the token to Howard by the signal box. The Stoke line is currently being restored as far as Endon, and then hopefully all the way to Stoke. That would enable stone trains to run from Cauldon Lowe quarries out onto the main line network via Stoke.


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