Military Manoeuvres – AD 34

Ever since I found out that the railway scenes in the 1966 film The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery were filmed at the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire I’ve had an interest in the sometimes secretive world of the railway systems used by our armed forces.

Happily these days, an interest in such matters isn’t likely to get you shot (at least here in the UK) and a considerable amount of information has now been published about such systems. In addition, a lot of former military railway equipment has passed into the hands of preservationists all over the country.

Locomotive AD 34 is one such piece of equipment, now preserved at the Golden Valley Light Railway in Derbyshire.

HE 4wDH AD 34 (works no.7009 of 1971)-20180207Hunslet 4wDH AD 34
Golden Valley Light Railway, February 2018

Built by the Hunslet Engine Co Ltd (HE) in 1971 (as works no.7009), AD 34 was one of five such locomotives supplied new to the Ministry of Defence, Royal Ordnance Factory Eastriggs in Dumfriesshire (now Dumfries & Galloway) to move munitions around the site on a vast 2ft gauge railway system.

Fitted with a 28hp Perkins diesel engine and a hydraulic transmission, AD 34 has a top speed of 4mph (would you want to go any faster with a trainload of munitions in tow?)

By 1996 all five locos had been transferred to the Department of the Environment Lydd Gun Ranges in Kent where they were used to haul maintenance and personnel trains on the extensive rail network there.

The other four locomotives also survive in preservation; AD 35 (works no.7010) can be seen at the Statfold Barn Railway in Staffordshire (see image below) while AD 36 (works no.7011), AD 37 (works no.7012) and AD 38 (works no.7013) can all be found at the Old Kiln Light Railway in Surrey.

HE 4wDH 35 (works no.7010 of 1971, reb.1988 by HAB, works no.6941)-20110917Hunslet 4wDH AD 35
Statfold Barn Railway, September 2011

A little surprise in France… SNCF class Y 2400

A couple of years ago I was driving down to Nevers (prefecture of the Nièvre department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in central France) when I was suddenly confronted with this…

SNCF class Y2400, Y 2406-20180801aSNCF class Y2400

A small, diesel shunter (or ‘locotracteur’) plonked in the middle of a roundabout that had been made to vaguely resemble a railway turntable.

SNCF class Y2400, Y 2406-20180801bSNCF class Y2400

SNCF class Y2400, Y 2406 (works plate)-20180801SNCF class Y2400, works plate

The works plate gave me a clue to the little critter’s identity and a bit of research revealed its identity to be Y 2406, one of a class of 112 built for the Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF) between 1962 and 1969 by the Société Anonyme Decauville.

Quite what it’s doing in the middle of the commune of Varennes-Vauzelles though I’m still not sure…

On This Day – Grand Train, Paris

Four years ago today I was travelling back to the UK from Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire in central France and took the opportunity of a few hours between trains in Paris to visit the ‘Grand Train’ exhibition at the former La Chapelle locomotive depot.

Le dépôt de La Chappelle was opened by La Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord (CF du Nord) in 1845 and served the railways north of Paris for almost 167 years until closure in January 2013.

Occupying a prime spot in central Paris the site was put up for sale by the Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF) but the depot was to welcome trains once more before the developers moved in…

From 30 April to 16 October 2016 the depot played host to not only a number of historic railway related exhibits but also restaurants and bars, a bookstore, a number of markets and best of all, entry was free!

These are just a few of the many photos I took that day…

SNCF class BB 9300 109301, class A1AA1A 68500 668523 & class CC 72000 472029-20160618SNCF class BB 9300 109301, class A1AA1A 68500 668523 & class CC 72000 472029

SNCF 230.D.9 (CF du Nord 230 3.521)-20160618SNCF 230.D.9 (CF du Nord 230 3.521)

The only steam locomotive on display… built in 1908 by the Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord.

Grand Train map-20160618‘vous êtes ici’

SNCF class X 52100 Autorail X 52103-20160618bSNCF class X 52100 Autorail X 52103

SNCF TGV Sud-Est power cars 23113 & 23114-20160618SNCF TGV Sud-Est power cars 23113 & 23114

The legendary Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV), these two power cars belong to one of the eight-car two-voltage ‘Sud-Est’ sets (57).

SNCF class BB 9200 9291-20160618cSNCF class BB 9200 9291

This class BB 9200 loco is one of the two 250km/h high speed variants used on the ‘Capitole’ service between Paris and Toulouse. The red ‘Capitole’ livery led to the locos being given the nickname ‘BB rouge’.

Multiple Unit Monday – A Wickham in Wales

Class 109 DTCL E56171-20140816D.Wickham & Co. Ltd. DTCL E56171 & DMBS E50416
Carrog Station, Llangollen Railway, August 2014

This two-car diesel multiple unit (DMU) was built by D.Wickham & Co. Ltd. of Ware, Hertfordshire in 1957 and was one of five such sets allocated to branch line services in East Anglia.

As more and more branch lines closed in the 1960s these Wickham sets were deemed surplus to requirements and were withdrawn from service. Two were exported to Trinidad, two were scrapped but the fifth (E56171 and E50416, later renumbered TDB975006 and TDB975005) was converted into a saloon (complete with kitchen facilities) for use by the General Manager of British Rail’s Eastern Region, remaining in use until 1980.

Eventually preserved by the Llangollen Railcars group the unit was restored at the Midland Railway-Butterley thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant and it returned to service in 2004.

Class 109 DTCL interior-20140816Interior of DTCL E56171
Carrog Station, Llangollen Railway, August 2014

The beautifully restored interiors are a very comfortable and stylish way to travel and the large windows give a fantastic view of the Denbighshire countryside that the Llangollen Railway passes through.

The Wickham sets were withdrawn before TOPS* classification was applied but they were allocated Class 109 by British Rail.

*The TOPS computer system for managing locomotives and rolling stock is something I’ll be going into more detail about in a future post.

From the Archives – Caledonian Sleeper

In my previous post I briefly mentioned the Caledonian Sleeper service that links London with Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness.

Two trains depart from London Euston six days each week, the Highland Sleeper is made up of three portions that divide at Edinburgh to serve routes to Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William. The Lowland Sleeper has two portions serving routes to Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central.

15 years ago a holiday at Banavie gave me an opportunity to photograph the portion that winds its way through the Highlands to and from Fort William.

37417-2005090337417
Fort William station, 3 September 2005

Monday 3 September saw a rather tatty 37417 Richard Trevithick stabled beside the station with a five coach train, the last vehicle of which was British Rail Mk.3 Sleeping Car with Pantry (SLEP) 10506.

BR Mk.3a SLEP 10506-20050903BR Mk.3a SLEP 10506
Fort William station, 3 September 2005

The diesel loco only works the train as far as Edinburgh, where an electric loco takes over, so I wasn’t surprised to see 37417 return the following day.

37417-2005090437417
Fort William station, 4 September 2005

The next day brought a loco with a more ‘Scottish’ name to Fort William in the shape of 37406 The Saltire Society (The Saltire Society is an organisation which aims to promote the understanding of the culture and heritage of Scotland).

37406 (nameplate)-2005090537406
Fort William station, 5 September 2005

37406-2005090537406
Fort William station, 5 September 2005

37406 returned the next morning and was stabled beside the station with its train and I grabbed a quick pic of British Rail Mk.2e Unclassified Open Brake (BUO) 9809 (for passengers not making use of the Mk.3’s bunks) before heading off for the day.

BR Mk.2e BUO 9809-20050906BR Mk.2e BUO 9809
Fort William station, 6 September 2005

The sleeper service continues but the Class 37s and BR built coaches are no longer in use… The 37s were replaced in 2006 by Class 67 diesels (themselves replaced in 2019 by Class 73/9 electro-diesels) and the coaches by brand new CAF-built ‘Mk.5’ stock that also entered service in 2019.

On This Day – Barbies at Edinburgh Waverley

Seven years ago today I was returning home from a short break in Scotland’s capital city (travelling by train of course).

Having arrived at Edinburgh Waverley station a little early I had time to take a few photos…

90019 was stabled in the former Motorail bays at the eastern end of the station and was due to work that evening’s Caledonian Sleeper service to London Euston.

90019-2013060690019
Edinburgh Waverley station, 6 June 2013

The imposing structure in the background is St Andrew’s House, the headquarters building of the Scottish Government that stands on the site of the former Calton Jail.

At the other end of the station was 158711.

158711-20130606158711
Edinburgh Waverley station, 6 June 2013

The Balmoral Hotel (formerly the North British Station Hotel) dominates the skyline. Built by the North British Railway (NBR) the hotel opened 15 October 1902. The hotel’s clock has always been set three minutes fast to ensure that the people of Edinburgh wouldn’t miss their trains. The only day that the clock runs on time is on 31 December (Hogmanay) for the city’s New Year celebrations.

I didn’t make any notes as to the service 158711 was operating but as a unit allocated to Inverness depot it’s reasonable to assume that Inverness was its next destination.

Both 90019 and 158711 are carrying the ‘First ScotRail’ colour scheme that enthusiasts soon dubbed ‘Barbie livery’, presumably thanks to the bright pink stripe!

Spotted Today – 47749 and 47727

47749 & 47727-2020052247749 & 47727
Erewash Valley Line, May 2020

47749 CITY OF TRURO and 47727 Edinburgh Castle/Caisteal Dhùn Eideann approach the site of Shipley Gate station on the Erewash Valley Line on 22 May 2020 as train 0Z47, the 16.03 light engine move from Worksop Down Yard to Leicester Depot. At this point they were running over three hours early!

47749 was built at Crewe Works and entered service in February 1965 as D1660. The ‘CITY OF TRURO’ name was bestowed upon it at Truro station on 8 June 1965 by Dr. Mabel Andrews, Mayor of Truro and the name was retained until 13 October 1988.

Between 1988 and 2016 three other names were carried at various times; ‘Resplendent’ (12 October 1991-October 1995), ‘Atlantic College’ (23 November 1995-?) and ‘Demelza’ (20 September 2007-?). The ‘CITY OF TRURO’ name was restored at Bristol St. Philip’s Marsh Depot open day on 30 April 2016.

47727 was also built at Crewe and entered service in October 1964 as D1629. ‘Edinburgh Castle/Caisteal Dhùn Eideann’ is the locomotive’s fifth name, the previous ones being ‘The Gloucestershire Regiment’ (1 July 1990-November 1993), ‘Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’ (11 October 1994-?), ‘Castell Caeffili/Caerphilly Castle’ (December 2002-?) and ‘Rebecca’ (20 September 2007-?)

Industrial Action – A pair from Pilkington’s…

A recent search for something else entirely turned up a forgotten folder of images taken at the Nene Valley Railway in April 2008 and amongst them was this little tyke.

Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE 'DONCASTER' (works no.2654 of 1957)-20080407Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE ‘DONCASTER’ (works no.2654 of 1957)
Wansford Station, Nene Valley Railway, April 2008

‘DONCASTER’ is a Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd (YE) 0-4-0 Diesel Electric locomotive that was built in 1957 as works no.2654. One of five such locos supplied new to glass manufacturer Pilkington Brothers Ltd of St. Helens, Merseyside, no.2654 was rendered redundant by new plant in 1984 and sold to the Doncaster & District Railway Preservation Society who moved it to what was then the Sandtoft Transport Centre in Lincolnshire (now The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft).

Sold again to the Yorkshire Engine Group, the loco moved to the Nene Valley Railway for rebuilding, which included the fitting of a 250hp engine to replace the original 200hp example.

The name ‘Pilkington’ clanged a great big bell in the dusty recesses of my memory and after much searching I turned up this image, taken at the Llangollen Railway in 2014.

Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE 'PILKINGTON' (works no.2782 of 1960)-20140816Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE ‘PILKINGTON’ (works no.2782 of 1960)
Llangollen Station, August 2014

‘PILKINGTON’ is another of the five YE 0-4-0DE locos supplied to Pilkington Brothers Ltd and like no.2654 was a casualty of modernisation at St Helens. Built in 1960 as works no.2782 it originally carried the name ‘QUEENBOROUGH’ but was renamed after it was donated to the Llangollen Railway.

‘COWLEY HILL’ (works no.2687 of 1958), another of the five St Helens’ locos also made it into preservation but was sold to T.J. Thomson, Stockton-on-Tees, for scrap from the Telford Steam Railway in May 2010.

I believe that ‘DONCASTER’ is now in the care of the Industrial Diesel Railway Preservation Group who intend restoring it to working order.

On the Narrow Gauge – ‘Z’ is for… ZM32

From my last post’s ‘A’ for ‘Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd.’ all the way to the other end of the alphabet today!

Sorting through many years worth of digital images at the moment and I came across pics from two visits (in 2009 and 2011) to the Steeple Grange Light Railway (SGLR) near Wirksworth in Derbyshire.

RH 4wDM ZM32 'HORWICH' (works no.416214 of 1957)-20090531Ruston & Hornsby Ltd 18in gauge 4wDM ZM32 ‘HORWICH’ (works no.416214 of 1957)
Steeple Grange Light Railway, May 2009

ZM32 has called the SGLR home since 1997 and is one of a very small number of narrow gauge locomotives that were owned and operated by British Railway (BR).

The Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. 20hp LAT class diesel loco (works no.416214 of 1957) was supplied new to the former Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s (L&YR) Horwich Locomotive Works for use on the extensive 18in gauge system there (where eight 0-4-0ST steam locos had previously been employed). It worked there until 1965 after which it went into store (following a failed attempt to export it to British Honduras).

Purchased by R.P. Morris in 1971, ZM32 was restored and re-gauged (to 2ft) and operated at Gloddfa Ganol, a working quarry and tourist attraction in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales before finally moving to the SGLR where it has been re-gauged (again) to 18in, named ‘HORWICH’ and painted into BR lined green livery.

RH 4wDM ZM32 'HORWICH' (works no.416214 of 1957)-20110710Ruston & Hornsby Ltd 18in gauge 4wDM ZM32 ‘HORWICH’ (works no.416214 of 1957)
Steeple Grange Light Railway, July 2011

‘HORWICH’ is often in charge of passenger trains on the 1 in 27 gradient ‘Killer’s Branch’ at the SGLR.

Industrial Action – Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0DH No.482 of 1963

Flicking through the June 2020 issue of Railways Illustrated magazine I was saddened to read of the planned closure of Wabtec® Rail Scotland’s Kilmarnock Works.

The history of Wabtec® Rail Scotland can be traced all the way back to 1840 when Andrew Barclay (born in 1814) went into business with Thomas McCulloch to manufacture mill shafts in Kilmarnock. Further business ventures followed (including locomotive building on a limited scale) and in 1892 Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. set up shop at Caledonia Works in the town.

Andrew Barclay was acquired by the Hunslet Group in 1972 and became Hunslet-Barclay. The company changed hands in 2007, becoming Brush-Barclay as part of the FKI Group, and in 2011 Brush-Barclay and Brush Traction and were acquired by the American Wabtec Corporation.

I visited Kilmarnock in October 2019 and was pleased to spot Wabtec’s resident diesel shunter as my train from Stranraer arrived, the works now being located beside Kilmarnock station on the site of the old goods yard.

Knowing (after consulting the Industrial Railway Society’s 18EL book) that the locomotive was in fact a product of Caledonia Works, an 0-4-0 diesel hydraulic dating from 1963 (works no.482) I was keen to get a photograph but that proved impossible from any public vantage point so I cheekily paid a call to Wabtec’s office and asked if it was possible to visit the site.

AB 0-4-0DH (works no.482 of 1963)-20191031aAndrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0DH (works no.482 of 1963)
Wabtec® Rail Scotland, Kilmarnock, October 2019

I was pleasantly surprised to be granted brief access and was escorted over to the locomotive by a member of staff (whose name I sadly didn’t make a note of) and allowed to take a few photos.

AB worksplate (no.482 of 1963)-20191031Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. worksplate (no.482 of 1963)
Wabtec® Rail Scotland, Kilmarnock, October 2019

AB 0-4-0DH (works no.482 of 1963)-20191031bAndrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0DH (works no.482 of 1963)
Wabtec® Rail Scotland, Kilmarnock, October 2019

No.482 was supplied new to the Scottish Gas Board’s Granton Works near Edinburgh where it became ‘GRANTON No.1’ but by 1971 it had ‘joined up’ and moved to the Ministry of Defence Air Force Department’s depot at Chilmark in Wiltshire where there was an extensive railway system, both standard and narrow gauge.

By January 1986 No.482 had moved the short distance to the M.o.D. depot at Dinton but in 1989, due to the winding down of activities at both Dinton and Chilmark, it had returned north of the border, to Hunslet-Barclay Ltd.

Upon leaving Wabtec’s site I spotted this across the road…

Caledonia Works offices-20191031Caledonia Works offices

Part of the original ‘Caledonia Works’ now converted to rather swish-looking apartments and also home to another Andrew Barclay product, an 0-4-0 saddle tank named ‘DRAKE’ (works no.2086 of 1940) displayed inside the offices on the ground floor.

AB 0-4-0ST 'DRAKE' (works no.2086 of 1940)-20191031Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0ST ‘DRAKE’ (works no.2086 of 1940)
The Klin Group, Kilmarnock

I’m sure I’ve got a better image of ‘DRAKE’ somewhere, taken a few years ago… I must dig it out!