9th October 2010

Branch Line Society
Route 66 Railtour

Locos Used 66023 & 66066
Stock Used 17105+3333+1203+6024+6176+5952+5987+6067

Route :
1Z48 : Crewe to MoD Longtown
1Z49 : MoD Longtown to Crewe

Loco(s) Route
66023 (1) Crewe - (via WCML) - Winwick Jn - Earlestown - Newton-le-Willows - Lowton Jn - Golborne Jn - Bamfurlong Jn - Bamfurlong Sidings Jn - Springs Branch No.1 Jn - Wigan South Jn - (via WCML) - Carnforth North Jn - Arnside - Ulverston - Barrow-in-Furness
66066 (2) Barrow-in-Furness - Salthouse Jn
66023 (1) Salthouse Jn - ABP Ramsden Dock Port Terminal
66066 (2) ABP Ramsden Dock Port Terminal - Salthouse Jn
66023 (1) Salthouse Jn - Barrow-in-Furness - Park South Jn - Foxfield - Ravenglass - Whitehaven - Maryport - Currock Jn - Bog Jn - London Road DBS Sidings
66066 (2) London Road DBS Sidings - Carlisle Upperby
66023 (1) Carlisle Upperby - Bog Jn - Currock Jn
66066 (2) Currock Jn - Carlisle - Caldew Jn - Kingmoor Yard
66023 (1) Kingmoor Yard - Stainton Loop (EOL)
66066 (2) Stainton Loop - Brunthill (Network Rail Limit)
66023 (1) Brunthill (Network Rail Limit) - Stainton Loop
66066 (2) Stainton Loop - Floriston - Mossband Jn - Longtown Branch (Bush on Esk No2 Crossing)
66023 (1) Longtown Branch (Bush on Esk No2 Crossing) - Mossband Jn - Kingmoor Yard - Caldew Jn - Carlisle - Upperby Jn - Upperby Bridge Jn - (via WCML) - Crewe

Notes :
(1) 66066 on rear.
(2) 66023 on rear.

Source : LASERman & Alan Sheppard

Tour Review
(by Stuart Smith)

When I first saw the prospectus for this weekend I knew it would be a good set of tours. So once 'authority' was granted at home I duly sent off the booking forms and started making travel plans and hotel bookings etc. So forward now about 8 weeks, and we reach 5pm on the Friday prior to the weekend. Finishing work, I made a move to Euston (well, The Doric Arch to be precise) and a few pre-weekend drinks with Bob and Adam. We had opted to do the 18:46 to Crewe with the Class 90, rather than a Pendolino service. (Like there was really an alternative in the matter). 90036 was on the stock in Platform 16 (not P7 as booked) and we duly settled in the front coach for the journey north. At this point Prar joined us, armed with an assortment of purchases from the local M&S foodstore. A fairly uneventful journey ensued, with 70007 being the spotters highlight on Wembley Depot as it awaited it's transit north to Leeds via Warrington. At Lichfield the journey took a slight twist, with the driver apparently failing to stop at the station - and instead choosing some random field about a mile or so further north to park up next too. Needless to say, those commuters stood in the vestibules waiting to alight couldn't. So after a few minutes of head scratching and phone calls, we continued further to Stafford. At this point the Train Manager spoke over the pa system and apologised for the "operational difficulties" which had prevented us stopping at Lichfield. (Taxi's all round from Stafford we assume was the outcome, as no suitable Southbound alternative seemed to be an option)! Despite this slight hiccup, we made it to Crewe on time, and after dumping our bags in the near-by Crewe Arms, we met up with Robin and Dennis for a meal at the local Indian restaurant.

 All to quickly, Saturday morning dawned and I made my way back to the station for the 05:55 to Nantwich. Now this wasn't anything to do with the tour, but more in the name of spotting 66301. This Fastline loco had evaded me whilst in traffic, and so this weekend made for the perfect opportunity to locate it at nearby Gresty Lane. It was too dark on the way down, but by the time I returned on the 06:23 ex-Nantwich, the sun was starting to rise and four Class 66/3's were clearly visible next to the main lines (66301, 302, 303 and 305). Back at Crewe, there was sufficient time to return to the hotel for breakfast, before venturing back down to the station in time for tour commencing at 07:50 - now I could mention the battle-axe who decided to "throw her toys out of the pram" in the breakfast room, just because sixty-or-so tour participants decided to enter the dining room at the same time. But maybe someone else will elaborate if they so wish?

So back to the station, and 66023 (a winner for me) and 66066 (for the third time) were either end of our Mk2 rake of coaches.

66023 waits to leave Crewe at the start of the day (photo: Alan Sheppard)

On board the train and our group from yesterday evening was now strengthened by Big Kev, Little Kev, Trevor, Jim and Paul and we all settled down in Coach C for the days excitement. The first part of the day saw us head north up the WCML and taking in several loops along the way. Unfortunately the first 'highlight' didn't materialise, and we took platform 4 line at Warrington - rather than the Down Slow Line around the back.

Oh well, let's try again tomorrow!

Heading further along, we deviated via Earlestown and then dropped under the main lines approaching Springs Branch and into P1 at Wigan NW. Several loops further, and we approached Carnforth were we took the Up & Down Goods no.2. From here we continued around the back of the platforms on the Down Furness Goods and then on to Cumbrian route to Barrow in Furness. We arrived in P1 and duly reversed back to Salthouse Jct to access the Docks Branch. We gingerly edged down to the Network Rail limit (to where the Pathfinder trip reached a few years ago) and stopped. Three Corvette Class vessels from the Algerian Navy (and previously the Royal Brunei Navy) were moored up adjacent to the railway line making a very impressive sight. Three ships from the PNTL (Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd)fleet were also close by on a secure part of the dock. These ships are used for carrying "nuclear type cargoes" around the world. The train continued sedately, crossing a couple of level-crossings, and made it as far as safely possible along part of the quayside, which we were informed by the Illustrious Mr Hill was the known as the ABP Line. Returning back to the mainline at Salthouse Jct (another reversal), we went back through Barrow in Furness, before striking out towards Sellafield and Carlisle. For the record, 37194, 66426, 66430 and DRS-6 were all at the Nuclear establishment as we passed.

 We were booked behind the 'all shacks' unit from Barrow, so progress was duly slow all the way until Workington, where a burst of speed saw us reach Currock Jct and the start of our chase-the-tail manoeuvres in the area. The first move was via Bog Jct (going under the WCML) and across to London Road Sidings. Here we were passed by 'Kettle' 46115 and 47500 on a returning charter to Leicester. A reversal in London Road no.1 Siding took us back around the very tight Upperby Through Siding to Upperby Goods Jct, where another reversal was made. Then we headed back to Currock Jct (again via Bog Jct) but on the second part of the triangular-curve. A final reversal allowed us to regain the passenger route into Carlisle, where an added bonus saw the train routed via Siding A around the back of the platforms where Thunderbird 57303 was stabled.

After a brief pause we continued again, and took the slow lines past the DRS depot, where around a dozen locos were noted (representing Classes 37, 47, 57, 66/3 and 66/4) before we swung left into Kingmoor Yard itself. The main objective here was the branch to Harker (part of the former Waverley route I believe) which now serves some industrial warehouses. A double reversal was needed to access this line - not too mention gaining sufficient height to clear the West Coast Main Line. The locked gates at the Network Rail boundary were duly reached, beyond which several large green warehouses were visible.

From here we retraced our outward route back into Kingmoor Yard, before continuing along the 'down departure' to rejoin the main line at Floriston Jct. A short wizz further and at Mossband Jct we veered right on the MOD Longtown branch. In the war-riddled state the world is currently in, gaining access to MOD branches is now extremely rare, and although the NR boundary is as far as we reached (as advertised) it was a welcome opportunity nonetheless. For the record we stopped at Bush-on-Esk no.2 crossing, which is where several people commented they had previously got too!

 Another quick reversal followed, before we took the 'up arrival' back into Kingmoor Yard, and covered the 'no.1 Departure' line. Amongst the vast amount wagons 380105 was spotted, which was apparently being returned south following a defect/damage it had sustained whilst being trialled with Scotrail. After a brief pause at Carlisle to set-down a few passengers, we took the connection at Upperby Jct on to the Upperby Through Goods again, thus completing our use of freight-only lines in the vicinity. Now following a Southbound Virgin service, we exited the goods lines at Upperby Bridge Jct and started to make our way back to Crewe. However, we still had almost 4hours on board, and so needless to say we ran through virtually every up direction loop between the two locations - Lancaster Goods being the exception, which had a broken 92034 sat in it.

Crewe was finally reached just after 22:45, where we concluded a long but productive day of touring!

Stuart Smith

Timings (Booked & Actual)

(from LASERman, Alan Sheppard, John Harrup & Solomon Riley)

Crewe 07.50d [P12] [SL] 07.52 [P12] [SL]
Crewe Coal Yard 07/53 07/54
Winsford South Jn 08/03 [FL] 08.02 ~ 08.06 [FL]
Hartford Jn 08/08 08/12
Acton Bridge 08/10 08/14
Weaver Jn 08/149 08/16
Acton Grange Jn 08/19 08/19
Warrington Bank Quay 08/21 [SL] 08/24 [DPL] [P4]
Warrington North Jn ? 08/25 [DS]
Winwick Jn 08/26 08/28
Earlestown 08/28 08/30
Newton-le-Willows 08/30 08/32
Golborne Jn 08/36 [SL] 08/36 [SL]
Bamfurlong Jn 08/40 [GL] 08/42 [GL]
Springs Branch Jn 08/43 [GL] 08/45 [GL]
Wigan South Jn 08/45 [UPL] 08/47 [UPL]
Wigan Station Jn 08/46 [CL] 08/48 [CL]
Wigan North Western 08.48a ~ 08.50d [P1] [FL] 08.49 ~ 08.50 [P1] [FL]
Balshaw Lane 09/00 [SL] 09/00 [DS]
Euxton 09/03 09/02
Farington Curve Jn 09/07 09/05
Preston 09.10a ~ 09.12d [P1] 09.13 ~ 09.14 [P2]
Barton & Broughton Loop 09*21 ~ 09*24 [DPL] 09/22 [DPL]
Oubeck Goods Loop 09*40 ~ 10*15 [GL] 09.38 ~ 10.16 [GL]
Lancaster 10c22a ~ 10c24d [P3] 10.26 ~ 10.29 [P3]
Morecambe South Jn 10/27 10/32
Carnforth Down & Up Goods 10c33 ~ 10c40 [GL2] 10/39 [GL2]
Carnforth North Jn 10/43  10.40 ~ 10.42
Carnforth 10.44 ~ 10.46 [DFG]  10.44 ~ 10.45 [DFG]
Arnside 10/56 10/54
Grange-over-Sands 11/00 [P2]  11/00
Ulverston 11/13  11/11
Dalton Jn 11/20  11/18
Barrow-in-Furness 11.31a ~ 11.41d [P1] 11.30 ~ 11.41 [P1]
Salthouse Jn 11.46 ~ 11.56 11.46 ~ 11.56
Barrow Ramsden Dock 12.06 ~ 12.23  12.20 ~ 12.27
Salthouse Jn 12.33 ~ 12.43  12.47 ~ 12.51
Barrow-in-Furness 12.47a ~ 12.48d [P1]  12.55 ~ 12.59 [P1]
Park South Jn 12/55 13/08
Askam 12/56  13/10
Foxfield 13/04  13/19
Millom 13/18  13/25
Bootle 13/27  13/44
Drigg 13/36 13/52
Sellafield 13/43  13/57
St Bees 13*55 ~ 14*06  14.07 ~ 14.08
Whitehaven 14.13 ~ 14.14 [P2]  14/19 [P2]
Parton 14/18 14/24
Parton North Jn 14/22 14/30
Workington Main No.2 SB 14/27 [Dn Recp]  14/40 [Dn Recp]
Workington 14.29 ~ 14.32 [Dn Recp] 14.42 ~ 14.44 [Dn Recp]
Maryport 14/39  14/54 [DN Through]
Wigton 15/00  15/15
Currock Jn 15/14  15/29
Bog Jn 15/18 [GL] 15.29 ~ 15.32 [GL]
London Road Jn 15/20  15/33
Carlisle London Road 15.23 ~ 15.31  15.45 ~ 15.50 [No.1 Sdg]
London Road Jn 15/34 [GL]  15/52 [GL]
Upperby Jn 15/38 [GL]  15/56 [GL]
Upperby Up Through Goods 15.40 ~ 15.47 [GL] 15.57 ~ 15.59 [GL]
Upperby Jn 15/49 [GL] 16/00 [GL]
Bog Jn 15/52  16.06 ~ 16.10
Currock Jn 15.57 ~ 16.02  16.06 ~ 16.10
Carlisle 16/07 [P1]  16.17 ~ 16.18 [Siding A]
Caldew Jn 16/09 [GL] 16/23 [GL]
Kingmoor Jn 16.23 ~ 16.30 [Down Recess Siding 4]
Carlisle Kingmoor Yard 16.23 ~ 16.30 16.38 ~ 16.40
[Down Arrival/Departure Line]
Stainton Jn ??.?? ~ ??.??  16.51 ~ 16.53
Brunthill 16.50 ~ 16.55 17.03 ~ 17.05
Stainton Jn ??.?? ~ ??.??  17.11 ~ 17.14
[Down Departure]
Carlisle Kingmoor Yard 17.05 ~ 17.06 17.28 ~ 17.30
Floriston 17/21  17.48 ~ 17.54
Mossband 17/24  17/59
Longtown MoD 17.39 ~ 17.49 18.06 ~ 18.08
[Bush on Esk No.2 AOCL]
Mossband 18/04 [GL]  18/14 [GL]
Carlisle Kingmoor Yard 18/24 [GL] 18.25 ~ 18.26
[Up Goods, Up Arrival, Up Reception No 1,
No1 Departure Line and Up Goods]
Caldew Jn 18/30 [UML] 18/40 [UML]
Carlisle 18c33a ~ 18c44d [P4] 18.44 ~ 18.46 [P4]
Upperby Jn 18/47 [GL]  18/50 [GL]
Upperby Bridge Jn 18/55 [UTG]  18.53 ~ 18.56 [UTG]
Plumpton Up Goods Loop 19*11 ~ 19*21 [UGL] 19.21 ~ 19.25 [UGL]
Penrith North Lakes 19/28 [P1] 19/30 [P1]
Eden Valley Goods Loop 19.34 ~ 19.35 [UGL]  19.36 ~ 19.38 [UGL]
Shap Up Goods Loop 19.49 ~ 19.50 [UGL] 19.52 ~ 19.53 [UGL]
Tebay 19/57 19/59
Grayrigg 20*08 ~ 20*11 [UGL]  20.08 ~ 20.13 [UGL]
Oxenholme Lake District 20*21 ~ 20*26 [UGL]  20.25 ~ 20.34 [UGL]
Carnforth North Jn 20/42 20/49
Carnforth Up Passenger Loop 20.44 ~ 20.45 [UPL]  20/51 [UPL]
Morecambe South Jn 20/51  20/55
Lancaster 20/53 [FL] 20/57 [UM]
Oubeck Goods Loop 20*59 ~ 21*05 [UGL]  21.04 ~ 21.11 [UGL]
Oxheys Goods Loop 21.24 ~ 21.25 [UGL] 21/30 [UGL]
Preston 21.32a ~ 21.34d [P4] [FL]  21.35 ~ 21.37 [P3]
Euxton Jn 21/40  21/42
Balshaw Lane 21/42  21/44
Wigan North Western 21.51a ~ 21.53d [P4]  21.53 ~ 21.55 [P4]
Wigan South Jn 21/54 21/56
Springs Branch Jn 21/55  21/57
Winwick Jn 22/01 [SL] 22/03 [SL]
Dallam Jn 22/03  22/07
Warrington Bank Quay 22/04 [UG] [OL]  22/10 [UG] [OL]
Walton Old Jn 22/06 [OL]  22/14 [OL]
Acton Grange Jn 22/09 [FL]  22.18 ~ 22.20[FL]
Weaver Jn 22/14  22/24
Acton Bridge 22/16 [FL]  22/27 [FL]
Hartford Jn 22/18  22/30
Winsford 22/21 [FL] 22/34 [FL]
Crewe Coal Yard 22/29  22/44
Crewe 22.31a [P11] 22.46 [P11]

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