Saturday 14th October 2023
Just the remaining four ex XC PCs (43301 43303 43321 & 43357) to be removed from Exeter Riverside on Monday 16th, off to start a new chapter in their long lives with Colas on infrastructure monitoring trains.
According to information posted today on the WNXX website, it is thought the next shipment of HST stock from Great Yarmouth, due to sail next week, could be bound for Nigeria. If so, all of the former XC PCs not going to Colas are included (43007, 43008, 43184, 43239, 43304, 43366 & 43378) plus the ex GW units already there: 43009 43010 43016 43040 43172 & 43192. Further news will no doubt soon follow on this subject.
Finally, for now at least, a video is doing the rounds on social media featuring two of the ex GW PC's working a 5 coach HST formation in Mexico. The PCs have large 'zebra stripes' on their lower valances and the entire set has been reliveried in a black/ light grey two-tone scheme, relieved with a blue stripe with INTEROCEANICO branding, pictorial emblems and 'Marina' legends on each carriage. All carriages are slam-door type: two former First or Standard opens and three TGS with guard's accommodation. The set is numbered up: Power Car FIT3008, coaches FIT161104, FIT161103, FIT161206, FIT161205, FIT161204 and finally Power Car FIT3007. The power cars will be two from 43022 43158 or 43170.
Quite a sad day yesterday and the end of an era for sure.
Regards. Trevor Tremethick.
Re. your question from Michael Manning concerning scrap rails left on and close to the lineside.
I've come up with a few suggestions but it may be useful if someone from NR or an outside contractor could add anything further.
Rails are regularly checked by the infrastructure monitoring trains used by Network Rail, as often featured on CRS.
Main routes have rails changed every few years, lighter used lines much less frequently. New rails are often dropped off in advance of installation to allow them to acclimatise to the area they are being used. Rails in open country will expand / contract more than those used in sheltered or shady conditions, or in tunnels for example. Long lengths of new rail (216 metre lengths I believe) are delivered on purpose-built and equipped trains, normally at night and using the headcode 6C97 (Colas), 6G97 (GB Railfreight) or 6Y97 (Freightliner). The rails are owned by Network Rail but installed by specialist contractors and NR staff. The length of the rails being changed is often different to those delivered so any excess is cut off and left with the displaced rails. Sometimes these will be cleared at a later date but often not so. I know of old and new CWR that has been discarded for around 20 years, now partially hidden by ballast and vegetation. Most engineering possessions are extremely time-critical and the use of a train with lifting equipment would be necessary to load up the old rails. This would need to be done at a later time and I guess the cost would not be recouped from the value of the old material. I have seen lengths of rail broken up into pieces and gathered for collection, then seemingly forgotten about.
Monitoring and manual inspection often detects faults in rails such as wheel burns, defective welds, loose / broken fishplate joints or switch and crossing faults. These are repaired as required and sometimes rail is left lineside for such purposes so that a costly train movement to site is avoided. Much S&C these days is made to order specifically for the location it is to be used.
A photo of lineside scrap rail at Bradford on Avon (a conservation area). Some of this has been here for over a decade with other railway rubbish close to the station and adjoining car park. Seemingly easy and accessible to remove, or not maybe?
Firstly 50042 approaching Boscarne Junction
Then the same loco passing quarry curve on its way to Parkway.
At Bodmin Parkway standing beside GWR 43098 (isn’t it incredible that there are just a few years between these machines, yet one is inarguably a museum piece and one is still in daily frontline service?)
We then saw ‘Judy’ arrive with a brake van, passing ECC Sentinel ‘Denise’, 2 generations of clay haulers!
Judy then returned to General, witnessed at Charlie’s Gate and Walker Lines.
Finally GWR Prarie tanks 5553 and 5552 worked to Parkway and 5552 returned the train solo, again seen at Charlie’s Gate.
It was a great day and it was nice to see the trains so busy too.
The gala continues tomorrow (Sunday 15th).
All the best, Jon Hird.
Hope all is well?
I've finally "touched down" after an unprecedented few weeks of a variety of shifts, rather like a Cornish Michael Buble with a shift in different towns (and city) across the Duchy.
Here's a selection of the recent shifts, and shots from the unseasonably hot spell earlier in the month.
The RHTT has brought the spectacle of a daytime loco hauled service west of Burngullow! 66097 and 66113 are becoming coated in brown sludge, so I was grateful for the Summer like conditions across the Duchy. The train is seen at Dowgas and crossing Fal viaduct in the stunning Coombe valley. The green field defying the oncoming Autumn, but the trees showing a tinge of Autumn.
Other shots from recent days show shifts covered at Penzance, Truro, Roskear and Par.
The poignant sundown shots from Truro catching the Up main levers beautifully after 5pm - soon to stand silent forever.