December 2009. No. 1,304. Vol 155. A journal of record since 1897
Headline NewsNew head of the NRM named; Advenza Freight goes bust; Virgin records best-ever fi gures; Chiltern anger over Arriva’s London plans; Tornado wins HRA top award and debuts on Settle & Carlisle and SVR; £21m relaying project shuts Skegness line for a month; ATOC pushes for more electrifi cation; Class 70s set sail for UK.
Right: The NRM has appointed Steve Davies as its new head – p7.
On the cover
MAIN IMAGE: No, not the 1960s: Diesel-hydraulic No. D1015 Western Champion was hired by Colas Rail on October 14 to move a rake of china clay tank wagons from Quidhampton to Burngullow. The rare working is seen at Warminster, on the Westbury-Salisbury line, before heading along the GW main line to Cornwall. JOHN CHALCRAFT/RAIL PHOTOPRINTS
FOR EVERYTHING THAT RUNS ON RAILS
Class 52 on china clay tanks see p9
Track Record The Railway Magazine’s monthly news digest
60 Steam & Heritage West Somerset gala kicks off GWR175; 350 SVR movements in three days; WD stars at GCR gala; ‘Schools’ back on main line; ‘Flying Pig’ derailed. 71 Railtours Charters for GW anniversary; Specials diverted.
Three steam at Keef. Narrow Gauge – p84.
75 Network Focus on Paddington span four; 20-year plan for North.
78 Traction & Stock Class 20s move Tube stock; New livery for c2c unveiled; RHTT season underway. More 60s in use.
84 Narrow Gauge Max steams at Moseley; Steam at Hayling.
86 Classic Traction Great Gable is 50; Bodmin ‘Crompton’ returns.
88 Metro, and Freight Start on new Metrolink lines; More mail trains for GBRf.
91 World News 121 injured in German steam crash; ‘Cisalpino’ ends.
92 Operations Our monthly round-up of news from the train operating companies.
98 Disposals and Stock Spot Repainted, named, sold or scrapped? Full details here.
12 Multiple Aspects Controversial columnist Lord Berkeley shares his opinions on the state of Britain’s railways. 38 Readers’ Platform A lively selection of letters, including lineside trespass and how even the public have become snoopers. 40 Santa in Steam All the details you need on where to go for steam and classic traction ‘Santa Specials’ this winter. 42 Location, Location Our lineside guide on how to get to the best places for railway photography. 44 Subscription Offer More and more readers are subscribing. Why not join them and never worry about The RM being sold out. 46 Christmas Reviews Book-buying ideas for the festive season.
99 Photo of the Month Buy a copy of a classic photo from our archive.
103 Meetings A summary of club meetings and fi lm shows of interest to railway enthusiasts. 104 100 Years Ago A look back to what The RM was reporting 20, 50 and 100 years ago. 106 Prize Crossword Your chance to win £100 worth of books in our popular prize crossword.
Own a copy of this classic ‘Deltic’ shot – p99.
Above: A view of Hitachi’s Ashford depot, taken from a microlight aircraft in October. It shows 16 Class 395 ‘Javelin’ EMUs and a Class 465. Daytime views with this many Class 395s on view once the full timetable starts in December will be much harder to obtain. GEOFFREY HALL
The Railway Magazine is the UK’s best-selling
Subscribe today and save money on
Call 0845 676 7778 or see page 44 for
our latest offers Features 14 South Wales Freight – Then & Now Paul Shannon charts the decline of the South Wales coalfields from before the dark days of the 1984/5 miners strike to the present day.
22 Stephenson Society Centenary Mike Fell and R.A.S. Hennessy look at Britain’s oldest railfan organisation, the Stephenson Locomotive Society, which celebrates its centenary in December.
20 News Focus: Oldham Loop After more than 140 years of faithful service, the Oldham Loop line has closed for conversion to a tram line. Chris Milner looks at its last days.
THE CHANGING RAILSCENE
South Wales Coal
The closure of Tower colliery in 2008 marked the end of deep mining in South Wales. F7KB I>7DDED recalls the coalfield as it was before the miners’ strike of 1984/5 and charts its dramatic decline since then
AWEEK in April 1982 exploring the railways of the South Wales coalfield gave a fascinating snapshot of a scene that would soon pass into history. Before the miners’ strike of the mid-1980s, more than 20 collieries were still active in the region – almost all of them rail-connected – along with various washeries, coke works and patent fuel plants.
A return to the area 27 years later found opencast coal being loaded at a handful of locations . . . but all the former colliery sites either derelict, under different use or redeveloped.
The intricate track layouts, Victorian signalboxes and industrial shunters that lingered into the 1980s are also now just memories.
In terms of railway operations, South Wales in the 1970s and early-’80s lagged some way behind other coal-mining areas such as the East Midlands and Yorkshire. While Aberthaw power station and the adjacent Blue Circle cement works were equipped with merry-go- round (MGR) hopper discharge facilities in the 1970s, other flows of coal such as those serving coking plants, blending sites and domestic distribution depots still relied on elderly wagons, some of which had no automatic brakes and therefore ran in loose- coupled formations with a brakevan at the end. Productivity was poor with many wagons sitting in yards and sidings awaiting their next movement. The last remnants of industrial steam had gone with the dieselisation of Mountain Ash colliery in 1979, but the use of shunting locomotives owned either by the National Coal Board or British Rail was still widespread.
The dominant main line traction type was the Class 37, introduced to the area in large
All pictures: PAUL SHANNON
G^\]i/ I]Z [dgbZg hiVi^dc h^iZ Vi Dcaalnc dc 6eg^a &+! &.-'! l^i] 8aVhh (, Cd# (,'(+ h]jci^c\ ^ih igV^c d[ jcÒ iiZY b^cZgVa lV\dch ^cid i]Z lVh]Zgn h^Y^c\h V[iZg ldg`^c\ [gdb HlVchZV :VhiZgc 9Zedi# >c i]Z g^\]i Y^hiVcXZ ^h i]Z igVX`WZY d[ i]Z [dgbZg a^cZ id 7gZXdc! l]^X] ]VY XadhZY Vh V i]gdj\] gdjiZ ^c &.+' Wji gZbV^cZY deZc Vh [Vg Vh 8gV^\"n"Cdh fjVggn jci^a &.,,#
Dcaalnc ^h dcZ d[ dcan V ]VcY[ja d[ adXVi^dch id ]VkZ hjgk^kZY i]Z YgVbVi^X YZXa^cZ d[ i]Z Hdji] LVaZh XdVa ^cYjhign VcY hi^aa hZZh gZ\jaVg gV^a bdkZbZcih# I]Z igVX` aVndji ]Vh! ]dlZkZg! WZZc h^bea^Ò ZY VcY a^iiaZ Zk^YZcXZ gZbV^ch d[ i]Z hiVi^dc# 6 igV^cadVY d[ Zbein =I6 ]deeZgh! gjcc^c\ Vh )D&& [gdb 6WZgi]Vl edlZg hiVi^dc! ZciZgh i]Z lVh]Zgn dc 6j\jhi &-! '%%.! ]ZVYZY Wn 97 HX]Zc`Zg IneZ * Cd# ++&&'#
numbers to replace steam in the mid-1960s.
A snapshot of traffic in the valleys radiating from Tondu in 1982 illustrates the complexity and variety of flows, some covering a distance of just a few miles: NMargam to Maesteg; empties and loaded NMargam to Blaengarw; empties NMaesteg to Tondu (run-round) to Ogmore; loaded NBlaengarw to Tondu (run-round) to
Ogmore; loaded NWyndham to Ogmore; loaded NOgmore to Wyndham; empties NMaesteg to Margam; loaded NOgmore to Margam; loaded NMaesteg to Newport docks; loaded
NOgmore to Aberthaw; loaded MGR
Coal was produced in different grades for different purposes, which meant that on
6WdkZ/ Dcaalnc ^h dcZ d[ i]Z [Zl XdVa h^iZh ^c i]Z Xdjcign Ä aZi VadcZ Hdji] LVaZh Ä i]Vi hi^aa jhZh V e^adi adXd [dg h]jci^c\ deZgVi^dch# :m"7G 8aVhh %- Cd# %-*'(! cdl dlcZY Wn :8I BV^ca^cZ GV^a VcY dc ]^gZ id 8Zai^X :cZg\n! YgVlh [dglVgY l^i] V h]dgi gV`Z d[ Zbein B:6 deZc Wdm lV\dch dc 6j\jhi &-! '%%.# I]Z B:6h VgZ jhZY id igVchedgi gZXaV^bZY XdVa [gdb
December 2009 UÊThe Railway Magazine UÊ15
WELSH WOES: Coal’s decline in South Wales – p14
28 Mighty Mountains In this month’s Practice & Performance, Keith Farr recalls the French 241P class ‘Mountains’, which left him with a lasting impression of size and power.
100 YEARS YOUNG! The Stephenson Locomotive Society
This December, the Stephenson Locomotive Society celebrates its centenary. C?A; <;BB and H$7$I$ >;DD;II;O tell the story of Britain’s longestsurviving railfans’ group
WITH the sad demise of The Railway Club at the end of last year, the Stephenson Locomotive Society is now the senior
enthusiasts’ organisation in Britain and, like that other famous member of the ‘100 Club’, The Railway Magazine, has proved remarkably resilient to the enormous changes it has witnessed on the country’s railways.
The society was born at the home of a bank official, Lionel Brailsford, in Croydon on December 11, 1909. He and G.F. Burtt (“a gentleman hailing from Brighton Works”), were disaffected with The Railway Club on the grounds that its interest was straying away from locomotive matters, so they formed a new society to cater for motive power interests.
With Brailsford as chairman and Burtt as secretary, The Stephenson Society (as it was known at first) was soon at work and in its first year alone had organised an ambitious programme of visits to the following engine sheds: Neasden, Dover, Old Oak Common, Camden, King’s Cross, Kentish Town, Plaistow and Cambridge.
The thought of those sheds in pre- Grouping days will doubtless leave present-day railfans drooling with envy, but the society didn’t stop there and even offered its members a couple of overseas trips to the steam depots at Boulogne (Nord) and Dieppe (L’Ouest).
In spite of that excellent start, there was soon to be a clash between Brailsford, the I]Z adXdbdi^kZ i]Z h = d bW X Z ^Z i i j n e h d V [ k ^ Z h Y e # j # a a # Z A Y 7 d H j 8 i G
d[ i]Z CVi^dcVa GV^alVn B HZ j e h i Z j b W Z V g i ' N % dg ! ` &. d . c , id bVg` i]Z ,%i] Vcc^kZghVgn d[ ^ih egZhZgkVi^dc hZZ e]did dc e') #
DcZ d[ i]Z ZVga^Zhi Èh]ZY WVh]ZhÉ HAH bZbWZgh edhZ l^i] A7 H8G '"'"' Ij[f^[died Yjg^c\ Vc d[Ò X^Va k^h^i id 7ViiZghZV gdjcY]djhZ ^c 6j\jhi &.&(# I]^h kZiZgVc Zc\^cZ lVh jhZY [dg HjcYVn :VhiWdjgcZ igV^ch Vi i]Z i^bZ#
knowledgeable amateur enthusiast, and Burtt, the professional railwayman. The former wanted the new society to be inclusive, whereas his colleague hankered after an organisation of professionals like himself.
This led to a split, with Burtt leaving to form the Junior Institution of Locomotive Engineers, of which he persuaded John Henry Adams, the locomotive, carriage & wagon superintendent of the North Staffordshire Railway, to be the first president. This soon became the Institution of Locomotive Engineers (ILE), which was to merge in 1969 with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
After initial disagreements, relationships
between the SLS and the ILE became cordial, with SLS president John Maskelyne being elected an associate of the institution in 1919.
The first editor of The Railway Magazine, George Augustus Nokes, became society vice-president in 1910. Although he left The RM that year after falling out with its owner, Sir Joseph Lawrence, he went on to found the lavishly-produced Railway and Travel Monthly, continuing to use the nom-de-plume G.A. Sekon (i.e. Nokes spelt backwards). A page or two of his new magazine was devoted to SLS affairs between 1912 and 1919. After that, the society’s matters were publicised in rather more obscure periodicals until the SLS produced its own circular in October 1924. That blossomed in 1930 into the SLS Journal, which now has 84 vthoelum aeisnapnudb8li5c9voisiscueeosfttoheits occreiedtiyt a sndwreellmaasins the backbone that holds its disparate member- sohriplontoggreuthnesr.foArms wainthauTth eoRriMtat,ivceomwpolrekteosfets reference and are sought after by historians.
But the SLS was a leader in more ways too,
22 U The Railway Magazine U December 2009
“The founding editor of The Railway Magazine, G.A. Sekon, became the society’s first vice-president in 1910.”
for it was the first to introduce the concept of privately preserving a main line express steam locomotive. In March 1926, the society approached the Southern Railway with a view to preserving one of Stroudley’s ex-LB&SCR express locomotives, which were facing a demise hastened by the Brighton electrification. Not one to beat around the bush, Maskelyne went straight to the top and wrote directly to Sir Herbert Walker, the Southern’s general manager.
He was forthright in his approach, even going so far as to request that the locomotive chosen should be converted back to its original form and repainted in its original livery . . . at the Southern’s expense.
Even today, one remains astonished at S th L e S au in d 1 ac 9 i 1 ty 1, o b f e th co e m i a n n g . c H ha e ir h m ad an jo i i n e 1 d 91 th 5 e and president from 1925 until 1960. His g an ra d n i d ll f u a s t i h o e n r is h t a , d w b h e i e le n h a is ce b l r e o b t r h a e t r e , d a m a a g jo ic r ia i n the Royal Engineers, was to use illusionist skills during World War Two to fool the Luftwaffe by successfully concealing Alexandria harbour, even creating a fake railway.
The Maskelyne magic worked on Sir Herbert – who responded generously by offering the Stroudley 0-4-2 Gladstone to the society and even assisted in finding a home for it at the LNER railway museum at York when the society’s proposal to house it in London’s Science Museum ‘fell through’ because of inadequate floor strength.
The terms were remarkable. The cost to
6 ]V X j ] a V Z g Y b W ^ n c \ 6 & h M XZ X c aV Z h [ h g d % b "+ " & % . C ** d # V ( h , V , c h ! H V A H 7 h g e ^\ Z ] X i ^ d V c a Ldg`h h]jciZg! XVaah Vi @Zbe Idlc hiVi^dc#
AZ[i/ 8dchiVcian gZ^ckZci^c\ i]ZbhZakZh ^h dcZ d[ i]Z hZXgZih d[ i]Z HAHÉh adc\Zk^in0 dc BVgX] (%! '%%.! i]Z aViZhi adXd id WZVg i]Z [Vbdjh cVbZ Ä ;gZ^\]ia^cZg IneZ * Cd# ++.*, Ä lVh cVbZY Wn i]Z hdX^ZinÉh eVigdc! H^g L^aa^Vb BX6ae^cZ! Vi i]Z AdXdbdi^dc bjhZjb! H]^aYdc#
^ A c Z [ B i/ ^ 6 Y a g V Z c V Y Y G n V e ^ g al Zh V Z n g kZY
a^kZgn Wn &.+% lVh )E X &% db %% e d 7 j G cY C ) d " # ) ) " & % C % d % # ! l]^X] ^h e^XijgZY dc Vc HAH heZX^Va dc ?jcZ '+ i]Vi nZVg#
December 2009 UÊThe Railway Magazine UÊ23
CENTENARIANS: The SLS is 100 years old – p22
35 Best of Both Worlds Chris Milner visits the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, which leases its track for testing and invests the money for passenger services.
48 The Last Great Steam Show Editor Nick Pigott treks to one of the furthestflung places on the planet to witness the final fling of real working steam.
CHINA’S ‘GRAND CANYON’
For real working steam, the end is nigh – but it couldn’t have picked a more dramatic stage on which to bow out. D?9A F?=EJJ gets a grandstand view.
The last great stea m show on Earth
AS the battered old taxi slowly bumped a th n o d u b g o h u t n I c s e a d w a a lo t n e g llt h al e e f w ro i z sp en o r f u s t s e , a I m in the distance . . . then another, then
another, then another!
t I h w er a m
I s f a e b
l u o t v
yt e o h
ew a n
t n q
b e u s a s i
kc n e
la d n
va b a
w g th a i
e n th
p t o
been told I wouldn’t last five minutes as the temperature that afternoon had plunged to minu
ic n o
I s p -2 ai 4 d d th eg e r f e a e r s e C to . my driver, who shook his head in total bemusement as to why anyone from the affluent West would want to be dropped off in a godforsaken opencast coal mine in the teeth of a Siberian gale.
w’d y hat
As his vehicle slowly disappeared through the snow flurries, I stood alone amid the bleak industrial wasteland of this isolated corner of the communist empire, almost not daring to venture the last few steps for fear that the spectacle I’d flown halfway round the world to see would not live up to expectations.
In the end, the sheer ferocity of the cold forced me to move simply to keep warm; so, with heart in mouth and adrenalin pumping, I stepped towards the edge of the quarry face and looked down.
What I saw took my breath away. Stretching off into the horizon was a ‘Grand Canyon’ two miles long, half a mile wide and hundreds of feet deep . . . and all the way along it were steam locos, their positions pinpointed by white vapour clouds as their exhausts condensed in the freezing air.
Rooted to the spot, I counted the clouds: one, two, three, four, five . . . eleven, twelve, thirteen . . . sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen. Nineteen standard gauge steam locomotives at work in one place at the same time – almost a full decade into the 21st century! And not little industrial saddle tanks either but huge former main line 2-8-2 tender engines.
For a moment, I thought I’d died and gone to gricers’ heaven!
Almost every loco was attached to a rake of coal wagons and on different levels. For, like a giant terrace, the mine was cut into ledges, along whose ice-covered floors the engines were either gemrapdtuieasll,yodremscaeknidnigngsttoormthiengb,aesearo-sfptlhitetipnigt wasistahults as they hauled loaded trains up to the surface. The curvature of the lines, the many recesses and the fact that the trains were constantly shifting positions made it impractical to capture every loco in a single photo, but 16 was possible – and to make it even more astonishing in the year 2009, there wasn’t a single diesel in sight!
Every facet of the steam enthusiast’s 48 U The Railway Magazine U December 2009
>[ V J@ ]Zg^iV\Z a^cZ bVcV\ZY id bjhiZg Z^\]i dg c^cZ adXdh ^c hiZVb! ^i ldjaY WZ YZZbZY V ÈbZ\V \VaVÉ# >[ ndj add` XVgZ[jaan! i]Z cjbWZg d[ hiZVb"]VjaZY igV^ch k^h^WaZ ^c i]^h BVgX] '%%. hXZcZ Vi i]Z È7^\ =daZ d[ ?VaV^cjgÉ ^h h^miZZc VcY V [jgi]Zg i]gZZ lZgZ dji d[ h^\]i # CdiZ i]Z VkVaVcX]Zh d[ ^XZ dc i]Z aZ[i#
December 2009 UÊThe Railway Magazine UÊ49
CHINESE CRACKER: 21st century working steam – p48
December 2009 • The Railway Magazine • 5