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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Along Other Lines (12) - Help for Heroes

The 'Help for Heroes' charity was founded in 2007 to help wounded service personnel from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.The 'Help for Heroes' special train ran on 27th March 2010, (Lancaster - York, via Manchester Victoria, and return), double-headed by freshly painted class 8F, 48151 Gauge O Guild and 70048 The Territorial Army (in reality 70013 Oliver Cromwell).

Two photographs of the event are posted, one by myself and a second by John Smith. The first shows the 'Special' on the curve off the main line just south of Golborne.
John's shot shows the train further down the same line.

Other pics of the 'Special' are invited - send them in.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Pink Locomotive

We have three interesting pics in today's post including one of a pink, yes pink, locomotive.

The first photograph, from Geoff Monks, features an evening Willesden-Warrington-Shieldmuir Royal Mail working taken on 7th August 2006. Class 87, 87028, heads the familiar red emus, held at the bi-irectional signal at Winwick, waiting for the Pendolino to clear. Old Alder Lane Bridge is clearly visible in the background.

Another interesting pic has been sent in by John Smith. A pink class 31, 31601, Gauge O Guild 1956-2006, is heading a single coach test train with class 31, 31602 Driver Dave Green, on the tail - both in Network Rail yellow livery. The colour carried by 31601 is the Heart of Wessex Line promotional livery, described as 'cerise pink'. The pic was taken on 23rd May 2008.

The third pic for today is from Alan Rigby. Double heading locomotives class 40, 40145 and class 55, 55022 Royal Scots Grey, are pictured at Winwick on 13th October 2006. The class 40 is a regular at the East Lancashire Railway and is the only member of its class - formerly numbered D345.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Along Other Lines (11) - Golborne and Newton-le-Willows

You continue keeping me busy with contributions and please, keep on doing so. Without you there would be no blog.

In this post Glenn Oakley and Bevan Price have provided pics taken in close proximity to the line through Winwick. Glenn's pic is an ultra close up of 'Standard' class 7, 70013 Oliver Cromwell, taken just south of Golborne on 19th March 2010. This was the 'Special' carrying the headboard 'The Roaring Monster'. In the 25th March post I requested info regarding this headboard and CJ has left a super explanation, subsequently, in the comments section at the foot of the same post. Please read it. Many thanks CJ.

Bevan's shot is of class 57, 57307, carrying out an unusual duty on 16th September 2007. It is heading a class 390 Pendolino, 390.020, through Newton-le-Willows because of engineering work between Liverpool and Crewe. As a result the Liverpool - Euston service was being diverted through Manchester.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

2,000 Hits

If anyone had said to me on January 8th, when I started this blog for all Winwick enthusiasts, that it would receive over 2000 hits by the end of March, I would have thought that they had gone absolutely bonkers. Well we have reached 2000 . However, before we get too complacent, only about thirteen of the Winwick faithful have contributed to date. I know that there are more than double this number who regularly turn up to enjoy our favourite pastimes of photography and banter but over half have not yet contributed.

So here's a request to all of the aforementioned non-contributors, please send in something - info, pics, future events etc., - anything, in fact, that may interest your fellow devotees.

May I also thank the railway enthusiasts from outside our Winwick network who read our blog - you are very welcome to send in interesting material that is relevant to our area.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Along Other Lines (10) - Golborne and Arpley

John Smith and Ken Young, two of our established contributors, feature in this post.

John has sent in a pic of BR 'Standard' class 'Pacific' 70013, Oliver Cromwell, heading the 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' taken just outside Golborne on Friday 19th March 2010. The Leicester - Carlisle 'Special' ran through Winwick a minute or so later. The headboard is a bit strange - 'The Roaring Monster' - does anyone know the derivation of this name or headboard?

The pic from Ken Young shows First ScotRail class 90, 90019, leaving Arpley Yard working empty bogie bolster wagons. This pic was taken in February 2010.

Finally I am adding another face. Glenn Oakley has cont ributed to previous posts - another popular enthusiast seen regularly at Winwick. He is keenly interested in aeroplanes as well as trains, is a fine singer and a keen Swinton Rugby League supporter.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Track Machines

In this post I am deviating from normal practise and showing pics of track machines, those indispensible vehicles we often see through Winwick but take little notice of. Without them the railway would be far less effective and the three examples I have chosen - a Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV), a Tamper and a Ballast Regulator - have all been photographed during the past few months.

The first pic shows a MPV prototype pair, DR98904 and 98954, comprising a powered machine and a non-powered slave unit taken on 16th September 2009. Network Rail MPVs were built in Germany by Windhoff AG and are mainly used between September and December. They clear the rail head of leaf mulch using high pressure water jets and apply a special composition of sand and gel ('Sandite') to aid adhesion. MPVs are also used to control lineside vegetation.

The second pic features a tamping machine owned by First Engineering, DR73904, Thomas Telford. The model is a Plasser & Theurer 08-4x4/4S-RT which is a switch and crossing tamper. Tampers are used to correct the level and alignment of the track. The pic was taken on 21st October 2009.

The final pic features a ballast regulator, a Plasser & Theurer USP 5000C owned by Fastline Ltd. Ballast regulators shape and distribute ballast which should be level with the tops of sleepers and properly shouldered. They can transfer ballast from the side of the track to the centre and from side to side. They are used for newly laid track and for ballast renewal on existing track and often in conjunction with tampers. The pictured example can also profile banks. The pic was taken on 12th March 2010.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Test Train

BR 'Standard' class 7, 70013, Oliver Cromwell steamed through Winwick on Friday 19th March 2010 heading the 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' . So far I have only received one photograph of the event. Surely someone else must have a decent shot: send them in with any other pics/info that will enhance our blog. Network Rail use a fleet of class 31s to power some of their Test Trains - 3 x class 31/1s and a class 31/4. The coaches and locomotives are liveried in Network Rail yellow. Other class 31s based at Derby RVE (Rail Vehicle Engineering) are called on when required.

Glenn Oakley has sent in a couple of shots of such a Test Train powering through Winwick on 23rd February 2010. His first shot shows 31285 'topping' the Test Train.

The second pic features a hired, black liveried 31459, Cerberus, on 'tailing' duty.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Another Face

Ken Young has featured in two or three previous posts and is one of our more prolific photographers - hardly a day goes by when Ken isn't out and about photographing trains. Attached is a pic of Ken taken at Winwick just a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Four Different Classes.

This post includes pics from three photographers, all of whom have contributed to the blog previously. Four locomotive classes - 47, 57, 66 and 92 - are featured.

The first pic is from Dave Harris who photographed the 'Ynys Mon Express' on 14th June 2008. West Coast Railway Company's class 47, 47787 powers through Winwick with the diesel hauled Lancaster - Crewe leg of the trip. The Crewe - Holyhead leg was hauled by steam (6233, Duchess of Sutherland). The return legs were hauled by the same locomotives. For more of Dave's pics go to

The second pic is from Bevan Price and features Colas class 66, 66843 and DRS class 57, 57002 double heading the Carlisle-Chirk logs train on 11th February 2010.

A class 92 photographed by John Smith is attched next. The locomotive, 92017 Bart the Engine, in Stobart livery, is heading the morning Tesco container train through Winwick on Tuesday 16th March 2010. The locomotive is known as 'Bart the Spark'.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Hornby HST

The 18th November, 2005, edition (issue 22) of 'Railway Herald' included a report of Cotswold Rail unveiling a new livery for its first HST set comprising 2 power cars and a buffet coach. One power car, 43070, and the coach were turned out in the company's silver livery but the other power car, 43087, sported a bright red livery and yellow, full height, Hornby branding. The first public outing for the latter was at the National Railway Museum's 'Cab-It' event on 12th November 2005. Alan Rigby has sent in a pic of this Hornby branded HST power car 'topping' a rake of Midland Mainline HST stock through Winwick, southbound, on 24th June 2006; I'll bet some of you remember it. The other power car, 43070, was 'tailing' the rake.

Alan has also sent in two other pics, both taken at Winwick. The first pic, and our first of a class 60, I think, features 60097 working a Fiddlers Ferry - Liverpool Bulk Terminal load of empty HHA wagons. For interest these are four-axle coal hopper bogie vehicles, each one incorporating four, automatic bottom discharge doors. The date was 1st February, 2006.

Alan's final pic is of double heading class 37s, 37425 and 37411 heading empty cargo vans on a Blackburn - Arpley Yard run. This pic was taken on 31st October, 2007.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Along Other Lines (9) - Eccles and Red Bank

The three pics attached to this post are from the previous post contributors Glenn Oakley, Dave Harris and Alan Rigby.

We all remember the aborted Cotton Mill Express of February 13th (see earlier posts) when class 6, 4-6-0, 46115 Scots Guardsman suffered inside cylinder damage on Chat Moss. The train limped to Eccles where the locomotive was examined and Glenn Oakley was on hand to take the pic. The stricken locomotive is being observed by some bewildered staff. Better news currently for supporters of the locomotive - the damage to the inside motion will not keep the locomotive out of action for too long.

The 'Help for Heroes' 'Special' on 27th March is still considered a possibility. Scots Guardsman is due to double-head the 'Special' with class 7, 4-6-2, 70013 Oliver Cromwell from Lancaster to York via Manchester Victoria, and return. Times are as follows: Wigan, NW 08.57 - 08.59hrs; Eccles, 09.25-10.10hrs and Manchester Victoria, 10.24-10.29hrs. To check these times refer to the UK Steam Info link to the right of the blog.

The next two pics were both taken at different points at Red Bank. The first is from Dave Harris and features class 86, 86259 Les Ross hauling a rake of chocolate and cream carriages on a Birmingham-Ravenglass run on 3rd May, 2009.

The final pic is from Alan Rigby and shows class 87, 87028 on the tail of southbound Royal Mail class 325, Shieldmuir - Willesden, postal units. The pic was taken at Red bank on 5th June, 2008.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Four of the Best

For this post, because I have been inundated with material lately (keep it coming), I will include one pic from each of four of the Winwick faithful; all of them have been posted previously.

The first pic, above, is from Dave Harris and features double-heading DRS class 37s, 37510 and 37682, working a Southall - Carnforth 'Special' on 13th September 2009.

The second pic is from Glenn Oakley. He photographed a class 66, 66522, in close up to show the special Shanks-Freightliner livery. The locomotive was hauling empty coal hoppers on 18th January, 2010.

The next pic is from Alan Rigby and shows 'Princess Coronation' class 4-6-2, 6233, Duchess of Sutherland in LMS livery, hauling a Crewe - Carlisle 'Special' on 3rd June, 2006. Dave, Glenn and Alan have sent in more pics which will be featured on the blog in the next few days.

A fourth pic in this post is from Geoff Monks. A Colas liveried class 66, 66843, is pictured working empty timber (logs) wagons on a Chirk-Carlisle run on 11th March 2010. Most of us are familiar with photographing a fully laden logs train at around 5pm each day but this pic of an empty train was taken at 14.40hrs - the fully laden equivalent was working through the night.

More Ballast Trains

Ken Young has sent in the following info: more engineering/ballast trains today (13th March) and tomorrow (14th March). At least four today anf twelve tomorrow are expected- no times, but get there early if you are interested. Last Sunday's trains began and ended before the scheduled times.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Along Other Lines (8) - Astley Moss

May I remind you that next Friday, 19th March, 'The Cumbrian Mountain Express' is passing through Winwick (scheduled at Bank Quay at 09.50hrs) running north from Crewe to Carlise headed by BR 'Standard' class 7, 70013, Oliver Cromwell. Keep up to date using the 'UK Steam Info' link to the right of the blog.

Three more pics from Chris Wilcock comprise the main part of this post, and they are super shots all taken at Astley Moss. The first shows Deltic 22, 55022, Royal Scots Grey working the 'Hope Valley Executive' railtour on 9th August, 2008.

Chris's second shot features Stanier class 5, 45407, The Lancahire Fusilier heading the 'York Yule-Tide Express' charter in December, 2008. Both 45407 and 55022 were photographed close to the level crossing as they headed towards Manchester.

The final shot shows off the signal box at Astley and a Load Haul liveried class 56, 56021, running light engine across the level crossing. The locomotive was bound for Arpley Yard.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

'Golden Oldies' and 'Hot off the Press'

You guys are certainly keeping me busy; lots of material coming in which is exactly what I was hoping for when I set up the blog. Keep it coming.

The first two pics are more 'golden oldies' from Bob McClellan. The first shows class 37, 37707, working a rails train to Castleton taken on 19th December, 2002.

The second features a class 56, 56120 light engine, possibly on its way to work the tanks out of Ashton-in-Makerfield. This pic was taken on 1st October, 2002.

Alan Rigby has sent in the third attached pic taken on 16th July 2008. A class 87, 87002 Royal Sovereign, is shown heading a rake of BR Inter City, blue and grey coaches.

A fourth pic in this post is 'hot off the press', taken at 09.45hrs this morning, by Ken Young. A class 92, 92026 Britten, is shown working the china clay train to Scotland. The shot was taken on the curve at Winwick Junction.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Along Other Lines (7) - Red Bank

Before I describe the attached pics, the following info may be of interest: in the latest on-line railway magazine, 'Railway Herald', (issue 14) the Slutchers Lane/Arpley area of Warrington is featured. Three pics of coal trains are shown (page 19) headed by locomotives 59201, 59206 and 70006. Go to the 'Railway Herald' link at the right hand side of the blog.

Regular contributor John Smith has sent in the attached pics, both taken at Red Bank, Newton-le-Willows. The first is of double-heading DRS class 20s, 20312 and 20313, working a Sellafield - Crewe flask train on 29th May, 2007.

The second pic is of double-heading Freightliner class 86s, 86610 and 86607, on a Coatbridge-Crewe container train also on 29th May, 2007.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Fastline 66

Several devotees gathered at Winwick on 5th March 2010 including Chris Wilcock and his son Cory. Work commitments keep Chris busy but he gets to Winwick and the nearby lines whenever he can. His son Cory, aged 10, is already a prolific railway photographer; he uses a Canon 350D 'borrowed' from his dad.

The pic attached shows one of Cory's own pics, a Fastline class 66, 66303 travelling south, light engine, during his visit. With keen youngsters like Cory coming through the future for local railway photography looks bright.

HST and the Last Gas Tanks

News from Ken Young that seven, track maintenance (ballast?) trains are passing through Winwick - tomorrow, 7th March, between 10.12hrs and 14.49hrs - all heading south.

On this post I introduce yet another Winwick regular making his blog debut, Bob McClellan. Bob has sent in several super pics from 2002-03 and the first two are attached. The first is a great shot of the HST in Virgin livery taken on 19th December 2002. The HST, 125 Inter-City diesel-electric trains were first introduced onto the mainline on 4th October, 1976. The first was outshopped from Derby in 1972 but required further cab refinements before entering mainline duty. Designated class 43.

The second pic from Bob shows Freightliner class 66, 66611 working the last gas tanks load from the Shell refinery at Stanlow. The pic was taken on 13th June 2003.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Flying Scotsman

Bevan Price is a newcomer to our blog but not to Winwick: he has photographed trains at the site since the 1960's. The famous 'Pacific' of Nigel Gresley, 4472 Flying Scotsman, is featured as it works a railtour along our line. The pic was taken as the train passed the signal box at Winwick Junction in 1967. The gathered audience proves how popular the locomotive was even 43 years ago.

Along Other Lines (6) and Gypsum dust

Ken Young again features in our post for today, 4th March 2010. His first picture, of the popular gypsum train, displays real atmosphere. The latter is provided by the back-lit dust particles cascading from a few, slightly opened, wagons. The location is Preston Brook. This location is a little further afield than normal but the pic is such a good shot that I had to feature it. The locomotive is GBRf class 66, 66716, which has worked this train a few times recently; the pic was taken on Tuesday, 2nd March.

The second shot of Ken's features Network Rail class 97, 97301, (ex D6800 and class 37, 37100) working light engine 1/2 mile east of Sankey (for Penketh) Station. The shot was taken in February 2010.

John Smith has provided two pics for this post. The first features a Stanier class 5, 4-6-0, 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier, working a Liverpool Lime Street - Earlestown steam 'Special' on 10th June, 2007. The steam loco hauled the train to Earlestown with a class 47 diesel at the rear. The diesel headed the train back to Lime Street with 45407 at the rear. This return trip was completed three times, as a shuttle-type service, during the day. The 'Black Five' is well known for working 'The Jacobite' route between Fort William and Mallaig, working three seasons on this iconic Scottish route in the late 1980's.

John's second pic shows the diesel on the same 'Special' - a two-tone green class 47, sporting two different numbers, 47851 and D1648. John's super pics were taken at Collins Green.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Bench

Today, 2nd March, ten enthusiasts met at Winwick, no doubt attracted by the fine weather. One of them was Peter Haselden who, with his grandson, Danny Daven, built the bench that we all sit on from time to time. The metal sign he attached to the bench was taken from a cart, which used to operate, horse-drawn, from Marylebone Station in London. Peter and Danny built the bench from scrap wood c.2006. I have attached a pic of Peter stood behind his bench.

Alan Rigby, another first-time contributor, has sent in a few pics for our blog, two of which I have included in this post. The first is of class 37, 37401, heading a Blackburn - Arpley Yard load of cargo wagons, taken on 23rd January 2008.

Alan's second pic features class 86, 86101, Sir William A. Stanier FRS working a Shieldmuir - Willesden postal train composed of class 325 emus. This pic was taken on 15th August 2008.