20 Years ago today…
The Cumbrian Mountain Express (Southbound) 1Z24 13.10 Carlisle – Watford Junc.
Steam hauled by 2968 Carlisle – Crewe
On a bitterly cold day with heavy over-night snow falls on the ground 2968 set off from Carlisle with her nine coach 355 tons gross train to do battle with the Long drag southbound over the S&C and Ais Gill.
Water stops were taken at Appleby and Garsdale and a long mournful blast of the whistle resounded around Kirkby Stephen as a lament to a former signalman who had sadly passed away a few days earlier.
The black smoke made by 2968’s determined climb to Ais Gill summit (Milepost 261½) passed at a creditable 26½mph contrasted nicely with the pristine whiteness of the snow. Her progress down the West Coast Main Line to Crewe brought a maximum of 67mph and arrival at Crewe was four minutes early!