Deltics on the ECML

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hexagon789

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Ok I’m quite surprised by that. I’d assume that Deltics weren’t particularly economical either?
You wouldn't think so with two engines! ;)

I suppose they were really only doing an Edinburgh-London and return trip or maybe out to Aberdeen, so only about 800-1000 miles a day really
 

Taunton

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You wouldn't think so with two engines! ;)

I suppose they were really only doing an Edinburgh-London and return trip or maybe out to Aberdeen, so only about 800-1000 miles a day really
The ECML in loco hauled days always seemed to refuel at each end. In Edinburgh the Deltics ran to Haymarket and back. I think there was only one chance for a loco to do a round trip within the day, 0800 from Kings Cross into Edinburgh at 1400, if quick back on the 1600, arriving Kings Cross 2200. All other Kings Cross-Scotland trains just managed one daytime journey, though with the extensive overnight services the locos, if not the seated coaches, readily managed a round trip within 24 hours, but with considerable layovers at both ends.

At Kings Cross there was a constant shuttle of locos, once released by the outgoing train, to the fuelling point on the west side of the platforms. This was a right nuisance, the layout was so tight against Gasworks Tunnels that from say Platform 1 not just one but two separate shunts into the tunnel mouths and out again were necessary to get from one side to the other.
 

CW2

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In the Deltic era, the Kings Cross - Aberdeen services - including the overnights - were generally booked to change locos at Edinburgh. Through workings Kings Cross to Aberdeen or vice versa were very much the exception.
I once joined a Deltic-hauled southbound overnight service at Doncaster, and got diverted via Lincoln because of a derailment. The Deltic came off at Peterborough, having worked Edinburgh - Aberdeen, then straight onto the southbound sleeper without fuelling - and exceptionally did not come off at Edinburgh. By the time we reached Peterborough the Deltic was short of fuel, so it was replaced there by a 40.

The highest mileage I ever achieved with a Deltic was 460.25, which was Kings Cross to Edinburgh via Cambridge, Askern, Leamside, and Carlisle. I half-expected a loco swap at Newcastle, but was delighted the Deltic ran throughout.
 

hexagon789

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The ECML in loco hauled days always seemed to refuel at each end. In Edinburgh the Deltics ran to Haymarket and back. I think there was only one chance for a loco to do a round trip within the day, 0800 from Kings Cross into Edinburgh at 1400, if quick back on the 1600, arriving Kings Cross 2200. All other Kings Cross-Scotland trains just managed one daytime journey, though with the extensive overnight services the locos, if not the seated coaches, readily managed a round trip within 24 hours, but with considerable layovers at both ends.

At Kings Cross there was a constant shuttle of locos, once released by the outgoing train, to the fuelling point on the west side of the platforms. This was a right nuisance, the layout was so tight against Gasworks Tunnels that from say Platform 1 not just one but two separate shunts into the tunnel mouths and out again were necessary to get from one side to the other.
Ah, I presumed they could do a full return trip on one tank. Is there a reason they refuelled them like that, was the tank capacity not sufficient for a return trip for example?
 

Clarence Yard

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At most depots it was normal practise to top up a loco if it came on shed, irrespective if it needed it or not.
 

Taunton

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In the Deltic era, the Kings Cross - Aberdeen services - including the overnights - were generally booked to change locos at Edinburgh. Through workings Kings Cross to Aberdeen or vice versa were very much the exception.
I once joined a Deltic-hauled southbound overnight service at Doncaster, and got diverted via Lincoln because of a derailment. The Deltic came off at Peterborough, having worked Edinburgh - Aberdeen, then straight onto the southbound sleeper without fuelling - and exceptionally did not come off at Edinburgh. By the time we reached Peterborough the Deltic was short of fuel, so it was replaced there by a 40.
I was in Edinburgh in the 1970s and it used to vary whether locos were changed there or not, to no discernible pattern. Colleague who lived within earshot of the line in Fife who I chatted to about this (gosh, recalled from 50 years ago) said they heard the distinctive Deltic noise on Aberdeen services maybe not every day, but certainly reasonably often. There weren't a lot of Class 47 available in Scotland either, and ETH ones even less so once AC stock came along, so it was likely up to availability on the day.

I would expect that Ferryhill depot, just outside Aberdeen station, would refuel anything arriving from London.
 

GRALISTAIR

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In the Deltic era, the Kings Cross - Aberdeen services - including the overnights - were generally booked to change locos at Edinburgh. Through workings Kings Cross to Aberdeen or vice versa were very much the exception.
I once joined a Deltic-hauled southbound overnight service at Doncaster, and got diverted via Lincoln because of a derailment. The Deltic came off at Peterborough, having worked Edinburgh - Aberdeen, then straight onto the southbound sleeper without fuelling - and exceptionally did not come off at Edinburgh. By the time we reached Peterborough the Deltic was short of fuel, so it was replaced there by a 40.

The highest mileage I ever achieved with a Deltic was 460.25, which was Kings Cross to Edinburgh via Cambridge, Askern, Leamside, and Carlisle. I half-expected a loco swap at Newcastle, but was delighted the Deltic ran throughout.
Yes but my first overnight the Deltic was changed at Edinburgh for a pair of 26s - wonderful. I will post details later. It was an All-Line Rover
 

Pinza-C55

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In the Deltic era, the Kings Cross - Aberdeen services - including the overnights - were generally booked to change locos at Edinburgh. Through workings Kings Cross to Aberdeen or vice versa were very much the exception.
I once joined a Deltic-hauled southbound overnight service at Doncaster, and got diverted via Lincoln because of a derailment. The Deltic came off at Peterborough, having worked Edinburgh - Aberdeen, then straight onto the southbound sleeper without fuelling - and exceptionally did not come off at Edinburgh. By the time we reached Peterborough the Deltic was short of fuel, so it was replaced there by a 40.

The highest mileage I ever achieved with a Deltic was 460.25, which was Kings Cross to Edinburgh via Cambridge, Askern, Leamside, and Carlisle. I half-expected a loco swap at Newcastle, but was delighted the Deltic ran throughout.

I may have been on the same train or at least the same day. I have the details in my diary and I think it was about 9 hours Peterborough - Edinburgh.
Edit * it obviously wasn't the same since yours went via Cambridge and mine I think went via the Joint Line.
 

Whistler40145

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On some occasions, the overnighters had a loco change at Newcastle and usually replace by a Gateshead based loco
 

CW2

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On some occasions, the overnighters had a loco change at Newcastle and usually replace by a Gateshead based loco
Very true - but I think on those occasions it was an ad-hoc arrangement. There weren't any diagrammed overnight loco changes at Newcastle, but changes did occur quite frequently. In particular if an underpowered loco was en route and there was something better (e.g. a Deltic) available at Gateshead then a change would occur. Sometimes simply a lack of boiler water would encourage a change. I'd say the locos weren't necessarily Gateshead based, but were certainly provided by Gateshead depot (if you get the subtle difference). Of course the real nightmare was arriving at Newcastle behind the loco of your choice only for the man with rubber gloves to remove it and replace it with something in the 47401-20 series, which were kept in a vault underneath Gateshead specifically for that purpose (allegedly).
 

Whistler40145

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Very true - but I think on those occasions it was an ad-hoc arrangement. There weren't any diagrammed overnight loco changes at Newcastle, but changes did occur quite frequently. In particular if an underpowered loco was en route and there was something better (e.g. a Deltic) available at Gateshead then a change would occur. Sometimes simply a lack of boiler water would encourage a change. I'd say the locos weren't necessarily Gateshead based, but were certainly provided by Gateshead depot (if you get the subtle difference). Of course the real nightmare was arriving at Newcastle behind the loco of your choice only for the man with rubber gloves to remove it and replace it with something in the 47401-20 series, which were kept in a vault underneath Gateshead specifically for that purpose (allegedly).
I think it was when locomotives were due an Exam
 

CW2

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I think it was when locomotives were due an Exam
Very likely. All the sleeper services had a generous time allowance at Newcastle, either loading and unloading mails and / or refilling the boiler water, so there was never any problem with an unscheduled loco change. So a Deltic with only 3 or 4 hours to go for an exam might well find itself working north out of Kings Cross with the aim of an unscheduled swap at Newcastle. Some nights there were more locos being swapped than worked through. York was another common loco change point, especially after the Deltics were allocated there.
 

Sultan1056

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Ah, I presumed they could do a full return trip on one tank. Is there a reason they refuelled them like that, was the tank capacity not sufficient for a return trip for example?
Ah, I presumed they could do a full return trip on one tank. Is there a reason they refuelled them like that, was the tank capacity not sufficient for a return trip for example?
The maximum mileage a Deltic could do was probably not much more than 550 miles before needing to be re-fuelled.
Deltics would frequently work 0550 KX-AB throughout but would then be re-fuelled for the return south to Edinburgh or York.
I travelled behind 55014 between Edinburgh and Kings Cross on an overnight service. On arrival at Kings Cross 55014 was attached to the 0820 to Cleethorpes without being fe-fuelled ( probably due to a previous loco failure). 55014 worked the train to Lincoln where it was removed because it was low on fuel.
 

hexagon789

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The maximum mileage a Deltic could do was probably not much more than 550 miles before needing to be re-fuelled.
Deltics would frequently work 0550 KX-AB throughout but would then be re-fuelled for the return south to Edinburgh or York.
I travelled behind 55014 between Edinburgh and Kings Cross on an overnight service. On arrival at Kings Cross 55014 was attached to the 0820 to Cleethorpes without being fe-fuelled ( probably due to a previous loco failure). 55014 worked the train to Lincoln where it was removed because it was low on fuel.
Thank you for the clarification, so a through run from London to Aberdeen would be about the longest in one go
 

Taunton

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Once the steam heating was given up, were the fuel tanks enlarged into the space?

Am I correct that there was no fuel gauge on the drivers' desk, only on the tank itself?
 

hexagon789

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Once the steam heating was given up, were the fuel tanks enlarged into the space?

Am I correct that there was no fuel gauge on the drivers' desk, only on the tank itself?
I believe only external and marked in quarters.
 

Richard Scott

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Once the steam heating was given up, were the fuel tanks enlarged into the space?

Am I correct that there was no fuel gauge on the drivers' desk, only on the tank itself?
Deltics retained steam heat to the end, needed for Mk1 sleepers.
 

Taunton

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Deltics retained steam heat to the end, needed for Mk1 sleepers.
Did the ECML sleepers not get converted to ETH in the mid-70s? Obviously the LMR cars all needed to be done by the mid-1960s when electrification came along (and dual heat for the ones that ran on to Inverness etc); I thought the ECML ones were done before the WR cars were done, which latter led directly to the 1978 Taunton sleeper fire. The Deltics were not withdrawn until the early 1980s.
 

hexagon789

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Did the ECML sleepers not get converted to ETH in the mid-70s? Obviously the LMR cars all needed to be done by the mid-1960s when electrification came along (and dual heat for the ones that ran on to Inverness etc); I thought the ECML ones were done before the WR cars were done, which latter led directly to the 1978 Taunton sleeper fire. The Deltics were not withdrawn until the early 1980s.
The one involved in Taunton was fitted with ETH in 1976, not sure about the ER allocations.
 

Richard Scott

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Did the ECML sleepers not get converted to ETH in the mid-70s? Obviously the LMR cars all needed to be done by the mid-1960s when electrification came along (and dual heat for the ones that ran on to Inverness etc); I thought the ECML ones were done before the WR cars were done, which latter led directly to the 1978 Taunton sleeper fire. The Deltics were not withdrawn until the early 1980s.
I don't think so, someone with more knowledge than me can hopefully confirm but sure I read that boilers were retained for heating sleeper trains and so Deltics remained dual heat capable until withdrawal.
 

Clarence Yard

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The boilers were indeed retained, although the Spanner 3 boilers on a 47 were much better at heating long sleeper trains than the Spanner 2 boilers on a Deltic. The ER sleeper trains in the Deltic era were SH.

Fuel gauges were on tanks only. It wasn’t the drivers responsibility to monitor fuel. Depots would fuel all locos on arrival, irrespective of how full or empty they were as you could never guarantee what they would work next and if it ran out, that was “mismanagement” for the depot and a “PX” letter, at least, for the member of staff concerned with the (lack of) fuelling.

The fuel tank capacity on the Deltics was reduced in 1969/70 to boost the water tank capacity. This was to allow the removal of the water troughs on the ECML, the last of which went in 1970. Until then you couldn’t carry enough water to safely do a London-Edinburgh journey.

I always worked to the principle that, for traction fuel, a Deltic would use about 1.25 to 1.30 gallons to the mile. Right up to the HST era, there were a couple of daily diagrams that were a triple Edinburgh - they were topped up at KX Pass Loco and Haymarket after each leg. Keeping these locos warm on longer high speed work really helped their reliability.
 

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Did the ECML sleepers not get converted to ETH in the mid-70s? Obviously the LMR cars all needed to be done by the mid-1960s when electrification came along (and dual heat for the ones that ran on to Inverness etc); I thought the ECML ones were done before the WR cars were done, which latter led directly to the 1978 Taunton sleeper fire. The Deltics were not withdrawn until the early 1980s.
There were two sets of dual heat sleeper stock. They were used on the Night Aberdonian. 2215 KX-AB and 2115 AB-KX. The rest of the stock used was steam heat only
 

delt1c

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What i find amazing ( with hindsight) is you never tired of Deltics on the ECML. There are many places where you could tire of the almost monotomy of say 47's or on WCML 86's and 87's, yet on the ECML you never tired on seeing these majestic beast in action. Glad some have been preserved but you had to be there to really appreciate them in their finest glory
 

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Very true - but I think on those occasions it was an ad-hoc arrangement. There weren't any diagrammed overnight loco changes at Newcastle, but changes did occur quite frequently. In particular if an underpowered loco was en route and there was something better (e.g. a Deltic) available at Gateshead then a change would occur. Sometimes simply a lack of boiler water would encourage a change. I'd say the locos weren't necessarily Gateshead based, but were certainly provided by Gateshead depot (if you get the subtle difference). Of course the real nightmare was arriving at Newcastle behind the loco of your choice only for the man with rubber gloves to remove it and replace it with something in the 47401-20 series, which were kept in a vault underneath Gateshead specifically for that purpose (allegedly).
In the summer of 1980 I used to like the Deltic hauled (from York) Plymouth-Edinburgh that called at Durham mid afternoon, I'd take it to Newcastle to browse the record shops. One such very hot day, the train rolls up, Deltic 16 (I think) on the front, load 12. Off we fly down towards Newcastle, me at the front droplight timing the endeavour on a new-fangled digital watch, hoping to break a personal best 12 mins 57 secs. Through Chester-le-Street, the Deltic has really got a hold, we're flying but it's a scorching afternoon in the vestibule, sun beating on the nearside of the train. Then, Quelle Horreur! The hot axle box detector near Ouston Junction has tripped and there's two yellows, then one, then red. (This was a common occurrence on hot days at that location, you went fingers-crossed). We trundle the rest of way in at 30mph. On arrival at Central one of the aforementioned (by CW2) Generator 47s was waiting in the centre road. The relieving driver checked the Deltic axle-boxes himself, declared it good to go, gestured with 2 fingers at the Generator, climbed in and took off.
 

hexagon789

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Moving back to the Deltics discussion, the ECML also had a selection of 47s and in the air-con era 47/4s which operated alongside the 55s. Was there are particular pattern as to which route or services were specifically rostered Deltics and what sort of split was there?

Presumably all the best/named services had a Deltic?
 

tbwbear

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Moving back to the Deltics discussion, the ECML also had a selection of 47s and in the air-con era 47/4s which operated alongside the 55s. Was there are particular pattern as to which route or services were specifically rostered Deltics and what sort of split was there?

Presumably all the best/named services had a Deltic?

There were two distinct eras - pre 1978 and 1978-81 : essentially before and after the Deltics were replaced on the premier services by HST.

IIRC

Before HST, I believe there were more distinct diagrams for Deltics and 47s to take into consideration the 5mph difference in top speed etc.. So for example I think you could get a London to Newcastle train / or a London to Leeds train on a Deltic timing and another one later in the day on a 47 timing. Generally speaking the more prestige trains were Deltics.

In practice the non-availabilty of a Deltic on a Deltic diagram could often lead to a 47 replacement.


After HST, the Deltics were relegated mainly to the York and Hull semi-fast trains. These were timed for Deltics. The most common pattern was for the HST to leave Kings Cross at XX:00 and then the Deltic semi fast at XX:05. The Deltic had to make it to York stopping at all the stations Huntingdon, Peterborough, Grantham etc before the next HST - so the timings were quite tight. When the 47s finally replaced the Deltics in 1981 on these services the timings were relaxed.

Again, in practice the non-availabilty of a Deltic on a Deltic diagram could often lead to a 47 replacement.

Dictionary defintion of despair - It is 1980, you have cycled to a bridge on the ECML, it is a lovely sunny day, you have your camera ready, the 12:05 Kings Cross to Hull is due any minute, the tension is building and then suddenly you see a flat yellow front approaching in the distance.

I have been there, felt that.
 
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Taunton

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The train timers that used to appear in rail magazines in the 1970s were fascinated by Class 47 substitutes on Deltic diagrams, especially as it seemed that the ability to keep time on a Deltic booking was much down to the characteristics of the individual locomotive, and indeed driver as well. These were the days before speed governors on locomotives, and I wonder if the publication of a Class 47 say on the downhill from Stoke towards Peterborough at well over 100mph, although months later, ever led to the working out of who it was, and repercussions. It wasn't just 47s substituting for Deltics, one such account covered, well into the 1970s, a Class 40 handling a Class 47 service from Leeds to London.

I believe there were a couple of diagrams that were favoured for substitution given notice, but of course you never knew where issues on the day might arise. There was a new 1900 Kings Cross to Newcastle, which I seem to recall was introduced after overloading on the last of the day 1800 (how times change), which at one stage was a Deltic about 50% of the time.
 
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