Double headed on Hemerdon Bank with 14 up (mainline steam)

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by grebeman, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    In the space of some 30 miles between Newton Abbot and Plymouth in south Devon are the third, fourth and seventh steepest inclines on the British mainline railway system, collectively known as the South Devon Banks. They were a formidable challenge in the days of steam. Today that era was replicated by Nunney Castle (5029) and Braunton (34046) with a 14 coach train seen here nearing the summit of Hemerdon Bank, a 2.5 mile 1 in 42 incline (the fourth steepest). From here it's a few miles to the summit of the line at Wrangaton, then downhill to Totnes and then the climb over Dainton to reach Newton Abbot.

    140427-1010099_DxO.

    140427-1010100_DxO-b_w.

    140427-1010101_DxO-b_w.

    In the days of steam a Castle Class engine was limited to 9 coaches unassisted on the banks, here these two have 14 coaches in tow, plus the weight of a dead diesel coupled to the rear most coach. Both engines look to be handling the job with aplomb, they are both blowing of slightly at the safety valves indicating a full head of steam and the clean exhaust with no coal smoke suggests a well burning fire.

    The weather gods smiled on us, there were some prolonged heavy showers up to an hour before, and again within 45 minutes of them passing, but a welcome break and even some sun for the few minutes that mattered. As you can see the spectacle attracts a large number of photographers, most of whom seem to stay on the overbridge seen in the third shot, certainly shoulder to shoulder there and possibly more than one row deep.

    Barrie
     
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  2. Great shots, great story
     
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  3. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Dave, I can add a little to the above story. From talking to a friend of mine today, a bus driver and something of a railway enthusiast, I found out he was driving replacement rail service buses yesterday and he saw the above train go through Newton Abbot at speed. It turns out that this was the only through train to leave Devon yesterday since signaling equipment was being replaced and this service had dispensation to run through the un-signaled section, much to the annoyance of passengers on his bus having to change from their normal train. :biggrin:

    Barrie
     
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