Chee Tor Tunnels.
If anyone has looked at my website http://www.crjennings.com/ they will realise I have a bit of a passion for steam trains. Its not something I talk about a lot to my friends, and some of them just dismiss it as trainspotting, that just shows how little they really know about me. I think the real passion stems from the fact that the steam engine represents another world, it was once part of everyday life, everywhere you went you couldn't get away from the sound, and it is the sound that really stirs my emotions, hard to imagine in todays sterile world how steam trains would run 24 hours a day in many parts of the country, in many areas they would have been a real disturbance to sleep, as they can often be very loud and in a town or city at night without todays constant roar of cars, steam engines would have been heard for miles around. I suppose people new no different so they took it for in their stride, I imagine that in the dead of night the sound of a train was reassuring as it meant the world was still turning.
The above photograph of Chee Tor Tunnels is on what is now called The Monsal trail, The Midland Railway route from London to Manchester, closed in the 1960s and now converted to a cycle trail with all 6 tunnels opened up, running for around 10 miles north from Bakewell in Derbyshire. The line had a ruling gradient of 1:100, not something you would really notice in your car, but with a 400 ton freight train it was a long slog, the sound of the locomotives blasting out of Chee Tor Tunnel would have reverberated around the hillsides only to be quickly silenced by Chee Tor No. 2, which the above photo was taken from, then just the bing,bing of the wagons until the sound started again as the loco came out of the second tunnel and forged its way onwards to either Buxton or Manchester, with a northerly wind the sound would have carried for ages, quite often you would still have been able to hear it, as following closely behind the next train burst out of Chee Tor Tunnel. In the 1930s when the line was at its zenith there were over 60 freight trains in either direction plus the timetabled passenger workings on a normal working day. Well worth a cycle or even a walk on a lovely spring afternoon. Headstone Tunnel below, is the first tunnel you come to from Bakewell, it then opens out into Monsal Dale a very popular beauty spot.
I am off south again to Hampshire and Dorset next week to see some friends, rather mixed feelings about the trip, but I am sure it will be enjoyable and hopefully it will keep me occupied and my head clear, details and pics to follow.
Today I had lunch with Roz Vaughan and her family, truly lovely genuine people. Roz and I have a bit of a connection, we were both in Warrington Hospital at the same time and had exactly the same diagnosis and operation. pics and story to follow.