35028 'Clan Line' makes the rarest of trips over the Devon Banks and also makes her first visit to Cornwall in preservation as the renowned powerhouse heads the Cornishman from Bristol to Par. The locomotive has a gained a reputation in recent years as possibly the most prolific hill climber of the mainline fleet and on June 17th, we would see her tackle the heavily graded Devon and Cornish banks. The westbound run was exceptional, topping Dainton at 35 and although not featured here, we do see Clan Line twice surging up Tigley and Rattery Bank, she is firstly seen at Follaton where she slips on the lower part of the climb then at Tigley, on the more arduous section of the bank, an excellent 32mph and in the pouring rain !
The highlight of the run for linesiders and passengers, is the ferocious Hemerdon Bank, and this is where all the drama unfolded. Tackling the 1/42 bank is always a challenge, but given the consistent rain and load 10 on hook, and a big slip further down the bank, it meant the Bullied dug it's heels in with the sanders working overtime ! Once under the summit bridge there was still more to come with a volcanic exhaust being produced on the easier grade, which continued towards Hemerdon Sidings ! Stirring stuff and well worth the five hour wait despite the grim conditions !
We finish off the day at Burlescombe and Whiteball tunnel, where we see the Merchant Navy charging her way up the hill after a pathing stop at Tiverton Loop and once again it was raining !
Despite the weather and early start, this was certainly not a trip to be missed. A big thanks to all who were involved ! I hope you enjoy the steam, there was plenty of it !
Jun 18, 2018