søndag 10. mars 2013

The Best Thrashes!!!

Well which in a nutshell then, were my best ever thrashes?

I am jsut going to make a list, some locos and diagrams to be corrected or filled in later

37028 to Ft Bill

37028 vorh set up if I remember right for far north working. Big at the time, and it was an okay performer. Rarity in that it and 37017 were two of the very few vac'only 37s dotting around Scotland at the time. I ended up only ever bagging a few VO, but quite a few VB's turned up on loan to ScR while they awaited HGR E or H exams.

Good run with my sister in law in tow and a party atmosphere on the train, sarnies and flasks packed on a baking hot day in c 1983.

Track bed went on fire north of Rannoch or somewhere adding to the party atmoshpere ( still cant remember the station, seemed like a disused halt. Have piccies somewhere )

37014 1650 Glas-Ft William.

37014 features in the best ever, ever thrash below. But this was well up there., It was running either load six or eight on a hot summer saturday, and it was particularly thrash north of Ardlui with the curves showing off the attacking punch of the EE type 3 or this torturous route.

26 000 and 26 000 0635 IS to Far North (to Dingwall)  My first ever big overnight and it was to do the classic, probably either october 1982, december that year on a "Loanded" 10 quid freedom or summer 1983. It was damp and chilly at snechie.

This is the only type 2 in the book of thrashes because by in large type 2s were crappy underrated locos which should have been re-engined to 1500 hp at least. You needed two of them to get going, but this route really showed what a pair could do with type 4 power and 140 tonnes of momentum up front. We hurtled through the countryside and it was only with some regret that I bailed for the more usual Achnasheen leap, or perhaps I did cross - Skye for another thrash.

37025 Mallaig to Ft William 198x post my cross Skye bus and ferry move.

The cross skye move was accomplished with the freedom of scotland waived at both ferries and a dosey bus driver: it wasn't valid on the busses but was on the ferries. Seeing I was a 14 year old on my tod he let me on and I journeyed to a sweltering Mallaig. It must have been nearly 30'C there for some reason and the train was unbearably warm until we got going. By god we got going, I have not comeo out of Mallaig so fast since! The driver calmed down after Arisaig, but for those 10 minutes he was as they say, possessed.

37014 + EHTEL

This is the famous one, with Chris Gibb on board : all of us on the ex WCML buffet just behind the sleeper cars with Peter Walker making up almost an hour between Crianlarich and Dumbarton to leave almost on time there as I waved goodbye to him doing what with 37014 ? THats right, more notch 8 and get it all moving !!  This is well written elsewhere, but Peter knew the CAPABLE speeds and with the air brakes he could really just slam them on for Garelochhead, Faslane and then Rhu. The run past cardross was like being on the WCML, must have been 90 mph in the 60-70 zone. Absolute hell, have blogged on it b4.

4514... Bristol- Glasgow Beedz. Blogg3ed on this too, absolutely amazing, waved bye bye to a nice pair of enormouse 37s on lickey as we went up it at over 70 mph. I never respected these locos before or indeed after, but this was a diesel run to remember and a fantastic bit of stick merchanting!!  Also I think we went via Worcester loop or whatever which required a pilot loco : this was  another huge 37 and once again, it was not deemed necessary to plug it on the front as often happened on those services with a duff in tow.

Peter Waterman and some other ex drivers say that the 45 was the best loco they used, beating all comers but that is partly down to huge tractive effort being available with their massive weight. If they had been on ScR when I was a basher (and i did intend to do them out of Edinbra on the ECML  but never got round to it, fearing being stuck without  a last train or decent over night move) then I would have taken them instead of duffs when on option and covered lines with them perhaps. But then 40s may well have lasted longer in that parrallel universe and then 45s were the enemy.

37296 1715 Glasgow Edin

37147/174 Scarboroough- Glasgow, from Edingburg.

Both above showing the ease at which a 37 in standard form could tackle a 70mph average speed on the route with a decent rake of stock.

37209 1984 July, to and from Stranraer. Not much on the way down, determined to do the whole route with a big NB 37 though form Glas Cent. After telling the driver I thought it was a good loco, and the train leaving 2 minutes late, the thrash up the glens there was spectacular. A well functioning bit of kit, with a driver who just let it rip.

33000 Crewe- Shrewsbury, Bailing off an Addexx / Mystex at Crewe we took a Cardiff service instead of the duff, sans billett. The wee 33 totally surprised me, being my first ever one and I was truly grateful to Sulzer for making at least one fine LDA variant . Type 3s always had to work for their living and I rate all type threes, even a soft spot for non ETH 31s.

50 008 0900 Bristol-London to Bath.

First run on a 50 with the first compo not stuffed with Ruperts or other neds. Stuck my head out a whiole and the loco just showed how much faster than a duff they were when working well, and how VERY much better they sounded than any sulzer sloshing strummer.

Varioous Roarers

We were lucky in having Bert_Exs and Mystexs from dear aul' Glesga because they were comprised of the old mark I 100mph airbraked stock and nearly always a Roarer. Roarers werent really any good at accelerating from a start, 86s and 87s being better, but over an 86 they did seem to hurtle around at speeds between 70 and 100 for some reason. Maybe the mark Is just made them feel faster, and certainly they went over 100mph if they had the road on these limited stop specials.

By 1983 though the surviving 81s and 85s had begun to go bang quite often so we did record two failures.

More on the night:

37 026/025, to carlisle in the dark down the WCML goign mental and the same on 1S81

I did of course want to do a few routes with 37s and cleared a fair bit of the standard stuff at least. 37s on the Carlisle Via Dumfries in winter were rare, and having 1) not done the line with a syphon 2) not having anything better to do than 110 miles off one thirty seven rather than 35 off three up the WHL.

Nothing of note to Annan because the route is effing boring and effing poor for a 37 becasue a heck of a lot of it is 40-50mph right in 2nd feild divert, the 37s achilles heel on twisty and gradient strewn routes with speed limits of between 50 and 60mph: they rarely impress unless the driver gets above divert and breaks the limit! However upon ajoining the WCML south of Annan rather gingerly over the points and maybe to a signal, the driver vented his frustration at field diversion by going through all three on the WCML, necessitating a rather heavy bit of braking to come to a halt in the station. Jeckyll and Hyde you could say, and the way the mark I's were ratteling I'd say it was over 90mph.

1S81 was usually some crappy tea cup or tip top with boiler on, but it dropped a 37 with boiler, probably 025 one night and it showed the type two diagram that it was just a wee lassie, and the big brother type 3 was now in charge. Thrashed the hell out of it with a very impressive run as far as stirling. I may have bailed there, line acheived for a tractor can't quite remember, but a boilered 37 at Perth on a chilly summer midnight hour does ring a bell .

37 264 ex works, no clag, just thrash up the WHL with Davey Fraser saying it was the best loco on eastfield in his inimitable "old man" way. Great thrash, hardly any clag which equals a well prepared set of valves and timing chaine tuned to perfection.

37 188 was one of my beasts as was 178 . 175 was just too claggy nutty to be a contender but neds love clag these days!!

40170 on the overnight to Perth, blogged before. Nice tunes up the QSt tunnel!!!
40155 as blogged, why oh why did they cut up locos in such good nick when we had rancid type 2s and some tatty duffs whcih could have been cannibalised to keep their bretherin of vermin going at other depots while a selection of the best 40s whislted on providing secondary back up power admirably into the 1990s???

40 118 05 jan 1985 Carlisle Settle with Reidy, Rupert and Co. Particularly hell on the way North really big thrash out of Settle. Two coaches at least more or less stuffed with bashers. I mean the revenue from bashers would have paid for the refurbishment of a class of 20 of these old slugging beauties ???

Apart from that I think there are a few I will remember, including my first decent run behind a 37-4 out of ft bill which was hell in the snow up the valley to Tulloch and beyond " like a canon in the night"

By then I was in fact a bert, I viewed 37-4s as new fangled stuff, 40s were gone, 1984 had happened ( miners strike and all) so I retired pretty much officially in April 1985.

Do I regret not bashing longer because 37s came to work a lot more lines in scotland ? Well hell no!!! I had healthier hobbies to persue and I had had my run for my money of bashing. It was all just a game and I liked the back drop and thrash of my dear old west highland line over anything else. When sprinters came in there, I started using the bus which is a lovely run over via Inverary for anyone going that way, and then I eventually got my driving licence.

I turned up for the last weekend of 37s on the normal WHL serbvices to be confronted by a gaggle of insects (probaby now all "top men" with shares in good 37s!!) calling my beloved Syphons, "growlers" and warning me that this was indeed the last weekend. I felt that they were the new generation and that the old timers were gone, and anyway I was flung off another train because transcards had become invalid on the west highland line which left a fascist bad taste in my mouth. It was time to move on.

Go back and do it all again? Hell yes!!!!1

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