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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
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
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
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