Yoshi’s Bincombe Visit

Freightliner Class 66 locomotives No.’s 66520 and 66512 at Bincombe during engineering work reporting as 6Y85 2348 Eastleigh East Yard to Dorchester South – 18/03/2024

March 16th 2024 to March 22nd 2024

Maintenance work between Dorchester and Weymouth closed the railway line from Monday 18th to Wednesday 20th March 2024 affecting both South Western Railway (SWR) and Great Western Railway (GWR) services along this route. In association with the work, an engineers train, in the hands of Freightliner, worked from Eastleigh East Yard to Dorchester South overnight of 16/17th March, arriving in the County Town at 0156 on the Monday morning, approximately 46 minutes behind schedule. We saw the train pass through Hamworthy, top and tailed by Class 66 locomotives No.’s 66520 and 66512, at which point it was running 36 minutes late.

Freightliner Class 66 No. 66520 leads through Hamworthy working 6Y85 2348 Eastleigh East Yard to Dorchester South – 17/03/2024
FL Class 66 No. 66512 brings up the rear on 6Y85 2348 Eastleigh East Yard to Dorchester South passing Hamworthy – 17/03/2024

As we arrived at the station in good time to see the engineering train heading to Weymouth, we were surprised to see an empty coaching stock movement, formed of SWR Class 444 No. 444001 passing through Hamworthy just after 0100 on its way to Bournemouth Traincare depot working as 5W71 0041 Weymouth to Bournemouth TRSMD. A result of the line being closed in the Poole area on the Sunday meant trains from London Waterloo terminated at Bournemouth. A replacement bus service ran to stations between Bournemouth and Wareham with a shuttle train service operating between Wareham and Weymouth during the day.

The worksite necessitating the Monday to Wednesday line closure was located in the Bincombe area, where track would receive the attention of a tamper and gain some fresh ballast. We popped out on Monday afternoon to take a look at what was going on, expecting to find the two Class 66 locomotives parked up on the down line between Bincombe Tunnel and Bincombe Tunnel Number 2. Instead we found Quattro Group’s Mercedes rail road vehicle ‘Mad Vax’ and one of their tracked Road Rail Vehicles (RRV).

A RailRoad vehicle at Bincombe – 18/03/2024
Quattro Group’s Mad Vax vacuum excavation system, which won the Most Innovative RRV Product Award at the National Rail Awards in 2019, prepares to do its stuff at Bincombe. Quattro Group are rightly proud of this piece of kit; “The Mad Vax vacuum excavation system has all the power and performance needed to complete a wide array of rail applications from ballast removal to spillage clean up operation. The unit’s spoil capacity is an impressive 6m3, and with a side tipping hopper it can be emptied lineside, utilising a special split-lid spoil tank to give a lower overall profile and to reduce overall tipping height for works under overhead power cables or at a suitable location when off track. The machine is also equipped with a Powerarm and IKE rotating suction tube to aid in breaking up harder ground for improved efficiency.” – 18/03/2024
Bincombe worksite for the March 2024 maintenance work – 18/03/2024

After a quick chat with friend of this blog, Robin, we drove off towards Upwey to see if the engineers train was stabled near the railway station. Despite much of the line side trees and vegetation having been cut back, there was no sign of the Freightliner train. After refreshments at The Royal Standard in Upwey, we proceeded to drive back towards Dorchester when, glancing to the right as we came over the brow of Ridgeway hill, we could see the unmistakable sight of a Class 66 locomotive. Parking the car in the next lay-by, I crossed over the road and proceeded along the footpath back in the direction of Weymouth to see if it was possible to get a photo of the train at rest.

Class 66 No. 66512 stands out amidst the Dorset countryside – 18/03/2024

I was quite pleased with the resulting photo of the train parked at the northern portal of Bincombe Tunnel, perfectly placed for a photograph imho.

Because I liked the shot so much, another view of Freightliner Class 66 locomotives No.’s 66520 and 66512 at Bincombe during engineering work reporting as 6Y85 2348 Eastleigh East Yard to Dorchester South – 18/03/2024
A tamper sits in the sidings at Dorchester South waiting to be deployed at Bincombe – 18/03/2024 (G E Barrett)

The Class 66’s returned to Eastleigh on the afternoon of Tuesday 19th March. It was quite a novelty to see a local engineers train working in daylight hours!

Class 66 No. 66512 awaiting departure with 6Y85 1454 Dorchester South to Eastleigh East Yard – 19/03/2024 (G E Barrett)
Class 66 No. 66520 in the gloom of a wet Dorchester South at the rear of 6Y85 1454 Dorchester South to Eastleigh East Yard – 19/03/2024 (G E Barrett)
Freightliner Class 66 No. 66512 ready to depart from Dorchester South working 6Y85 1454 Dorchester South to Eastleigh East Yard – 19/03/2024 (G E Barrett)
Freightliner Class 66 No. 66512 leads on 6Y85 1454 Dorchester South to Eastleigh East Yard passing Hamworthy – 19/03/2024
Freightliner Class 66 No. 66520 runs through Hamworthy at the rear of 6Y85 1454 Dorchester South to Eastleigh East Yard – 19/03/2024
Video of Freightliner Class 66 No.’s 66520 and 66512 working a Dorset engineering train – March 2024 (Additional video courtesy of G E Barrett)

The monthly New Measurement Train (NMT) which is scheduled to visit Weymouth via the West route through Maiden Newton was curtailed at Yeovil on Wednesday 20th March 2024 owing to the line closure between Dorchester and Weymouth. Allocated Class 43 High Speed Train (HST) power cars No.’s 43357 and 43277 worked 1Q18 0748 Derby RTC to Bristol Kingsland Road.

While the NMT was making its way to Somerset, I could be found at Norden on the Swanage Railway watching visiting South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) Class O1 steam locomotive No. 65 being prepped for towing down to Swanage in readiness for the railways Victorian Weekend. Resident preserved Birmingham Rail & Carriage Works (BR&CW) Class 33 No. 33111 had the task of collecting No. 65 and hauling her down to Swanage.

Swanage resident Class 33/1 No. 33111 cautiously hauls South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) Class O1 steam locomotive No. 65 away from Norden sidings – 20/03/2024
South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) Class O1 steam locomotive No. 65 at Norden during the operation to haul her to Swanage in readiness for the railway’s Victorian Weekend – 20/03/3024
Class 33/1 No. 33111 hauls South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR) Class O1 steam locomotive No. 65 as they depart Norden station heading to Swanage – 20/03/2024
SECR O1 No. 65 arrives on the Swanage Railway – 20/03/2024

The following day, I hitched a lift with friend of the blog Jamie for a visit to Maiden Newton to see Colas Railfreight Class 37 No.’s 37175 and 37219 ‘Jonty Jarvis’ top and tailing a Structure Gauging Train on its way from Westbury to Weymouth and return. The working left Westbury around two hours late and I probably aged Jamie by a few years by claiming we had plenty of time to make the journey over to see the train! We arrived in Maiden Newton with ten minutes to spare.

Great Western Railway Class 166 No. 166210 on the approach to Maiden Newton working 2V68 1328 Weymouth to Gloucester – 21/03/2024
Colas Railfreight Class 37 No. 37175 on the approach to Maiden Newton leading on 3Q14 1021 Westbury Down Yard to Westbury Down Yard – 21/03/2024
Colas Railfreight Class 37 No. 37175 with 37219 ‘Jonty Jarvis’ at the rear at Maiden Newton leading on 3Q14 1021 Westbury Down Yard to Westbury Down Yard on the outward leg to Weymouth – 21/03/2024
On the return leg of 3Q14 1021 Westbury Down Yard to Westbury Down Yard Colas Class 37 No. 37219 ‘Jonty Jarvis’ leads into Maiden Newton – 21/03/2024
Colas Class 37 No. 37219 ‘Jonty Jarvis’ pauses at Maiden Newton as the driver collects to token to allow the train to progress onto the next single line section of track – 21/03/2024
Great Western Railway Class 166 Turbo’s cross at Maiden Newton; No.166220 working 2O76 1110 Gloucester to Weymouth and No. 166210 forms 2V68 1328 Weymouth to Gloucester – 21/03/2024
Maiden Newton trains – 21/03/2024

Later that night, another engineering train ventured into Dorset in conjunction with work in the Christchurch area. I didn’t see train 6N75 2300 Eastleigh East Yard to Christchurch arrive, but I did get up early Friday morning to see DB Class 66 No. 66118 and pioneer shed No. 66001 departing Bournemouth as they returned with their train to Eastleigh East Yard this time working as 6N75 0505 Bournemouth to Eastleigh East Yard. It was so early, Bournemouth railway station was still locked up when I arrived. However the train departed around 20 minutes behind schedule, but not wanting to risk missing filming the departure, I stood steadfastly at my vantage point overlooking the station when I could have easily ventured down to platform level once the station was opened up to the travelling public for the first passenger trains of the day.

With Bournemouth railway station as its backdrop, DB Cargo Class 66 No. 66118 awaits departure working 6N75 0505 Bournemouth to Eastleigh East Yard – 22/03/2024
DB Cargo Class 66 No. 66118 at Bournemouth leading on 6N75 0505 Bournemouth to Eastleigh East Yard – 22/03/2024
DB Cargo Class 66 No. 66001 at the rear of 6N75 0505 Bournemouth to Eastleigh East Yard – 22/03/2024
DB Cargo Class 66 No. 66001 awaits departure of 6N75 0505 Bournemouth to Eastleigh East Yard – 22/03/2024
DB Cargo Class 66’s at Bournemouth – 22/03/2024

HAMWORTHY BRANCH

Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) Annual Stakeholders Open Evening 2024 – 20/03/2024

Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) Annual Stakeholders Open Evening 2024 took place on 20th March in the North Lounge of the Passenger Terminal. We went along to see if there were any updates on the restoration of freight traffic along the Hamworthy Branch which runs down to the port area from a junction to the mainline at Hamworthy railway station. PHC CEO Captain Brian Murphy said; “We are very fortunate to have the port railway. We haven’t used it for some time, but it’s there and it aligns perfectly with our decarbonisation goals. Modal shift is the best way to get transport off the roads. We want to grow the business, we want to grow the freight. We want more cargo through the port but we’d rather actually get as much as possible on to rail rather than the roads. So this does align with the governments ambitious targets which are of part of their 2050 plan for clean maritime and reducing carbon emissions and there has been a lot of work which has actually happened thus far. The commissioners have invested quite heavily in securing the lease that runs from the port all the way to the mainline and there has been a lot of upgrading work which has happened on the Hamworthy Branch. We’ve got a little bit more to do in terms of in the port but we are looking at the business case and hopefully it all aligns. But clearly in terms of ownership, it’ll be a lot of trucks off the road so very excited about that project.”

We recently learned of the passing of our friend and fellow railway enthusiast, Syd Brown. Syd has been a transport enthusiast for many years and could regularly be found supporting local transport events. He was an active member of the old Dorset Transport Circle in times past. Syd’s working life was spent in Dorset County Council’s Roads and Bridges department (now known as Transport and Engineering) and he was also an official in the Dorset County branch of NALGO (now UNISON). Our condolences to Syd’s family.

Thank you for reading and for your comments and corrections. We’ll be back soon with our record of our day attending the Swanage Railway Victorian Weekend. Be seeing you!

Postscript:

Will we ever see trains coming off the Hamworthy Branch again? Back in 2017, DB Cargo Class 60 No. 60054 heads towards the mainline at Hamworthy while South West Trains (SWT) Class 444 No. 444032 waits at platform with a Weymouth service – 17/02/2017
DB Cargo Class 60 No. 60054 draws up to the signal protecting the branch from the mainline at Hamworthy – 17/02/2017

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