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New and Old on British railways


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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.


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Weather wasn’t great, sadly, and the loco was slated to leave the museum on Friday morning and what followed was a fiasco. A victim of its own success, huge crowds turned out to see it but over fifty idiots trespassed on the track near Cam and Dursley resulting in delays of over an hour and causing the British Transport police to request that any future moves are kept secret (Good luck with that one!)




Also in the museum is the first attempt to introduce a tilting train on to the West Coast line. The APT Advanced passenger train was a near miss, sadly killed off by the British Press who slated it on its introduction despite it not being that bad at all. Fortunately a few cars survived the cutting torch.This was the first time I have ever had to sit in one.




The museum has turned the old Crewe North Junction signalbox into a high level observation platform so rail fans can watch trains passing on the Main line and the ‘Chester’. The full lever frame has been preserved inside the box



On the Chester line two of our new Class 68s returned after a working along the North Wales line, 68 025 Superb and 68 001 Evolution approach the Junction at Walking pace.




West Coast Railways made an appearance on the main line with what seemed to be a normal light engine move until I noticed the by pass hose going into the cab of the second loco. This is usually an indication that there was a problem with the air brake on the class 47 loco and the rear two were providing additional brake force. 37 516 on the point followed by 47 854, 47 832 and 47 237.



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Some of the locos previously on display have moved over to the LNWR Depot but Class 47 47 712 Lady Diana Spencer was present 




As was 37 108 under restoration



The following morning a walk through the extensive railyards south of the station brought us to Gresty Bridge depot where Class 88 AC/Diesel hybrid 88 003 Genesis was waiting to be hauled to the Severn Valley Railway gala.Seen in the company of Class 68s 68 027, as yet unnamed, and 68 023 Achilles




Walking back to the station at Crewe, Caledonian Sleeper train allocated Class 92 waited at the south end.  92 043 is finished in the Sleeper train colour scheme




Back in Cumbria the Furness and Coast lines basked in spring sunshine


37 401 Mary Queen of Scots trundles through the scenery at Thwaites Flats with the 08.45 Barrow to Carlisle




Approaching Park South signalbox ,Two class 68s head a Sellafield to Crewe working, they are crawling up to the junction signal waiting for a northbound passenger train to clear the single line section into Barrow. In the distance the Crewe to Sellafield train heads north



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A few days later I had to go on my travels again. catching the first Barrow to Carlisle train in the morning one of our most recently restored Class 37s was in charge


37 424 has had a full reskin and was named 'Avro Vulcan XH588' and given the bodyside number 37 588. Finished in the classic BR Large Logo livery



At the depot newly delivered 68 031 seen under the gantry, was being commissioned






walking past Crewe Diesel another Merchant navy class 4-6-2 35028 'Clan Line' was days away from returning to the main line. just needed the final paint job and the refiting of the nameplates




Back to nature after the urban sprawl of Carlisle and Crewe found me about a mile from my house where the coast line skirts the Duddon Estuary 37 425 drifts towards Kirkby with the teatime Barrow to Carlisle




Most recent video concentrating on 37s and 68s 







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Nice images, the 68s on flask trains looks odd, so used to it being a 20 or 37 duty.

Edited by Wonderbolt
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Nice selection of photos, Kev. I reckon the the gloss black finish on "British India Line" is an undercoat for the BR green.





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