Diversions through Sunny Suffolk

GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Wednesday 28th December.
One of many diversions, GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Wednesday 28th December.

Diversions through Sunny Suffolk

Over the Christmas and New Year holidays the Great Eastern mainline has been closed for engineering works. The container trains that normally travel via the North London line are being subject to diversions through Bury St Edmunds and Ely, meaning that in 30 minutes there have been 4 trains following each other to the north in the early afternoon.

I took some photos just north of Thurston on 28th/29th December because the lighting was so good!

Wednesday 28th December 2016

First is a normally routed service, GBRf’s 4M29 Felixstowe to Birch Coppice (seen above) hauled by 66755. The second train was a diverted  service and is GBRf’s 4M23 Felixstowe to Hams Hall hauled by 66719 ‘Metro Land’ (seen below).

GBRf Class 66 66719 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Wednesday 28th December.
GBRf Class 66 66719 ‘Metro Land’ climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Wednesday 28th December.

I’m not sure what a collection of ‘Sheds’ is termed, but another GBRf train, 66769 heads 4Z33 Felixstowe to Doncaster Railport.

GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Wednesday 28th December.
GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Wednesday 28th December.

The final train of the quartet provided a little variety with a different operator and a different class of locomotive. Freightliner’s Class 70 70016 heads the diverted 4M87 Felixstowe to Trafford Park away from Thurston with a little clag thrown in for good measure.

Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Wednesday 28th December.
Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Wednesday 28th December.

The Class 70s are pretty rare on this line and are normally only seen on diversions. They are even rarer at the moment given the poor reliability of the locomotives.

Thursday 29th November

I hadn’t got my hopes up for the day as the forecast was for heavy fog that would linger all day. In fact, the day was even clearer than the 28th, with no fog at all!

Having found out that the diversions were running, I opted to go to Thurston station to photograph Freightliner’s diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe. This is normally an Electric loco to Ipswich and I expected it to be quite heavily loaded…. I was disappointed.

Freightliner's diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe coasts downhill through Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016.
Freightliner’s diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe coasts downhill through Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016.

I thought maybe it might have been double-headed, but a single ‘Shed’ in the form of 66557 was in charge! Not only that, but the train was lightly loaded as can be seen by the ‘going-away’ shot from Thurston station.

Freightliner's diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe heads away from Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016.
Freightliner’s diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe heads away from Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016. The ‘dip’ in the track underneath the road bridge to allow 9’6″ containers to be carried on the trains is clearly visible.

After a leisurely walk back to the bridge, I awaited the same trains as the previous day.

One of many diversions, GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Thursday 29th December.
One of many diversions, GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Thursday 29th December.

I looked at a new angle for the shot of 66755 on 4M29 Felixstowe to Birch Coppice, but I’m not sure about portraits when there is so much light on the side…

GBRf Class 66 66719 'Metro Land' climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Thursday 29th December.
GBRf Class 66 66719 ‘Metro Land’ climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Thursday 29th December.

66719 ‘Metro Land’ was again in charge of 4M23 Felixstowe to Hams Hall, and… 66769 turned up on 4M23 to Doncaster just as on the previous day.

GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Thursday 29th December.
GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Thursday 29th December.

Fortunately, Freightliner provided a little bit of variety by utilising 66529 on the diverted 4M87 Felixstowe to Trafford Park; phew…!

Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Thursday 29th December.
Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Thursday 29th December.

Unfortunately, any further photography was cut short by the cold and the light, but hey this type of traffic in ‘Sunny Suffolk’ is always welcome!

Please look out for more images on the blog and available to buy at the Lineside Photographics website.

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