October 2010. No. 1,314. Vol 156. A journal of record since 1897
Headline News Deutsche Bahn ICE3 to visit UK; 21 injured in branch line smash; Virgin annoyed by DfT decision to send new ‘Pendolino’ to East Coast rival; Underground rail grinder runs away; Royal Train tour of UK; Network Rail slams ‘worst case of stupidity’.
Runaway train slices through Dutch shop – page 7.
On the cover
MAIN IMAGE: Visiting the Bluebell Railway for the line’s golden jubilee, the Furness Railway Trust’s 1863-built 0-4-0 No. 20 participated in a photo charter on August 12, producing this magnificent image of the venerable loco hauling vintage Bluebell carriages near Rock Cutting, south of Horsted Keynes. MATT ALLEN
FOR EVERYTHING THAT RUNS ON RAILS
"7Ê /Ê Ê Ê/" °°° The inside story of Britain’s world diesel speed record
BLUEBELL TURNS GOLD Furness loco stars at 50th gala
7G:6@>C8: 7G6C8=A>C:HB6H= :6HI8D6HIÈE:C9DHÉ
Track Record The Railway Magazine’s monthly news digest
54 Steam & Heritage 12 in steam for Bluebell anniversary; £3m funding package for Swanage; Ropley works to be rebuilt.
65 Railtours Kettering trespass arrests; Cornish steam plans.
Class 56s up for auction – Traction & Stock, p74.
70 Narrow Gauge L&B-style Lyd completed; New train at Giant’s Causeway. 72 Miniature 74 Traction & Stock New livery for East Coast; Fastline 56s move; Green ‘mods’ for ‘Meridians’; Arriva Wales refurb plans. 78 Network Warwickshire semaphores to go; £25m transformation for Manchester Victoria; Rail vandals jailed. 80 Classic Traction Llangollen Type 3 restored; ‘Peak’ for Moors gala. 83 Metro 83 Freight 85 World News Athens Metro extended; SBB buys electro-diesels. 86 Operations Our monthly round-up of news from the industry. 93 Disposals and Stock Spot Repainted, named, sold or scrapped? Full details here.
11 Multiple Aspects Views and opinions of Lord Berkeley. 11 Railways in Parliament 12 Location, Location This month our chosen location is Crofton pumping station, alongside the Kennet & Avon canal. 30 Subscription Offer Record number of readers are subscribing to The RM, so why not take advantage of our special offer? 33 Readers’ Platform The Welwyn bottleneck, crazy timetabling and indifferent platform experiences are some of the topics in our monthly letters page. 48 100 Years Ago A look back at what Britain’s senior rail title was reporting 20, 50 and 100 years ago. 48 Heritage Events Diary All the details you need on where to go this autumn.
49 Panorama Our showcase of the very best in rail photography.
52 Book Reviews Some excellent volumes have been sent in for review this month. See what’s in store. 94 Meetings A comprehensive list of where the best talks are.
The best in rail photography – Panorama, p49.
Above: 2010, or, at a pinch, 1980? ‘Deltic’ No. 55022 Royal Scots Grey departs York with a private charter for railfreight operator GBRf, from Newcastle to Scarborough, on July 24. IAN DIXON
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Call 0845 676 7778 or see page 30 for our latest offers Features 14 The World Diesel Speed Story Marking the Silver Jubilee of the World diesel speed record run, John Heaton explains just how it happened in a Practice & Performance special.
21 Engine man extraordinaire Cliff Thomas meets one of Britain’s leading private fleet owners – aged just 23.
25 The Talyllyn at 60 Cliff Thomas marks the 60th anniversary of the Talyllyn pioneers.
26 Woodford Halse? Where’s that? Michael J. Collins tells how, as a schoolboy, he discovered an engine shed and railway community in terminal decline.
35 What happened to steam: Update Roger Butcher brings us up to date on the project launched exclusively in The RM in November to correct errors that have been perpetrated and perpetuated concerning the disposal of BR’s steam locomotives.
39 Safety in Numbers Peter Brown joins a ‘Safer Travel Team’ for a day.
42 Locos through a box camera Colin Boocock scans some of his early black & white negatives – with remarkable results.
PRACTICE & PERFORMANCE
On the silver jubilee of one of Britain’s greatest-ever rail achievements, @E>D >;7JED ;8>AI tells the full story of how it happened
The world’s longest-running railway series, established 1901
TABLE 2:NEWCASTLETO KING’S CROSS (part1)
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IT is now a quarter of a century since an East Coast HST snatched two world diesel-powered rail speed records, taking only 139min 37sec for the 268.6 miles from Newcastle to London – reaching a top speed of 144mph and achieving an average speed of 115.4mph.
Contemporary Practice & Performance writer Peter Semmens was the official timer and recorded the exploits for posterity (RM December 1985) but the run’s ‘silver jubilee’ gives the opportunity to look at the inside story behind that epic journey.
Some might consider the East Coast Main Line to be the natural home of high-speed records but, in 1985, the field was dominated by the Western Region, which had proved eager to match the power of its HSTs to Brunel’s generous infrastructure.
The rival East Coast’s high-speed provenance featured the ‘Races to the North’ back in the 19th century, the descent of Stoke bank by the locomotive Flying Scotsman during the test runs for the ‘West Riding Limited’ in 1934, the trial run of the ‘Silver Jubilee’ in September 1935, the ultimate 126mph world steam record by Mallard in 1938 and, of course, not forgetting the Sir Nigel Gresley-hauled Stephenson Locomotive Society special of 1959.
The diesel locomotive era was in the ascendant even as A4 No. 60007 completed its 1959 dash, yet, only 15 years later, it was on the wane with the era of sustained and regular 125mph running in prospect using fixed
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14 U The Railway Magazine U October 2010
formation HST units. To achieve such standards, testing the new trains at up to ten per cent in excess of the maximum permitted speed was deemed to be desirable, so the prototype HST (or HSDT as it was then known) was run up to a diesel world speed record of 143mph between York and Darlington on June 12, 1973.
By 1977, O.S. Nock was able to report in The RM that he had experienced his first start-to-stop run at over 100mph, at which time my correspondent Noel Proudlock was passenger planning manager at Eastern Region headquarters in York and able to accompany the commissioning trials of new HSTs between York and Darlington.
These used to start with an acceleration test. From a dead stand at Milepost 2, the driver was instructed to put the power controller directly into notch 5, allowing Derby technical staff to monitor performance until the final exercise, an emergency stop. This resulted in perfect conditions for attaining optimum start-to-stop times, albeit not to and from stations.
Noel was consequently able to send Mr Nock a sample of runs that averaged more than 110mph over as little as 35 miles, three of which were published. These represented a hitherto unimaginable level of performance and a further example, one that achieved a 111mph average, is shown in Table 1.
But such events had not passed without note in the corridors of the Western Region’s Paddington headquarters and O.S. Nock used his July 1979 RM slot to describe two runs on the Western where start-to-stop averages of 111.55 and 111.68mph had been achieved. He had timed the first himself, covering the 93.94 miles from Paddington to Chippenham in 50min 32sec, but the second was contributed by D.J. Huntley, who covered the 58 miles from Reading to Chippenham in 31min 10sec. Both specimens beat Nock’s previous best – an electric Tokaido line run in Japan, covering 213.5 miles in 120min 15sec at 106.7mph.
It was 1983 before further high average speed running was mentioned, by which time Peter Semmens had assumed responsibility for Practice & Performance and so described his experience on the 10.33 Paddington to Bristol Parkway press special on September 28, 1983, which covered the 111.6miles in 60min 23sec at 110.9mph.
Keen to trump their own performance, the
“In 1985, some of the speeds in the logs were ‘massaged’ to avoid trouble. Now we are able to reveal the full unexpurgated versions”
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Western organised another venture on August 30, 1984 when a Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads special was given dispensation to exceed certain speed restrictions and covered the 117¾ miles in 62min 33sec at an average speed of 112.9mph with a top speed of 129mph.
On the ECML, the opening of the Selby avoiding line had enabled speed restrictions of 60mph over Selby swingbridge and 55mph at Chaloner’s Whin Jct to be removed, allowing the ‘Flying Scotsman’ service to be given a 4½hr schedule between King’s Cross and Edinburgh. The Eastern’s publicity machine was keen to mark this milestone and Noel Proudlock was asked to prepare a schedule, as far as Newcastle, which would exactly off-set the three temporary speed restrictions (TSRs) that would be in force during week commencing May 14, 1984. The result was a 163½min timing at an average speed of 98.6mph. It had been hoped to be able to reach Newcastle at a 100mph average, but the civil engineer was not prepared to authorise any easements of speed restrictions.
The RM’s Peter Semmens was invited to time the train and reported the 163min 32sec time in the magazine’s September 1984 edition, a whole 2sec outside Noel’s prediction!
Colin McKeever was the Eastern’s assistant regional operations manager at the time and was keen to engage the Western in combat, writing the following note to Noel: “I travelled on the 15.30 ex-King’s Cross last Sat and on the Peterborough-Doncaster section, I roughly
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October 2010 UÊThe Railway Magazine UÊ15
HIGH SPEED SECRETS: The full inside story – p14
A RAILWAY OUTPOST
C?9>7;B @$ 9EBB?DI describes how, as a schoolboy, he discovered an engine shed and railway community in terminal decline
Woodford Halse? Where on earth is that?
IN 1963, my family moved south from our native Yorkshire to take up residence in the south Midlands. As a keen student of all things railway, I couldn’t wait to get to grips with traffic on the nearby West Coast Main Line, which ran very close to our new home in Northamptonshire.
Often I used to visit Castlethorpe station and, on arrival, would lean my bike against the blue-brick wall outside the station and descend to the waiting room situated on the island platform between the fast and slow lines. This contained an electric fire that could be switched on by customers and, even in the depths of winter, one could soon be snug to watch the procession of trains on that busy stretch of main line.
Shed ‘bunking’ was de rigueur for lads in those days and enabled one to amass a huge collection of engine sightings in quite a short time. Bletchley, Bedford and Northampton sheds were all within fairly easy biking distance and kept me happy for quite some time, but, by 1964, increased modernisation on the WCML led me to look for pastures new.
Through conversations with other boys at school, I became aware of another possible Mecca for steam –Woodford Halse.
I’d never heard of it, but apparently it had a sizeable allocation and it could, I was told, produce locomotives from at least three and, sometimes four, of the BRRegions.
I knew it had to be nearby because it was situated in Northamptonshire, but where was it? The Shed Directory only gave directions from the local station. I was pretty ignorant of geography in those days and on a regional OS map in the school library, I could only find something called Woodford &Hinton. Surely, such a small village could not sport a steam shed of the size that Woodford Halse should be? So, curious, I decided to investigate.
Biking the ten miles or so to Northampton was one thing, but this little village required a bike ride of over 35 miles in each direction. My trusty steed had only one fixed gear, so a ride of this length was not to be undertaken lightly. It was on Sunday August 9, 1964 that I finally bit the bullet. Sandwiches in pocket and a bottle of ‘Tizer’ in bag, I set off on my bike to find this new locomotive outpost. It was a hot day, I recall, and it took me
26 U The Railway Magazine U October 2010
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well over two hours and several sups of ‘Tizer’ to reach my destination. I needn’t have taken my Shed Directory because, away over the fields, I could see the coaling tower and unmistakable rising smoke of a steam depot! I pedalled faster.
Woodford Halse was situated on Britain’s last main line to be built – constructed with entrepreneurial flair by the Great Central (GC) in the 1890s and only fully opened as late as 1901. The shed was opened in 1897 and as I ap- proached the village, I could see the tracks in the distance and some of the 135 terraced houses sited close to the River Cherwell, which had been built by the GC to house its workers.
The placing of a shed at Woodford was influenced by the large mass of available land and the fact that the GC main line crossed the East &West Junction Railway, later known as the Stratford upon Avon &Midland Joint. In 1900, a link was constructed to the Oxfordshire town of Banbury via a spur, which enabled ex-Great
Western engines to arrive at the yards and be serviced at the shed. Woodford depot was enlarged during its career and, in its final layout, could hold about 30 engines under cover. It had the usual facilities in the form of a coaling stage, turntable, water tank, ash pits, power house, sheerlegs for lifting locos and also various offices for shed foreman, fitters and such.
Back in 1964, lads still had some respect for authority, so with great trepidation I left my bike on the roadside (no need to chain it up in those days!) and gingerly walked up the steep cinder path that led to the shed. Glancing over my shoulder to check that I was not being observed by the shed foreman, I entered the yard area where, stored outside the building next to the water tank, was my first Eastern Region catch of the day – Class J39 0-6-0 No. 64747. Ldg`]dghZh
These powerful inside-cylinder locomotives had been general workhorses in the Woodford area and were frequently used for tripping freights in the locality and frequently turning up in the Western Region yards at nearby Banbury. It was learned later that this engine had served for some time as the depot’s stationary boiler and had survived its classmates by many months. By now, however, it was just a rusting hulk, its chimney covered in sacking, ready to be towed away for scrapping. Just two months after my visit to Woodford, this grand old engine was finally taken to a breaker’s yard and cut up for scrap.
In the years before my visit to Woodford
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Halse, it had been an Eastern Region (ER) depot but had been transferred to the London Midland Region during the run-down of the GC. In 1960, BR had withdrawn through passenger services from Marylebone to Manchester and in March 1963 this was followed by closure of all the country stations on the route. By the time of my visit, only a skeleton service of passenger trains survived and the line only had four departure between Marylebone and Nottingham per day. One of those started from the London terminus at 03.40! Hardly a popular train one would think but it conveyed newspaper traffic and was, therefore, hard to curtail. This process of slimming down services was invented by BR in the 1960s as a way of ‘closure by stealth’ whereby a service is reduced with consequent fall-off in patronage. This made closure of a line more easily justifiable. It was good to find my second ER locomotive – this one in steam – stabled outside the six-road shed. It was another Gresley design but this time a member of the legendary three-cylinder V2 Class, No. 60810, still sporting a 50A York shedplate on the smokebox door. Although looking rather run-down, it had probably worked south on a freight from Dringhouses Yard, south of York, and I thought it would most likely be scheduled to be used on a northbound freight the following day.
V2s had in the past been used for countless workings on GC trains – both passenger and freight/parcels – but this example was on one of the last to visit Woodford Halse. The engines were in the last months of their lives anyway and the Eastern authorities were not encouraged to send them up the GC on workings to Woodford. Perversely, the remaining members of the class were sometimes receiving works attention at Swindon by this time and small processions of two or three V2s would sometimes be worked through Woodford en route to the ex-GWR works from points further north.
As I walked around the shed, a noise on the nearby main line made me look around just in time to see the splendid sight of rebuilt ‘Royal Scot’ 4-6-0 No. 46165 The Ranger (12th London Regiment) enter the station and draw to a halt in
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the platform at the head of a lengthy special southbound parcels train. I can’t remember whether this loco actually sported its nameplates at this time – such embellishments were being removed from engines in an attempt to foil the activities of thieves and souvenir hunters. Nearing the end of its working life, it had steam escaping from every orifice and I hid behind an engine to watch the proceedings away from the shed foreman’s eyes.
I was terrified of being spotted by him and chucked out. In those days, fathers were strict and had my name been taken or, worse still, had I been reported to the police, his wrath would be painfully incurred! Fathers in the 1960s were not averse to giving their offspring a good hiding and mine was no exception.
A diesel shunter fussed around the train and some parcel vans were detached before the ‘Scot’ sallied forth bound for Marylebone. An unidenti- fied GW ‘Hall’, which had been lurking south of the station, was backed on to the detached vans and after some minutes, set noisily forth for the link line to Banbury. The station then settled back into its slumber.
All this too was soon to finish. The ‘Scots’ had been drafted onto GCmetals during 1962 when their work on the WCMLwas declining, principally to work sleeper services that had been diverted to Marylebone for the duration of the WCMLelectrification works. They had been common on the Nottingham-Marylebone workings for two or three years but by the time I saw this parcels working, their use on the GC T
October 2010 UÊThe Railway Magazine UÊ27
A PHOTOGRAPHER REMEMBERS
Locomotives through a box camera
9EB?D 8EE9E9AÊI first camera was a humble Brownie Box. Scanning some of his earliest negatives, he looks back in wonder at how much could be achieved with such limiting equipment.
WHEN a child was lucky enough to be given a camera in the late-1940s or 1950s, it was normal for the gift to be a second-hand Brownie Box.
Mine, like all the others, was black.
The specification was simple: a fixed lens set at f/6.3, a wire-sprung shutter plate that gave approximately 1/25th second exposure, film size 120 giving just eight negatives at 2¼ x 3¼ inches, and a so-called ‘bulb’ facility that enabled the shutter to be held open for time exposures. Purchasers took pot luck on lens quality, light-tightness and whether the view down into the small glass prism viewfinder accurately reflected the actual field of view, which in any case was reversed.
We would load the camera with a roll of 120 size black-and-white film (any make we could get) and after closing the camera would watch the little red window in the camera back as we wound the film into the empty spool until the figure ‘1’ appeared in the window.
After taking a photograph, we wound on until the next higher figure appeared in the window. If we forgot to do that, we got two images on one negative – a double-exposure that wrecked both pictures.
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A film cost 2s 3d in 1950, if I recall correctly, and a full set of eight negatives and contact prints from the local chemist was 2s 6d, so photography was not cheap, particularly when pocket money (at least in my case) was one shilling a week. We certainly had to save up for our fun in those days!
My box camera was a 1949 Christmas present while our family was staying with my grandparents in Colne, in east Lancashire. I excitedly reeled off my film at Colne railway
42 U The Railway Magazine U October 2010
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WHERE ON EARTH? A remote railway community – p26 FIRST CAMERA: Through the lens – p42
October 2010 UÊThe Railway Magazine UÊ43
October 2010 • The Railway Magazine • 5