James Windows Wanderings Autumn/Winter 2017
With apologies to Spike for the delay in these photos appearing on the website the images below were taken towards the end of last year mainly around Stafford but with a few from further afield.
In late summer LMS Princess Coronation Class Pacific No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland approaches Shifnal and crosses the viaduct that carries the line high above the town with the return 1Z34, 16.46 Crewe to London Paddington 'Cathedrals Express' charter on 13th August 2017.
On 2nd September 2017, Colas Rail Class 37/0s Nos. 37254 and 37175 lead the 565 Railtours/Branch Line Society Carnforth to Carmarthen Charter southwards, as they climb past Bayston Hill, just south of Shrewsbury, heading for South Wales.
Class 86/2 No. 86259 passes Stafford centre road while working 1Z24, 07:09 London Euston to Carlisle, Steam Dreams charter which was to be worked by LMS Jubilee No. 45690 Leander north from Carnforth to Carlisle and return via Settle and Carlisle line before handing back over to the Class 86 to return the charter back to London on 9th September 2017. This preserved class 86 is an occasional visitor to the West Coast main line as a convenient and fast way of getting West Coast Railways run charters to the north before handing over to various steam locos.
LNER Class A4 No. 60009 Union of South Africa accelerates the return Railway Touring Company the Cheshireman charter 1Z26 17.09 Chester to Norwich through the centre road at Stafford having just crossed over onto the Fast line on 9th September 2017.
The A1 Steam Trust Class A1 Peppercorn Pacific No. 60163 Tornado is illuminated by station and street lighting as well as its own lights below the running plate while it pauses at Stafford on 16th September 2017 while working the return UK Railtours Border Raider the 1Z66, 15.00 from Carlisle to Tame Bridge Parkway charter.
GWR Castle Class No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe climbs the recently built line at Searchlight Lane, Norton Bridge, on 30th September 2017 while working a Vintage Trains charter The Shropshire Express 1Z34, 09.13 from Tyseley to Chester.
Class 50s Nos. 50007 Hercules and 50049 Defiance depart Crewe on 7th October 2017 with the 06:10 London Euston to Glasgow Central charter which they took over at Crewe from Class 87 No. 87002 for the remainder of the journey to Scotland on the Railway magazine/Pathfinder organised charter that was run to celebrate the class’ fiftieth anniversary of entry to service on their original route north of Crewe to Scotland.
Class 55 locomotive No. 55002 Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry starts up in readiness to run round classmate No. 55009 Alycidon and No. 55019 Royal Highland Fusilier in the now disused parcels platform at Stafford on 9th October 2017 ready to work the next leg of the 05:00 East Grinstead to York NRM. No. 55009 was to be detached at Burton Wetmore in readiness for forthcoming charter work while classmate No. 55019 was detached at its home base of Barrow Hill en-route. The locos had attended a fortieth birthday celebration of the Deltic preservation society at a gala weekend on the bluebell railway in West Sussex.
Mid-Autumn brings out the annual leaf busting rail head treatment trains around the country run by various operators including Colas, DRS, GBRF and our locally operated one run by DBCargo, here Class 66/0 No. 66058 with No. 66185 bringing up the rear of the Bescot based RHTT as it passes Stafford while working 3J01, 10.50 from Bescot to London Euston via reversals at both Rugby and Macclesfield on 17th October 2017.
Class 55 Deltic No. D9002 (55002) The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and Class 37 No. D6700 (37350) accelerate away from Stafford at Queensville curve on 24th October 2017 while working the 04:45 Alton to York NRM light engine movement. They had arrived at Stafford after running north up the West Coast mainline with the Deltic running round at Stafford and departing south before taking the chord line at Lichfield before joining the cross country route to Derby and continuing north to their destination. Both locomotives had appeared at the Mid Hants Railway Diesel Gala during the previous weekend.
Class 37/0 No. 37025 brings up the rear as Colas Rails Class 37/4 No. 37421 leads the 10:52 Derby RTC to Carlisle Wapping sidings Network Rail test train as they approach Stafford at Queensville curve on 24th October 2017. This Test trains runs north along the WCML to Carnforth before taking the Cumbrian coast route to Carlisle and this the first day of a ten day spell away from its Derby base that includes inspection runs around Scotland and the north of England before returning to Derby
A reasonably new operator to the network Rail Operations Group Class 37 Nos. 37601 'Pegasus' and 37884 bring a splash of colour with its bright and flamboyant livery pass Stafford on a light engine move from their Leicester depot base to Crewe LNWR site on 26th October 2017. This new operator is involved in a lot of unit transfers around the country and Network Rail test trains
The first Class 390 Pendolino to be painted in the new neutral white livery with Virgin logos, No. 390010 passes Stafford on 16th September 2017 with the 08:40 London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly service. This was only the third day in service for the set in its basic new livery which is being added to the units in the run up to the franchise being renewed.
A few miles north of Stafford LNER A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado easily climbs the gradient up to Searchlight Lane junction near Norton Bridge, despite the load of 14 coaches on the drawbar, on 25th November 2017 with The Chester Christmas Cracker charter the 1Z81, 08:08 from London Euston to Chester.
LNER A4 Pacific No. 60009 'Union of South Africa' races through Doncaster with the outward leg of the heavily delay York Yuletide Express 1Z40, 08.10 Norwich to York Railway Touring company charter which at this point was running over 2 hours late due to the failure of a Hull Trains service further south.
Class 20s Nos. 20096, 20107, 20905 and 20311 top and tail a regular working of London Underground S stock that had returned to their build base for modification work and are seen waiting to work set No.21059/21060 as 7X08, 15.55 Derby Litchurch Lane to Banbury London Underground stock move on 7th December 2017 before moving heading south to the capital later the next day and entry back into service on the intensely worked Metropolitan line.
Northern Belle Class 57/3 No.57305 Northern Princess and No. 57312 Solway Princess pass through a snowy Stafford on 9th December 2017 with the 07.53 ECS move from Kidderminster SVR to Carlisle in readiness for some Christmas lunch tours in Scotland and the North the following week. With Belmond having just sold the Northern Belle brand to a consortium that includes the owner of West Coast Railways these could be some of the last tours using DRS locos with the possibility of West Coast maroon locos being used in the new year.
GWR Collett Castle Class 4-6-0 No. 5043 'Earl of Mount Edgcumbe' races through Elford while hauling the Vintage Trains 'Christmas White Rose' charter1z43, 07.52from Tyseley to York and return on 16th December 2017.
Colas Class 56 No. 56094 working 06.06 Westbury to Trafford Park Pathfinder Tours 'The Jolly Grid' railtour on 16th December 2017, as it passes underneath the new bridge that carries Marquis Drive over the soon to be electrified Chase line between Hednesford and Rugeley. Uprights for the electrification masts are in place at this location which is a busy crossing point for walkers and mainly mountain bikers using the Monkey trail route over Cannock Chase, hence the new bridge which replaced a foot crossing just behind the photographer with had plenty of snow and ice about still from that weekends heavy snow that covered the midlands.
The last steam loco to pass our way this year was LMS Stanier Black 5 4-6-0 No. 45212 seen here passing Rugeley Trent Valley on 23rd December 2017 with a Mk1 support coach in tow on 5Z432, 09.50 Southall to Castleton Hopwood movement after the culmination of a series railtours in the south of the country. As well as the tinsel and smokebox wreath if you look closely you will notice the snowman and Santa decorations on the lights on the bufferbeam.