West Durham Railtour

Peppercorn K1 62059 (of 51A Darlington) makes its way tender-first through an unknown station on the SLS/MLS West Durham Railtour on 31st August 1958.

Peppercorn K1 62059 (of 51A Darlington) makes its way tender-first through an unknown station on the SLS/MLS West Durham Railtour on 31st August 1958.

The SLS/MLS West Durham Railtour

Peppercorn K1 62059 is seen tender first at an unknown location (for which I need help) somewhere in County Durham on 31st August 1958. The railtour was operated by the Stephenson and Manchester Locomotive Societies, starting from Manchester Exchange and hauled by rebuilt Scot 46143 ‘The South Staffordshire Regiment’. The photograph seen here was taken by Ronnie Gee, but there are no notes as to where it was taken. To aid anybody who can help the wonderful Six Bells Junction website throws some light on the route, from which somebody may identify the station and junction.

It lies somewhere along the following route:

Baxter Wood No.2 Jn – Dearness Valley Jn – Waterhouses – Waterhouses Goods, or

Scotswood – Scotswood Bridge Jn – Blaydon Main Jn – Consett Branch Jn – Dunston-on-Tyne – Low Fell Jn

If my reading of the route is incorrect and I have incorrectly calculated which part of the route was run tender-first it might possibly be along this route too:

Waterhouses Goods – Waterhouses – Dearness Valley Jn – Baxter Wood No.2 Jn – Baxter Wood No.1 Jn – Lanchester – Consett North Jn – Blackhill – Ebchester – Lintz Green – Swalwell North Jn – Blaydon South Jn – Scotswood Bridge Jn – Scotswood

I would be most grateful if anybody can help identify the location.

The railtour had brought a rebuilt Scot up the East Coast Main Line from York to Darlington Bank Top station, and by all accounts the journey both ways along the Plain of York proved to be a fast one with speeds of 82 mph being recorded each way. Whilst this may not be up to par with the regular ex-LNER pacific, the ex-LMS 7P proved it could handle an 11-coach, 330 ton train on the ECML. According to some who talked to the pilot on arrival back at York, the top speed would have been higher but the locomotive began to roll after Northallerton and it was deemed prudent not to push things further. This was a fault with the rebuilt Scots at the time; does anybody know if it was fixed?

If you can identify the location please comment below.

 

A Butler Henderson Conundrum

Robinson O4 63704 and Great Central D11 506 'Butler Henderson' is seen being shunted outside Gorton works on 24th July 1963.

Robinson O4 63704 and Great Central D11 506 ‘Butler Henderson’ is seen being shunted outside Gorton works on 24th July 1963.

Butler Henderson and 63704 at Gorton works

This photo is another to feature in the upcoming book celebrating the photographs of railwayman Ronnie Gee. After the successful identification of the location of brand new 92125 in our last post, we are after some more help with this photograph.

The photograph (along with several others) shows an externally restored Great Central D11 No.506 ‘Butler Henderson’ being shunted from Gorton works along with ex-works Robinson O4 63704 as 24th July 1963. ‘Butler Henderson’ was moved to Romiley for a ‘photoshoot’ before being moved to the Clapham Transport Museum (the forerunner to the National Railway Museum at York). The ex-LNER engines have been moved from the works yard by the loco in the background. Judging by the lamp arrangement on 63704 it seems that O4 will take 506 to Romiley; but did it then take it forward for onward movement to London?

According to Yeadon (via brdatabase.info), 64704 was at Gorton for Heavy Intermediate repair in August/September 1961 and a Light Casual repair in March 1962; neither of which are July 1963! Given also the fact that Gorton Works closed in March 1963 I am beginning to wonder when this shot was actually taken!

I dont have access to a 1963 (or possibly 1961/1962) set of Railway Observer magazines so I am really looking for any information that can shed light on this movement. I can find nothing about the move of Butler Henderson to Clapham, so I have to go with the date being either late September 1961 or March 1962.

If you can help in any way I would appreciate it, either via Social Media or through the Comment box below. Yet again Ronnie Gee had used his railway network and knowledge to be in the right place at the right time to record this moment!

 

Running-in turn to Crewe

Brand New BR Standard 9F 92125 is seen on a running-in turn somewhere in the Stockport area on possibly 21st March 1957. Can you help with the location and date?

Brand New BR Standard 9F 92125 is seen on a running-in turn somewhere in the Stockport area on possibly 21st March 1957. Can you help with the location and date?

BR Standard 9F 92125 is on a running-in turn to Crewe; but where?

Brand new BR Standard 9F is captured in glorious sunshine by railwayman Ronnie Gee on a ‘running-in’ turn back to Crewe Works. Believed to have been taken on 21st March 1957, the train is seen somewhere near Stockport, but we are not exactly sure of the location. One possible location is thought to be Guide Bridge as the same train is seen on another photograph taken later in the day at Heaton Norris Junction. Can anybody help identify the location exactly?

The locomotive was delivered to Wellingborough Shed (15A) on 31st March 1957, but it was amongst many of BR’s later builds to have its working life cut short in the mad dash for modernisation; being condemned at Carlisle Kingmoor shed in December 1967 and scrapped in April 1968. Ronnie captured another new-build 9F on test at Longsight Shed (92080 in April 1956), and another new member of the class (92131 in April 1957) at Crewe Works still in it’s primer.

Given Ronnie’s position as a railway signalman, he was not only able to photograph trains from a prime vantage point but always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. No doubt his access to Special Notices was supplemented by information supplied by fellow railwaymen who got to know him over the many years he took photographs.

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If you can help to identify the location of this photograph then please use the box below:

Short and Sweet, a diverted Slug with Clag!

Freightliner 'Slug' (Class 70), 70003, heads through Heaton Chapel station on 19th June 2017 with a very short 4L90 (MO) 11.17 Trafford Park F.L.T to Felixstowe South F.L.T. service.

Freightliner ‘Slug’ (Class 70), 70003, heads through Heaton Chapel station on 19th June 2017 with a very short 4L90 (MO) 11.17 Trafford Park F.L.T to Felixstowe South F.L.T. service.

Maybe it was a bit too hot for ‘Slug’ Photography

On Monday 19th June 2017, I had decided to use the clear summer skies to photograph the diverted freights through Stockport; by 11am I had already realised it was possibly a bit too hot as temperatures were already approaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Having decided to find shade as much as possible, I managed to get this decent shot along with a few more. Class 70 ‘Slugs’ are a rare breed on the stretch of line between Slade Junction and Wilmslow, but with all freight being diverted from their normal route via the Styal line due to some issues with pointwork at the junctions feeding Manchester Airport, they are currently seen several times a day.

The 4L90 service is scheduled for a 1275 tonne train, so when only 4 wagons turned up I managed to get a decent composition as the driver opened up for the quick sprint towards Stockport. I’m not sure whether this is a normal load for this Monday Only (MO) train, but I might have to see if I can catch it again soon.

I’ll put some more photos in another post soon, but thought this one deserved to be seen on its own!

Whistlers perform the King’s Cross Shuffle

Two Class 40s (as yet unidentified) are performing the shunting manoeuvre required to get from the King's Cross fuelling point to the platform roads. The date is some time in 1973.

Two Class 40s (as yet unidentified) are performing the shunting manoeuvre required to get from the King’s Cross fuelling point to the platform roads. The date is some time in 1972/3.

The King’s Cross Shuffle

Another fine Peter Collins’ photograph shows two Class 40s performing the King’s Cross Shuffle between the fuel stabling point and the platforms. This complex manoeuvre was necessary due to the cramped layout of the stabling point just to the west of the station throat by the Gasworks Tunnel.

The furthest locomotive is standing at the north end of Platform 16 (or 14 depending on the date of the photo). This platform was for Northbound services between Moorgate and the Hertfordshire suburbs; the Southbound trains using the York Road station on the far east of the King’s Cross complex. The Moorgate services were diverted away from the King’s Cross station to use the Northern City Line in November 1976, and the Platform seen here was closed in 1977 as part of the construction works for the electrification of the suburban routes out of King’s Cross. The stabling point was closed in May 1979, with locomotives subsequently being serviced at Finsbury Park Depot to the north.

Whilst both locos have disc head-codes, the loco in the platform sports the new BR Blue livery, although still with pre-TOPS number, whereas the loco in the foreground is painted in BR Green and has a pre-TOPS number.

The train shed of St. Pancras Station forms a fine backdrop to the photograph. Whilst this scene is unchanged since steam days at King’s Cross nearly all of it has been swept away (including probably the locomotives) during the station’s modernisation and rationalisation. Whilst steam had ended in 1963, some ten years previously, many of the operating practices were still in place at this time, and one can imagine two A1 Pacifics in place of the Type 4s just as easily!

Bog-Crates in 1970s East Anglia

A Class 105 DMU (also known as Bog-Crates) departs from Stowmarket towards Ipswich on the 29th June 1978.

A Class 105 DMU (also known as Bog-Crates) departs from Stowmarket towards Ipswich on the 29th June 1978.

Bog-Crates and Semaphores

I started trainspotting in East Anglia in 1976; a hobby that started with the purchase of an Ian Allan Combined Volume after seeing Deltic 55006 ‘Fife and Forfar Yeomanry’ on a King’s Cross to Edinburgh express at a Northumberland Level Crossing. My normal spotting, however, was of ‘Bog-Crates’ in sleepy Suffolk.

Living only 200 yards away from the Cambridge/Ely to Ipswich railway line I had a good starting point for ‘cops’! My local station, Thurston, had been a manned station until January 1967, and until 1976 still had a coal train tripped from Bury St. Edmunds by the station pilot (normally a Class 08 shunter). Having a goods yard, Thurston also had a signal-box, which controlled the local semaphore signals.

The Ipswich-Cambridge trains were operated by Class 101 or Class 105 DMUs, although a notable exception was a train which started at Liverpool Street at 4am and made its way back to London via Ipswich and Cambridge. The DMUs were affectionately called ‘Bog-Crates’, a name I used but to this day I have no idea where it came from; other than the fact that the units were showing their age and had a toilet!

The picture above was taken by an Oldham photographer who visited East Anglia in the mid-late 1970s. The slide it is from has the processing date as July 1978, but no details of the date or service. In the deepest recesses of my memory I remembered that the at this time DMUs often displayed the day and date in the window of the unit, and this photo shows 29 and ‘Thurs’. Sure enough, the 29th June 1978 was indeed a Thursday, so I had the date of when the photo was taken.

All the photo shows is that the destination is Ipswich, but it is also displaying a ’64’ in the window; so is this the route, or something else? Can anybody answer this question? For a little help another photo shows the same ’64’ and a destination of Leicester, also on a Class 105 DMU, but not the same one.

If anybody can help then please drop me a line below.

 

Twilight of the Class 90 Locomotives in East Anglia

Newspaper associated Class 90s, 90011 ‘East Anglia Daily Times: Suffolk & Proud’ (left) and 90002 ‘Eastern Daily Press: 1870-2010, Serving Norfolk for 140 years’ (right) await their departures from Norwich on 18th February 2017. 90011 was working the 13.00 1P39 to Ingatestone, and 90002 worked the 13.30 1P41 to Colchester. Trains were running no further than Ingatestone due to engineering work between there and London Liverpool Street.

Enjoy the Class 90 locomotives while you can…

I’ve become a little disillusioned with the traction scene on the UK railways for a number of years. The decline of heritage traction coincided with the move to multiple units. The Voyagers and Pendolinos introduced by Virgin are charecterless, and in the case of the Voyagers are uncomfortable, cramped and seriously lacking in baggage storage. Thankfully, The Greater Anglia Class 90 locomotives still offer an opportunity for loco-hauled travel.

It look like the move towards soulless travel will continue with Greater Anglia’s move to a total Multiple Unit based fleet, and the introduction of the Hitachi trains on Great Western and East Coast franchises. This leaves only Trans Pennine Express buying locomotives and coaches (offering some degree of flexibility) for future loco-hauled travel.

The Class 90s currently offer the only full Inter-City loco hauled service between London and Norwich, so whilst it lasts and whenever possible I will be trying to travel behind and photograph the fleet.

Similarly the HSTs and Class 91s are soon to be relegated from regular travel, so again I will be trying to get haulage and photos of as many as possible before the onward march of “tubes” continues.

Photo Bashing/Timing Project

As part of the project to capture the last days of regular locomotive hauled travel I will also try and produce logs of journeys. Whilst travelling on an Anglia Ranger Plus ticket on 18th February I stumbled across and App for the iPhone called SpeedTracker. For £3.99 the app will produce logs of journeys including data output for speed, distance, altitude and time. In addition it also provides an accuracy figure based upon the GPS signal.

Having discovered the App late in the day, I only the had to use it on a journey between Diss and Ipswich, and the log of the journey follows below:

Date: Saturday 18th February 2017
Loco: 90002 ‘Eastern Daily Press: 1870-2010, Serving Norfolk for 140 years’
Coaching Stock: 11068/11101/10414/12151/12111/12137/12115/12093/12032
DVT: 82103
Weather: Dry

DistanceLocation Elapsed time Speed (mph)
0.00Diss Station 00:000
0.92Palgrave LC 01:3066.2
3.56Mellis LC 03:2691.6
3.79Beecroft (Wright's) LC 03:3493.6
3.91Rectory Rd LC 03:3994.3
6.84Gislingham LC 05:25101
9.49Cow Creek LC 07:0199.3
11.01Wassicks LC 07:56100.5
12.00Haughley Junction 08:3199.7
13.89Regent Street LC 09:4098.9
14.40Stowmarket Station 09:5998.4
17.17Gypsy Lane LC 11:39100.1
17.89Needham Market Station 12:06100.7
19.71Baylam LC 13:11100.3
20.81Barham Sidings 13:52100.6
21.41Claydon LC 14:1575.6
24.52Europa Junction 19:0641.9
25.46East Suffolk Junction 20:2238.4
26.25Ipswich Station22:070

Using Microsoft Excel (which I am no expert in) I have also managed to generate a Speed and Altitude graph for the run as below:

The Speed Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.

The Speed Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.

The Altitude Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.

The Altitude Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.

As can be seen from the log and graphs, the Class 90 had no problem in accelerating away from Diss and continuing to do so despite climbing. 100mph was reached and sustained for most of the journey with a slight slowing for the bends approaching Stowmarket. Unfortunately, the high speed running was interrupted by a Signal Check near milepost 73 near Barham Sidings. I suspect that it was due to a preceding container train, but from then on the journey was somewhat slow!

I hope to undertake more runs and will be bringing these to the blog as and when I can.

I would be interested in any comments people may have on these posts, and whether they are interested or not really bothered!

The Driver of Class 90 90002 steps onto the footplate to ready for departure with 1P41 13.30 Norwich to Liverpool Street on 18th February 2017.

The Driver of Class 90 90002 steps onto the footplate to ready for departure with 1P41 13.30 Norwich to Liverpool Street on 18th February 2017.

 

40 years ago the Westerns’ reign ended

A crisp spring Sunday in 1973 sees a Western Class 52 diesel hydraulic idle off Brunel’s superb Saltash bridge as it heads the daily Penzance to Kensington milk train out of Cornwall into Devon and along the sinuous section of the GWR on the way to Plymouth and beyond.

A crisp spring Sunday in 1973 sees a Western Class 52 diesel hydraulic idle off Brunel’s superb Saltash bridge as it heads the daily Penzance to Kensington milk train out of Cornwall into Devon and along the sinuous section of the GWR on the way to Plymouth and beyond.

The Westerns were withdrawn on 28th February 1977, 40 years ago!

The Diesel Hydraulic Westerns were withdrawn 40 years ago today. They had developed a following somewhat similar to steam engines that had been withdrawn only 10 years earlier, and were the first of the express diesel engines to be superseded by the High Speed Train (HST).

I’m not sure I ever saw a Western before withdrawal, as the Deltics were my thing living in East Anglia; but I’ve got a soft spot for them having seen them in preservation.  They seemed to rekindle the spirit of trainspotting and railway enthusiasm which had died somewhat after steam, probably because like steam engines they were kept in a decrepid state towards the end of their working lives.

Peter Hutchinson managed to take some evocative shots of the class when they still held sway on the Western Region, and his shots will be uploaded soon to the Lineside Photographics website.

Peter’s shot of this Western heading the daily milk train out of Cornwall towards London embodies everything about the Western Region; Brunel’s iconic Saltash Bridge, the Western Region’s decision to go it alone with diesel-hydraulic traction and a milk train. Whilst the bridge still stands, and some Westerns were preserved, the milk train is from a bygone age, replaced by articulated lorries.

The Westerns really started the new-age of enthusiasts ‘bashing’ trains, the Deltics quickly followed and then it was the Class 40s and Class 37s which seemed to be the last of the old-guard of BR diesels with a cult following. Oh for it to be 1977 again!

 

Class 40 D200 Photo-call, when and where?

Class 40 40122 sits at Warrington Bank Quay station with a rail tour.....

EE Class 40, 40122 (as D200), sits at Warrington Bank Quay station with a railtour…..

Warrington Photo-call for Class 40 Pioneer

EE Class 40 pioneer 40122 (painted as D200) sits at Warrington Bank Quay station (I think) with a railtour. Those are the only details I have for this photograph so I am hoping that somebody recognises themselves or was involved with the tour so that I can get some more details!

The fervour and adulation surrounding the withdrawal of the Class 40s seemed to surpass the EE Class 55 Deltic locomotives at times, and as this photograph shows the Whistler fans spanned the age groups. As the numbers of locomotives dwindled so the fans grew in numbers, and as the class seemed to be concentrated on services in and around the north-west  of England, memories of 1968 (and all that) must have been re-kindled!

If you can help with any information on the railtour, date and confirmation of location then I would appreciate it.

There will be many more photographs of Class 40s available to purchase at Lineside Photographics in the coming months. The Class 40 Preservation Society (CFPS)  owns and runs three Class 40s (40106, 40135 and 40145).

Bullied Pacific locomotives scrapped too early?

Re-built Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 'Rotterdam Lloyd' and 35012 'Union Castle' both await their fate at Nine Elms Shed some time in 1964. BR Standard Class 5 73086 'The Green Knight' sits simmers next to them; her fate was still another two years away.

Re-built Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 ‘Rotterdam Lloyd’ and 35012 ‘Union Castle’ both await their fate at Nine Elms Shed some time in 1964. BR Standard Class 5 73086 ‘The Green Knight’ sits simmers next to them; her fate was still another two years away.

Bullied Locos scrapped before their time, and at what cost?

Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 ‘Rotterdam Lloyd’ and 35002 ‘Union Castle’ were both withdrawn from service with British Railways in early 1964 (possibly the w/e 23rd February). These were the first of the MN Class to be withdrawn, potentially due to them requiring an intermediate overhaul which was deemed too expensive given the impending end of steam some 3 years hence. I find this a strange decision (like so many around this time) given that both locomotives had been re-built less than 6 years earlier; so effectively had many years of service left.

The Modernisation Plan of 1955 seemed to drive every decision thereafter; that, and the accountants struggling to justify spending money on steam locomotives when diesel and electric traction was the ‘future’. Given that the some MN duties were taken over by the Warship locomotives, which themselves were only to last in service for a little over 10 years, highlights the lack of planning that seemed to go on in the implementation of the 1955 Plan.

I’d love to look at the costs of these rebuilds and compare to the new build of diesels to see how close the valuations were. It would also be interesting to look at the day-to-day running costs of steam vs. diesel at this time. If anybody can help with that information or knows where to find then please get in touch.

The BR Standard Class 5 73086 ‘The Green Knight’ lasted another two years after this photograph was taken, but this meant that it only spent 11 years in service itself. The ironic thing is that this locomotive was built after the release of the Modernisation Plan by British Railways in 1955!

The Nine Elms website

In tracking down the location and date of the photograph, I came across a fantastic website dedicated to Nine Elms Shed. A brilliant archive of memories about the railwaymen and operation of the shed. Give it a visit, you won’t be disappointed!