Bubble and Squeak

Chiltern Railways are to dispense with their two Class 121 bubble cars at the end of the 2016/2017 winter timetable citing unavailability of spare parts as the reason. To celebrate this, the Branch Line Society – in conjunction with Chiltern Railways – ran a  railtour taking in a fast run from Aylesbury to London Marylebone and then to Oxford, finally back to Aylesbury via Claydon Junction and Quainton Road. 121034 in BR green was turned out on the day.

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Standing under the trainshed at Marylebone. I wonder when the last one in passenger service stood here was…

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Stood in the platform at Quainton Road. The station is a fantastically kept in a period scene, despite having no booked passenger trains, and the green bubble looked right at home (barring a few minor modern additions!).

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Removal of a few of those modern additions courtesy of photoshop produces something a lot more old school.

09/04/2017

37405

37405 coasts into Lingwood with 2P17 1117 Great Yarmouth-Norwich. I had hoped this would be 37423 but it was out of hours to exam and was swapped the night before.

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21/03/2017

9 lives

To commemorate their removal from the Southern franchise, a team of Southern employees organised a railtour in conjunction with the Branch Line Society from London to Brighton and return along with some rare bits of track around London and Brighton. 73202 was an added bonus for some shunt manouvres around the Brighton area.

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73202 has just attached to 2402 at Brighton ready for a trip to Lovers Walk depot, Preston Park carriage sidings and then Hove carriage sidings…

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…which is where this photo is taken (thanks to Tube). The 73 was operated in multiple with the Wessex unit on both diesel and electric power.

Having had more reprieves than probably anything else in recent times and for their ninth lives, 18 of the 24 Wessex units will be transferring back to the South Western franchise to operate trains between London and Portsmouth. What happens to the remaining six is less certain, although Alliance Rail has aspirations to use them for an open access operation. Watch this space.

12/03/2017

Post Christmas Blues

The Anglian short set(s) were again booked to be out in the period between Christmas and New Year 2016 and combined with decent weather forecast it seemed rude not to take the opportunity to take advantage.

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First off, 37405 leads 2J67 0747 Lowestoft-Norwich through Brundall just as the sun makes it over the top of the trees. 27/12

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37424 had arrived from Derby a few weeks previously. It looks shiny but doesn’t work properly – not bad for a c£500k job! 27/12/16

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37424 again leaves Lingwood with a Yarmouth bound train; not technically brilliant but serves to highlight the ‘quality job’ done on the overhaul (well at least the paintwork is shiny). 27/12/16

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68025 at Brundall. 27/12/16

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37424 at Brundall with 2P18 1036 Norwich-Great Yarmouth. 27/12/16

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Just as the sea mist starts to roll in, 37405 stands at Lowestoft prior to departure of 2J91 1955 departure to Norwich. 27/12/16

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68025 on the rear of the set headed by 68005 as it slows for the Lingwood stop with 2P11 Yarmouth-Norwich. 29/12/16

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The heavy frost is still visible as 68025 arrives into Cantley with 2J70 Norwich-Lowestoft. 29/12/16

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37422 arriving into Lingwood with 2P18 Yarmouth-Norwich. 29/12/16

Heavyweights are Hell

Rail Operations Group ran the second of their newly announced charters on 23 October 2016; a relatively relaxed Derby to Derby via a circuitous route taking in Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester. Highlight was a pair of 37/7s which hadn’t worked a passenger train for many years – ex-Spanish 37884 and 37800.

37800 was taken back to its old stomping ground, the former Glo Cymru was a Cardiff Canton coal machine for a number of years after conversion.

Two photos below of the pair after arrival at Worcester.

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Breaking New Ground

To celebrate 15 years of GBRf operation, a series of charter trains were run by the operator for charity. Taking 20s to Inverness and Swanage, 73s to Kings Cross and various 66s all over the place, the four day railtour covered various outposts served by the railfreight operator.

The main event (certainly as far as I’m concerned) was saved for day four when 87002 broke new ground, not only for the class but for electric locos in general; it became the first to work over the newly electrified line between Wigan and Liverpool via St Helens.

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It would have been nice to be able to get a shot of it somewhere en route, however this will have to suffice; Royal Sovereign stood underneath the trainshed roof at Lime Street station after arrival from Edinburgh.

11/09/16

HST 40 – Bristol SPM Open Day

Great Western Railway held an open day at Bristol St Philips Marsh depot on bank holiday Monday 2nd May. It was billed as ‘HST40’ – a celebration of the High Speed Train.

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The open day saw a surprise in the form of 43002 unveiled in original Inter-City 125 blue and yellow as well as being named ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’. Kenneth was the designer of the iconic nose cone of the HST.

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Colas sent newly overhauled 47749 which was renamed ‘City of Truro’, seen here alongside preserved 46045 and 37884.

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Each of the GWR shunters has been overhauled and repainted into a heritage livery; 08822 has regained Intercity livery.

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50007 and 50050 came from Boden Rail and 50035 was provided by the Fifty Fund.

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37884, 45045, 47749 and the tender from 6100 Royal Scot.

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The sun came out just at the end of the day and the staff at the depot moved the access steps from the front of the powercars allowing this shot.

L-R: 43187 (GWR), 43423 (GC), 43013 (NR), 43300 (VTEC), 43048 (EMT), 43187 (GWR).

A fitting end to the day. Well done GWR and all the staff at SPM!

The Pines Express

UK Railtours ran a 2016 recreation of the Pines Express from London Euston to London Waterloo via Manchester Piccadilly and Bournemouth. Originally billed to feature an 86 from Euston to Manchester for a GBRf 66 to Bournemouth and a pair of GB 73s back to London Waterlook.

Thankfully the 86 was substituted for 87002, giving the first sight of an 87 back in the trainshed at Piccadilly since the final Virgin West Coast train in 2005. 30/04/16.

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Tottenham get all the fun

87002 has had quite a bit of action of late; a few GBRf operated footexes for Thomas Cook/Tottenham Hotspur FC and also the occasional foray out onto the sleeper. Seen here passing through Kidsgrove with an ECS for Crewe from Stoke. 18/04/16

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What could be the last West Coast Railways Class 37 on a railtour; 37706 stands at Carnforth after arriving with the Branch Line Society ‘Ermintrude, Dougal and Florence Tracker’ from Cleethorpes. 23/01/16

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Short week with the short set

The Anglian short set was in use in the short week between Christmas and New Year and featured 37422 and 37425. 37422 was living up to its reputation and doing virtually none of the work, leaving 37425 to push or pull it around. Photos taken over a few days.

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37422 at Norwich before departure for Great Yarmouth. 29/12/15

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37422 departs from Brundall. The former Robert F Fairlie still hasn’t received its PaintShopPro branding due to the poor standard of the bodywork repairs/prep/repaint during its stay at Glasgow Works. The bottom of the cabsides are bubbling already and there are numerous paint blisters all over. It does look good in all over blue however – long may it evade the vinyls! 29/12/15

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37425 at Norwich prior to working the 1736 to Great Yarmouth. 30/12/15

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37422 tails the return of the first Great Yarmouth trip at Lingwood. Had I not been stuck in traffic, I would have made the outward working. Never mind…

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The one worth waiting for! 37425 leads the second Great Yarmouth to Norwich arriving at Lingwood. 31/12/15

Mary and Strathclyde Region

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With all the hype surrounding the railtour to Bournemouth running today, here are 37401 and 37405 last time they worked in a pair on a passenger train. The date was 5th April 2008 and the train was a York to York via Harrogate mini tour which they worked after arriving from Wolverhampton with the main tour. This was also the last time 37405 worked a passenger train before storage and sale to Diesel Railtour Shambles.

Anglian Short Set

Two days around East Anglia chasing the short set with varying degrees of success. On both days the cloud brought an end to play around 1200, on the first day the middle Lowestoft runs were substituted with a unit and on the second day the Lowestoft and first Great Yarmouth were substituted with 156418.

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The first day saw an early morning drive to Buckenham to catch the ECS heading to Lowestoft. 170205 heading to Lowestoft with 2J64, the 0645 from Norwich, was used as a test shot and came out looking relatively decent. It can only be a matter of time before they succumb to the white paintbrush so capturing an example in the ‘one’ blue can’t be a bad thing to do. (03/08/15)

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Running bang on time and looking superb in the early morning sunshine is 37425 leading 5J67 0640 Norwich Crown Point-Lowestoft past the foot crossing at Buckenham. 37425 had just come back from tyre turning at Derby Etches Park which seemingly involved a clean of the front end. (03/08/15)

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Next up is 37425 lifting 2P12 0836 Norwich-Great Yarmouth up the gradient at St Michaels Way foot crossing away from Brundall station – the home signal to the left of the train protects the junction where the line to Yarmouth via Acle leaves the Lowestoft line. The junction onto the single line is 25mph and both locos were working hard at this point to overcome the gradient and the curve of the line and get the train up to linespeed. (03/08/15)

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Unfortunately incoming cloud put paid to any more photography for the day and the two middle Lowestoft trips were a unit, so one last shot of 37419 at Great Yarmouth waiting departure time with 2P33 1817 to Norwich. (03/08/15)

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The next day saw a more favourable forecast, however a failed tamper on the Sheringham line put paid to the first two trips of the day as 37425 was used to rescue it! The set reappeared for 2P18 1036 Norwich-Great Yarmouth seen here approaching Whitlingham Junction before slowing for the stop at Brundall Gardens. (04/08/15)

A little bit of Scotland comes to Lancashire

The East Lancs Railway held their Summer diesel gala over the first weekend of July featuring visitors from the SRPS stable of engines. 20020, 26038, 37025 and 47643 featured alongside resident and long term loan visitors. The Sunday of the gala was changeable weather wise, starting off cloudy before the sun broke through and then ended with a monsoon in the afternoon.

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Starting off at Irwell Vale, 37109 waits departure for Rawtenstall. Looking quite weatherbeaten now, the exhauster seems to be burning oil – hence the blue smoke coming from the exhaust outlet behind the buffer beam.

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On to Springside Farm before the weather closed in; 47643, 31466 and 40145 all dodging clouds.

Royal Sovereign to the Rescue

After the Caledonian Sleeper operation became a separate franchise on April 1st 2015 and GBRf were contracted to provide locomotives, it was expected that Class 92’s would be the motive power for the electric portions with Class 73/9’s doing the diesel parts north of Edinburgh. Delays in the locos coming out of Brush led to Class 90’s and 67’s being subhired from DB Schenker. After a number of failures in the first couple of weeks, 87002 was drafted in to provide support to the ailing fleet. Initially thought to be just for one week, it continued into a second week and at the time of writing is about to commence a third week of operation – running faultlessly throughout.

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^ Shortly after the arrival of 1B16 from Aberdeen and the Class 67 was detached, 87002 stands waiting for a shunter to attach to the stock.

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^ Seen here on arrival from Edinburgh Waverley with 1M16 Inverness-Euston at destination after a storming run down the West Coast. 16/04/2015

Nene Valley Gala 2015

Nene Valley Railway held their annual diesel gala over the weekend of the 11th and 12th April 2015. Reduced from a twice yearly event to yearly due to financial issues, a number of visiting locos were rostered. Particularly appealing were a Class 56 from UKRL and a Class 60 from DB Schenker (as was 37190 before it was pulled from the lineup). DBS locos are making something of a comeback on the gala circuit…

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50008 shares shed spare with 31271, 31601 and 60001 at Wansford.

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56104 came from the UK Rail Leasing stable at Leicester. Seen here leaving Peterborough station for Wansford.

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60001 also leaving Peterborough for Wansford.

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50015 came from the East Lancs Railway seen arriving at Orton Mere, plough end leading.

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GBRailfreight, after takeover by Europorte in 2010, found themselves with access to electric traction in the form of a fleet of Class 92s. They were slowly brought into traffic and one of the first duties was to and from Trafford Park on the daily service from and to Felixstowe.

This was previously worked by a Class 66 throughout but diverting the train via London enabled the use of electric traction between Ipswich and Trafford Park.

92043 is seen below passing Gatley with 4L18 Trafford Park-Felixstowe on 8th July 2013.

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One Kilo Three Nine

Freightliner Powerhaul liveried 90045 stands at Stafford while working 1K39 1843 Euston-Crewe. It has the Mk3 set ‘WB64’ in tow, on one of its nine lives!

Following total removal of loco haulage on the WCML, the set first came back to traffic in late 2005 and lasted in one form or another right up until 2014 when it was removed from traffic on the West Coast for the final time. The set continued to use up another of its nine lives when it transferred to Greater Anglia as cover for their Mk3 overhaul programme until late 2016 and at the time of writing, looks likely to enter service with Transpennine Express for driver train handling experience.

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17/01/2011

The Dog

In light of the return of 31459 ‘Cerberus’ to working order, here are a couple of shots of it at Manchester Piccadilly and Stockport in 2009 working 1Q18 Longsight to Longsight via the world.

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02/12/09

Emily

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47818 ‘Emily’ heads through Doncaster with 5Z50 Heaton-Loughborough. In tow were 43067 and 43068 which were heading for conversion to 43467 and 43468 entailing fitment with MTU engines.

06/05/08