Thursday, July 31, 2008

An unusual move.

Occasionally there is a need to run locomotives from Bescot to Pleck Junction to cross over and return to Bescot. There are several options at Pleck to do the move. The loco can be routed to the Down Slow Line, the P-Way siding or the Down Fast, the latter being the most unusual route but the most efficient one when it is possible. Such was the case this morning when 66425 made this movement as it was running round 4E42 from Rugeley PS to Barrow Hill on one of the Bescot Goods Loops. Here we see the loco running over the crossover between the Down Fast and the Up Fast Lines to return to it's train at Bescot.

This crossover was temporarily removed on the 20 April 2003 and the Fast Lines were plain lined. It was reinstalled in Easter 2005.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Various shots

A few shots from the last week or so.

67005 "Queens Messenger" on the Northern Belle at Wylde Green (with 67028 bringing up the rear).

66509 heading across Sutton Park with a heavy train (1800 tonnes) of loaded coal hoppers.

66050 on a ballast train at Wylde Green.

37422 "Cardiff Canton" running light engine across Sutton Park bound for Washwood Heath.

Monday, July 28, 2008

40 MP

A grubby 56303 is pictured at the 40 milepost (on the up line) in Sutton Park, last Friday afternoon.

I assume the up line mileages are based on the distance to Derby (as that was the HQ of the Midland Railway), but it seems surprising that it's 40 miles from Sutton Park by rail.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Parcels in the Post

Photographer C C Thornburn kindly gave me permission to reproduce this fine photograph taken at the Sutton Park GPO Parcels depot on the 3rd July 1985, and showing loco 31112 presumably about to depart with the 3G20 Sutton Park - Curzon St afternoon parcels post service.

The locomotive was allocated to Bescot for the last 10 years of it's life, being withdrawn in May 1997.

Please note that the photo copyright remains with the owner and this scan is not to be copied or reproduced without permission (contact the blog address below for details).

Heavy going past Sutton Park

37422 "Cardiff Canton" is seen passing Sutton Park old station on Thursday evening, with a heavy concrete sleeper train from Washwood Heath to Bescot. After the hard slog across the Park the loco was reported as having temporarily shut down somewhere between Aldridge and Ryecroft Jn....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dusty Darwin

A dust-covered 60068 "Charles Darwin" sets out across the Park with todays returning Walsall - Tunstead cement empties.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An unusual move occurred on Tuesday this week which I missed by being at work, so I was pleased to find that the Flying Ferret had been to Streetly Gate to capture the event, and has given me permission to reproduce the photo's here.

They show 47773 at the head of some stock running from Tyseley to Carnforth (5Z86), and at the rear of the train sat electric loco 86259 "Les Ross", owned by the radio DJ of the same name.

At Bescot the pan was raised and the loco energised, the Class 86 AC electric taking the train forward to Carnforth (47773 was apparently detached at Bescot and returned light engine to Tyseley).

Thanks to Ferret for these fine pics.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tickets to ride

A small selection of 1950s & 60s railway tickets from stations along the Sutton Park line (and an un-signed for weekly pass that could be used from either of the then-remaining Sutton stations).

Anyone care to guess at the location of the station in the background....?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dashing Duchess

Another shady view for the steam enthusiasts, showing 6233 the Duchess of Sutherland on her way to Paddington on Saturday evening, passing the former Aldridge station site.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Cathedrals Express

Another shot of 6233 Duchess of Sutherland working Steam Dreams 'The Cathedrals Express'. The Duchess worked the return leg from Chester to London Paddington and is seen coasting down from Streetly Gate towards Sutton Coldfield.

Out of the sun

Although the old Victorian station buildings and signalbox at Aldridge are long demolished, some of the post-Edwardian era railway locomotives still steam on, as was the case this evening when Crewe-built LMS loco 6233 Duchess of Sutherland stormed through with the returning Chester - Paddington "Cathedrals Express" charter.

Looking at the actual timings for the train, the Ryecroft Jn to Park Lane Jn section was completed in 21 minutes, 8 minutes quicker than the time allowed on the schedule, equating to an average speed of around 36 mph for the 12.5 miles, and easily comparable to the heavy freights on the same section (which are hauled by very powerful Type 5 diesels).

Click the "Out of the sun" title bar to watch a rather windswept video of this train.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wilson washed

Good to see original Jarvis "Grid" loco no. 56302 (named Wilson Walshe last year) on the curves at Aldridge with 4O90, running about an hour down this afternoon, but at least with a break in the rainy weather.

You'ld never have guessed the tracks were missing from here during height level adjustments just two days ago...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

1960s Communication....

A couple of pics of the old telephone concentrator in Walsall PSB. This was still in use right up to 2004 when the area's Signalboxes began to be fitted with new touch-screen systems. Will they last 40 years?

Many of the curcuits were redundant by this stage, such as those for long gone signal phones and those for closed Signal Boxes such as Rushall Crossing and of course Newton Road Crossing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Penns possession

At the eastern end of the Sutton Park line today work was feverishly progressing with swarms of orangemen in charge of drainage ditches being dug, track being positioned, floodwater being pumped out and equipment passed down from bridges and access points. Apparently there was a bank slip the previous evening, which also caused water to flood the tracks, probably from underground aquifers. The loco at the head of the ballast is 66004.

The remains of the up platform at the former Penns station can be seen on the right in the fifth photograph.

Also note the staggered parapet walls of Eachelhurst Road (bridge number 20, with the footbridge) and Penns Lane (bridge number 21) bridges, the only two bridges on this route to be so finished...

Rumour mill

Loco 60085 "MINI - Pride of Oxford" draws up to the worksite within the possession at the Aldridge crossover early this afternoon, with a train of fresh ballast which was then promptly set upon by the "road-railers" and off-loaded onto the newly laid track.

Two gents I was talking to were convinced that the line was being improved to allow the proposed passenger services to be reintroduced, and the lowering of the trackbed was also in order to allow the line to be electrified and the wiring to pass below bridges.

In the background can be seen the three-arch span of Dumblederry Lane (bridge number 58).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Box Diagram

The box diagram from the Midland Railway signalbox at Park Lane Junction still survives. Its on display in the railway museum at Norchard station on the Dean Forest Railway.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Up lower down

The up Sutton Park line trackbed (seen on the right) has been lowered a few inches during recent engineering work, presumably to allow the safe passage below bridges of 9' high containers on freightliner trains.

I expect the down line will follow suit next week....

Green on red

Appearing at Streetly Gate on return empty coal wagons from Rugeley this afternoon was two-tone green Shanks loco 66522, followed 10 minutes later by EWS red 60043 on the Wolves-Scunthorpe steel empties (for another shot of this same train see the Newton Road blog).

Friday, July 11, 2008


DBSO-led test train 5Z47 crept through the Park this morning, propelled by loco 31454 on the rear.

The train ran from Derby to Bushbury then returned (early) to Derby during a downpour, which is why I didn't venture out for the return shots !

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

British Summer Time.

A particularly aggressive downpour at the Pleck on Sunday, good luck to anyone who was out in it!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Line Blocked

The continuing engineering work along the Sutton Park line today.

1 & 2 Line blocked at Park Lane Jn, seen from Walmley, showing the double lines diverging into two single lines, the one on the left going to Water Orton, and the right hand one snaking across to Castle Bromwich.

3 Tree clearance and brash removal in Sutton Park.

4 Positioning concrete sleepers at Aldridge.

5 Ballast train at Rushall (Daw End).

Park Plan

A British Rail LMR track diagram of Sutton Park station as it was in 1951, showing the goods shed and Shell oil depot, kindly loaned to me by Bob Carter.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Streetly surprise

This excellent undated photo (probably a hundred years old) clearly shows that Streetly station once had a "back road", a down loop extending along an island platform, at left. Also on view is a platform signalbox. The station buildings on the upside (right) were demolished towards the end of the 1990's, after having had usage as a garage since 1965 ! All of the other stations along the route had been closed by British Rail in January 1965.

Photo copyright J.V.

The modern view shows apartments built near the site of the old station buildings, and the Hardwick Road bridge in the distance is obscured by tree growth, despite some recent tree-clearance ! The former down loop is now a drainage channel amongst the trees on the left.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

English Electric Trilogy

Here is another view of 40145 hauling 37901 and 37906 from The Severn Valley Railway to the East Lancs, running as 0Z45 on the 26th of June. They are seen here passing the PSB on the Down Slow. When the locomotives ran through Walsall Station they passed 37401 waiting across the tracks on the Up Fast with a train for Bescot.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Track relaying at Aldridge

66067 follows a previous ballast train slowly through the section on the up line this afternoon.

In the background can be seen bridge number 54 on Erdington Road.