© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
We stood beside the line near Seaham, in the
Durham coalfield. A number of locals waited
for the rare spectacle of a steam train - then,
as Mallard appeared, whistled, and carefully
rounded the curve, one called out "It's a
streak!". Says it all really...
1988 was the year of Mallard - the 50th
anniversary of the record-making run - this was
the weekend of its Settle and Carlisle trips. The weather
forecast wasn't good, but we had to go for this one!
We started at Helwith Bridge on the "long drag", then headed
back for the motorway to get further north, our intention being
to follow the train across the Newcastle an Carlisle line, then to
finish in County Durham. We managed another shot near
Cumwhinton, under light steam and increasingly heavy rain.
With time to kill, we spent a few minutes at the south end of
Kingmoor yard, watching the electrics sweeping the rain from
the overhead wires, then headed east, managing a shot near
Wetheral, before heading further east again to Bardon Mill, for a
platform end shot at the station. The rain had gone by the time
we reached Seaham - so had our photographic inspiration!
The following day was to see another trip up the S&C. We
started with quick look at the line near Skipton, to see the
northbound service train in the hands of 47 422, before heading
for the high fells and Dent station. A southbound service train
had to pass here - appearing wrong line, much to our surprise.
Eventually "Mallard" hurried through, towards the water stop at
...which would be our last location, taking position on the
hillside overlooking the stubby Dandry Mire viaduct - a good
position for both the distant shot and the closer one, before the
train plunges into the tunnel towards Ais Gill and the long
descent of the Eden Valley.
And so we returned to the car, to head back to the M6 and home.
Not the best of trips, weather-wise - proper S&C weather, some
might say, but at least we had seen steam - hot July sunshine
would have killed it!