The Magazine of the Pennine Railway Society

No.166 Winter 2013


Front Cover

The photo, taken by Tony Caddick, won the Pennine Slide Competition and shows 57308 with 390004 waiting to work the 14.38 Holyhead to Euston on 9 July 2011.

 Page 11

The photo, taken by David Bladen, shows the Chairman on a coach in the SKY 1HD MKIV set!
(The quote is from the first program about East Coast Railways running on SKY 1HD.)

The photo, taken by Glen Williamson, came third in the Pennine Slide Competition and shows 55002/9/19 at Woodhouse en route to the East Lancs Diesel Gala in 2012.

Committee Briefs

Season’s Greetings
The Committee of the Pennine Railway Society join together in wishing all our members, their families and their friends a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.  We thank you for your support and friendship during 2013.

Membership Fee (Unchanged in 2014!)
With this magazine you will find a renewal of membership form and we are pleased to announce that we are able to maintain the annual membership fee at £6 for yet another year.
We hope you feel this continues to be excellent value for money and look forward to you rejoining your society in 2014.

A 2014 calendar is included with this magazine which we hope you will welcome.  The calendar shows the dates of the AGM and social evenings in red.
The following special dates have been underlined:
Sunday 12 January – Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 7 May – The Andy Dalby Memorial Slide Competition
Wednesday 1 October – Pennine Slide Competition
Wednesday 3 December – Pennine Shield Round 2
Wednesday 17 December – Digital Image Competition

PRS – 40th Anniversary
Our Society was formed in 1974 and we now look forward to celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2014.
Your Committee will look at ways of celebrating this special anniversary, and any ideas from members will be welcomed.
You will be kept informed of events via our website, the magazine or by special mailing.

Social Evenings
Members are reminded of our social evenings, arranged by Robin, which are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at The Salutation, South Parade, Doncaster.  The early 2014 programme is shown elsewhere in this magazine.  Please note there will not be a meeting on the first of January.
We have a private, well-appointed function room.  Non-members are also welcome to attend and a fine range of real ales is available from the bar, along with soft drinks.
Meetings start at 8pm prompt and usually finish by 10.30pm.
Don’t be late, Wednesdays at 8, and enjoy a fine night of entertainment.

Annual General Meeting
You are invited to attend the society’s Annual General Meeting which will be held on Sunday 11 January 2014 at 12.00 noon at our usual venue of the Salutation in Doncaster.
This is the opportunity for you, the members, to have a say in how you wish the society to be run and to form a plan of events for 2014.  It will also provide an opportunity to socialise with friends you may not have seen for some time.
Any member who wishes to raise an issue is welcome to advise this to our Chairman, Robin Skinner, or to any other committee member, in advance of the meeting.

Inaugural Digital Image Competition
On Wednesday 18th December 2013 the Society will hold the first competition for member’s digital images.  We encourage as many members as possible to enter.  The only criteria is that you must have taken the picture yourself.  This may be an image taken with a digital camera but may also be a print or a slide which you have scanned and converted into a digital image later.
If you cannot attend on the night you can still enter.
Each person can enter 5 images.
ALL images MUST be passed to Linda Bladen by Monday 16th December.  We cannot accept any images after that as we will not have time to rename them and merge them randomly into the slide show.
There are a number of ways to pass the images to Linda:
·        By email to
·        On a memory stick
·        On a DVD
·        From your camera’s memory card

We’re sorry we cannot accept images which are already in Powerpoint presentations. Please do not worry about the size of the image.  If it requires to be resized to show properly, Linda will do that.
Once all the images have been saved Linda will rename them so that they are anonymous and will arrange for them to be shown in a random order.
The audience will judge the images on the night.
Each member of the audience will be asked to rank their top 5 images and complete a simple score sheet.  You will not be able to vote for your own images.
Each image ranked No 1 will score 5 points, No 2 will score 4 points, No 3 will score 3, No 4 will score 2 and No 5 will score 1 point.  All the points from the audience will be added together to produce the result.
There will be prizes and trophies for first, second and third places.
If anyone has any questions, please email your question to

Waterloo International
All the former international platforms at Waterloo will be back in use by 2019.

 Lakes Electrics
The branch from Oxenholme to Windermere is to be electrified allowing services from Manchester and is likely to be completed by early 2016.

HS1 Speed Anniversary
Ten years ago (30 July 2013) a 14 coach Eurostar test train achieved a record speed on a British railway, reaching 334.7Km/h in the Nashenden Valley near the Medway Viaduct.  No authority had been given to exceed 335Km/h.

Access to Forth Bridge
To mark the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Forth Bridge, there are plans for a visitor centre and viewing platform at North Queensferry and a base to coordinate guided tours for groups of up to 15 people to the top of the south tower in South Queensferry.
Is this one for a Pennine visit, Robin?

Eurotunnel Record
A new record for traffic through the Channel Tunnel was set on Saturday 17 August, with 15,982 vehicles, including 168 coaches, travelling in both directions between Folkestone and Coquelles.  151 Shuttle departures were organised.

Birmingham Tram Remembered.
Midland Metro tram No. 11 has been repainted in the old Birmingham tram livery to commemorate 60 years of the scrapping of the first generation trams.

 Departments of Guesswork
Figures recorded by the 19 franchise operators show passenger journeys in 2012-13 as 1.502 billion.  The Office of Rail Regulation says 1.286 billion. The difference depends on whether you use journeys originating in each “Government Office Region” or the “Lennon” database (the higher since a journey involving more than one operator is counted each time).

New London Depots
Two new depots for the Desiro City Thameslink fleet are to be built at Hornsey and Three Bridges.

The Thameslink / Great Northern and Southern contracts are to merge by July 2015 to create a super-franchise in the London and South East Commuter area, from Bedford / Peterborough / Cambridge to the Sussex coast via central London and East Croydon.

New Bombardier Order
Bombardier in Derby is to build a further 116 EMU vehicles for Southern, to be used on the Thameslink route from 2015 to enable some of the present fleet to be cascaded to newly electrified routes elsewhere.

National Treasures
No – not the Pennine Committee!  Buildings given Grade II listed status include New Street station signalbox in Birmingham’s Brunel Street and Bournemouth’s Yellow Bus Garage.

Eurostar’s ECML Bid
Eurostar in partnership with Keolis is to bid for the ECML franchise.  Both are majority owned by SNCF.  The bid is an attempt by Eurostar to diversify its business with DB set to launch cross-channel services by the end of 2015.
Eurostar will add routes to the Swiss Alps, Provence and Amsterdam in readiness for competition from Deutsche Bahn.

Battery Trains
Great Anglia is trialling battery power on a Class 379.  In 1958 Derby Lightweight DMU Sc79998/9 was battery powered and used on the Aberdeen – Ballater line!  It is now stored on the Royal Deeside Railway.
The SR Motor Luggage vans used on Boat Trains and other services could also run on batteries.

National Express Enters Germany
NX has been awarded two franchises to succeed DB on services between Krefeld, Cologne, Bonn, Wuppertal and Munster from December 2015.  They have also been shortlisted to operate Berlin’s derided Ringbahn line.
NX already operates a road coach network in Germany under the City2City brand.

ThamesLink Connection
Track is being laid in the Canal Tunnels, built 2004-6 as part of the St Pancras International work, to connect the MML with the ECML, to extend the Thameslink Programme.

Southern Class 377s
The first of Southern’s new fleet of 26 five-car Electrostars, being built by Bombardier at Derby, has entered service.

Chase Line
Work is to start on electrifying the line between Walsall, Cannock and Rugeley Trent Valley.

Network Rail is planning to replace the Imperial mile, chain and yards with the metric system in a gradual process.  Traditional mileposts will be replaced by new location markers at intervals of 500m or 1Km.

The first of TPE’s new Class 350/4 DESIRO EMUs for the Manchester Airport / Scotland route arrived via the Channel Tunnel during the 1st week of November.  350401 is at present in a white base livery awaiting the application of TPE vinyls and is expected to take over crew training duties on the WCML from the present on loan LM 350/2 soon.  The 350s are booked to take over most duties from the 185 DMU's over the winter timetable period on completion of the new electrification work on the Chat Moss line.

Pennine Slide Competition
The Pennine Slide Competition, held at The Salutation on 2 October, was this year judged by Rhys Jones (last year’s winner).  A total of 49 high quality slides were entered and the result was as follows:
1st       Tony Caddick           57308 with 390004 waiting to work the 14.38 Holyhead to Euston on 9 July 2011 (see front cover)
2nd     Andy Barclay            Class 08 shunter no. 402D ANNABEL at Goonbarrow Junction
3rd      Glen Williamson      55002/9/19 at Woodhouse en route to the East Lancs Diesel Gala in 2012 (see calendar)
Congratulations those above, thanks to all who entered and to Rhys for judging.

Light Rail News

A weekend in Blackpool, over the first weekend of the busy half term school holiday week (26-27/10), saw “B” fleet Balloons 700 and 719 in rare action on daytime specials between Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham.  Illuminations tours on the Saturday evening saw the three illuminated cars in action helped out by Bolton 66, Blackpool standard 147, heritage balloon 717 and Brush car 631.  All 16 Flexity cars saw some action at some point over the weekend and were usually crush-loaded with 001 out on prom specials on Saturday afternoon to try and cope with the heavy loadings.  The illuminations ended on Sunday 10th November with the winter timetable now in operation.

Midland Metro
The first of Midland Metros new trams, fleet number 17, arrived at the Wednesbury depot in October.  The first of 20 Spanish built CAF URBOS 3 models to replace the original T69 cars is expected to enter service next year after a period of testing.  The first new tram rails on the extension from Birmingham Snow hill, the present terminus, through the city centre to New Street were laid during November and is scheduled to open in 2015.

The latest extension to open, the section from Droylsden to Ashton-under Lyne, saw its first service cars on Wednesday 9th October.  Testing has also started on the extension from Rochdale station to the town centre terminus but as yet no opening date has been announced.  The latest new M5000 tram to arrive at Queen’s Road depot was 3075 on 2nd November.  T68 car 1021 became the 19th of the old fleet to be withdrawn on 5th November after suffering a fault in service and the necessary repairs not being authorised.

Three of Nottingham’s new ALSTOM CITADIS cars have now been delivered to the Wilkinson Street depot, the latest around 29th October.  The first, fleet number 216, arrived on 10th September and was unveiled to the press 3 days later.  The new cars are expected to enter service in spring 2014 and should all be in traffic when the system is extended late next year.

At long last the end seems to be in sight and the wonderful prospect of trams running down Princes Street comes ever closer.  If all goes to plan Tuesday 19th November should see the OHL energised between Bankhead tramstop and York Place meaning that the entire length of the line will go live for the first time.  Hopefully testing can then commence although with the busy Christmas shopping season and Hogmanay celebrations fast approaching perhaps we may have to wait until the new year!

 Christmas Eve Journey
by Paul Slater

I took to the rails at Christmas 1981, as I didn’t fancy using my car in the atrocious weather conditions.  I was going to visit my parents in Northamptonshire, and they had arranged to meet me off the train at Huntingdon.
I finished work at one o’clock on Christmas Eve, and trudged through the deep snow and slush down to Lea Road station at Gainsborough.  The Sheffield train which I would use as far as Retford was late, as I expected, delayed by the Cambridge - Doncaster train with which it connected at Lincoln.  Quite a crowd of us were standing around under the awning at Lea Road, grumbling at the weather, British Rail, and life in general.  The station was quite Siberian in appearance, tracks and platforms and surrounding country alike all deep in snow.  An extremely grimy train came in and departed for Lincoln, and at last the distant signal jerked up for the Doncaster train.
When that had gone, the number of waiting passengers was much reduced.  Before long, the signal was up again, the platform bell rang, and the Sheffield train came in.  It was not the usual DMU, but a Class 31 hauling old steam-heated carriages; the heat was well on, and clouds of vapour issuing from under the train condensed on the windows to block the views of the whited-out landscape en route to Retford.
At Retford, the through lines were closed and half buried in snow, so all trains had to crawl past on the platform lines.  I ate the refreshment room’s last sandwich, and many of us were glad of a warming cup of tea.  An announcement that the London train would be late was greeted with good-natured derision.  I couldn’t deny that Retford station, blanketed in snow, had a certain bleak beauty.  At last our train arrived, not an HST, but a Class 47 pulling an inadequate-looking rake of old carriages, oozing steam.  There were no seats left and no buffet car, I soon found, but at least it was transport.  A group of us congregated in the vestibule by the doors, having realised it was hopeless to try and find a seat, and then the train moved off.
I up-ended my small suitcase on the floor close by the door, and decided that to use it as a makeshift seat was the best I could do for what promised to be a not very comfortable journey.  I knew that at the next stop Newark, the platform would be on the right-hand side, so I settled down by the left-hand door, out of people’s way.  I had a good view of the snowy countryside as we sped southwards, and I amused myself by seeing how many landmarks I could recognise, and by remembering the times I had passed this way in pleasanter conditions.  The steam heat did not seem to reach the vestibule, and an icy draught found its way round the edges of the door; but by keeping on all my thick outdoor clothes, I stayed warm enough.
At Newark, two southbound HST's overtook us while we stood at the platform, then our signal light turned green and we were off again.  I had my head out of the window in the bitterly cold air as we jerked over the points on to the main line, and saw the connecting train for Lincoln waiting in a siding.  Now I shifted my improvised seat over to the right-hand door, so I would be clear of people getting in and out on the left-hand side at Grantham and Peterborough.  At each stop more people got on, so the train became even more overcrowded.  A gentleman bound for London kept us entertained with humorous tales and anecdotes from Grantham onwards, while outside the windows the dusk began to fall and the dismal afternoon became gradually bluer and darker.  In the hills south of Grantham the scene had a real wintry splendour, but I remember feeling glad that we didn’t have such a thoroughly White Christmas every year!  I noticed the occasional car feeling its way cautiously along a snow-bound country road, and was suite grateful for the train: crowded, uncomfortable, hungry and barely heated might be my ride, but at least I didn’t have to worry about driving!
Eventually we arrived at Peterborough.  At the opposite platform stood the Harwich boat train, composed like mine of old steam-heated carriages; steam poured from both trains into the glow of the platform lights, and if I didn’t look at the diesel locomotives, it was quite like old times!  We were away before the boat train.  It was by now almost dark, and I could pick out no landmarks outside until I recognised the lights of Alconbury aerodrome and knew that I was nearly at journey’s end.  I felt the brakes come on as the first lights of Huntingdon appeared out of the darkness, and when the train had slowed well down, I went across to the other door and slid down the window.  The signal was yellow, and the direction indicator was lit to show we were indeed being switched on to the platform line.  I made sure I had my luggage, gloves and ticket.  Christmas was here!

The Bridge
(A Ghost story for Christmas)
by Chris Tyas

 It was Christmas Eve and Martin had booked on for his shift at the depot and picked up his van.  He was now parked up at bridge 31 on the line from Hull to Doncaster; this was to be a big job replacing the whole bridge section before having the line reopened by the morning of December 27th.  He was the first to arrive at the site and was unloading his tools when he thought he saw someone on the bridge, he climbed up the steps up the embankment to have a look to see who was there, but there was not a soul in sight.  As he was heading back down to his van to continue unloading his tools he could see some of the other vans arriving and totally forgot about what he thought he had seen.
Martin and his mate Neil were cutting the cast iron bridge sections using the oxy propane cutting gear, and out of the corner of his eye he saw someone stumbling across the track as if they had had an accident of some sort.  Martin turned off the burning torch and went to see if he could help as he was a first aider but when he got to where he had seen the person yet again there was no one to be seen, so he went to see the person in charge of the job to see if he knew who had been involved in an accident, but he looked at Martin in bemusement and said that no one had reported as having an accident to him.
When he got back to where he was working he told Neil about what he had thought he had seen but Neil said he had not seen anything.  They carried on working until it was break time and they headed down to their vans for a brew and a sandwich.  Martin was having a little snooze when he thought he could here shouting coming from up on the bridge, he could also see that there was people on the bridge some helping others who looked to be injured.  Martin rushed up the steps to see what he could do to help but when he got up onto the bridge yet again there was no one to be seen.
This was starting to bother him as he knew he couldn’t be seeing things, as he was walking back down the steps to his van he ran in to Robin who was an old time railwayman who was nearing retirement age.  Martin told Robin what he thought he had seen.
Right said Robin you won’t remember what happened at this bridge on Christmas Eve 1957, no said Martin what did happen.  It was just after 11 o’clock when the last passenger train of the day from Doncaster to Hull was approaching the bridge at the same time there was an unfitted freight from Dairycoates to Belmont Yard coming in the opposite direction, what the driver of the freight didn’t know was that one of his trailing wagons was off the road and bouncing along on the sleepers, but when it got onto the bridge the wagon deflected off the parapet and deflected onto the opposite line and into the path of the passenger train which was just running onto the bridge.  The passenger train was derailed with the engine and first coach going down the embankment with the rest of the train derailed on the bridge.
The driver and fireman of the passenger train were killed along with 17 passengers, there were also many other passengers injured of which 2 more would die later of their injuries in hospital.  So my friend I think what you have seen tonight could be the ghosts of the crash saying their last goodbyes to the old bridge.

Pennine Observer Notes

Eastern Region
Recent sightings at Doncaster have been:

Sep 5  67005, 67020 Standby

            60071 Rails

            66037, 66728 Intermodal

            66556, 66563/66505 Freightliners

            60092 Steel

            66230 Tanks

            66184 Gypsum

            66158 Stone

            66605 Empty limestone

            66007, 66118, 66194 Light engines

            66723 Engineers

            66084 Sand

            66021, 66044, 66547, 66551, 66557, 66710,      66732, 66739, 66743 Coal

Sep 18 31233 pw. train

            66021, 66525, 66798 Coal

            66066 Steel

            66140 Goods train

            66420 Containers

            66169, 66193 in yards

            08724, 67021, 67024 in sidings near station

Sep 19 67021, 67024 Standby

            60071 Rails

            66137, 66749 Light engines

            60013, 66727 Departmental

            66102, 66733 Intermodal

            66140 Slurry

Sep 19 66418, 66954 Freightliners

            37259/37607 Top & Tail test train

            31233 Test train

            66169 Steel

            66118, 66413, 66547, 66613 Coal

Oct 10 67005 Dragging a failed East Coast set

            67027/67024/67020 Standbys

            60071 Rails

            66420, 66534 Freightliners

            66056, 66745 Intermodal

            47760/57314 ECS. to Ely

            60024/66024 Steel

            66043 Sand

            60039 Stone

            66086 Gypsum

            66727, 67015 Light engines

            66170, 66197, 66506, 66557, 66560, 66733,      66746 Coal

Oct 17 67022 Standby

            66009 Rails

            66516, 66420 Freightliners

            66130, 66717 Intermodal

            60007, 66710 Departmental

            66047 Steel

            66185 Limestone

            66086 Sand

            60071, 66199, 66140 Light engines

            67021 dragging 91105 into Wabtec

            66169 Gypsum

            66070, 66118, 66520, 66536, 66596, 66619,      66705 Coal

Oct 24 67022 Standby

            66571, 66572 Freightliners

            66428 Stabled under Balby Bridge

            66199, 66708 Intermodal

            66125, 67016 Light engines

            66151, 66712 Departmental

            66086 Sand

            66008 Gypsum

            66703 Limestone

            66186 Steel

            60071 Rails

            66012, 66066, 66111, 66507, 66539, 66557,      66566, 66587, 66727, 66728, 66742 Coal

            66604 Empty limestone

Oct 31 67024 Standby

            66428 Stabled

            66503, 66541 Freightliners

            66115, 66739 Intermodal

            60001 Steel

            60099 Stone

            66094 Sand

            66145/186, 66712, 66154 Departmental

            66057, 66099 Light engines

            66605 Limestone

            66552, 66554, 66005, 66107, 66709, 66714 Coal

Nov 7  67024, 67027 Stand bys

            66418, 66542 Freightliners

            66177, 66745 Intermodal

            66428 Stabled

Nov 7  66199, 66712, 66192/66108 Departmental

            60091 Tanks

            70015 Limestone

            60020 Stone

            66119 RHTT wagons

            66007 Sand

            66060 Steel

            66008 Gypsum

            66087, 66176, 66507, 66539, 66616, 66714,      66731, 66742 Coal

            60001 Rails

Recent sightings on the Gainsborough – Barnetby line have been:

(On coal trains unless stated otherwise)

Sep 2  66092, 66213, 66154 on oil train

Sep 3  66181, 66213, 66743

Sep 4  66013, 66017, 66181, 66213

Sep 5  66017 on oil train

            66213, 66739, 66743

Sep 7  66013, 66619

Sep 9  66088, 66169, 66706

Sep 12            66047, 66706

Sep 13            66021, 66706

Sep 14            66021, 66238

Sep 16            66021, 66069, 66705, 66706

Sep 18            66522

Sep 19            66069, 66084

Sep 20            66708

Sep 23            66024, 66122, 66171, 66711

Sep 24            66024, 66548, 66706, 66711

Sep 26            66006, 66021, 66197, 66706, 66711

Sep 27            66006, 66091, 66706

Oct 1   66095, 66192, 66197, 66250, 66704, 66746

Oct 4   66077, 66704

Oct 5   66082

Oct 7   66530+66539 on pw. train

Oct 10            66730 on pw. train

Oct 11            66733

Oct 14            66705

Oct 16            66705, 66727

Oct 17            66182

Oct 18            66113, 66705

Oct 21            66174, 66727, 66742

Oct 22            66043, 66727, 66742

Other recent sightings have been:

Aug 17           66213 on steel train at Eaton Lane Crossing

Sep 18            66165 light engine at Retford

Oct 5              66069 on coal train at Retford

Oct 17            66164 on Tilcon train at Hull

                       67027 on Thunderbird duties at Darlington

Oct 23            66534 on container train at Stow Park

Oct 25            66213 on Tilcon train at Hull

Oct 26            60062 on iron ore train and 66018, 66116 and   66619 on coal trains at Barnetby

Oct 27            66739 at Potters Selby

Oct 29            66215 on Tilcon train at Hull

                        56303, 56311, 20304, 20305 at York station

Oct 30            70006 on freight at Sheffield

On display in the yard just south of Grantham station on the weekend 7/8 September were 4468 MALLARD, 55019 and 56311 as part of the Mallard 75 celebration.

Locos used on Peterborough / Doncaster drags were:

Oct 5   67005/91105 12.35 KX/Leeds

67022/91xxx 12.45 Leeds/KX

Oct 12 67022/91121 12.35 KX/Leeds

67027/91113 16.05 Leeds/KX

Locos noted at York on 31 October were 56311, 66951, 66585, 66509, 20309, 20304 and 20305.

Preserved electric blue 86259 “LES ROSS” was a wonderful sight storming through Doncaster on 2 November hauling the Virgin “Pretendolino” set on a KX / Newcastle footex.  It is to be hoped the Chelsea supporters enjoyed the rare monster for haulage as there team suffered a 2-0 defeat.

An amazing sight at Mexborough on a dark/wet Bonfire Night was D1015 WESTERN CHAMPION on a long heavy train of continuous welded rail.  Subsequent searches on the web confirmed that the “Wizzo” was on hire to GBRF and the working was 4M10 Scunthorpe / Wellingborough.  I was going to say this must qualify as the most outrageous working of the year but reports now suggest the beast may be on hire for a longer period.

Midland Region

Recent sightings at Stafford have been:

Sep 12   57304, 86627 Route learning

              90048, 66952/66507/66505/70016 Light engines

               66174, 66430, 66431 Intermodal

               37218/37606 with one flask

                66121, 66200, 92002 Cars

                66723, 70010 Departmental

                66722 Biomass

                66517, 66538, 66542, 66564, 66589,       86609/86613, 90016, 90041, 90046, 90047,      92032, 66558/70008 Freightliners

Sep 26     57311 Route learning

            66001, 66044, 66422, 66423, 66433, 92010,      92042 Intermodal

            20308/20302 Flask

            66413, 66727 Departmental

            66701 Biomass

            92011 Light engine

            57314/47826 ECS.

            47818 ECS.

            66025, 66139, 66193, 90018 Cars

            66418, 66517, 66538/70018, 66543, 66562,      66592, 66598, 70019, 86622/86613, 90041,             90045, 90048, 90049             Freightliners

            70000 Britannia

 Scottish Region

Locos noted at Edinburgh on 5 September were 67024 Thunderbird, 90024/036 stabled, 67009 17.08 Fife circle.

 Railtours and Charter Trains

 Locos seen on railtours and charters have been:

Sep 10            (“Cathedrals Express”) 60163 Tornado, 66172

Oct 26            (“Links and Loops Tracker Railtour”) 47746,    57314

 Preserved Railways

 Locos working at the Peak Rail Mixed Traffic Gala on 21 September were 14901, 31270, D8 and industrial loco 3883 Lord Phil.  Giving brake van rides at Rowsley were 06003, PWM654, 09001, 03113 and D2139.

Locos used at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Steam Gala on 27 September were 6046, 75029, 60007, 92214, 29 and D5061.

Locos working at the Keighley and Worth Valley Autumn Steam Gala on 12 October were 1501, 7812, 4160, 45305, 43924, 1054 and 1704 giving brake van rides at Ingrow.

 Egyptian Diary

This is only a short report from when I visited Luxor station on the 31st October.  Trains are still not running to Cairo, buses are running as replacements, not good, sounds like England!  But they are running south to Aswan.  The first class coaches with A/C are not used: only what I would call 2nd class are used on the trains to Aswan.  They have normal seating, but quite a few windows have broken glass in them.  The trains of 10 coaches are packed to the gunnels.  The local trains are 3rd class, but have a 2nd class coach in the train making it 5 coach, naturally most passengers try to get a seat in it, the 3rd class have seating along the sides of the coach, but they are very basic formed plastic type.  I had no trouble getting on the station, visiting the signal box, and shed in that way nothing has changed from earlier in the year.  I had a great welcome from the guys in the signal box, “Sit down have a chi”, so a nice cup of Egyptian tea was enjoyed while we chatted, exchanging cigs and showing them photos of Egyptian locos. Later while taking a photo of the loco on the local train to Esna I met its driver, again I was made most welcome by following him to the cab, this was just before 14.00 when the train is due to depart.  We had the usual chat and chi, photos of me at the controls etc.  Not realising the time 14.00 was on us and the peg had dropped.  Asked the driver how long before we get back, he said 6 hours, so it was a quick Shukran and climb down to the ballast as it departed.  Wonderful stuff.  I have a great idea, what about a Pennine trip?  Locos noted:- 3169 Aswan train, 3101 Quena train, 3865 Esna train, Station pilot 3944, on shed 2160, 3982, 3884, 3970, 2103. That is 1 (66), 3 EMD's, 1 Adtranz.  My friend Jeff is staying with us at the moment, he is enjoying seeing the tombs and temples, with him being a spotter in steam days I thought a visit to the station would be good.  We visited yesterday (November 10) while the ladies did their usual thing shopping.  He was amazed with the station being so busy the trains packed as I mentioned, and the No of boxes tied up with string that the passengers were carrying.  He had the same welcome from the signal box “Have a chi” which we did, and photos taken of him posing as a signalman with the levers.  The frame is British we think from the late 1800s still working fine.  The train from Aswan came in with a crew change outside the box, we observed as kids jumped on and off from the open doors in the train as it departed.  Best regards Steve.

Pennine Quiz No. 154

Name the tunnels between the stations on the following routes:


1          Dunblane – Bridge of Allan

2          Haltwhistle – Bardon Hill

3          Worcester - Droitwich Spa

4          Tiverton Parkway - Taunton

5          Dalton - Ulverston

6          Leatherhead - Dorking

7          Blair Atholl - Pitlochry

8          Newmarket - Kennett

9          Denby Dale - Penistone

10        Edale - Chinley

11        Grantham - Newark

12        Peterborough - Grantham

13        Dore - Grindleford

14        Retford - Gainsborough

15        Marsden - Greenfield

16        Pilning - Caldicot

17        Fishguard Harbour – Clarbeston Road

18        Ribblehead - Dent

19        Dumfries - Sanquhar

20        Anniesland - Westerton

21        Castle Cary - Taunton

22        Gillingham - Templecombe

23        Petersfield - Rowlands Castle

24        Dent - Garsdale

25        Settle - Horton-in-Ribblesdale

26        Walsall - Bloxwich

27        Dundee – Broughty Ferry

28        Churston - Kingswear

29        Kidderminster - Bewdley

30        Micheldever - Winchester

Pennine Quiz No. 153

The Answers

1          Irchester Junction

2          Staveley Ironworks

3          Wellingborough

4          Hull & Barnsley / Great Central Joint

5          Mallard

6          Langley Mill

7          Bourneville

8          Kettering Junction

9          Thrapston

10        Oakley Junction

11        Sun Inn

12        H.E. Bates

13        Rowsley

14        Ravenstone Wood Junction

15        National Railway Museum, York

16        Great Central, Great Northern, Lancashire & Yorkshire and North Eastern

17        Wath Road Junction

18        Wooden bridges at Huntingdon and St. Ives

19        Bromsgrove

20        Coaley Junction - Dursley

21        Great Central and Great Northern

22        It was struck by a barge

23        Great Western

24        North Eastern

25        Railway Inn

The Winner

Congratulations to the winner – Ken King.


I would like to thank the following for their generous contributions to this issue: Linda Bladen, Tony Caddick, John Dewing, Ken King, Steve Payne, John Sanderson, Robin Skinner, Paul Slater, and Chris Tyas.

Next Issue

The Spring 2014 issue of Trans Pennine is due for publication on Wednesday 19th March would contributors please let the coordinator have their information by no later than Wednesday 19th February.  If you can, please email your contributions to  If you are posting your contributions, it would help if you could post it in instalments and not leave it all to the last day – THANK YOU.

Mail by Rail

Night Mail introduced the nation to a railway and Post Office institution in a ground-breaking fashion.  Simon Stabler looks at the details behind a revolution in documentary making.

The Travelling Post Office, flashing through the night between London and Glasgow, was filmed for the Night Mail - one of the GPO Film Unit's most memorable productions.
It told the story of the men and equipment involved and received its premiere at the newly opened Arts Theatre, Cambridge in February, 1936.  This was one of the first documentaries to use drama, dialogue and characterisation, and certainly appealed to a commercial audience with Pat Jackson - the film's production assistant and unaccredited narrator - amazed that “they're actually enjoying it”.
The highlight of the 24 minute documentary is in the closing scenes, where W.H Auden's famous verse - which begins, ‘This is the Night Mail crossing the border.  Bringing the cheque and the postal order’ - is performed by Stuart Legge over music by Benjamin Britten.  Despite later success, Auden and Britten were poorly paid with the latter remembering how he had to “help rig lights.  And hold cameras.  And cut films.  And fix sound effects.  All for £3 a week.”  Finances dictated that Britten could only use five musicians, however he rose to the challenge with his hand-picked quintet, conducting a score that, like Auden's verse, mimicked the rhythm of the train, earning him a bonus of £13 10s.
Scriptwriter Basil Wright received a co-director credit for working on a handful of scenes but it was Harry Watt who did most of the work, directing the filming inside the train, on the sorting van studio set, on location and on the outside of the train itself, which led to some hairy moments.
Pat Jackson recalled how the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), whose locomotive 6115 Scots Guardsman hauled the train, supplied the film crew with a ‘ganger’ who carried a red flag and had ‘a whistle permanently between his teeth which he blew with monotonous regularity’.
Despite this approach to safety, Jackson had a near miss when he climbed onto the engine's tender with a reflector board to provide cameraman Jonah Jones with sufficient light to film on the footplate.  Travelling at approximately 40 miles an hour, not only did Jackson have trouble maintaining a foothold but had the reflector torn out of his hands by a bridge that the train passed under, narrowly avoiding a scalping.

Mail on the move

The first TPO was a converted horsebox with a few wooden shelves for sorting letters that ran on the Grand Junction Railway between Birmingham and Liverpool.  Introduced in January, 1838, its success meant that a purpose built coach was put into operation within a year.
Shortly after operations began, a trial of equipment designed to drop and pick up mailbags while the train was moving, took place.  It was so successful, that a similar system continued to be used until 1971 and can be seen in operation in Night Mail in a shot achieved by a cameraman hanging out of the window, held by his legs, as the train went 100 miles an hour.
In 1986, to celebrate the original film's 50th anniversary, TVS produced Night Mail II.  Featuring an updated poem by Blake Morrison, the new film covered the collection, sorting and distribution of post by road, rail and air.
Two years later, on Christmas Day, 1988, British Rail launched its ‘concerto’ advert with Tom Courtenay performing another update to Auden's verse, acknowledging that ‘the passenger train is full of commuters, bound for the office to work in computers’.

The TPO's

Following WWII, there were more than 50 TPO's operating throughout the country, travelling almost three million miles a year and employing hundreds of men to collect, sort and dispatch almost 488 million letters and parcels.
Despite widespread affection for the TPO's, Royal Mail made a commercial decision to stop sorting mail on the move in September 2003.
The last TPO's ran on January 9th, 2004, and 85% of the service's workers took voluntary redundancy.  Although pre-sorted mail continues to be transported between distribution centres by rail, gone is the pride and team spirit that saw the average sorter handle up to 2000 letters per hour at 99% accuracy; a much higher rate of productivity than anything found in a static sorting office.

This article is reproduced from the October 2011 issue of Best of British, a monthly magazine available from newsagents and on subscription.  Please visit or call 01778 342814 for further information.

Wheels within wheels

David Brown gets on his bike to discover how the carriage of cycles and prams has been handled on the railways, past and present
On Saturday February 28th, 1959, the last passenger train departed from my home town's railway station, Bourne in Lincolnshire.  The closure of the route, which linked the East Midlands with Norfolk coastal resorts, pre-dated the swing of Dr Beeching's economic axe in the 1960s, which left many parts of the UK without its rail links.  Our local closure came at a time when people weren't really prepared for protesting against such cuts; a meeting was held, but the authorities did not give any ground, merely pointing out that bus services would replace the trains.  The cumulative effect of the loss of the railway was almost as widespread as the changes brought to a country community by the arrival of train services in the previous century.
One of the objections raised when the substitute bus services were announced concerned the carriage of prams.  Back then these were large, fairly heavy examples of shiny coachwork and could not be compared with today's more portable, trendy, foldaway baby buggies.  Mothers pointed out that while prams could be easily lifted in and out of the spacious guard's van found on passenger trains of that time, this was not going to be so easy within the confines of a bus.  Their concerns fell on deaf ears and there was doubtless an upturn in the sale of folding pushchairs, which were more practical, though still not exactly compact by current standards.
So it was with bicycles.  The average bicycle was a solid concern and was easy to be wheeled in and out of the commodious opening doors of the guard's van, where there was usually space to spare among the various parcels and packages in transit.
Before the Second World War, my father worked as a porter at the rural station of Twenty, a few miles east of Bourne.  He would cycle there in the morning, his LNER coat offering some protection against the Fen winds, to take up his daily duties.  He and his trusty steed usually got a lift back in the guard's van of a passenger service.
British Railways were obviously proud of their cycle-carrying facilities.  In 1955 a British Transport Films (BTF) documentary, Cyclists Special, featured a Cyclist Touring Club day trip from Willesden and Watford to Rugby on May 8th, 1955.  Cyclists are depicted loading their bikes on board special cycle vans which at that time were normally used on services to the continental ports.

 A ride from Rugby

A diagram of a cycle on the side of the vans clearly denoted their purpose.  Once inside the cycles were hung up on rubber-covered hooks, which we were told was the way it should be done following consideration by the Cycle Commission of the International Touring Alliance.  Once the train had arrived at Rugby, the bikes are removed and the cyclists are seen enjoying the leafy lanes of parts of Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to a chirpy musical soundtrack with an equally cheerful commentary.
The following year another BTF production, Cyclists Abroad, appeared.  In this a party of cyclists are seen setting out from London Victoria for a tour of Austria.  In 1964, Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night feature film has The Beatles miming in a BR guard's van to I Should Have Known Better, while a bicycle can be seen hanging from a hook.  Perhaps that is what they meant by The Swinging 60s?
When the annual London to Brighton cycle race was held, BR's Southern Region went all out to provide vehicles to help get cyclists and their bikes back to the capital.  Any available spare units (with or without seats), Motor Luggage Vans and even departmental vehicles were put to use for the one-way trip.
Back then many trains in the UK still comprised a locomotive hauling a rake of coaches, usually including a coach (or part of a coach) designated for carrying luggage and parcels.
In more recent times, in the name of economy, lightweight multiple units have taken over many services on secondary, cross country and even some main line rates with limited space for luggage, let alone cycles.  When the railways lost newspaper and parcels traffic to road hauliers, there was obviously less need for parcels vehicles and dedicated guard's vans and many went for scrap - those dedicated cycle vans did not survive either.  In the privatised era, train operating companies have leased vehicles and entire trains from specialist companies with the emphasis on economy of scale, meaning that the concept of spare vehicles is virtually unheard of.
While the amount of suitable space for cycles on trains has effectively shrunk in recent years, the demand for transporting cycles has risen.  This is due to the increased popularity of commuters for using small lightweight, folding cycles.  A Passenger Focus survey in 2009 showed that 2.2% of rail passengers travelled to the station by bicycle, of whom 1.3% took their bike on the train while 0.9% parked them at the station.  The number of cycle spaces at stations is rising and cycle hire schemes based at rail stations are also increasingly being provided.
There are currently more than 20 Train Operating Companies in the UK with different conditions and restrictions when it comes to the transportation of cycles on their services, so it is best to consult the National Rail Cycling by Train leaflet or to visit
We are a long way behind our European neighbours when it comes to providing proper facilities for transporting bikes on our trains and in these environmentally aware times, it is something which should be encouraged.

This article is reproduced from the February 2012 issue of Best of British, a monthly magazine available from newsagents and on subscription.  Please visit or call 01778 342814 for further information. 

 Summer Saturdays 1962 - 30th June

 Another selection of sightings at Sheffield in 1962 from the records of the late Peter Fox. 





Arrival time


Departure Time




Locos (coaches)













65 late














On Time

D6740 to













40 late

60878 to D101 (10)






10 late







On Time

D61 (8)






5 late

D36 (12)













5 early

D41 to 60878 (11)













7 late

D58 (11)






On Time







On Time














On Time







On Time














8 late

46164 (11)






34 late

45585 (10)






3 late

45260 (8)







D17 (11)






3 late

D31 (12)






4 late

D159 (11)






5 late

45594 (10)






1 late

45725 (10)






2 late

61104 (5)






On Time

45685 (10)













On Time

D35 (10)






2 late

D75 (10)






On Time

D34 (10)


Weston SM




33 late

45280 (10)






On Time







2 late

45658 (10)

IN 66





2 late

44841 (10)


Blackpool N.




76 late

D5824 (9)






On Time

D107 (11)


Newton Abbot




4 late

D109 (12)