50149 was a loco for which I had a particular affection.
I was heavily into Class 50’s, and the idea of Class 50’s dedicated to freight work especially appealed.
From a purely personal point of view, it’s a pity the scheme wasn’t proceeded with as planned.
After the planned trials, the modified 50149 was moved into Cornwall to work the clay traffic and associated Speedlink workings based on St Blazey.
This was only ever planned for the short term unfortunately, the loco was converted back to a standard Class 50, renumbered 50049, and repainted into the then latest version of the Network South East scheme.
My first attempt to photograph 50149 was on the dull, wet and horrible morning of 19th January 1988. Attempting railway photography not long after dawn using Kodachrome 64 is questionable in the first place.
Arrangements had been made for me to visit Heathfield on this morning, as not only was I after phots of 50149, but I was keen to photograph the Ambrosia traffic that was being railed from Heathfield for a trial period.
The train crew were very accommodating to say the least. It’s a pity the weather wasn’t......
Anyhow, two appalling shots of the four loaded Ambrosia vans being collected from the oil depot at Heathfield. This would be later be moved via the Speedlink network from Tavistock Junction and St Blazey.
The Tiger that had been dropped at the English China Clays loading point at Heathfield for loading before collecting the Ambrosia traffic, was by now loaded. The clay traffic NORMALLY ran five days per week, but clearly not always...
This meant on this day there were five loaded wagons from Heathfield, a traffic level that was unfortunately very uncommon. The Ambrosia traffic sadly was not to last.
The crew practically stopped the well-early train for me to photograph from the platform that remained at Teigngrace. Boy was it dark. Not too many shots appear from here and had the sun been out it would have been wrong side anyway.
Although the light did improve as the morning went on, it still wasn’t very bright as 50149 headed 6C58, 1045 from Heathfield through Newton Abbot en route to Tavistock Junction and onwards to St Blazey.
And so began my association with 50149.
A fascinating bit of history for which many thanks Ron.