No.67 - Spring 1989
NOTES FROM THE COMMITTEE
If there Is still any person unable to resist the offer, thanks for
your time with the PENNINE and we hope to see you again in the near
The Western Region once bad substantial presence in the Black Country, with branches off the main line between Birmingham (Snow Hill) and Wolverhampton (Low Level), and engine sheds at Wolverhampton Oxley and Stourbridge Junction. I never knew these lines in their days of complete steam operation but, one afternoon in the summer. of 1959 I spent an hour or two on Snow Hill Station and although the local services were by then worked by DMU's, "Kings" and 'Castles' hauled the Birkenhead expresses, goods trains were still steam hauled, and the Snow Hill
pilot that day was 4-6-0 no. 7918 "Rhose Wood Hall"
In February 1965 I spent a weekend with friends at Birmingham, then travelled on to Shrewsbury for Interviews with Shropshire County Library. I rode to Shrewsbury on one of the Paddington-Birkenhead expresses which were still the principal trains over the Western Region route to the West Midlands, but which were hauled by Class 47 diesels. One of my friends In Birmingham said that he especially liked the Western Region line to Wolverhampton, which he thought gave a much more impressive view of the heavily-industrialised Black Country than the London Midland route running a few miles further west between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton high Level
The Journey to Shrewsbury was on a day of bright winter sunshine but the return trip a few days later was done in heavy snow. From a description
I wrote at the time, the ride through the Black Country must of indeed have impressed me.; I wrote of it looking "brilliant" in sunshine, but in the it. struck me as 'colourless and wan' , with 'houses blackish red under their oppressive mantels of ermine' ,'slate coloured canals' and 'factories gaunt against a sky of red'
A reference to 'dipped arms' must have meant that were then many lower quadrant semaphores along the line, and I described Snow Hill station - the name was appropriate that day! - 'as an icy cavern'. I made no mention of steam locomotives, but I think there were a few to be at Oxley.
That journey can no longer be made, and when I rode to Wolverhampton recently it was over the London Midland region. route on a Euston-Shrewsbury express
I was interested to observe the Black Country the many canals running alongside and under the line and to watch the 87 the train being
replaced by a 47 at Wolverhampton and to photograph my first examples of the new Class 90 electrics. However I also wanted to see what was left of the old Low Level station and the Western Region line.
Wolverhampton (Low Level) is being comprehensively refurbished and may one day be turned into a railway museum, but at present it is a forlorn place and along with the streets around it has an air of shabbiness and dereliction which contrasts with the modern roads, buildings and gardens on the other side of the London Midland region line. The station is still fairly complete., two main platforms, bays, through lines, a covered footbridge and a lengthy in classical style built of blue bricks. Rusty tracks thread an overgrown area to the south of the station, and
arches under the electrified line to Bescot show the course of the old main line to Birmingham (Snow Hill).
By contrast with this vanished main line, the former Western Region line from Birmingham through the southern fringes of the Black Country to Stourbridge Junction, Kidderminster and Worcester is still busy with passenger traffic. Trains over this route now depart from New Street, and Join the 'old' route from Snow Hill at Smethwick Junction, where the first Great Western signal box on this line can be seen; There are others at Langley Green, Rowley Regis, Cradley Heath and Stourbridge Junction. Lower quadrant semaphores remain in use at some the stations and the single railcar on the Stourbridge Town service shuttles in and out of Stourbridge Junction past two notable examples mounted on tall posts.
THE CHANGING YEARS - FAREWELL TO OLD FRIENDS
In these days of an ever decreasing number of loco hauled services on British Rail, I felt tinges of sadness, happiness and nostalgia in looking back to the turn of the decade when every train had a loco on the front of it, and with so many different classes spread the length and breadth of the country, it is both sad and amazing at how quickly so many classes have been deemed and 'surplus to requirements'..
British Rail chose to call their replacement by "Sprinters" as progress, there are those that disagree.
Looking back to June 1st 1981, Chesterfield was the place be where, that evening, ten loco-hauled trains were noted in less than hour and a half, an event that turned out to be a regular occurrence. 45111 worked a St. Pancras-Sheffield, 47313 a northbound MGR, 45105 a St. Pancras-Sheffield, 47486 a Bristol-Newcastle, 47564 a southbound passenger, 45149 a Sheffield- St. Pancras, 25051on the Manchester-St. Pancras vans, 45127 a St. Pancras-Sheffield and 56019 another northbound MGR. The lamented 'Man-Pan' vans was a regular Class 25 or Class 40 hauled train and one which I photographed on a few occasions.
June the 19th 1981 sae embarkment on the annual Railrover where class of loco on B.R. was taken in. The first loco seen on this week long pilgrimage was 47547 on the Glasgow-Nottingham, Ironically this loco one now ousting Class 50's from the Waterloo-Exeter services. When at this time Class 50's had an unending future 'Peak' 45142 headed a St. Pancras- Sheffield to get me to Sheffield to start the round Britain tour. . A unit (not Sprinter) to Doncaster proved a rare non loco hauled train before 55011 on the 2320 Kings Cross-Aberdeen whisked us in Mk1 comfort northwards to Edinburgh. A highlight of any Railrover was being cocooned in Mk1 coach with a Napier humming up front.
The following day Ayr MPD played host to 20118/179,25079, 27002, 37111, 40024/84.
Whatever happened to that enviable line up?
Later that day 40092 was had for haulage on the. 17.08 Edinburgh-Newcastle followed by 46036 on. the 21.00 Newcastle-Kings Cross. The thought of 55002 on the 22.30 Kings Cross-Edinburgh and 55018 on the 20.45 Edinburgh-Kings Cross evokes many happy memories.
Sunday morning at Paddington saw a bevy of locomotives in place of the lines of HST's. The up overnight stood at the stops behind 50014, 47121 was at the head of the 08.40 Paddington-Penzance, 47448 on the 08.50 Manchester, 500024 on the ecs for the 09.25 Plymouth, 47009 the up overnight ex Fishguard, 47507 on the 09.25 Plymouth and 50024 taking out the 09.55 Worcester ecs being brought in by 47511. 73140 was at Reading, the only time I have seen a member of this class at Reading. 47374 unusually headed the 11.50 to Birmingham, a rare event t5
the 11. 50 to Birmingham, a -,are event then, what price now!!
June 22nd saw York proudly hosting 40070/111/176 50011/17/19 and Darlington 37007/74/79, whilst to be seen at Newcastle were 40148 on a northbound freight, 40020 hauling a failed DMU on a service from Carlisle. 47100 arrived from Liverpool and 47435 on the 1V93 Edinburgh-Plymouth. Doncaster that evening saw 47426 on the 20.00 Kings Cross-Aberdeen, 46, 31272/226 on the Bradford-kings Cross, 47413 on the 20.15 Kings Cross- Edinburgh, 46045 on the 21.00 Newcastle-Kings Cross, 47409 on the 22.15 Kings Cross-Edinburgh, 47142 on the 22.30 Kings Cross-Edinburgh, 46049 on the 23.55 Newcastle-Kings Cross, truly a bad night for Deltic bashers.
Catching the 210.15 Kings Cross-Edinburgh enabled the questionably sane dedicated punter the dubious pleasure of making the 04.31 Edinburgh-Glasgow
Consolation for the early eviction came in the shape of 27041 on load two of the Glasgow train. Steam heat rules O.K. Arrival at Glasgow found 26014 on the 06.40 to Dundee which I had to Stirling for 47142 on the Perth-Edinburgh. Returning to Edinburgh 55003 provided a welcome sight on the 1V93 Plymouth train which was taken to York.
Saturday June the 27th saw an early arrival at Waterloo for 50005 on the 06.50 Exeter which was had throughout. Semaphores abound and hardly an HST to be seen as 50018 headed the 06.50 Worcester- Paignton, 47233 the Paignton-Glasgow, 50017 a Motorail 50046 a Paignton-Paddington, 5001 a Wolverhampton-Penzance, 33011 ex Waterloo, 31154/294 the Paignton-Leeds, 47006 the Paignton-Paddington, 45053 the Leicester-Paignton.
The homeward journey and the end of an excellent Railrover was underway with 50035 on the 14.20 Exeter-Waterloo back to the capital for 55016 on the 19.40 Kings Cross-Hull as far as Doncaster.
Several trips to York during that same summer saw the Deltic's Indian Summer and train after train to and from Scarborough headed by class 40's. Personnel records show almost a quarter of the class was seen at York during that balmy summer, Including such celebrities as 40025, 40057,40106, and 40110. A recent visit to the same place only seven and a half years later yields many changes and the station like a morgue.
On Friday August 14th I spent. a day covering the Paddington loco-hauled commuter trains at Reading, and on this pre-Network livery day, 50035 worked the 06.20 Paddington-Manchester, 47556 the 06.41 Newbury-Paddington,, 47282 the 06.32 Oxford-Paddington, 47131 the 07.03 Oxford-Paddington, 470715 the 07.10 Newbury-Paddington,. 47105 the 07.15 Oxford-Paddington, 50043 the 06.42 Westbury-Paddington, 50029 the 07.28 Oxford-Paddington, 50007 the 07.47 Oxford-Paddington, 50027 the 08.15 Newbury-Paddington, 50021 the 07.45 Paddington-Worcester. At Paddington 50043 out light to Old Oak, as did 50029 and 50007, somewhat, from today where Most locomotives take a rake of ecs to Old Oak.
The following day, a Saturday, saw two Freightliner trains at Reading within half an hour, 47287 and 47502 working through around breakfast time, before 31259/210 provided unusual 'power' for the 07.28 Oxford-Paddington. That same day saw 25104/1391168/327, 45072 and 56042 at Cricklewood. Balmy days Indeed!.
January 2nd 1982 needs no explanation to the why and wherefore of being a black day, but how many can remember that also on this day 47418 headed the 05.50 Kings Cross-Aberdeen and 47402 the 08.05 York-Kings Cross, 45001 worked a Sheffield-York DMU turn, 47513 the 15.50 York-Kings Cross, and 46056, probably the highlight of the day, the 09.00 Aberdeen-Kings Cross additional, After the fateful event had taken place insult was added to injury with 47086 working the 14.00 Edinburgh-Kings Cross additional.
1982 saw, with the Deltics now gone the first serious change of favour to Class 50's. Regular trips to Birmingham, for Class 50 haulage to Banbury or Bristol were made. One such trip on January 23rd behind 47115 on the 07.55 Newcastle-Poole as far as the 'dungeon' found 50012 on the 10.23 Liverpool-Plymouth and 50033 on the 11.20 Liverpool-Paddington. The later was taken to Banbury for 47543 back on the 11.34 Poole-Newcastle to Birmingham, where 45002 took over. The following week the same manoeuvre was made. This time 45012 worked the Newcastle-Poole, 50015 the 11.20 Liverpool-Paddington, taken this time to Leamington for 47568 on the Poole-Newcastle. New Street saw 47131 on the Bristol-Newcastle and 46007 on an ecs. 47423, once a Deltic diagram 'spoiler' took over the Poole-Newcastle northwards. How times do change, for this undistinguished loco, the scourge of many a Deltic chasing punter, then 'Peak' chasing punter, was very recently noted at, of all places, Buxton, the one time stamping ground of Class 40's and now 37's.
On February 6th the Newcastle-Poole train was worked by 45060, the Manchester-Plymouth by 50047, and this train on this occasion was taken to Bristol. Here 33020, 31107/414, 37224, 45141, and 47101 were on Bath Road- 33014 and 33029 were had for haulage to and from Bath on Portsmouth services before 46051 was used as haulage an yet another fine train, the 14.25 Paignton-Leeds. This wonderful train, Mark I stock and Steam heat, and via Gloucester for another locomotive, is truly long lamented and affectionately remembered. On this-occasion 46038 took over from Gloucester. At Birmingham 47543 headed to a destination not now used as a terminus for loco-hauled services - Didcot,
During this time Saltley was regularly visited whilst I worked in the midlands and would always produce a fine variety of classes. February 9th saw 25090/294, 31173/216/314, 450701/16, 47050/120/157/479/500/521 and 56019 on shed whilst February 16th saw 25269/327/316, 31208/406, 45007/034/51, 47444/535/510, 56049.
PENNINE OBSERVERS NOTES
Class 50 workings continue to be the most popular subject of correspondence of with the gradual rundown of the class. They still hold sway cri the Waterloo- Exeter services with the exception of the 09.40 Exeter-Waterloo and 11.10 Waterloo-Exeter which are Class 47 diagrams. With the withdrawal of Class 33/1's from Waterloo-Salisbury services due in May, January 30th sightings may prove invaluable in the not too distant future. On this day 33114 worked the 08.10 Waterloo-Salisbury, 33101 the 10.10 Waterloo-Salisbury and 33116 the 12. 10 Waterloo-Salisbury while 50003 headed the 06.42 Exeter-Waterloo, 50019 the 09.10 Waterloo-Exeter, 50048 the 08.11 Exeter-
Waterloo. The 47's on this day, 47547 on the 11.10 Waterloo-Exeter, 4742C5 on the 09.40 Exeter -Waterloo. 73132 worked a rail train and 73128/138 paired on an engineers train. 50018 worked the 13.10 Waterloo-Exeter, and 131102 headed the 12.20 Exeter-Waterloo.
January 20th found 50027 on the 1736 Exeter-Waterloo, 50048 on the 15.10 Waterloo-Exeter, 19.42 return. 50029 17.06 Waterloo-Exeter and 20.50 ecs to Laira. 47473 headed the 19.10 Waterloo-Exeter and 23.00 ecs to Laira.
More recently on February 18th 50001 headed the 09.10 Waterloo-Exeter, 47473 the 11.10 Waterloo-Exeter, 50017 the 13.10 Waterloo-Exeter, while in the opposite direction 'old faithful' 50019 worked the 06.42 Exeter-Waterloo, 50028 the 09.17 Exeter-Waterloo, and 33108/116 the
09.40 Exeter-Waterloo from Salisbury where 47327 was removed. 50029 headed the 12.20 Exeter-Waterloo.
The Horsham yard pilot is usually one of Selhurst's 09's since it is a 28 mile run to it's home depot. Unusually for three weeks in January 08653 covered the duty.
Also noted was track recording coach 999550 on January 12th between SR tractor 1053 and 1054. (977207/8 977211/2.
The monopoly of Class 33's and 73's on freight to Horsham was broken by 47's putting in appearances in January, but unusually 37's have now joined the varying classes 37131 on Jan 12th, an 37244 on Feb 3rd have been noted.
Chaos hit the Horsham area on February the 15th when an oi1 train hauled by Class 73 No. 73131, became derailed during shunting manoeuvres, causing havoc for evening commuters and necessitating bus services. Because it was not sure whether the tanks were full or empty fire engines were standby but not needed.
Again Class 50's are the main focal point of Western Region sightings, in particular the Paddington-Oxford services. On December 29th no fewer than twelve different members of the Class were seen at Reading. The full follows:
50040 08.17 Didcot-Pad, 50046 08.17 Pad-Ox, 50046 10.00 Ox-Pad, 50033 08.42 Pad-Newbury, 50036 9.25 Ox-Pad, 50036 14.00 Ox-Pad, 50036 16.07 Pad-Ox, 50037 09.1515 Padd-Ox, 50037 11. 00 Ox-Padd, 50037 14.15 Padd-Ox, 50037 16,00 Ox-Padd, 50034 09.40 Padd-Birm, 50034 14.41 Birm-Padd, 50030 11.15 Padd-Ox ecs, 50030 13.00 Ox-Pad, 50025 12.00 Ox-Pad, 50015 13.02 Padd-Plymouth, 50039 the 13.05 Padd-Newbury, 50039 Newbury-Pad14.40 , 50035 14.32 Padd-Newbury, 50035 15.50 Newbury-Padd, 50045 10.35 Paignton-Pad,
Two 'ethnics' in the woodpile were 47583 on the 11.12 Padd-Newbury and 47471 on the13.15 Pad-Ox, 47471 15.00 Ox-Pad.
With all these 50's to view the highlight of the day was, arguably, the legendry 47401 which worked of all things the 09.10 Swansea-Pad.
January 2nd found 50050/30 on the 08.15 10.00 Pad-Ox, 50050/30 10.00 Ox-Pad, 50037 08.42 Pad-Newbury, 50037 10.05 Newbury-Pad,
50025 the 09.25 Ox-Pad, 50025 12.15 Pad-Ox, 50025 14.00 Ox-Pad, 50025 16.0 Pad-Ox, 50046 09.15 Pad-Ox, 50046 11.00 Ox-Pad, 50046 14.15 Pad-Ox, 50031 11.12 Pad-Newbury, 50031 12.40 Newbury-Pad. 47852 headed the 0816 Penz-Pad relief, 50036 13.02 Pad-Plym relief, 47589 10.35 Paignton-Pad relief, 50035 14.32 Pad-Newbury, 50035 15.50 Newbury-Pad, 50039 13.05 Pad-Newbury, 50039 14.40 Newbury-Pad, 50032 15.15 Padd-Ox, 50032 17.00 Ox-Padd.
Ethnics on this. day were 47573/583 on Oxford services with 47488 leading the Pad-Birm and return.
The Paddington-Oxford/Newbury services are still the ones to cover for Class; 50 sightings as further observations in. January proved. 50023 10.15 Padd-Ox, 50023 12.15 Ox-Padd, 50032 the 09.25 Ox-Padd, 50032 12.15 Pad-Ox, 50039 11.15 Padd-Ox ecs, 50039 13.00 Ox-Padd, 50036 10.05 Newbury-Pad, 50031 the 11.00 O-Pad, 50034 the 13.05 Pad-Newbury, 50034 14.40 Newbury-Pad, 50019 14.20 Padd-Plym.
A very rare occurrence on this date was the use of 33026 working the Paddington-Old Oak Common staff shuttle. Also on January 20th 37675/6713 headed the 6B43 15.35 St. Blazey-Gloucester SLK freight while the long Class 50 diagrammed 13,48 Penzance-Bristol vans, (formerly Old. Oak, produced 47537, 47458 worked the 1S15 12.20 Penzance-Glasgow vans. 47584 arrived at Plymouth somte85 mins late working the 19.02 ex Paddington due to fire on the locomotive at Slough. 50026 headed the 1A02 22.45 Penzance-Paddington.
Noted in the Cardiff area the next day were 'Sprinter' units
15641/422/448/454/7/8/465/473. 37906/5 worked a Port Talbot-Llanwern iron ore train and 37165 a MGR service. 37509/10 worked a steel train, and 37426/8 headed a Cardiff/Manchester/Liverpool service. Stabled at Bristol Bath Road were 50007/9/16, which is now a common sight with several Class. 50's hauled freight services working daily out of Bristol.
February 19th and 20th found Class. 50's no's 24/5/6/32/4//6/9/40/6 and 47582/3/598 on Padd-Oxford/Newbury and Birmingham services
British Rail's incapability of allowing transfers to dry from re-numbering before the same locos are again re-numbered is continuing with the news that twin-tank Class 47's are to be re-numbered to 47801-20. Currently 47661 is in Doncaster and will emerge as 47816, well at least for the time being.