This blog is focussed around my interests in Diesel and Electric locomotives and the modern rail freight scene. I particularly like the humble Class 08 and 09 Shunter and also anything with a pantograph, notably Class 86, 90 and 92 locomotives.

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This is my personal blog and as such, all views are those of myself and do not necessarily represent the views of my family, friends, or employers.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Rail Operations Group bring 37800 'Home' to Merseyside

37800 returned to it's Merseyside, the County of its birthplace, on Thursday 27th April transferring a Class 319 EMU (319431) from Wolverton works to Allerton Depot. The EMU has been refurbished for use with Northern (by Arriva) and was tripped to the South Liverpool depot for final preparations for a return to service. The working was the 5N36 10:10 Wolverton to Allerton and departed north Buckinghamshire 2 hours late. At the time the image was taken near journeys end at Halewood, the service was running 125 mins late - not helped by a long looping at Winsford to allow 3x Passenger services and 1x Freight services passed.

37800 was introduced as D6843 in May 1963 from Vulcan Foundry, Newton-Le-Willows. Following the introduction of the TOPS numbering system it gained the new identity of 37143. It carried this number until September 1986 when it was renumbered to 37800 and named 'Glo Cymru'. During its EWS career it was exported to mainland Europe twice, first to France on hire to SNCF in 1999, returning to the UK just under 12 months later, and secondly to Spain in 2001 on hire to GIF. Both assignments were for construction projects and the locomotive would remain in Spain for 10 years. Following the loco's arrival back in the UK in 2012 it was sold by DB Schenker to EMR Kingsbury for scrapping. All was not lost though and it eventually purchased for further use by Europhoenix. A full overhaul followed and a repaint in to the new owners attractive livery scheme. It has gained the additional branding of 'Rail Operations Group' who have hired the tractor on a long term deal as well as several other Class 37's from Europhoenix. In January 2018 the locomotive was named 'Cassiopeia' whilst undergoing maintenance at it's Leicester base. Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, who boasted about her unrivalled beauty.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Freight Update

On a day that brought glorious sunshine, the 4K64 11:46 Garston FLT - Crewe Basford Hall was well loaded and hauled by a pair of Cans! 86628 and 86614 multi power the train towards Ditton East Junction where they will make a brief stop to allow a Pendolino to pass by. This service is more often than not 86 hauled, either single or double-headed. Once a booked Class 90 turn, the hire of locos to Sleeper duties plus the Russell container trains that are double headed, 90's are relatively rare on this turn now. As mentioned 86's are the stable diet but 66's and occasionally 70's can appear from time to time. Always nice to see these wonderful AC Electric workhorses though, despite their advancing years they never get old! 18/04/2018.

Still carrying full 'DB Schenker' branding is DB Cargo 66101 here at Halebank. The loco has just slowly edged its way out of the Jaguar Land Rover plant at Halewood and is about to begin its long journey to Southampton Eastern Docks, 18/04/2018

88001 'Revolution' leads the long 4S43 Daventry - Mossend Euroterminal 'Tesco' express through Red Bank, Newton-Le-Willows on Saturday 21/04/2018. These electro-diesels are the newest class of locomotive introduced in the UK and are used predominately in 'Electric' mode with a 'Last Mile' diesel engine to cover short distances of electrified track. The Mossend/Daventry turns are the stable diet at the moment and the Class have also seen some use on Sellafield Flasks and WCML departmental trains.

Disturbing the early morning peace and quiet, DRS Class 68's 68023 'Achilles' and 68001 'Evolution' lead the 6C53 06:25 Crewe Coal Sidings - Sellafield through Daresbury. There is just something about these 68's that make them a personal favorite. The noise from them when a driver opens up will no doubt make them a cult classic! 21/04/2018.

A rather shabby 66061 heads towards Acton Bridge with the 6O42 11:31 Halewood Jaguar Cars - Southampton Eastern Docks on 05/04/2018. It has now been 20 years since the first Class 66 landed on British soil and this particular loco has carried this paint scheme from new avoiding the DB Stickering and the red paint brush so far but not for much longer...

DB Schenker Red 90040 leads Malcolm Logistics liveried 90024 towards Acton Bridge with the 4M25 06:06 Mossend Euroterminal - Daventry on 05/04/2018.

66109 is seen near Halewood with the 6O16 11:46 Ditton Foundry Lane - Dollands Moor. For operational reasons this service heads out of Ditton and reverses at Garston Yard before heading back to Ditton East Junction. From here the service then heads to Latchford sidings for another reversal before recessing at Warrington Arpley Sidings until the evening when it proceeds on to Dollands Moor.

66503 'The Railway Magazine' is seen taking the 'Fast line' near Jaguar Landrover Halewood with a lightly loaded 4Z80 08:15 Garston FLT - London Gateway on 21/04/2018. This particular loco has had its cab front and cab side Freightliner logos replaced with the newer Freightliner logo along with Genesee & Wyoming branding. 

With a slight pinch of sun peering through the forming clouds at Daresbury, the Freightliner Class 90 pairing of 90041 and 90043 slowly edge the 4M27 Coatbridge-Daventry through Daresbury. This was my first opportunity of 90041 being on the front of a service since reinstatement, having caught it several times in the past few weeks being the tucked in loco. Welcome back! 23/02/2018..

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Trans-Pennine Express Class 68 Training

DRS/TPE 68022 leads a training trip from Wavertree Junction-Crewe Carriage Sidings through Halebank. 68027 was on the rear. 18/04/2018.

With the introduction of Class 68's and new coaching stock manufactured by CAF penned in for the Autumn, attention has now turned to driver and guard training. A number of test runs of Class 68's have occurred since Autumn 2017 mainly focused on the Crewe-Preston/Carlisle corridor.

68020 68022 Winwick 16/11/2017.

On Wednesday 18th April a number of runs were operated between Crewe Carriage Sidings and Wavertree Junction (Liverpool) utilizing MK3 coaches from the former 'WB64' Pretendolino stock last in use with Abellio Greater Anglia. A Class 68 locomotive was placed at either end, 68027 on the Liverpool end and 68022 'Resolution' at the Crewe end. Testing continued for the remainder of the week working several trips back and forth each day.

68022 'Resolution' 5K23 10:23 Wavertree Junction-Crewe passing Halebank 19/04/2018.

68027 5F23 11:16 Crewe-Wavertree Junction passing Halebank 19/04/2018.

68022 'Resolution' 5K25 12:18 Wavertree Jn-Crewe passing Halebank 19/04/2018.

68027 bringing up the rear of the 5K25 12:18 Wavertree Jn-Crewe passing Halebank 19/04/2018.

The plan is for 2 current Class 185 diagrams to go over to 68 haulage from the May timetable change using MK3 coaches, both on the Liverpool/Scarborough turns. These will be top n tailed with the loco hauled sets initially based at Crewe Carriage sidings. Facilities at both Liverpool Edge Hill and Manchester Longsight are being enhanced to house the new stock in the near future. The May start date is dependent on enough drivers and guards being suitably trained up in time.

There are currently 2 Class 68's over in the Czech Republic being tested with the new CAF MK5a stock, these being 68019 and 68021. These locomotives currently carry Trans-Pennine Express livery after vinyls were applied at Crewe Gresty Bridge in 2017.

Watch this space...