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Found 7 results

  1. kevsmiththai

    Cumbrian Rail miscellany

    So. After our class 37/4s were withdrawn from mainline passenger use at the end of the contract with Northern Rail the feeling was that life was going to be a bit boring with an endless procession of Class 156 DMUs dominating. However, it hasn't turned out quite like that. 37 419 and 37 402 on the Three Peaks Challenge charter train We've repainted 419 'Carl Haviland' in the classic Intercity executive livery much to the delight of the railfans One of our Class 68s is at the rear of a driver training working with the CAF built driving car at the front Due to a blockade further down the West Coast route, the Saturday Sellafield-Crewe flask working was 'Top and tailed' by Class 68s One of the jobs the 37/4s picked up was hauling the Network rail 'PLPR Infrastructure test train'. A sort of 'Dr Yellow' for secondary routes More in a mo Kev
  2. kevsmiththai

    Gresty Bridge TMD open day 2018

    Once again it's July and time for our annual Open Day where we open the gates of one of our depots to the public with the proceeds going to Charity. This year it was held at our Crewe Gresty Bridge depot roughly in the centre of England and situated close to the West Coast main line between London and Scotland. The show tends to alternate between our Crewe and Carlisle but Crewe is a railway town through and through so the attendance is always massive. Friday was taken up with shunting the shed and and yard to position all the exhibits, a minor epic as it turned out as some key locos were still en-route to Crewe. '' L-R 57 007 which was to be one of the naming ceremonies on the Saturday stands alongside one of the TPE Class 68s (of which more later) and 37 424 37 403 'Isle of Mull' , which normally operates Loco hauled passenger services on the Cumbrian Coast line is ready for a trip though the washing plant and is seen alongside one of the FNA-D Flatrol wagons, which was being put on display for the first time. The Class 37 is painted in the very retro British Rail 'large Logo' as are many of the other 37/4s we have. This has resulted in these locos, first introduced in 1960, having a bit of a cult following and attracting many railfans to the areas where they operate. 37 407, still missing its Loch Long nameplates, has recently come out of the works More tomorrow Kev
  3. On the Cumbrian Coast line in North West England recent developments have seen Direct Rail Services Class 68 becoming more and more prominent. Reliability issues of the Class 37/4s tasked with hauling some of Northern Rail's passenger services has seen one set converted to 'Top and tailed' Class 68s retaining the DBSO driving car behind the south loco to provide train crew facilities. This set has worked pretty much faultlessly since deployment albeit with a loss of seating capacity. Alongside this the Nuclear traffic is now exclusively hauled by 68s with the occasional appearance by the new Class 88 hybrids. In a new development a 'Nenta' railtour also used T&T 68s on a Norwich-Carlisle and return excursion and recently two 68s were commandeered to haul the heavy Barrow-Drigg stone train after problems with the two Class 66s allocated to it More in a mo Kev
  4. In an effort to improve the reliabilty of the loco hauled passenger trains on the Cumbrian Coast line in England, Northern rail and DRS agreed to substitute new class 68s to replace one of the Class 37/4s that have been struggling. The 68s and DBSOs don't talk to each other electronically so this meant reforming the train so that instead of a DBSO driving car, three TSO standard carriages and a Class 37/4 working push-pull there was to be a class 68 at either end working top and tail with the DBSO buried in the formation and just two TSOs. This kept the train the same length for platform and 'loco stop' board reasons. As Northern drivers are not passed out on 68s, DRS drivers are handling this set, the other set retaining Class 37 power. The first day of the revamped service was marred by awful weather and I managed to get a shot of the first Carlisle to Lancaster service just after daybreak at Sellafield. 68 018 'Vigilance' was on the lead with 68 017 'Hornet' at the rear. These two locos would handle the train for the first week. After work I headed to Kirkby in Furness to catch the return northbound trip. This part of the Duddon estuary is very exposed and the weather had not improved with 3,850 HP these locos make light work of a short train like this and easily manage the timings required With blended brakes ( a mix of dynamic and air brakes) most station stops use the dynamic brakes mainly. 68 017 eases to a halt on the steep downhill gradient at Dalton in Furness on the Lancaster to Barrow trip more in a minute Kev
  5. Once again we had our big company charity open day organised. This year it was a our Carlisle Kingmoor depot as it alternates with our Crewe Gresty bridge facility and was to be the first event to feature the new 25Kv Ac/Diesel hybrid class 88 Bo-Bos. Friday was spent shunting the yard and marking out the car park for all the visiting trade stands and Railway societies. The wind was a bit wicked and one marquee nearly went over the fence before we screwed it down! A pair of EMD Built class 66s stand waiting with 66 301 positioned ready for its naming ceremony the following day. 37 259 had brought two of our venerable Class 20s from Barrow Hill depot. These are planned to be used on the RHTT (Rail head treatment train) this autumn as they can get up some of the trickier branch lines barred to heavier locos. Our Class 68s are now becoming well established and we lined three different liveried ones up in front of the shed The shortest lived colour scheme will be this plain blue. These locos are due to be allocated to the new TPE and will be wrapped in their livery nearer the time The Chiltern rail class 68s, leased from us, work out of London Marylebone station to the West Midlands and are not named apart from one example
  6. kevsmiththai

    New and Old on British railways

    Recently my work duties took me to Crewe for a couple of days. This has always been a major rail-hub and centre for railway manufacturing and maintenance from the old days of the LNWR through to British railways. Needless to say I had my camera bag with me so I thought I’d do a mini journal for the back end of last week. Travelling down on the Northern rail DMU it sort of got off to a surprise start when I suddenly realised as we approached Carnforth that there was a steam loco coming the other day. This was the Southern railway Bulleid Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 35018 ‘British India Line’ nearing completion after 37 years of on-off restoration. Scrabbling for a camera I got a quick snapshot as it trundled past. Bizarrely the loco is finished in plain black, a colour it never carried in service and even weirder it was carrying the nameplates off ‘Bodmin’, A West country Class light pacific. Currently being tested in the Carnforth depot limits it is due out on test trains shortly before joining the U.Ks main line Steam fleet Changing trains on to one of Virgin railways smooth quite tilting Pendolino EMUs, which did the section from Lancaster to Crewe in less than an hour I spent a few minutes at Crewe station before checking in to the hotel but spotted a familiar steam loco outline over at the Crewe heritage centre 60103 (LNER 4472) ‘Flying Scotsman’ really needs no introduction as it is perhaps the most famous steam loco worldwide and was positioned at the museum for a couple of days prior to working some excursions down to South Wales More in a mo. Kev
  7. kevsmiththai

    New toys in the box at work

    As a contrast to the venerable steam locos I find when I'm on my travels the scene at work is ultra modern. We've just taken delivery of some more of the fleet of new Class 88 25Kv AC/Diesel hybrids Built by Stadler in Spain (Formerly known as Vossloh) these are at the cutting edge of loco development in the U.K being one of Vossloh's Eurolite designs shrunk down to fit the british loading gauge First to arrive was 88 002 Prometheus The design uses the same basic bodyshell as our Class 68 diesels but packs 5,400 HP of electric traction with a 'last mile' Cat C27 diesel pumping out a respectable 950 HP. Changeover on traction can be done 'On the fly' Photobucket is running really badly tonight so I'll jump straight of a short video of 88 002 running light engine on a test run down the West coast main line. Although not in service yet, shortly after this was taken, it was called on to rescue a failed freight train and haul it back into the loop at Tebay. sadly, by this time, I was in the middle of a training course and missed it! after that is a shot of the already established Class 68s in action on a northbound intermodal train at Lockerbie in Scotland. More soon Kev
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