Peak Forest, situated on the former Midland line from Manchester to Derby and London has always been a favourite spot for train watching, mainly due to the concentration of freight, particularly stone.
Our very own Spike Windows visited last week and here are his photos.
Photo 1 – On hire to GBRF. Drs class 66/4 No. 66433 shunts wagons back into the loading area at Peak Forest ready for its wagons to be loaded with more limestone for use in the construction industry.
Photo 2 –Eolnos MMA coded bogie box wagons are a staple of aggregate traffic all over the country. Here DB owned 81 70 5500 396-3 waits to be loaded at Peak forest while the stockpile of aggregate is topped up. These wagons now number 850 vehicles in traffic in the UK with most of the current freight TOCs operating them. Built in Romania from 2016 onwards with a payload of approximately 100 tons, with some trains running with up to 2500 tonnes trailing loads.
Photo 3 – A view looking south from the road bridge leading down from Peak Dale village. In the centre of the shot is Peak Forest signal box that controls the array of semaphore signals still used in the area. On the left of the two main running lines are Peak Forest Long sidings and to the right DB class 66/0 No.66085 is stabled with a few wagons. This route through the Peak district was originally opened in 1867 linking Manchester to the Buxton to Matlock and onwards to London line. Its most famous train ran in the 1960s in the form of the Midland Blue Pullman trains. Today it carries no passenger service only the heavy stone trains and associated workings. In the top left just above the tree line can be seen the top of the loading facilities at the Tarmac Tunstead quarry works, about 1 mile further down the line and another source of regular trains. Dowlow and Hindlow are a third source of trains from the area and are located south east of Buxton on the stub of the old line to Ashbourne.
Photo 4 – The remains of Peak Forest Station are still standing and are used by DB for crew purposes. Built in 1867 and closed 1967 with the platforms being demolished soon afterwards. It also marks the summit of the climb as steep as 1 in 100 in both direction. It also has a small fuelling/maintenance area since the closure of the nearby Buxton TMD
Photo 5 – GBRf Class 66/7 No. 66726 ‘Sheffield Wednesday’ draws its heavy train out of Peak Forest Cemex sidings with 6E51, 12:21 Peak Forest Cemex to Selby working. It would run south a few hundred yards into Peak Forest Long Siding where it would run round its train and then head north towards Dove Hole tunnel and the Chinley junction complex before continuing onwards to Selby.
Photo 6 – GBRf Class 66/7 No. 66726 ‘Sheffield Wednesday’ struggles to lift its heavy train out of Peak Forest Long Sidings and up through Peak Forest with 6E51, 12:21 Peak Forest Cemex to Selby working.
Photo 7 – GBRf Class 66/7 No. 66726 ‘Sheffield Wednesday’ climbs away from Peak Forest towards the 1.6-mile-long Dove Holes tunnel while the next train is in the process of being loaded both from the overhead conveyor and mechanical digger.
Photo 8 – The other sort of wagon used for aggregate traffic is the hopper type, either purpose built or as here cut down ex coal hoppers. With the downturn of coal fired power station many hundred ex coal hoppers have been reduced in length to account for the heavier load of aggregates. Here GBRF ex coal hopper 37 70 6791 018-4 brings up the rear of the Selby service.
Photo 9 – Maritime liveried DB class 66/0 No.66047 climbs passed Peak Forest signal box with 10.00 Dowlow Briggs sidings to Toton north yard.
Photo 10 – Freightliner class 66/6 No.66614 powers passed the old station at Peak Forest with the 11.48 Tunstead to Radlett Redland.
Photo 11 – Carry faded Railfreight Grey colours class 56 super shunter No.56081 sits in the head shunt at Peak Forest Cemex quarry loading sidings.
For comparison purposes, I visited Peak Forest around 15 years ago. Plenty of locos in evidence but completely different colour schemes. Back in those days, DB was only concerned about running trains in Germany!