THE MAGAZINE OF THE PENNINE RAILWAY
No.93 Autumn 1995
For those who missed the announcement in Private Eye and the magazine of the Nine 0' Clock Service, our Chairman's luck has run out and he has got married.
Members should note his change of name, address, and mood, and should amend their Christmas card list to read "Merry Christmas to Jackie and Robin".
Robin has said he will buy everyone a tot of whisky at a future evening at the Taps.
Best wishes to Jackie and Robin from all at The Pennine.
Drivers on trains operating between London and the south coast have been allowed to wear shorts during the recent hot weather. This did not apply to drivers in the north-west, including Blackpool.
A Regional Railways North West spokesman said "If we allowed them to wear shorts their white knees could blind the drivers of oncoming trains". A rare spokesman with a sense of humour.
Marje Skinner - Agony Aunt
Recent posers sent to Pennine's Agony Aunt, Dr Marje Skinner
A Robin asks "It is said that Mansfield is the largest town in England without a railway station. Is this true?"*
Marje replies "Passenger services to and from Mansfield operated for exactly 125 years and one day ceasing on 10 October 1964, a victim of Dr Beeching's infamous axe.
The closure of the old Midland Railway route from Nottingham to Worksop was said at the time to have condemned Mansfield to being "the largest urban centre in England without a passenger rail link. The population was then 53,000; now it is 68,000. However the good news for rail fans is that a new station is due to open in October with the completion of the Robin Hood Line link between Nottingham and Mansfield. Eventually it is hoped this will join the East Coast line at Retford!.
A Racing John asks "What is the significance of the black metal horses along the railway lines between Birmingham and Wolverhampton?"
Marje replies "There are 12 horses, six running in the direction of Birmingham, six running in the direction of Wolverhampton. They were commissioned in 1985 as part of Operation Greenline, an environmental awareness campaign that aimed to improve areas left desolate with the loss of heavy industry. The iron horses were finished at Corley Welding and installed in March 1987.
Metrolink Tells Passengers To Go Home
On the evening of 50 August the line between Manchester Victoria and Bury was closed when Dower lines came down at Crumpsall leaving angry tram passengers stranded. In a wonderful public relations exercise passengers were told to get off the trams and make their own way home. Metrolink said it would take too long to arrange other transport.
Eurostars To Come North
A £100m scheme to electrify a commuter line around London will allow Eurostars to run direct from the north to the Channel Tunnel. Work should be completed by Easter 1096. Eurostars on these services will be 14 coaches long rather than the 18 coach monsters currently using the Channel Tunnel route
Season ticket holders at East Croydon were recently told that if they boarded certain near-empty trains for London Bridge they would be forced to pay the full single fare plus a £10 fine. These near empty trains were running a new South Eastern service from Tunbridge Wells and South Eastern didn't want anything to do with the scummy passengers from Network South Central or Thameslink.
Clapham Junction station is served by several train companies but run by South West Trains. Passengers have been told that only SWT timetables were stocked, even though other companies had sent stocks of their own timetables.
Free 20g packets of peanuts have been introduced to "add value" to first class Journeys on InterCity East Coast. Staff are under strict orders, however, to remove the nuts from refreshment trolleys before they are pushed into standard class. "Peanuts are to be kept out of the public eye" warns the memo, adding "Peanuts usage should be equal or less than drinks sales".
100 Years Ago
It is 100 years ago since the hair-raising Race To The North by rival railway companies reached its dangerous finale. The companies which operated the alternative East and West Coast routes to the North of Scotland from London vied with each other to be first to reach Kinnaber Junction, near Montrose. This included bribery of signalmen, threats of violence and rumours of water supplies being sabotaged.
Sadly, realising that it was only a matter of time before a tragedy occurred, the companied declared a truce.
The first three rail franchises, London Tilbury, South-West Trains and Great Western will be lot from September 1995. Midland Main Line is one of eight franchises to be awarded by April 1996, By then the Department of Transport says that 51% of rolling stock companies will have been privatised, and the railways "to all Intents and purposes* will have been privatised by the next General Election.
French water company. the Paris based Compagnie Generale des Eaux is favourite to operate South West Trains, joining with a team of BR managers and staff. Stagecoach Is Interested In South West Trains, Great Western and London, Tilbury and Southend, whilst Sea Containers wants Great Western and South West Trains.
Franchising of the West Coast Main Line has been shelved because of the difficulty in raising the£1bn investment needed before privatisation. This delay Is likely to mean the Government will not be able to hit its target of selling more than half the rail franchises by April 1996. The West Coast line is the biggest income earner of the 25 train operating companies, and was one of the first nine franchises scheduled for sale.
A Commons committee has warned that the privatisation of BR could cost taxpayers almost £2m a clay In extra subsidy. By 1997-8 the price to the Treasury could be £1.76bn a year made up of operating grants from the new franchise director and payments by passenger transport executives across the country. The subsidy will be £687m a year more in subsidy.
Red Star Takeover
Existing Rail Star bosses have bid £1 for the business. However the passing over of the business by British Rail could leave BR with an £8.6m bill, with a "sweetener" £1.6m first-year rent subsidy and a £7m bill In redundancy costs for the 700 Red Star staff.
Transport Minister John Watts has said "It's a successful privatisation sale".
The sleeper train between London and Fort William has been saved for at least 7 years following massive protests. Rail franchising chief Roger Salmon who planned to axe the service because it cost £157 per passenger in subsidy relented after identifying economies which would reduce the shortfall to £75.
The service however will become only a portion from the Aberdeen/Inverness sleeper, and there is already criticism that accommodation will be inadequate, particularly within the summer.
Eurotunnel Debt Freeze
Agreement has been reached with the 225 banks for Eurotunnel to freeze Its £2m a day interest payments on its £8bn debt for 18 months. Current income is only £600 000 per day.
While the banks are unlikely to allow Eurotunnel to collapse, analysts believe existing shareholders will see little return on their investments until well into the 57-year operating licence, They advise to sell shares.
Pigeon Halts Trains
On 31 July a pigeon hit overhead power lines at Longsight at a critical spot bringing down the wires. 50 trains in the Manchester area were cancelled and 220 delayed, some up to two hours. The pigeon did not survive the 25,000 volts.
Power Giant To Run Own Trains
Within months, National Power, Britain's biggest electricity generating company. whose power stations include the Aire Valley plants in Yorkshire, will begin hauling coal in its own new-style trains.
The company has already taken delivery of 5 Class 59/2 locomotives built in Canada by American company General Motors, and is receiving 85 new hopper wagons.
The locomotives arrived at Hull docks in August and were taken to National Power's own Ferrybridge depot where they will be commissioned.
The wagons will each be able to carry 72 tonnes of coal compared to the 32 tonnes carried by BR's own wagons.
This move follows the success of National Power's first Class 59/2 "Vale of York" which last year began hauling limestone from the Peak District to Drax Dower station. National Power will recruit its own train crews. will become a fully-licensed freight operator, and expects to be the first on the rails competition for BR's three freight companies.
Britain's longest freight service, from Burngullow in Cornwall to Irvine in Scotland, Is now being hauled by a Class 60 locomotive.
The service carries china clay and traction training has been going on. at St Blazey depot as it is the first time a Class 60 has regularly used the depot.
Welcome to the Autumn
edition of Trans Pennine. As these notes are written, services on
the West Coast Main Line are just returning to normal after the
incident in which a tractor and muckspreader (!) careered down an
embankment and ended up on the tracks - happily, no-one was hurt.
The media have given extensive coverage to these events and although
some of that coverage could be construed as sensationalist, what has
emerged is a graphic illustration of the problems which will face
the fragmented railway system proposed by this government. For
example, can it be right that a locomotive operator has to negotiate
a track access agreement with Railtrack before an engine can be sent
on a different route, to assist with clearing-up operations? Who are
passengers going to claim compensation from? Railtrack? The train
operating companies" The farmer?!! The mind boggles!
our Chairman, Robin Skinner, who married Jackie Daniels in Lincoln
on July 15th. Yes folks, Robin's swopped the delights (?) of
Sheffield United and exposure compensation for wedded bliss.
THE 1995 PENNINE SLIDE COMPETITION
(Yet another reminder - anything to fill a page!)
The annual slide competition will be held on Wednesday, October 4th at the Taps. Members are invited to submit up to 4 slides, colour or monochrome, on a railway related subject. The slides must be their own work and should not have been entered in any previous Pennine competition. If anyone would like to enter, but can't get to the Taps, send the slides to David Bladen, who will enter them on their behalf. As usual there will be cash prizes and trophies for the winners.
After our two night stay at
Euro Disneyland in September 1993, I was at the Gare du Nord in
Paris with my wife and grandson, in good time to catch the 10.56
boat-train to Boulogne. We had travelled in from the Euro Disneyland
station at Marne-la-Vallee Chessy on a red, white and blue electric
multiple-unit of the Reseau Express Regional and, at
Chatelet-les-Halles, had changed on to a double-deck train for the
ride through the tunnels to the Gare du Nord. For the first time
during our short holiday in France, the sun had shone, as we rode
through the autumnal countryside and then through the suburbs of
Paris, the first section of the line from Marne-la-Vallee looked
brand new and it was obvious that the suburban railway had been
specially extended to serve Euro Disneyland.
The Pennine Quiz No.83
This is a quiz to set you leafing through those back issues of 'Railway Magazine'! Ken would like to know who carried out the naming ceremonies on the following locomotives and power-cars. (Hint they are all past and present TV personalities, sportsmen or musicians) Answers to the editor by 18th November, please!
1) 43002 'Top of the Pops'
2) 43106 'Songs of Praise'
3) 47715 'Haymarket'
4) 47745 'Royal London Society for the Blind'
5) 50007 'Edward Elgar'
6) 73118 'Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway'
7) 86221 'BBC Look East'
8) 86231 'Starlight Express'
9) 86328 'Aldaniti'
10) 86414 'Frank Hornby'
11) 90015 'BBC North West'
12) 91025`13BC Radio One FM'
13) 31410 'Granada Telethon'
14) 31439 'North Yorkshire Moors Railway'
15) 37684 'Peak National Park'
16) 43124 'BBC Points West'
17) 47641 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh
18) 47574 'Benjamin Gimbert QC'
19) 477 10 'Capital Radio's Help a London Child'
20) 73133 'The Bluebell Railway'
21) 86421 'The London School of Economics'
22) 86432 'Brookside'
23) 43115 'Yorkshire Cricket Academy'
24) 43076 BBC East Midlands Today'
Pennine Quiz No.82 the answers!
The answers to the quiz are as follows:-
2) 3ft 7ins
3) London and North Western Railway
4) Thomas Prosser
6) D Wickham and Co.
8) 16 March 1959
9) J C Craven
10) It was never named
11) Doncaster Belmont Yard
13) Blackberry Black
14) Duchess of York
15)J P Pritchett
17) 3,500 gallons
19) 25,000 lbsF
20) Trans Jordan
21) Dijon Perrigny
23) Stephenson Locomotive Society
24) 15.15 Bradford Forster - Heysham parcels
25) Queensbury, between Bradford and Halifax
The winner was Ian Shenton, with a score of 23 and Paul Slater came in second with 22. Two other entries tied for third place - Ken King won the toss! Well done all and thanks again to Mr M Bell for setting the quiz!
What the Papers say!
I think it would be fair to say that the railways have not had a good press lately. Stories about leaked memos, the WCML, strike action and trains ending up in the wrong type of station (power, instead of railway) have all featured, with privatisation, as usual, being blamed for everything!..Signal Failures (Private Eye)
First, the good news. It
was revealed in July that the government is pumping £250 million
pounds into the Passenger Transport Executives (PTE's) which provide
local rail services in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Greater
Manchester, Merseyside, the West Midlands and Greater Glasgow. The
bad news is that not a penny will go in improving services. The
money is to allow the PTE's to pay the extra costs of Railtrack's
access charges and the cost of leasing trains from the rolling stock
companies - just to continue with the existing service. If Railtrack
and the leasing companies are sold off next year, this money could
vanish from the railway industry in the form of profits and
The epitome of the new fragmented railway, the Gatwick Express, doesn't look so hot in the BR annual report's table concerning passenger charter standards. Most of the train operating units managed to meet either the reliability standards or the punctuality standards, or both, in 1994/95. Gatwick Express of course has the easiest job of the lot; only one route (which is short), a number of identical fixed train-sets, no intermediate stations and its own platforms at Gatwick and Victoria. Yet this flagship shadow franchise, which has worked harder than any other to distance itself from the national rail network, cancelled 1.2% of its trains, ran 12.2% more than five minutes late, and, er, failed to meet either of its targets.
BR's annual report also includes evidence of the government's intention that railways will shed custom before franchisees take over - so the private sector won't be blamed for the cutbacks which are inevitable if money is to take priority over social and environmental conditions. In 1994/95, the number of passenger journeys dropped again, as did the miles travelled by passengers and trains. How come, then, that revenue is holding its own and receipts per passenger-train mile actually increased in 1994/95? The answer lies in the pruning of the most lightly used services, overcrowding on the busiest ones and rising fares all round. The long established
idea of providing a comprehensive rail service especially useful to people who can't drive - has suddenly been dumped. Trains in the early morning, late at night and on Sundays - as well as station staff - are evaporating as the railways concentrate on providing services during the remunerative peak hours. At the same time BR is hiking the fares - up from 11.7p to 12p per mile in 1994/95.
So you want to consult the timetable? (IoS)
Jim Grozier found himself at Three Bridges station in Sussex recently and sought to find out what trains were available for London. On Platform Three, he was confronted by with a poster simply headed '7rain Times", which actually shows all Network SouthCentral trains together with those for Thameslink, but only as far as London Bridge. Further destinations such as Bedford and Luton are left out. There is no explanatory note. Over on Platform Two there is another timetable headed "The Trains" which shows all Thameslink services, including those to Luton and Bedford but omits all Network SouthCentral services. Again, this is not explained. Common sense appears to prevail on Platform Five, as the two timetables appear side by side but in the ticket hall, there is no information on Thameslink, only on Network SouthCentral trains under a heading bearing the company's logo.
Mr Grozier, who lives in Brighton, is worried that this timetable separation will soon reach the South Coast where there are six train companies operating services. He suggests that if each company had a separate timetable and separate weekend engineering works posters, travellers would have to consult 12 documents before taking a trait! . "Now that would be a boost for the motor industry," Mr Grozier comments.
And finally, from the Yorkshire Post of August 30th, reporter Stephen McClarence:
Anoraksia Nervosa on Platform 3A.The men on Platform 3A have some bad news to share ... trainspotters may be a dying breed. They've always been an easy target, of course. Only this week a national newspaper got a cheap laugh out
of them. Whatever the cult priest Chris Brain may have done, it quoted a young woman saying, "He knows how to take the anorak and trainspotter out of Young Christians."
That sort of comment doesn't go down too well on Doncaster Station's platform 3A. "Every hobby's got its bad advocates," says Andrew Wilton, down for the day from Leeds. "But there isn't the interest there used to be. Another ten years and you won't see anybody here except passengers.
He has a point. Even two or three years ago, Doncaster Station used to buzz with spotters. it was up there in the spotting Super League with Reading and Crewe and Birmingham New Street. Little clumps of spotters huddled at far ends of platforms with shoulder bags, binoculars, cameras, notebooks and hand-held cassette recorders to dictate numbers as they hurtled past. They were absorbed, but alert for any passing 58033. Like anglers, fishing for trains.
Men (mostly men) from all over Britain ... photographing nameplates, here to spot the oil trains and the steel trains, much more interesting to the real connoisseur than yet another 125.
"It was a bit of idiosyncrasy," says Andrew Wilton, an electronics engineer. "They used to say mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. It was in that vein, if you like. We're a nation of eccentrics. Americans are interested in how trains work. Here in the UK we've got a fascination for numbers." Not that he's loco-logging himself He's here on a nostalgia trip - "a bit of a pilgrimage" spotting the spotters, remembering his regular awaydays to Donny and Retford and York 20 years ago, pining for the great days of steam. "there isn't the variety there used to be," he says. "You know what's going to turn up. Even in the diesel days, there'd - be something unexpected. Most people are getting involved in aircraft and ships now."
So, with 57902 pulling out for Cleethorpes, there's just him and Joe Williams (collects all the numbers, locos, coaches, the lot). And, across on Platform 4, a quiet trio of spotters. They're a little wary, reluctant to give their names.
"The Press slag you off something chronic," says one, a Doncastrian. "37513". The books come out. The numbers go down. One of them has been here since 7.15am and is ready for knocking off around 11. "The Press don't seem to think this is anything to do with the real world, but its a day out, people to talk to," he says, backing away slightly. "Everything's died the death in Doncaster, spotting-wise. I've got a list of what comes through here and its a third of what it used to be. Five or six coal trains now. There used to be 20 to 30".
All the same, the Doncastrian knows spotters who still come up from Kent. Cost - well it's £41 from Cross, so it must be £50 from Kent." Cross? "Kings Cross." 158770 passes. The third man, from Nottingham, jots it down. "Children just aren't taking up spotting, " he says. "And what harm do we do'."
None of them is wearing anoraks.
(Thanks to Stephen Gay for the cutting!)
by Paul Slater
"I'd like to see a bog," said Chris, as we drove south from Athlone into County Offaly on the third day of the first holiday we spent together in Ireland, "I'd like to see the flowers that grow there".
We were heading for Clonmacnoise, an ancient monastic site on the River Shannon, but afterwards our road south would lead through a district where my guide-book said there were many tracts of bogland. Suddenly, Chris spotted a signpost pointing to "Bog Rail Tours", and we began to see them regularly along the road to Clonmacnoise. I noticed the heading "Bord na Mona", the national peat board of Ireland, and remembered once reading that there was in existence a network of narrow gauge railways carrying peat from the bogs to Bord na Mona's power stations. From a rain-soaked hillside at Clonfinlough, where we had gone exploring down minor roads to find prehistoric carved stone, we saw our first Irish bog, a flat brown expanse stretching away into the misty distance, to where the twin chimneys of a peat-fired power station erupted steam and smoke., and in the gift-shop at Clonmacnoise we saw a postcard of our conveyance for the bog rail tour, a smart little green-and-yellow diesel train, proudly lettered Clonmacnoise and Offaly Railway".
After our visit to Clonmacnoise, we followed the "Bog Rail Tours" signs to Shannon Bridge where stood the power-station we had seen earlier. Irish miles were elastic, we decided, as the distance we were travelling seemed disproportionate to the figures on the signposts; but at last we arrived at our destination, and parked in front of a complex of sheds and workshops. This was Blackwater Depot; it seemed deserted, the yard at the back full of derelict tractors and wagons, but we went into the shed marked 'Cafe' and soon we had bought tickets for the twelve o'clock train - we would be joining a school party, the girl said, apologetically - and were watching a video which explained the formation of the bogs , their flora and fauna and the history of their exploitation. We found it most interesting; afterwards there was time for a cup of tea each while the girl rang the tour guide to ask him to hold the train back for us. We hurried to the car-park and drove off down the road. round the first bend, at an ungated level-crossing stood the brightly-coloured little train we had seen on the postcard.
Seated among the crowd of chattering schoolchildren, we enjoyed our bog rail tour. The train went very slowly over undulating tracks, describing a four-mile circuit round part of Blackwater Bog. The guide gave a commentary, the children asked endless questions, and there was a chance to get down and walk on the spongy ground when the train stopped by an unexploited part of the bog. I noticed tractors, excavators and rows of wagons full of peat on the flimsy railway tracks which, joining and criss-crossing the one we rode on, led to the power-station. Ireland has very little coal, oil or gas, an the peat is a valuable resource. Where the peat was removed for fuel, the bog would turn into a patchwork of lakes and greenery. We saw one small area where this process was already underway; vegetation was sprouting and seagulls flew around a pool.
"You're marvellous!" said Chris, as we drove away from Blackwater Depot, I said I wanted to see a bog and you not only find me a bog, you find me a train-ride, a guided tour and a video to tell me all about it! I'm most impressed!"
Pennine Observers Notes
On 22nd May, the following were noted at Edinburgh, 37099/675, 86229, 87014/034, 37294+37351 on overnight Edinburgh-Aberdeen, 37111+37073 on overnight Edinburgh-Inverness. Later that day, 37893 was noted at Dundee and 37401 was at Glasgow Springburn, both on freight workings.
On the 23rd, 37510, 87012/016 were at Edinburgh, 08711/853, 37510 were at Craigentinny, 37154+37214 were on a freight working at Aberdeen and 37073+37111 were on the Aberdeen-Edinburgh sleepers, the train being taken forward to Euston by 87015.
On 19th August, 47788 was noted at Edinburgh, having worked the 10.30 service from Inverness. It left on the 15.40 return working.
Across the Irish sea.
Nene Valley Railway: 3rd June - 'Peterborough Rail 150'3442 'The Great Marquess', 45596 'Bahamas', 68061 and D306 'Atlantic Conveyor' working trains, 'Sir Vincent' and 'Blue Circle' geared locomotives, 'Locomotion No. 1' replica and 68153 also in steam, 31558 and 58023 visiting from BR
West Somerset Railway: 3rd June
DMU 51887+51852+59678, 'Manor' 7828 working, 50149, 7017, 7018 stabled at Bishops Lydiard
Ffestiniog Railway: 11th June
Working were 20188, 20042, D120, D61, D9019, 40145, D1501, D7026, D172, D5054, D1041, 50015,47117
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway: 2nd July
Working were D803 1, D0226 'Vulcan', D5209, 75078
Midland Railway Centre:
22nd July - Diesel Spectacular
Thanks to Tony Caddick, John Dewing, Ian Shenton and Paul Slater for information.
The next edition of Trans
Pennine is due out in December. Please have all contributions to the
editor by November 18th please.
15 November 1995: Pete
Wesley - The one and only!
All meetings are at the
Corporation Brewery taps in Doncaster and commence at 20.00
You will notice that Round 1 clashes with the Eeevility Night at the Taps - unfortunately both the Pennine and SYRPC meet on the 1st Wednesday of the month, however rest assured, Pennine will be entering a team!!
At Barrow Road ,Meadowhall.
On Saturday Sept.30th, I lam to 5pm.
& Sunday Oct. 1st, 11 am to 5plin.
40 ex BR Locomotives on display,
including classes 01,
02, 03, 04, 06, 07,08, 10, 11, 14, 20, 26, 40,
Also Trade stands, tea,
coffee, hot and cold refreshments.
Ample Free parking close by.