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.

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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.

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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).

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Fort William station, 5 September 2005

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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.

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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.

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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!

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!