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By Anthony Coulls on

The Roaring Monster takes on Shap

It's true to say that there's never a dull day at work, but then, it's not all play either.

Yesterday was one of those pleasant days where I was out of the office – and yes, the emails began to stack up, but sometimes one gets to really enjoy the collection – as well as thousands of others by the look of the lineside. It was the Cumbrian Mountain Express, heading north over Shap with the National Collection’s Britannia “Oliver Cromwell” tackling that route for the first time since Boxing Day 1967. We picked it up at Preston, meeting a beaming Steve Davies who had been on the footplate since Crewe!

So here we are, acclerating north out of Preston – there’s Steve’s orange GPS in the next window! Our part of the trip was to meet and enjoy the company of the German Enthusiasts who look after DB Pacific 03 1010 stationed at Halle and operated on the main line in Germany. It is known as the Roaring Monster, so the Germans looked forward to hearing how 70013 compared – and hence the headboard as an unofficial twinning exists between the group and the 5305LA who look after Cromwell.

Well, what can I say about the trip up Shap? No doubt it will be minutely pored over and written up in due course, but we looked to have a fantastic ascent, as we blasted through Oxenholme with an eye watering blockade of sound from the engine, but sadly the brakes soon came on for a temporary speed restriction at Tebay. This is all there was, taking speed down to 20mph, but the crew did their best, getting 70013 back up to 55mph before the climb settled in. We went over the top at 21mph, not bad for having accelerated from the TSR with 12 coaches and no diesel in tow. Applause broke out in the support coach as we crested the summit, and there is some very fine film on Youtube of it all. Belwo on arrival at Carlisle, German enthusiast and artist Peter Bomhard poses with his painting of 70013 and 03 1010 at Halle. Prints of this will soon be available to help support 03 1010. Look at for more of Peter’s fine work.

Crowds gather around 70013 to shake the crew’s hands as two DRS class 20s and a class 47 pass by on the other line.

70013 backs the train out of Carlisle station for servicing. Where have all the crowds gone?

Three hours later, the engine has brought the coaches back into the station ready for the trip south over the Settle & Carlisle line and then runs to its position at the front of the train.

A gathering of the faithful was passed at Birkett Common…

…and once over Ais Gill, we crossed Ribblehead viaduct, always a highlight of any trip over the S & C.

After a splendid southbound trip and then a cracking climb of Wilpshire bank up to Blackburn, we arrived at Preston again, where 70013 was taken off the train to return to Carnforth for servicing. Once again, as the engine pulled off, it was greeted with a round of applause from the platform!

And finally, just before setting off for home, I tried a quick shot of 70013 in platform 7 at Preston, taking on water before heading for Carnforth.

So, thanks to all on the train, the stewards, crew, 5305LA guys, 03 1010 group and Tony Streeter for their hospitality and companionship – we NRM folks had a great time, and look forward to the rematch with Shap in due course…

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