Class 58 never quite seemed to get the enthusiast following of other diesel classes. Maybe this was was because they spent much of their time hauling coal trains around the country and became too common a sight or perhaps they were simply too quiet to be noticed until they were on the way out. I quite like them and hope that the following pictures will give a taste of their workings in the Midlands.

Class 58s were diagrammed for the Avon binliner from Calvert to Bath and Bristol in 1996. 58041 is pictured here at Water Eaton Farm near Islip with the returning empty containers on 4 April 1996. This was a bridge on a private road to the farm and on my first trip there, without knowing this important fact, I arrived in the farmyard to be met by the landowner asking what was I doing. I told him amd asked permission to walk to his bridge. He said that he was sorry, but no as they had had some problems with security issues. As he was saying this he noticed my parking pass for my then office on the windscreen of my car. He pointed it out and asked if I knew so-and-so and a few others. Yes, I did and was welcomed like a long-lost brother, told I was welcome any time after a phone call and told to report to the farm house later for coffee and a cake!
The train shown above was running very early so after coffee and cake at Water Eaton Farm I still had time to drive to Bicester London Road. The Calvert to Bath empty binliner had to wait there for a path over the single track to Oxford North Junction and invariably followed one of the few passenger trains to run over the line. This shot was taken from the level crossing (or nearly from the crossing if the truth be told as a tree was growing in just the wrong place) as 58041 waited for permission for the driver to leave the cab and operate the plunger in the box to the right of the signal post which started up the warning lights and lowered the barriers over the road. The scene here today is very different as this is now a busy double track main line linking the GWR Oxford line with the Chiltern mainline with frequent fast services to London Marylebone. Mmm, not quite the same.....
The cold and frosty day 14 December 1996 produced the rare sight of type 5 power on the Stratford-upon-Avon branch when Pathfinder's "The Rooster Booster" traversed the line. The train, 1Z56, had started at Bristol Temple Meads and ran to Stratford via Worcester and then went on to Guildford, Kengsington Olympia, Northampton, Birmingham New Street and back to Bristol. Class 58, 58005 was used to haul the train from Stratford to Guildford and is seen here at Hatton Station Junction about to join the GWR's Birmingham to Leamington Spa line. 56032 had hauled the train to Stratford from Bristol and to see a picture of this leg of the tour at Claverdon , please use this link.  56032 at Claverdon.
On 10 October 1996 I spent an hour or so inside the bounds at Drakelow Power Station by the simple expedient of climbing through a dodgy fence and standing on a pile of rubble within the triangle of lines. There were plenty of rail personnel about and nobody appeared to take any notice of me so I took this as tacit permission to be there! The first shot is of 58021 approaching the station with a load of coal for the furnaces; from where it came I have no real idea but suspect that it was from Nadins opencast site just a short distance away.
This is the view inside the triangle of lines at Drakelow Power Station looking the towers and chimneys on a very dull 10 October 1996. This location wasn't much good if the sun was out as it shone in completely the wrong direction and would have been into the lens. The picture shows 58021 arriving, probably from Nadins opencast site, and 58031 departing for Toton. By this time, the signalbox was treated as a ground frame and operated by the train crews.
My third and final shot from Drakelow Power Station on 10 October 1996 shows a closer view of 58031 leaving the station on its way back to Toton. This was the only time that I went here and the shots are unrepeatable because on 31 March 2003 the station was decommissioned.
The Coalville line which runs from Burton-on Trent to Leicester was visited on a daily basis by class 58s on MGR duties. 58003 is seen here near Castle Gresley with the first empty train of HAAs of the day, 21 March 1995, heading for Coalfield Farm loading point. This location is near the site of the long-closed Castle Gresley station, and just out of the picture to the right are the cooling towers of Drakelow Power Station. 645
It looked as if 58012 has recently visited the paint shop at Toton when I photographed it at Radley, near Oxford, on 4 July 1989. This, formerly the junction for the Abingdon branch, was a great place a few hours at the time, with class 47s and 50s on passenger traffic and almost anything at all on the regular freight trains. There were also DMMUs of several classes on local passenger turns to Banbury and Worcester. I suppose that given this station's location between Didcot and Oxford that a large number of high tension electricity pylons are in the area but they hardly add anything attractive to the scene.645
Ironbridge Power Station lying in the Severn Valley on the former Buildwas branch is a major consumer of coal. To facilitate easy movement of coal to the station from collieries such as Littleton and Silverdale on the WCML, the Oxley Chord was constructed. This obviated the need for a time-consuming reversal at Bushbury Junction. On my only visit to the location in January 1991, 58012 is seen with a load of coal squealing around the tight radius curve to join the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line at Oxley. The main electrified line to Wolverhampton can be seen in the background.
This is the view looking the other way from the shot above in January 1991 and shows 58002 passing under Oxley viaduct with an empty MGR from Ironbridge Power Station going back to one of the Stafforshire collieries. I recall taking a shot of a pair of class 20s here on the same day but this was a black and white image and I can't be bothered to hunt through my folders and find it, for the time being at least.
Staying with Ironbridge Power Station MGRs here is 58004 passing Beamish Farm, near Albrighton on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line. This was a pleasant location which I visited a few times in that era but I expect that it is now completely overgrown in common with virtually every other spot from thise days.
This shot is of 58001 passing the triangular junctions at Drakelow on the Coalville freight line. The train was photographed on 18 July 1996 as it was heading for the Nadins opencast disposal site situated a short distance to the north. The overgrown nature of the tracks leading to Drakelow Power Station is clearly seen although the left hand line was still in regular use at this time. The train appears to be slightly unsharp in the view but I think think that the historical aspect outweighs the technical shortcomings. I never had the good fortune to photograph from this bridge a train leaving the power station in the Coalville direction as they all seemed to run from Nadins, unload and head back to Toton on the occasions I visited the area.
After photographing 58001 at Drakelow, it seemed sensible to drive up to the Nadins Disposal Point and have another go at it. The coal from the opencast site arrived at this point on the covered conveyor system running alongside the line and up to the loading hopper. One really needed a 300mm lens for this shot from the main road, but 200mm was the longest I had at the time. Still, I think the shot is acceptable as it shows the 58 about to run-round the train before going to Drakelow - surely one of the shortest MGR runs in the country at the time, 18 July 1996. At one time, the line now simply a headshun, continued under the road bridge upon which I was standing and went to Cadley Colliery.
Towards the end of it's working life 58047 did some of Didcot's trip workings and on one occasion 23 May 2002, I was given a tip-off in plenty of time to drive over to Ashchurch to photograph it on the daily(ish) MOD service. The first shot shows it running north towards Worcester where the locomotive runs round in the yard before coming back south; there being no facility to enter the exchange sidings from the Gloucester side. The sun was just coming out of some early morning cloud but didn't make it quite in time for this shot.
This isn't my usual sort of shot and I can't remember why I decided on a platform-side picture as 58047 came out of Ashchurch loop and ran towards the exchange sidings. Prominent in the shot is the old water tower which was for many years a bit of a landmark here but demolished not longer after the date of this picture.
The usual practice at Ashchurch was for the locomotive, on the south end of the train, to propel its train along the short branch to the MOD complex with the safeguard of a man walking in front of it to make sure that the two public footpath crossings were clear. The whistle board seems slightly superfluous as the driver is in the front cab of 58047 and wouldn't have seen it! The shunter, on foot at this point, had a 2-way radio with which to keep the driver informed of exactly when to slow and stop.
It was a matter of luck as to whether there was a load for the locomotive to take to Swindon from Ashchurch MOD. On 23 May 2002 there was a rake of assorted flats to come out and here is 58047 heading slowly along the branch back to the exchange sidings on the other side of the nearby road bridge.
This picture shows 58025 on a highly unusual working for the class. The train is the summer-dated Manchester to Paignton Pullman passing Longbridge on 26 July 1986. This train was booked for a pair of ETH-fitted 31s and this although the weather wasn't too good I thought a black & white shot would be worth having. At around the time the train was due the signal for the down main cleared and then went back to red. Strange, I thought and then realised that I hadn't seen a down local train for ages - unusual here. After about 40 minutes the signal cleared again and this appeared. The 31s had failed in the tunnel outside New Street and the 58 had been summoned from Saltley, tied onto the back of the train which then left New Street in reverse formation running via Camp Hill. The 31s were dropped off en-route as they weren't on the back when the train passed me. I believe the 58 worked through to Bristol.
Sticking with passenger workings, here is 58044 running along the M40 near Rowington in Warwickshire with the Sunday afternoon Paddington to Manchester train on 21 June 1998. This was a bad afternoon for Virgin 47/8s as a southbound train had just passed in the charge of a pair of 31s.
Class 58s moved vast tonnages of coal through Leamington Spa to Didcot Power Station but few used the up platform road through the station. However, on 7 May 1983 there was a track circuit problem meaning that all up freights had to make this unusual move. 58021 is seen here crossing its train to the platform road and passing the GWR signal box which was soon to be replaced by a new signalling centre adjacent to the yard on the down side. The locomotive is in the original colour scheme for the class.
Moving to the 3 arch bridge at Hatton on the GWR route from Birmingham to Leamington, 58020+58012 are seen here climbing the bank on 9 July 1997 with the 6M31 Banbury to Mountsorrel self-discharge train. The time was 10.25 - the booked departure time from Banbury was 11.15! The use of 58s was unusual as a single 60 was the booked traction at the time so a pair of of bones, both under power, was doubly noteworthy. To see how this this scene has changed in 8 years, use this link for a photograph of 66542 on the 4E44 Southampton to Leeds freightliner in the same spot on 12 May 2005.  66542 on 4E44.
New   Looking north from the opposite side of the bridge from which the photograph above was taken, here is 58023 rolling down Hatton bank with a loaded MGR going to Didcot Power Station on 3 July 1985. These trains ran in a roughly hourly pattern throughout the day and their loss was a real blow for the local enthusiast. At this time, 58s were supplemented with 56s and less frequently 47s and is undeniable that many good shots were not taken because of the frequency and repetitiveness of the trains. The picture here is now much more overgrown, but it is still possible to take a shot, as witnessed by this May 2005 view of 45112 hauling 20021 + 20227 + D1013 heading for a diesel gala at the Mids Hants Railway.
A little further south on Hatton Bank we see an unidentified 58 slipping quietly towards Leamington Spa with a MGR on 13 May 1997. The loco is adorned with the coal sector markings, which in my opinion, suited the class particularly well.
New   This picture of 58017 was taken at 09.45 on 19 March 1993, just before the sun became too straight for good photography. The location is Prospect Road, the first bridge south of Leamington Spa station and the train is a MGR heading for Didcot Power Station. At this time, 58s were less seen than 60s on these services and added a bit of variety to the scene. This shot is still available but the the Leylandii trees on the right-hand side of the line have increased in height by about 15 feet so do cause some shadowing across the line.
Class 58s were becoming a little thin on the ground by the beginning of 2001 so I was pleased to get this sunny shot of 58049 at Clay Mills, near Burton-on-Trent with a Hicks Lodge to Daw Mill working. The coal from Hicks Lodge was of poor quality and required blending with the better product before being fit for power station use. 60016 is just visible in the up loop with the morning Washwood Heath to Peak Forest train. 645
I spent the lovely afternoon of 15 February 2001 at Hatton North Junction and photographed a selection of freights behind classes 37, 47 and 60. While walking back along the canal towpath to the station car park, a friend who had been photographing further north telephoned to tell me that 58049 was heading south with the Wolverhampton to Hoo Junction empty wagons. I hurried up a bit and arrived on the roadbridge just in time to get this image, just catching the last rays of the sun. 645
The popular location at Catholme, near Wychnor Junction witnessed the passing of 58042 on the morning of 16 February 2001 with the 6G38 Chaddesden to Bescot empty spent ballast working. The construction of VT's Central Rivers depot is virtually finished and the requisite trackwork is seen in the final stages of connection. 645
58006 is seen here passing the well patronised car park at Dorridge station on 26 July 1991. The train is, of course, heading for Didcot power Station with yet another load of coal in its HAA hoppers from Welbeck colliery. Sadly, this traffic has now died out as all coal for Didcot is imported and travels from Avonmouth.
As I mentioned above, 58s staple diet was hauling MGR traffic from collieries or coal disposal points to power stations. Here, 58039 is pictured coming off the Kingsbury loop at Whitacre Junction with a load of coal destined for Ironbridge on 13 May 1992. 31438 is sitting in the loop waiting for a path to Bescot with a load of ballast from Croft quarry in Leicestershire.
I spent a few hours in the Barrow Hill area on 22 August 1990 and among several steel and departmental trains obtained this shot of 58021 at Hall Lane Junction. I went without any "gen" and unfortunately have no idea of the origin or destination of this train.
Ironbridge Power Station lying in the Severn Valley on the former Buildwas branch is a major consumer of coal. To facilitate easy movement of coal to the station from collieries such as Littleton and Silverdale on the WCML, the Oxley Chord was constructed. This obviated the need for a time-consuming reversal at Bushbury Junction. On my only visit to the location in January 1991, 58012 is seen with a load of coal squealing around the tight radius curve to join the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line at Oxley. The main electrified line to Wolverhampton can be seen in the background.
This train is returning from Ironbridge Power Station with its train of empty HAAs double-headed by 58003+58012 at 10.35 on the morning of 20 April 1991. It is pictured crossing Shifnal viaduct high above the town the name of which is not in doubt thanks to the carefully rotated station nameboard.
In 1994 it was rare to see anything other than a 58 on MGR traffic to Rugeley Power Station. 58009 is the subject of this study at Catholme as it awaits the right of way to turn right at Wichnor junction and head along the freight-only line to Lichfield Trent Valley Junction. The driver has just returned to his cab after telephoning the signalling centre as he was held there for some considerable time. The background to this shot, taken on 29 August 1994 jhas dramatically changed with the construction of Virgin's Central Rivers depot where the company's Voyagers are serviced.
To the north of the previous shot lay Willington Power Station, surely one of the most "photographer-friendly" in the area. Sadly, this scene has been consigned to history but on 30 April 1994 it was all action as 58031 shunts a rake of HAAs after removing a faulty example. The train was soon joined up again and departed for Toton.
This picture shows the Calvert to Bath binliner shows 58049 leaving the Didcot curve at Foxhall Junction on 6 March 1997.
58s worked turn and turn about with 56s on the regular MGRs from various Nottinghamshire pits to Didcot Power Station, the majority of which ran via Hatton. A new coat of paint on 58045 didn't make the loco reliable as it failed at Didcot being piloted by 58007 on the returning empties. The ensemble is seen at Hatton North Junction on the afternnon of 24 June 1992. The scene here has changed in recent years with the construction of a new footbridge to replace the boarded crossing that had sufficed for decades.