Victorian Weekend

Adams LSWR 4-4-0 T3 No.563 and SECR 0-6-0 O1 No. 65 passing Corfe Castle during the Swanage Railway’s Victorian Weekend – 23/03/2024

March 23rd 2024 to March 31st 2024

As promised last time, in this blog entry, we are going to share our photos and videos from our visit to Swanage Railway’s “Victorian Weekend” event which saw the resident Adams T3 No. 563 in service along with SECR Class O1 No. 65 visiting from the Bluebell Railway. The special gala weekend ran from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th March. I was sorely tempted to visit for all three days, if only to see the first train of the day which involved both the T3 and O1 double heading from Swanage to Norden. In the event, I only made the journey on the Saturday. I have mixed feelings about my photographs recording the two Victorian locomotives working in tandem.

But before Yoshi and I went off to Swanage, we had an engineers train to find in the Branksome area. Overnight a GBRf pair of Class 66 locomotives had operated as 6N75 2353 Eastleigh East Yard to Branksome, with the engineering possession in place from just east of Branksome up to Seldown Junction points near Poole High Street Level Crossing. Looking at the live rail maps provided by websites such as Open Time Trains, the train head code was reporting as sitting in Branksome railway station. After a quick look in at the station, we actually found the train sitting the other side of Branksome viaduct, the lead locomotive obscured by trees. However, I managed a record shot of No. 66730 ‘Whitemoor’ which was positioned at the rear of its train before making my way to Corfe Castle on the Swanage Railway.

GBRf Class 66 No. 66730 ‘Whitemoor’at rest on the rear of engineering train 6G12 2353 Eastleigh East Yard to Branksomeatop bridge E20/23 BML2 Electricity Works between Branksome and Bournemouth – 23/03/2024

As well as the two Victorian steam locos in action for their Victorian gala, Swanage residents Southern Railway (SR) 4-6-2 West Country Class No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’ and SR 2-6-0 U Class No. 31806 were also hauling trains. All four locomotives were facing boiler first out of Swanage which limited photographic variety somewhat, but that didn’t in any way diminish my enjoyment and the hard work put in by all concerned involved with running the event.

The first train each morning of the Swanage Railway three day Victorian Weekend gala was double headed by the two Victorian era locomotives; Adams LSWR 4-4-0 T3 No.563 and SECR 0-6-0 O1 No. 65, seen here with Corfe Castle as a backdrop as the duo approach Norden – 23/03/2024
SR 2-6-0 – U Class No. 31806 approaches Harman’s Cross – 23/03/2024
A wonderful piece of planning saw No. 563 depart Swanage with her train to Norden as No. 65 backed into the station area – 23/03/2024
No. 563 gets the token for the single line towards Harman’s Cross and No. 65 runs bak to couple on to her train in the bay platform at Swanage Railway station. – 23/03/2024
Adams LSWR 4-4-0 T3 Class No.563 makes a fine sight on departure at Swanage – 23/03/2024
Built in 1896, O1 Class No. 65 is the very last surviving South Eastern Railway (SER) locomotive and was rebuilt in 1908 by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR). The locomotive was purchased from British Railways in 1963 by the Lewis-Evans family for the scrap value of £850 and has been based at the Bluebell Railway since 1997. The Lewis-Evans family decided to sell No. 65 during the latter part of 2021, the locomotive being purchased by the Bluebell Railway Trust securing the locomotive for the heritage line. No. 65 is seen at Woodhyde on the approach to Afflington Bridge which carries the A351 over the railway – 23/03/2024
122 locomotives of the O class were built between 1878 and 1899. No. 65 engine was withdrawn by British Railways in 1961, its major claim to fame being the working of the last railtour to run over the Hawkhurst branch in Kent, along with C class No. 31592, which is also preserved at the Bluebell Railway. No. 65 is seen at Woodhyde hauling Swanage Railways Class 117 Diesel Multiple Unit – 23/03/2024
SR 2-6-0 – U Class No. 31806 nears Townsend Lane bridge – 23/03/2024
SR 4-6-2 West Country Class No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’ at Woodhyde – 23/03/2024
One final capture of visiting locomotive SECR 0-6-0 O1 Class No. 65 as she steams up to Corfe Viaduct with a train bound for Norden – 23/03/3034
Video of Swanage Railway’s Victorian Weekend from 23/03/2024

Swanage Railway’s ‘Save Your Railway’ appeal, launched in November 2023, has so far successfully raised £120,000 of the £450,000 target. If you would like to help please click here.

After our Purbeck visit, we popped back to Branksome (of course we did!) so Yoshi could get an update on the maintenance work taking place on the points into the depot at the east end of the railway station. I was pleased the GBRf Class 66’s had moved up with their train which was resting in full sunlight looking very photogenic.

GBRf Class 66 No. 66749 ‘Christopher Hopcroft MBE 60 Years Railway Service’ with sister loco No. 66730 ‘Whitemoor’ stationary on the approach to Branksome railway station – 23/03/2024
Work progresses on the points into Bournemouth depot watched by GBRf Class 66 No.’s 66749 ‘Christopher Hopcroft MBE 60 Years Railway Service’ and 66730 ‘Whitemoor’ – 23/03/2024
A road-rail vehicle at work in Branksome railway station -23/03/2024
Yoshi took it upon himself to inspect the engineering work taking place at Branksome. Although, he is looking the wrong way in this image – 23/03/2024
Another view of the activity taking place at Branksome with GBRf Class 66 No. 66749 ‘Christopher Hopcroft MBE 60 Years Railway Service’ – 23/03/2024
Balfour Beatty’s 08-4X4/4S-RT tamper No. DR73950 ‘Tamper Tantrum’ operating under head code 6Q04 at Seldown, Poole – 24/03/2024
In October 2021, both of Balfour Beatty’s 08-4X4/4S-RT tampers were named following a competition involving schools. Rather than cast plates, the names are applied in transfers on the main bodyside adjacent to the Balfour Beatty name. The machines also carry details of the first names of the child who selected each respective name, their class year and the name plus the logo of their school. No. DR73950 ‘Tamper Tantrum’ is seen here near Seldown Junction at Poole and was named by Chloe, aged 8, at Rockliffe Manor Primary School. It’s sister machine, No. DR73949 was named ‘Tiny Tamper’ – 24/03/2024

Monday morning we were up early and popped over to Poole to see the return working of the Branksome engineers train as it made a belated departure to Eastleigh East Yard – delayed by almost 30 minutes because of overrunning engineering work!

Following the completion of the work at Branksome, the engineering train moved up to Poole Storage Sidings. GBRf Class 66 No. 66730 ‘Whitemoor’ passes through Poole leading on 6G12 0430 Poole to Eastleigh East Yard with No. 66749 ‘Christopher Hopcroft MBE 60 Years Railway Service’. Departure of this train was delayed by, er. over-running engineering works – 25/03/2024
Video of GBRf Class 66 No.’s 66749 ‘Christopher Hopcroft MBE 60 Years Railway Service’ and 66730 ‘Whitemoor’ working 6G12 0430 Poole to Eastleigh East Yard at Poole -25/03/2024

Tuesday 26th March 2024 saw further South Western Railway (SWR) Class 458 electric multiple unit (EMU) drags between Widnes Transport Tech and Bournemouth TRSMD taking place. Much excitement on the rail enthusiast grapevine when it was discovered that newly repainted GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 was allocated. This particular locomotive was released into traffic back in October 2023 still in its green primer coat, but has recently received a new paint job at Arlington Fleet Services located at Eastleigh Works, emerging in Class 52 “Western” style livery. This is inspired by the British Rail carriage maroon colours with half yellow warning panels and white window surrounds as carried by 71 of the 74 Class 52 “Western” Diesel-Hydraulic locomotives between 1962 and 1971.

GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ at Poole as part of the running around its train exercise whilst working 5Z66 2018 Bournemouth TRSMD to Eastleigh East Yard – 26/03/2024

The locomotive livery has been completed with the addition of cast number and ‘Western Consort’ name plates in classic “Western” Great Western Railway (GWR) serif lettering. The name was decided upon by GBRf CEO, John Smith, as the original ‘Western Consort’ (No. D1065) was his favourite member of the class.

We had intended on seeing the train at Branksome, but rush hour traffic queues meant this idea was abandoned, as was the alternative destination Parkstone. Instead, we were able to retrace our steps to Poole and pass the train as it sat in the station before moving out to Poole Storage Sidings where the locomotive would detach and run round before hauling the refurbished Class 458/4 back in the direction of Bournemouth depot.

GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ arrives at Poole Storage Sidings with Class 458/4 No. 458422 forming 5Q64 Southampton Down Loop to Bournemouth TRSMD- 26/03/2024
GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ at Poole Storage Sidings with Class 458/4 No. 458422. The locomotive is about to detach from the train and will run into Poole station before returning and attaching to the London end of the consist – 26/03/2024
GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ light engine at Sterte, Poole as she runs around her train – 26/03/2024

After watching the maroon Class 69 locomotive head off light engine from our vantage point on the footbridge above Poole Storage Sidings, we decided to move up to Poole railway station in order to watch the train being taken to its final destination once reunited with No. 69009. However, as we, and a few other enthusiasts, gathered under Towngate Bridge at the London end of the down platform to shelter from the rain, we were approached by an officious and extremely rude member of station staff, which for the purposes of this narrative we shall call Dave – because that’s his name – who informed us we were in contravention of the rules and too close to the platform edge. Everyone there was on the correct side of the yellow line, with the exception of the member of railway staff who took great pleasure in blocking our view of the approaching train. There was also nobody standing in the ambiguous hatched area located at the platform end, nor were we past the sign which clearly informs rail users they should not “pass this point”. In this H&S conscious modern era, I have always taken care to observe safety regulations and very much resent being spoken to like a child. I will not be including Dave on my Christmas card list.

GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ passing Poole working 5Q64 Southampton Down Loop to Bournemouth TRSMD – 26/03/2024
GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ at Poole – 26/03/2024
Video of GBRf Class 69 No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’ on Class 458 unit drags – 26/03/2024

I’ve included a few images below of Class 52 “Western” locomotives in preservation which clearly show the inspiration for the livery carried by No. 69009 ‘Western Consort’.

D1015 ‘Western Champion’ is one of seven preserved Westerns from the original 74 built by BR at Swindon and Crewe. She is seen here at Eastleigh during a Works Open Day – 24/05/2019
No. D1010 ‘Western Campaigner’ seen at Minehead on the West Somerset Railway (WSR) was built at BR Swindon Works in 1962 and withdrawn on 27/02/1977 at 1630 after completing 1,360,740 miles in BR service – 20/07/2013
No. D1010 ‘Western Campaigner’ at Blue Anchor in the guise of No. D1035 ‘Western Yeoman’. Following withdrawal from BR, D1010 was sold to Foster Yeoman in July 1977 and moved to their base at Merehead Quarry. The loco was, at that point, repainted into BR Green livery with full yellow ends and was renamed ‘Western Yeoman’ carrying the number D1035 – 20/07/2013
In January 1993, Foster Yeoman agreed to sell No.D1035 / D1010 to the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group (DEPG) who then replaced the ‘Foster Yeoman’ name and D1035 number with the original D1010 and ‘Western Campaigner’ plates and painted the loco into BR Blue with small yellow warning panels. No. 1035 ‘Western Campaigner’ is seen at Bishops Lydeard running as withdrawn classmate No. D1035 ‘Western Yeoman’
– 20/07/2013
A young Yoshi on one of his first railway themed adventures admires Class 52 No. D1010 ‘Western Campaigner’ at Williton shed on the West Somerset Railway. The locomotive had failed at Bishops Lydeard in June 2018 with a seized transmission at the ‘B’ end. The loco was towed to Williton after disconnecting the cardan shaft on ‘B’ transmission. Work continues on fault diagnosis and repair with the hope she will return to service in 2025 – 21/06/2019
Class 52 No. D1015 ‘Western Champion’ on the approach to Weymouth at the head of Pathfinder Tours “The Western Wessexman” 1Z52 0553 Leicester to Weymouth – 07/09/2013 (John Chappell)
Class 52 No. D1015 ‘Western Champion’ at Weymouth having arrived with “The Western Wessexman” 1Z52 0553 Leicester to Weymouth rail tour – 07/09/2013 (John Chappell)

Returning to 2024, and the last special working which visited Dorset in March was Saphos Trains “The Golden Arrow” rail tour to Folkestone and Canterbury which was in the charge of Locomotive Services Limited (LSL) diesel engines; Class 47 No. 47810 (D1924) and Class 57 No. 57311. Later on in the rail tour schedule, outside of Dorset, the Class 57 was replaced by steam traction in the shape of LMS 4-6-0 Royal Scot Class No. 46100 ‘Royal Scot’. The steam locomotive was itself replaced by No. 57311 prior to the tour returning to Dorset metals. This return working operated as 1Z47 1559 Canterbury West to Poole, which arrived back at its final destination 20 minutes late at 0018 on the 31st March 2024 before forming the balancing Empty Coaching Stock (ECS) movement 5Z50 0004 Poole to Eastleigh Works BRML Head Quarters departing 19 minutes behind schedule at 0023 via Poole Storage Sidings. Yoshi and I were happily tucked up in bed at this point after our early start!

Locomotive Services Limited Class 47 No. 47810 (D1924) ‘Crewe Diesel Depot’ arrives at Poole leading on the Empty Coaching Stock movement Saphos Trains “Golden Arrow” reporting as 3Z45 0406 Eastleigh Works to Poole – 30/03/2024
LSL Class 57 No. 57311 in lined black livery in readiness for departure from Poole hauling Saphos Trains “Golden Arrow” 1Z46 0553 Poole to Canterbury West – 30/03/2024
Video of Class 47 No. 47810 (D1924) and Class 57 No. 57311 at Poole – 30/03/2024

That brings us to the end of another blog entry. Thanks, as always, for reading, your comments and corrections. These are always welcome. Until next time, Be Seeing You!

Postscript

We ended March attending another gig at the O2 Academy where we nostalgically remembered years gone by in the company of Stereo MC’s, Inspiral Carpets and Happy Mondays as they brought “The Been There Done That” tour to Bournemouth – 31/03/2024

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