B&W: Words/No Words


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2020-11-07 (Sat) 14-14-41.jpeg


Old Codgers Group
This image, taken in poor light, under exposed and lacking contrast, has proved to be a nightmare to process, and it's still not right, but it'll have to do.


Great Western Hall class locomotive Rood Ashton Hall 4965, which was based at Plymouth Laira shed when new leads Castle class locomotive Earl of Mount Edgecumbe 5043 as they near the top of the 2.5 mile Hemerdon Bank about 3 miles east of Plymouth, at 1 in 42 the 4th steepest incline on the UK mainline, working the up Cornishman from Plymouth to Bristol. They had 12 or 13 carriages behind them, working on its own Earl of Mount Edgecumbe would have been limited to just 8 carriages. In 1964 Earl of Mount Edgecumbe made the run from Plymouth to Bristol non stop in 133 minutes, working an anniversary train in 2014 she did the run in 131 minutes. The fastest modern diesel trains are timed at 118 minutes with a small number of stops, and they probably have no more than 8 carriages including two power units. Both have a full head of steam with the safety valves just feathering, a tribute to both footplate crews. (sorry, lots of words!)



Old Codgers Group
Two more from the archive, mainline steam again on the challenging Hemerdon Bank, 5029 Nunney Castle leads 34046 Braunton, a rebuilt West Country pacific. Speed here will have fallen to less than 20mph. These were taken on 27th April 2014.


The gradient begins to ease although there's still several miles of climbing before the summit at Wrangaton near South Brent. Then 7 miles of downhill mostly at 1 in 51 on Tigley Bank, through Totnes and then another climb, in places at 1 in 41, to another summit at Dainton before an equally steep descent to Newton Abbot. The South Devon banks were a challenging drive in the days of steam.



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