By Don Benn
I make no apology for covering the work of Tornado again in this issue and in fact the theme is LNER locos on the GWR, which the Swindon fraternity might indeed feel requires an apology! It isn’t just that
No. 60163 is a fine engine but trips out behind it are virtually certain to be diesel-free as DBC has no need for one except in the most unusual circumstances.
I have also included a run behind No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley back in 2008 when most Steam Dreams trains ran diesel-free and on a day when Ray Churchill turned in another of his virtuoso performances. The two make for interesting comparisons with both running fast down the GWR main line to Bristol.
On March 1, UK Railtours ran ‘The Saint David’ from Paddington to Cardiff behind Tornado and this ran via Bath and Bristol East returning via Chepstow and Sapperton. I opted to join the train at Slough and before I arrived there I got the news from Alan Rawlings that the London departure was going to be delayed due to a freight train failure blocking the empty stock move. No. 60163 appeared eventually with 11 coaches for 430 tons full on a cloudy and windy day running 40 minutes late. Wayne Thompson was in the driving seat ably assisted by Jim Clarke on the shovel with TI Geoff Ewans overseeing and the A1 Trust’s Graeme Bunker also on the footplate.
Hope of even time
A gentle run to Reading saw us leave there just over 38 late with every chance of time recovery and the hope of maybe an even time run to the Swindon stop. Table One shows the details as far as Bristol. We left on the relief line but crossed to the main line at Tilehurst East Junction as booked. Up the gentle climb of the Thames valley we were doing 70mph by just after Goring and a full 75mph by Didcot, reaching even time before Steventon, 20.50 miles.
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