Main Line Story pt 4

27th/28th August 2004 - Northern Lights Railtour
This statement is to confirm details of the events that took place on Friday 27th August that resulted in the decision to remove 40145 from Pathfinder Tours "Northern Lights" at Carlisle rather than working through to Kyle of Lochalsh as advertised.

During an on-board check through the engine-room a problem was found with the A-bank free-end turbocharger in the form of water vapour being emitted through the gauze breather of the turbine side. In the opinion of the onboard CFPS competent engineering rider, in conjunction with Pathfinder Tours and Riviera Trains, it was decided appropriate to remove 40145 from the train at Carlisle. This decision was considered to be in the best interests of the locomotive, the CFPS, Pathfinder Tours, Riviera Trains, EWS and the heritage traction movement. With the agreement of EWS, 40145 ran back under her own power to Bury. The affected turbocharger is being removed for a full investigation and repair to take place.

The CFPS apologises unreservedly for the undoubted disappointment that the early removal of 40145 from the tour has caused. We hope however that the contingency plan put in place meant the tour passengers still enjoyed what still turned out to be a very good two-day railtour, despite 40145 not making it further than Carlisle. We appreciate the support shown by those who remained with the tour as well as that of Pathfinder Tours, Riviera Trains, EWS and The Fifty Fund for helping to make this a railtour that will be remembered by those who participated, for the right reasons.

On Friday morning (27th August) 50031 had worked the railtour as far as Preston where 40145 came on. From Carlisle 66229 replaced 40145 as far as Motherwell (Braidhurst Loop) where 37406 & 37427 took over for the remainder of the journey to Kyle of Lochalsh and as far back as Carlisle. 50031 worked north and returned the tour to Birmingham from Carlisle.

The Western Whistler II

Crewe to Plymouth railtour
Saturday 22nd May 2004

Another excellent tour enjoyed by all - some say the best to date. Retracing 40025's steps in September 1982 with F&W's Western Whistler, a gleaming 40145 headed her seventh mainline railtour from Crewe to Plymouth.

40145 joined the select band of Class 40's to have explored so far West. The train ran in brilliant sunshine for the most part, the weather gods smiling down on us unlike for 40025. Lusitania's assault on Rattery was hindered by poor rail adhesion after being held at Totnes in drizzle.

Thankfully 40145 had no such worries. Several stretches at 80 to 90mph contrasted with climbing the notorious Devon banks at approx. 18mph, the engine thrashing for all her worth - an excellent show to entertain the faithful. The trip along the sea wall at was a pleasure. Even 'normal' members of the public took photos as we passed by with our 'real' train.

On the return journey, the climbs to Hemerdon and Dainton quickly took their toll on train speed. The final 'big' climb of the day was the long-awaited Lickey incline, two miles at 1:37. With the route taking us via Worcester, there was no chance of a 'run' at the bank due to the slow turnout from Droitwich. Again, the engine found a balancing speed of approx. 18mph. There were heads at windows throughout the train and plenty of lineside photographers gathered to witness the spectacle.

With good pathing and timing, the train ran early or generally to time throughout. Well done to everyone for making it happen. Many thanks to everyone who travelled, and those who assisted in organising and running the tour on the day. Special thanks to Pathfinder Tours for their continued and valued co-operation and support.

TPWS installation completed
Another large project was successfully completed in early June 2003: the fitting of TPWS equipment to D345, on time, and within budget. This was required to be fitted in time for the 12th July
railtour. Without it, mainline operation would effectively stop due to the higher safety requirements.

We believe D345 is the first privately-owned preserved diesel locomotive to be fitted with TPWS equipment.

CFPS installation and testing work was completed on Sunday 8th June. The project has taken several months of planning and an intensive period of installation in May and June, involving:

  • fitting new wiring conduit runs and reusing existing conduits to reduce the visual impact of modifications and ease installation where possible
  • welding of mounting brackets to the locomotive bogies for the aerials and aerial junction boxes, contracted to Riley and Son (E) Ltd.
  • installing new cab indicator units and electronic warning sounders
  • replacing the existing AWS termination unit and control gear with bolt-in replacement units
  • fitting a new power supply unit for the TPWS control unit
  • The equipment manufacturers, Thales, carried out their 'first in class' testing and commissioning work on 10th June, confirming that our installation met their requirements.
  • Following successful commissioning trials, the installation has been submitted to Resco Railways Ltd. for design scrutiny, who will then issue a new engineering acceptance certificate for the locomotive.

    More information about the TPWS system and its purpose can be found on the Thales and Railtrack TPWS websites.