HEAVY rain during late September resulted in West Coast Railway Company’s annual ‘Lune Rivers Trust’ special to Shrewsbury having to be diverted owing to a mud slide at Bentham.
The train, hauled by recent returnee No. 46115 Scots Guardsman, had originally been booked to leave Carnforth at 07.41 for a run via Bentham, Settle Junction, Clitheroe, Blackburn and Lostock Hall.
However, with its route east blocked, the WCRC team set about finding an alternative, and a path south was found over the West Coast Main Line. This resulted in the ‘Scot’ and support coach having to be detached from the stock at Carnforth and be turned before coupling back on at the other end of platform 2.
The special finally left Carnforth 126 minutes late at 09.47, but by taking the direct route Up the WCML, No. 46115 was only 19 minutes down by the time it re-joined its original path at Farington Junction, south of Preston.
Gradually, the Fowler/Stanier 4-6-0 clawed away at the deficit, which had reduced to 13 minutes by the time it passed Warrington Bank Quay, and to just four minutes when it rolled to a stop at Crewe. Disappointingly, more minutes were lost here and ‘Guardsman’ was 16 down when it departed at 12.29.
Yet more good running followed, passing Nantwich 12 minutes late at 12.38 and Whitchurch just eight minutes down, which was sustained on arrival in Shrewsbury at 13.11.
The return leg from Shrewsbury retraced the outbound journey, leaving platform 7 three minutes late at 17.08, but again losing minutes during the stop at Crewe so that it left there 17 down.
This increased to 22 minutes at Acton Bridge, but by sticking to the WCML at Farington Junction and not taking the planned route via Blackburn the train was guaranteed an early arrival back at Carnforth.
It ultimately arrived at 20.28, more than an hour and a half ahead of the original booked time.
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