The pair of COLAS Rail class 37s, 37219 + 37175 have been working an overnight Kings Norton - Worcester - Oxford - Worcester - Swindon diagram and only the final part of the last section of the diagram has been even remotely possible to photograph. In fact though, the train has usually been given a very early path from Swindon to Kings Norton which has made it more than a bit tricky. On Tuesday 21 October 2014 some early messages indicated that the pair might do the 08.49 Kings Norton to Kings Norton via Birmingham New Street, Stourbridge Junction, Worcester and reverse and then Leamington Spa and back via Solihull because an MPV was unavailable. This inevitably meant a late start because the early morning run from Swindon ran close to time and so, after recharging the RHTT tanks and possibly refuelling the locomotives the train, 3S03, left the depot 111 minutes late. Some time was made up on the way to and from Worcester and by missing out some booked track between Soho North Junction and New Street it was some 40 minutes down as it joined the GWR towards Leamington Spa. This caused me to make a quick change of plan and drive to Hatton instead of Dorridge where I arrived with about 10 minutes to spare and into some rapidly clearing skies. The shadows on the up line are becoming a little intrusive but not bad enough at the moment to spoil the picture.
The Kings Norton to Kings Norton via Leamington Spa RHTT, 3S03, is booked to reverse at Leamington and after running south through Hatton on 21 October 2014 came back north some 37 minutes later. The leading locomotive, 37175 is already filthy by dint of being close to the spraying heads and I imagine that this will get worse over the coming weeks so that the attractive colour scheme will be invisible through the grime. Some kind soul has trimmed back the vegetation on the edge of the field which made this wide shot available after a few months of the view being largely obscured. The sky remained clear to the south and west which, for what is almost certainly a one-off use of the locomotive-hauled pair on this diagram, was highly unusual and very welcome. It's been a long time since anything other than MPVs have been used on RHTTs and weedkillers around here but here is a 1986 photograph of 47013 arriving at Stratford-upon-Avon with a weedkilling train about to enter the long-gone Down Goods Loop. The shorter signal on the bracket was very rarely lowered and added greatly to the shot's interest.
It has been well known for a while that COLAS Rail class 37s are to operate some RHTT services in the West Midlands during the 2014 leaf fall season. On 3 October 37219 + 37175 ran a test working from Kings Norton to Bristol which operated on a VST plan and nearly went under the radar. Pathing proved difficult and a lot of time was lost during the southbound run so much so that the run was curtailed at Bristol Parkway rather than Temple Meads. I was keen to get a picture while the locomotives were clean but at what location? The obvious place would have been somewhere between Defford and Abbotswood Junction but as it seemed that the train would reverse at Bristol Parkway there was a chance that I would not have had the required 35 minutes to drive there from home. In the event I went to the road bridge at Stoke Pound Lane hoping that 1) it would be back on time and 2) the sun wouldn't be fully out as it would be in a difficult plave for photography. As luck had it, the train became later and later and was 98 minutes behind schedule when it appeared following a section behind the Berkeley C.E.G.B. to Crewe nuclear flask service. The light was dreadful and I wish that I had risked a trip to Defford... Still, there should be plenty of opportunities for more shots in the coming weeks.
While 2 varieties of OTP were leaving and waiting to leave Long Marston on 20 June 2014 some serious shunting and train assembly was taking place. COLAS Rail's newly repainted 60087 was making up its train of OTP, unfortunately not in a photographable location, prior to departure for Bescot. The class 60 hauled the train around the loop from the event site with equally shiny 37219 on the rear before being uncoupled and running to the end of the exchange sidings in order to collect the track machine left behind by 70810. As this manoeuvre was taking place 37219 propelled the heavy train into the siding and making a great deal of noise in the process.
When the train, shortly to become 6Z66 to Bescot, was safely in No 1 road 37219 was uncoupled and reversed onto another siding so that 60087 was able to draw forward and place the COLAS track machines on the front of the consist. When this was done the class 60 pulled forward again to allow 37219 to move onto the train before 60087 finally completed 6Z66 as train locomotive. I left at this point because I didn't want yet more repetitious images and needed to allow driving time on a busy Friday to get to a different location on the main North Cotswold Line.
A lot of traffic to and from Long Marston was showing for the week commencing 15 June 2014 towards the end of which a major event for the rail industry took place. On Monday 16 June several trains were due to arrive including a 1Z20 from Derby RTC which turned out to be 37608 with 2 vehicles including test coach Mentor. This train was run on behalf of DBS and I had hoped that a class 67 would be used as 37s have been along the branch on many occasions but a 67 has visited just once. Here is 1Z20 just after joining the Long Marston branch at Honeybourne and heading towards the Staff Hut when the single line token was collected. This was actually the second train of the day as DR 98008, a Windhoff Twin CabMaster with GSM-R equipment had come from Rugby about 30 minutes earlier. Oddly, this was running as 1Z19, and in the absence of any emailed reports none of us standing at Honeybourne had any idea what was coming.
A train scheduled to have passed Honeybourne before 1Z20 was missing, having not left Bescot at its booked time of 09.10 so I decided to head off home once 37608 had gone. The road bridge at Long Marston is on the way so I stopped off with a few minutes to spare to take this view of 1Z20 as it rolled along the lasr few yards of the branch. The whole consist seemed to form part of the rail event as it was not booked to leave until the following Friday morning. Just before I left the bridge a message arrived saying the 7Z66 had left Bescot 192 minutes late with 70804 in charge. As I had missed the first class 70 to come along this line through being on holiday I made up my mind to return later for a couple of record shots.
There were three southbound trains due to pass Hatton within a few minutes of each other on Tuesday 30 April 2013 and as there was a goodly amount of clear blue sky in Stratford-upon-Avon I made the short trip across. The first train was a 2Z02 inspection saloon running from Derby to Crewe via Oxford, Coventry, Nuneaton and so on and with it being a very short train I went for a tight shot from the down platform. The locomotive, 37405, was quite clean and shiny which almost made up for the lack of light caused by the rapid build-up of some heavy cloud as I drove here from home.
A train I wasn't expecting to see at Hatton on 26 January 2013 was 3Q63 from Didcot to Derby RTC led by 31105 and tailed by 97304. It left Didcot about three hours late and a friend was kind enough to let me know when it left and with only about forty minutes to wait after photographing 70009 I stayed on the road bridge. I don't like going-away shots but as I hadn't taken any footware suitable for off-road use didn't feel inclined to walk to any of the other Hatton locations and had to make do with was available. The train became audible for a little while before it passed the station and here it is with 97304 bringing up the rear of the short formation.
Until, I think, 1994 there was a Gulf oil terminal on the Birmingham to Wolverhampton main line just about equidistant between the stations at Sandwell & Dudley and Dudley Port. Several trailoads of oil each week were received at the Albion depot with the majority at the time with which I was familiar with the area coming from Waterstone refinery in South Wales. On Saturday 1 August 1992 a special working ran which left Albion at 13.00 and after being routed via Bescot, Sutton Park and Camp Hill went down the Cheltenham line and thence on to Wales through Chepstow. I went to the road bridge just south of Abbotswood Junction for a shot of 6Z28 and here is the result. I think from looking at the exhaust haze from 37504 + 37241 that the train had been routed through the Down Goods Loop at Abbotswood and I certainly have three negatives taken that afternoon with the freight being the third. Strangely, I also colour have transparencies of the other two workings, a class 158 DMU and an HST but not of 6Z28. I can't remember why this happened but suspect that the cable release operating my Olympus OM1 on the frame holding both cameras was playing up; not unusual at the time. 645
This train was one of those marvellous one-off opportunities that appear all too infrequently. I received a text message from a contact in South Wales during the afternoon of 19 August 2002 saying that a pair of tractors was heading for Didcot with 1350 tonnes of Welbeck Colliery's finest. An MGR to Didcot from Nottinghamshire was rare enough at this time but with 37s at the front...! I passed the "gen" on to some local contacts who promised to keep me updated and waited for news. Strangely, the train, running as 6Z88 ran via Leicester and Nuneaton rather than Burton thus catching a few out. The weather was dull in the extreme so I decided that video was the best bet and Whitnash the location to take advantage of the steep climb south of Leamington Spa. I heard 37695+37707 leave Leamington at 19.28 after a signal stop and took this shot 4 minutes later. The noise was tremendous and the video sequence is one of my all time favourites. I had to take the black & white rather earlier than I would have liked because a shutter speed of only 1/250 was available so the shot has had to be cropped slightly. Had the 2013 range of digital SLR cameras been available in 2002 this shot would have been an absolute doddle at ISO 800 and an extremely good image wouold have been captured. 645
This is a train upon which I had no intention of using my Saturday evening until a signalman friend telephoned to say that GWR Hall 4936 had developed problems whilst returning from Didcot on its first public run from Tyseley and required assistance. Much to the disgust of most of the photographers waiting for the train on 17 June 2000, some of whom refused to believe that the Hall had failed, and to my delight, 37668 was provided. The train is seen here alongside an uncharacteristically quiet M40 near Rowington in a nice bit of evening sun.645
A rare non-passenger working for a Sunday on the Hatton line took place on 23 December 2012 when WCRC's 37676 took a crane and its associated vehicles from Hinksey Yard, Oxford to Doncaster. I imagine that this working, 6Z47, was meant to be a DBS job but that the company were unable to find any crew to work, an unfortunately all too common situation at the moment. After photographing a couple of Chiltern workings there was over an hour to wait before 6Z47 was due to arrive and, with the light dropping into the rubbish side of bad, I nearly returned home to the warm. After the arrival of another enthusiast and the inevitable chatting I hung around knowing that the train was running well to time as far as Leamington Spa. It was a nuisance that problems with diverted Virgin Voyagers on the Coventry branch caused it to be held for ages at Leamington. By the time it came up the last few yards of Hatton Bank the light had just about gone and with WCRC's dreadful colour scheme adding to the general gloominess of the scene I would probably have been better off going home earlier.
The daily train from Daventry International Railfreight Terminal, which is nowhere near Daventry, to Wentloog in South Wales has been exclusively hauled by one or other of DRS's class 66s since its launch on 28 February 2012. For some reason on 17 September 2012 DRS decided to use a couple of class 37s from their vast train set of under-used locomotives and so allocated 37259 + 37607. The chance of photographing a new class on this train was too good to miss so I went over to Ashchurch for a shot of 4V38 in an unmistakeable location. I didn't want a picture from the footbridge just north of the station as I had taken one of 66434 there earlier in the year so went for the roadbridge on the south side. Far from unusually, the train was running late; nearly one hour on this occasion and was following FGW's 158961 forming one of the infrequent trains to stop at Ashchurch station. The freight was clearly checked by adverse signals which must, judging by the racket that the locomotives were making as they passed me, have cleared as the train approached. It was a shame that it was running so late because the sun was becoming maybe a little too head on by 11.20 although I suppose that one shouldn't complain too much as unusual workings like this normally happen in the dark...
Following last week's train from Didcot to Long Marston which ran on the third time it had been scheduled, something similar took place on Tuesday 24 July 2012. A 6Z21 from Long Marston to Crewe finally ran after a couple of previous goes with an early arrival of the locomotive, 37261, ready for a 09.00 departure. The train was booked to run from Worcester via Droitwich, Bromsgrove and the Lickey incline and the fact that a single locomotive was sent made me think that a short train was probably in the offing. After dropping my wife at the office I went straight over to Long Marston, arriving just before 37261 came along the branch from Honeybourne running about twenty minutes early. There was nothing in the exchange sidings but the Motorail Logistics crew and locomotive soon arrived and they shunted a single TIA china clay slurry tank into place. With an early path being used the sun was never going to be on the nose, not that I'm particularly bothered, but the chance of one or two photographs in nice morning light had made the trip worthwhile. The first picture was taken at 08.40 as 6Z21 left the site and moved onto the branch. I wasn't going to try for another shot but the train sat on the other side of the road bridge while I packed away my camera so I headed off around the corner.
The booked departure for 6Z21 was 09.00 and I heard 37261's horn blow as it moved away just a few moments after that time. I had plonked myself just around the corner on a public crossing and although I'm not generally all that fond of very short trains they can look OK, as I think this one does, in the right spot. If a long train had been involved I had planned to drive to somewhere around Bromsgrove for another picture but to be quite honest I'm not all that interested in these trains once they have left either the Long Marston branch or the North Cotswold Line so as soon as 37261, now with a familiar headboard, had passed I headed off home.
One of the roughly half-yearly test trains ran along the North Warwickshire Line on Monday 16 July 2012. It was scheduled to visit Stratford-upon-Avon twice so passed Henley-in-Arden four times as it was not, as is sometimes the case, booked to run to Hatton along the single line from Bearley Junction. The weather was absolutely foul with heavy driving rain being the order of the day and having already spent forty five minutes in a swimming pool my first priority was to keep dry so I went to Henley station in order to take advantage of the platform canopy and covered footbridge. The first inward run, led by 37612, coincided with the heaviest rain and the shot was barely worth the battery power expended. By the time of the return the rain had eased a little and I was a bit happier with this photograph as 1Q14, with 37606 now leading, passed the attractive infrastructure. In such poor conditions I always think that station shots are a far better bet than a featureless countryside scene, especially with a very short train. In wet conditions light reflecting from the platforms can give the picture quite a lift.
The rain had stopped by the time that 1Q14 made its second visit to Stratford-upon-Avon on 16 July 2012. The train, again led by 37612, was just on time at 13.27 when it rolled into platform 2 of the terminus, the 13.26 London Midland service to Stourbridge Junction having just departed from platform 1. The leading locomotive stopped right alongside the footbridge to give the crew a shorter walk to cross the line for the café and lavatory facilities. This meant that a head on shot of 37606 before it left to Tyseley wasn't possible as the locomotive was beyond the platform barriers so I had to make do with this view of the back of the train.
An inspection saloon made one of its infrequent visits to the North Warwickshire Line and Stratford-upon-Avon during the morning of 2 July 2012. As is often the case, the saloon led on the outward journey from Derby and so was on the front when 2Z02 came through Wilmcote station, being propelled by 37419, in exceptionally poor light and heavy rain. I do like to photograph unusual movements on my local lines but do wonder giewvn the conditions if this one was really worth even the minimum amount of effort it took to drive the couple of miles from home.
The inspection saloon running from Derby to Coventry on 2 July 2012 spent about ten minutes at Stratford-upon-Avon before reversing and heading for Leamington Spa and Oxford for another reversal. The light was even worse and the rain heavier than it was for the outward leg and this shot really was not worth taking...
A couple of the Network Rail class 97s did some work on the Cambrian line overnight on the 25th/26th April 2012 and one of them, 97302, was later scheduled to take some rail carriers from Bescot to Eastleigh. The train, 6O25, ran on a VSTP and left Bescot in the region of seventy mintes late and was booked to run via Dorridge and Hatton. It seemed likely that it would follow the 12.55 Chiltern Trains working from Birmingham Moor Street and this is just what happened. I wasn't inclined to travel too far and as I hadn't photographed a class 97 at Hatton just went, once again, to the road bridge at Hatton station. The light was perfect in the few minutes before I heard 6O25 coming but a thin piece of cloud passed across the sun as 97302 became audible. Luckily, this cleared with about thirty seconds to spare and the train came around the curve in perfect light with an impressively dark sky in the background. I should add that this sky has not been enhanced in any way, either in the RAW convertor or in Photoshop.
Following on from last Saturday's Cruise Saver with 47841, another was booked to run on Thursday 26 April 2012. Multiple locomotive problems, too numerous to mention here, caused DRS class 37s, 37601 + 37409 to be added to 1Z74 at Derby, which it left about four hours late, no doubt to the consternation and considerable frustration of the passengers looking forward to their cruise. I wasn't going to bother with this photograph but my wife told me to go out rather than have to put up with my indecision. When I left home it was pouring with rain so I abandoned my initial plan to go to Dorridge and went to Hatton, just for a poor light record shot. In the event 37601 + 37409 + 47841 found a clear patch of sky as they headed towards Leamington Spa. This isn't the best location at 16.30 but it's as good as most places this side of Banbury.
DRS class 37s continue to operate many of Network Rail's test trains and this one, 1Q13 from Derby to Old Oak Common via the Coalville Line, Derby, Washwood Heath, Solihull and Leamington Spa on 5 March 2012 was no exception. The train, headed by 37610, left Derby for the second time some twenty minutes early but by the time it had reached the Water Orton area was back on schedule. Despite this, it managed to pass Bentley Heath, near Dorridge, some ten minutes early and contrived to arrived in some light cloud which was a tad annoying after I had waited on the footbridge in mostly unbroken sunshine. The train had been booked to spend a short time time in the up loop just to the south of the footbridge but through early running was given a clear road and carried straight on towards Leamington Spa.
The morning of Saturday 11 February 2012 saw a test train run from Old Oak Common to Derby RTC after working around the London area. The train, 1Q13, left Old Oak about 30 minutes early and after looking at the schedule I guessed that a planned layover at Oxford of about thirty minutes probably wouldn't take place so took myself off to Hatton cutting, arriving about 90 minutes before the booked time. For once, my hunch turned out to be correct and here is 37604 leading the Network Rail test train through the remnants of some snow that had fallen during the previous few days.
A test train powered by Network Rail's rather grubby 97301 visited Stratford-upon-Avon during the late evening on 14 December 2011. The train, 1Q13 from Old Oak Common to Derby had run via Banbury, High Wycombe, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Tyseley, Birmingham Moor Street and Henley-in Arden before arriving at Stratford just before 22.30, a little over ten minutes late. It was booked into platform 2 rather than the usual arrival platform, No. 1, and arrived with the DBSO leading so that 97301 was on the northern end for the return to Birmingham. This helped with the composition of the photograph as a train in platform 2 is easier to cope with because platform 1, from where the picture was taken, is longer than 2 so that there would have been a bit more room had the locomotive been on the south end. The lighting here is much brighter than it used to be: I used to reckon that an exposure of 15 seconds @f5.6 using 100 ASA film was about right. This picture, again with the caemra set on ISO 100, was taken with the shutter open for five seconds and with the lens set at f6.3.
A railtour utilising WCRC motive power ran from the South-West to the North of the country and back on Saturday 5 November 2011. The stock, instead of running empty, was used on the following day to give enthusiasts a chance to sample some class 37 traction from Exeter St. Davids to Preston. The interesting bit for me was that it was routed over the North Cotswold Line from Oxford to Worcester and gave a chance for a rare shot of a locomotive-hauled train over the section of the line that has recently been redoubled. I went to a location just east of Honeybourne as I didn't think that I really wanted yet another shot at Lower Moor on the other side of Evesham, and anyway that part of the line is still single track and does see a reasonable number of locomotives running to and from Long Marston. It was one of those afternoons when the sun was in and out and so it was a bit of a lottery as to whether a decently lit shot was on the cards. The train, 1Z27, was headed by 37676 + 37685 with 57001 dead in tow at the rear of the consist and was running about seven minutes early from Moreton-in-Marsh. This meant that the jackpot prize of a full sun shot eluded me, although maybe the photograph here just about represents five plus the bonus ball!
One of the Saturday trains that I tried to photograph in 1995 was the empty china clay tanks from Bescot to St. Blazey. Running with the headcode 6V70 it worked south at a convenient time and was in the right place for good light for much of the route. On 28 October 1995 I went to a footbridge at Stonehouse, Gloucestershire and obtained this shot of 37671 + 37670 opening up after a signal check for the level crossing in the background. Not long after this date the train went over to class 60 haulage which of course meant much ill feeling from enthusiasts at the time. How things change...
Network Rail test trains seem to have been all around my area in recent times and one was scheduled to visit Stratford-upon-Avon twice during the evening of 10 August 2011. The first visit, running from Tyseley to Birmingham Moor Street and via the North Warwickshire Line to Stratford, was due to arrive at 20.42 and was a couple of minutes before this that 1Q13, with 37601 + 37604, rolled into platform 1. The train, conducting a radio survey, was due to stand here for ten minutes before going to Hatton West and North Junctions, Dorridge for a reversal and then back to Hatton and Stratford before going back to the Birmingham area via Henley-in-Arden. Evening locomotive hauled trains at Stratford are quite rare so I found and dusted off my tripod and set up on platform 2. It wasn't really all that dark and this shot was taken using an exposure of 4 seconds at f14 on ISO 100. The trees in the car park look fuzzy and this is the result of a strong wind blowing, the same wind that blew 37601's exhaust smoke over the rear half of the locomotive and the first coach of the train, giving a slightly murky appearance to the picture.
A test train, 1Q13 from Tyseley, has been running around the West Midlands for a few days with a schedule seemingly made up as it went along. On Friday 5 August 2011 it was apparently to make a couple of trips between Worcester and Hereford but on returning home during the late morning I found a couple of text messages saying that it had gone up the North Cotswold Line to Oxford with a return a few hours later, exactly as it had earlier in the week. As the time was 11.30 and 37038 + 37604 were due to leave Evesham for the south at 11.25 it was too late to doing anything about it but after lunch I decided to go to Evesham to take a final photograph of the semaphore signals on the up side of the station as they were due for removal over the coming weekend. This isn't a brilliant photographic spot and the centre-pivot signal is just a bit too close to the bridge for decent composition but in the circumstances the location and railway infrastructure took precedence over other considerations. Here then are 37038 + 37604 approaching Evesham some 25 minutes late, the lateness being due to the preceding FGW class 166 running behind schedule.
I wasn't exactly sure about the timings of 1Q13 but there were some passengers on Evesham station waiting for an up train so I made a very slow dash behind a caravan to the nearest easily accessible, Lower Moor, in the hope of another shot. In the event, even though the service train from Great Malvern was running about one hour late, 37038 + 37604 with their four Network Rail coaches did not make an immediate escape from Evesham but were held to their booked departure time which a friend had since told me was 14.30. About five minutes later, and in a very welcome patch of clear sky, they came into view and passed the two photographers waiting for them at speed and with a reasonable amount of exhaust smoke. I imagine that they were going back to Derby RTC but after a week with some actual routes different to those planned, who knows...
The North Cotswold Line between Worcester and Moreton-in-Marsh is to be closed for an extended period from 5 August 2011 while the final work associated with the redoubling project is completed. It was therefore a bit of a surprise to hear that a 1Q13 test train from Derby to Oxford and return was planned to run on Monday 2 August. There was some doubt about the train's running with reports of it being cancelled at Worcester Yard and then reinstated but running to a slightly different schedule involving a planned visit to Stourbridge Junction being dumped in favour of a route not involving the Old Hill line. The interesting part was always going to be the section between Honeybourne and Moreton-in-Marsh which currently is still single track although with the new down line partlyin situ. I have been waiting for the opportunity to photograph a locomotive hauled train at this location near Mickleton ever since the new track was laid so as to show the transitional period; a down train running on what will soon be the up main. It would have been easy to go to any number of locations further west where the sun would have been on the front of the train but this was an occasion when the location took preference to anything else. Unusually for me though, I did take a going-away shot as 37059 trailed four Network Rail coaches and 37038 down Campden Bank towards Honeybourne.
The only train booked to use the curve between Hatton North and West Junctions is an early morning ECS from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon and although there are steam specials and the odd charter over there on occasions these usually run too late in the day for a properly lit shot from the eastern side of the line. On Monday 11 July 2011 a test train, 2Q88, from Tyseley to Derby via Solihull, Hatton, Birmingham, Stourbridge Junction, Round Oak, Snow Hill, Henley-in-Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, Hatton, Stratford-upon-Avon, Henley-in-Arden, Washwood Heath and Burton-upon-Trent was scheduled to run. This should have been the NR sprinter but the unit was in Scotland so a DRS powered substitute was formed with 37610 + 37604 providing the power. The train is here seen at Hatton North having crossed from the up main line and about to take the curve to Hatton West Junction where reversal was due to take place. The train was about twelve minutes late at this point which from a photographic point of view was a piece of luck as some wispy cloud had taken the edge off the light at the booked time.
After a short delay during which the crew changed ends of their short train, 2Q88 then ran back along the spur between Hatton West and North Junctions to the signal protecting the junction onto the down main line. As soon as it was given the road 37604 + 37610 moved off giving me the chance to take a shot, albeit slightly backlit, from the lineside public footpath leading to the footbridge over the tracks. Once clear of the pointwork both locomotives were opened up and filled the still dark cutting through Shrewley with a dense cloud of exhaust smoke.
The clear skies so evident in my early morning shots of 2Q88 didn't last for the run along the North Warwickshire Line to Stratford-upon-Avon and although there were clear patches later in the day the light was generally quite disappointing, although being mid July the sun was anyway too high for decent pictures when the train returned to my part of the world at lunchtime. Here it is about to pass under Edstone Aqueduct, south of Henley-in-Arden, just as the sun was coming out from a patch of cloud and I suppose that the only decent things are the attractive sky and the fact that at least the leading locomotive was well lit.
After its first trip of the day to Stratford-upon-Avon 2Q88, now with 37604 leading, ran along the single line from Bearley Junction to Hatton for a reversal and another run to Stratford. This line isn't the best for taking photographs and I just settled for a head on shot with a long lens at one of the several occupation crossings to be found along there.
I have been taking photographs at this location adjacent to Hatton station for quite a few years now but cannot recall having had a shot of an up train obscured by one going north. That changed on 31 May 2011 when a Derby RTC to Oxford test train, 1Q12, ran south at lunchtime with 37604 and 37059 sandwiching a single Network Rail coach. The train was running a few minutes early and was crawling along towards a red aspect on the signal on the southern end of Hatton's up platform when a Freightliner class 66 hauling 4M28, the 09.28 Southampton to Ditton service, came north. A few seconds would have made all the difference but it wasn't to be and this was the result. I can't say that I was too bothered because, as the following couple of pictures show, there was ample opportunity for another shot or two.
As I mentioned above, 1Q12 led by 37604 and tailed by 37059 was stopped in Hatton station. This was because a Chiltern Railways service from Stratford-upon-Avon to Leamington Spa was due to join the main line and also because, I assume, 1Q12 was in track recording mode and would have been required to travel at low speed thus delaying the scheduled passenger train. My assumption is based on the fact that 1Q12 was allowed, and took, nearly ninety minutes between Water Orton and Hatton. The starting signal for the Stratford branch is showing a green aspect ready for the class 165 which had not arrived in the station. The rear locomotive appears to have been parked under a tree favoured by some of our larger bird species...
I don't often take multiple shots of a single train but when the sun is in just the perfect place it's hard not to to press the shutter a few times. This was my favourite of about six static shots although the temptation to remove the lamp posts appearing to grow out of 37604's roof was almost overwhelming. Still, this was the scene at the time and I don't think that they are too intrusive so they must remain where they are. Just after the Stratford train had crossed to the up main line, the signal holding up 1Q12's progress cleared to yellow and off it went to Oxford, just before 66053 came north with an unknown working, perhaps from Hinksey Yard to Bescot, consisting of a couple of rail carriers and a long load of low ballast wagons.
The second ECS move involving 37682 + 37409 took place on Thursday 10 March 2011. After working to Eastleigh on 8 March, the DRS pair returned north with a twelve coach rake of Northern Belle and Virgin Trains liveried stock. As I rarely photograph charters I decided to have a shot of this train which gave me a rare opportunity to take a picture of DRS locomotives on passenger stock. The train, 5Z47, was due to pass Hatton at around 13.15 and I arrived at Hatton North Junction where it was cloudy, drizzling and quite windy, in plenty of time in case some time might be gained by missing out a booked stop in Fenny Compton loop. As is often the case this stop didn't take place and the train came into sight some thirteen minutes early and in a lucky patch of bright sunshine. There were a couple of video cameramen taking footage of the train but there wasn't a great deal of noise from the locomotives; I suppose that somewhere just in excess of 400 tons isn't much of a load for two 37s in good condition. I recall hearing a single 37 take 1200 tons of freightliner up here a few years ago; that was much more entertaining!
An ECS move from Crewe to Eastleigh was down to run on 8 March 2011, scheduled to leave the former at around 07.45. By the time the stock had been shunted around and joined together it was almost two hours later before it actually left. This made a location for the picture difficult to some degree as the sun would have been a bit too head-on for my taste on the Coventry to Leamington Spa line and almost as bad just about anywhere south of Leamington until it turned left onto the GWR main line at Didcot. The obvious choice for me was the station at Leamington where the line swings onto an east-west axis meaning that the sun would be in what most would regard as the perfect place. I know that station locations are considered a little unfashionable by some photographers but when it means a well-lit picture as opposed to something less well-lit, I'm not fussy, especially when there is a chance of some exhaust smoke as the locomotives are opened up. I hadn't been there for many minutes when the signal for up main line flicked onto green and as nothing else was due, this had to be 5Z47 with 37682 + 37409 in charge of a colourful mish-mash of coaches. I was a bit concerned about having my shot obscured because the signal for the down main was also on green ready for 4M55, the Southampton to Lawley Street Freightliner but the ECS had been gone for several minutes before the 'liner appeared.
I don't often bother with test trains because all too often they are very short formations which never seem to fit too well into many locations. Now and again though, one comes along that has a decent set of coaches and when the running of these coincides with good light I will make the effort. Tuesday 8 March 2011 saw a 1Q12 11.33 Derby to Bristol Temple Meads running down the Birmingham to Gloucester line and with the sun being favourable almost anyhwere on that line I went to a crossing near Bredon where one gets a good view from the right side of the fence. Here is 37069 at speed leading four coaches and 37059 alongside Eckington loop, fortunately without a temporary resident to get in the way! Just in front of 1Q12 was the FGW passenger train from Great Malvern formed of hired-in 150257.
The first train of 2011 to Long Marston ran on Friday 14 January when 37607 took a not very inspiring rake of 4 intermodal flats from Crewe. Running as 4Z80, the train was due to arrive at Evesham at 11.15 so I thought that if the weather picked up a little after a very dull start then I would go for a quick photograph. When I left my health club after my daily swim the sky to the south-west looked quite clear so I went across in the hope that the cloud would stay away. It didn't, of course, and the light was dreadful as arrived on the roadbridge at 11.03 just as the scruffy and grimy locomotive's nose appeared coming over the river bridge just beyond the signalbox. It's a good job that there was a parking spot closer than my usual one or I wouldn't have made it. I am becoming increasingly unwilling to go out in poor light, especially for routine traffic when nothing worthwile can be achieved and when I already have a similar but better shot taken in decent light. Careful exposure and subtle work in Photoshop can produce an acceptable result with plenty of detail in the shadowed areas such as the train's bogies, but you can't beat sunny conditions for a good image.
I don't often take portait style pictures of locomotives but the atmospheric background of Manchester Victoria station on 27 February 1986 tempted me into this shot of 37122 waiting for its next job as banker. There is a stiff gradient to the east of the station, Miles Platting bank, and some of the heavier freights, and the odd passenger train with an ailing locomotive, needed a shove. It seemed that any available locomotive would perform this task as in my few visits I saw representatives of classes 25, 31, 37, 45, 47 and 56 standing in this spot. This class 37 had earlier passed through Exchange and Victoria stations with a train of refuse containers. In the background, a couple of ECS DMMUs including a Cravens class 105 are taking the left-curving line, presumably towards Newton Heath
A weekend of engineering work take place at Bishopton, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, over the weekend of 13 & 14 February 2003 when part of the down line was relaid. Here, 37695 with its 7P04 from Bescot has just pulled onto a new section of track ready to drop ballast. The driver of the train got in touch with via a mutual friend asking for a photograph and in passing told me that 37695 could barely drag itself along. It was apparently in very poor condition with air leaks making it virtually impossible to keep the brakes off. It certainly seemed to make heavy weather of Wilmcote Bank a couple of hours when I took this rather distant broadside view as it left the possession and headed back to Bescot.
Test trains from Derby RTC to Long Marston are running on a fairly regular basis at the moment and on 25 October 2010 there was a 1Q12 using 97304 + 97302 topping and tailing a single coach. Other than a couple of light engine moves this was the first using this class of locomotive and certainly the first to run in perfect Autumnal light. The train is here seen spot on time passing the site of Fladbury station on the single track section between Norton Junction and Evesham; the part of the line that is to remain single when most of it is redoubled over the coming months. Some recent cold weather has caused the trees around here to change colour and, as I had I hoped when setting out from home, there was a good selection of tints to be found here.
As it was such a nice day I made the trip from Stratford-upon-Avon to Worcestershire in my 1969 Morris Minor and even in this there was plenty of time to get from Fladbury to the Offenham road near Aldington before 1Q12 was released onto the single track from Evesham to Honeybourne. Amidst some more Autumnal colours 97304 + 97302 amble along and exit the deep cutting on the other side of the two bridges in the background where, I guess, shadows would have been cast across the track. I chose this location because 1) I knew that it would be clear of shadows where it counted and 2) because a short train would fit in reasonably well.
I decided to go home from Aldington via Badsey and Long Marston and even in my elderly Morris made it to the road bridge by the site entrance about five minutes before 1Q12 with 97304 + 97302 came into view on the branch from Honeybourne. They waited for a short while as a crew member took the single line token to the ground frame before the train ran into No.1 road before heading off around the internal system where it was due to remain until Wednesday 27 October.
A DRS move to Long Marston took place on Thursday 7 October 2010 when 37604 + 37603 took a short set of FEA flats there from Crewe, the vehicles having originally come from the sidings at Mantle Lane on the Coalville line. I was told about the train, 4Z80, first thing in the morning and on looking outside found the area around my home shrouded in thick fog. I had almost decided not to bother but, on an impulse, grabbed a camera and drove across in time for the 08.15 arrival. As I went through Welford-on-Avon the fog was thinning and on arrival at Long Marston it was virtually clear with the sun beginning to poke through. The local p-way gang told me that the train was late due to a FGW service having met some delay which meant that the sun would have a bit more chance to break through. In the meantime, the Sentinel shunter based at the site was shunting a full rake of ex-Fastline coal hoppers into road no. 1 alongside some stored stock giving off a lot of water vapour in the warmth and I began to wonder if this might be the consist for the return train, running to Carlisle Kingmoor.
It was quite a while before I heard a squeaky horn in the distance as 4Z80 moved away from Honeybourne but two DRS class 37s soon became audible in the still morning air. They soon came into sight and came slowly along the final stretch of the branch among a lot of red Hawthorn berries and fair amount of dappled shade. Still, an early arrival here is quite rare and the sun was plenty strong enough to give the sides of the locomotives some decent illumination. The train empty flats, certainly wasn't the most interesting to ride on rails but it did give the chance for a nice enough portrait as it stood awaiting permission to enter the site.
The booked departure time for the train, which was actually running as class 4, was 11.00 but it was about 25 minutes before this that the train moved it's long rake of ex-Fastline coal hoppers out of Long Marston and onto the branch to Honeybourne. It is really good to see a pair of DRS 37s on a proper length train. I can rarely be bothered with them, despite their supposed celebrity status, when they are pulling around nothing more taxing than one or two nuclear flasks. A full set of hoppers is so much more satisfying to see and photograph. This stock is to be used on a cement flow operated by DRS in the Manchester area
I was keen to obtain another picture of 37603 + 37604 with their full set of ex-Fastline hoppers and chose Lower Moor because it would be possible to see the whole train. I hadn't been there for a while and must say that the hydroponic greenhouses in the background don't really add a lot to the scene. The train was running about 20 minutes late by the time it came into sight, having had to wait for another delayed FGW train, this time a class 165 going to Worcester. The three of us standing at Lower Moor were lucky with the sun; a lot of cloud had built up and a thick chunk went over the sun only a few seconds after 4Z81 had passed. I had previously photographed this pair of locomotives on 7 May 2007 at Hatton when they worked a Southampton to York railtour while still in their EPS guise.
There was a Solihull to Plymouth stock move planned for Saturday 18 September 2010 to position coaching stock for something or other in that area. Quite sensibly, it was decided to sell tickets for the trip even though it was just a one-journey, with ticket validity being extended to timetabled trains for the return. West Coast Railway's 37685 was provided with the departure time set at 09.20. I had planned to go a bit further south than Hatton, probably to a bridge near Knightcote but the sky was quite cloudy and as I think that WCRC's locomotives need clear sun for a decent shot decided on just a quick trip to the nearest spot to my home. In the event, the sun cleared a large bank of cloud a couple of minutes before the train became audible, already running about three minutes early.
Four of the class 20s stored at Eastleigh were moved from there to Crewe on Friday 3 September 2010. The power for 0Z41 was provided by DRS's 37218 which had run light engine to Hampshire on the previous day and after an overnight rest left Eastleigh at around 11.40 and kept close to booked times for the run north. I quite like to get a picture of these odd locomotive moves as long as the light is good and as there seemed to be good odds for a sunny afternoon went up to Hatton North Junction where a reasonmably wide side view would be available. Here are 37218 with 20311, 20309, 20312 and 20310 just after reaching the summit of Hatton Bank. Unfortunately, the sun had just gone behind some light cloud which affected the back of the train and while I was fiddling about with my camera's settings, the autofocus went awry which accounts for the slightly unsharp rendering of the front of the class 37.
The morning of 13 July 2010 should have seen a 1Z15 09.00 Derby RTC to Long Marston working. In the event this transmogrified into nothing more exotic than a light engine run, presumably a road learner, involving Network Rail's 97301. I don't normally bother with light engine photographs as they can look a bit silly on the main line but thought that the first visit of the type to the branch from Honeybourne Junction wouldn't make too bad a shot standing outside the gates at Long Marston. As it happened, I needed to do a farm shop run and made the short diversion necessary to get this picture, taken just as the locomotive pulled away, having not gone into the site. The arrival was spot on time at 12.09, the bright colour scheme of the former 37100 standing out well in the very dull conditions. As usual for me, I waited until an example of a new livery or sub-class came conveniently close to home before going for a first shot - it usually happens sooner or later! With a bit of luck a loaded train involving one or two of the class 97s will turn up before too long. A less well preserved class 37, 37898 was parked nearby, waiting for its final journey to the scrapyard. I was later told by a local contact that 97301 later went into the Long Marston site and was stabled, probably to leave during the following day.
Some scenes from the final Harry Potter film were apparently shot at Kings Cross, London in the week commencing 23 May 2010 and the locomotive, GWR Hall 5972, and stock were taken by 37706 from Southall to Carnforth on Friday 28 May. I was surprised that only one other photographer was at Hatton North Junction for a picture as 5Z59 passed exactly on time, 14.44, just after a small piece of cloud had made its presence felt. I don't know anything about the current steam scene and wonder if 5972 will remain in its present colour scheme for the time being? I guess that it is quite a revenue earner with specials aimed at youngsters so I suppose that it may be a while before the proper green livery makes a return.
It's not very often that a train originating from Ipswich ends up at Stratford-upon-Avon but anything is possible with the inspection saloon Caroline and its usual companion 37423. Such was the case on 19 May 2010 when 2Z37 was booked to make an appearance during the mid-afternoon at the terminus. It has been a while since I photographed an inspection saloon here and here is an earlier shot taken in 1992 when 31405 appeared. It was a bright and sunny morning when the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance arrived nearby but by the time that 37423 was due in the area the light has collapsed meaning that my plans for a few shots around Warwickshire were scuppered. Instead, I just walked down to Stratford station for a couple of record photographs. Here is 2Z37 arriving in platform 1 at 15.35, some 15 minutes early on the schedule and here is a slightly closer view as it stands under the distinctly non-GWR coloured footbridge.
The booked departure time from Stratford-upon-Avon for 2Z37 was 16.18 but was about 18 minutes earlier than that when the platform end signal cleared to yellow and Caroline led the ensemble away from from the statiion and off to Birmingham and Derby via Wilmcote and Hatton North Junction. Note the security personnel and barriers on platform 1, deemed necessary to control the large number of presumably unruly students from the College of Further Education which is situated just across the road from the station. It's probably worth avoiding the 16.27 departure from here to Birmingham in term time...
Trains of scrap metal have recently started running on an ad hoc basis to various rarely served locations. One of these is Sheerness in Kent and on Thursday 15 April such a working ocurred when DRS class 37s, 37510 + 37667 took a such a train there from Tyne Dock, running via the East Coast Main Line . The return was scheduled for Saturday 17 April and was routed via the WCML, Coventry, Stechford, Aston, Bescot, Walsall, Sutton Park and then Water Orton and Burton-upon-Trent. I was interested in getting a photograph because it rare to see DRS 37s on anything other than very short trains of one or two nuclear flasks and because there isn't much freight along the Coventry to Birmingham line I went for a walk along some public footpaths near Balsall Common in search of a spot and found, unsurprisingly, that virtually everywhere was too overgrown or had new fences where previously there had been none. I knew that 6Z70 had run just about on time all the way from Kent and came upon this clear patch with about 30 minutes to wait. It was really nice to be in this area, near Birmingham International Airport without the constant drone of aircraft; there are usually at least three or four in view at any one time here, all flights having been grounded because of a volcanic eruption in Iceland spewing tons of ash and dust into European airspace with the associated hazard to jet engines. In between trains one could hear only birds singing on a perfectly lit Spring afternoon.
The first train to Long Marston to run in 2010 was booked for 2 February when a short set of 4 Mk3 coaches ran from Norwich. The arrival time at 5Z22's destination was 16.22 and with the sun, if there was any, not setting until 16.57 there was a chance of a shot somewhere on the Cotswold Line. Earlier in the day I had made my mind up that I wasn't going to bother until I was told that the coaches were in a livery that hadn't previously run over the line. When the rain stopped and a little brightness appeared at about 15.20 I thought it might be worth a go, so headed to just about the only location where the sun, if out, wouldn't be shining directly into the lens or be too low to reach the track in the many cuttings. The train left Evesham about 5 minutes late and is here seen behind 37194 having just passed under the Evesham bypass and catching the very last rays of light before a thick bank of heavy cloud just about turned the scene nocturnal. I'm no expert in such matters but the coaches look as if they may be unbranded Nat-Ex stock probably heading for storage.
An unusual working reached Stratford-upon-Avon on 11 March 1992 when 27418 headed a rake of seven coaches to the terminus from Kensington Oylmpia to mark the retirement of a senior official of,I believe, an international oil company. The locomotive was temporarily name Gordon Grigg, the name of the retiree and carried the plates for less than 24 hours. Here is the train, 1Z34, standing in platform 2 while the guests were off somewhere or other in the area enjoying the hospitality of one of the better hotels to be found nearby. Although the weather was very dull I did take a colour transparency of the scene just for the record.
As the event was so unusual I took the opportunity to record the train from several different angles and here is a shot more clearly showing the nameplate applied for the day as a class 122 single unit arrives from Leamington Spa.
The departure of 37418 with 1Z35 was scheduled for 16.00 and with the agreement and company of the BR supervisor from Leamington Spa who had come over to supervise the proceedings, I went off the platform at Stratford to get this shot. The tall starting semaphore is "off" for the single unit in platform 1 rather than the locomotive hauled train; hte starter for platform 2 being just out of view off the end of the platform. Much has changed since the date of this photograph: the semaphores have gone, the World War 2 coldstore in the right background has been replaced by a Morrisons supermarket and the college in the background has been greatly extended. The down loop connection, which although severed at this time, has now been replaced with plain track.
By the time that 37418 was ready to leave Stratford-upon-Avon for Kensington Olympia the light had virtually died altogether and it had gone quite cold. With this in mind the Supervisor asked the signalman if we might go into the 'box for a warm around his stove and so I took this shot from the window. The quality isn't up to much but it does show a completely unrepeatable scene, even the hospital in the extreme left background that has been relaced by a dull corporate hotel. The signal box was demolished and all operations here are currently controlled from Bearley Junction although even this is to change in the near future when the new Landor Street Junction panel assumes responsibility for the whole area.
This photograph is the result of my only visit to Wednesfield Road Goods Depot, by then part of Wolverhampton Steel Terminal. This was the Midland Railway's yard situated adjacent to the GWR Low Level passenger station and by this date, 9 January 1991, saw only one train on certain days of the week, plus occasional on-track movements with machines going to and from stabling. I saw a train here while travelling on the high level lines just before Christmas 1990 and thought that it would be good to get a picture from inside the depot. I therefore went back, found a gap in the fence and saw 37048 shunting some open steel wagons just before 09.00 on a very dark, misty and cold morning. The train was the 09.05 to Scunthorpe and it left spot on time, running via Heath Town, Portobello, Darlaston, Pleck and Ryecroft Junctions before joining the Sutton park and going north via Water Orton.
As I was walking down the lane adjacent to Wednesfield Road Goods Depot, the sun managed to break out the gloom and provide a small amout of illumination which lifted the scene quite a bit, and even managed to show that 37048 was in Railfreight Metals livery, which was not apparent in the black & white photograph. I quickly whipped out my Olympus OM1n, put on an 85mm lens and grabbed this shot as the train crawled around the tracks in the site towards Heath Lane Junction. Not a shot of best technical quality but it does give a good impression of the locality, with the high-rise blocks dominating the background and discarded cable drums from p-way work in the foreground. The former Midland Railway building looked, I thought, quite impressive in the rising sun and showed that architectural excellence was to be found in late 19th century buildings, unlike the current crop of steel framed and aluminium clad monstrosities we now suffer.
24 May 1991 was unusual in that due to a broken rail at Bescot Curve Junction any trains from the south which normally would have run to Bescot via the Dudley freight-only line had to run via Langley Green and the Soho Junctions to reach Bescot. The Radyr - Bescot and return ran this way behind large logo 37264 but sadly, the light caved in completely for both these workings and even the black and white shot was not up to being published here. However, the loaded scrap wagons from 6T42 were left in the yard at Langley Green to be collected later as 6T55. Coal Sector 37055 was allocated this job and is seen below in glorious late afternoon light just leaving the yard and passing through Langley Green station.
Staying in the Black Country but going back 3 days from the previous pictures, here is a view of 37512 shunting at Wednesbury prior to heading north with the Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe train. What a fantastic railway landscape, which is now obliterated for ever by a depot constructed for the Midland Metro. The line closed as a though route closed in 1993 with only the southern section from Stourbridge Junction to Round Oak retained for traffic. There are hopes that the northern end may one day be reconnected to the network giving a through route for freight.
On 24 May 1991, 37242 was used on Bescot's 6T48 to Langley Green in the Black Country. Here is the train just after it has joined the branch after leaving the yard and passing the out-of-use signalbox. Control of the line had passed to the panel at Stourbridge Junction some time before and obviously resulted in the removal of the semaphore signals. There are views from 1986 in my class 25 section which include these. Probably as a result of the 'box being on the station platform and the signalman being on the receiving end of abuse from local youths, I never had any success in obtaining information on the location of trip freights from here. The best I ever achieved was a grunted "mind your own business" when I asked! A very rare visitor to the yard was 58009 which arrived there light engine from Bescot on 22 May 1991. It was apparently decided that a locomotive with such a long wheelbase wouldn't be a good idea on the tight radius of the Oldbury branch and it soon went back to Bescot. I didn't wait to see what was the replacement.
I had plenty of time to walk around to the road bridge at Langley Green from the station footbridge from which I had taken the photograph above before 37242 returned. Here is the short train about to the leave the branch with a few tanks and a ferrywagon;note that a single tank has been dropped off. It seems that the Chlorine traffic to Albright & Wilson's facility on the branch may have ceased by this time as these tanks look to be carrying fuel oil. This was the last time that I visited the yard at Langley Green and all traffic has now long since ceased. I must have a drive over there in the near future and take some "now" photographs to compare with those shown here.
The afternoon run of 6T48 involved returning to Langley Green yard and then taking loaded cement tanks and empty scrap metal wagons along the Handsworth branch to Blue Circle and Cooper's scrapyard respectively. The return unsurprisingly included empty cement tanks and loaded scrap wagons and this train is here seen crossing over the Wolverhampton to Birmingham main line before going back to the yard where 37242 would have run-round the consist before returning to Bescot via the junctions at Soho. This line has since seen a total revitalisation with the frequent passenger services from Birmingham Snow Hill but sadly there are no scheduled freights over this section of line. The trains to Handsworth scrap still run, but now travel via Snow Hill station.
The second of the special workings to pass Hatton on 3 November 2008 was 2Z10, running from Derby RTC to Southampton. It seems that even when a class 37 is used no-one takes any interest when it is propelling the train, judging by the total lack of emailed reports of its progress. In the event 2Z10 ran about 3 minutes early and I photographed it with 37423 and Caroline coasting down Hatton Bank at exactly 13.00 in some truly dreadful light.
A train of empty coaching stock ran from Carnforth to Poole on Friday 28 November 2008 in preparation for a railtour the following day. The locomotives were 37676 + 37248, the former being, I think, newly released to traffic in WCRC's house colours. I'm not entirely sure about this as I don't take a great deal of interest in what goes on in the field of preservation and the private ownership of older locomotives. I had to be in Leamington Spa over lunchtime so made a slight diversion to Old Milverton where I knew that the sun, if out, would be in the right place for a photograph. When I arrived, the sun was out but shadows from the hedge meany that a long lens would be needed. Three down trains and one up passed by, all except the up Voyager in cloud, or rather a bank of fog which had quickly built up. Luckily, this blew away just as the nose of 37676 came into view in the distance and it just held for long enough as 5Z47 came slowly along the switchback track towards an adverse signal on the other side of the bridge. I don't know what's happened to the front of 37676; it looks as if it has suffered a shunt at some point which hasn't been properly repaired...
Thursday 26 November 2009 produced one of those trains which somehow almost manage to sneak under the radar and run without much publicity. Early in the morning, DRS 37s 37688 + 37229 ran light engine to Gloucester to collect a really nice set of TEA tanks and JNA box wagons which were apparently destined either for Kingsbury or Long Marston. It eventually transpired that by lunchtime the train, 6Z40, was in excess of 3 hours late and sitting in the yard at Worcester Shrub Hill. This was the clue to its destination so I decided to have a pop at it, largely because of the novelty of seeing DRS 37s on a decent length train rather than one or two nuclear flasks. I went to Evesham as this is one of the few spots that I knew would be free of heavy shadows if the sun came out and the locations I really had in mind for a long train were in cuttings. Here is 6Z40 approaching Evesham station where the token exchange takes place, before a rapid run to Honeybourne to get onto the Long Marston branch before the following FGW service met any delay.
As Long Marston can be on my way home from Evesham, albeit by a slightly circuitous route, I went that way to see if another shot might be possible. A lot of slow traffic was encountered on one or two of the roads and as I went through Broad Marston I could see the train ahead of me on the branch. The road ahead was clear and I made it to the roadbridge adjacent to the site with, quite literally, 5 seconds to spare which may account for the slightly dodgy composition of this shot! If the sun hadn't been out a better result may have been obtained...The locomotives were booked to leave light engine as no load was due to be taken out.

As I mentioned in the caption to the photograph above, 37688 + 37229 left Long Marston light engine after working 6Z40 on 26 November 2009. They didn't go far and were stabled in the former Stratford Branch platform at Honeybourne station awaiting a driver to retrieve them, the driver of 6Z40 being out of hours because of the train's late running. I haven't seen anything on this piece of track since about 1992 when the Bescot to Honeybourne Tip trips were running so this picture is currently a bit of a rarity. When the Cotswold Line is doubled in 2010 I believe that trains to and from Long Marston will use a relayed version of the line upon which the 37s are standing and will join the main line a little to the south of the station. The shadows on the front of 37688 might not be quite so in evidence earlier in the day; this shot was taken at about 12.30 when the sun was quite well round. I would guess that taking the picture at about 10.00 might have produced a better result.
I was just returning home at about 07.40 on Wednesday 18 November 2009 after taking my wife to work and, as usual, glanced across Morrison's car park towards the railway station. I was somewhat surprised to see 37425 standing in platform 2 at the head of an engineering train, obviously after late-running work on the North Warwickshire Line. I live fairly close by, so quickly picked up my camera and tripod and went back to the station to see if a shot was available as locomotives of any description here are not that common. I had just set up with a guessed exposure of 1/5 sec at f11, my camera being on ISO 400 after a failed attempt for the RHTT on Sunday, when the brakes were blown off. This then is the only image I had a chance to take; not exactly what I would have liked but a record, albeit with the train just moving, presumably en-route to Bescot. My BlackBerry is out of commission again for yet another trackball repair so I didn't see any messages nor was I able to post out the information myself.
The Arriva liveried coaches that have been in store at Long Marston were due to be removed during the week starting 15 September 2008 but the move was put back until the following Monday. DRS class 37s 37602 and 37611 were given the job with two trains scheduled, both going to Eastleigh but by different routes; the first via Moreton in Marsh and the other via Birmingham New Street and Hatton. Here are the light engines arriving at Long Marston a few minutes late on the booked time - note the bunch of flowers placed in the cable coupler of the leading locomotive.
The gate into the Long Marston site was already open and the locomotives were ready to enter the sidings as soon as the token from Honeybourne was placed into the ground frame. The sun was a bonus after a poor forecast for the day and helps to show up the contrasting versions of DRS livery to their best advantage. The 2 rakes of coaches can be seen in roads 1 & 2 of the exchange sidings - they are going to Eastleigh to be refurbished for the forthcoming Cardiff to Holyhead trains due to commence operations later in the year.
It wasn't long before the locomotives were split and run onto their own sets of stock. It is interesting to compare the front ends of the 2 class 37s including the different positions of the horns. This is not the first visit of DRS 37s to this location, 37059 having visited for another stock move in November 2005. Fortunately, the light today was a little more favourable for photography...
The booked departure time for 5Z74 was 12.00 but for reasons unknown it some 80 minutes after this that 37602 finally moved out of the exchange sidings and onto the branch to Honeybourne. Those of us waiting for this moment had been discussing what was going on and I suggested, half in jest, that both sets should be coupled together in order to avoid the need for a road trip to and from Honeybourne to collect the token. Almost unbelievably, this is exactly what happened and 37611 moved onto the back of the first train and was coupled up. It had already become known that 5Z74 was no longer going to run via Moreton in Marsh and was to go via Birmingham, Coventry and Leamington Spa. At this point a quick run to Honeybourne seemed the logical move to see the unusual formation arrive.
Here is the odd looking combination of 5Z74 and 5Z75 just after their arrival at Honeybourne. It's a great shame that the sun failed to co-operate for this part of the operation but even in poor light it was well worth recording the unusual sight. The crew of the second locomotive soon uncoupled the rear portion which meant, unsurprisingly, that there were once again two trains to head for Eastleigh.
It was a matter of just a few minutes before the road was set to allow 37602 and 5Z74 to gain access to the main Cotswold Line and I thought a heavily framed view of the movement might work, taking advantage of the plethora of Hawthorn berries in the adjacent hedge. As soon as the road was put back 36711 made a smoky start towards the western end of East Loop.
It unusual to see a train pulled this far forward at Honeybourne, most stay on the far side of the spur to the main line. It is a great photographic advantage if the train does come forward especially if a decent patch of blue sky can be seen moving towards the sun! I had to wait about 10 minutes for this to happen but there was no prospect of the train going anywhere for quite a while so it was not a problem to wait. It was unavoidable that a selection of shots were taken in the sunny spell and here is another from a slightly different angle as the colourful consist basks in the warm sun on the first day of Autumn.
I had just reached my car after photographing 47805 + 47839 at Hatton when a friend further south telephoned to say that 37609 hauling 20304 + 20305 had just passed Leamington Spa in a northbound direction. If it had been just a single light engine I wouldn't have bothered with a picture, but the station at Hatton is quite good for a tight shot of a short train so I went back and just after getting onto the footbridge the train, from Eastleigh to Crewe Gresty Lane appeared. I don't really follow what is going on with the various locomotive fleets but the class 20s look as if they are freshly repainted into DRS' colours. Use the hyperlink for a closer shot of 20305 bringing up the rear of the train.
Test train workings south of Birmingham via Solihull and Hatton are relatively unusual so I thought that a picture of 1Z12, the 08.57 Derby to Bristol, would be worth having. When I left home at 09.55, the sky had cleared after early cloud and prospects were good for a sunny shot. By the time I had reached Hatton a thick blanket of cloud had covered the entire sky and when 37218 appeared coasting down the bank the light was pretty awful. I believe that a brand new radio coach is one of the four in the consist of 1Z12, but I have no idea which it is. I didn't actually look at the back of the train but I think that the trailing locomotive is 37602.
The once regular Bescot to Long Marston trains have been a little thin on the ground recently but on 1 July 2009 6V17, the 10.16 from Bescot did run, conveying a very nice rake of open box wagons which, judging by the flotsam remaining in them, once conveyed scrap metal. The train, headed by 37670, is here seen approaching Evesham station where it stood for a few minutes to allow a down HST to come into the platform before heading south on the single track to Honeybourne Junction where it will turn off onto the Long Marston Branch. I was surprised to have been alone for this shot given that for most other moves, whatever the motive power, there has usually been one or two other photographers on site. The time of this picture was about 1pm on one of the hottest days of the year and the sun was simply too high in the sky for a satisfactory image.
Here is another view of a well-weathered 37670 at Evesham with 6V17, the 10.16 Bescot to Long Marston as it passed the inner home signal. The scene here will change dramatically within 12 months when the re-doubling of parts of the Cotswold Line progresses; and as the weeds on the track are swept away!. The signal box and associated semaphore signals will disappear, along with the other mechanical 'boxes along the route, with the exception of that at Norton Junction. The track will be doubled for about one mile from here towards Worcester. Modern electrical signalling will mean that there will be little disadvantage in retaining single track from that point to Norton Junction and will avoid the enormous expense involved in remodelling the junction. The return working to Bescot, 6M17, ran on 1 July 2009 altouugh it actually ran as class 4 and conveyed a single ex-Virgin Trains DVT. As the afternoon was far too hot for my taste I didn't stay out for this, despite early running, but went home and sat under a tree in my garden with a cooling drink...
Test trains are relatively infrequent along the North Warwickshire Line between Tyseley and Stratford-upon-Avon compared with some more major lines, as indeed are locomotive hauled trains of any description and are thus worth going out for. On Friday 25 June 2009, DRS class 37s 37218 and 37607 topped and tailed a 1Q13 from Tyseley to Derby via Stratford, Birmingham Snow Hill, Blakedown, Stourbridge Junction, Round Oak and back again to Hatton North and West Junctions and thence on via Washwood Heath to Derby. The weather was vile during the first part morning with mist and drizzly rain being the main features until the real rain set in later. Here is 1Q13 arriving at Stratford-upon-Avon spot on time, with 37218 leading, in dreadful light. It's lucky that the train was stopping here so that a shutter speed of 1/250 was enough to freeze the action. For a look at the scene here in 1990, click on this hyperlink for a picture, albeit in slightly better lighting conditions, from 28 March of that year. This is an afternoon photograph and if the sun is out in the morning there isn't much of a shot available, so maybe the poor weather for 1Q13 was an advantage.
1Q13 with 37607 and 37218 was booked to stand at Stratford-upon-Avon for the thick end of 30 minutes so after taking this shot of the train standing in a misty platform 1 at Stratford-upon-Avon I asked the driver if he thought that they might get away a bit early or have to wait for a right time departure. He told me that it would be as booked so I decided to make the 10 minute walk home to pick up my car and head off to Henley-in Arden on the North Warwickshire Line.
After the walk home from Stratford-upon-Avon station and a very slow drive to Henley-in-Arden behind an ancient (and empty) school bus seemingly incapable of more than 30mph I arrived at the station to find the signal for the down line "off" for a DMU to Stratford and "on" for the line to Birmingham. The DMU arrived within a couple of minutes and the driver and senior conductor asked me what was expected as they had seen several photographers further along the line. I am indebted to the driver of the Stratford-bound train for this photograph, as he pulled away from the station stop very slowly indeed so as not to block my view of 37607 leading 1Q13 into the platform, the signal having been cleared as the train approached it. In fact, the DMU was right by my shoulder as I pressed the shutter release! I like to take these rarities in totally recognisable locations and here is the view of Henley-in-Arden station as 1Q13 passed through. I'm not sure what has happened to the light on platform 2; it looks as if one side has been removed, possibly to save a little power...
The other part of 1Q13's run in which I was interested was when it ran from Hatton North to West Junctions, a piece of track used in the early morning by a Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon DMU and the summer Sunday steam train from Stratford to Snow Hill. Nothing else, other than very occasional charters, disturbs the rust so I was quite keen to get a photograph on the appropriate piece of line. Here is 37218 leading the short formation over the crossover from the up main line to the curve around to Hatton West Junction where the line from Hatton station to the Stratford branch is joined, thus forming a triangular junction. As can be clearly seen the wet weather earlier in the day coupled with the high temperature had conspired to form some quite misty conditions; hardly conducive to good photography but the unusual nature of the working made up for it to some extent. Here is another view of the train as 37607 trails 1Q13 around the curve.
In the set of timings that I had seen for 1Q13, the train looked as if it would just sit on the Hatton North to West curve for a few minutes and then simply reverse, going back the way that it had come. From my position on the footbridge I could hear that more movement than expected was taking place and sure enough, I soon heard a toot from the area of Hatton station and then the sound of class 37s accelerating towards me. What actually happened was that 1Q13 had run a short distance onto the Stratford branch, reversed, run up to the branch platform at Hatton station and then reversed again before joining the down main line via the spur just beyond the road bridge. The reversals around the triangle meant that 37218 was now leading again and here it is, with 37607 also under power on the rear, storming away towards Birmingham. I watched the train going away towards the tall bridge at Shrewley and the whole of the cutting was obscured by thick smoke from the locomotives. The Shakespeare Express will have to work hard to beat that...
A railtour from Crewe to Weymouth ran on 23 May 2009 and here is 1Z44, hauled by 37602 + 37069 passing the stone terminal just north of Banbury station.
Unlike many enthusiasts, I don't have an obsession with class 37 locomotives or indeed any particular class, but I do quite like the contrast between the yellow of Network Rail's test trains and the blue of DRS' fleet. By the time 1Z12, the 08.35 Derby RTC to Didcot via various places such as Bescot (twice) and Bushbury Junction, had reached me at Wootton Green on the Birmingham to Coventry line, the sun had been obscured by some quite thick cloud which looked to be set in for the afternoon. Even so, I was reasonably happy with this photograph of the train, topped and tailed by 37069 and 37609 respectively, which was given a lift by the clean yellow paintwork of the stock. In the background is a factory that processes chipped wood and the HGV trailer visible is being tipped up to empty its load of chips into the facility's hopper.
Class 37s looked excellent in the Loadhaul livery as demonstrated by this picture of 37517 with 6G78 Toton to Bescot at Whitacre Junction on 12 August 2003. This shot was taken before the roadbridge was replaced with a new one with much higher parapets making photography here much less comfortable, as steps are required to see anything at all. The nanny states' favourite, pallisade fencing has also been liberally applied although careful framing can avoid most of it. 645
Test trains are not all that uncommon on the GWR line through Hatton, so much so that I don't very often bother with them. Now and again though, one comes along that is a bit out of the ordinary and is worth a trip out, even if the light isn't too good. Here is 1Z12, the vastly overpowered 09.59 Eastleigh to Derby climbing Hatton Bank just south of the cutting with 37609 and 37259 leading a lightweight train and 37605. All three locomotives were under power which seems a bit of a waste considering that a single engine would have been more than capable of hauling the short consist without any trouble. A short while earlier, 1J81, the 10.17 Marylebone to Wrexham had gone north past the last tiny patch of snow with 82303 leading 67015 running in the region of 30 minutes late.
In the 1990s I used to make fairly frequent trips to the GWML around Didcot to record the good variety of different locomotive classes on both passenger and freight services, something I very doubt I could be bothered to do today. On 13 October 1992 I found myself in Moreton Cutting a little to the east of Didcot and among others took this shot of 37280 + 37371 just moving away from a signal check as they headed west with a Micheldever to Waterstone train of empty oil tanks. The pair of 37s just fitted nicely between the two signals as they started the train away. This ws an everyday scene at the time but if happened today there would be hundreds of photographers lining the route and no doubt an equal number of emails with the inane comment, "top thrash from da tractors", such are the depths to which the hobby and some of its participants has sunk.645
On 2 March 2003 privately owned 37038 + 37197 were used for a football special from Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff. If I remember correctly, there were 4 specials within a short space of time along the North & West route including this train and a couple hauled by the then Royal Train class 47s. I certainly wouldn't bother going anywhere for such trains today, but in 2003 I made the trip to the nearest location on the N & W, this being Woofferton, which has the attraction of a couple of lower-quadrant semaphore signals, albeit rendered less attractive because of the absence of finials. I was all set to take this shot in black & white but the sun unexpectedly appeared as the train appeared under the new roadbridge in the background so I grabbed my other Mamiya 645 loaded with transparency film.645
Class 37/4 37423 was rostered to work a 2Z01 saloon from London Paddington to Bristol via the Cotswold Line on Tuesday 1 July 2008. I went across to Norton Junction near Worcester as I've always, since seeing a Collett 0-6-0 on the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Line in the 1960s, had a soft spot for these managers' specials. This train was delayed by 9 minutes due to the preceding down HST being late and this delay meant that the sun had time to disappear behind some cloud as the signalman at Norton Junction exchanged the token protecting the single line from Evesham station. The signalbox was being painted on this day but the workmen removed their ladders and went either into or behind the signalbox when the high-ranking Network Rail officials' expensive day-out tranpsort appeared! Note the atractive display of flowers in containers by the side of the 'box - a real Great Western tradition being maintained by the current incumbents. Use this hyperlink to see another view of 2Z01 after the token exchange and this one to see the train receding towards Worcester and about to pass an up HST service train delayed by the passage of the special.
The schedule for 2Z01 London Paddington to Bristol via the Cotswold Line and Birmingham did not show any scope for reversal meaning that Caroline would be propelled by 37423 on the run south. It's probably heretical to say so, but I thought this was a much more interesting shot than the standard one with locomotive leading. Locomotives lead 99.9% of their trains and Caroline the Saloon is arguably a far more interesting vehicle than the 37 propelling it. I do wonder though if the driver thinks the same with various senior Network Rail bods, probably without a single hands-on railway experience between them, peering over his shoulder. Note how the two compartments of the saloon are well separated with the more luxurious accomodation no doubt barred to lesser mortals wearing high-visiblity vests!
Friday 25 July 2008 saw two trains running out of Long Marston but in the reverse order to that which I expected. I won't go through the tedious details involving a road accident (in which I was not involved), a road closure for flood prevention work and a congested town centre in Evesham, of why I ended up with nothing more than a standard and not very exciting shot of 37422 leaving Long Marston with a rake of KWA and IZA ferywagons, but it wasn't what I had planned. Anyway, here is the popular locomotive leaving the site en-route to Bescot and no doubt heading for a few more photographers along the way. This is a busy area over the weekend as the Global Gathering festival is held on the adjacent airfield - I look forward to hearing the music and seeing the laser displays from my home some 5 miles away...
In the middle to late 1990s I was in the habit of taking the odd sunny afternoon off work and heading out onto the Birmingham to Cheltenham line. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays one of the regular freights was 6V14, the Hull Saltend to Baglan Bay tanks contaning acetic acid. There was very little advance information available in those days but I was lucky in having a couple of contacts who usually let me know if something out of the ordinary was diagrammed. On 15 August 1997 a Loadhaul class 37 was in charge and I captured this image of 6V14 emerging from Croome Perry Wood a couple of miles south of Abbotswood Junction. 645
I had a couple of spare hours between household and gardening duties on Wednesday 11 April 2007 and decided to pop over to Hatton North Junction. I anticipated seeing 4 freights, including 4M55 with 57004 in charge. I knew this was running late so arrived with a likely wait of about 30 minutes. I had already made up my mind to take my pictures from the footbridge rather than in the field and this proved to be a good choice. Within a couple of minutes of arriving I heard an old-fashioned squeaky horn and looked around to see 37406 coming under the Shrewley Road bridge. It was later reported that the train was the retimed 6O12 11.36 from Bescot to Didcot which was unable to run in its normal path because of the lack of a crew. The locomotive returned with 6M65 from Didcot but didn't apparently pass Hatton until 20.50, probably as a result of the signalling problems in the area.
A run over the Cotswold Line, to and from Oxford, was planned for the SERCO train on 16 August 2007. I had rather hoped for another appearance by the NMT HST but this was on duty elsewhere and 1Z14 ran with 37606 top-and-tailing the usual 5 vehicles. The day started off badly with 6V05 from Round Oak to Margam , booked for Loadhaul liveried 60007 turning up light engine at Norton Junction, near Worcester. There was also a lot of cloud about and when I moved a couple of miles up the road to an occupation bridge near Norton Barracks there was pretty much 100% cloud cover. Luckily, just as I heard the SERCO train leave Worcester a small patch of blue sky appeared which just lasted long enough for this picture to be taken under a threateningly dark sky.
1Z14 was oroginally booked to reverse in the sidings north of Oxford but actually ran south to to the down goods loop. The train, now in reverse formation from earlier in the day, made very good time from Evesham and managed to miss the patch of sun by no more than 30 seconds - one of those occasions when a further slight delay would have been good!
A brand new set of Lafarge cement wagons was moved from Bescot to Long Marston on 19 March 2008. It is unusal for new vehicles to be stored there but I believe that the owner is not quite ready for them because of track alterations at the Earles Sidings site. The move has been pencilled in for a couple of weeks with paths having been established but not used. It seems a bit of a coincidence that today's move happened after 37401, freshly painted into EWS livery, was taken from Warrington to Bescot the previous night and immediately allocated to 6Z80. The train predictably aroused more interest than would have happened had a 66 been diagrammed and there was a gallery of 4 as the train passed Lower Moor on the single track of the Cotswolsd Line near Pershore.
There was some debate over whether any traffic was to be taken out of Long Marston on 19 March 2008. Having taken a lot of shots around Honeybourne in recent times, I decided to hang around at Lower Moor and passed the time chatting to a fellow enthusiast until the news came through saying a short set of ferrywagons were now attached to 37401. Everything worked smoothly and 6Z81 came west towards Lower Moor just about on time. The sun had just come from behind quite a thick cloud so a second shot in sun presented itself.
The regular trains from Bescot to Long Marston have become so regular that the former headcode, 6Z80, has now been replaced by a permanent code, 6V17. The first run with this reporting number took place on 2 April 2008 when 37422 took a rake of ferrrywagons to the storage and maintenance site. The weather was not good so I didn't make a lot of effort and went just to the site of Fladbury station where 6V17 is here pictured. The first signs of spring, in the form of plum blossom, is in evidence in the background and in the few minutes I was standing on the bridge I heard at least 6 different species of birds singing.
I wanted to go Long Marston to visit a fruit and vegetable stall before returning home so went the extra mile or so to the bridge over the former MOD facility. Despite having a slow journey behind a different sort of tractor and then a car whose driver was one of those who will not exceed 40mph in any circumstances, I arrived before the train, and indeed didn't hearing it rumbling along the branch for several minutes. The weather was even duller in Warwickshire than Worcestershire and here is 6V17 crawling up to the entrance of the yard having picked up a second crew member at Honeybourne. There was no traffic to be taken out and the locomotive left light engine within a very few minutes.
The NMT HST has again been the subject of substitution by locomotive-hauled stock in recent weeks. On Friday 7 September the diagram saw the usual run to the West Country followed by a trip into Paddington with the day ending with a return to Derby voa Oxford, Leamington Spa, Hatton and Birmingham. As I was already at Hatton it would have been churlish, given the beautiful light, to have missed the chance of a picture. Here are 37069 and 37606 running about 30 minutes late with the 5 coaches of the measurement train ambling around the curve from Hatton station just behind a Chiltern Trains' class 168 from Marylebone. I'm still waiting for my shot of the HST on this line...
I was just about to put my camera bag in my car with a view to going to Hatton North Junction on Monday 29 October when my phone rang with the news that 37605 was heading south from Derby with a couple of blue and grey coaches. The train, 5Z01 was going to Eastleigh and should be at Hatton at around 11.45 although it currently was about 30 minutes late. I arrived on the footbridge in plenty of time and watched 66578 run south with a delayed 4O54 Leeds to Southampton freightliner some 10 minutes before the distinctive nose of 37605 came into view at 11.49, having picked up some time from north of Birmingham. The train was formed of 2 translator vehicles, the second of which was ADB 975875. I took the shot of the TV as an afterthought otherwise it might have been better lit.
I was surprised to read an email on the morning of 10 December 2007 saying that 37605, 5 SERCO vehicles and 37612 were running as 2Q08 to Stratford-upon-Avon. In fact, they were coming twice which was just as well as I had missed the first run through not keeping a sufficiently close eye on my BlackBerry! The second trip was booked to arrive shortly after 10.30 so I made the short trip to Stratford-upon-Avon station to record the train, as these are the first DRS locos to have visited the town. On a sunny morning at Stratford there are very few options and none which involve the sun being in the right place for a properly lit photograph, so I had to make the best of a bad job and took this shot from the footbridge, albeit against the light. The sprinter substitute had started from Tyseley, run to Stratford via Henley-in-Arden, gone up the single track from Bearley Junction to Hatton where it reversed and came back to Stratford.
Here is 37612 waiting to leave Stratford-upon-Avon with the next leg of its trip, which included a run north along the North Warwickshire Line via Henley-in-Arden, a visit to Round Oak on the truncated Stourbridge Junction to Walsall line, and then another visit to Hatton via Dorridge and then back to Derby. The backlighting is impossible to avoid at this time of day and this makes the DRS livery a bit unclear, but at least the front end of the locomotive is instantly recognisable as DRS.
The platform-end signal had been showing a green aspect for several minutes, but the driver of 2Q08 waited until the booked time before easing his train along the platform and towards the points where it would join the up main line towards Bearley Junction and Henley-in-Arden.
This is the view turning around from the previous shot as 37605 tails 2Q08 off the pointwork and away from Stratford-upon-Avon. This is a rather untidy scene dominated by old track panels and the white fencing erected to halt the steam fans' love of trespass when the Shakespeare Express became a regular feature of summer Sundays. It's a great shame that this train didn't come to Stratford in the early afternoon as photography would have been a lot easier with the sun coming from the right direction!
Ashchurch MOD sees regular trains from Didcot, usually hauled by an EWS class 66, or very occasionally a 60. On Friday 1 February 2008, EWS were obviously short of power as they hired DRS's 37611 for the 6X36 working and here is the unprecendented sight of a DRS locomotive passing Ashchurch station with a single ferrywagons and eight flats loaded with personnel carriers. This wouldn't have been my first choice of location around Ashchurch but I had quite a slow journey from home and so had to drop in at the first possible spot so as not to risk missing it. There were closer places to which I could have gone, but thought it more interesting to record it at its destination.
Trains from the south to Ashchurch MOD have to run all the way to Worcester Yard for the locomotive to run-round the wagons before heading south again, running past the exchange sidings, reversing into the sidings and then along the branch. Here, 37611 is passing both the station at Ashchurch and the branch to the MOD depot. This track used to be the branch to Redditch which went on to Birmingham via Alvechurch and Barnt Green. The sun was pretty much straight down the track by this time but the scene was too rare not to be recorded.
It didn't take long for 37611 to leave the main line and propel its wagons along the Ashchurch branch. It is here seen doing this move, the first DRS locomotive to have been onto the branch, as far as I am aware. The sun had gone behind a cloud by this time, which helped the photograph no end and enabled me to get a wider angle from the west side of the adjacent roadbridge. There was no return traffic and the blue visitor was soon on its way back to Didcot working as a light engine.
I'm not a huge fan of railtours and tend not to go far for one. However a pair of EPS 37s, which one report I have read suggest may be be transferred to DRS and thus repainted, were rostered from Didcot for a Pathfinder tour from Southampton to York on Bank Holiday Monday, 7 May 2007 and as the weather was a bit on the dull side I was able to take a shot at Hatton North Junction. If had been sunny I should have had to have gone north of Birmingham as the sun between Leamington Spa and Birmingham would have been completely wrong. Here are 37603 + 37604 just about topping the 1/100 climb of Hatton Bank in quite misty and drizzly conditions. The load was increased by the weight of 47805 dead-in train at the rear - the locomotive that led the train from Southampton - and the extra weight was reflected in the speed of 1Z37, not to mention the exhaust noise of the tractors. Thankfully, a combination of the weather and the stock rostering put paid to simian behaviour by any of the participants.
This photograph was taken on 13 April 1997 at Croome Perry, often erroneously called Besford, during the afternoon of 13 April 1997. It shows 37717 with 6V14, the 08.35 Hull Saltend to Baglan Bay empty acetic acid tanks. This location wasn't really all that well-known, except by locals, at that time and the vegetation in the foreground was intact and made an attractive frame. It was noticeable that after a picture of a Deltic taken here was published it suddenly became more popular and the inevitable result was that a lot of undergrowth was removed by those who wanted to take their pictures at almost a right angle to the track regardless of the poor composition that this entailed. 645
A stock move from Bescot to Long Marston was planned for Tuesday 12 June 2007, but this was put back for a week and ran on 19 June. The motive power was 37410, which must arrived have very recently arrrived at Bescot as I had seen no reports on any email lists that it was there. The locomotive had no effect on my decision to photograph the train as I would have gone out regardless of whatever was on the front because of the booked consist which made the train look like a real old-fashioned pick-up freight. 6Z80 was booked to leave Worcester at 09.03 which is really about an hour early for the best of the light on the Cotswold Line as the sun is plumb on the front at that time. Fortunately, there was some high cloud around and this softened the light and avoided the harsh shadows that would otherwise have been present. I chose to go to Fladbury and the train is here seen passing the site of the long-closed station.
I wasn't sure whether I would make it to Long Marston before 6Z80 arrived because of roadworks around the village. In the event, I ignored the "Road Closed" signs as there was clearly nothing happening, and this, coupled with a late-running down passenger train, meant there was no problem. 37410 came into view on the branch at around 10.10 and arrived at the road bridge just one minute later. As far as I know, this is the first EWS red class 37 to have used the branch from Honeybourne for some years and is first of the 37/4 sub-class since 37418 did a Long Marston to Didcot on 15 October 2001. Apart from the colour of the locomotive, this could easily have been the trip freight from Worcester which ran here up until the early 1990s. Click on this hyperlink to have a closer look at the train's consist. I was slightly surprised to have been alone here for the arrival of 6Z80 and would have thought, given the popularity of 37s these days, even when doing a light engine trip, that one or two others would have been present. A few local friends did arrive shortly afterwards who had been a little further down the branch at a foot crossing. Thanks to Ron Kosys for the information about 37418 in 2001.
There wasn't a lot of time wasted getting 37410 uncoupled from the stock and it was soon making its way back along the branch to Honeybourne to await a path back to Worcester and thence Bescot. It's a shame there wasn't a trainload to come out on such a sunny morning, although the light would have made it a slightly difficult proposition on the branch and the main line at this time of day. The gate is already being shut by one of Motorail Logistics' staff who will return to the headquarters in the background on HNRC 0-6-0 No. 12082, which was stabled just out of sight.
In 1987 there were several Speedlink Coal Network (SCN) workings around the Birmingham area conveying household coal for domestic use. A regular flow was that from Washwood heath to Didcot and an example of this is here seen behind 37691 on the evening of 4 August of that year. I think this may have been an additional or late-running working as I don't recall seeing it on any other occasion. The location is the 3 arch bridge a few hundred yards south of Hatton station, which was quite a busy location at that time. This shot is still possible but undergrowth on the cutting sides has made it a tighter shot. This shot was taken on Kodachrome 64 and at the time, Kodak were having processing problems the result of which is the very poor quality especially evident in the sky. Shortly after this date I switched to the much superior (in my opinion) Fuji 100 in its various evolutions, a film with which I stuck until I started using digital equipment.
Not all of the Cotswold Line, from Worcester to Oxford, runs through verdant countryside. There are pockets of industry such as can be found at Chipping Campden and here is a SERCO train on 12 March 2007 passing some of the buildings associated with Campden Reseaarch Ltd. The train, running as 1Z14 09.56 Derby RTC to Oxford and Worcester was in the charge of 37608 and 37607 and was photographed shortly after passing the site of Chipping Campden station spot on time at 12.54. The station lay on a about a mile of level track at the summit of a 1/100 climb from Honeybourne and the start of a gentle descent to Oxford which covers around 30 miles. In steam days, the frequent freight trains on the then double track were usually banked from Honeybourne to Chipping Campden. Passengers trains didn't usually need assistance as the loadings were kept within the class limits for the various locomotives. GWR Castles were the largest express locomotives used on the line and those shedded at Worcester were renowned for their clean condition right to the end of steam. Hymeks replaced most of the steam by the mid-1960s, which in turn gave way to class 47s and latterly class 50s on the Paddington to Hereford runs. Locomotives were phased out in favour of HSTs and currently, most train are formed of class 180 Adelanti although Thames Turbos do appear from time to time.
In the summer timetable of 1989 there were several trains to and from Paignton booked for class 31/4 haulage. One of these was the Paignton to Liverpool and on 3 June of that year I was waiting near Stoke Works Junction, Bromsgrove to photograph this train. It was quite late and when it appeared the reason was apparent - the brakes on 31446 were stuck on and flames were coming from the trailing bogie. There was no way this would be allowed any near the Lickey incline so a quick trip round to Bromsgrove station was made. Sure enough, the train had been looped and   31424 + 31446 were in the process of being taken off - note the smoke and haze from the 2nd locomotive's rear bogie. The Lickey bankers, 37223 + 37242 were, of course, on site and they were soon tied onto the stock and took the train forward, to the delight of any bashers on board. The scene at Bromsgrove has dramatically changed in the intervening years; the oil depot has gone and a second platform has been built to avoid an awkward crossing movement for down local trains.
Here's a busy scene near Stenson Junction, north of Burton-upon-Trent, on 2 September 1994. 37098 is standing at the signal waiting to turn right onto the Castle Donnington line with its Bardon Hill to Healey Mills ballast train whilst 37886 powers south down the main line with 6V14, the MWFO Hull Saltend to Baglan Bay empty acetic acid tanks. Note the scrap wagons tagged onto the end of 6V14; these are probably heading to Cardiff. On the right is 58035 which has just left Willington power station with a rake of empty HAA hoppers.
Pathfinder Railtours ran a special train, The Bard 'n Birch, from Bristol to the Birch Coppice Branch, Stratford-upon-Avon and Quainton Road on 17 February 2007. The original idea was to have DRS 37s on this train, but in the event 37425 and 37411 were brought out of retirement and performed faultlessly after a trial run the previous night on a tank train from Westerleigh to Margam. It was a particularly dull and misty morning in Stratford, so I shelved my plans to chase around for three or four shots and settled on a five minute walk from my home to picture the train arriving at the station so as to have something solid in the background rather than just a bank of mist. The train was double-headed as far as Birch Coppice, but the locomotives were then split for the run to and from Stratford-upon-Avon to avoid the hassle of running round here, at Oxford and Princes Risborough. Here is 37425 leading the ensemble into Stratford, pictured from the Alcester Road bridge.
Passengers on the Bard 'n Birch were given an hour break at Stratford-upon-Avon and from what I could see made full use of a nearby fish and chip shop! After departure, 37411 led away form the town and is here seen leaving the Stratford branch at Hatton South Junction. There is evidence of re-signalling work on the trackside and this caused a 40-odd minute delay. The train was apparently too long and occupied two track circuits, meaning that the four sets of points had to operated and locked by a Network Rail man sent by van. If this is not a temporary problem whilst the work is ongoing, then Network Rail have made a bit of a silly mistake as locomotive-hauled trains to Stratford-upon-Avon are not all that unusual. This was as far as I went for the tour in view of the poor light. I have photographs of "real" trains on all the other lines visited and was happy to obtain no more than a few record shots on my local patch. I sort of dislike photographing popular railtours because of the number of bodies at the decent locations and the accompanying name dropping and general "bull".
After the delay mentioned above, the train now running as 1Z38 was given the road and 37411 moved it forward over the points onto the up main line. I took this picture only to have a record of a class 37 in the Stratford Branch platform at Hatton which, after all, is not an everyday occurrence. The station here is is rather messy, but that, to me, inceases the appeal of a photograph. When the area was manually signalled there was a box on the platform together with a canopy on each side for passengers' shelter and these made the framing of pictures more difficult than today. The challenge has simply changed over the years and when I look back over my pictures from the past 25 or so years it is interesting to see what impact the changes have had on how photographs can be taken. There were more photographers around Hatton station for this working than I have ever seen before. Passers-by would have assumed that a steam train was on the way...
6M67, the Bridgwater - Crewe nuclear flask train was running in the region of an hour early on 2 November 2007 when it came north past Defford in Worcestershire, passing Defford at 13.38 behind 37510 + 37194. I can't admit to getting fired up by these very short trains, despite the in-vogue motive power, but a bit of variety is OK on a sunny afternoon I suppose...
The perfect morning of 12 April 2003 saw 37698 + 37712 tackling the 1/37 climb from Bromsgrove up to Blackwell with Pathfinder's 1Z37 Reading to Knowsley, The Wizard Express. Whilst the Lickey is a great spot for video and audio entertainment in general, it is pretty poor for still photography, being almost featureless. This shot, taken from a public footpath near Vigo, exemplifies the lack of any interesting features. The video recording I took at the same time is a different matter with the two locomotives being worked at full power and being audible for long after they had gone out of shot.
The regular SERCO train was around again during the week of 12 October being scheduled on that day to run from Westbury to Eastleigh, but in the event this leg was cancelled and it ran back to Derby via Didcot, Oxford, Hatton and Birmingham. As I was on the scene I stayed out for the train, which is here seen at Hatton North Junction top-and-tailed by scruffy 37602 and slightly smarter 37611, not that the latter is visible.
37425 was around Didcot for several days in June 2003 and was predictably used to the fullest extent by the local crews. Its last working in the area was on 6M65, the Didcot to Carlisle service on 16 June, which the tractor worked as far as Bescot. The train was already on the way when I received the news so had to make do with the closest location to home, Hatton station. I should like to have taken the picture at Hatton North Junction but would not have had the time for the walk. With only a light load of two vans and some flats in tow, there wasn't a lot of noise, or indeed warning of the train's approach so this turned out to be very much a grab shot.
One of several freights no longer running on the line through Hatton is 6O72, the Wolverhampton to Hoo Junction empty steel train. By the date of this photograph, 23 May 2002, the motive power was usually a class 66, although occasionally a 60 and very rarely a 37. For it to be rostered a pair of tractors was most unusual so when 37109 + 37248 were reported on the overnight loaded run from Hoo it was uncertain whether they would stick to diagram and return south. Fortunately, the Bescot driver booked on the turn is an enthusiast and asked for the locomotives to stay on. Here is 6O72 passing Hatton West Junction with much horn blowing.
On 21 June 2002 celebrity 47, 47840 failed while on route to Bristol. Fortunately, DRS was running a road learning job at the time with 37606 and the blue tractor was requisitioned to rescue the errant Virgin loco. It is pictured here at Defford with the return 1S93 with the dead 47840 partially visible on the back on the train.
Another shot from Defford is this taken during the evening of 11 August 2002. 37521 + 37114 were booked to work a Cardiff to Liverpool footex, which turned into an ad-hoc railtour. I nearly didn't go out for this at all because the weather at home was dreadful and picked up just the Mamiya 645 containing black and white film. My wife said, "Why not take the one with colour - you never know?", so I grabbed my OM1 and drove off. As you can see, the black clouds blew away just in time...
New   In the days when the weedkilling train was locomotive-hauled I always hoped 1) that one of the Stratford-upon-Avon signalmen would remember to tell me about it, and 2) that the morning of the annual visit would be sunny. The normal arrival time at the terminus was around 05.45 so that the station area could be sprayed before the first passenger train to Birmingham left at 06.20. On 6 June 1984 one of the regular bobbies was on holiday in Australia and although the other regular man told me about the working, the relief signalman forgot about it and arrived late. I had been waiting by the box and could hear the bell ringing as the occupant of Bearley box tried to obtain the road for the train standing at his starter signal. The signalman arrived at his normal time and set to work by allowing 37164 and its vintage-looking train into the section. Here it is crossing from platform 1 to the up main photographed from the air raid shelter - a large concrete pipe covered with turf. If one stood on this spot today, albeit aided by levitation as the shelter has gone, the scene would be completely unrecognisable.
New   This photograph was taken from the westernmost end of the closed platform of Manchester Exchange station on 27 February 1986 and shows 37122 with some containers presumably from a refuse collection centre passing Deal Street signalbox. I always liked the industrial background to this area and tried to show it to best advantage on my visits here.
New   This picture was taken on 11 March 1993 and shows 37003 passing the station building at Moira, on the Coalville line. The train is the morning Bardon Hill to Doncaster ballast working. At Bardon Hill itself, the usual industrial shunter was out of use and 09104 had been hired-in to cover the shortage. Use   this hyperlink to see the 09 crossing the A50 road after collecting the empty hoppers from the exchange sidings, and   this one taken an hour or so later when they had been loaded and were on the way back to the main line.
New   In the middle 1980s, I used to visit Bescot quite frequently because of the variety of motive power then on offer. Class 37s were so common that a number of enthusiasts ignored them but I have always believed that one should take photographs of anything that moves, on the basis that nothing stays the same and at some not too distant future point it will have gone. Here is 37124 passing the station with a short steel train from the Walsall direction. I imagine that this was heading to Wolverhampton steel terminal; the circuitous routing being necessary because the junction with the main line is not accessible from the north. Note the plate above the drawhook; the lettering "HST" shows that this was one of the locomotives modified to make it suitable for hauling HSTs as and when necessary.
New   In the early 1990s class 37s found employment on a number of freightliner services between Crewe, Birmingham and Southampton. This picture shows 37185 + 37218 just north of Lapworth on 17 December 1992 with a very short Southampton to Crewe Basford Hall train. I was in the area and drove to a few bridges in the locality really just to have a look for any decent locations when this train appeared. At the time of day at which the picture was taken, just after midday, the sun was just a bit too straight into the lens for a good photograph, but at least the exhaust smoke shows up well...
New   Here is another shot of a pair of 37s on a freightliner train, this time a Lawley Street to Southampton working. It is seen approaching a signal check at Leamington Spa behind 37298 + 37238 on 9 March 1993. It was far from uncommon for freights to be checked here in order for a cross-country passenger to pass and on this occasion, 47810 came from the Coventry line, stopped in the platform and then went on south towards Poole.
New   To complete the story started with the shot of 37298 + 37238 in the picture above, here is 47810 passing the freightliner at Leamington Spa as it recommences its journey to Poole. 47810 is, at the beginning of 2007, still active within the Cotswold Rail fleet carrying the Virgin Trains red livery. I make no apology for including another shot in this location as I do like to show some trains in an identifiable setting. It is, of course, only possible to take this sort of passing shot in a station environment and I never regret having spent some time here in order to obtain these photographs.
New   The Longbridge to Cowley vans was one of the longest non-MGR trains to traverse the line between Birmingham and Oxford, regularly conveying load 23. The motive power was variable, seemingly being anything handy at Saltley at the right time, but I rarely saw a class 37 in charge. However, 37265 complete with Highland Terrier motif was used on 30 July 1985 and it is here seen accelerating out of "the dip" and towards Leamington Spa station. The heavy load made the locomotive work hard up the climb to Whitnash and I can still remember standing there listening to the racket as the train climbed the bank. One often reads today that 37s produce "top thrash" on the Mickey Mouse SERCO trains. Believe me, they don't when compared to a proper train!
Here is one of the re-engined class 37/9 locomotives, 37902, at Whitacre Junction on 13 May 1992. The first section of the train was a rake of scrap wagons from March heading for Margam in South Wales. The vans at the back of the train are more of a mystery and I suspect that these were added somewhere en-route. As always, I'd be pleased to here any additional informatiion via the "Contact" link on my index page. Added 16/02/2006. It is likely that these vans are empty VCAs returning from the Metal Box factory at Wisbech to the British Steel tinplate plant at Trostre, Llanelli. This traffic was the basis of one of the earliest Air-Braked Network freights, even before the start of Speedlink, and by the time the photo was taken was running as a dedicated 'Metals' sector train. Thanks for Brian Williams for this information. 645
One of the first locomotives adorned with a corporate livery was 37501, which received the light blue house colours of British Steel, latterly Corus. The locomotive is seen here passing Washwood Heath No. 5 signalbox in the company of sister loco 37502 with a lightweight Cardiff to Scunthorpe empty steel train. The date of this photograph is 14 May 1988 - the last Saturday of class 31s on Birmingham to Norwich services. The light did not get any better than very hazy all day, but as this is my only even half-decent picture of 37501 in this livery...645
Every couple of weeks the NMT HST runs on Friday afternoon from Swansea to Derby. On 28 July the scheduled run, 1Z94, was in the hands of DRS class 37s, 37607 and 37612 as the NMT power cars were unavailable. I had mixed feelings about this, as although the colour contrast between the blue and yellow locomotives and stock is attractive, I haven't, through various circumstances, managed to get a decent shot of the full HST on this working. Still, I expect that an opportunity will present itself before the nights start to draw in again. Whilst most of the afternoon had seen unbroken sun, at around 17.00 quite a bit of cloud began, as usual, to spill off the Malvern Hills a few miles to the north west. A large patch had just cleared as 1Z94 came into view, much to the relief of the small gallery.
In recent years the SERCO test train has made regular runs over the Cotswold Line between Worcester and Oxford. Today, 11 September 2006, it was powered by DRS class 37s, 37602 and 37605. Here is the return working from Oxford to Worcester passing the site of Wyre Halt in the village of Wyre Piddle, near Pershore. In the middle background are the villages of Lower Moor and Fladbury with the limestone escarpment of the Cotswold Hills being visible through the afternoon haze. The patchwork of fields is typical of the Vale of Evesham, with many market gardens and smallholdings being in evidence. There is also free fruit in abundance and I spent a pleasant hour picking blackberries from the hedgerows around Lower Moor. There were some brownie points from Mrs T. then......
The SERCO train, 1Z14, was booked to run from Derby to Oxford via Worcester and then back to Worcester on 27 November 2006. I haven't really taken the photograph of this train I wanted over the past couple of years so hoped that this run would be different. It was the train I wanted and didn't much care what the motive power was but it turned up, as usual, with DRS 37s, this time 37610 + 37607. Strangely for a class 37 job, I saw no postings until it reached Norton Junction, only about 10 minutes from where I was waiting, just north of Evesham station. The train appeared in the distance and absolutely crawled towards the signal box, just as a very large and dark bank of cloud was racing towards the sun. Luckily, it all worked out fine for once...
The arrangements for the single lines from Norton Junction to Evesham and from Evesham to Moreton in Marsh have recently been changed meaning that a token exchange at the signal box at Evesham is no longer necessary. The train therefore crawled along, still in sun, to get into the up platform at the station to await the passage of a northbound passenger service from Paddington. Here it is edging forward past some rather untidy clutter in the small yard.
Before the token arrangements were changed at Evesham, it was possible to take a long lens off the camera after a shot by the 'box and replace it with something wider to obtain a shot of the train passing the forlorn-looking signal gantry with its one remaining arm. Now that the train doesn't need to stop at the signal box there isn't time to do the lens swap, so I took both cameras armed with the appropriate lenses in order to get this final image. I can never decide which of the options I prefer so have uploaded all three, this third view showing the rapidly approaching dark sky somewhat better than those taken with a longer lens.
4L46 Ditton to Purfleet has been one of the "must-have" trains for many enthusiasts since Easter 2006, except for me, as I hadn't even seen the train until today. For most, the locomotives have been the only point of interest about the working - class 37, despite having been in service for around 40 years seems to have an almost slavacious following. I don't often bother with them now, but as today's working with 37059 + 37069 was reported as being the final run, I decided to swallow my principles and have a pop at it. It is seen here, as poorly loaded as normal, crossing to the up slow at Tamworth Low Level heading, no doubt, towards a bevy of cameras further up the WCML.
Class 37s 37669 + 37670 have been quite active in the weeks since reinstatement. Today, 4 April 2006, saw them on a longish run from Margam to Round Oak when they were diagrammed for 6M41. This train is booked at Abbotswood Junction at 16.45, making it a conveniently respectable time for an early departure from work. It is seen here approaching the junction at 16.54, having made up some time from being around 30 minutes late earlier in the afternoon. What a pity it couldn't have been just a couple of minutes later, when the sun would have been fully out...
The empty coaching stock from a railtour from Rugby to Whitby and return to Coventry ran from the latter location to Old Oak Common on Sunday 30 April 2006. The locomotives from the tour, 37419 + 37425, were booked to do the job. I remembered that I hadn't bothered to go out and get a picture of 37425 since repainting so thought, as it was so close to home, that I'd better make the effort. 37419 was also reported as being a candidate for storage after the run and this was the final incentive I needed. The weather was a bit on the dull side which is displayed in this picture of 5Z46 climbing the bank away from Leamington Spa station.
New   On 6 May 1989 the Growler Group ran a railtour from Wolverhampton to South Wales, where several colliery lines, including the threatened branch to Tower, were traversed with the help of 37702 added to the rear at Radyr. The train is seen here passing Longbridge behind 37355 after running from its starting point via Bescot, New Street, St. Andrews Junction and the Camp Hill freight line. 645
One of my favourite lines in the Midlands is that running from Stenson Junction, between Burton-on-Trent and Derby and Sheet Stores Junction near Toton. In 1993 it carried quite a variety of traffic and it was usual to see representatives of classes 31, 37, 47, 56, 58 and latterly 60 on a daily basis. This picture shows 37515 with a heavy ballast train from Stud Farm en-route to Healey Mills. This train was often 47-hauled so it was good to see and hear a heavyweight tractor on 25 October 1993.
In 1993 class 37s were still an everyday sight in South Wales and were so commonplace that one tended only to photograph them in good conditions. Here, on 18 November, is 37191 about to propel a short ballast train from, I guess, Machen quarry into the yard at East Usk near Newport. The so-called "Dutch" livery wasn't one of my favourites, but it did suit 37s slightly better than 33s and 56s.
Looking the other way from the shot above, but on the same day, this is 37802 heading west with a rake of hooded MGR hoppers. This train of empties had originated at Llanwern steelworks, visible in the background. It was fascinating to see, on occasions, great gouts of flame coming from the convertors at the steelworks. This must have been even better in the dark. The semaphore signal in the middle ground protects the exit from the Uskmouth branch. At this time there was but one trip each to and from the Orb steelworks, but in 2006 it is somewhat busier with several trains on some days going to the reopened power station.
Stud Farm quarry on the Coalville line provides a great deal of the railway ballast used in the Midlands. In 1995, class 37s were the primary motive power used here and here is 37051 leaving the loader with a long rake of hoppers bound for Northampton. This locomotive was one of the later survivors of the class in general use. 645
37308 was repainted into BR blue and immediately becams something of celebrity. The loco is seen here at Whitacre Junction on 14 August 2003 with 4P15 Daventry to Hams Hall intermodal flat move. I was "round the corner" at Lea Marston when a call to one of assembled gallery announced this move. A mass exodus naturally took place and we all arrived in time to get this shot. 37308 was indentifiable not only by its paintwork, but by a loud whine which came presumably from one of the traction motors. 645
An earlier picture from Whitacre Junction is this one taken on 13 May 1992. It shows 37213 passing the junction with a rake of HTAs from Daw Mill colliery which is en-route to Gobowen. In my opinion, the coal sector markings were the most attractive of the sub-sector decals and suited 37s especially well. 645
This picture, and the one below are from my one and only trip to the Barnetby area. Here are 37106+37381 in matching metals sub-sector colours with a load of imported iron ore heading for the steelworks at Scunthorpe on 13 January 1990.645
I couldn't decide if I preferred this picture at New Barnetby or the one above, so as the locomotives are in different liveries and have different front ends, I opted to upload both. This one is of 37377+37225 with another load of iron ore.645
On 18 June 2005 a Pathfinder Railtours train ran from Sheffield to Pwllheli behind 37406. Actually, it should have run to Pwllheli but ended up in Blackpool for reasons far too tedious to list here. [A full description of the travails suffered by the punters on 1Z56 can be found by clicking this link and navigating via the Railtour Files to 18/6/2005  Six Bells Junction]. The multi-coloured train is here seen passing Kingsbury just a little late in poor light.
The Hallen Marsh (Bristol) to Immingham train of fertiliser vans was a regular Saturday morning runner until the early 1990s. The motive power was usually a class 47 by this time, 45s having been displaced a few years earlier, but on the frosty morning of 3 November 1990, 37359 was provided. The ensemble is seen here, just catching the low winter sun, passing the now-closed Rover factory at Longbridge in the West Midlands. The scene here has been transformed by the erection of overhead catenary used by the Redditch to Lichfield Cross City services.
This is a train that nearly escaped through the net. 37612+37606 were on a 4Z10 St.Phillips Marsh to Derby RTC. No advance postings appeared until my BlackBerry beeped at 12.35 to say that the train had just passed Aynho Junction. A bit of indecision followed, because of 1) the awful light and 2) not knowing what was the booked route from Leamington Spa. Guessing that it would be heading back to Derby meant that a quick drive to the nearest spot was in order, where it appeared at 13.14, right behind the Chiltern service to Stratford-upon-Avon. The light was even worse than at home but 400asa, 1/1000 at f2 produced a reasonable image after a bit of post processing. Thanks to the gen posters and those with access to certain computer systems for the requisite information.
I am not a great fan of the static shot, but now and again one comes along which asks to be taken. 37042 is seen here stabled at Didcot along with 37897, 60099 and 66052. It was remarkable that 37042 survuved as long as it did; no doubt this was due to it being fitted with RETB which allowed its use on ballast and special trains on the Cambrian line. 645
Locomotive-hauled trains are not all that common on the Cotswold line and a working that is always worth looking out for is the regular SERCO test train. This picture of 37372 and 37674 was taken on Monday 16 February 2004 near Pershore. Class 37s were in use because the next stage of the diagram starting the following day involved a trip to West Wales where heavier locos, including the class 67s now almost solid power for the SERCO train, are banned. A working earlier this year saw 67s in use on the Monday on the Derby - Oxford - Worcester section, but these were replaced with 47s for the rest of week, including West Wales. 645
I was at work on the morning of 15 February 2001 when a signalman friend rang to say that 37799 had earlier taken a trainload of cars to Southampton and would be coming north on the early afternoon 6M49. As it was a beautiful day, I awarded myself the afternoon off for good behaviour and decided on Hatton North Junction as a suitable location. Not only did 37799 appear on cue, but I also photographed Loadhaul 60059 on the 6M01 from Hinksey to Stud Farm and 47334 in place of usual class 57 on the 4M55 Southampton to Lawley Street freightliner. The other two shots are in the appropriate sections of this site. The picture shows Hatton North Junction before remodelling and the removal of the boarded crossing in favour of a new footbridge. 645
Some golden late afternoon sunshine catches 37131 as it pauses at a signal check in Moreton Cutting, Didcot on 17 January 1989 with 6V32, the Speedlink Coal Network train from Chessington, a location long since taken off the freight map. 645
This is 37515 passing Tutbury & Hatton on the Uttoxeter line on 13 April 1995 with an additional working from Tees to Etruria. The shot was taken using a 210mm lens in order to compress the perspective and bring the interesting background into clearer view. Since the closure of the steelworks at Etruria, freight on this line has become rather patchy, which is a shame because there are some lovely locations all the way from North Staffordshire Junction to Stoke-on-Trent. This picture is slightly cropped for impact and you may find that a left click will improve it if you are viewing on a small monitor. 645
Much to my regret, I did not make many trips to the South Wales valleys. One of the few was to photograph 37412 on 10 May 1996 when it was unusually rostered to work to Pontycwmmer on the Blaengarw branch with a rake of HAAs to be filled and taken to Aberthaw Power Station. Here, the mechanical grab is at work filling the 2nd hopper with reclaimed coal from the former opencast site. 645
I couldn't decide whether I preferred the tighter shot of 37412 shown above or this wider view, so have included both. 645
37408+37411 at Croome Perry with a 6T95 09.30 Bescot - Newport ADJ train on Saturday 11 December 2004. The working was used to return the 2 ETH machines to South Wales for use on the Rhymney line. For once, the sun co-operated and the driver, somehow sensing that a video camera may have been waiting here for his train, gave the locos a handful of power as he came under the occupation bridge at the rear of the train. The sun had been in and out all morning and judging from reports on various mailing lists the 4 of us at Croome Perry were among very few who had the luck to photograph the train in this glorious winter light. 37411 is still in South Wales but has been repainted into a 1960s style green livery.
The summer of 2001 saw Freightliner experience some motive power shortages, especially on the routes to Southampton via the Midlands. Several trains were 37 hauled, some by EWS tractors and others by 37/6 ex - "Euro-Tractors". One of these I photographed was 37605 on the 4M55 Southampton to Lawley Street. I had been near Burton-on-Trent on 17 August 2001 and was nearly home when my 'phone rang. I pulled into a lay-by near Bearley to be told by a signalman friend that this huge working had just passed Banbury. A rapid turnaround and quick drive to the nearest available location found me at Hatton station. I just had time to set up my still and video cameras when the unmistakeable noise of a 37 being thrashed being audible. The train was not moving very rapidly given that it was towing some 1300 tonnes and the resulting video footage was rather tasty.
On 5 July 2001 the 4O27 Crewe Basford Hall to Southampton had 37051 in charge and the train is pictured here climbing towards Harbury tunnel between Leamington Spa and Fenny Compton. This was not an especially good location for railway photography given the amount of intruding undergrowth, but at this time of day, 13.34 there isn't a lot of choice if the sun is shining. The trailing load was in excess of 1200 tonnes and the ruling gradient 1/187 following a speed restriction through Leamington Spa station. The train was travelling at little over walking pace and the noise was enormous. Yes, I do have the video evidence this time! 645
Another of these noisy workings ocurred on 7 September 2001 when 37605 again worked 4M55. I had more warning this time and went to another location on Hatton Bank with some video footage in mind. Once again, the train was audible for some time before it appeared and could be heard well beyond Hatton station as it passed the summit of the climb from Warwick.
For a change on 21 September 2001, 37605 worked a southbound liner, the 4O24 09.37 from Crewe Basford Hall to Southampton. It was originally booked to be on an earlier service, 4O14 which arrived in the sun behind a class 47. By the time this train passed Whitnash, near Leamington Spa, the sun had gone, but once again black & white film and video did what was necessary. Trains here face quite a stiff southbound climb from Leamington and have a speed restriction around the curves just beyond the station. This meant that the video footage was again the highlight of the morning's entertainment.
The final shot in this short sequence of 37-hauled freightliners is this of 37038 assisting 37605 on 4O27 11.13 Crewe Basford Hall to Southampton on 15 September 2001. The location is Harbury Cutting, a location again chosen mostly for the chance to get the train on videotape. The still shot wasn't too bad, except for the leading locomotive just missing the sun.
37350 was, in 1988, selected to receive green livery similar to that carried when the class was first introduced. The locomotive is seen heading through Kings Norton, Birmingham on 10 September 1988 with 1Z36 Reading to Middlesborough, which is overtaking a 3 car DMU on a local passenger service.. The train was routed along the GWR main line to Bristol Temple Meads and thence via via Gloucester to Birmingham. This scene has somewhat changed since this shot was taken with the advent of electrification on the Cross City line.645
The memorable Basingstoke Open Day, held on 26 September 1987, included a couple of local railtours using motive power rare for the area, at least on passenger trains. 37116 was used on several trips and this one is seen during the afternoon at Worting Junction while returning from Andover.645
Turning around from the shot of the 37 assisting a GWR Hall shown above and going back in time some 6 years, here is the very popular Saturday evening Leeds to Southampton freightliner. I remember this one well, as the train had been checked at a signal just around the bend and the locomotives, 37298+37225 were really making themselves heard across the Warwickshire countryside. This shot has virtually disappeared now that the infant trees planted as a sound barrier have grown up. 645 See this digital image taken on 20 June 2005 for a comparison  67020 on 5X61
A few miles to the south of the previous shots is Hatton bank, for many years a favourite location for railway photography. 37139 is seen climbing the bank and only just catching the sun on 6 May 1988 with the afternoon Didcot to Washwood Heath spreedlink service, mostly consisting of various types of coal hoppers. 645
This is the sort of train that would today get the BlackBerries buzzing and mobile phones ringing all over the country. 37372 was collared at Birmingham New Street on 20 July 1991 to take a Manchester to Bristol train forward. This was presumably because the diagrammed class 47 was unavailable. I wonder if any of the admiring enthusiasts and bashers recognise themselves?
Another black white image shows 37223 descending the bank from Dudley towards Great Bridge with a short rake of coal hoppers from Pensnett. The shot was taken on an exceptionally dull 15 June 1987. I took several pictures in the area during the day, all on 35mm negative film and not one was anything properly exposed, so poor were the lighting conditions.
A third monochromatic image depicts 37417+37370 leaving Hereford with the Sunday Burngullow to Irvine china clay slurry train, following a crew change in the through road. At this time, the tanks were relatively new and deserved the popular name, "The Silver Bullets" afforded to them by the popular railway press.
On 23 July 1999 the Baglan Bay to Humber discharged LPG tanks had not succumbed to class 66 haulage. 37709 is seen here near Up Hatherley on the outskirts of Cheltenham with this working at the time of day when the sun was at its highest and least suitable for photography. 645
As mentioned elsewhere in this section, I liked the old-style railway atmosphere around Wednesbury, although I did not visit it as much as I should have liked. This picture of 37197 heading south towards Cardiff on the evening of 22 June 1990 was taken from the former GWR line which had crossed at this point. For anyone interested in the traffic in this area in the 1970s, have a look at the "Wednesbury" section of this  Andy Williams Railway Photos  for some superbly researched details from 1970s signalbox registers.
The weekend of 31 May and 1 June 2003 saw a couple of Pathfinder specials working to the Crewe open days. The first ran on Saturday and is pictured here storming away from Leamington Spa on the single line to Coventry behind 37517+37695.645
The second of the Pathfinder trains to the Crewe open day ran on Sunday 1 June 2003 and is seen here leaving Droitwich on line to Kidderminster and Birmingham The locomotives are 37674+37503 and were photographed from a convenient lay-by on the A38 trunk road.645
Into the heart of the Black Country for the next photograph. This is 37263 on the now-closed Stourbridge Junction to Bescot freight line near Dudley Port with the morning Radyr to Bescot train. I spent a few hours here on the morning of 17 May 1991 and although the weather was pretty awful there was a decent variety of trains, including 2 37s, a pair of 20s, a 47 and a track machine.
I revisited the area shown in the picture above a couple of months later and took this image of 37048 from the bridge visible in the background. This time the train was the Round Oak to Boston empty steel working pictured on 26 July 1991. This train had recently gone over to 37 haulage from pairs of class 20s. Unusually for one of my trips to the Black County, the weather wasn't too bad and, as can be seen from the slight shadow thrown by the 37, the sun was trying to make an appearance.
This photograph was taken at the now-closed Charringtons oil depot at Brownhills in Staffordshire, which was situated on the remaining part of the Ryecroft Junction to Lichfield line. It was always a bit tricky to get well-lit photographs here as, by and large, the trains ran only in the winter months, arrived in the dark and usually left after 15.00. On 13 November 1997 37220+ 37158 were allocated to the train, 7L60, and are seen sitting in the last remaining patch of very weak sunlight in which the train crew were kind enough to place the train for me. On this occasion, the train was late leaving because there were 6 or 7 unlagged tanks in the consist which meant that the heavy oil had become less liquid meaning in turn that it took much longer for the steam heating mechanism at the depot to soften it sufficiently for it to be pumped out.
This shot was taken on the same day as the one above before the train crew arrived at Anglesea Sidings, Brownhills by van from Toton and while the sun was reasonably strong. 37220+37158 were stabled in a siding while the heavy oil from Thameshaven heated by the steam just visible, was unloaded in 2 separate roads. The depot staff at Brownhills were always most friendly and accomodating when I visited and were quite happy for me to wander around at will to take my photographs. The former through line from Ryecroft Junction, currently under investigation as a candidate for re-opening, is just visible between the bush and telegraph post on the extreme left of the picture.
This train was source of a certain amount of confusion on the morning of 18 March 2005. The word was out that 37427 was allocated to a Washwood Heath to Hinksey working conveying concrete sleepers but was running about 4 hours late - in fact so late it hadn't left. The booked route was via Coventry to Leamington Spa but with such a delayed departure I suspected a new schedule may have been concocted and that it would follow the normal route for this working - via Hatton. I duly arrived there at around 8.30am but by 9.20 was beginning to doubt my hunch and was about to pack up and bolt over to Tile Hill on the Coventry line. No sooner had this thought entered my head than I heard an unmistakeable noise in the distance as 37427, by now heading for Eastleigh after Hinksey, rounded the curve about a mile away at Hatton North. Yet again, the light wasn't up to much, but with so few 37s left.............
37401 was allocated to the Birch Coppice working on 17 March 2005. The outward train ran via Lea Marston while I was on the Kingsbury Loop but I was luckier with the return which passed this location on the Kingsbury Jct to Whitacre Jct slow line quite early at 11.14. Once again, the sun refused to appear but the shot just had to be taken given the celebrity status of this locomotive. The signal protecting the junction had cleared to green as the train left the long straight and the driver was just "giving it some welly" as my shot was taken.
On Monday 21 March Bescot again turned out 37401 for the 6G36/6G42 Birch Coppice trip. The first shot shows the train just beyond Kingsbury Junction slowing for the right-hand turn onto the Kingsbury branch. This shot was taken in hazy light at 09.40.
The next picture was taken at 09.54 near Piccadilly on the outskirts of Kingsbury and clearly shows that the first wagon in particular has received some attention from local artists.
Once the wagons had been exchanged for the rake taken into Birch Coppice last Friday, the return working departed and was pictured passing the Kingsbury Link industrial estate near Wood End at 10.30.
The final shot in this short sequence was taken at Whitacre Heath on the slow lines between Kingsbury and Whitacre Junctions at 11.17. If I had been more on the ball another shot would have been possible as the train was held on the branch for some minutes before being allowed to pass Whitacre Junction. From where I was standing waiting for the 6V40 Lackenby to Llanwern steel slabs I heard 6G42 make an impressively loud departure towards Coleshill.
The North Warwickshire line sees few locomotive hauled trains so when I was told that weedkiller was due to visit on 22 July 1998 I decided that my shot had to be taken somewhere recognisable rather than in an anonymous piece of countryside. Henley-in-Arden was the obvious choice given that is still has a signalbox (albeit switched out in the afternoon) and semaphore signals. 37114 is seen topping the weedkilling train, which was tailed by 37431, in the early afternoon.
37706 is pictured here approaching Basingstoke station at 08.50 on the up slow line during the lovely morning of 28 September 1990. The train was certainly a Micheldever to Ripple Lane working and as nothing was shown in the WTT for this time of day I assume it was an overnight job running very late. I was waiting for the 09.20 Class 442 to Waterloo on my way to Kent - the shot in my Class 33 section of 33033+33063 between Bexley and Crayford was taken later on so the weather, for once, was perfect all day.
Enthusiasts in the Midlands were delighted when 37402 appeared at Bescot and worked some local trips. On 14 January 2005 it was allocated to a 6Z25 09.00 Bescot to Didcot job which, in the event, didn't leave the former until around 10.25. The late departure was an advantage as far the light was concerned and my shot shows it rolling down Hatton Bank at 12.08. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few photographers out for this working although I was alone at my location. To see Andy Williams' shot taken from the roadbridge immediately north of Hatton station, use this link.... Andy Williams' picture.
A train that has long since stopped running is 6E21, the 08.20 Baglan Bay to Humber pressurised gas tanks. It is pictured here near Croome Perry behind 37708 at 14.25 on 23 May 1997.
One of the most likely turns for a class 37 has until recently been the 6G36/6G42 Bescot to Birch Coppice and return. On 14 March 2003 37114 was provided and is seen here running off the Kingsbury Loop at Whitacre Junction rather late at 12.53. The scene here has changed since this photograph was taken. The trees on the extreme right have disappeared and more recently, pallisade fencing has been erected on the same side. The bridge has also been replaced meaning that steps are required for most shots, although it is possible to photograph something coming off the Nuneaton line without extra height.
In 1990 the Gulf Albion oil terminal, just off the Birmingham to Wolverhampton near Dudley Port, was still open and receiving regular trains from Waterstone refinery in West Wales always with pairs of 37s in charge. The returning empties ran via the Sutton Park freight line and 37220+37215 are pictured here passing the long-closed station at Sutton Coldfield on 13 July.
The sunny Saturday morning of 27 March 1999 saw an ECS working from Tyseley to Birmingham New Street in connection with a railtour organised by Eagle Railtours. The attraction was obviously DRS's 37610+37607 in their attractive blue livery. The stock is seen here climbing from Bordesley to St. Andrews junctions in Birmingham. The curvature of the line here is such that the back of a decent length train is always lost. This location is yet another to have received the pallisade fencing treatment.
A Saturday morning Washwood Heath to Peak Forest was a popular working for enthusiasts around Birmingham in 1988 as it was virtually guaranteed to turn up with a pair of Buxton red-stripe 37/6s. Here, 37677+37684 thunder towards Water Orton on 24 September 1988. Compare the wagons on this train with those on the following shot of the same train taken earlier that year.
This is the shot mentioned above showing 37684+37676 on the Washwood Heath to Peak Forest stone empties just about catching the sun beyond Water Orton on the frosty morning of 6 February 1988.
The area around Barrow Hill offered, in 1990, the opportunity to photograph quite a variety of motive power including 37s on trains such as the Tess - Margam and the Lackenby - Corby carrying steel coil. The latter is seen here approaching Barrow Hill yard behind steel sector's 37506+37512 on 22 August.
I have always liked freightliners and for obvious reasons they are particularly suited to colour photography. In 1993 and 1994 there were at least a couple of regular workings in the Midlands with class 37 haulage, the most popular of which was the Saturday afternoon Leeds to Southampton service. Between May and September, given some decent light, it was possible to go to one of several locations and photograph 3 southbound liners and with a bit of luck, a northbound coal train. The main focal point was, of course, the Leeds train and here is a view of it taken at Bentley Heath, near Dorridge. The exhaust smoke is testament to the work the locos were doing in recovering from a signal check while a DMU service terminating at Dorridge was shunted out of the way. The date was 30 April 1994, the time 18.03 and the locos 37131+ 37225. I wish I had owned a video camera in those days............
Another freightliner placed into the capable hands of 37s in the summer of 1993 was the early afternoon Lawley Street to Southampton train. This, from memory, did not load as well as the Leeds train and I recall it being very short on several occasions and once, at least, ran light engine as there was no traffic. However, on 7 May 1993, it was a full length set and is pictured below near Kings Sutton behind 37068+37261. I heard the train leave Banbury just after I arrived and was probably shaking by the time it reached me at 14.27. See my previous comments about a video camera!
Later the same afternoon, at 17.32 to be precise, 37298 appeared heading north on the MOD train from Didcot, the traffic for which originated from Bicester COD. This was the last shot of the day and this 37 was the 10th loco-hauled in about 3.5 hours. You couldn't do that there today!
In 1996, one of my favourite trains, the Bath & Bristol to Calvert binliner was diagrammed for heavyweight class 37 haulage. Here, 37715 is shown making good progress along the freight-only Claydon Junction to Bicester line with 4V60, the returning empties. The date was 11 April 1996 and the time was 12.03 as the train approached Launton Crossing. It was running a little later than usual and the crew, from Didcot, were clearly keen to get to Bicester so as to be able to take up their booked path forward, which meant a 12.17 departure from the signal protecting London Road.
As with all railway-related matters nothing ever goes according to plan and on 9 December 1994 the usual heavyweight 37 was not available for the "Avon Bins" which led to a very welcome substition by 37012+37057. The light at Calvert itself was none too clever so the first colour shot was taken as the train accelerated away from Bicester London Road right on time at 12.20.
Now, be honest. Having just seen that spectacle at Bicester, wouldn't you have jumped into the car and thrashed down the A34 (pre-speed cameras!) to Didcot for another crack at the bins? I did, arriving with 3 minutes to spare only to find that some comedian in the signalling centre had decided to cross the train over onto the main line instead of the relief it usually occupied. Still, nothing to be done about it and the shot was taken at 12.57 in increasingly murky light largely the result of steam from the nearby power station on this cold day.
Didcot Power Station is well known for consuming vast quantities of imported coal from Avonmouth Docks. It also needs regular trains of fuel oil which until recently came from South Wales. On 18 February 1998 I photographed the then weekly train leaving the coal and ash loop behind 37889+47519, both under power, with the empty tanks. It just caught the last rays of daylight being photographed at 16.05.
Moving to the Birmingham to Cheltenham line on 11 May 2001 finds 37415+37503 running down the goods loop at Ashchurch with 6V52 Ironbridge Power Station to Cardiff Tidal empty oil tanks. The light was past the best by 17.35 when the train appeared as the sky had become rather hazy. Still, 37s on this train were not common by now and the picture had to be taken.
This picture, taken from the old roadbridge at Ashchurch, shows 37689 leaving the branch with flats from the MOD depot on 16 December 1999. The branch has only recently reopened to traffic and I believe this was the 2nd train to run from Didcot to the depot.
Chiltern Trains ran several railtours from, not surprisingly, some of the main stations on the Chiltern Line, usually using class 37 power. The excursion run on 26 March 1994 was of particular interest to me as it was allocated Regional Railways 37414 with mostly matching stock and was booked along the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line. The attraction for me was the chance to photograph something on Wellington station's down through line which was not much used at the time as can be seen by the layer of rust both on the up and down lines. Coincidentally, a Hertfordshire Railtours 125 tour also ran this way on the same day, giving the chance for a couple of different viewpoints.
Here is another shot taken at Wellington, this time on Saturday 7 September 1991. It shows 37418 in Petroleum Sector livery with the morning Cambrian line train to Birmingham as it pulls out of the station.
The next few pictures show a popular Saturday morning train (popular with me at least!) - the 6V70 Cliffe Vale - St. Blazey empty china clay working. It was booked for, and almost always produced a pair of 37/6 locos although on this occasion 37412 was the 2nd loco being led by 37673. The shot below was taken at Standish Junction, south of Gloucester on the frosty morning of 6 October 1993. Engineering work on the junction had caused a 20 mph speed restriction at this point and I recall the locos making some quantity of racket as they accelerated away towards Cornwall.
The next view of 6V70 was taken at Defford on 21 October 1993. Strangely, although this is a good southbound shot in the morning, I never saw another photographer here for this or any other train until the last few weeks of the Virgin 47s, when those disliking crowds gave up on Croome Perry (aka Besford). The locomotives on this occasion were 37674+37671.
Moving further south to Stonehouse in Gloucestershire 6V70, this time hauled by 37671+37670 is seen accelerating away from a signal check made necessary by a class 142 pacer being routed in front of the freight from Gloucester.
The final shot in this short sequence was a real piece of luck. Pam and I were on the way to our holiday cottage in North Devon and happened to arrive at Junction 27 of the M5 (Tiverton Parkway) at 12.35. Knowing that 6V70 was due there at about that time and that class 60 was about to take over this train, I obtained clearance (!) to park up in the lay-by and wait for a few (undefined number) minutes. At 12.41 a large yellow nose appeared in the distance and 2 minutes later this shot was obtained. The sun was perhaps a little too straight but beggars cannot be choosers and all that and, as far as I know, this was the final run of train with class 37 power. In case you are wondering, yes the weather was equally good for the whole of our Autumn break!
On Sunday 21 August 1994 both Pathfinder and Hertfordshire Railtours ran special trains to an open day at Crewe. I'm not a fan of these events but the opportunity to photograph a couple of diesel-hauled passenger trains on the WCML appealed, especially as it was a warm and sunny day. In the event, things didn't turn out quite as I had hoped but in retrospect the outcome was more interesting than envisaged. Pathfinder offered 37903+37906 from Bristol, the train being circuitously routed via Birmingham and Nuneaton. My choice of location was Tamworth Low-Level station in order to get a recognisable background. As you can see, the slugs were routed on the down fast line and 33208+33116 on Hertfordshire's train was looped into the platform line. The noise from the tractors was enormous as the driver opened up as he passed the 33s - a clearly intentional bit of taunting! A shot of the Cromptons appears in the Class 33 section.
In September 1995 a shortage of units resulted in some Cardiff to Birmingham trains being loco-hauled. The obvious choice of power was class 37/4 - usually 37412 - at least on the occasions I saw the working. Here is that locomotive rounding the curve at Stoke Prior, just south of Bromsgrove on 28 September 1995 with the 10.43 Birmingham New Street to Cardiff. As you can see from the sky, the sun was in and out but performed right on cue for this train.
The Cardiff to Birmingham train produced locomotive intermittently for a couple of weeks. Despite having no "gen", I went to Defford on the beautiful afternoon of 8 October just in case the 15.XX from Cardiff produced. As you can see, it did, and unusually included a RES van in the consist. The loco? 37412 again and the shot was taken at 16.43 - not bad for October. 645
No account of class 37 in the Midlands would be complete without a view of the 6V14 Hull Saltend to Baglan acetic acid tanks. This location has probably seen more photographs taken of the train than any other in the area and depicts 37708 at Croome Perry on the sunny afternoon of 23 May 1997.
37711 is seen hauling the 6V14 Hull to Baglan Bay "vinegar tanks" towards Burton-on Trent on 10 September 1997.