Those of us that have been around for a while remember the ill-will from enthusiasts that greeted the introduction of class 60, the last British-built locomotive to be used on our network. They were reviled as being the reason for the withdrawal of older locos. I find it strange that this has all turned around and that 60s are now another cult loco with detailed information about all their workings posted on gen groups. I hope that the pictures shown here will give an idea of their wide realm of operations in and around the Midlands. A few members of the class achieved celebrity status by being painted into various non-standard colour schemes and I give here some examples of these.

It looks as if 60027 had made a recent visit to the paint shop when I photographed it at Catholme near Whitacre Junction on 19 July 2000. The train was 6E28 07.05 Wolverhampton to Scunthorpe empty steel carriers. In early 2024 this type of locomotive still occasionally works to Wolvwerhampton with steel trains although I can't imagine that this will continue for much longer. 645
There were plenty of class 60s on the line between Leamington Spa and Didcot in 1996 although the majority were taking MGR coal traffic to Didcot Power Station. One exception was a trainload of aviation fuel from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Langley from where it was pumped by underground pipeline to Heathrow Airport. This shot was taken in the morning of 20 April 1996 from the first roadbridge south of Leamington Spa station.
One of the lenses I used on my Olympus OM1n on about 3 occasions was an f2.8 20mm wide angle. It did come in handy at Didcot Power Station on 6 March 1997 when unbranded 60095 was leaving the unloading loop with one of many daily coal trains taking imported fuel from Avonmouth. Everything in this picture has now been demolished as the move away from fossil fuels for power generation is making progress.
A more conventional view of a class 60 leaving Didcot Power Station en-route to Avonmouth on 14 Narch 1996 as 60099 waited to move forward with an empty set of hooded MGR wagons.
There was time on 14 March 1996 for me to walk around to the next bridge east at Didcot for another view of 60099 going to the run-round loops near the station.
This picture gives an idea of how busy with coal traffic was Didcot Powewr Station on 14 March 1996. Going away to run-round its hoppers is 60099 while 60083 is on the down relief line with the previous load of coal which had arrived and been unloaded earlier in the day.
A class 60 was allocated to the 6M31 Banbury to Mountsorrel stone empties on 27 October 2005. The train, hauled by stickered 60060 is seen here passing the foot crossing at Coleshill at 12.22. This would not have been the first choice of location but I first saw the train at Hatton roadbridge while waiting for an ECS move from Tyseley to Old Oak Common which did not materialise. As the sun was shining it seemed like a good idea to try to photograph the unusual motive power for this train, and it seemed a safe bet that it could be beaten to Coleshill, now the site of the parkway station.
In Spring 2006 a loaded oil train ran from Lindsey refinery to the oil terminal at Theale in Berkshire. It was been diagrammed for weekdays and through work commitments I was unable to get a shot of the return, 6Z41, which was timed to pass Hatton at around 15.40. However, a Saturday working was booked for 29 June and I made the short journey from home to photograph 60054 with the tanks climbing Hatton bank, which it did at 15.30. It is interesting to note the differences between this picture and the one below of 60091 taken during the previous October.
A coal sector liveried class 60, 60091, was booked for the 6E48 empty steel service diverted from its usual route on the Cheltenham line and running via Oxford on Sunday 16 October 2005. As the sun was shining I decided that a trip to Hatton would be in order as steel trains have never been commonplace on this road. I knew that it was running in the region of 90 minutes late so arrived at my chosen location at 13.34, which I reckoned should give me about a 20 minute wait. Sure enough, the train, with 60091 throbbing very nicely on the 1/110 gradient, passed me at 13.56.
This picture from Leamington Spa was taken in 1987 but I can't be certain about the exact date. I had just bought a Mamiya 645 but with only a waist-level finder as the prism device was not in stock at the time. This made shots of moving subjects a bit awkward but was usually fine for slow moving trains such as 60096 climbing from "The Dip" to the north of Leamington Spa with a very heavy set of tanks full of aviation fuel bound for Heathrow Airport's supply depot at Langley.
This empty MGR hauled by 60074 from Didcot Power Station had been given a signal check before being cleared to run towards Leamington Spa. Even so it seemed to be making heavy weather of restarting the train on a falling gradient as it was about to pass under the roadbridge at Prospect Road between Leamington Spa and Whitnash. This locomotive later received a slightly impracticable light blue livery as shown here with 6E41, the empty oil tanks from Westerleigh to Lindsey refinery.
It was possible in 2008 to obtain a well-lit photograph of 6V05, the 09.39 Round Oak to Margam empty steel train, at Norton Junction near Worcester for just a few weeks at the beginning of Spring. Too early in the year and shadows from adjacent trees are intrusive and once the clocks have been put forward at the end of March the sun is too straight unless the train runs at least an hour late. I remembered this at around 09.00 on Thursday 27 March 2008 and decided to go over to Norton as the sky was largely clear but with cloud and rain forecast for later in the day and for the next day - just before the clocks change. I also remembered that on the 2 occasions I went over last yeat a class 66 was diagrammed for the working. I knew that 60053 was on 6V05 and that it should be due at Norton at about 10.50, following a FGW unit from Worcester. I arrived on the bridge to find a message on my BlackBerry saying that it was running early from Kingswinford Junction. By the time it reached me it was about 30 minutes early having had a clear run through Worcester. It only just managed to be in sun and the extreme foreground of the picture is in partial cloud. The scene wasn't helped by the locomotive being pretty grubby and with the front number having faded but overall I was quite lucky to have scored a reasonable shot.
This image was taken looking south over the exchange sidings at Ashchurch sidings on 28 July 2007 as 60092 passed with 6E41, the Westerleigh to Lindsey oil refinery. I quite like the rather messy foreground which shows some debris from recent engineering work carried out on the sidings. There has been a lot of activity to and from the MOD site in recent weeks and maybe the work means that the increased volume of traffic, up to 3 trains each week, will continue.
There were a lot of reports during Saturday 4 April 2009 about 6V98, the Lindsey Oil Refinery to Westerleigh oil tanks, because its locomotive, 60098 was low on power and was something in excess of 4 hours late by the time it reached Gloucester. The return working, 6E41, didn't happen until the following Monday when 60011 was provided to take the failed 60068 and empty tanks north. I was sent a text message form between Gloucester and Cheltenham saying that the train had passed there at 12.15 and decided to go over to the nearest spot, Stoke Prior, for a photograph as I don't have many shots of doubled-up class 60s. The light was dreadful with a misty background but the novelty made the trip worthwhile. A few minutes in front of 60011+ 60068 an equally interesting working appeared in the form of 153375 running as 5Z53 from Eastleigh to Tyseley after a repaint into London Midland City livery.
I saw from a locomotive allocation list during the morning of 27 September 2007 that a class 60, 60083, was unusually rostered for 6M31, the 10.26 Thursdays only Banbury to Mountsorrel empty self discharge train. This is an appropriate locomotive for this job being named "Mountsorrel" and as I haven't seen many 60s on the train decided to have a quick trip to Hatton to get a record shot. The train, with its rather grubby locomotive, was running a few minutes early when it passed me at 11.13 just as it was about to enter Hatton Cutting. This area has become quite overgrown and it is becoming tricky to find a clear spot; this will improve when the undergrowth dies back a bit in the winter.
Another shot of the empty Lafarge self-discharge train from Banbury Reservoir Sidings to Mountsorrel, 6M31, which was usually hauled by an EWS class 66 locomotive. On occasions, though, a class 60 was rostered which gave the opportunity to photograph one of the class on Hatton Bank hauling something other than a train of empty oil tanks. Thursday 16 October 2008 started bright and sunny so I went over to the southern end of Hatton cutting and lined up a nice shot which involved balancing somewhat precariously on a stepladder to get over the rampant undergrowth which has resulted from a warm and wet summer. I knew that 6M31 had passed Fenny Compton nearly 30 minutes early and this resulted in it approaching the down goods loop at Hatton very slowly; obviously having been signalled to turn into it. A bit of a scramble ensued as I jumped off my steps and ran down the footpath to get to this clear(ish) spot just as 60077 moved slowly along the line. The shot has a bit too anonymous a backdrop for my taste but at least the side of the train is well lit and the wagons show up well.
After quite a busy afternoon the final southbound freight I photographed at Croome Perry during the sunny afternoon of 2 April, 2007 was 6V07, the empty steel wagons from Round Oak to Margam. Breaking the run of red locomotives was 60068 with the EWS creatures on a vinyl sticker affixed to the bodysides. Some people appear to resent these adornments but I quite like them, marking as they do, a transitional stage before eventual repainting into full EWS livery. This locomotive, in common with 60090, had larger than standard numbers on the cab end.
The same locomotive on the same working in the the same location as the image above but taken on 31 October 2007. On the beautifully lit afternoon of 31 October 2007 I popped over to Croome Perry with the intention of photographing a couple of southbound freights, the first being this one, 6V07 the Round Oak to Margam empty steel working with 60068 on the pointed end. The rather short train is seen just after passing through the wood, running in the region of 40 minutes early.
In this image from 17 April 2003 60026 is taking the Washwood Heath to Peak Forest train past Lea Marston on a beautiful morning and just as important one which guaranteed that all northbound trains would run this way rather than via the Kingsbury loop. The up slow lines were out of commission at this time due to a faulty point at Whitacre Junction.
Although never a celebrity loco, 60060 is popular by virtue of it's carrying coal sector decals. It is seen here, heavily backlit, at Whitacre Junction on 14 March 2003 while working the 6E35 11.14 Llanwern to Lackenby empty steel train.
The picture above was an afternoon shot and in contrast this one of 60091 was taken at 10.12 on the morning of 30 August 2003. The train is the Washwood Heath to Bardon Hill empty stone working which I nearly missed by being on the wrong side of the road when it appeared and just as lot of traffic was passing over the bridge due to some temporary traffic lights being not far away. This explains the sub-optimal composition!
The Speedlink Coal Network trains offered some decent photographs in the West Midlands in the 1990s. This picture from Catholme was taken on 10 September 1994 with 60087 with a decent rake of HTA coal hoppers running from Toton to Washwood Heath. At the latter the train was usually split into portions which went to a variety of locations including Didcot and Gobowen. This loocmotive was the first of the class to receive Colas colours which I was lucky enough to photograph at Lower Moor with 37219 while taking a load of OTP from a Rail Live event at Long Marston in June 2014.
Kensington Olympia at 12.46 on a wet, misty and dull 30 July 1991 with almost new 60020 passing with a Llandarcy to Grain train of bitumen tanks.
The staple motive power for the 6V70 Cliffe Vale to St. Blazey was class 60 for several years. 60010 was in charge on 15 August 2001 and is seen here passing the welcome shelter of the oak tree just south of Abbotswood Junction to the south of Worcester.
I hadn't see a list of class 60 workings on 26 March 2007 so was pleased when the former Mainline locomotive 60078 appeared on 6V07 Round Oak to Margam. When checking the image for sharpness of my camera's screen - although I don't why I bother, because there's nothing to be done if it's not sharp - I noticed that the locomotive has a First Group logo on the front. This apparently was added some years ago when there were rumours circulating that EWS was to be taken over by First Group.
An earlier picture of 60078 taken on 9 December 2003 a couple of miles north of the shot from Defford shown above with 60078 working 6V40, a loaded train of steel slabs from Lackenby to Margam. The location is where the line exits Croome Perry wood near Pershore and a few miles from the village of Besford and Croome Court. This blue was my favourite of the early colour schemes carried by the various sectors within the newly privatised freight scene.
Possibly the most followed celebrity class 60 in 2004 was 60081 after being repainted into a sort of Great Western livery. A decent well-lit photo of the locomotive eluded me although I do have several not well-lit and some black and white images - not quite the thing when the colour is the interesting part! This is about the best of a bad lot and shows it hauling the 6E09 11.14 Llanwern to Lackenby steel empties towards Croome Perry on Saturday 11 December 2004. It's a shame it wasn't allocated to 6V40 on this day as I might have then obtained the shot of it I really wanted as it would have been heading in the opposite direction with the sun in the right place. Since the original caption was written, the locomotive has suffered a fatal engine failure that involved bits of machinery exiting the block and damaging the bodywork.
An additional oil train has been running from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Westerleigh in recent weeks. The fourth of the class 60s I photographed on 26 March 2007 was working this and gave me my first photograph of the oddly-renumbered 60500. Here is 6Z98 passing Defford at 15.33 and as there was a fair amount of fluffy cloud building up by now, so with at least an hour to wait before the next freight was due I decided to call it a day and headed home.
During early December 2009, there have been many rumours circulating about the future, or lack of future, for class 60 locomotives. Previous stories of their imminent demise have been premature and the real situation is not known at the time of writing. During the late morning of 10 December a message appeared saying that 60011, the only remaining class member in Mainline Blue livery, was working a Scunthorpe to Eastleigh train of welded rails. There was a suggestion that 6Z17 would be re-engined at Toton but this proved not to be the case and despite 60011 being scheduled for withdrawal at 22.00 that night, it worked the train throughout. As Hatton was on my way home from the location I had visited earlier I dropped in to see if I was able to get a shot. Strangely, there were few reports of the movement, and none at all from the Water Orton area. Luckily, a quick call to a friend in the know established that the train had just passed Dorridge station, no more than 10 minutes north of Hatton. Here is 60011 rounding the curve by Hatton statiion just as a weak sun began to drop out of a bank of thick cloud. Even with this little bit of illumination, the light levels were desperately low which helps to account for the poor image quality.
The news that a Loadhaul machine was heading south to Llanwern meant a Sunday outing looked likely. Sure enough, the weather held and the chance for a shot of 60059 on such a nice afternoon was too good to miss - even Pam agreed and came along for the ride! This train, taken at 17.53 on 26 June 2005, is the 6V42 10.03 Lackenby to Llanwern loaded steel slabs crossing the Warwickshire Avon at Eckington. I have a session here now and again as it is pleasant place to spend a few hours even if the photographic opportunities can be a little limited. The young angler in the foreground did not even look up as the train passed. It wasn't long before class 66 took over many of these long distance steel trains.
Another working which usually produced a class 60 in 2003 was the 6V05 Round Oak to Margam empty steel train. This is pictured here with 60018 on the front approaching Ashchurch at 11.22 on 10 January 2003. The photograph was taken using my f2.8 210mm telephoto lens on a Nikon D70, my first digital SLR, to compress the perspective and produce a more striking image.
This picture was taken at the site of Moira station on the Coalville line on 18 February 1995 and shows a heavily backlit 60011 heading for the Birmingham to Burton-on-Trent line. The train had originated from Coalfield Farm disposal point but I'm not sure of the destination. Note the small pile of coal on the loco's roof which I imagine blew off later in the journey when higher speeds were attained than were possible on this heavily restricted freight line.
After taking the picture of 60011 at Moira shown above on 18 February 1995 I dropped onto one of the many bridges in Burton-on-Trent. Despite it being a Saturday there was a fair amount of freight including this unidentified working of empty steel wagons heading north behind a filthy 60038.
Not long after 60038 had gone north at Burton-on-Trent 60012 came south with a loaded MGR which was probably going to Rugeley Power Station as according to some information I had was due to receive 3 trains during the morning. The original fairly rigid sectorisational allocation of locomotives had gone by the board by this time and it was far fromm unusual to see a locomotive carrying the "wrong" decals for the load being hauled.
A new train to go in front of my camera on 10 February 2006 was the 6V19 Immingham to Margam Enterprise working. It was running some 8 hours late when I recorded it near Claydon in Gloucestershire behind Transrail liveried 60063.
The weather on Friday 3 October 2008 was not exactly as predicted. Sunshine had been forecast for most of the day in the South Midlands but thick cloud with a few breaks was what actually happened. A clear patch did appear in the mid-afternoon and 6V07, the Round Oak to Margam empty steel train, headed by 60063 came right in a lovely patch of sunshine as I was standing at Defford, on the Birmingham to Gloucester line.
Several 60s were painted into the attractive Loadhaul livery and a couple survive in this colour scheme into 2005. 60059 was working the 6M35 Kings Cross to Calvert spoil train through Quainton Road station when photographed on 4 September 2003. This train has now ceased running meaning that one less photographable working is available on this fascinating piece of line. The impressive preservation site at Quainton Road is quite literally cut in half by the freight line from Aylesbury to Calvert - there is no rail connection between the two parts. This day was much busier than usual as both the Calvert to Bath/Bristol "binliner" (6V40) and the Didcot to Bicester MOD train (6A48 but running on this day as 6Z48) had been diverted this way due to engineering work. I had a great day - the 3 main line trains ran in lovely early Autumn light and I thoroughly enjoyed looking around the stock, locos and musuem exhibits resident on the site in between the workings. The NR line here has now gone because of the work involved in contruction of the new HS2.
Here is an earlier photograph of 60059 leaving Didcot power Station on 18 February 1998. This day was quite interesting as an officious security guard from the Power Station told me it was not allowable to park on the grass by the road adjacent to where this shot was taken. I asked him to show me the signs and if he could then I would move. He just told it it was private land and that if I didn't go he would call the police. "Fine", I said, "Call them, as roadside verges like this belong to the local County Council and you have no jurisdiction over them." Not to be outdone by a train spotter (sic) he rang the police from the telephone in his Land Rover and a patrol car appeared within a couple of minutes. The officers agreed with my point of view saying that my car was legally and safely parked and told the guard to stop wasting their time or he would be the one in trouble!
60009 and 60006 at Burton on Trent I had a couple of sessions on the bridge leading to Wetmore Farm on the northern end of Burton on Trent in 2001, a pleasant and quiet location with no passing traffic other than the occasional dog-walker. My first of the year was on 9 February and only a few minutes after my arrival 60009 topping 60006 on the Toton to Round Oak loaded steel train appeared which I shot passing the fertiliser depot. The train was operated in this fashion as it was necessary for it to reverse at Worcester Shrub Hill Yard so that it was able to access the line to Round Oak and it was apparently more efficient to use 2 locomotives than to run-round in the yard. I should have much preferred 60006 in its then new livery to have been leading.
60015 at Burton on Trent The view towards Burton on Trent from Wetmore Farm bridge was a bit tricky in February but I like some backlit conditions including those in this picture of 60015 on the up relief line on 9 February 2001 while working the morning Washwood Heath to Peak Forest empty stone hoppers.
60016 at Burton on Trent This image was also taken on 9 February 2001 from the farm bridge at Wetmore, Burton on Trent as 60016 went south with a mixed steel train from Lackenby to Wolverhampton. This was possibly the best location for railway photography around Burton with shots available on all four lines including that nearest the camera. Since 2001 the bridge has been demolished and housing development has almost spread from the town to the site.
60007 at Burton on Trent My second trip to Wetmore Farm bridge at Burton on Trent of 2001 was on 17 August. Class 60s weren't as numerouns as on previous visits but one bonus was this image of Loadhaul 60007 on a Humber to Kingsbury loaded oil train. Parking was sometimes an issue here but I always found the staff in the fertiliser depot's office to be vey friendly and happy to let me use their car park as long as I went to their reception desk and asked for permission.
60046 at Northway A train from Chaddesden Sidings at Derby to Machen Quarry ran on Tuesday 9 August 2022 that took empty box wagons for DCR's flow of stone to Oxford Banbury Road. DCR's 60046 was the locomotive and not having taken an image of it since it was repainted into a grey livery planned to go to the Birmingham to Gloucester line. I originally planned to go to the roadbridge overlooking the station at Ashchurch but it was a hot morning and there was heavy road traffic with an equivalent amout of noise and fumes so I went to the pleasanter and shadier footbridge a short way north despite having taken some pictures there only on the previous Saturday. The train, 6Z50, ran close to right time and made for an attractive sight alongside the scorched field on the left.
I had no intention of going out for any photographs on Saturday 9 September, but when a friend rang to say that 60042 was at Landor Street in Birmingham with a very late running 6X12 17.21 Carlisle - Eastleigh I had a rapid change of heart. Not only is this train normally far too early to photograph around here but I was told that the consist was particularly good with 4 TTAs, 5 FAAs, 5 IGAs, 2 china clay tanks for Quidhampton and some engineering wagons being conveyed. I went to Hatton South Junction where this image was captured at 09.34.
Class 60s at Kingsbury were far from uncommon in 2004 and still appear there in 2021 with bulk oil trains for the storage facility there. On Wednesday 25 February 2002 Mainline Blue 60011 ran past the exchange sidings at Kingsbury with a long rake of low-sided spoil wagons which I took to be a Toton to Bescot move. Another class 60 had just gone down the branch to the oil terminal and the last few tanks can just be seen in the background.
This is the view looking toward Birmingham from the roadbridge at Kingsbury. On 26 November 2003 60074 still with Mainline markings was put in charge of the 6M11 08.30 Washwood Heath to Peak Forest stone empties. I pictured it approaching Kingsbury at 09.40 just after a shower of rain was clearing into a little welcome brightness. This locomotive was repainted into a light blue colour scheme in early 2008 as seen here at Badgeworth on one of its early runs.
A train that no longer runs is the 6O72 Wolverhampton to Hoo Junction empty steel. Although booked a class 60 it rarely produced and I photographed a variety of motive power on it recording it behind single 37s, a pair of 37s, 58s, 60s and 66s at various times. Here is 60044 with an unusual Saturday working which had staged at Bescot about to pass Hatton station on 14 June 2003 with the empty "pig sheds" on its way south.
Class 60 was the staple motive power for the frequent North East - South Wales steel traffic which ran in the early years of the 21st century. Here, partially Loadhauled 60070 is seen at Whitacre Junction having run via the slow lines from Kingsbury Junction with 6V36 to Cardiff on 6 March 2003. It was a great loss to the freight scene in the West Midlands and especially on the Gloucester line south of Birmingham when this traffic ceased.
This was the view from the other side of the bridge at Whitacre Junction on 25 February 2004 with another shot of 60070 on a steel working. This time it is 6M96 the second steel train of the day from Margam Yard to Corby.
More steel traffic, this time an image of 6V07 the afternoon empties from Round Oak to Margam, on 2 February 2004 with 60003 providing the power. The train is passing Abbotswood Junction on Worcestershire having just joined the main line from the Worcester line at Norton Junction.
This shot was taken at Croome Perry on 27 November 2003 just before the shadows lengthened and encroached on the track. A very short 6E04 from Margam has 60001 piloting a failed 66019 and I wondered at the time if the bulk of the usually long train had already been taken north on another occasion. When class 60 was much newer I took this picture of 60001 at the same location on 13 April 1997 when it was hauling a train of spent ballast north towards Abbotswood Junction.
The more picturesque and popular view at Croome Perry. This time it shows 60047 working the empty steel coil carriers from Corby to Margam on 9 December 2003. This is one of the few locations on the Birmingham to Gloucester line that it usuable in the winter months with a nicely open trackside leaving the down line clear of shadows almost until sunset.
It was a great shame that there wasn't a train behind 60001 and 60013 on Saturday 16 April 2004 as this picture would have been a lot more satisfying. The light engines were running as 0Z98 from Leicester to Bescot via Nuneaton; the circuitous routing having been necessary by engineering work on the more direct route. The siding in the foreground is all that remains of the once through line from Kenilworth Junction.
60015 with 6E45 at Hatton North There isn't much in the way of freight traffic on the GWR line between Leamington Spa at the moment so a train of empty oil tanks is a welcome addition to the timetable. On Monday 31 May 2021 the Theale to Humber service ran with 60015 providing the power and as I expected it began to run early not long after leaving Theale. It missed out a stop at Oxford North and with the early running being in excess of 40 minutes it seemed unlikely that it would be turned into Hatton Down Goods Loop. With this in mind I arrived at Hatton North just before 3pm with a mapping app showing it to be at Warwick with green lights all the way up Hatton bank. It passed the junction 64 minutes early although later lost some time around Bimingham. The red colour scheme of the locomotive has faded to a grubby pink shade and it doesn't look anything like as good as it did on 22 April 2011 while working 6E55 and also one week earlier on the same service.
Back in 2000 there was a Saturday morning Round Oak to Margam empty steel train running under the headcode 6V70. If the weather was good I used to make the admittedly small effort to go and photograph this and with the weather conditions being perfect on the morning of 20 May 2000, I went across to the site of Defford statiion in Worcestershire. I had been only only a couple of minutes when 60086 rolled under the roadbridge in the background with its wagons running in the region of 40 minutes early. The various blossoms, blackthorn, elder, cow parsley and a red variant of hawthorn clearly identify the time of year, hence my choice of this location. 645
Here is another shot of 60086 this taken at Portbury near Tamworth in Staffordshire. The train, easily recognisable from its wagons and load, is a Peak Forest to Washwood service which was running on 10 September 1997. It had been looped at Elford a short distance to the north and was still travelling quite slowly with the locomotive making a decent sound from its 8 cylinder prime mover. 645
I, in common with many other enthusiasts, have taken far too many photographs from the roadbridge at Croome Perry near Pershore largely because it's only about 30 minutes from home, there is very convenient roadside parking and it's a decent shot with the wood in the background. This shot shows 60009 carrying grey livery with Mainline decals hauling a late-running 6V05 Round Oak to Margam empty steel wagons on 15 August 1997 as it leaves the heavy shadow on the other side of the occupation bridge. I took this with a 210mm lens on my Mamiya 645 and the compressed perspective gives the picture a bit of punch. 645
This was a ten-a-penny scene in 1997 but now has some historical interest in that the power station complex at Didcot has been razed to the ground. The train, hauled by 60095 is an empty MGR leaving the station and heading for the sidings where the locomotive will run-round before returning to the docks at Avonmouth to be reloaded. This was one of the class 60s operated for a while by Colas and here it is at Honeybourne after extracting a short rake of oil tanks from Long Marston on 20 May 2018. 645
Some major track renewal was planned for the North Warwickshire Line over the weekend of 1st and 2nd November 2008. Through the good offices of some friends and contacts it was established that the area around Danzey station was the worksite so even though the weather was dull in the extreme, I went across for a look. The major surprise was to find 60060 standing with one wagon in a completely photographable location; just about the only clear spot for miles and one with a little interest in the form of a road junction and field gate. The quality of the pictures was never going to be great given the appalling light, but locomotives are rare on this line so record shots just had to be taken. Use this link for another view of 60060.
On Sunday 2 November 2008, the engineering work around Danzey on the North Warwickshire Line continued. I saw a message saying that at least 2 of the trains were at Henley-in-Arden and looked set to head south to Bearley Junction where they would reverse and return to Bescot via Hatton North Junction and Solihull. The nearest good photographic location for me is the aqueduct at Edstone and on arrival I found a long train of empty rail panel carriers in position. It wasn't exactly photographable because the centre of the train was plumb underneath the canal, with 60060 and 60045 on either end but it wasn't long before I heard a horn in the distance which I took to be the first of the trains moving away from Bearley Junction. Shortly afterwards, the PICOP moved the stop board/light so that 60060 could move forward, wrong line, to the junctiion. This picture shows 60045 bringing up the rear of the train as it heads south.
The obvious next move for another shot of the train, by then headed by 60045 after reversal at Bearley Junction, was Claverdon station. I think it is important wherever possible to have a clearly recognisable backdrop for pictures on lines where locomotives are a rarity and a station is the ideal spot. Here is 60045 passing through the platform at Claverdon with its train of empties - the first of the class I have photographed on the single line stretch betweeb Bearley and Hatton West Junction. 60060 is just about visible through the murk on the rear of the train, and here is the locomotive passing the site of the original station at Claverdon. I don't much go in for "going away" shots, but wanted to take the rare opportunity to the show the view here with something other than a unit. The fenced-off structure has appeared since my last visit here and doesn't add to the rural ambience of the photograph...
During the following weekend track renewal work continued around Danzey on the North Warwickshire Line. On 8 November 2008 60060 was within sight of the station on the up line along with 66177 on the down with its train being loaded with redundant track panels. It was fortunate that a patch of sun came along as a Hydrex road-rail machine approached the worksite and showed up the Autumnal colours in the surrounding woodland. The class 66 was soon ready to move away on the wrong and I had a quick drive to a bridge just beyond Wood End station for a shot of this. The train ran wrong line as far as Shirley; the first place at the time where a crossover existed. This would in 2021 been done at Whitlcoks End.
Stratford-upon-Avon does not see many locomotive-hauled trains so the appearance of a ballast train on 15 February 2004 was a special event. It was made even more special by the fact that a class 60, 60016 was rostered for 6P08 from Bescot as this was possibly the first of the class to visit the terminus. I am not absolutely certain of this as a signalman friend thinks he saw a member of the class on an overnight engineering train a couple of years earlier. However, it is certainly the only 60 I have photographed here and it was typical that the light was dreadful.  66089  was on the other end of the train. I should have liked to have crossed to the other platform for a shot, but the station was closed to the public as "bustitution" was in force and the person-in-charge politely but firmly refused me access to the platform and footbridge.
Class 60s on MGR traffic to and from Didcot Power Station were far from uncommon in 1993 so it generally only in decent light that I bothered to take a picture of them. Here is 60078 climbing away from Leamington Spa with a loaded set of HAAs from one of the East Midlands loading points on 19 March 1993.
An early morning locomotive allocation list for Friday 27 June 2008 showed 60085 as being on 6X36, the Didcot to Ashchurch MOD train. Members of the class do not often appear on this working so as the sky was reasonably clear at home I made the 30 minute drive across to Northway, just north of Ashchurch station. I arrived at about 09.20 not knowing if the train had already gone north to Worcester in order for 60085 to run round the load before returning south to the MOD depot. In the event it was about 40 minutes late and came not long after the sun went into some heavy cloud.
The Ashchurch MOD train normally takes around 60 minutes to reach Worcester, run-round and get back to Ashchurch. On 27 June 2008 considerably more time than this elapsed despite the fact that 60085 had been reported as leaving Worcester at least 20 minutes after the report had been received. It turned out that the 60 had failed in the Bredon area after suffering a fuel leak, a couple of miles to the north and that 66161 had been taken off a Cardiff to Handsworth empty scrap wagons and was to run light diesel to Ashchurch emergency crossover, cross onto the wrong road and go the site of the failure in order to pick up 6X36. The class 66 didn't take too long to appear and is here seen running "bang road" towards Bredon. The crossover can be seen just south of the road bridge with the locomotive on it - a piece of very rare track!
The rescue process didn't take long to accomplish; hardly surprising when one considers that at least 5 passenger trains were queueing behind it and the Newcastle to Plymouth HST was cancelled at Birmingham New Street. Here is 66161 with the failed 60085 and 6X36 in Ashchurch Loop clearing the line so that the backlog could be moved. In fact, the first Voyager was just coming into sight by the time this photograph was taken and several other delayed services were soon back in motion.
I wasn't too sure how long 6X36 would remain in the loop at Ashchurch so after a few minutes I made the short trip to the road bridge on the south side of the station. I didn't have too long to wait until I saw the point blades move to allow the train to run forward to the entrance to the exchange sidings from where it would be propelled onto the branch, formerly the branchline to Alcester. Here is 66181 + 60085 reversing towards the MOD depot with its train of Panther Command and Liaison Vehicles , a few of the 401 new vehicles of the type currently being delivered to the army. Just before this shot was taken a rare chance to see three trains all together presented itself as 170110 charged south and 170102 worked north. The locomotives came off the branch a short while later, just after another class 66 had gone north light diesel to Worcester (or Norton Junction) to reverse and work 6A32 to Didcot. 66161 was presumably sent back to Gloucester to retrieve the Handsworth scrap but I didn't hang about to see what actually happened.
There was an exceptional amount of freight on the GWR Birmingham to Leamington Spa line on Saturday 27 February 2003 and this along with a sunny day saw me go to Bentley Heath Crossing near Dorridge. Amongst the many trains were several MGRs going to Didcot PS and one of these is shown here behind 60074. This locomotive was to be repainted into an attractive light blue colour scheme to raise awareness of teenage cancer sufferers and here it is at Hatton North on 5 May 2008 while working the 6E48 from Didcot PS to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty oil tanks.
On 27 February 1993 many additional MGRs ran to and from Didcot PS and this picture shows 60058 heading north with empty HAAs and about to cross the road at Bentley Heath near Dorridge. The houses under construction on the north side of the line were clearly visible then but the inevitable trees have since grown up and only a few roofs are visible in 2020.
The signal box at Bentley Heath was once exceptionally busy as it controlled the four-track main and entrances and exits to the loops on both sides along with some long-gone sidings. By February 1993 it was reduced to nothing more than a crossing box responsible only for operating the barriers over the road. I was using an Olympus OM1n at the time and took this shot with a 24mm prime lens - not my most useful purchase but handy on occasions like this.
60011 and its train of Redland hoppers provided a touch of variety from MGRs and DMUs at Bentley Heath on 27 February 1992. It was heading for Reading with a train of ballast from Mountsorrel quarry in preparation for a Sunday engineering possession. The trees on the left of this location have grown several feet in the intervening years and cast shadows from mid-afternoon even in the height of the summer. This notwithstanding, it is still a bridge I like to visit on sunny afternoons when some freigbt is in the offing.
A very welcome diversion from the Cheltenham line on 17 September 2005 was 6V97 12.00 Beeston-Cardiff Tidal scrap. It was hauled by former coal sector 60060 now wearing the new EWS stickers, rather than by the booked class 66. These stickers were being applied to those locomotives still not in the EWS corporate colours to demonstrate the company's ownership of the asset. The train is seen here passing Hatton Station Junction at 14.45.
MGR trains to Didcot Power Station from the East Midlands coalfields still ran to a roughly hourly pattern in March 1993. The vast majority ran via Solihull and Hatton as did this northbound service headed by 60004 with its new coal sector markings on 19 March 1993. The couple out for a stroll seemed transfixed by the passage of the train and came to ask me what it was and expressed the sentiment that it was a shame it hadn't a been steam engine on the front. I suggested that if they had stood where they were when 60004 passed that they may have revised their idea bearing in mind the amount of abuse they would have received from certain quarters for having the timerity to be in shot. To my eye, they add quite an interesting balance to the picture.
Here is another, slightly earlier shot of 60004 with an MGR on Hatton bank, this time a bit further south at Budbrook. It was taken at at 14.39 on the glorious afternoon of 6 January 1993 and was the only locomotive-hauled train to appear in the 2 hours or so I spent there. In the background are the tower of St Mary's Church, Warwick and the Round Tower of Warwick Castle. The former is quite interesting in that the cathedralesque church was originally built without a tower but after time was found to be sinking in a westerly direction due to the weight of the roof. This accounts for the unusual position of the tower at the west end of the building, rather than the more usual east end, as it forms an effective and highly atractive buttress. The same locomotive class saw a far more unusual duty on 2 April 2008 when it worked a freighliner train, 6(4)M36, 13.10 Southampton to Birch Coppice which I photographed at the same spot but in very different weather. The lineside trees and bushes were becoming intrusive by then and in 2020 the view of the line has gone altogether. My wife has no interest in railways but this was such a pleasant spot that we took a picnic here on occasions as on this day in the Spring when I took this picture of her looking uncharacteristically grumpy!
The occupation bridge at Kings Sutton is the location for another shot of 60004 working an MGR to Didcot Power Station on a unknown date in about 1993. Judging by the berries on the hawthorn bush it was probably taken in September but there is nothing in any of my notebooks that suggest that I was there at that time. It's quite likely that I left the appropriate book at home and forgot to update it later.
This picture should really be in the "Electrics" section but it does show 60004 yet again after receiving its red coat and in the company of 2 very unlikely companions. The ensemble consists of 73108 +73109 + 60004 on Pathfinder's "Weaving Weasel" railtour, 1Z42 Sheffield to Eastleigh on 26 February 2000 which I photographed in Moreton Cutting.
This is the southbound shot of a train from the same location as the first picture of 60004 above. This time it is a shot of 60056 on a Didcot-bound MGR on the same day, 19 March 1993. Without knowledge of the weekly coal programme it was difficult to accurately identify these trains, but it is a fair bet that it came from the Nottinghamshire coalfield and quite possibly originated from Welbeck Colliery. There were several boarded crossings on this line in those days and early warning of a train was given when the driver responded to the "W" boards. The crossings have now been replaced with bridges and the early warning system no longer works...
60033 was one of 2 locomotives selected to receive the colour scheme of British Steel to mark the relationship between the steel manufacturer and EWS. On 29 October 1997 the locomotive was having nothing to do with metals traffic as I photographed it approacing Didcot Power Station with a rake of hooded MGR wagons loaded with imported coal from Avonmouth Docks. It wasn't unusual to see coal trains crossing here but it was good to get a shot of two contrasting blue colour schemes as 60033 passed 58042 returning to the East Midlands with empty hoppers.645
It didn't take long for MGRs to be unloaded at Didcot PS so I waited around for 60033 to come out again. It's hard to believe how much coal this power station used to consume with 24 hour running of trains but now, of course, that is history as the site has been completely demolished.
While 60033 was running round its train in Didcot West End sidings I drove down to the bridge at Milton to take advantage of the lovely afternoon light on this day, 29 October 1997 for yet another photograph. The locomotive was later repainted yet again into the house colours of Corus, British Steel's successor.
With some bad timing, EWS repainted 60033 into the house colours of Corus just as the steel company announced the virtual closure of Llanwern steelworks. The locomotive is pictured here leaving the steel works en route to Port Talbot with a rake of empty iron ore tipplers on 7 February 2001. The loaded train was unfortunately already in the steelworks when I arrived so I missed the shot of entering the complex. Although I do have other photographs of the loco showing the colour scheme off to better advantage, I felt this shot was more appropriate given the run down of the steel industry of South Wales.645
Looking the other way from the same bridge as the shot shown above here is 60021 approaching Llanwern steelworks with a long train of steel slab presumably going to the rolling mills.
There used to be a great deal of steel traffic between the Yorkshire area and South Wales. On 15 August 2003 I was on the popular bridge at Lea Marston when 60054 came north with 6E05, a train of empty steel slab wagons. It was a bit hit-and-miss here as far as freight traffic was concerned as some trains were sent "around the back" on the slow lines via Coleshill and Whitacre to rejoin the fast lines at Kingsbury Junction. In the days before mapping apps on cell 'phones there was nothing to be done unless one of the photographers usually here had a contact with access to the railway computer systems and was prepared to pass on any news.645
The well-used bridge just to the south of Stenson Junction has always been a popular spot for railway photographers and I recall there being quite a few of us there on 17 July 1993 to witness 60077 with an empty MGR heading north about to turn right onto the Castle Donnington line. The amount of overhead wiring in the shot gives a clue to the fact that Willington Power Station was just out the picture to the left although judging by the rusty rail just visible no coal had been delivered in the past few days.
The first bridge on the Castle Donnington line around the corner from Stenson Junction is in just the right spot for a picture of trains heading towards Toton and places around there. This image of 60075 was taken on 2 March 1994 and shows 60075 with an empty MGR from Rugeley Power Station going back to wherever for another load of coal. There had clearly been a lot of rain in recent days but this was a day of unbroken sunshine which resulted in a bagload of shots in this area.
A bridge just to the north of Hereford station is the location for this view of 60036 heading south from Dee Marsh to Margam with a train of empty steel carriers on 28 January 1994. A lot of construction work was being carried out in the area at this time with a lot of land formerly owned by the railway being used for housing - I wonder how many new residents have over the years complained about noise from passing trains?
I can never make up my mind whether or not I like the view from the high bridge at Shrewley a few yards north of Hatton North Junction. It does though give a slightly different viewpoint in the summer months when the sun is high enough to get into the deep cutting. This picture is of 60100 taking a loaded MGR from one of the East Midlands coalfields to Didcot Power Station.
Another MGR, this time empty and from Didcot PS, is shown here behind 60073 on 9 October 1993 running alongside the M40 near Rowington between Hatton and Dorridge. The bridge here was constructed when the M40 extension was built and gave an excellent viewpoint for photography in both directions. It was never going to be a longt-term location because hundreds of saplings were planted to help mask traffic noise from nearby villages and these soon grew until the line is all but invisible unless one stands right over the line.
It was possible to take a lot of photographs at Barrow on Trent, on the Castle Donnington freight line, in 1993. On 24 October I took 11 sunny shots in a little over 2 hours including this of 60026 hauling a train of empty oil tanks. I didn't have a WTT for the line at the time but suspect that the train's destination was Lindsey Oil Refinery although I can't say that I'm too bothered some 27 years later!
The line from North Staffordshire Junction to Crewe via Uttoxeter carried several trains of steel and the associated empty wagons between Lackenby and the Shelton Steelworks at Etruria in the Potteries. Slab steel going to Etruria for further processing was the load being conveyed here by 60022 which has just passed the staggered platforms of Tutbury and Hatton station. Class 60s weren't the only motive power used on these services and I also witnessed 37s, including 37515 also at Tutbury and Hatton and 56s such as 56035 further west along the line. A much rarer visitor to the line was a 4TC set hauled by 33109 + 33166 on 13 April 1995 when the stock was being taken from Derby to Ayr for a filming contract.
Not long after its introduction class 60 was used on the heavy trains of imported iron ore used at Llanwern steelworks and making themselves thoroughly unpopular with enthusiasts because they replaced double (or occasionally even triple) headed 37s. How times change... Here is 60034 with a loaded passing the yard at East Usk, Newport with a loaded train on 18 November 1993.
Exactly 2 hours later than the above picture was taken on 18 November 1993 60034 returned west with the empties going back to the docks for another load of iron ore. During that time I photographed 9 other freights making a grand total of 16 freights for the 4 hour session plus a lot of passenger and parcels trains.
One of the first class 60s I saw was 60008. It is seen here descending Hatton Bank on 26 September 1990 while on crew training duties between Bescot and Banbury. For some reason I took this picture in vertical format but made a very large TIFF scan of it which allowed a landscape crop to be made without losing too much quality.
Here is the return of the train shown above as it was climbing Hatton Bank on 26 September 1990 while on crew training duties. The sun disappeared behind a large cloud only seconds before the train appeared but the sight here was rare enough at the time to warrant a shot.
Here is 60008 on 18 June 1999 approaching Whichnor Junction with a short-lived train of steel from Toton to Round Oak. As this came train ran after closure of the through route from Walsall to Stourbridge Junction it had to reverse at Worcester and go back the way it had come to reach the stump of the line still serving Round Oak from Stourbridge Junction. This picture is completely unrepeatable in 2009 as the background countryside has been developed by the addition of Central Rivers depot and a huge industrial estate, which although rail-linked sees not a single freight movement. 645
In contrast to the shot above, here is a photograph of 60008 heading north near Eckington on an absolutely freezing cold 18 February 2003. The Warwickshire Avon on a windy winter day is not the pleasantest place on the planet when standing still, but the superb light made up for the good chilling I received. The train is 6E09 from Llanwern to Lackenby.645
This is a view of Hatton North Junction before the tall footbridge was built and when the boarded foot crossing was still in use. The train is the 6M01 Hinksey Yard to Stud farm ballast empties, hauled by 60059 running some 114 minutes early. This sunny afternoon saw 3 freights in not much more than one hour. A class 37, this Loadhaul 60 and a class 47 on the 4M55 freightliner. No red or green that day! 645
A few class 60s ran for a while in grey undercoat before being painted into EWS's house colours. 60022 is seen here at Barton-under-Needwood on 21 March 1997 with a Kingsbury to Humber train of empty oil tankers. I imagine that a very thorough clean, if not another coat of grey, was needed before this loco turned red and gold. The scene has dramatically changed with the building of Virgin's Central Rivers depot. 645
Another Kingsbury to Humber train, 6E59, is seen here at Portway and hauled by the next 60 in the numbering sequence, 60023, which already had received its corporate EWS livery. The date of this photograph is 10 September 1997. 645
This picture was taken in Moreton Cutting just to the east of Didcot on 13 November 1992 just before the sun became too low for photography, It shows 60003 running along the up relief line with 6V53, the 04.20 from Humber Oil Refinery to Langley formed of tanks loaded with aviation fuel going to Langley depot. Didcot Power Station dominated the background in 1992 but this has gone altogether from the scene and 25kv overhead catenary has made this view impossible to recreate. 645
Here is another class 60 hauled oil train in Moreton Cutting but this time on the down relief and with empty tanks forming the 13.12 Colnbrook to Waterstone service, 6B23. The yellow rapeseed flowers in the background give a splash of colour to an otherwise largely green scene. 645
A few minutes after 4M19 had left Hatton DGL on 16 July 2020 the next freight was approaching Budbrook Junction for its turn to be put inside. This was 6E45 frm Theale to Humber Oil Refinery with 60024 in charge and which has become a fairly regular turn for a class 60 on this line in recent times. The train was held to right time and made a very cautious exit from the loop, taking several minutes to appear on the curve from Hatton station. Empty oil trains were a common sight along some years ago: here is 60042 with 6E55 in April 2007 and the same working with 60024 on the front further down Hatton Bank before the trees grew.
In January 2001 a short-term flow of gritstone operated from Peak Forest to Brierley Hill. On the 31st of that month I heard that 60044 was working the train and went to Droitwich in order to take a shot as 6Z52 passed the semaphore signals as it left the single line section from Stoke Works Junction. The train had to run to Worcester Shrub Hill yard for run-round and reversal before going to Brierley Hill via Stourbridge Junction. The coal yard to the right of the train had long ceased operation but the former coal drops can be seen parallel to the wire fence towards the back of the train. In 1987 the yard was still in operation and receiving deliveries by rail. It had its own 0-4-0 shunter, The Sheriff, a Ruston & Hornsby built in 1961 or 1962 which can be seen in this picture of a class 116 DMU from April 1987.
A Chaddesdon to Long Marston wagon move, 6Z22, was shown as a runner on Monday 23 December 2019, the locomotive running as 0Z60 from Toton. Things changed and it turned out that 60055 in the new colour scheme of DCR was already at Chaddesden and was therefore a contender for 6Z22. It left the thick end of an hour late and the lateness increased over the journey to Worcester where a layover of nearly one hour was planned. In the event it left Worcester TC 30 minutes late and managed to lose another 53 before it passed Norton Junction due to dragging brakes on, presumably, one or more of the box wagons. It eventually cleared the single track to Evesham some 104 minutes late after having been given permission to run at reduced speed even though it was to cause 25 minutes delay to 1W25 which had to wait in the station there. The class 60 could be heard working just around the corner from Honeybourne North Junction as it dragged its load up the incline and out of harm's way onto the Long Marston branch. There wasn't a lot of light by 15.15 when 6Z22 passed behind the platforms and the buddleia is quite intrusive but it was good to take a record shot while the locomotive is clean.
I had not bothered to look at any schedules or locomotive allocations on Monday 18 November 2019 so was a bit surprised when a friend messaged to say that 60092 was at Banbury with 6Z47, the Theale to Lindsey tanks. As I hadn't seen a 60 since since March 2018 it was probably about time for an update! There was time to make the journey to Hatton but not, unfortunately, to get to North Junction which would have been my first choice of location. The sun was behind cloud when I arrived but as a mapping app showed that the train was at Budbrook Junction the sky cleared; not the ideal situation at this time of year at Hatton station. There was a patch of sunlight on the platform so when 60092 approached I just set my camera running with high speed exposures in the hope that at least one frame would be reasonable. This was the best of a mediocre bunch and to me the image is to some extent rescued by the attractive Autumnal tints in the background trees. Today's train was reminiscent of 6E55 on the same route which ceased some years ago and here is 60092 in October 2007 at Hatton North Junction.
I was standing on the bridge just to the east of Basingstoke station on the morning of 30 March 1991 when an unfamiliar front end appeared in one of the up platforms. It turned out to be 60025 hauling a failed 47830 with "The Dorset Scot" running about 30 minutes late. I moved a short distance to the bridge over the Reading line and took this picture as the train left Basingstoke for the North. The 60 worked only as far as Reading and returned light engine later that day and I believe that this was the class's 3rd passenger working.
An interesting train that ran over the summer of 1997 was the 6M23 14.02 Fawley to Washwood Heath and Longport. The train conveyed LPG in the white and orange pressurised tanks and bitumen in the brown tanks at the rear of the train. It is seen running behind 60056 alongside the M40 near Rowington in Warwickshire at 17.36 on 29 May 1997 a view that is no longer available thanks to the usual unchecked growth of roadside vegetation.
The following pictures show the results from 2 visits to the Charringtons Oil Terminal at Brownhills in Staffordshire, the only times I made the trips. The first visit was on a freezingly cold 18 January 1997 when 60005 was in the depot when I arrived. The train ran once, twice or three times per week, well, some weeks, mostly over the winter and the most reliable way to find out if a drive over was worthwhile was to 'phone the depot during the previous day and simply ask. The staff were friendly and said that as long I made myself myself known to someone on arrival I was welcome to go where I wished. Here is an image of 60005 and some of the 35 tanks taken from the nearby bank not long after first light.
I believe tht the oil supplied to Brownhills was a heavy variety used for power stations, industry, agriculture and domestic heating and which needed to be at a reasonable temperature to be pumped from the rail tanks. I was told by the site staff that two types of wagons were used, some being better insulated than others. The oil in the less insulated type needed to be heated by the use of steam in a jacket inside the outer skin of the tank and the more of these in the train's consist the longer unloading took to complete. I believe that something in the region of 1,000,000 litres of of oil were conveyed by the longest trains received here but all the outgoing deliveries were sent by road tanker some going as far as Norfolk to fuel the sugar beet operations sited there.
The longer the train took to unload the greater the chances of the sun rising high enough to reach it became. On 18 January 1997 the light did just about reach 60005 as it stood waiting for the unloading to be completed. The rusty rails in the foreground form the remains of the South Staffordshire Line from Walsall to Wychnor Junction and there is a lot of material online readily available to anyone interested in the history of it.
My final view in this short sequence was taken as the driver of 60005 waited in the warm for his train to be unloaded before the consist could be made up again ready for departure on 18 January 1997. See also my Class 37 section for a few more images.
One of the few classes of locomotive I had not photographed on the Ashchurch branch was class 60, so when I saw a message on the morning of 7 November 2007 saying that 60079 was working 6X36 from Didcot to Ashchurch I rescheduled an appointment and headed over. I was too late for the northbound working which has to go as far as Worcester to run-round because the only access to the branch is from the north, but was in plenty of time for the arrival at Ashchurch. Here is 60079 propelling its train of armoured personnel carriers and containers down the branch alongside Ashchurch station. The procedure here is unusual in that a man walks before the train to ensure the safety of any pedestrians using the foot crossing during the propelling move, the operation being controlled by a radio link between the shunter and the driver. A southbound Virgin Voyager passes at low speed towards a red signal caused by the preceding class 158 unit running a little late.
This picture shows 60079 coming back along the Ashchurch branch with 6A32, the return working of the train shown above. This is an especially tight little branch with very few locations for photography. This picture was taken from the station footbridge as the train stood by a foot crossing waiting for the guard to walk back along the train. The load for Didcot consisted of open OCA wagins and some KWA flats.
As soon as the guard had joined the train, 60079 moved 6A32 along the branch towards the exchange sidings at 11.52. It would have to wait here for a path but although I didn't wait to see, I very much doubt if it had to wait until its booked time of 13.25. The only real limiting factor is the section of single track on the Golden Valley line between Standish Junction and Swindon but there are several paths available here so I think an early arrival at Didcot was on the cards.
The only other train I photographed at Ashchurch on 7 November 2007 was 6M96, the 05.48 Margam to Corby steel coils. The weather was as dull as ditchwater as 60031 brought its heavy load north, but I took the picture because of the added interest of the p-way gang moving some short lengths of rail ready for use in the exchange sidings.
There were not many class 60 workings along the Coventry to Birmingham line but one that did appear on Saturdays was the 6D30 Northampton to Mountsorrel empty stone. This train with 60013 in charge is seen passing Berkswell at 14.38 on 13 November 2004. The undergrowth in the station car park was getting a bit instrusive but clear patches were still available. It wasn't uncommon to find 7 or 8 photographers here at the time; towards the end of AC electrics on regular services from London Euston.
A late addition to the schedules on Monday 20 March 2018 was a train of 5 tanks, ICAs, from Ribble Rail at Preston to Long Marston for either storage or deep cleaning. The locomotive allocated was Colas's 60095 and as the class is a rare visitor to the North Cotswold Line and the Long Marston branch I had a run over. The train had run on a circuitous route via Warrington, Chester, Shrewsbury and Sutton Park but arrived at Honeybourne close to the right time. It, 6Z56, is seen here passing the platforms having joined the branch at Honeybourne North Junction which can be seen behind the last platform lamp on the up side.
If things had gone according to plan there should have been a GWR class 165/166 from Reading to Long Marston shortly after 60095 but I decided that I would on this occasion prefer another image of 6Z56 so drove straight over to the road bridge by the yard at Long Marston. I arrived just as 60095 appeared in the distance along with some veiled sun and it slowly ran to the gates where there was a short delay until the ground crew appeared to open up. Here is a reminder of how 60095 used to be be employed on coal traffic from Avonmouth to Didcot as it leaves the latter on 6 March 1997 in a wide angle and slightly distorted view.
The Long Marston shunter arrived and after reversing in the headshunt by the bridge moved forward and coupled to the tanks ready to draw them forward. The original plan had been for 60095 to spend the night here and then have an early departure on 21 March 2018 taking another set of tanks to Lindsey Oil Refinery but as the shunter pulled forward I could see that the white lights on the Colas locomotive had been switched on and then heard a brake test being carried out. I checked Liverail and RTT to find that a new schedule had been inputted showing a 6Z57 16.00 Long Marston to Toton. Having grabbed this image with my Canon G10 and pausing only to take a view of Pandora in the afternoon sunshine I hurried back to Honeybourne.
It doesn't take long to get to Honeybourne given some clear roads and I was soon on the road bridge adjacent to the station. With no way of knowing when or even if 6Z57 would actually run it was just a matter of hanging around until something happened. For the thick end of an hour all that did happen was an IEP coming down on 1W29 and the cloud becoming thicker and darker. There were though two glimmers of hope. The first was that the incoming GWR DMU appeared to have been recessed at Moreton in Marsh presumably to allow 60095 a path over the branch and second, as the sound of empty tanks rumbling over the jointed track of the branch became audible a crack appeared in the clouds which seemed to heading towards the sun. The light was never going to be perfect but it was a lot better as 60095 approached the bridge at 17.09 than it had been for for the past hour.
It doesn't seem all that long since enormous tonnages of coal were taken on a daily basis to Didcot Power Station. In latter years the vast majority was imported fuel tripped from Avonmouth Docks and, in 1997, class 60s operated most of the trains. Here is 60095 with a failed 60010 arriving at their destination on 6 March 1997. I went to the grassy area near the cooling towers for another shot of the pair but 60010 had been removed from the train before the locomotive usually ran-round in the West End sidings. In 2018, the coal-fired station has gone leaving just a much smaller gas powered facility. 645
Some 11 months after the shot of 60095 + 60010 was taken I had another trip to the area and during the afternoon of 13 February 1998 took this more distant view of a "partial Loadhaul" 60064 leaving Didcot with a set of empty HAAs returning to Avonmouth for yet another load of imported coal to feed the station's furnaces. 645
A set of Fastline coal hoppers was scheduled to leave Wellingborough yard for Avonmouth BBHT on Thursday 27 July 2017 with Colas Rail's 60056 providing the power. The hoppers are destined to be used on a twice-daily Avonmouth to Aberthaw pwer station coal flow. I thought that this would be worth a shot despite the poor weather and planned to go somewhere between Brosmgrove and Spetchley. The train, 6V22, left Wellingborough 46 minutes late and the deficit increased to 75 minutes on the approaches to Birmingham and with no way of knowing how it would run from there I left home and went south. It looked as if some sunshine might appear and I headed for Claydon, just south of Ashchurch. Heavy traffic intervened between the junctions to Broadway and Stoke Orchard largely thanks to a broken down HGV and I stopped by some houses near the main road bridge adjacent to Ashchurch station and checked my phone. It had passed Abbotswood Junction just 9 minutes late and could not have been far away. I ran to the bridge and could see a headlight on the straight stretch of line north of the station; I had arrived with no more than 90 seconds to spare. In retrospect a location with a recognisable background was a good thing for such an unusual working rather than a bland bit of countryside. This isn't 60056's first odd working with coal hoppers; on 2 August 2007 it worked 6V17, the 16.32 Bescot to Portbury which I photographed at Croome Perry.
The regular train of loaded rail carriers from the Scunthorpe area to Eastleigh is usually hauled by a DBS class 66 but on occasions a 60 is turned out, presumably to allow drivers to keep their route and traction knowledge up to date. On 19 April 2016 60044 was provided and as it was a beautifully sunny afternoon I went off to Bentley Heath crossing near Dorridge for a shot as 6X01 was slowing down to take its booked stop in the up loop. The train was quite short on this occasion and the left foreground of the image rather messy but with the sun shining brightly on this recognisable location I was quite happy with the shot.
Extensive engineering work over the Easter weekend around the West Ealing and Greenford area saw the diversion of 6E38, the 14.18 train of 28 empty TDAs from Colnbrook to Lindsey Oil Refinery. The corresponding up working conveying around 2000 tonnes of aviation fuel for Heathrow had run via Birmingham, Hatton and Oxford during the night of 27 March 2016 instead of over its usual Midland Main Line route but it was the return that caught the interest of local enthusiasts. No oil trains are currently scheduled over the Hatton line and the chance for a photograph was too good to miss. The weather during the afternoon picked up nicely after a wet morning and as viewpoints worth the effort on a sunny evening are very limited I had no problem with going to Hatton North Junction. The sun did disappear behind some cloud as 60002 passed Leamington Spa but came out again as I heard the long train passing over the pointwork just to the south of Hatton station just a couple of minutes late at 17.52.
Thursday 18 February was a clear and sunny day so even though there was little of particular interest around I decided that it would nice to get a shot or two during the afternoon. I went to Eckington Bridge and as soon as I drove into the riverside car park a bunch of dark cloud appeared coming from the south-west. I made the short walk to the railway bridge and watched a couple of passenger pass by in either direction before the sky began to clear just as I saw that 60011 with 6E41, the Westerleigh to Lindsey discharged oil tanks had passed Ashchurch. This is only 6 or 7 minutes away from where I was standing and it was fortunate that the cloud cleared completely from the sun as the train accelerated away from a p-way speed restriction and crossed the River Avon.
My first photographs of 2016 were taken on 2 January when Pathfinder Railtours ran a train from Bristol Parkway to Birmingham New Street via the Round Oak steel terminal, North Cotswold Line, Oxford's Cowley branch, Swindon, Bath and Bristol. The main motive power from Round Oak was 60020 with 66001 assisting on the Cowley branch and various carriage sidings and as the class is not common on the North Cotswold Line I had made up my mind to go somewhere for a shot. The weather was dreadful so it seemed a waste of time to go too far from home and I ended up at Evesham's Briar Close which also allowed for a shot of the newly refurbished signal box. The train now running as 1Z61, was close to right time as it rounded the curve from the single line beyond Evesham West Junction, and any hopes of finding a use on a very dull day for the garish DBS livery were dashed when a grubby 60020 came closer. I was alone on the bridge here despite the relatively wide view which also allowed a glimpse of 66001 bringing up the rear of the train. The last time I photographed 60020 was way back on 8 September 2006 at Hatton North when it operated a 6Z41 Theale to Lindsay empty oil train before the working became a regular for several years as 6E55, now gone from the timetable.
I very rarely photograph light engine movements even when already at the lineside and it's even less unlikely that I will go out specifically to take such an image. On Monday 28 December 2015 though, I was just walking back from my health club after a long swim when an email from a friend came through to my 'phone saying that 5 Colas Rail class 60s were running as a train of engines from Hinksey Sidings to Bescot. I thought that this was well worth the short drive to Hatton where 0M87 would be easily identified. From the schedule on RTT it looked as if the locomotives would run into the Stratford Branch platform to allow a Reading to Newcastle CrossCountry service to pass but in reality they were turned into Hatton DGL at Budbrook Junction and then straight out onto the down main line. This was a bit less interesting and offered only the chance of one shot from the footbridge on the station whereas the planned move would have provided another shot, this time from the road bridge, as the train stood at the signal. Anyway, here is 60026 leading 60095, 60087, 60056 & 60085 through the down platform just a few minutes late at 13.03 and here is a shot from 2008 showing the same locomotive at Old Milverton with a diverted oil train heading to Bedworth.
The daily 6M50 Westbury to Bescot departmental train has been hauled by a COLAS Rail class 70 since the class was introduced with only occasional incursion by other classes. One of these rare events took place on Monday 23 November 2015 when 60076 was used and such was the unusual nature of the working that I had a quick trip to the nearest half-decent location to my home, the occupation bridge at Whitnash, just to the south of Leamington Spa. This spot is a reasonable place for a photograph early on a summer morning but apart from that is no more than mediocre especially at around 13.30 when the sun, if out, is completely wrong. Having said that, it is a still a better bet than the single line between Leamington Spa and Coventry which is virtually useless at this time of the year. Anyway, 6M50 was running as 6X50 from Hinksey Yard because of the inclusion of point carrying wagons in the train and it was running close to right time when it appeared in the distance dropping down the bank from Harbury. It was running just a couple of sections behind 66132 on 4Z69, the 09.47 DBS service from Southampton to Garston. This had just a single container behind the locomotive and I didn't bother with a shot given the unexceptional nature of the train.
One of the few or possibly the only active class 60 remaining in EWS livery is 60065 and on Thursday 29 October 2015 it was allocated to 6X01, the 10.17 Scunthorpe to Eastleigh rail train. The afternoon was dull in the extreme but this was probably the last chance for a shot of this working before it runs in the dark, to the south of Birmingham at least. I went to Hatton where 60065 appeared about 3 minutes late through following a Chiltern service suffering from the same level of delay. The train was quite long with a more varied consist than is often the case and included a couple of vehicles presumably used for unloading the rails. My image suffers a little from a lack of depth of field towards the back of the train and this is the result of using a 50mm lens almost wide open at f1.8 with a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec and the camera's light sensitivity set at 800asa. This is a tricky line in the Autumn and Winter with very few places on the a sunny day where the light actually reaches the track so unless one wants pictures with the train in shadow and the tree tops in sunlight, and who would, it's probably best to leave it for a cloudy day.
Another COLAS Rail oddity ran on the line through Hatton on Monday 27 July 2105 although in slightly poorer light than 37219 had a couple of days earlier. This time it was 60002 with a 6M18 from Margam to Washwood Heath service conveying steel and presumably routed this way rather than via Cheltenham to avoid the need for banking up the Lickey incline. This was the first COLAS class 60 I had photographed in the area and indeed the first 60 I had seen for 11 months so I thought that a trip over to the southern end of Hatton cutting would be worthwhile. There was no chance of any sunshine and although a bit mundane this location is one of the better from the north side of the line. The train was close to right time when it came slowly around the curve in the background with the locomotive clearly working quite hard with its heavy load. The train was originally planned in a different path routed via Leamington Spa and Coventry and with the headcode 6M17 but this changed with the revised schedule appearing on RTT, and another system as 6M18, so it was quite safe to go north of Leamington Spa without the risk of missing out by being on the wrong line. A few similar workings took place in holiday season last year although with class 56 motive power.
Few diesel-hauled charter trains visit Stratford-upon-Avon these days so when I saw from RealTime Trains that such a train from Leeds was coming down on 25 August 2014 I was reasonably keen to have a look. It was routed along the North Warwickshire line and if the light had been better a trip somewhere over that way, maybe to Edstone would have been in order. However, the weather on this Bank Holiday Monday was dreadful with glowering skies and intermittently heavy rain which managed to make its presence felt as 60059 entered platform 2 at the terminus. As far as I know only one class 60 has been here before; 60016 back in February 2004 on an engineering train which, as the station was closed I had to photograph rather unsatisfactorily from the car park. Today's picture of 60059 is a bit messy thanks to ongoing preparation work for the new bridge incorporating lifts which is to be sited directly in front of the GWR structure. A 3 car class 172 was just out of sight in platform 1 having arrived from Stourbridge Junction via Dorridge a few minutes earlier. It's lucky that wasn't a longer train.
If I thought that the weather was bad when 60059 arrived at Stratford-upon-Avon on 25 August 2014 then it was a lot worse when it left at 16.15. The sky was much darker and the rain a lot heavier when I arrived at Wilmcote station for a photograph but I decided to get a bit wet and take my shot from the platform to include the attractive station footbridge, despite its rather dodgy colour scheme, in the picture. I heard 1Z61 climbing the 1/75 of Wilmcote Bank and the train soon appeared through the murk and rain on its way back to Leeds, this time running via Hatton North Junction and Solihull. If the weather had been clear and sunny I would have gone to the former where it would have been interesting to have had a comparison picture to this one of 60096 leaving the Stratford branch in March 2006.
Relatively few class 60s have traversed the North Cotswold Line and whilst I have photographs of 3 examples on the Long Marston branch I was yet to see one on the main line. With this in mind and wishing to be in a location suitable for a clear view of the long train on 20 June 2014 I decided to take my shot of 6Z66 at Lower Moor. The sky was clearing quite well when I saw from RTT that left Long Marston about 70 minutes late, shortly to be confirmed in a 'phone call from a friend on the branch. It wasn't too long before 60087 + 37219 came into view under the Fladbury road bridge and with the sun holding on nicely the multi-coloured 6Z66 went past the 3 photographers waiting with, unfortunately, another just coming along the road a few seconds too late. The COLAS livery suits both class 60 and 37 extremely well in my opinion and is a quantum improvement on the awful DBS colour scheme inflicted on their 60s. I didn't bother to wait for the final train of the day from Long Marston which was 37608 with a couple of Network Rail coaches returning to Derby RTC. The locomotive in question was a scruffy example and it would have been a bit of an anticlimax after seeing the immaculate COLAS Rail machines. Just for the record here are another two views of 60087, one at Barrow on Trent in July 1992 and the second at Hatton in March 1995.
There isn't a lot of locomotive variety on the GWR Birmingham to Leamington Spa line and since the Lindsey to Theale and return oil trains have become "Q" paths there aren't many opportunities to photograph a class 60 in the area. I don't follow locomotive allocations very closely but when a friend told me that the Scunthorpe to Eastleigh rail train, 6X01, had 60040 on the front I fitted in a quick trip to Hatton with visits to a couple of local farm shops. The train ran on time and the light was dreadful. 'Nuff said...
I don't think that anyone would go to Croome Perry specifically for a shot of a northbound working given the restricted viewpoint and vegetation throwing shadows across the track. As I was there anyway on 19 March 2014 I took this image of 60092 coming north with the Westerleigh to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty oil tanks with a misty Bredon Hill dominating the background. Only about 5 minutes behind 6E41 was an early-running Bridgwater to Crewe nuclear flask hauled by 37259 + 37402. It's almost exactly 11 months since I last photographed a class 37 so I don't think that I can be accused of having an unhealthy obsession with the class!
My final shot at Croome Perry on 19 March 2014 was of the afternoon Round Oak to Margam empty steel wagons, 6V07. There are 2 paths available for this train and today's ran in the later slot which has a departure time from Round Oak of 14.54. It was only a few seconds late when it passed Croome with a grubby 60054 in charge pictured as it came out of the shadowed wood into the crisp springtime light.
A train virtually guaranteed to produce a class 60, except in the event of locomotive failure, is 6V98, the Lindsey Oil refinery to Westerleigh oil tanks and the return, 6E41. I was at Defford on 25 February 2104 when 60092 came north with the empty tanks the train having just passed over the River Avon at Eckington. The sun had just cleared some heavy cloud which had dropped a lot of rain in the area and, incidentally, through which I passed during the drive home some 20 minutes later. I'm not keen on the DBS colour scheme and think that 60092 looked much better in its grey livery, albeit with an EWS decal, as it carried when I photographed it passing Dorridge with a diverted 6V40 Lackenby to Margam train of steel slabs on 21 October 2006.
I'm always up for a photographic challenge and after taking a shot of a tamper at Hatton I decided to hang around for a few minutes to attempt a minimum light image of 60045 coming south with 6X01, the 10.17 Scunthorpe to Eastleigh train of loaded rail carriers. This was just about on time after some early running further north and what little light there had been had gone leaving me in virtual darkness. Careful use of my camera's histogram facility on a trial shot enabled the RAW image to record most of the available data and this rather chilly looking image is the result. I'm not a fan of the new DBS livery, especially on class 60, and was happy enough to get a picture of one of the few remaining class members in EWS colours. I hadn't seen this locomotive for quite a while; indeed my last picture of it was taken as it tailed an engineering train at Edstone on the North Warwickshire Line on Sunday 1 November 2008.
Steel traffic is a reliable traffic flow on the Cheltenham line with 2 or 3 each weekday serving Round Oak terminal, situated on the southern stub of the former Stourbridge Junction to Walsall line. The late morning departure from Round Oak, 6V05, is due to pass Ashchurch at around 12.00 and although the light is too straight by this time there wasn't really time for a move either north or south to a different location. Some Autumnal colours are beginning to show in the lineside foliage as 60074 passes the footbridge at Northway on 17 October 2013 just as the sun came out of an aircraft contrail. Class 60 locomotives turn up on this and the other daytime train from Round Oak, 6V07, from time to time but the more usual motive power is a class 66.
On Monday 7 October 2013 the daily train of empty ballast boxes from Eastleigh to Stud Farm quarry, 6M26, was hauled by a class 60 instead of the usual DBS 66. I imagine that the 60 had been involved in some engineering work based on Hinksey over the weekend and was using 6M26 to return north. If it had been a DBS liveried example I wouldn't have bothered with a shot because that colour scheme, in my opinion, looks pretty awful on class 60 but as the locomotive in question, 60065, is still in the original EWS colours I did make the effort. To be honest, very little effort was involved as I saw the message about the working only at 12.15 and was able to get to the nearest location to my home only because 6M26 was running around 70 minutes late. This deficit had dropped to 50 minutes by the time it passed under the 3 arch bridge towards the summit of Hatton Bank because the booked spell in Fenny Compton loop had become unecessary through the late running. I should have preferred the train to have been routed along the Down Goods Loop but as the next passenger train, a Reading to Newcastle voyager, was about 9 minutes behind there was no need.
Class 60 locomotives have turned up on the 13.05 Theale to Lindsey empty tanks, 6E55, quite a few times this summer and Friday 27 September 2013 saw 60091 work this train. The weak sun was just about hanging on as 6E55 crossed the road at Bentley Heath although there were plenty of shadows muscling in on the scene. The Network Rail worker to the right of the train was there to investigate, although not fix, an alarm sounding in the equipment shed behind him. This was loud and irritating and confused some people using the crossing on foot as they thought it was the barrier alarm warning that the road was about to be blocked.
During the course of checking RealTime Trains for any unusual workings for Saturday 21 September 2013 I saw that 6E38, the 13.10 Colnbrook to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty tanks were running via Didcot, Oxford and Hatton rather than the usual route along the Midland Main Line. I like to record these odd bits and pieces and therefore kept an eye on the train's progress with a view to going out as long as it didn't run too late. As it happened 6E38 ran early as far as Didcot from where it kept close to the booked times. The weather was good with at least, I guessed, a 75% chance of clear skies so I went to Hatton North Junction, just about the only place in the area where a shadow-free photograph would be available. The train was booked to run down Hatton Goods Loop but I hoped against hope that it wouldn't as the light, which was absolutely stunning when I arrived on the footbridge, was about to change for the worse as a bank of cloud blew in from the west. Unfortunately, the train, headed by 60010, was looped even though it appeared that there would have been several minutes spare for it to have reached Dorridge loop before the CrossCountry Voyager running slightly late behind the freight passed. As 60010 and its load was released from the loop the sun found the edge of the cloud and the light quality dived away leaving no more than a mediocre shot. Given the alleged popularity of class 60 I was surprised how few postings there were about 6E38 and that I was alone at Hatton for this rare working. This is the second diversion from the MML in recent times as the Theale to Earles Sidings empty cement train ran this way at the end of June 2013.
Class 60 locomotives turn up quite regularly on the steel trains between Margam and Round Oak and on Friday 12 July 2013 there were two allocated to the traffic, one on the morning 6V05 to South Wales and 60054 on the afternoon's 6V07. The sun was just about low enough in the sky by shortly after 4pm but a lot of very high thin cloud made the quality of light quite poor when the train came into view at Eckington where I took this shot from the stile of an occupation crossing.
Upon my return from holiday on 11 June 2013 I checked Realtime Trains for any local activity and saw that there was a light engine scheduled to run from Immingham to Long Marston early the following morning. It turned out that the locomotive involved was 60019, the first of any class, as far as I was aware, in the newish "day-glo" colour scheme to visit the branch. The inward move ran nearly two hours early and when I arrived at around 10.30 60019 was coupled onto a very long rake of VTG tanks, including the new examples that were delivered here for storage some eleven months ago by 66003. The weather was quite dull but the the sun did appear for a few moments which did give the opportunity for one shot with some shadows visible. The length of the train , 6M19, can clearly be seen in this view with the rearmost tanks around the curve at the end of the exchange sidings.
I had hoped that an early departure from Long Marston to Immingham would occur but it was just about on the booked time, 12.34, that 60019 began to move away from the yard and onto the Honeybourne branch. Class 60s aren't commonplace here and today saw just the third ever visit. The first was when 60084 hauled a railtour from Worcester on a very wet and dark 15 October 2000, and the second was marked by arrival of 60042 in November 2006. At this time, the class was actually barred from using the branch but this restriction appears now to have been lifted as 60019 made a smoky departure with the empty, but still heavy train.
After the train had cleared the points at the exit of Long Marston yard there was quite a delay as the single token was collected from the ground frame and returned to the driver of 60019. This gave me the chance to head around the corner and onto a public footpath which crosses the line on the Pebworth road. Once again there was exhaust smoke, this time visible against the now even darker sky, as 6M17 accelerated away from a speed-restricted farm crossing. It's a shame that the sun didn't cooperate on this occasion but I can't pretend that I was too bothered; the shots being sufficiently unusual to make the weather conditions immaterial.
Didcot Power Station receives trainloads of fuel oil at roughly weekly intervals throughout the winter months presumably to help ignite the less volatile coal in the furnaces. These trains, running as 6E48 from Didcot, are booked to leave at 12.26 but on 4 March 2013 the departure time was delayed by almost exactly two hours. The advantage of this from a photographic viewpoint was that the sun's angle was more favourable at Hatton North Junction when the train passed at just before 16.15; the path used by 6E55, the Theale to Lindsey tanks on days when that is a runner. Because of the imminent closure of the coal burning side of Didcot Power Station this was one the final trains of oil to be sent there and therefore one of the last runs of 6E48. Class 66 motive is more usual on this working as it's not a long or heavy train but 60091 was provided on this occasion. The same locomotive looked a little different on 30 November 2009 when it worked the same train, albeit when the sun was on its very last legs.
My first plan for the sunny morning of 4 December 2012 was to head to the Oxford area to photograph 56301 on the Calvert to Didcot Power Station empty fly ash train but there was some uncertainty about what was going on following the failure of 56312 during the previous day's run. By the time I knew what was happening it was a bit late to make that journey. Plan B was just to go over to Croome Perry on the Birmingham to Cheltenham line to take a shot of 60054 on 6V05, the 10.01 Round Oak to Margam empty steel train. The weather at home was perfect but during the drive over towards Pershore the sky began to cloud up and when I arrived at Croome Perry there was more cloud than clear sky. I wasn't expecting 60054 for at least half and hour but within five minutes of my arrival the sun broke through and 6V05 became audible as it passed through the wood just to the south of Abbotswood Junction.
On 18 October 2012, for the second time in a few weeks 6X01, the 10.17 Scunthorpe to Eastleigh train of welded rail, ran with class 60 traction. The light on the previous occasion was dreadful so I had another go with a view to obtaining a sunny shot of the train. My plan was to take a ground level portrait at Bentley Heath but as I drove along the A3400 there was clearly increasing cloud cover to the north so I diverted to Hatton, seeing no point in going any further for a dull picture. In the event, the light was better than last time with the tiniest bit of a shadow evident, so maybe by 2015 I'll have something in decent sun. The more I see of the DBS colour scheme on class 60 the less I like it. The slab-like bodyside of the locomotive really could do with some form of lining out to give some contrast with the day-glo main colour. I much prefer the one-off livery it carried before its latest repaint as seen here as it passed Droitwich Spa on 15 August 2008.
There is a twice-weekly train, 6X01, of new welded rails that runs from British Steel at Scunthorpe to Eastleigh. It leave the former at 10.17 and after a bit of a fester in the Birmingham area is due to pass Hatton at about 15.40. The usual motive power is a DBS class 66 but on 27 September 2012 freshly painted 60017 was diagrammed for the train so with the intention of obtaining a shot of it whilst clean I tied in a trip to Hatton with a visit to a nearby(ish) farm shop. There was a bit of angst as I heard the distinctive exhaust note of the class 60 around the corner towards Hatton North Junction because 1) the sun was just on the edge of a bank of cloud and did manage to pass behind it at precisely the wrong moment and 2) the class 165 unit from Stratford-upon-Avon to Leamington Spa was on the curve to the station. It was fortunate that this just cleared in time as only the back of the unit would have been visible, unlike this shot from 1994 which worked out pefectly. Anyway, not to worry as today's shot was clear of 165s although taken in temporarily rotten light, the sun reappearing with a few minutes.
The third and final train I photographed at Hatton North Junction on Friday 7 September 2012 was 6E55, the 13.35 Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks. This was at one time a solid class 60 turn but over the last couple of years class 66 has been the more usual motive power. This time, however, 60059 was allocated and as this offered me a chance to take a picture of a DBS liveried class 60 in decent light for the first time I took the opportunity. I will admit that I am no real fan of the colour scheme on this class as the slab sides of the locomotive really need some embellishment to relieve the large area of colour but as 60059 was relatively clean it doesn't look too bad. I did though prefer the Loadhaul colour scheme that it was carrying in February 2001 when I saw it at a very different looking Hatton North when it was hauling a Hinksey to Stud Farm empty ballast train.
The train shown here is not one that I would normally photograph as it's 6V25, the 04.45 Bescot Engineers Sidings to Hinksey Yard which passes Hatton at about 06.10 in the morning. On Friday 15 June 2012 it encountered a delay due to one of the wagons apparently having no buffers on one end! The train, headed by 60049, was put into the yard at Small Heath, Birmingham so that the requisite shunting could be carried out. I was told about it at about 12.30 and without knowing where 6V25 was or when it might leave Small Heath went over to the nearest location to my home in the hope of scoring a rare photograph of it. A friend was kind enough to call me when it was passing Dorridge which meant that I had only six or seven minutes to wait before it appeared. The light was terrible with a heavy shower about to give Hatton a good soaking but I'm always happy to get an unusual picture of a working not normally accessible.
This picture was taken at Coleshill before the new station had been built. A boarded crossing existed here which was used by locals and railway photographers alike as, for the latter, it offered a reasonably clear view in both directions. Here is 60065 heading out of Birmingham and towards Whitacre Junction with a train of empty stone from, I think, Washwood Heath Cemex going to Bardon Hill on Saturday 13 September 2003. I had only just arrived at just after 10.00 and the sun is perhaps still a little too straight down the line. 645
The Loadhaul colour scheme applied to various freight locomotives in the early days of rail privatisation was one that well suited all classes which received it. This picture shows 60007 with very clean paintwork passing Wichnor Junction at 09.42 on 19 July 2000 while hauling 6E05 from Wolverhampton Steel Terminal to Scunthorpe. The ladder junction to the line through Alrewas and on to Lichfiled is visible towards the rear of the train. By December 2007, 60007 was still in the same livery but as this picture of it at Croome Perry shows, it was becoming more than a little unkempt. 645
One of the regular freight services along the Birmingham to Gloucester line is 6V92, the 10.18 Corby to Margam train of empty steel coil carriers. It is generally a class 66 turn but on Friday 13 January 2012 60071 was unusually allocated and it is shown here about to pass a farm crossing near Eckington, between Abbotswood Junction and Ashchurch. I photographed the same locomotive on this train at Whitacre Junction in September 2007 but imagine that this particular would have been too heavily shadowed for a decent shot in January. The village can be seen in the background with the tower of All Saints Church poking out over a development of much more recently constructed properties. The down goods loop is the nearest line to the camera which until a few minutes before had been partly occupied by 66161 on a 6Z56 infrastructure train from Newport ADJ to Bescot. I'm glad that that this train had gone before 6V92 appeared...
On Friday 21 October 2011, 60099 worked the loaded tanks from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Theale and the 6E55 return. I noticed a few days ago that I hadn't set eyes on a class 60 since April and as 60099 is in a one-off colour scheme went across to Hatton North Junction for a record shot. The light was awful but 60s don't often work this train and this will probably be the last chance for a picture of one on this line before the clocks change at the end of October and it's too dark by mid-afternoon. There is also, of course, a strong possibility that the locomotive will follow many of its stablemates and destroy itself before another opportunity for a photograph comes along. The scheduled time for 6E55 at Hatton is about 16.15 and it was just before this that I heard it coming slowly around the bend, following a couple of sections behind 66623, the first time that I have seen two freights follow one another along here for quite some time. The weather just seven days ago was quite different with clear skies and warm temperatures making for a very pleasant session here, when 66095 was on the same train.
For the second time in five days 60015 was diagrammed to work the Lindsey Oil Refinery to Theale train and its return, 6E55. The train left Theale early and was unusually allowed to keep going rather than having to wait for its correct path somewhere along the Thames Valley. I had photographed Monday's train from the footbridge so chose to stay on the footpath for this one so as to vary the shot a little.
Despite the small number of class 60s currently operational an example does still occasionally turn up on the overnight train from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Theale and then the more photographable 6E55 13.35 return. Monday 18 April 2011 saw 60015 on this duty and I was tempted to go out for a shot if the cloud that had built up since mid-morning looked as if it might clear. By 15.30 most of the sky was cloudy but with what looked like a clearer patch to the north of Stratford-upon-Avon. Having left it quite late before making up my mind to go I went to just about the nearest spot for me, Hatton North Junction, and arrived just as the sun came out of a thick patch of cloud and into a small area of clear sky. This clear area looked like it might last for five or six minutes so I was pleased when a friend telephoned from the Warwick Parkway area to say that 6E55 was on its way. The preceding class 165 on a stopping train passed by and then I heard the empty oil tanks rattling across the pointwork just to the south of Hatton station four or five minutes early on the booked time. The sun held for my picture with a couple of minutes to spare before another large patch of cloud turned off the lights.
The Westerleighy to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty tank train, 6E41, still manages to run with class 60 power on most occasions. Most locations along the Gloucester to Birmingham will inevitably offer a heavily backlit photograph unless the train runs unusually late and it was no exception on 8 March 2011. Here is 60015 passing the points leading to Eckington loop as it throbs its way north just about on time and with a train just the right length to help me avoid the cardinal sin of cutting the rear tanks. Running only a few minutes behind 6E41 was the nuclear flask train from Berkeley to Crewe, 6M56, with its locomotives, 66431 + 66427 dwarfing the single flask being conveyed.
One of the few trains that can often be relied upon early in 2011 to run with class 60 power is the oil train from Lindsey to Westerleigh and its empty balancing working, 6E41. On Thursday 3 February 2011 60040 in its unique colour scheme was rostered to the job and it is here seen approaching Croome Perry Wood. I hadn't intended to picture this working here but a southbound train in which I was interested ran rather late and I didn't have time to move. This is the second time that I have photographed this locomotive during the past few days, the other being while it was working the Theale to Lindsey empty tanks on 31 January.
I don't follow locomotive classes and their allocations especially closely but think that it's been a while since a class 60 worked 6E55, the 13.35 Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks and 31 January 2011 was certainly the first time this year when a half-decent shot was on the cards north of Leamington Spa. The timings fitted in well with a couple of other things that I had to do in the area so this shot just to the north of Warwick Parkway, where at least the line would be free of shadows just after 4pm if the pleasant winter sunshine held on, was my first choice. A Chiltern Railways class 168 hadn't long pulled away from the station when I saw 60040 on the curve. It was clearly approaching an adverse signal but this cleared and the characteristic throbbing exhaust become audible as it begin to accelerate up Hatton Bank. The light wasn't as good as it had been half an hour earlier but, as they say, you can see a shadow...
During the morning of 21 October 2010 I noticed that the Thursday train from Banbury Reservoir Sidings to Mountsorrel was in the hands of 60048, not a very common class of locomotive for this job. A couple of text messages brought the news that on the way south, 60048 had failed between Warwick and Leamington Spa and Bescot had despatched 60039 to rescue the train and take it to its destination. I was lucky in that a friend was able to tell me when 6M31 was leaving Banbury which just, but only just, gave me time to drive over to Hatton and get along the nearby canal towing path and muddy footpath to North Junction. The train, somewhat surprisingly, was only about ten minutes late on the booked time and I arrived no more than two minutes before it appeared. I was expecting 60039 to be leading but with 60048 having been left dead on the rear of the Lafarge Self Discharge formation, but was happy to find that the two locomotives were at the front. I had hoped that the cloud which had been building up a while would have completely obscured the sun because it is in completely the wrong place at about 11.30, but there was quite a bit of backlighting hitting the train which both gave a rather odd hue to the locomotives and showed up the very rough-looking state of their bodywork.
A train that has appeared in the working timetable quite recently is 6O15, the 09.41 Scunthorpe to Eastleigh, conveying new rails. It runs as a "Q" so could turn up on any day of the week but was scheduled to run on 23 April 2010 although actually running as 6X15 on this occasion. The locomotive was 60096 and the train is here seen at Hatton North Junction running just a few minutes early. I had photograhed 60096 from this bridge once before, although it was coming from the other direction and hauling an engineering train from the Stratford branch on 19 March 2006. After working 6X16, 60096 returned light engine all the way from Eastleigh to Scunthorpe.
The daily oil train from Lindsey Refinery to Westerleigh, and the return, 6E41, continues to produce a class 60 on most occasions. On 16 March 2010, I wasn't sure where the train was but as I was in the area a quick look over the bridge near Abbotswood Junction saw it coming. The light isn't really in the right place at midday but it seemed rude to not take a shot as I was right on the spot. Here is 60071 in a rather misty and backlit, but attractive part of Worcestershire, heading north with the long train of empty tanks.
One of the few trains that can just about be relied upon to produce a class 60 at the moment is 6E41, the 11.41 Westerleigh to Lindsey duscharged oil tanks. To be quite honest, I wasn't intending to wait for this but the scene looking towards Bredon Hill was just too pretty to ignore. I know that many people wouldn't have taken this shot given that it is so heavily backlit, but I thought that the sun reflecting from the snow would give the picture quite a lift and compensate for the sun being at an acute angle to the camera. I have a lot of class 60 shots and it really needs either first rate lighting conditions or an unusual location for the class to enthuse me enough to wait around for one. By quite some coincidence, I took a shot of this train on 26 March 2007 in the same location with the same locomotive, 60009 , albeit in rather different conditions with Bredon Hill being partially obscured by mist.
This was the train that was my main target at Hatton North Junction on Saturday 6 December 2008. It is 6E41, the 10.19 Westerleigh to Lindsey empty oil tanks, diverted from its normal route via the Lickey because of extensive engineering work on the Gloucester line. The locomotive had to run-round the train at Gloucester before running along the Kemble line to Swindon and thence to Birminhgam via Oxford, Leamington Spa and Hatton. It was due at Hatton not long after 13.30, but through late running didn't arrive behind 60024 until 15.17, just 4 minutes behind the Avonmouth to Ratcliff coal train. The sun was just on the point of sinking out of sight but held on long enough for a partly reasonable shot. It is good to see these diverted services but there is little to distinguish this train from the Theale to Lindsey empty tanks, 6E55, which also uses this route. While walking back to my car, another freight, 6E48 Didcot Power Station to Lindsey went north but there would have been no sun on the tracks had I waited for it.
The oil tanks from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Didcot Power Station run at least once a week during the winter and with an earlier departure than in previous years of the empty tanks from Didcot it can offer the chance of a picture of something other than a train of containers on the GWR line from Leamington Spa to Birmingham. On 30 November 2009 the departure of 6E48 was delayed by a little over 30 minutes and it was then held in the down loop at Leamington Spa station for a Chiltern Railways service even though this was at least 3 minutes behind it, with stops at Leamington and Warwick Parkway which would have given the tanks a run to Dorridge loop, at least. This made the chances of a well lit photograph somewhat worse than they should have been and with a lot of cloud heading towards the sun it was touch and go at Hatton North Junction. All was well in the event and 60091 throbbed around the bend at 15.13, managing to dodge most of the shadows from trees in the adjacent field.
The first freight to pass me at Hatton was the Southampton to Birch Coppice intermodal but the light was dreadful, it was routed into the down goods loop and there were no containers in view as it approached my viewpoint so I didn't take a shot. The main object of the exercise was to try and get a decent picture of 60040 hauling 6E48, the 12.25 Didcot Power Station to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty oil tanks. This had gone up earlier in the day, but running about 4 hours late so even though there were just 10 tanks in the consist some delay to the return was likely. I was fortunate that I was in contact with Howard who was close to Didcot and to whom I am most grateful for the updates on 6E48's progress. The light had just about collapsed altogether shortly before the train was due and I thought that this shot of the Network Measurement Train running as 1Z21, with power cars 43014 + 43014, would be my last with even a glimmer of light. Three passenger trains passed in near darkness but when I heard 6E48 approaching the sun somehow found a totally clear patch of blue sky which lasted for about 3 minutes. The following train, 6E55 from Theale to Lindsey which also was running late, came in cloud...
Class 60 locomotives have recently been seen on an almost daily basis on one or other of the steel trains to and from Round Oak. On Friday 16 October 2009 the former Mainline 60011 was allocated to 6M81 from Margam to Round Oak and the return, 6V07. I always thought that the blue livery of Mainline was the smartest of the early days of privatisation and even today, with differing shades of blue on the bodysides, I find it an attractive colour. The rapidly fading logo of its former operator can just be made out as the locomotive and its train of empty steel wagons passes Croome Perry Wood near Pershore on the way to South Wales.
As more class 60s are reinstated to traffic because of a requirement for 66s to work Rail Head Treatment Trains they are returning to some of the workings previously associated with them. The Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks, 6E55, is one of those trains and 60010 was allocated to the job on 5 October 2009. The weather was dull so I decided to go for a shot from the north side of the footbridge at the southern end of Hatton Cutting but by the time the train was due the sky was beginning to clear a little and I was tempted to move to another location in case the sun broke through. Fortunately, a signaller friend was able to tell me where 6E55 was and I decided that it would be a bit tight if there was any traffic so stayed put. Here then is 60010 slowly climbing Hatton Bank against adverse signals caused by it following a Chiltern Trains class 168 booked to stop at Hatton station, about half a mile further north.
Following on from the now rare working of a class 60 on 6E55 last week, another turned up on a more unusual working on Thursday 1 October 2009. This was 6M31, the 10.26 Banbury to Mountsorrel Lafarge empty stone train which has never been regularly hauled by a 60; I can recall three or four previous occasions in recent years. It is difficult to know where to photograph this train south of Birmingham if it looks as if the sun might appear. I had originally intended to take my picture from the north side of the footbridge at the south end of Hatton Cutting but when I arrived there the sun was breaking through and the sky in the background was too bright and therefore moved to a much tighter and more overgrown spot further north. I needn't have worried; the light was just about at its worst when 60019 appeared right on time, fortunately staying on the main line rather than being looped. On the way back to my car via an excellent cooked breakfast at the Hatton Locks Café, I took a couple of views around the Grand Union Canal's flight of locks. This is the view looking north towards the café, and this looking south towards Warwick. The bell tower just visible used to be part of what was called Hatton Lunatic Asylum in less politically correct times. It now forms just about the only feature on an otherwise bland modern housing development.
As the afternoon of 17 October 2008 progressed, a lot of thin high cloud blew in from the south-west and made the light rather "milky". I had hoped that 6E55, the 13.33 Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks with 60054 in charge would run on time, but it was caught up behind a Chiltern Trains stopper and the NMT HST. I wasn't happy with my shot of the NMT and, assuming that 6E55 was in Hatton Loop, was in the process of changing lenses when it appeared at normal speed. Additionally, a Chiltern Trains class 168 was coming from behind and I was fortunate that by switching to a shorter lens I avoided a shot with the unit halfway past the locomotive. In the event, the shot is not what what I hoped for, because the light had deteriorated too much, but I won't often turn away from a photograph of the only class 60 still in grey livery and without an EWS sticker on the side...
On Friday 24 October 2008, two trains of empty oil tanks were booked to run through Hatton North Junction. They normally run on separate days but in the same path so I was interested to see which would come first, and at what time. In the event, 6E55, the Theale to Lindsey working turned up first, exactly 60 minutes early at 15.15 with 60013 in charge. The Autumnal colours at Hatton are are a little disappointing this year - the large tree in the midground has lost most of its leaves over the past week and those on the curve have yet to turn properly red yellow and orange. The radio mast visible between the two trees just beyond the line is in the yard at the south end of Hatton station and clearly shows the virtually 90 degree curve through which the railway (and Grand Union canal) follows the geographical contours of the land.
A train I haven't photographed very often is 6M96, the 06.27 Margam to Corby loaded steel coils. It is booked a "Q" path on Fridays but I had seen from an early morning locomotive list that it was down to run on 18 October 2008. This very heavy train requires banking up the Lickey Incline and when I took this picture at Stoke Prior it was mocing at walking pace towards the signal just around the corner which will show a single yellow aspect as it approaches telling the driver that the next signal will clear from red to a "feather" as he approaches and that he will be routed into Bromsgrove loop to await the banker, an EWS class 66. The timekeeping of 6M96 can best be described as variable and on this day it was running in the region of 35 minutes late.
For the first time in months a class 60 was rostered to work the Lindsey Oil Refinery to Theale oil tanks, and thus the 6E55 return, on 27 September 2009. I had virtually made up my mind not to go out for the train as there was heavy cloud cover with no obvious signs of any breaks. However, at about 15.00 I was in my garden and saw that some lighter cloud and a few blue patches were appearing. Half an hour later there were one or two significant clear spots so I made the short journey over to Hatton North Junction. The preceding Chiltern Trains unit was on time and at 16.10 60085 came around the curve at a reasonable speed, showing that 6E55 had not been looped but had followed the stopping train up Hatton Bank. The light wasn't brilliant but a lot better than I had earlier envisaged.
It has been quite a while since a class 60 has worked a southbound train in daylight along the Birmingham to Leamington Spa line so I thought a quick run over to Hatton for this one on 24 August would be time well spent. This was the first class 60 upon which I laid eyes since the beginning of April 2009! The train was a 6Z50, 07.32 Doncaster to Thingley Junction working with 60039 conveying a set of YFA wagons. These apparently are rail-lifting plant with a diesel power unit included in the set and for those interested, here is a closer view of the back of the train. This short train is massively over-powered and I wonder why a class 60 was allocated to it? I don't follow individual locomotive classes and their moves into and out of storage with any real interest but suspect that given the dreadful state of its bodyside paintwork, 60039 is perhaps recently out of storage and was given this light duty as a sort of test run. Whatever the reason, I hadn't previosuly photographed a 60 here on the up line so it filled a small gap in my collection. Running about 15 minutes in front of 6Z50 was 66070 with 4O21, the 11.40 Hams Hall to Southampton intermodal. This was quite early on the booked schedule, no doubt as a result of not having to waste any time loading containers...
The number of steel train traversing the South Wales to West Midlands line dropped off quite dramatically at the start of 2009. By mid March things had picked up and on 17 March 2009 I saw three such workings during the afternoon. The third of these was 6M41, the 15.00 Llanwern to Round Oak, powered by the only class 60 in Petroleum sector markins and without the EWS vinyls which were applied to those locomotives not repainted into the company's house colours. The light was far from perfect when the train crossed the Warwickshire Avon at 16.50 but there was quite a nice golden hue to the fading sun which just about made the photograph worth taking. One always has to be careful when doing the post-processing of shots involving a train being outlined against the sky in order to avoid an unsightly white halo around the roof. This results from using settings in the Unsharp Mask in Photoshop that are too high, or for those using their cameras set to take pictures in jpeg format, from allowing the camera's algorithms to do the sharpening (and probably saturation) for them. I prefer to use RAW format and retain complete control at all stages in the hope that my pictures look natural and not heavily processed, as it seen far too often on various fotopic sites.
One of the trains that I expected to see at Hatton North Junction of 5 February 2009 was 6M31, the ThO 10.24 Banbury to Mountsorrel empty self-discharge working. This is normally a class 66 job but does throw up a class 60 from time to time and this was the case on 5 February 2009 when 60096 was rostered. There was no doubt that this was on the way up Hatton Bank as I could hear it coming for quite a while before it came around the bend just north of Hatton station. For some reason, I made a complete mess of the shot and inexplicably moved the camera too far to the left. This ruined the composition and caused me to lose part of the consist in the process. If the sun had been shining I would have been annoyed, to say the least, but I wasn't too bothered in this case as snow scenes without sun are less than satisfactory. Still, it was good to record a 60 on this train at a time when very few of the class are in active service.
Freight is not exactly frequent on the Gloucester to Birmingham line but one of the most reliable trains is the empty tank working from Westerleigh Oil Depot to Lindsey Refinery. This is generally a clas 60 working at the moment but a temporary storage of all class members has been rumoured to take place by the end of March 2009. This is causing a ridiculous amount of teeth gnashing amongst certain quarters of the enthusiast network; it seems to be forgotten that as the country is in a severe economic recession the freight operating companies need to rationalise their assets. As the leasing costs of class 66s has to be paid whether or nor the locomotives are used it is perfectly obvious that locomotives owned outright, such as class 60s, need to be put away for the time being. It is also obvious that 60s will return to the scene when the upturn comes; probably over the next 12 to 18 months. Here is 60068 throbbing past Badgeworth on 16 March with 6E41 to Lindsey and just catching a rather milky patch of sun.
Here is a shot of the first class 60, 60001, seen heading north with a ballast train near Croome Perry in Worcestershire on the afternoon of Sunday 13 April 1997. I was there to photograph the first mainline run of a preserved class 55 Deltic, which had gone south a few minutes earlier. I had never seen so many people in this location, in excess of 40, characterised as is so often the case on these occasions by a group of loud-mouthed individuals arriving at the last moment and pushing their way into the previously well-ordered gallery. 645
Another class 60, 60040, has recently been repainted into a one-off livery, this time an attractive shade of red with branding to celebrate the Territorial Army. I'm not the sort of chap to charge all over the country for a photograph the very second a new livery appears, but prefer to wait until the locomotive comes within easy reach. In the case of class 60, this is however tempered by the knowledge that they do have a predeliction for sudden and catastrophic failure! When I saw a message on Friday 15 August 2008 to the effect that 60040 was working 6M81 Margam to Round Oak loaded steel wagons I decided to take advantage of the sunny morning and go to Droitwich Spa to score a picture of the train passing a lower quadrant semaphore signal. Here is the result as 60040 accelerates its heavy train through the station.
Various trains were diverted from their normal routes in August 2008 through extensive engineering work, but few ran so far out of their normal course at 6M04, the Lindsey to Bedworth oil tanks. This ran all the way south to Didcot where the locomotive ran-round the tanks, and then went back north to Leamington Spa before turning right to run along the single track to Coventry before going along the Nuneaton line to its destination. This gave the rare opportunity to photograph a class 60 at Old Milverton and here is 60026, running well over 60 minutes late, throbbing up the gradient towards Kenilworth.
The empty oil tanks from Theale to Lindsey Oil Refinery has, as usual, been running less frequently than normal during the summer holiday period. On Friday 15 August 2008 60100 was allocated after a period of disuse. The weather had slowly deteriorated during the late morning but there was still plenty of blue sky around when I left home at about 15.00 to head to Hatton North Junction. The train, 6E55, was running to time and the sun was just beginning to come out of a thick cloud as it reached the summit of Hatton Bank, unfortunately just a minute or so too early for decent light.
Here is the view looking to the south from the overbridge on the M40 between Rowington and Lowsonford. This photograph shows 60082 heading north at 16.13, by which time it was necessary to use a 150mm lens (about 225mm in 35mm terms) to find a clear spot in the shadows. In contrast, this April 1994 picture of 47360 on a Southampton to Lawley Street 'liner was taken at 17.35 on 23 April. Yet another location written off by the growth of vegetation, although in this case for good reason as it does form an effective barrier for local properties against the hideous and constant roar of heavy traffic on the motorway.
The empty oil train from Theale to Lindsey Refinery, 6E55, was next to appear on 23 June 2008 having been held in the Goods Loop on the south side of Hatton station to allow the passage of a Chiltern Trains' turbo unit. The sun had just popped out from behind a thick cloud and the light held on nicely as 60094 throbbed passed the junctiion with a slightly shorter rake of tanks than normal. Unusally for a class 60 working not a single email about this train appeared from further south during the afternoon so I had no idea whether the train was approximately on time, which it was, or what type of locomotive was hauling it.
I have long thought that the triple grey liveried appled to freight locomotives in the days before privatisation was one of the most attractive of the modern era. 60054 is unique in that EWS decals showing the "3 Beasts" have not been applied so when I saw that this locomotive was rostered for 6V92, the empty steel coils carriers from Corby to Margam I couldn't resist trying for a shot at Defford. The sun was in and out but for the first time on 1 July 2008 it was out for me at the right time as 60054 passed the site of the station here with what appeared to be a slightly shorter than normal train - if I recall correctly, the back of the train is usually out of sight under the road bridge in the background. This photograph doesn't show it, but there was an incredibly strong wind blowing at this point which meant that I had to take the shot from a little further to the right than I really wanted to as my planned "frame" of branches was moving around too much and may have obscured part of the shot.
The sky began to clear not long after I arrived at Stoke Prior, near Bromsgrove and I hoped that 6V92, the empty steel coil carriers from Corby to Margam would appear. By 15.00, the sun was fully out but getting a bit straight down the line and 6V92 hadn't appeared. I knew from various messages that 60071 was pretty much on time with 6E55, the Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks so made the decision to move over to Hatton North to photograph this. I arrived at Hatton in plenty of time and 60071 came into view a few minutes after the Chiltern stopping train had gone north. As you can see, the lighting conditions were just about perfect; I should personally have preferred a few fluffy clouds to give a bit of character to the blue of the sky, but perhaps this is being a bit picky!
This train is 6V17, the 16.32 Bescot to Portbury which earlier forms a service from Fidlers Ferry Power Station. Its booked traction is an EWS class 66 but has had a 60 in charge this week, giving the rare chance to photograph one on HTA hoppers. I knew that 60056 was allocated although as the weather wasn't too good hadn't really given it much thought, but when a message from Andy Williams arrived saying that the train had passed him on the Sutton Park line at 17.03 I had a squint at the sky to the south-west and decided it would be worth a go given that the cloud was fast breaking up in that direction. The nearest location to my home where I knew that the sun would be clear at about 18.45 is Croome Perry, where the line comes out of the wood. I fully expected there to be quite a gallery already in situ but was amazed, given the coverage this train had received in recent days, to be alone. The class 158 unit from Worcester passed me in beautiful light but the sun was dropping rapidly towards a large black cloud and I felt that if 6V17 wasn't already at Abbotswood Junction, just up the line, that there would be no chance. Luckily, I soon heard something much heavier rolling towards me and 60056 and its train came by less than a minute before the sun went in.
I had been at Lea Marston with the intention of photographing 56302 on the Birch Coppice to Thamesport intermodal when I received a message saying that 6Z62, the 12.45 Stud Farm to Bescot loaded ballast was just about at Nuneaton, heading for Whitacre Junction. As this was a working I had yet to photograph I decided to go across to Whitacre and risk missing 56302 which, after all, was on a daily working whereas 6Z62 might just be a short-term job. I had been at on the bridge at Whitacre for just a few minutes when 60073 appeared coming round the bend in the distance with its long train of JNAs.
The rather messy scene at Whitacre Junction is seen to good advantage in this shot of 60071 heading 6V92, the 10.10 Corby to Margam train of empty steel coil carriers. This is quite a popular train with enthusiasts, but only when a class 60 diagrammed; the number of postings about its progress plummet when a class 66 is in charge. This is a bit irritating for those of us whose interest in freight doesn't stop at the rear buffer beam of the locomotive. Unlike the picture of 66130 shown above, the sun was this time favourable for the front of the train, the cloud not quite clearing from the back of the rake of wagons.
One of my target trains recently has been 6Z98, the Lindsey to Westerleigh loaded oil tanks. One can never be sure if a "Z" will run for long so I usually try to get a few shots in case it ceases to runbefore it gets a permanent headcode. 60018 was allocated to the train on 2 April and here it is passing Croome Perry wood, in rural Worcestershire at 14.42, thus completing a busy spell of 3 freights in just a few minutes.
I'd waited throughout the summer of 2007 for a grey and stickered class 60 to turn up on 6E55, the Theale to Lindsey empty tanks in some decent light. It all came together on Friday 5 October when 60092 was rostered for the train and the sky looked as if it would stay clear all afternoon and evening. I went to Hatton North Junction, first because I like the shot and second because there aren't many locations on this line where the sun is in the right place without extraneous shadows in October. 60092 is here seen making good progress with the tanks as it tops the 1/110 climb from Warwick, running in the region of 45 minutes early.
The Mountsorrel to Banbury self-discharge train is usally diagrammed for an EWS class 66, but I noticed from some early morning locomotive lists that 60090 had been allocated. The return working, 6M31, is scheduled to pass Leamington Spa at around 11.15am and as it was a bright but quite cloudy monring, I thought I that would have a shot at Hatton North Junction. I parked near the railway bridge in Shrewley and while walking across the bridge though that the shot from there wasn't at all bad as it gave an almost aerial view of the junction at Hatton North. As it was cloudy, a shot from the north side of the line was possible although if the sun had appeared the view from the south side was perfectly OK. As it happened, 6M31 was late and passed me at 12.10, by which time the light had deteriorated to the point where I had to use ISO 250 - well beyond my preferred setting.
The sun was in and out at Hatton during the afternoon of 31 March 2008, but managed to be in a big clear patch of sky for 60012 hauling the emptry tanks from Theale to Lindsey Oil Refinery, 6E55. I wouldn't normally include quite so much sky in a picture for reasons of compositional balance, but this lovely cloudscape just cried out to shown in full. It's the sort of sky that one would have photographed with a yellow filter in black white days with the intention of using it in the darkroom to replace a plain one for that special shot. Manipulation of photographs didn't start with the invention of Photoshop!
There were several quite interesting train running on the Birmingham to Gloucester line on Tuesday 1 April 2008 and even though the weather wasn't brilliant I made the decision to go and have a look. I went to Stoke Prior, just south of Bromsgrove, and the first freight to appear was 6E41, the empty oil tanks from Westerleigh to Lindsey, headed by 60071. The sun made a half-hearted attempt to come out for this which did lift the rather gloomy scene a little.
This photograph is a triumph of hope over experience. I was at home on the afternoon of 2 April 2008 when a friend sent a message to me saying that 60056 was working 4M36, the 13.10 Southampton to Birch Coppice intermodal although today running as a class 6. I had plenty of time to go to a location north of Warwick Parkway station where I knew that the train wouldn't be going too quickly, essential in the dreadful weather. The exceptionally rare combination of a class 60 on containers was running about 45 minutes late when it passed me going, as hoped, nice and slowly. Even so I had to use ISO 250 with the camera set at 1/500 at f3.2 on my 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens, the whole lot supported on a stout monopod. All in all, I wasn't too unhappy with the result even with the misty rain trying its best to obscure the tower of St. Mary's Church Warwick and the Round Tower of Warwick Castle. After a leisurely walk back to my car and a slow drive in rush-hour traffic traffic towards Hatton, I glanced over the bridge by Hatton Country World and saw that 6M36 was in the loop, so made a quick diversion to Hatton station where 60056 was just moving slowly onto the main line. It's not the shot I would have chosen if I had had more time but this sort of thing doesn't happen too often...
I wasn't expecting to see this train, 6E41 from Westerleigh to Lindsey Oil Refinery, because it would normally have gone north more than an hour before I arrived at Defford on 24 August 2007. 60071 is passing a field of asparagus with a shorter than usual train at 14.36. The late running was advantageous as far as the light was concerned in this location; although still backlit it would have been a much more difficult proposition had it run to time at about 13.00.
Here is a photograph of 6V07, the empty steel train from Round Oak to Margam. After being further up the line at Norton Junction earlier in the day for a train from Long Marston I decided to move back to the occupation bridge at Littleworth as, being off the road, it's a much pleasanter place to spend some time and eat lunch. 60054 appeared pretty much on time with 6V07, and even though there was no sun I thought it well worth taking a shot of the only Petroleum Sector liveried 60 without EWS vinyls.
I have had it in mind for some time to go out and photograph 6M11, the 08.30 TWFO Washwood Heath to Peak Forest empty stone stone train. As the forecast for 8 August 2007 was very good, after my morning swim I decided to head to the nearest point where the light would be favourable and arrived at Lea Marston, on the fast lines between Water Orton and Kingsbury, at 09.00. Just 17 minutes later, 60082 with its train of hoppers came into view under the bridge in the background running in the region of 10 minutes early.
This picture ended up being a bit of an experiment. The train is 6Z98, the loaded oil tanks from Lindsey Oil Refinery to Westerleigh headed by 60092. It sat at Washwood Heath for rather longer than one would have hoped and eventually passed Crome Perry at 16.22, about an hour late and just after the sun had gone below the horizon. The camera settings, using ISO 250, were 1/250 second at f3.2 and given the circumstances I don't think the result was too bad. It is certainly a complete contrast to the shot of 60068 shown above...
One of 2 class 60s in the remains of the popular Loadhaul livery was diagrammed for the Westerleigh to Lindsey Oil Refinery tanks on 30 october 2007. 6E41 is here seen at Defford in Worcestershire having just left Eckington loop where it had been sidelined to allow a Virgin Voyager to pass. I had only just arrived on the bridge when the train came along and obtained the shot within 15 seconds of getting out of my car. Note the field of asparagus on the right of the tracks; roll on next May and June when it comes back into season!
60007 with 6V92 had been running early north of Birmingham but lost its time advantage and was pretty much on time when it left the loop at Abbotswood Junction and ran south through Croome Perry wood during the afternoon of 13 December 2007. The former Loadhaul locomotive is looking a bit the worse for wear these days and seems to have received a hefty clout to the bodyside. A large bank of mist was building up over the line in the colder air of the wood by 14.30 and with the sun getting lower I wouldn't have wanted 6V92 to have been much later. As luck would have it, it arrived in what I regard as perfect winter light; low, but with enough strength to allow a decent shutter speed and aperture combination.
One of the trains I anticipated seeing during the afternoon of 6 February 2008 was 6E55, the Theale to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty tanks. With this in mind I left Hatton North Junction and drove up the line (not literally!) to a location near Warwick Parkway. No sooner had I arrived than a message came through saying that 60042 had passed Kings Sutton, near Banbury, at 14.16, some 90 minutes early. I hoped that the train wouldn't get held at Banbury or Fenny Compton as the wind was getting rather cold but I needn't have worried. I heard the distinctive throb of a class 60 and at 14.48 it appeared powering through Warwick Parkway. I don't think the new radio mast poking above the second tank is quite as atractive a backdrop as the tower of St. Mary's Church or the Round Tower of Warwick Castle but I resisted the temptation to remove during post-processing as it isn't particularly obtrusive. This shot was taken with a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom set at 190mm as the undergrowth nearer to where I was standing would have obscured most of the locomotive, let alone the wheels.
Just before going home on 12 February 2008 I took this photograph of 60091 on 6V07, the Round Oak to Margam empty steel train. 60091 was the last class 60 to carry coal sector decals, but these have now been removed. The dirt on the bodyside of the locomotive has seen some attention from someone who didn't mind getting his fingers dirty. I can easily read the words on the high resolution version of this picture, but will refrain from quoting it here as browsers set to prevent the reading of obscenity might filter it!
I spent about 90 minutes on this bridge between Worcester Shrub Hill and Norton Junction during the afternoon of 29 June 2007. The first locomotive to appear was 60074 on the usually reliable 6V07 Round Oak to Margam empty steel wagons. The preceding unit to Cardiff had only just gone out of sight near the junction when I heard the throb of the 60 working hard away from the stop at Worcester. There was a lot of cloud around but a large hole was present just in the right place.
After spending a short while on the Birmingham to Coventry line on 12 February 2008, I decided to go to the Cheltenham line to photograph some steel trains and a few diesel units. I simply couldn't be bothered to go far so ended up, along with half a dozen fellow enthusiasts, at Croome Perry. The first freight to come along was, as expected, 60034 with 6V92, the empty coil carriers from Corby to Margam. This had been held in Abbotswood loop to allow 2 trains to pass and was making a decent throbbing noise as it passed the gallery by the roadside.
The empty steel carriers from Round Oak to Margam was in the hands of 60012 on 4 March 2008 and here is 6V05 at Badgeworth accelerating away from the speed restriction at Cheltenham station. It looks to me as if shadows from lineside trees will become a problem here as soon as the leaves begin to appear over the next few weeks although a higher sun angle should mitigate to some extent.
This class 60 locomotive, 60074, has just become the latest to achieve celebrity status through being repainted into a eye-catching shade of blue. The new livery, applied by its owners, DB Schenker, EWS's successors, promotes a charity giving support to teenage cancer sufferers. 60074 was also named "Teenage Spirit" at the same time - the whole being unveiled at the end of last week. Here is the still-clean locomotive at the head of 6E41, the Westerleigh to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty tanks passing Badgeworth of 4 March 2008.
Thursday 25 January 2007 was a beautiful day with both clear skies and that lovely quality of light one sees in the winter. There was a choice of targets; a light engine move involving 47853 + 45112 or a real train, 60054 in the former Petroleum sector colours on 6E48 Didcot to Lindsey empty oil tanks. No choice there then. The tank train was a little late arriving at Hatton North Junction but the low sun held up just long enough for the photograph. There has been a rash of new concrete trunking all around here recently which does little to enhance the shot along with the other detritus by the old platelayers' hut. Still, in years to come that may be enough to trigger a memory of the short session here...
The afternoon of 14 February 2007 was forecast to be clear and sunny and so it turned out. I decided to go across to Abbotswood Junction, near Worcester as were are several scheduled freight workings together with a couple of specials. The first of the former was 6V92 Round Oak to Margam and this appeared behind 60038 pretty much on time. Locomotives tend to be a bit grubby at this time of year at 60038 was no exception, with what appears to be the aftermath of a coolant overflow on the bodyside and evidence of having run in the recent bad weather.
This train, the 13.48 6E55 Theale - Lindsey empty oil tanks, has recently received a new reporting number; it used to be 6E10. I think this is because the Monday working has been retimed a couple of hours latter to compensate for a later arrival at Theale caused by engineering work affecting the southbound run. The run on Wednesday 21 March 2007 was in the usual. earlier path and 60019 is here seen throbbing up the gradient of Hatton Bank at 16.16. The sun had just exited a large block of dark cloud which, considering that there was at least 80% cover at the time was more than a little fortuitous. The train was conveying 3 different colours of tanks; the older brown variety, newer EWS examples and some grey VTG-branded ones, just out of sight behind the trees beyond the footbridge.
The weather forecast for 2 April 2007 turned out to be spot on, so after lunch I decided to make the short journey to Croome Perry near Pershore to get a few sunny shots of day-to-day freight. I tend to avoid this location when anything "special" is running because it is too popular, but on a normal day it's usually fine. The first freight to arrive from the north was 6V92, the Corby to Margam empty steel coil carriers headed by 60038, which passed me at 14.25. Here is the train emerging from the wood, located just to the south of Abbotswood Junction.
The Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks were scheduled to run behind 60042 on 4 April 2007. By the time 6E55 reached Hatton North Junction the sun had broken through the cloud and the light was just right. I was pleased that the cleaner tanks were on the front, with the older and muckier ones on the back and just out of sight around the curve. I don't mind losing the back of a train when it's through a combination of a curve, vegetation and the use of a short telephoto lens intended to give a stronger image than would a shorter focal length.
I have been meaning for a while to photograph 6E55, the 13.33 Theale to Lindsey empty tanks, at Bentley Heath crossing so when the sun appeared in the early afternoon of 27 April 2007 I decided that today was the day. The train headed by 60068 was reported as passing Purley on Thames, between Reading and Didcot at 13.40 but this early running rarely lasts and it generally appears in this part of the world pretty much on time. This part of the GWR line from Leamington Spa to Birmingham was four track at this point and a vestige of this remains here with the up and down loops still extant. The down loop is mostly used by the DMUs on terminating trains to and from Dorridge station and the up loop by freights having to be put out of the way of the frequent Chiltern and Virgin expresses. There has been a lot of engineering work in the area recently and various examples of this are visible as 60068 heads towards the crossing with 6E55.
After spending the morning of 5 April 2007 at Hatton Bank I went home at lunchtime to earn a few brownie points in the garden. Ho hum... I received a 'phone call after I had been in the house for no more than 90 minutes, with no gardening done, saying that 6E55, the Theale to Lindsey tanks was running with 60068 in charge. As this is a nice grubby grey example with EWS stickers I decided it was too good to miss so went back to Hatton for a shot. It was with some anticipation that I awaited its arrival after a friend photographing it further up the line 'phoned to say that the train was a rake of red MURCO tanks. Here is the unusual-looking train for this line at Hatton in some pretty decent light. Earlier in day, 60068 was shown as working 6A11 from Robeston to Theale, followed by the usual and very popular 6B33 return. This working was the result of a forthcoming blockade on the South Wales main line which meant that Robeston refinery was not accessible. The tanks were therefore sent to Lindsey for reloading to avoid a shortage of fuel at Theale.
The Theale to Lindsey tanks ran again on Friday 6 April, this time with 60500 at the front. As the warm and sunny weather held throughout the afternoon, I went out again for a shot, this time to a location a few yards to the north of Warwick Parkway station. 6E55 is here seen on the climb of Hatton Bank, with a dead hen pheasant on the buffer beam. Prominent in the background are the Round Tower of Warwick Castle and the tall tower of St. Mary's Church. The architectural slendour of Warwick contrasts nicely with the abandoned shopping trolley in the bottom right-hand corner...
The weather forecast for 2 April 2007 turned out to be spot on, so after lunch I decided to make the short journey to Croome Perry near Pershore to get a few sunny shots of day-to-day freight. I tend to avoid this location when anything "special" is running because it is too popular, but on a normal day it's usually fine. The first freight to arrive from the north was 6V92, the Corby to Margam empty steel coil carriers headed by 60038, which passed me at 14.25. Here is the train emerging from the wood, located just to the south of Abbotswood Junction.
As 1 June 2007 was a Friday, there was a good chance of 6E55, the 13.33 Theale to Lindsey empty oil tanks, running. I asked someone I knew to be at the lineside further south if it was running to be told it had left Didcot at 14.15. As the time then was 15.20 I knew it couldn't be far away. Sure enough, after only a few minutes 60026 crawled around the curve from Hatton station towards an adverse signal. As the locomotive passed the unsightly cabin the signal aspect clearly changed, as the controller was opened and the tanks were accelerated past me with a very satisfying throb from the 8 cylinder engine.
One of my target trains recently has been 6Z98, the Lindsey to Westerleigh loaded oil tanks. One can never be sure if a "Z" will run for long so I usually try to get a few shots in case it ceases to runbefore it gets a permanent headcode. 60018 was allocated to the train on 2 April and here it is passing Croome Perry wood, in rural Worcestershire at 14.42, thus completing a busy spell of 3 freights in just a few minutes.
The final southbound freight I photographed during the sunny afternoon of 2 April, 2007 was 6V07, the empty steel wagons from Round Oak to Margam. Breaking the run of red locomotives was 60068 with the EWS creatures on a vinyl sticker affixed to the bodysides. Some people seem to resent these adornments but I quite like them, marking as they do, a transitional stage before eventual repainting into full EWS livery. 60068, in common with 60090 has larger than standard numbers on the cab end.
After a bit of a dull and misty start, 26 March 2007 turned out to be a beautiful Spring day so I decided to have a couple of hours at Defford, on the Birmingham to Gloucester line. The first train to come into view was 6E41, the 11:22 Westerleigh-Lindsey empty oil tanks tanks. This is here seen behind 60009 having just crossed the Warwickshire Avon at Eckington. Some of the mist from the morning can still be seen over Bredon Hill, although this is accentuated by the backlighting one has for northbound trains at this time of day, 14.16.
Another regular class 60 working through Defford is 6V92, the 10:10 Corby-Margam empty steel coil carriers, although it does prodice a 66 from time to time. On 26 March, though, 60017 was provided as seen here with the train passing through the site of Defford station. There has been quite a lot of track renewal work here in recent times and no doubt the 2 Portaloos were provided for the workforce employed here. Whilst not exactly enhancing the scene they do mark the time and place and give a unique feel to the photograph.
Only a few minutes after 60017 had gone south, as shown above, 66040 quietly and efficiently slipped under the roadbridge with 6V16 coal empties from Washwood Heath to Portbury. I decided, for this shot, to put on a slightly longer lens to cut out some of the distracting background and to bring up the tree with its blossom just bursting into flower.
This photograph is something of a rarity. It shows 60089 with the Saturday working of 6V05 from Round Oak to Margam passing the loop and semaphore signals at Peachfield Road, Malvern on 21 March 1998. Any freight along here is extremely unusual and during the Spring of 1998 this train was diverted this way on 3 consecutive weekends through engineering work at Barnwood Junction, Gloucester. I went to Malvern Wells station for the first run and was bowled out by a Thames Turbo coming into the platform from behind me at exactly the wrong moment. The following week we were due to travel to Devon for a week's holiday but I made a bit of a diversion to get this shot. The weather was dull in the extreme but it was well worthwhile making the effort in order to secure the photograph.
The latest locomotive class to receive attention from enthusiasts is the class 60, making a bit of a change from they were first introduced. Here, 60065 passes through the almost-gone remains of Defford station in Worcestershire on 2 November 2006 with 6V92, the Corby to Margam empty steel coil working. The shadows do begin to grow longer here in the early afternoon, but to my mind, this adds some atmosphere to the shot and reminds one that we are lucky in having a clear and sunny day at this time of year.
60078 had, at the time of writing, 2 November 2006, been reinstated to traffic for a few weeks after the summer lay-off favoured by EWS. The locomotive is here seen at Defford with 6E09, the 09:20 Margam-Lackenby empty steel wagons running pretty much to time. This is an interesting location from an agricultural point of view and the seasonal changes can be seen, especially in the field of asparagus to the right of the railway, the leaves of which are gaining their Autumn tints.
My final photograph from the afternoon of 2 November 2006 was this of 60062 with 6V07, the Round Oak to Margam empty steel vans. It was touch-and-go whether this arrived before the shadows really took over but in the event the outcome was fine. What appears to be a shadow down the bodyside of the 60 is actually a stain from some sort of fluid leak, probably coolant, perhaps caused by overfilling.
The afternoon of 14 February 2007 was forecast to be clear and sunny and so it turned out. I decided to go across to Abbotswood Junction, near Worcester as were are several scheduled freight workings together with a couple of specials. The first of the former was 6V92 Round Oak to Margam and this appeared behind 60038 pretty much on time. Locomotives tend to be a bit grubby at this time of year at 60038 was no exception, with what appears to be the aftermath of a coolant overflow on the bodyside and evidence of having run in the recent bad weather.
One of the special workings I had hoped to picture on 14 February 2007 was 47703 with an HST power car and barrier wagon en-route from Loughborough to Landore. This had been reported at Whitacre Junction, north of Birmingham, at 15.53, and I didn't think there was any chance of seeing it before the sun had dipped into some cloud near the western horizon. This being the case, I moved off up the field towards the road and hadn't gone for more than 100 yards when it appeared at 16.38. I was, of course, alongside some especially thick brambles when it came so there was no chance of a shot. While watching it go south a headlight appeared which turned out to be 60021 on the 6M41 Llanwern to Round Oak and it just about found a sunny patch on the main line before turning left onto the Worcester line at Abbotswood Junction. The smoke haze at the rear of the locomotive is testament to the work it was doing to get the heavy steel train on the move after a signal stop to allow a passenger train off the single track lead from the Worcester line.
One of the freights I was after on 8 September 2006 was this, the 6Z41 Theale to Lindsay empty oil tanks. This has been running on a Saturday afternoon but I was pleased when it showed up for today as it meant there were 2 trains worth going out for rather than just 6M01 from Hinksey to Stud Farm. 60020 was roaring as it reached the summit of Hatton Bank at 16.35, just late enough for the sun to be round onto the front. I'm not too bothered about this as a rule, but I wasn't complaining today!
6E48, the 13.35 Didcot Power Station to Lindsey empty oil tanks is one of the few freights to run on the GWR's line from Leamington Spa to Birmingham that offers the chance of something other than a class 66 in one colour scheme or another. It generally runs only in the Autumn and Winter and is booked to pass Hatton at around 14.45 so is clearly a bit of a gamble. The preceding Virgin Voyager on 23 November 2006 ran in perfect light up Hatton Bank but the sun had dipped into cloud by the time 6E48 came some 7 minutes later and the edge has been taken off the colours by the lower light levels. While heading back to my car at Hatton Locks, I took this photograph of St.Mary's Church at Warwick over the well-known Hatton flight of locks. I guess one could call it "The Stairway to Heaven"...
I spent an hour or so at Hatton station on Saturday 30 September. One of the trains that came along was this, 0A16 12.00 Washwood Heath to Didcot. I don't normally bother with light engine moves, but as this had recently reinstated 60007 at the front with amended EWS stickers, I thought it worth a shot. The 66s are 66091, 66128 and 66193. Click here for a closer view of the curtailed vinyl.
On Saturday 21 October 2006, 6V40, a Lackenby to Margam train of steel slabs was diverted from the Cheltenham line to run via Solihull and Oxford. It is here seen passing the station at Dorridge behind 60092. The train had been in the up loop, out of sight just to the north of the station and was accelerating powerfully away to the extent that the bridge panels upon which I was leaning were vibrating quite considerably. I chose this location quite deliberately in order to give an easily identifiable background for an unusual working.
Four class 86s were last week moved from Immingham to Bescot in preparation to be tripped into Long Marston for secure storage. The final leg of their journey took place in dreadful light on 30 November 2006, being hauled from Bescot by 60042. This is only the second class 60 to have traversed the former Stratford-upon-Avon line and the first to have entered the Long Marston complex. The train is here seen approaching the end of the branch, with 60042 hauling 86247, 86245, 86234 and 86260 towards their new home.
Very little time was wasted in getting 60042 detached from the class 86s and within minutes of arrival it was leaving the site ready for the run back to Honeybourne and thence Bescot. Once the gate had been closed, the Hunslet shunter was taken to the front of the line of 86s, hooked onto 86247, and hauled them to the secure part of the site. I was later told by a kind source within the railway industry that the visit of 60042 caused a bit of a stir within Network Rail. The class is banned from using the branch, and once it had left, it was necessary for the line to be walked so that it could be checked for alignment, for 2 structures to be checked for integrity and for several culverts to be examined in case of damage or collapse. All was reported to be in order. This had made me doubly glad that I went across in such poor conditions as I bet another 60 won't set foot on the branch on the forseeable future, sunshine or no sunshine...
Saturday 23 September 2006 saw 6E41, the Westerleigh to Lindsey empty oil tanks diverted from the Cheltenham line because of engineering work and run via Oxford and Hatton. It was hauled by 60058, coincidentally the same loco I photographed this service on at Ashchurch a few weeks ago. It is here seen here passing Hatton in a very lucky patch of sun at 16.14.
New   On Saturday 27 February 1992 I spent a few hours on the footbridge adjacent to the   crossing boxat Bentley Heath near Dorridge. This box has been reduced in status from a very busy place controlling a four-track main line with several crossovers along with entrances and exits from a large goods yard to one used only for raising and lowering the barriers on the road crossing. The level of traffic on this day was remarkable for a Saturday - I saw 7 MGR movements, a Mountsorrel to Reading ballast train, a freightliner and couple of light engines moves as well as the usual local DMUs. Here is one of the MGRs, headed by 60067, en-route to Didcot Power Station , approaching the crossing at 12.23.
This was the view looking towards Dorridge station on 27 February 1994 as 60058 approaches Bentley Heath crossing with an empty MGR from Didcot Power station. The 12.20 Lawley Street to Southampton freightliner headed by 47351 can just be seen receding in the distance. I didn't manage to get a photograph of this train as I was facing south watching 60058 leave a signal check at the station as the freightliner quietly sneaked up behind on adverse signals.
After a short period with the oil tanks for Didcot Power Station running from South Wales, they have, from early September 2005 reverted to coming from the North East. On 12 September 2005, 60079 was rostered for the job and is seen here at Bentley Heath crossing, near Dorridge with the returning 6E48 empties.
When a message about 60007 working a 6P14 Bescot to Dorridge arrived on my BlackBerry on the morning of 10 June 2006 I was a bit dubious about going out for a photograph of it. Not because I doubted the veracity of the message, but more that years of waiting for ballasts and other trains going into possessions have shown that they are intrinsically unreliable. It was with some pleasure, therefore, that a message from Andy Williams at about 16.15 said that the train was being prepared. A slightly later message confirmed that 6P14 had left the yard some 10 minutes early - click   here   for Andy's shot at Wylde Green on the Sutton Park line. This gave me plenty of time to drive over to Bentley Heath for a photograph. The smell of barbequeing meat from some nearby houses on this perfect evening was almost overpowering by the time the train arrived at 18.05, but I managed to hold my concentration long enough to capture this image.
It was fairly commonplace to manage a shot of a passenger train passing a stationary MGR at Leamington Spa in the 1980s and 1990s, but much less so to see a freight doing so. Here, on 9 March 1993, 47218 has been routed via the platform road with its Trafford Park to Park Royal Guinness vans while 60088 waits with a train of HAAs bound for Didcot Power Station. The MGR had been stood on the up main for some time to allow the passage of an inter-regional express and I imagine that as the Park Royal train was likely to be a faster runner than the heavy coal train, the signaller gave it precedence.
I used to spend a fair amount of time on the Castle Donnington line, which runs between the Stenson and Sheet Stores junctions. It was busy with all sorts of freight, but coal traffic to and from various power stations formed the bulk of the traffic. Here is 60087 heading west on 16 July 1992 past the bridge at Barrow on Trent with a train for Willington, Rugeley, Ironbridge or Didcot power station - I've no idea which!
Class 60 was, in the winter of 2005, the pricipal motive power for steel trains from the North-East to South Wales. In laye 2006, the situation is different with class 66 working turn and turn about with 60s. Here is 60012 with 6E09 from Llanwern on Saturday 12 February 2005 about to pass Abbotswood Junction near Worcester. At this time of year, backlighting is the order of the day for this train, but I like the effect of this, especially the small amount of lens flare visible in the brances of the oak tree at the top right of the picture.
I was expecting to see several steel trains during the morning of Saturday 17 June 2006, including a couple diverted from the North & West line. However, the only one to appear while I was at Stoke Prior was the 6E09 08:38 Margam-Lackenby; one of the regulars on this line. The train is seen here behind Transrail 60084, crawling towards Bromsgrove where it was looped to allow the passage of a northbound Virgin Voyager. The light had become a little flat by this time, 11.56, thanks to some high level wispy cloud. This can be a tricky location thanks to the radio masts in the background, which show only too plainly if one's verticals are awry!
60096 had gone west through Whitacre Junction with the 6M61 Humber to Bedworth tanks at 09.10 en-route to Washwood Heath where it runs round. The train had come via Tamworth and the slow lines from Kingsbury Junction rather than by its usual route via Nuneaton. Here is the train after run-round heading for Nuneaton and thence Bedworth at 10.30.
Various emailed locomotive allocation lists showed that the afternoon of 4 July 2006 should produce at least 3 class 60s along the Cheltenham line. The weather was very hot and sultry so I decided on the easy option and once again headed for Croome Perry, near Pershore. The first freight to appear was, as expected, 6V92 Corby to Margam headed by 60015, but with the added bonus of 66126 being transported dead in tow. The sun was out but the light in the early afternoon at this time of the year is too harsh for my liking - I much prefer it after 16.00 hours.
Here is 6V07, the Round Oak to Margam empty steel wagons at Croome Perry on 4 July 2006 with the diagrammed 60061 at the pointed end. Round Oak steel terminal is currently taking 4 trains each weekday, a total of some 40,000 tonnes of steel each week. Imagine that lot on the M4 and M5...
Mainline blue 60044 was booked on 6V40, the Lackenby to Llanwern steel train on Saturday 15 July 2006. It appeared in the distance at Ashchurch at 15.35 and passed me 3 minutes later. At the time of writing, there are just 24 class 60s in traffic so it was good to get this former Mainline example in some decent light.
One of the trains scheduled on 5 May 2008 was 6E48, the Didcot to Lindsey Oil Refinery empty tanks. This has recently been running via the Great Western and Midland main lines so I welcomed the chance for a shot on the "proper" route. The allocated locomotive was a nicely weathered 60074 and the train is here seen rounding the curve at Hatton North Junction. This train runs infrequently during the summer months so another shot may be not be possible for some time.
The last active locomotive in the popular LoadHaul colour scheme is 60059 and on 4 July 2006 it was allocated to the 6V36 08.16 Lackenby to Margam steel slabs. This was looped at Abbotswood Junction to allow a Virgin Voyager and a class 170 (from the Worcester line) to pass. The sun was rapidly heading towards a bank of very ominous-looking bank of cloud that had been building up over the Malvern Hills for the last hour or so. Fortunately, the light held as 60059 was released from the loop and slowly made its way down the line to the waiting small gallery.
I have been meaning to spend an hour at Norton Junction, near Worcester, for some time now. As the weather forecast promised higher temperatures later in the week, I decided to go today, Monday 24 July. The primary target was the 6V07 Round Oak to Margam empty steel, which according to a list posted in the morning, was due to be hauled by 60003. As it happened, 60021 turned up on the train; this locomotive was shown to be on 6V05, the morning empties from the same terminal. Here is the train coming past the lower quadrant semaphores controlling the junction with the line to Abbotswood Junction and the Cotswold line to Oxford. Use this hyperlink for a closer view of the signals.
I think that my favourite colour scheme carried by class 60 was the one seen here adorning 60078 at Didcot. The Air Force blue applied by Mainline Freight seemed to suit these large locomotives really well and, in good light, looked most stylish. This is an empty MGR from Didcot Power Station to Avonmouth, the loco having run round the hoppers in the West End sidings at the back of the train. 645
This picture shows another class 60, 60064, leaving Didcot with an empty MGR heading for Avonmouth. The shot was taken from the edge of a field just to the east of the main road bridge at Milton on the afternoon of 13 February 1998. 645
Very few class 60s have been on the line to Stratford-upon-Avon; I have photographed just one other; so it was pleasing to hear and then see 60096 with 6P04 coming off the West to North curve at Hatton. Another train was scheduled to follow 6P04 but was heavily delayed at Bearley, sadly, through a suicide taking place on the track at Olton, near Solihull when someone took his life by jumping in front of 60096.
The empty fuel tanks from Theale to Lindsey, 6Z41, ran again on 24 June. A message from Reading said that it had left the west loop at 13.05 behind grey 60090, so I decided to go to Hatton for a shot of it. Given the intensity of passenger traffic it was clearly looped once or twice as it did not pass me until 15.35. This location is becoming a little overgrown now, with the gap in the growth available for a train becoming very limited, in the summer months at least.
On of my favourite shots of class 60 taken during 2005 was this from 17 November at Claydon, near Ashchurch. It shows 60067 on 6V07 Round Oak to Margam empty steel wagons. The light was a lovely gold colour by 15.32 but was getting a little weak. This picture needed ISO 320, 1/500 @ f4, the lens being set at 180mm with the camera being supported on a monopod. I was unsure if the result would be OK, and it was something of a relief when I saw the finished image on screen. I must add that it has not been manipulated at all.
I spent a few hours at Ashchurch during the morning of 6 June 2006. The first photograph I took was of the 6M96 Margam to Corby loaded steel coils hauled by 60030. The heavy train seen here having just passed through the station.
The afternoon of 8 June looked like staying sunny so after lunch I decided to drive over to Abbotswood Junction, near Worcester. One of the targets was grey semi-Transrail 60082 was booked on 6V92, the Corby to Margam empty steel coil carriers. In fact, I was quite lucky to get this shot in the sun, as, as is typical on days like this after some earlier wet weather, cumulus clouds were building up over the very rural landscape. The sun was obscured more often than not, but did appear just in time for 6V92.
This picture shows a short-term flow that ran in the summer of 2003. It is the return working of a Robeston to Kingsbury oil train pictured at Croome Perry, taken at 18.55 on 14 July 2003. The train was running as 6Z69 and the flow did not last long enough to acquire a 6M/6V headcode. It is apparent from looking at my notes that I knew the train was running and took my cameras to work in the morning with the intention of obtaining this picture. 60059 is the locomotive, one which I photographed more than any other Loadhaul, and which seemed to follow me wherever I went. 645
6E48 Didcot Power Station to Lindsey empty oil tanks hauled by 60052 was running rather late on 8 June 2005, which was fortunate in that the sun was on the front for once. After a long hot session with a diet of Chiltern Turbos and Voyagers it finally appeared in rather nice light at 17.42 near Hatton North Junction, where the line from Stratford-upon-Avon joins the GWR line from Leamington Spa to Birmingham. I've always disliked the tatty hut by the junction - this is how the shot should look.....   P_Way hut demolished!
Here is another shot of the 6E48 Didcot Power Station to Lindsey empty oil tanks, taken on 22 September 2005. This time, the loco is 60053 but the location is still Hatton North Junction. The train was again running over an hour late.
Another shot taken at Didcot on 6 March 1997 was this one of 60090 arriving at the station with the Robeston to Langley block oil train. This train was running some 3 hours late which meant that it not one that is often photographed on the outward run. 645
Some class 60s were painted into the attractive blue depicting their ownership by Mainline Railways, one of the 3 freight companies later absorbed into EWS. It is seen here passing Croome Perry on 20 April 1997 with the 7V18 07.32 TWFO Silverdale to Llanwern MGR. 645
At the time of writing, 19 July 2005, there were but 27 class 60s in use. 6V92 Corby to Margam is one of the few workings now to produce a member of the class on the Birmingham - Cheltenham line. Here, 60065 is seen passing the site of Defford station with this train just after the sun had passed behind a large cloud.
I don't know how many class 60s worked the 6G36/6G42 Bescot to Birch Coppice automotive parts train but this occasion was the only time I saw a member of the class on it. Heavily backlit 60016 is seen here approaching the junction at Kingsbury with this working at 10.23 on 25 February 2004.
A regular working for class 60 on the Birmingham to Cheltenham line in the summer of 2003 was the 6V97 Beeston to Newport train of scrap metal. This train is seen here passing Croome Perry wood at 16.33 on 6 May.