Wednesday 27th July to Tuesday 2nd August 2022

The Royal Wessex

SR West Country Class 4-6-2 No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’ pauses at Harmans Cross with the Swanage Railway’s recreation of “The Royal Wessex” 1700 departure from Swanage – 27/07/2022

Swanage Railway recently launched a re-creation of the 1950’s era “Royal Wessex” train including the option to reserve seats in a heritage carriage designed by Richard Maunsell, the chief mechanical engineer of the Southern Railway in the 1930’s, after it was painstakingly restored by a group of volunteers. Maunsell carriages would have been a familiar sight on the Swanage branch line until the 1960’s when they were withdrawn from service. The “Royal Wessex” was introduced in 1951 and departed London Waterloo with portions designated for Swanage, Bournemouth West and Weymouth. Carriages were detached from the main train and attached to a local branch line service to take passengers to their chosen destination. The Swanage portion consisted of two carriages which were separated from, or for the return working; joined to, the main train at Wareham. The Swanage initiative sees the Maunsell carriage carrying “Royal Wessex” name boards with the locomotive hauling the train having a headboard.

“Royal Wessex” name board as carried by the restored 1930’s Maunsell Carriage – July 2022
No. 34028 sporting “The Royal Wessex” headboard – July 2022
Swanage Railway ‘The Royal Wessex’ – July 2022

47 On Tour

Class 47 No. 47830 ‘Beeching’s Legacy’ pauses at Gillingham, Dorset to cross with a late running Exeter to Salisbury service while working 0V45 0835 Southampton to Exeter St. Davids – 28/07/2022 (Photograph courtesy of Scott Lewis)

In connection with 19th -23rd September 2022 engineering work scheduled to take place between Axminster and Pinhoe, Freightliner celebrity locomotive Class 47 No. 47830 ‘Beeching’s Legacy’ has been working route learning trips between Southampton Maritime and Exeter St. David’s on selected days over the last couple of weeks, which meant the locomotive briefly visited Dorset. We were very kindly sent the images and video reproduced on this page by Scott Lewis, who I’m now going to call Yoshi’s North Dorset correspondent.

28/07/2022 (Video courtesy of Scott Lewis)
Class 47 No. 47830 ‘Beeching’s Legacy’ at Gillingham, Dorset – 28/07/2022 (Photograph courtesy of Scott Lewis)

The engineering work will see a five-day closure of the line with a £5m project undertaken that includes landslip prevention work at Honiton tunnel which will involve the installation of two retaining walls, 32 metres and 16 metres in length accompanied by sheet piles that consist of metal posts with concrete planks for additional support to protect the line from future closures. Weather resilience work will also improve and supplement drainage systems.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Diesel Gala

I found myself with time on my hands on Friday 29th July, so Yoshi, one of Yoshi’s hoo-man uncles and I took ourselves off to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire, a beautifully striking railway in the Cotswolds. The 2022 diesel gala employed the railways’ home fleet, supplemented by visiting Class 55 Deltic locomotive No. 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ – the first ever visit of a locomotive of this iconic class. To be honest, the appearance of the Deltic first attracted me to the notion of attending this gala. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire is a railway I have not visited previously, but I’ll certainly be returning after having a very enjoyable day.

Yoshi at Toddington with Class 55 No. 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ – 29/07/2022

The Stratford-Upon-Avon to Cheltenham Railway was constructed between 1902 and 1906 by the Great Western Railway (GWR) for the purpose of achieving a faster and more direct route between the Midlands and the South West, although this necessitated avoiding difficult terrain to allow gentle gradients and sweeping curves enabling high speed running. Extensive cuttings, embankments and a long tunnel at Greet were required, and unfortunately some of the stations were located some distance from the villages they purported to serve. As with many railways, usage began to decline in the 1950’s with passenger services being withdrawn on 7th March 1960. Use for freight and as a diversionary route continued until a derailment outside of Winchcombe station saw a cessation of all traffic with the line finally closed in November 1976, the track being lifted in 1979. Two year later, in 1981, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway plc was formed and they acquired the 14.5 miles of track bed between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. Stations, signal boxes etc. have been reopened or rebuilt from scratch resulting in a very attractive railway.

The diesel gala featured the following locomotives:

Visiting Deltic Class 55 No. 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ is owned by The Deltic Preservation Society and its home base is Barrow Hill in Derbyshire. 22 Deltic were constructed for use on the East Coast Mainline, entering traffic between 1961-62.
Brush type 4 Class 47 No. 47105 is owned by the Brush Type 4 Fund and a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The locomotive was purchased in January 1994 and is seen here approaching Toddington – 29/07/2022
Brush type 4 Class 47 No. 47376 s owned by the Brush Type 4 Fund and a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The Brush Type 4 Fund was formed in 1992 No. 47376 was purchased in November 2002. The locomotive received a replacement engine from No. 47295 prior to arriving at Toddington in 2003.
Sulzer Type 4 Class 45/1 No. 45149 was built at Crewe in 1961 and was withdrawn from British Rail service in 1987. The locomotive is owned by The Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group and is a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway..
English Electric Type 3 Class 37/0 No. 37215 was built in 1963 at Newton-le-Willows being preserved in 1994. The locomotive is owned by The Growler Group and is a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.
Sulzer Type 2 Class 24 No. 24081 (D5081) was preserved in 1981 and is a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway having remained operational throughout its preservation years. The locomotive is owned by the 24081 Loco Group.
English Electric Type 2 Class 20 No. 20137 was built in 1966 at Newton-le-Willows and was purchased privately from British Rail in 1994, returning to working order in 1995. The locomotive is a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. (Seen here with class mate No.20228 (D8327) which is undergoing restoration – with their single cabs Class 20’s mostly spent their time coupled nose to nose in pairs to provide 2,000hp and to improve driver visibility).
English Electric Type 2 Class 20 No. 20228 (D8327) which is currently undergoing restoration.
Sulzzer Type 2 Class 26 No. D5343 (26043) was one of 47 locomotives built by the Birmingham Railway & Carriage Works (BR&CW) in Smethwick, entering service in October 1959. During January 1993, whilst allocated to snow clearance duties between Perth and Blair Atholl, 26043 suffered a power earth fault. Repairs were not authorised and it was withdrawn on 19th January 1993. Initially stored at Perth, it was then moved to MC Metals in Glasgow for asbestos insulation removal, which entailed major dismantling of the cab interiors. The loco was purchased by the Cotswold Mainline Diesel Group in late 1993 and it arrived at Toddington in April 1994.
English Electric Type 3 Class 37 No.D6948 (37248) was built by English Electric at the Vulcan Foundry, Newton le Willows, Lancashire and was delivered to British Railways’ Cardiff Canton depot on the 30th October 1964 and withdrawn from service in 2003. After two years in storage at Margam, it was purchased by three Growler Group members in conjunction with West Coast Railways Limited to whom the locomotive was loaned as part of an agreement to restore it to working order for mainline operations, entering WCRC service in 2006. The loan agreement ended in 2009 and the loco entered preservation, becoming a permanent resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in 2010.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Diesel Gala 2022

It was an extremely hot day and we took every opportunity to keep Yoshi cool, in the shade and hydrated. I have also bought a hat for future railway days out in the sun, because I was told to, and I sometimes do what I am told! All in all an excellent day out, with good company and another heritage railway with friendly, enthusiastic and helpful volunteers. I even got back home in time to watch the last episode of Neighbours.

Test Train Delays

August kicked off with the scheduling of test train 1Q51 running from Derby Railway Technical Centre to Eastleigh via Weymouth. Our regular reader may remember that the July instance of this working didn’t make it to Weymouth, the train being curtailed at Eastleigh. This time, the test train made it as far as Wool before it was reversed, missing out the Wool to Weymouth section. This was because the 1605 departure from Waterloo developed a fault and it ground to a halt at 1829 just before reaching Wool station, blocking the line to Weymouth and causing following services knock on delays and cancellations. The 1Q51 test train was eventually caught up behind the failed service train.

GBRf Class 73 No. 73965 ‘Des O’Brien’ approaching Branksome working 1Q51 1115 Derby R.T.C. to Eastleigh East Yard – 01/08/2022

Unaware of this, I had ventured out to Branksome in order to see the train in daylight as it usually traverses the Bournemouth to Weymouth section in darkness most of the year. However earlier disruption on the network meant that delays to services resulted in late running empty coaching stock from Poole to Bournemouth T&RSMD passing on the up platform where I was stood, obscuring the 73’s from view as they headed down towards Weymouth. I consoled myself with the knowledge I would have another shot at getting some video on the return leg. However, becoming aware that the test train was sat between Wareham and Wool via the Open Train Times webpage, Yoshi and I set off for Wool to investigate.

On arrival at Wool we were able to see the failed Class 444 EMU (No. 444021) sitting just outside of Wool station.

The lights of Class 444 No. 444021 can be seen just up the track from Wool station – 01/08/2022

By the time the ailing 444 was rescued by a fellow Class 444 at 2211 and the train reversed to the Up line via a set of points situated outside of Wool to clear the line, the test train was well behind schedule. The decision was made to cancel the run to Weymouth and to reverse the train in Wool station – as you can see in the video below:

1Q51 1115 Derby R.T.C. to Eastleigh East Yard – 01/08/2022
GBRf Class 73 No. 73963 ‘Janice’ at Wool awaiting reversal of 1Q51 1115 Derby R.T.C. to Eastleigh East Yard – 01/08/2022

Hamworthy Branch

More news on the reopening of the Hamworthy Branch, which was finally acknowledged by Network Rail as happening in a mailing to residents living near the railway line:

I will admit to once again failing to get a decent image of a rail/road vehicle on the branch. I’m considering sending in Yoshi with a doggo-cam to get better shots from the trackside, but in the meantime I’ll share the following video of ongoing sleeper replacement near Hercules Road Access Point ( formerly Butts Crossing ) for reference:

Hamworthy Branch Maintenance Work – 27/07/2022

For a far better glimpse of the road / rail traction being employed on the Hamworthy Branch, Kev Scott has kindly given us permission to link to his video of a Komatsu Rail Rider passing over Hamworthy Park Level Crossing. Don’t forget to check out Kev’s other videos on his You Tube page!

Class 701 on Test

Class 701 No. 701034 seen running through Hamworthy with test train 5Q56 1612 Eastleigh TRSMD to Weymouth – 02/08/2022

Another week passes by and South Western Railway Class 701 electric multiple units are still undergoing test runs. This week however, unit No. 701034 ran west of Poole to Weymouth and Wareham on Tuesday 2nd August. Two runs took place, the first from Eastleigh TRSMD ran to Weymouth as 5Q56, the unit then forming 5Q57 to Brockenhurst. The driver and any onboard support crew would hopefully have had time for a cup of tea and cake before departing Brockenhurst at 2114 bound for Wareham as 5Q58 before returning to Eastleigh TRSMD as 5Q59 where the unit was then put to bed at around 2330.

Class 701 No. 701034 at Weymouth preparing for departure with 5Q57 1838 Weymouth to Brockenhurst – 02/08/2022 (Photograph courtesy of @da_buckley967 )
Video of Class 701 No. 701034 working evening test runs. With thanks to G E Barrett and @da_buckley967 for their kind permission to use their footage taken at Dorchester South and Weymouth respectively – 02/08/2022

This weeks ‘The Railway Dog’ was written to the accompaniment of Bear’s Den, Pink Floyd and Bernard Cribbins. I’ve enjoyed the collaborative feel to this weeks blog and my thanks to everyone who has agreed to the sharing of their material, it is much appreciated. Thanks again for reading and for corrections and observations. All being well, we’ll be back here next week for more of the same!

1 comment

  1. Another lovely Railway Dog. All good stuff — too much to comment on — but I did chortle at the spycam footage taken through the Hamworthy (tree) Branches.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.