On St. David’s Day – The Great Little Trains of Wales (Trenau Bach Arbennig Cymru)

Or two of them at least!

2013 saw me pay visits to the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) and the Talyllyn Railway (TR), two of the eleven ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’.

Opened in 1903 the 2ft 6in gauge W&LLR has its headquarters at Llanfair Caereinion in Powys and still operates services with the original locomotives built by Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd in 1902.

BP 0-6-0T No.823 (works no.3497 of 1902)-20130720Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd 0-6-0T No.823 COUNTESS
Llanfair Caereinion, W&LLR, 20 July 2013

Great Western Railway-liveried No.823 COUNTESS is seen taking on coal at Llanfair Caereinion, in the background are the three replica R.Y. Pickering & Co Ltd carriages built by the Ffestiniog Railway‘s Boston Lodge works between 2004 and 2010, the original W&LLR carriages having been scrapped in 1931.

BP 0-6-0T No.822 (works no.3496 of 1902)-20130720Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd 0-6-0T No.822 THE EARL
Sylfaen Halt, W&LLR, 20 July 2013

no.822 THE EARL is seen approaching Sylfaen Halt with a Welshpool Raven Square-Llanfair Caereinion service. The locomotives were named in honour of The Earl and Countess of Powys as the Earl supported the building of the railway. THE COUNTESS had its name shortened to just COUNTESS by the Great Western Railway (GWR) who absorbed the W&LLR in 1923.


The 2ft 3in gauge Talyllyn Railway was opened in 1865 to carry slate from the quarries at Bryn Eglwys to Tywyn on the coast and despite becoming incredibly run-down was never closed, becoming the first heritage railway in the world in 1951.

The TR also uses its original locomotives (amongst others) and on the day I visited No.1 TALYLLYN (built by Fletcher Jennings & Co in 1865) was photographed running round the 12:45 service to Tywyn Wharf at Nant Gwernol at the eastern end of the line.

FJ 0-4-2ST No.1 (works no.42 of 1865)-20130816Fletcher Jennings & Co 0-4-2ST No.1 TALYLLYN
Nant Gwernol, TR, 16 August 2013

Also in operation was Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd 0-4-0WT No.6 DOUGLAS (works no.1431 of 1918). The ‘Modified E Class’ locomotive was built for the railway serving RAF Calshot in Hampshire. The locomotive was donated to the Talyllyn Railway in 1953, regauged from 2ft gauge and named after Douglas Abelson, who donated it.

AB 0-4-0WT No.1 (works no.1431 of 1918)-20130816Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co Ltd 0-4-0WT No.6 DOUGLAS
Tywyn, TR, 16 August 2013

Both railways are on my ‘to be revisited’ list and both are accepting donations to help them survive COVID-19 enforced shut-downs, please support them if you can…

Spotted Today – 66789 British Rail 1948-1997

66789-2021022666789 British Rail 1948-1997
Alfreton Tunnel, 26 February 2021

Spotted today, during my daily exercise… 66789 British Rail 1948-1997 exiting Alfreton Tunnel with train 0O01, the 10.50 light engine move from Doncaster Down Decoy Yard to Eastleigh East Yard.

Previously numbered 66250, the loco was one of a batch sold by DB Cargo UK to GB Railfreight (GBRf) in 2017 and now carries British Rail’s ‘large logo’ blue livery.

The 840 yard long Alfreton (New) Tunnel was completed in 1901 by the Midland Railway (MR) when the line here was quadrupled, the new tunnel being used for the fast lines with the old tunnel being relegated to freight traffic on the slow lines.

Spotted Yesterday – In 15 minutes on the Erewash Valley Line

A 15-minute pause during a stroll in the Erewash Valley (near the site of the Former Shipley Gate station) yesterday produced the following…

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Erewash Valley Line, 4 January 2021

Freightliner’s 66514 heading 6M73, the 10.50 departmental service from Doncaster Up Decoy to Toton North Yard.

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Erewash Valley Line, 4 January 2021

195009, working 1Y15, the 11.09 Sundays excepted (SuX) Northern service from Leeds to Nottingham.

The class 195s seem to have finally taken over from class 158s on this route, I’ve seen a few but this is the first time I’ve photographed one.

60010 & 66207-2021010460010 & 66207
Erewash Valley Line, 4 January 2021

DB Cargo UK’s 60010 and 66207 passing with 0F54, the 12.05 light engine move from Belmont Down Yard to Toton T.M.D.

I didn’t hang about any longer, the leaden sky soon produced rain…

On This Day… 47540

13 years ago today I was driving up to Bedale in North Yorkshire (if memory serves I was going to collect a model railway baseboard from White Rose Modelworks) and I decided to stop off en route to have a better look at something I’d spotted when driving down the A1 a few months earlier…

What I’d spotted was a number of railway carriages seemingly dumped in a field.

What I’d thought was a field turned out to be the remnants of Sinderby railway station, on the former Harrogate to Northallerton line opened by the Leeds Northern Railway in 1852.

The station had closed to passengers in 1962, to goods in 1963 and the line had closed completely in 1967 with the station site being taken over by Seward Agricultural Supplies.

In 2002 the site also became home to a number of British Rail Mk.2 carriages pending restoration, and a little later, this…

47540-2007120547540 The Institution of Civil Engineers
The former Sinderby Station, December 2007

47540 The Institution of Civil Engineers was withdrawn in November 2002 and had arrived at Sinderby the following September and was now looking very much the worse for wear.

47540 was built at Brush Traction in Loughborough and entered service in March 1964 as D1723 at Bristol Bath Road Depot (82A). Renumbering under the TOPS scheme followed in October 1974 and again (to 47975) in August 1990. 47975 was named The Institution of Civil Engineers without ceremony at Crewe Diesel Depot (CD) on 2 September 1991 and the name was retained when the loco was renumbered back to 47540 in December 1995.

The site was partially cleared in 2009, prior to the widening of the A1 road and the six carriages I recorded (and possibly others) were moved to Dalton Industrial Estate near Thirsk for storage. Most were later scrapped.

47540 had a brief period of storage at Heanor Haulage’s site in Langley Mill before moving back to Yorkshire, taking up residence at the Wensleydale Railway where its condition deteriorated further until it was sent for scrap at T.J.Thomson of Stockton in March 2016.

In the image below (dating from 2010) 47540 is just visible (in the centre), dumped at the end of a siding at Leeming Bar station.

Leeming Bar station, Wensleydale Railway-2010090947540
Leeming Bar Station, 9 September 2010

Spotted Last Night – At Matlock

Last night I made a pre-Lockdown 2.0 trip out to photograph the local Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT) having determined that said train stopped at Matlock Station for 45 minutes… plenty of time to set up a tripod and capture a few images.

But as we know ‘the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley’ and 66114 and 66111 only paused for a moment before heading into the darkness north of the station to make room for…

156401-20201103156401
Matlock, 3 November 2020

East Midlands Railway’s 156401, working 2A72, the 22.19 (SSuX) service from Derby. After pausing for a couple of minutes 156401 departed with train 2A79, the 22.56 to Nottingham.

Once 156401 had left the single-track branch at Ambergate Junction, 66111 and 66114 reappeared but again only paused briefly before continuing on their way.

66111-2020110366111 (plus 66114 out of sight at the rear)
Matlock, 3 November 2020

The two DB Cargo (UK) locos ‘top and tailed’ the RHTT vehicles and last night their route began at Toton Depot at 21.22 and took in Derby, Matlock, Leicester, Kettering, Nottingham and Newark Castle before finishing at Stapleford & Sandiacre at 04.06.

The RHTTs remove autumn leaf fall from the rails with high pressure water jets and can also apply an ‘adhesion modifier’ to help train wheels grip the rail… Vital for safety!

On This Day – Strathclyde PTE-liveried Multiple Units

15 years ago today I was driving from Balerno (a suburb of Edinburgh) to Banavie in the Scottish Highlands and had decided to stop at as many railway stations as I could get away with before my wife got fed up with my antics! 😁

Curriehill, on the Shotts line, was first and after a couple of minutes 156437 (allocated to Corkerhill Depot in Glasgow) put in an appearance on the 09.26 First ScotRail service from Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Central.

156437-20050903156437
Curriehill station, 3 September 2005

The station opened on 5 October 1987 and stands on the site of the Caledonian Railway’s ‘Currie Hill’ station which was closed by British Railways on 2 April 1951.

Next was Balloch, another newish station, and I arrived to find 320302 (allocated to Glasgow Shields Road Depot) waiting to depart with the 11.38 First ScotRail service to Drumgelloch.

320302-20050903320302
Balloch station, 3 September 2005

The ‘new’ Strathclyde PTE carmine and cream livery is more obvious in this pic and to my eye looks far more ‘railway-like’ than most post-privatisation liveries. It finally disappeared from the national network in December 2019 following withdrawal of the Class 314 electric multiple units.

Balloch station opened on 24 April 1988 and replaced the former Balloch Central station which closed the previous day and had been situated on the other side of the busy Balloch Road. The building just visible in the background is the former station building, now a tourist information centre.

I’ve just checked with the excellent trainlogger website and both units are still in service with ScotRail, wearing the current Saltire blue livery.

A relic of the LNER

'WARNING TO TRESPASSERS'‘WARNING TO TRESPASSERS’
August 2020

The London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) ceased to exist on 31 December 1947 when it became part of the newly nationalised ‘British Railways’ so I was surprised to find this sign still in use in Lincolnshire last week.

I’m not going to mention its exact location as I’d hate it to suddenly ‘go missing’.

Back in Business – The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

A couple of weeks ago I paid a (socially distanced) visit to the recently re-opened Ecclesbourne Valley Railway (EVR), treating myself (and the people in my ‘bubble’) to a ‘Bounce Back’ ticket.

33103-20200801c33103 SWORDFISH couples onto the 13.20 to Duffield
Wirksworth Station, August 2020

The EVR have chosen to operate a simple timetable of three return trips per day, all starting at Wirksworth with no break of journey allowed.

Tickets are being sold on a compartment basis and each group (of up to six people) is allocated a compartment on arrival and the carriages are clearly marked as to which door to board at.

Limited catering facilities were in operation (although we’d packed a picnic) and apart from the masks and the railway’s staff helping to keep the small groups of people apart everything felt very ‘normal’.

'SWORDFISH'SWORDFISH nameplate (33103)
Wirksworth Station, August 2020

33103 ‘SWORDFISH’ (the former D6514, b.1960, BRCW) made light work of three beautifully turned out BR Mk.1 carriages and a few groups (us included) were lucky enough to be allocated a first class compartment!

33103-20200801d33103 SWORDFISH runs round its train
Duffield Station, August 2020

The EVR (and all the heritage lines that have managed to re-open under these difficult circumstances) really need our support to survive… If you can, buy a ticket and enjoy a ride!

On This Day… Night Riviera

57604-2014080657604 PENDENNIS CASTLE
Exeter St David’s station, 6 August 2014

Six years ago today I was staying in Exeter and decided to have a bash at photographing the First Great Western ‘Night Riviera’ sleeper service as it paused at St David’s station at around 1am.

57604 ‘PENDENNIS CASTLE’ (looking splendid in Great Western Railway livery) had departed from Penzance bang on time at 21.45 and would eventually arrive at London Paddington at 05.01 with its seven coach train.

57604 is one of four class 57/6 locos converted from class 47s (47209 in this case) in 2004 for use on the sleeper service between London, Devon and Cornwall and still carries the special livery that was applied in 2010 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Great Western Railway (GWR) being incorporated.

Spotted Today – 43238, the ‘Flying Tomato’

43238-2020072743238
Beeston Station, July 2020

Former London North Eastern Railway (LNER) High Speed Train (HST) power car 42238 leads train 1B48, the 13.45 Saturdays and Sundays Excepted (SSuX) East Midlands Railway (EMR) service from Nottingham to London St Pancras International through Beeston on 27 July 2020.

I was under the impression that EMR were replacing their fleet of HSTs with those withdrawn by LNER in 2019 as the LNER fleet was more compliant with the 2020 disability access regulations but so far I’ve only seen the former LNER power cars being used with EMR trailers…

For the record, 43305 was on the rear of this service.