Sunday, 2 March 2014

Churnet Valley Railmotor weekend

Turns in Consall signal box are scarce this season as the railway is running fewer multi-train days. However, I was rostered signalman today for the second day of the railway's Railmotor weekend. The lovely Great Western Railmotor that co-starred with West Country pacific 'Wadebridge' at last weekend's Winter Steam Gala was running up and down the valley, together with its 'modern' equivalent, our resident DMU. The best bit was that both units were running beyond Froghall to Oakamoor. The track south of Froghall is not suitable for heavy steam locomotives but is perfectly OK for lighter vehicles, and a few years ago I rode down to Oakamoor in the DMU but it was rainy day, the unit was full, and the steamed-up windows didn't offer much of a view.

So this morning Howard (Consall station master and signalman) offered to stand in for me in the 'box while I took a ride on the steam Railmotor, which will be leaving the CVR this week.

If you click on any of these pictures, they will expand to show the picture in larger format showing more detail:

View from the cab at the non-powered end of the Railcar, at Consall 

Raining again! But the Railmotor's windows remain clear. Note the driver's hand on the remote regulator, connected to the steam power bogie at the other end of the unit 

The Churnet Valley south of Froghall is undoubtedly even more attractive than further north, with the possible exception of Consall where the valley is at its narrowest and is exquisite (but I accept I may be biased in that judgment).  

The end of the line. Just beyond the coach in the distance is the northern portal of the closed Oakamoor tunnel, beyond which was the delightful station of that name. 

Heading north, the crew were driving from the powered end, so I sat in the driver's seat in the rear cab. Here we are at the Consall station stop, Les in his hi-viz on the crossing and Howard in the box. 

Standing room only! Thankfully for the railway's finances, the Railmotor was proving popular with our passengers. 

 On reaching Leekbrook Junction at the north end of the valley, we reversed south again and I traveled in the 'engine room' next to the power bogie. This comprises a vertical boiler mounted on a 4-wheel bogie with outside cylinders and valve gear.

We stopped at the Cheddleton water tower to take water 

Looking back to Cheddleton station from our water tower stop. The Beyer Peacock saddle tank was giving footplate experience rides for £5.

After my ride up and down the valley, I thanked Howard for standing in for me and resumed my duties as rostered signal man in Consall 'box for the day.

Here are some videos taken on the Railmotor: 

Southbound down the valley:
Click here

Heading back north:
Click here

Coming into Consall:
Click here

Leaving Consall, a wave from Howard!:
Click here

Coming into Cheddleton alongside the Beyer Peacock saddle tank:
Click here

Leekbrook tunnel:
Click here

Heading south again, in the 'engine room'  next to the vertical-boilered steam engine on the power bogie:
Click here
And another similar video here



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