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.
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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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