With the Settle & Carlisle line fully reopened on March 31, the first steam train to be operated by one of the regular tour promoters was the Railway Touring Company’s ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’ on April 22.
The train was to follow the established format with Class 86 electric No. 86259 Les Ross heading the train from Euston to Carnforth, where steam would come on and run north over Shap to Carlisle, then south over the S&C before handing over to the Class 86 at Farington Junction.
For the second time in recent weeks, the Class 86 was failed on shed at Willesden with Class 47 No. 47746 at the wrong end of the stock at Euston and unable to run round. Fortunately, this time, it was possible to despatch Class 87 electric No. 87002 to Euston to haul the train to Wembley where the Class 47 was able to run round and take over the train, departing from Wembley 98 minutes late.
The expectation was that No. 47746 would work through to Carlisle with steam running light to Carlisle and working southbound only from there to Farington Junction. However it became clear that the engine change was still going to be at Carnforth but that hopefully all the lost time could be regained by taking the Upperby curve and avoiding turning at Carlisle.
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