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As more and more branch lines closed in the 1960s these Wickham sets were deemed surplus to requirements and were withdrawn from service.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The Wickham sets were withdrawn before TOPS* classification was applied but they were allocated Class 109 by British Rail.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!

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.

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.

Signal Box Safari – South Tynedale Railway

To me, no structure screams ‘RAILWAY!’ more than a signal box…

Old station buildings get converted to houses, goods and locomotive sheds are often unrecognisable in their new roles as factories or warehouses but a signal box rarely ends up looking like anything other than… well… a signal box.

I try to photograph them wherever they crop up, there are still many to be found on the national network and heritage lines occasionally build new ones. The South Tynedale Railway (STR) is one such line.

The STR extended their 2ft gauge line to a new northern terminus at Slaggyford in 2017 and needed a signal box to control the station’s signals and level crossing but the original North Eastern Railway (NER) box had been demolished in the 1960s.

… So the STR built a very convincing replica of the original NER type N2 structure that contains a 28-lever frame obtained from Battersby signal box (which closed in August 1989) on the Esk Valley Line that runs from Middlesbrough to Whitby.

Slaggyford Signal Box-20181026Slaggyford Signal Box
South Tynedale Railway, October 2018

Alston, at the southern end of the STR, boasts a 1915-vintage signal box, but not one original to the location…

Alston Signal Box-20181026Alston Signal Box
South Tynedale Railway, October 2018

Alston signal box is a North Eastern Railway (NER) type S5 structure that originally stood at Ainderby on what is now the Wensleydale Railway in North Yorkshire.

Rebuilt at Alston in 1991 (on a new brick base) the box contains a 21-lever McKenzie & Holland frame, part of which came from Leeming Bar (also on the Wensleydale Railway).

The South Tynedale Railway has also had to suspend operations due to the Covid-19 situation and are currently appealing for donations to help support the railway until such time as they can run trains again.

On the Narrow Gauge – Talyllyn Railway Anniversary

A very quick post today…

On 14 May 1951, the Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn) re-opened under the control of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society with trains running between Wharf and Rhydyronen stations.

FJ 0-4-2ST TALYLLYN (works no.42 of 1865)-20130816Fletcher Jennings & Co. 0-4-2ST TALYLLYN (works no.42 of 1865)
Tywyn Wharf station, Talyllyn Railway (Rheilffordd Talyllyn), August 2013

The 2ft 3in gauge railway is currently closed due to the Covid-19 situation and like many heritage lines they are appealing for funds to help the railway survive. If you can, please make a donation here.

The Talyllyn Railway is one of 11 heritage lines that make up the Great Little Trains of Wales (Trenau Bach Arbennig Cymru).