Sunday, July 04, 2010

Brief Encounter

With the closure of the mainline platforms in the 1970s, Carnforth Station was allowed to become derelict and the buildings were set for demolition. But thanks to local efforts the Carnforth Station and Railway Trust was set up, and the town now boasts an excellent visitor attraction, see here.

The visitor centre has a great collection of photos, railway and other memorabilia. I can confirm that the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room does a mean bacon 'bap'!

Brief Encounter? Yes, indeed. Some of David Lean's classic romantic film Brief Encounter was filmed at Carnforth in 1945.

The visitor centre makes much of the Brief Encounter connection, rightly so. And you can actually watch the movie in the exhibition!

My own 'brief encounter' on Saturday was with 71000 Duke of Gloucester, pulling the HF Railtours Cumbrian Coast Explorer from Crewe to Carlisle over the coast line and back via Settle. Read about 71000 here. This is the locomotive driving slowly through Carnforth Station.

It was the first time that I had seen this impressive locomotive. This page has a photo of the loco in Woodham's Barry scrapyard before it was rescued. For those interested in the details, the Duke is one of a kind. The BR Standard Class 8 was a class of 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive designed by Robert Riddles for use by British Railways. Only the prototype was constructed, at Crewe Works in 1954.

As I was waiting for my onward connection from Carnforth, I had another brief encounter, a close one, with a nuclear flask train on route from Sellafield. I mention this only as an excuse to show this video from 1984 illustrating the safety of nuclear flasks in the event of accident!

It was then on to Carlisle for a chance to inspect the coaching stock. I quote from the HF Railtours brochure. "Our train today will consist of 'The Great Briton' set of recently refurbished Pullman style carriages offering the utmost in elegance and luxury for the discerning traveller.

Passengers in Pullman Style Dining and First Class Plus will be seated at tables for two or four in reclining seats and air conditioned carriages. Tables for two can be reserved at extra cost. All meals will be freshly prepared by our on board chefs and served at seat, Pullman style by our liveried and attentive stewards. An at seat drinks service is available throughout the day from our comprehensive wine and drinks list. All tables will be laid with fine linen tablecloths and napkins, sparkling glassware, shining crockery, twinkling cutlery and of course flowers, recreating the style and sophistication of yesteryear."

I've never travelled Pullman, so I have never experienced 'twinkling cutlery'!

The chefs have their own coach!

The carriages stand at platform 3, ready for 71000 and its support coach to be connected.

Backing slowly into the station.

Ready for the trip home.

The still pics miss out on the sounds and excitement of seeing a locomotive like this close up. So here is a little piece of my own video of the train at Carlisle and heading off south. Enjoy. The YouTube page for a larger size is here. Or simply watch it embedded on the blog below.

Pics @ Skip Cottage

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