From the Archives – Welford and Kilworth Platform Shelter

Last week I spent a couple of days chugging along the Grand Union Canal on a narrow boat, setting off from North Kilworth Marina in Leicestershire. Whilst looking at our route on the Ordnance Survey map I noticed a dismantled railway line immediately west of the marina and naturally (for me anyway) I did a little research and discovered there had been a station nearby…

Welford and Kilworth platform shelter (ERM)-20130525Welford and Kilworth platform shelter
Electric Railway Museum, 25 May 2013

Welford and Kilworth station, on the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) line from Rugby to Stamford, opened on 1 May 1950 and had an uneventful existence until closure on 6 June 1966 and although the main station buildings were demolished, the down (Stamford-bound) platform shelter (dating from 1878) survived and ended up on display at the Electric Railway Museum at Coventry (where the above photo was taken during an open day in 2013.)

Sadly the museum was forced to close in 2017 but most, if not all the exhibits were found new homes and I believe the shelter ended up at the Battlefield Line.

On This Day… A couple of oddities at Ruddington

Nine years ago I visited the Great Central Railway – Nottingham (GCRN) at Ruddington and was intrigued by a couple of strange railway vehicles…

Laboratory 1, RDB 975000-20120715bLaboratory 1, RDB 975000
Ruddington, Great Central Railway – Nottingham, 15 July 2012

RDB 975000 (Laboratory 1) was converted from a British Railways Mk.1 Restaurant Second Open (RSO) in 1970 by the Research & Development Department at the Railway Technical Centre (RTC) at Derby for use as a high speed dynamics laboratory.

The lowered section of roof could be fitted with a pantograph (used to collect power from overhead lines) which could then be observed in operation through the windows in the roof visible in the image below.

Laboratory 1, RDB 975000-20120715aLaboratory 1, RDB 975000
Ruddington, Great Central Railway – Nottingham, 15 July 2012

After lying out of use at Derby for many years RDB 975000 entered preservation at Ruddington in May 2011 but was scrapped in November 2013.

Observation Saloon 6300 HEBRIDEAN-20120715Observation Saloon 6300 HEBRIDEAN
Ruddington, Great Central Railway – Nottingham, 15 July 2012

6300 HEBRIDEAN was built as Class 101 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory (DTCL) 56356 in 1958 but converted in 1987 for use as a locomotive-hauled observation saloon on the Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh ‘Hebridean’ services.

Withdrawn in 1994, 6300 was initially preserved at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway before moving to Ruddington but has since moved again, to the Barry Tourist Railway.

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…

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

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!

Re-opening next week – The North Norfolk Railway

July 8 sees one of my favourite heritage railways emerge from its Covid-19 induced slumber and start to run trains again.

The North Norfolk Railway (NNR) have announced that they will be opening their doors to the public with a limited timetable that will make use of this beautifully restored rake of coaches…

Hunslet 16in 0-6-0ST 'RING HAW' & GNR 'Quad-Art' set no.74-20110706Hunslet 16in 0-6-0ST ‘RING HAW’ & GNR ‘Quad-Art’ set no.74
North Norfolk Railway, July 2011

The Great Northern Railway (GNR) ‘Quad-Art’ was an experiment by Nigel (later ‘Sir’ Nigel) Gresley to reduce the weight and therefore improve the acceleration of commuter trains on the Metropolitan Widened Lines to Moorgate station in London. This set, built in 1924 at Doncaster, is the only one still in existence.

GNR 'Quad-Art' set no.74-20140707GNR ‘Quad-Art’ set no.74
North Norfolk Railway, July 2014

The four coach sets were articulated (hence ‘Quad-Art’) on five four-wheeled bogies instead of the usual two bogies per coach, this reduced the rolling resistance of the set (and its weight) and improved acceleration considerably, especially when the trains were hauled by the GNR’s powerful N1 and N2 0-6-2T locos.

GNR 'Quad-Art' Third 48863 (interior)-20140707GNR ‘Quad-Art’ Third 48863 (interior)

GNR 'Quad-Art' Third 48863-20140707‘All the Threes!’
GNR ‘Quad-Art’ Third 48863

As each passenger compartment is isolated from the next, the ‘Quad-Art’ set is particularly well-suited to socially distanced operations and rather than booking individual seats passengers will book a whole compartment, capable of seating up to eight people.

Set no.74 was withdrawn from British Rail service in 1966 and preserved the following year, forming the backbone of the NNR’s passenger services until 1979 when its poor condition forced its withdrawal again.

A Heritage Lottery Fund-assisted restoration took place between 2003-2008 and the set returned to service in July 2008, its use now being mostly restricted to special events (usually anyway…)

GNR 'GNR 'Quad-Art' set no.74-20110706GNR ‘Quad-Art’ set no.74
North Norfolk Railway, July 2011

Now, can I wangle a trip to Norfolk anytime soon?

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 – M&GN Joint Railway Society members’ day, October 2011

A quick follow up to my previous post

Another image of the Great Eastern Railway (GER) bogie tramcar No.7 at the North Norfolk Railway (NNR), captured during the M&GN Joint Railway Society members’ day on 1 October 2011.

LNER class J15 0-6-0 65462-20111001LNER class J15 0-6-0 65462 approaches Bridge No.303
North Norfolk Railway, October 2011

Here the society’s London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) J15 class 0-6-0 steam locomotive 65462 (built as class Y14 No.564 by the GER at Stratford Works in 1912) approaches Bridge No.303, east of Weybourne, with what I believe was the last service of the day. No.7 is clearly visible as the first vehicle in the train.

And this is the view of 65462 from the balcony of No.7, captured earlier in the day!

View from the balcony of GER Bogie Tramcar No.7-20111001View from the balcony of GER Bogie Tramcar No.7
Sheringham station, North Norfolk Railway, October 2011

(My face was covered in smuts from the loco after I’d travelled the full length of the line standing on said balcony…)

65462 was withdrawn from British Railways service in September 1962 and initially stored at Devons Road Depot in Bow, East London. Short spells at Stratford (East London) and March (Cambridgeshire) followed before 65462 finally arrived at the NNR on 4 June 1967.

A stalwart at the NNR, 65462 ran for thousands of miles before being withdrawn for significant boiler work in 1989, not returning to traffic until 2002.

In 2015 the locomotive returned to service following another major rebuild which included not only a repaint into full GER blue livery but also a number of modifications that backdate its appearance to ‘as built’ condition.

From the Archives – Wisbech & Upwell Tramway bogie tramcar

Whilst searching for the image of ‘DRAKE’ for my previous post I also turned up this…

Great Eastern Railway bogie tramcar No.7-19990829Great Eastern Railway bogie tramcar No.7
Rutland Railway Museum

It’s the body of Great Eastern Railway (GER) bogie tramcar No.7 that was used on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway in East Anglia (made famous in the Reverend W. Awdry’s ‘Toby the Tram Engine’ book) and like ‘DRAKE’ was photographed at the Rutland Railway Museum near Cottesmore (now rebranded as Rocks by Rail).

Built at the GER’s Stratford Works in 1884 it was used on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway until passenger traffic ceased in 1927 when it was transferred to the Kelvedon and Tollesbury Light Railway in Essex. Withdrawn from service in 1951 it spent the following 23 years as an onion store before being preserved.

Acquired by the M&GN Joint Railway Society in 2002 it was restored and fitted with new running gear and now sees occasional use at the North Norfolk Railway (NNR).

Great Eastern Railway bogie tramcar No.7-20111001Great Eastern Railway bogie tramcar No.7
Sheringham station, North Norfolk Railway, October 2011

Readers familiar with the 1953 Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt will also recognise No.7 as sister vehicle No.8 had a starring role in the film. No.7 is now fitted with a replica of the bar used to persuade Stanley Holloway’s character ‘Walter Valentine’ to finance the railway in the film.

Hudswell Clarke & Co Ltd 'WISSINGTON' (works no.1700 of 1938)-20141004Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd. 0-6-0ST ‘WISSINGTON’ passes Sheringham West signal box (GER No.7 is the first vehicle in the train)
North Norfolk Railway, October 2014

The North Norfolk Railway is also appealing for funds to help them survive the Covid-19 situation… please consider making a donation here.

Industrial Action – Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0ST ‘DRAKE’

In the post Industrial Action – Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0DH No.482 of 1963 I mentioned having a better image of ‘DRAKE’, the 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive that now calls the former Andrew Barclay’s Caledonia Works offices ‘home’.

AB 0-4-0ST 'DRAKE' (works no.2086 of 1940)-19990829Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. 0-4-0ST ‘DRAKE’ (works no.2086 of 1940)
Rutland Railway Museum

‘DRAKE’ (works no.2086 of 1940) is another product of the Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd factory in Kilmarnock and was supplied new to Stewart & Lloyds Ltd’s Newport Tube Works in Monmouthshire, remaining there until the site’s closure in the early 1970s.

Although initially preserved by the Dowty Railway Preservation Society at Ashchurch in Gloucestershire, by 1989 ‘DRAKE’ had moved to the Rutland Railway Museum near Cottesmore (now rebranded as Rocks by Rail) where I photographed it in August 1999.