Storm in a Settle & Carlisle water column

By Cedric Johns

News that West Coast has been using Merchant Navy 4-6-2 No. 35018 British India Line over the Settle & Carlisle route to avoid taking water at Appleby appears to be something of a storm in – or over – a water column.

The column, originally funded locally, is now being leased by the Main Line Steam Locomotive Operators’ Association which is charging a ‘commercial’ rate for every top up.

On its first run over Shap since restoration, SR Merchant Navy Pacific No. 35018 British India Line passes Hardrigg on the climb to Grayrigg with the Railway Touring Company’s ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’ on May 12. DAVE HUNT

Faced with the prospect of having to pay every time one of its engines stopped for a water ‘splash’ Carnforth’s management refused to comply, calculating that the ‘Merchants’ 5000 gallon tender tank would cope with a top up at Hellifield.

To make a point, West Coast booked No. 35018 to work the steam section of its ‘Dalesman’ trip from York to Carlisle, May 8, and RTC’s ‘Cumbrian Mountain Express’ over the Carnforth-Shap-Carlisle-Settle-Farington Junction section on May 12.

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