Railway Ramblings

This week ( February 8th to 15th 2022 ) has seen the Bournemouth to Weymouth line welcome engineers trains and test trains which has provided an interesting variety and a change from the norm.

Class 701 testing continues and this week it was the turn of unit No. 701032 to run down to Poole.

On Tuesday 8th February 2022, we stopped off at Holton Heath to see GBRf Class 66 locomotives No’s 66786 and 66790 top and tail a handful of wagons on their way to Dorchester South. The following night we were in Dorchester to see 66790 joined by 66774 pull up to the work site near to Culliford Road Bridge where old lengths of rail were piled up ready for collection.

Over the weekend of 12th and 13th February, DB Class 66 locomotives No.’s 66118 and 66130 could be seen at Branksome with an engineers train which had arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning as 616M Eastleigh East Yard to Bournemouth. Work was carried out at the entrance to Bournemouth depot and as can be seen in the photo at the top of this entry, Yoshi went along to ensure things were going smoothly.

After a chat to the driver of the DB train, we made a brief visit to Swanage to take a look at the Swanage Railway Trust 4TC Group’s coaches which they have been busy restoring. The Class 491 unit at Swanage is one of two 4TC sets that were purchased from British Rail by London Underground for use on Metropolitan line excursions. When London Underground decided to dispose of one of its 4TC sets, it was purchased privately with the intent of it being based at Swanage.

In 2016 another DTSO (76275) was offered for sale. This was in much better condition than the other two DTSO’s owned by the Swanage group and needed little more than a new coat of paint largely because 76275 had survived in service as part of a 4VEP unit until 2004. It was decided to acquire this vehicle and use the third DTSO as a spare. DTSO 76275 was restored by its previous owners at St Leonards depot and delivered to Swanage in May 2017.

As can be seen in the images below, three of the unrestored coaches have now been covered with new tarpaulins to help protect them from the elements until their wait in the restoration queue is over. They have been formed into a new unit, and given the unit number 413. The aim is to restore the unit to full running order, based on the Swanage Railway, to run push pull with a class 33/1. There is a possibility of creating a 5 coach unit by including a buffet car. I’m all for that option!

Class 33 No. 33111 was also in evidence alongside the 4TC coaches. In the late 1960’s Class 33/1 and 4TC unit formations were introduced as the staple motive power for the then un-electrified track from Bournemouth to Weymouth. For three decades Weymouth bound trains started out from London Waterloo powered by third-rail electric 4REP units on the rear of unpowered 4TC’s. At Bournemouth the train would divide with at least one four car 4TC being hauled onward by a class 33/1 diesel locomotive. On the return working, the diesel pushed the train as far as Bournemouth where it would be detached and the 4TC(‘s) attached to a waiting 4REP. To commemorate the end of the push-pull era, Hertfordshire Rail Tours ran the Push-Pull Farewell on the 22nd January 1994. The train was formed of two 4TC units 410 and 417 with Class 33 No. 33116 providing motive power. Starting out from London Waterloo, the train ran to Exeter St. Davids via Yeovil before heading to Bristol Temple Meads when the tour ventured to Weymouth where it can be seen in the video below. At Weymouth, 33116 was joined by Class 73 Electro-Diesel No. 73109 and together they propelled the train back to London Waterloo via Southampton and Basingstoke.

At the locomotive viewing point in Swanage, Yoshi and I paid our respects to Ringwood the Railway Cat who passed away in July 2015. Swanage Railway staff said Ringwood knew the warmest and best places to sleep, occasionally ending up beyond shed limits on an unplanned journey if she was too lazy to wake up! Back in steam days, engine sheds would employ a cat to minimise rodent problems with a small stipend being paid for their upkeep and wellbeing.

On Monday 14th February GBRf Class 73’s No’s 73961 ‘Alison’ and 73962 ‘Dick Mabbutt’ headed for Weymouth working the 120N 1115 Derby RTC to Eastleigh Arlington test train.

Thanks for reading. See you next week for some Westbury and Eastleigh travels, including our first video of the special livery given to 69004:

GBRf Class 69 No. 69004 in Railway Technical Centre Livery with Class 73 No. 73212 in tow working 0Y73 Eastleigh Works GBRf to Brighton Wall Siding – 17/02/2022

Bye for now!

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