Friday, May 30, 2008

Return of a legend

Network Rail's 31233 is seen in Hardwick Woods returning to Derby with her test train this evening. Nice to find the loco at the front for a change !

This Type 2 locomotive was originally built at Brush Loughborough with a Mirrlees 1600hp engine, and delivered to British Rail in October 1960 (according to the allocation notes), as number D5660, where it spent 27 years on the Eastern Region based at depots such as Stratford, Finsbury Park, March, Thornaby and Immingham etc.

In 1987 it was transferred to Bescot, and was named "Severn Valley Railway" in 1993 at Crewe. Stored at Old Oak Common in 2002 it was finally rescued by Network Rail to serve on their track testing trains.

What a beast....

It shouldn't happen

It was a big disappointment to find the return Walsall cement empties being hauled by a Class 66 this afternoon.... this must be the first time ever. 66142 passes below bridge 37 at Sutton Park a few minutes late.

Testing times

The yellow DBSO set from Derby has run yet again today. Pictured at Aldridge with 31233 providing the power and 9703 out front. The test train was headed for Crewe.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crafty Colas

Here's a hasty last-minute shot in the torrential rain tonight, showing Colas Rail's 47727 Rebecca passing through Daw End with a crane and runners from Crewe Basford Hall to Rugby (oddly routed via the Park).
Cheers to Nick for the tip...

How to bury a shed...

Cover 'em with wood chippings...

Grid in the mist

56301 comes looming up out of the dampness and fog at Sutton Park today, running around an hour late from Birch Coppice. Normally visible at the end of the straight section almost two miles away, it wasn't possible to see the approach of any train today until the loco had neared the bridge and repeater signal seen at the rear of the shot.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tugging along

60017 passes the abandoned "flower basket" wagons at Sutton Park with a train of loaded stone wagons from Stud Farm to Bescot this afternoon, during a brighter spell in the weather.

Autumnal May

66040 with an up freightliner on the curves at Hardwick wood this afternoon. Showers and squalls produced very gloomy weather, and many lines in the West Midlands were affected by fallen branches and trees in the high winds. A tree had just been cleared from the Sutton Park old station area...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The former Thomas Telford....

Seen trundling through the rain at Walmley Ash just an hour ago is 57601 yet again, returning its stock to Carnforth after yesterdays excursion run.
The train has just accessed the Sutton Park line via Park Lane Junction, unseen behind the trees less than a mile away.
This loco started life as D1759 in 1964, and as 47590 was named "Thomas Telford" at Wellington station in 1983. It was renumbered and re-engined as 57601 on 12/04/2001.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dusk in the May

A good showing of mayflower blossom this year helps decorate the scene as 57601 brings charter excursion 1Z62 past Wylde Green en route Gloucester tonight at 2100.
An unavoidably grainy ("noisy") photo due to the low light levels and 1600 ISO exposure.

The shape of things to come ?

Here's a fairly rare event - a Cross-Country "Voyager" unit (number 221104) travelling as empty stock across the Sutton Park line on it's way from the Barton-under-Needwood (Wychnor) depot to Crewe, early this evening.
As far as is known, this is only about the fifth time such a train has used the Sutton Park freight lines.
Perhaps these units will be cascaded down to secondary services in the future, and form part of the fleet that will operate passenger services from Walsall to Birmingham via this route when stations are re-installed in who-knows-how-many years time ?

Diverted freightliner

4M87 was diverted over the Sutton Park line late this afternoon, running to Crewe behind named FLHH loco 66503 "The Railway Magazine".
Normally the service would be electrically-hauled via Bescot to Crewe while work on the Trent Valley lines continues.
There are one or two old posts of this train at Newton Road on that particular blogsite...

Saturday afternoon

Caught crossing the Park at Streetly Gate with a ballast train to Bescot this afternoon is EWS loco 60018.
Practically the only way to see one of these big rumbling type 5's on this line at the weekend is on engineering trains, many of which run quite haphazardly to or from worksites.
However, shortly after this train had passed I wandered away from the railway and missed getting shots of two convoys comprising NINE loco's in total, including two more Class 60s....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Forest 57

Confined to the leafy lush woods of Sutton Park, 57601 trundles through with a rake of mostly maroon stock this afternoon (11 coaches). The set was running from West Coast Railways HQ at Carnforth, to form a charter outing tomorrow morning from Gloucester.
Just a pity that the weather became overcast, dull and rainy for the shot, but it is after all a bank holiday weekend....

Also note the concrete sleepers along the cess, placed in readiness for some impending heavy engineering work.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The "bomb" passing Aldridge just 10 minutes ago (at 1709). 20301 Max Joule + 20305 with flask no.48 (550043)

This train from Bridgwater was diverted via Bromsgrove and the Sutton Park line, normally it would run via Worcester and Bescot.

Downliners Sect

"Grid" loco 56301 blasting along the down Sutton Park line with the Fastline freightliner to Grain, Kent.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Welsh Highlander

4965 Rood Ashton Hall made a surprise mainline come back working Vintage Trains 'The Welsh Highlander' on Saturday 17th May. Smoking nicely the steamer is caught approaching Streetly Gate.

Photo by I Jennings

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DRS special

Crossing the Forge Lane bridge (bridge no.17) at Walmley Ash is DRS loco 66430 at the head of a Wembley - Doncaster hopper train, an unusual working across the Park late on Saturday afternoon, 10th May 2008.

The Shining

4965 "Rood Ashton Hall" waits at Walsall a couple of minutes early with the 1Z29 Tyseley-Llandudno on the morning of 17.05.08

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nunney Castle at Walsall

Express and Star newspaper coverage of GWR-built loco number 5029 Nunney Castle at Walsall on Saturday 26th April.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Crompton at Sutton Park

WCRC Class 33 number 33025 passing Sutton Park old station with four maroon coaches from Carnforth for Tyseley on Thursday 8th May.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Desolation at Tasker St

Following the end of EWS's express freight services to Aberdeen the terminal at Tasker Street, Walsall has seen no traffic apart from the cement trains dealt with at the adjacent Midland Yard.

Tasker Street could handle many types of freight and to see it not used seems a waste of a valuable facility. In the past it was a busy yard.

The yards can only be accessed via Walsall Station as the Connection with Pleck Junction was lost with the closure of Walsall Yard Shunt Frame in 1983.

A Class 33 Passes Pleck

A snatched photo of 33025 passing Pleck Junction this morning with 5Z47 from Carnforth to Tyseley, a loco type not exactly a common sight in the West Midlands.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blue 60 at Aldridge

The remaining blue Class 60 still in service (number 44) passes Aldridge this evening running around two hours late, with the Washwood Heath to Bescot sleepers train.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pink Thing

Here's pink-liveried 31601 charging up towards Aldridge last Friday, providing the power at the rear of the returning Derby DBSO test train.

Wood Cutter

Smart-looking Class 40 no.40145 (nowadays named "East Lancashire Railway" and appearing in large-logo BR livery) cuts through Hardwick Woods last week, running light to it's home base on the East Lancs...