Here are some glimpses, in words and pictures, of LMS Rebuilt Scot No 46115 Scots Guardsman heading the Train of Hope, a fundraiser for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent. It was organised by a group of Virgin drivers at Longsight, Manchester, whose magnificent efforts have already raised at least £35,000.
The day did not start well, because way after the planned departure time, there was no sign of the loco and stock arriving at Crewe from Carnforth. Apparently the diesel hauling the ensemble had failed a few miles short of Crewe. Eventually it was agreed for the Scot to push it the last few miles, through the centre road at Crewe to dump it, before pulling back into Platform 12 to take water and pick up passengers.
Eventually we were away 66 minutes down, but a lively run, reaching the high 70s, saw us away from Warrington only 50 down. After the Wigan stop we again reached the 70s through Euxton and Leyland, and there was another fast run after Preston until the Morecambe junctions. At the Carnforth water stop we took another diesel on the rear, and it was clear from our speeds up the climbs to Grayrigg and Shap (well above 50) that we were being assisted to help make up time. Our arrival in Carlisle was only 24 minutes late.
The Scot was smartly off the train and away through the station for servicing, again limiting photographic opportunities to a minimum. We left 33 minutes late to commence our return over the top to Settle, and it was clear once more that the diesel was assisting with all the climbing. This time we were in the third coach from the steamer, and the syncopated roar of the three-cylinder engine was experienced in full surround sound, with different sounds coming through each of the many open windows, according to the lie of the land outside. With or without assistance, it was a magnificent charge in the fifties right up Mallerstang, with the scenery looking grand in the sunshine of our brief Indian summer. A short stop on Ribblehead viaduct, followed by a sharp pull away made a fitting finale as we ran down to Hellifield, arriving on time. Here the Scot left us to return to Carnforth and we continued with another diesel.
A day of many highlights and only a few disappointments, and a magnificent result for the indefatigable Virgin fundraising team - well done!
Keywords:46115, Carlisle, Crewe, Scots Guardsman, Settle, Train of Hope
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures