NOTES AND NEWS

WEST COUNTRY AREA

Avonmouth

12/06 The 6M33 16.21 (sx) Wembley 'enterprise' freight was worked by Royal train locos 67005 + 67006.
16/06 A Voyager Class 220 unit was seen passing through Avonmouth station at 07.20 on a Barton Hill-Cardiff ECS to form the 09.05 Cardiff-Newcastle service, as reported previously during the evening, another regular driver route knowledge working which takes place on a Saturday around this time.
20/06 With trackwork still taking place at Foxhall junction, Didcot, movements of power station coal has been much reduced during the month. On this date, ballast packer MNN6154 (but noted carrying MNN6155 on the other end panels also!) was noted in use on one of the silo loading lines. This machine was believed 'on hire' from RMS Locotec Ltd, Meldon Quarry.
25/06 A third ship (additional to the two reported last month) , the Aasli was due to arrive with a load of stone chippings from Belfast for rail movement to Westbury.
Locos recorded on coal duty during the month have included;- 66053/169/189/193.
08405 continued as the area shunting pilot.
28/06 The 6M33 Wembley 'enterprise' freight working was cancelled, but a driver from Didcot had arrived to take it forward!!
Another observation during the month has seen Port of Bristol Authority 'No unauthorised access' and 'No photography' signs fixed to posts on the oil depot (or 'esso' bridge) off Smoke Lane, overlooking Hallen Marsh junction. This has been a good two way location for the rail photographer for many years, it is believed the reason for the signage is due to the close proximity of oil and gas pipework and storage tanks, a possible terrorist target. It has also been reported that the PBA could be reducing their work-force by around 50 with a down-turn in demand for bulk cargoes including coal at Avonmouth and Portbury, which employs 213 dealing with this type of import between the two locations. 7,760 jobs are linked to the two ports which were purchased by the private company First Corporate Shipping in 1991 on a 150-year lease from Bristol City Council. The company have invested 400 million in the ports infrastructure, the job cuts would help to make the two locations more competitive with other British ports.

Bristol Parkway, Pilning and Westerleigh

31/05 Further details to the loco failure on the 4V50 Millbrook-Wentlooge containers here on this date, reported in last months Magazine, confirm 66533 as the failure and 66542 the rescue loco, the train returning as the booked 4O51 to Millbrook some four hours later headed by both locos.
01/06 Cotswold-Rail 47828 passed at 15.20 on a 5Z46 12.05 Brush Loughborough works-Landore hauling newly MTU fitted HST power car 43187. Talks have again come to light concerning a new Freightliner loco stabling point in the down siding area originally reserved for a light-rail terminus and latterly used as a wagon repair depot (this being transferred to Avonmouth during the late nineties).
Extracted stone has also been reported as due to start during July from Tytherington Quarry (the first from here since the summer of 2005). The associated workings have been confirmed as; 6Z32 04.32 Westbury-Tytherington and 6C38 11.44 Tytherington-West Drayton (via Day's curve, Bath and Box). The loaded return is routed this way to save a loco run-round at Parkway, where the train recesses for a short period going forward early afternoon.
02/06 60025 passed at 14.34 with the 6B33 Theale-Robeston empty fuel tanks, and 31105 + 31285 + 50049 were noted heading towards Temple Meads as a light-engine move at 16.15 for rail tour duty.
03/06 Virgin XC Voyager diversions (via Newport and Chepstow) took place on most Sundays in the month (with engineering work taking place in the Westerleigh area), this included the MML 'hire' 1E53 15.35 Plymouth-York service, noted passing Pilning at 17.39 formed with power cars 43066 + 43166.
05/06 During the evening, MPV 98905 + 98955 was inaction under the covering of darkness on weed-killing duty working 1Z05 Barton Hill-Sharpness, via St. Phillips Marsh and Tytherington.
06/06 The Royal train passed through Parkway during the early afternoon heading for Cardiff having passed Swindon earlier in the day.
07/06 33202 passed up light-engine from the Temple Meads direction at 14.26 on route from the WSR to Gloucester, 66514 was on down stone empties at 14.28 and 60041 appeared at 15.16 on the 6B33 fuel tank empties from Theale-Robeston.
08/06 The weekend, Pathfinder's 'Orcadian' (Swindon-Inverness) excursion called behind 67018, working the train in place of unavailable Class 50s. Later in the day, GBRf 66715 working a 14.00 Derby-Laira stock move was terminated in Bristol following assistance with EWS 66189. The train was formed with barrier coaches 9488 + 6336, and 41189, 41184, 41181, 40734, 42264, 42085, 42086, 42087, 44100, 44069. The working was reported as going forward as 5Z70 10.00 Bristol-Laira behind a repaired 66715 during the following day.
12/06 60038 was on the afternoon 6B33 Theale-Robeston empty fuel tankers.
18/06 A Virgin XC 'thunderbird' loco movement saw 57309 run light-engine from Birmingham-Parkway. A further Brush Loughborough-Landore refurbished HST power car move was worked by 47813 hauling 43194, which recessed at Parkway over night.
19/06 Adverse weather conditions saw signalling and point work cause service train delays in the Severn Tunnel junction area. Half of the month of June's rainfall was reported to have fallen in just a 30 minutes period during the day!
23/06 Freight activity at Pilning saw 60074 running early at 14.20 on the 6B33 Theale-Robeston fuel tank empties and 59005 on 6C80 Machen-Westbury loaded stone at 14.45.
28/06 A suspicious package found in the M49/M4 junction area closed the motorway and the new Severn Crossing road bridge for around three hours. The Severn Tunnel was also closed as a precaution causing service delays. After around a three hour period, the first train through was steam 76079 on an East Lancs railway-West Somerset railway loco and support coach move (booked Pilning 12.33), to work a rail tour to Brighton on 01/07. The loco must have been stopped outside the tunnel mouth on the mainline, as a number of late running First/GW HST services were to follow! Also noted later in the afternoon was 60041 on the 6B33 Theale-Robeston empty fuel tanks.
29/06 Observations at Pilning during the morning recorded;- Lickey banker dedicated 66056 on 6C01 09.41 Newport ADJ-Bristol East depot loaded steel (10.08), 66571 with 4051 10.02 Wentlooge-Millbrook loaded containers (10.42), the NRMT HST set formed with power cars 43014 + 43062 (?) having attended a new Newport station platform opening, returning to Derby, a second Lickey banker dedicated loco (!) 66057 down light-engine at 11.46 and 66133 + 66216 paired on a late running 6B65 09.15 Westbury-Newport ADJ ballast train (12.00).

Bristol Temple Meads, Kingsland Road and Barton Hill

27/05 Further information has been received regarding the 6024 King Edward I steam trip operated on this date and reported in the last Magazine to West Wales. The King was unable to run loco and support coach from Barton Hill depot to Temple Meads to collect and shunt the stock due to over running engineering works in the East gantry area. The train departed around 45 minutes late and did not reach its booked destination Pembroke dock (being terminated at Carmarthen) due to the late running and a further signalling problem in the Aberthaw area.
01/06 47810 was noted stopped, and switched off on the up through canopy road with a Laira bound HST power car move formed 43079 + 43042 and 43138 + 43122 at 16.00. 66051 headed northbound on 6X52 Portbury-Washwood Heath loaded cars around 17.30.
02/06 This was the second Summer Saturday of Virgin XC HST 'hire'. The following power cars were in use on the following services;- 1C02 07.35Bristol TM-Paignton/ 1E46 10.32 Paignton-Newcastle, GNER 43290 + 43008, 2C34 06.53 Plymouth-Newquay/ 1E47 09.40 Newquay-Newcastle, GNER 43318 + 43110, 1V29 07.25 Manchester-Newquay / 1M28 15.22 Newquay-Manchester MML 43104 + 43043, 1V49 09.41 Newcastle-Newquay/ 2P86 19.50 Newquay-Plymouth, MML 43066 + 43166. It will be noted that the above list contains the first visit of renumbered and refurbished GNER power cars, at least one was reported to be carrying fare price advertising on it's side! A rail tour noted was 47847 + 47805 top n'tailing a 1Z47 06.02 Lichfield-Paignton (and later return 1Z48) out and back via the Severn Tunnel and Cotswold Rail 47810 was still stabled in the station with the HST power cars at 18.20. In preparation for the following day's 'Coal Stone Haul' rail tour (see report later in the Magazine) 57601 brought in the West Coast railway's coaching stock as 5Z25 10.00 Carnforth-Bristol TM and tour locos 31105 + 31285 + 50049 arrived late afternoon as an 0Z32 13.33 light-engine move from Tyseley.
03/06 During the morning, 47810 departed westbound with the four HST power cars (numbers recorded on 01/06) and 66619 was on a down track components train, assumed destined for Taunton.
04/06 Workings associated with the previous day's rail tour, saw 31285 + 31105 + 50049 return north as 0Z31 13.39 Temple Meads-Tyseley (via Bristol Parkway) and 57601 (which was still present at Temple Meads mid morning) work 5Z26 09.09 ECS to Carnforth (routed via Parkway and Didcot). Also recorded during the day were; 47810 on an Exeter-Brush Loughborough Hst power car move with 43140 + 43182 and 60096 (via Day's curve) on 6Z49 14.15 Port Talbot-Westbury molten slag.
07/06 60038 passed Filton at 14.21 on 7C79 Parc Slip-Westbury loaded cement works coal.
09/06 67013 brought in ECS off a Lichfield-Bath rail tour formed of Riviera coaching stock to run-round at Bristol West, prior to stabling in Bristol East loop. On the return, the train was terminated at Oxford, with a report of three defective coaches and the loco 'unconfirmed' as having equipment missing from the cab assumed removed during to it's recent storage spell at Barton Hill depot following de-railment damage. This was believed to be only the locos second working following storage.
12/06 A 50 foot long articulated soft-drinks lorry hit the underside of Albert Crescent rail over bridge at St. Phillips Marsh depot at 06.15 causing some stock delays whilst safety checks took place. Unusual power for the 6C83 (TO) 12.20 Machen-Westbury loaded stone service was 59101 via Day's curve.
14/06 SWT's route learning single car DMU 960012 (977860) was noted at Temple Meads prior to departing at 09.50 for Salisbury.
15/06 DRS 37606 + 37609 were recorded stabled top n'tailing a test train in Kingsland road.
16/06 Cotswold-Rail, Anglian liveried 47714 was seen parked light-engine in the former Bath road depot stub, near platform 15. Rail tours via Bristol during the day were ;- 'The English Riviera' operated by Vintage Trains, as 1Z50 07.14 Leicester-Paignton (Bristol 10.30) and 1Z51 17.15 return (noted double-headed passing Lympsham, near Weston-super-Mare at 18.40), 'The Western Ho!' run by Pastime Rail, was worked throughout by D1051 Western Ambassador (really D1015 Western Champion!) as 1Z52 08.37 Paddington-Minehead (Bristol 11.00) and 1Z53 17.28 return (Lympsham 19.28) and a Northern Belle dining trip headed by 67023 as 1Z26 06.05 Birmingham International-Plymouth (Bristol 08.30) and 1Z27 17.15 return (Lympsham 19.53).
18/06 Early evening observations west of Bristol saw, 'thunderbird' loco 57314 run light-engine from Birmingham-Plymouth and 66017 on the 6C89 (M,W, FO) 16.40 Cardiff Tidal sidings-St.Blazey formed of a single china clay bogie tank wagon and empty scrap wagons.
19/06 GBRf 'hire' 47853 worked a 5Z71 08.45 Laira-Derby stock move formed;- 44049, 42145, 42144, 42143, 42268, 41136, 41003 and barrier coaches.
20/06 For the 2007 Glastonbury pop festival, First/GW 'hired' in two six coach former Virgin liviered rakes of stock top n'tailed by Class 67 locos to help move some of the 170,000 people attending the event. Both sets were reported to have been seen in Temple Meads at the same time prior to use with locos; 67029 (EWS silver) + 67013 and 67006 (Royal) + 67015. The workings, over the 20th-22nd were between Taunton-Castle Cary then ECS to Swindon returning Swindon-Castle Cary and ECS to Taunton. Taunton departures were at 09.30, 11.31, 13.42, 15.55, 17.42 and from Swindon at 09.34, 11.34, 13.46, 15.55, 18.16. Additional First/GW HST also operated from Swindon-Westbury via Melksham, normally sets running in the Paddington-Cardiff paths, returning from Westbury empty.
23/06 67026 worked a 1Z55 06.15 Derby-St. Austell and 1Z56 16.36 return excursion and 67022 was on a Lincoln-Bath Northern Belle working (via Charfield and Parkway) being seen near Keynsham at 12.40, returning here at 17.32. Other special passenger workings during the day saw, D1015 Western Champion head a Pathfinder 'Cornishman' (1Z52 06.05 Birmingham-Penzance and 1Z86 17.33 return) trip, noted passing Yatton outward at 08.35 and return near the same location slightly late at 21.20 and steam 850 Lord Nelson which worked 1Z85 07.57 Haywards Heath-Bristol TM and 1Z86 17.33 return (Saltford 13.34 and near Keynsham at 17.45) with coaching stock;- 35317 (loco support), 17015, 3124, 3069, 1671, 3066, 3149, 3121, 3110, 1813, 5322, 5341. The 'Cornishman' had been delayed due to following 'local' services on parts of the return journey from the West Country, including locally, being held at a signal just short of Nailsea & Backwell station following behind 158766 on the First/GW 21.00 Weston-super-Mare-Filton Abbey Wood local service! On the freight side, 59005 worked the Saturday's only 6B80 07.30 Westbury-Machen empty stone and 6C80 13.33 loaded return, passing Saltford at 15.22. Other workings of interest during the day saw;- five Freightliner Class 66 locos run 0Y22 light-engines from Kingsland Road-Taunton Fairwater yard during the morning and the MML HST stock, still 'on hire' by First/GW with power cars 43149 + 43088 working the 07.30 Exeter St.Davids-Paddington service. During the early evening 67029 + 67013 were noted heading in the up direction light-engine towards Bath having brought a rake of coaching stock into Temple Meads.
24/06 The First/GW 1C99 23.50 Paddington-Penzance sleeper service was noted in the London terminus ready to leave behind 57605, 57603 having led the ECS into the station and was on the buffers. The coaching stock formation in use was;- 12161, 17173, 10219, 10584, 10612, 10594. The First/GW MML 'hire' stock was again noted with power cars 43088 and 43149 working the First/GW 23.45 Paddington-Bristol TM service away from London, being diverted via the Berks & Hants due to engineering works, passengers for Swindon and Chippenham having to change to a road bus at Reading.
25/06 47813 was reported to have worked a Gloucester-Laira stock move.
26/06 47813 was booked to return north as 5Z45 16.30 Laira-Gloucester but ran 0Z45 Laira-St.Phillips Marsh light-engine. A 5Z70 16.25 Derby-Laira refurbished stock move was reported running 45 minutes late being booked through Bristol TM's at 20.00.
27/06 60075 was on the 6B65 Westbury-Newport ADj engineers. Steam 850 Lord Nelson stood in for 71000 Duke of Gloucester on the 'Cathederal's Express' (1Z85 08.41 Victoria-Temple Meads and 1Z50 17.34 return) the inward being reported close to it's booked 13.06 arrival time. Cotswold-Rail 47815 was unusually used on the overnight First/GW 1A40 22.00 Penzance-Paddington sleeper service.
28/06 Two Class 60 workings noted were;- 60054 on the 6B65 Westbury-Newport ADJ departmental and 60074 on the 7C79 Parc Slip-Westbury cement works loaded coal.
29/06 66056 was on the 6C01 Newport ADJ-Bristol East depot steel and 66133 + 66216 were paired on the 6B65 Newport departmental. A 'Murder Mystery' Northern Belle dining trip, 1Z67 18.20 Bath-Newton Abbot and 1Z68 20.37 return was noted passing Nailsea at 19.01 behind 67028. The two MkIII sleeping car support coaches were Balmoral and Crewe. The inward train ECS ran via Kemble with a loco run-round at Swindon.
30/06 Two cancelled rail tours were; a Compass Tours 'Georgian Bath Express' from Preston-Bath and a blue pullman 1Z24 05.25 Britol TM-Glasgow, booked to have arrived as a 5Z24 10.55 East Ham-Temple Meads ECS the previous day. The former was to have been worked by Victa/Westlink Class 47s, the latter by Cotswold-Rail 47s.

Gloucester

26/06 Four stored Class 87 locos were booked to be moved as 0Z80 10.30 Wembley-Gloucester by Cotswold-Rail, the move however was cancelled.
28/06 The Class 87 move ran and reached Oxley.
29/06 47828 worked the 0Z87 11.30 Oxley-Long Marston (via Gloucester) with 87026, 87006, 87007, 87008 (all former DRS locos) as far as Worcester, before running light-engine to Gloucester!

Portbury Branchline

The new imported coal-flow to Rugeley (reported in last month's Magazine) has been confirmed as starting during July as 6Z82 07.00 Portbury-Rugeley (Pilning 07.58) and 4Z82 15.30 Rugeley-Portbury (Bristol Parkway 19.45-2002 and Portbury arr 21.00) using a 19 wagon HXA set. A second path is expected to be added during August, with a possible two more by the Autumn, departures could then be at 01.00, 07.00, 09.00 and 17.00.
Locos recorded on coal duty during the month have included;- 66132/144/179.

Locos recorded on the 6X52 16.30 Washwood Heath loaded cars have included;-
01/06 66051. 12/06 66096. 13/06 66213. 14/06 66096. 15/06 66213.
19/06 66171. 20/06 66047. 22/06 66047. 26/06 66168. 28/06 66106.
29/06 66168.

Units noted this period included
143603/620/621.
150233/243/246/248/249/261/266.
158749/750/751/762/763/766/768/769/771/776/817/865/868/870/871/872.
180108/113.
220011/019/029/030.
221102/108/112/121/126.
960012 (977860).

LOCAL FREIGHTLINER WORKINGS

4V50/4O51 Southampton - Wentlooge.
01/06 66589. 04/06 66517. 05/06 66539. 06/06 66591. 07/06 66592.
08/06 66580. 11/06 66503. 12/06 66577. 13/06 66505. 15/06 66590.
18/06 66505. 19/06 66567. 22/06 66588. 25/06 66591. 26/06 66567.
27/06 66537.

LOCAL EWS WORKINGS

6M33 16.23 (SX) Avonmouth-Wembley 'enterprise' freight service
Locos recorded on the 6M33 16.21 Wembley 'enterprise' freight service during the month have included;-
01/06 67019. 12/06 67005 + 67006.
13/06 67017. 20/0666161.


FREIGHT REVIEW (By Pete Merry)

Well, here we go with another missive covering the freight scene. Not a lot of new news has come my way in the last month, mainly due to home and work commitments. However, the Neasden--Wool aggregate service has been noted recently a few times and appears to consist of the following bogie Freightliner hoppers: 369079/ 080/ 081/ 083/ 103/ 104/ 106/ 107/ 109/ 110/ 113/ 114/ 115 and 116. If these vehicles are utilised in the same way as the Neasden-Croft then all but two of them are used on the service, the remaining two being rotated as and when maintenance is required. A nice personal sighting at Leicester a couple of times recently has been a GBRf service from Wellingborough to Peterborough consisting of the new bogie FEA welded rail vehicles. On 5th July, 66727 was seen heading north through Leicester hauling the following vehicles: 640937/ 942/ 946/ 936/ 940/ 939/ 941/ 938/ 945/ 943/ 944. The service seems to recess in Humberstone Road, Leicester for a couple of hours around 1300-1500. At the present time the services in and out of Mountsorrel, Bardon and Croft quarries seem to be in abundance, especially the sidings at Croft where the two internal shunters are always in and out of the complex with their trains. Passing by the site at 18.10 on 9th July, 66613 was parked up awaiting its train whilst both the industrials had trains being loaded - one consisting of the Aggregate Industries bogie hoppers (33.70.6905 series) the other with Freightliner bogie hoppers. As the news is short this month, I'll move on to my sightings at Rugby and Nuneaton. At Rugby, the new platform is now in use and affords great photographic opportunities of services travelling north and allows identification of wagons on services heading north through the northbound platform in the station itself. A new junction has been created at the south end of the station which now allows trains from the Northampton line to come out of the dip into the station instead of "over the top" from Northampton. Anyway, I digress. An evening at Rugby on 2nd July yielded a good flow of traffic. Heading north, 92005 had the following consist: 33.70.4739.083, 33.87.7894.028/ 038/ 033, 33.80.4647.000/ 034/ 012/ 010/ 044/ 043. The Euston-Birmingham service and return seems to be back in the hands of a loco-hauled set, 90031 being noted on this particular evening. "New" Freightliner locos 66588 and 66593 were then noted on northbound Freightliner services. Also noted at Rugby, for those interested, there seems to be a change in the pattern of use of the class 350s on the Northampton services. In the last two visits since the timetable change, only two of these units have been noted during the stay. The rest of the services being made up of the class 321 units. Nuneaton on 9th July was its usual busy self. Again nothing too startling. Starting with 66146 on the following EWS coal service: 310908/ 339/ 374/ 662/ 096/ 882/ 810/ 093/ 516/ 027/ 892/ 393/ 049/ 092/ 824/ 078/ 625/ 148/ 094/ 864/ 728. Another coal followed closely on to this hauled by 66091 consisting of: 310164/ 0122/ 0169/ 0825/ 0343/ 1090/ 1119/ 0669/ 0104/ 0907/ 0685/ 0450/ 0308/ 1138/ 0681/ 0960/ 0047/ 0691. The first W. H. Malcolm service then trundled north in the charge of 66404 with the following consist: 33.68.4909.407/ 465/ 034/ 420/ 951/ 036/ 702/ 512/ 565/ 4943.070/ 067. Also noted on this particular evening - running 165 minutes late - was the inbound GBRf service to Hams Hall. Hauled by 66717 the train consisted of: 640601/ 602/ 607/ 807/ 657/ 630001/ 002/ 021/ 022/ 040/ 039/ 007/ 008/ 031/ 032/ 650015/ 016/ 007/ 008/ 025/ 026/ 95379. The second Malcolm service in the charge of 66402 then headed north with the following vehicles: 33.68.4909.360/ 399/ 570/ 419/ 661/ 546/ 386/ 712/ 737/ 393/ 394/ 4943.071. Also noted, running very late, was the return empty Corby-Margam steel. In the charge of 66160 plus a failed 60041, the vehicles were: 900007/ 001/ 164/ 254/ 079/ 006/ 220/ 109/ 009/ 099/ 042/ 136/ 075/ 205/ 261/ 122/ 251/ 064. The rest of the trains noted were Freightliner services. Just a mention of a couple of track machines, both heading south, these being 73923 and 999501. Sorry it's a bit boring this month, but I think the weather is affecting us all! More next time.

MISCELLANEOUS

Summer Passenger Train Extras
First/GW were due to start a 'hire' Saturday's Class 67 top n'tail 2O67 08.34 Bristol TM-Weymouth and 2V67 17.50 return (arr 20.50) from 07/07 through to the 25/08. The two Class 67s are utilized from the locos on the Saturday mornings 6V53 Wembley-Avonmouth 'enterprise' freight service, which normally spend the week-end stabled on Barton Hill depot.
Victa/Westlink were expected to start the timetabled 'Butlin's Holiday Train' first mentioned as long ago as in the April 2006 Magazine (page 8). Class 31s are to be the hauling power (in a top n'tail formation) originally thought to be lined up for Class 47s belonging to Cotswold-Rail. The workings are expected to operate on Fri, Sat and Mon only running as 11.10 Minehead-Bristol TM (13.40) and 14.06 Bristol TM-Minehead (16.25) starting on 20/07 until 27/08. The company were also expected to provide the Class 31 set for use between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare when the T4 party on the beach takes place at the seaside resort on 22/07. Also booked are two trips for Hertfordshire Railtours from Minehead-Weymouth

Motorway Movements
20/06 D7076 northbound M5, from the WSR near junction 20 during the early afternoon.

PRESERVATION & INDUSTRIAL MATTERS

Birmingham Moor Street (06/06/07) R..W.Giles
Former GWR 2885 was visible on the buffers at the station from the nearby shopping precinct.

TRACK MACHINES & DEPARTMENTALS

09/06 Morteton-in-Marsh DR73920.
17/06 Kemble, stn car-park road/rail; Hennelly's 01 (Liebherr ZWB02LR009/2005). trailers; RT13175C. RT13447.
18/06 M5, nr. Clevedon (northbound) road/rail; BCL207.
20/06 Avonmouth BBHT ballast-packer, carrying both MNN6154 and MNN6155!
29/06 Pilning West (passing) DR75407.

RAILTOUR REPORT

COAL-STONE-HAUL (1Z20 Bristol TM-Bristol TM). Sunday 03/06/07.

Locos;- 31105 +31285 with 50049 in a top n'tail formation.
Coaching Stock;- 5478, 6041, 6022, 6000, 5487, 9440, 99311, (5491), 6103, 5453, 5569.

The first big Bristol area 'freight-only' branch line tour for many years was in the main organised by Network Rail's Bristol operation's manager Andy Spencer, with profits going to the Railway Children fund, an international charity which helps children who live alone on the streets. Mr. Spencer is also planning the 'Three Peaks Challenge' with some friends for the charity, climbing the three highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland (the Class 31s carrying a small headboard in recognition of this forthcoming event). The tour covered around 250 miles of main and branch line, including each way visits to Gloucester to gain access to Westerleigh and Tytherington which could not be reached by the Parkway-Swindon mainline due to engineering work in the Westerleigh junction area.
The tour departed Temple Meads to time at 10.00 for Royal Portbury dock arriving at the dockgate to time at 10.24 with the Class 31s (currently two 'rare' NR locos for passenger haulage both working in place of the booked 50031 which was out of service) leading. The 'new' internal port loop line (opened in October 2006) was not used as expected, the general cargo line being where the train reversal took place for the Class 50 to lead away. This was the first visit into the port for both Class 31 and 50 locos and along the part refurbished Portishead branch line since it was re-opened to freight traffic at the end of 2001. On the return to the Bath pick-up, the Ashton junction token exchange point was left at 10.59, 13 minutes late. Returning to Bristol, via the Swindon mainline and Day's curve, Filton West junction (on the freight-only line to Avonmouth) was passed at 12.03 (19 minutes late) with the departure from St. Andrews Road being at 12.31 (again 19 late). Retracing the route back to Filton West, a reversal in platform 4 at Bristol Parkway station (believed to be only the third train to use this the newly opened platform) followed, Pilning was passed at 13.02 (14 late) and Severn Tunnel junction reached for another reverse to run via Chepstow and Lydney to Gloucester passed at 13.55 (10 late). On arrival at Yate (14.20) 6 minutes late, for the two South Gloucestershire freight lines the Class 50 was reported as running a high temperature and failed, the 31s pushing the train into the Westerleigh terminus (to a point alongside the Murco oil depot) and haul the train onto the Tytherington branch line where a coolant top up took place at Latteridge level crossing on the line using a hosepipe from a house alongside the level crossing around 15.10. The actual property owner here is currently in dispute over a foot-crossing in use (complete with stiles!), which is reported 'unofficial' by Network-Rail being used as a means to gain access for the owner to his workplace! The quarry was reached at 15.40 (31 late) for the reverse this being the first loco hauled train to visit this location since February. Following the return to the mainline at Yate, departure here was at 16.41 (46 minutes late), Gloucester being passed at 17.13 (where time was recovered leaving out a booked 16.26-16.40 photo stop here) and at Severn Tunnel junction a quick reverse saw a 17.55 departure with Pilning passed at 18.02 (22 late). A proposed run direct to Temple Meads to recover time (instead of via the Patchway curve and Henbury) did not take place, the original 'booked' route being taken with Avonmouth station passed at 18.22 (12 late) and Clifton Down 18.36 (10 late). The departure time to Severn Beach was as booked at 18.55, with the terminus being reached slightly earlier than the booked 19.43 arrival time, the departure being to time at 19.48 for Temple Meads following a photo stop here in the fading light.
The trip raised 18,500 for the charity, and a list of the assisting companies, who helped the rail-tour take place, most free of charge included; West Coast Railways, Network Rail, EWS, Serco, The Bristol Port Company, The Class 50 Alliance, Cotswold Rail, Advenza Freight, Arriva Trains-Wales, The Diesel Traction Group and Hanson. For those who didn't realise, the name of the tour 'Coal-Stone Haul' (carried on a well made headboard by the Class 50) was derived from the famous Bristol music and concert venue the Colston Hall which is currently undergoing a refurbishment. One rather sad event reported following the successful trip, was the assault and theft of a Vision's International person's camera equipment and mobile phone whilst at Stapleton Road station during the day.

 

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