Monday, 10 June 2019

Lostock drags - 1986

If the West Coast Main line was blocked north of Wigan and south of Euxton Junction (near Preston) diversions via Lostock Junction, on the Manchester Victoria - Preston via Bolton route could come into effect. With northbound services, upon arrival at Wigan, a draw back loco would be attached at what had been the rear of the train, which would haul the service over to Lostock with the train loco still on the rear. Upon arrival at Lostock, the draw back loco would be detached and the original train loco would continue north. If southbound services were also effected, the process would be reversed, the drawback loco added at the rear of the service at Lostock to work forward to Wigan with the main loco on the rear to Wigan, before continuing south from there.

During the summer of 1986, on Sundays, there was three northbound services, all booked to be diverted via Lostock and those were, in order of departure from Wigan, at 1010 1P08, 1P14 at 1024 and then at 1130 would be 1P06. 1P08 was the 0922 Liverpool Lime Street - Preston, which was a portion for 1S41 1005 Manchester Victoria - Edinburgh Waverley. Second up, 1P14 which was a 0900 Crewe - Blackpool North, which would start back from Stoke-on-Trent each week from 22 June, while the third turn, 1P08, was the 0822 Birmingham New Street - Blackpool North. All three of these trains were booked, and usually got, a Class 47/4, while the two drawback turns were each booked for 2x Class 20's, one pair to work 1P08 to Lostock, then return light to Wigan to pick up 1P06, the second pair to work 1P14 only to Lostock.

For all currently known details of the locos that worked these trains, visit the RailGenArchive website. Enter the site, then select the date search option, enter a date, such as 18-05-1986, the first Sunday of Lostock drags, select a data filter to see a single class (or leave it with the default 'All' to see everything), then enter or click the GO button. After that, you can use the +7 and -7 day buttons to loop through Sunday's during 1986.

There are some conflicting details currently showing on the RailGenArchive, this due to conflicting reports received (especially re the Lostock drags for Sundays 29th June, 13th & 20th July), so any help resolving these, to either confirm or refute anything shown anywhere on the site is always very welcome. We can be contacted either using the comments box below or via the Contact Us page on the main site either via email or the contact form provided.

The RailGenArchive project is ongoing continuation of the old 1980's Timewarp project and the site is updated at least once per week.

Many thanks for all your help and support so far.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead'
Preserving the gen online since 1999...
Keeping you posted on behalf of the RailGenArchive team -

Monday, 3 June 2019

Clayliner continued.

While much has been written about the west county china clay traffic and the vacuum braked Clayliner service to the Potteries during the period 1967-1982, there is very little detail out there of the Stoke end of the operation, until now...

Throughout the Clayliner years (1967-1982), clay was handled at two Stoke-on-Trent terminals. Longport was one, used throughout, while initially, Longton, along the Stoke-Derby line, was the second location used. The main clayliner trains mostly ran through to Longport, but would usually call at Stoke yard (Adjacent to the main railway station) to detach around half the wagons, these would then be tripped the last few miles, usually by a Class 24, a class once very common on all local duties in the Stoke area. A Class 24 would return to Longton each weekday evening to collect the empties taking them to Etruria, (around a mile north of Stoke) where they would be joined by the empties ex Longport, hauled by another Class 24 loco. The return Clayliner empties departed Etruria at around 0330 which goes a long way to explaining why there are not too many photos of the service anywhere the Midlands.

The handling of the clay traffic, and indeed all freight traffic at Longton ended (around 1973?), the second terminal used was now Shelton Wharf. Shelton Wharf sidings were access by a trailing connection from the spur serving the former Stoke sundries depot, by then known as National Carriers Ltd (NCL), just prior to the c1960 single track bridge that crosses the Trent & Mersey canal. Shelton Wharf sidings comprised six roads arranged in pairs with hard standing in between allowing transfer of clay to road vehicles for onward distribution. The loaded wagons for Shelton Wharf which usually came off 6M55, were then tripped from Stoke Yard by a Class 08, usually early morning. Shelton Wharf was mostly in operation SX, during daytime only, and could be observed from the footbridge across the line from the nearby Cockshute Sidings. Each evening, once the unloading operations were over for the day, the Class 08 would return to Shelton Wharf to sort the empty from the loaded wagons, which to the casual observer, always seemed to be unloaded in a random fashion.

A Class 24 would then arrive with the empties from Longport, propelling them up the spur from Stoke Yard, to one of the six through sidings in front of the NCL depot, at the far (Cliffe Vale) end of which there was a headshunt and connections into the NCL building itself. For awhile each evening both the 24 and 08 would be involved in the shunting of the clay traffic. Sometimes, surplus loaded clay wagons could be left in front one of the through roads in front of the NCL depot. Once shunting was complete, the Class 08 would depart, light engine, for Stoke Yard, followed by the Class 24, which would position the clay empties on the Stoke end of the spur, ready for collection in the early hours to form 6V53, as the NCL depot saw little other freight activity by the late 1970's, it having mostly gone fully over to road transport by then.

From August 1975, mass withdrawal of the Class 24's commenced and Crewe gained Class 25's as replacements, some of which came from western region depots including Plymouth Laira, so former Cornish clay motive power such as 25216 or 25217 could later be found at the other end of the operation, retrieving the Clay empties from Longport then shunting Shelton Wharf. Four Class 24's survive in preservation, 24032/054/061/081, all were former Crewe machines and most probably worked this duty at some time or another.

During 1982, 3 of the six roads in front of the NCL depot were lifted and a new Clay terminal began to take shape on the headshunt at the Cliffe Vale end of the NCL site. By the end of the summer of 1982, once the Cliffe Vale terminal was complete, Longport ceased handling the Clay traffic, as did Shelton Wharf, which only saw some limited use after that, to store wagons for a time before complete closure and subsequent redevelopment and the vacuum braked Clayliner service finally ended and the old wagon fleet withdrawn. A fleet of 35 new, French built Air Braked wagons in a distinctive new White & Blue livery formed the replacement service which was now diesel hauled throughout...

As usual, any comments corrections etc can be posted in the box below.

Many thanks for all your help and support so far.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead'
Preserving the gen online since 1999...
Keeping you posted on behalf of the RailGenArchive team -

Monday, 27 May 2019

Clayliner

A few notes on a long running, long distance and very well known freight working following on from a discussion had between a bunch of us when we all met up at a recent, Churnet Valley Railway diesel event...

The Clayliner Clay service started during 1967 (August?) and was fully fitted, so needed no a guards van, but still timed at 45mph. Wagons used were short wheel based wooden bodied, five plank opens fitted with Vacuum brakes and roller bearings, loaded wagons were covered by (flat topped) tarpaulins. NOT to be confused with clay hoods, which were similar wagons, but featured a high bar and tarps with sloping tops, as these wagons rarely left the west county, and were only ever used on local traffic. Some box vans were also conveyed other clay products. All wagons used quickly took on a familiar coating of White.

The regular loaded northbound service was 6M55 from St Blazey, from the mid 1970's, usually through to Longport, some three miles north of Stoke-on-Trent although some trains terminated at Stoke Yard, which was adjacent to the main railway station while most Longport runs called at Stoke to detach.

Throughout the Clayliner years (1967-1982), clay was handled at two Stoke-on-Trent terminals, with returning empties originally returning from Etruria, departing around 0330. In later years, changes saw the return workings starting at Stoke, and (for different reasons) the departure time was later put back by around a hour.

Northbound routing was originally via Westbury, Swindon, Didcot avoider and Oxford to reach the WCML at the bottom of the Bletchley flyover. Once here, northbound loads and southbound empties were timed to meet and WR diesel and LMR electric to switch between trains and each loco to return from whence they came. North of Bletchley, running was usually via Northampton then direct from Colwich to Stone although runs via Stafford are also known. It was engineering work, (singling the Oxford-Bletchley route) that saw the Clayliner diverted via Worcester and Bescot around 1973/74.

The Clayliner was allocated WR Type 4 diesel power south of Bletchley and later Bescot and various classes appeared including Western's. But did any Class 52's ever reach Stoke? Some say 'probably' despite web searches and asking around, no solid evidence, written or photographic have yet been found. North of Bletchley and later Bescot, AC electric power was booked, classes 81-85 inclusive most common, but all Class 86 variants also appeared, but Class 87's never worked these trains, on account of Air brakes only. Class 24's, easily the most common diesel type around the Stoke area from the end of steam were involved in the local trip workings the various between the local terminals, while vice electric turns were inevitable. One such turn, reported on multiple websites, but probably originating in the railway press, has 5022/5038 working 6V53 down to Bletchley and back to the Stoke area with 6M55 on 17-02-1972. During the later, via Bescot days, occasional diesels of classes 40/46/47 have been recorded in Stoke, but as yet, no Hydraulics's... unless you know different?

Coming up, a more detailed description of the local clay trips and terminal's at the Stoke end of this long running operation.

As usual, any comments corrections etc can be posted in the box below.

Many thanks for all your help and support so far.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead'
Preserving the gen online since 1999...
Keeping you posted on behalf of the RailGenArchive team -

Friday, 24 May 2019

Plus Minus 7 days feature added

The RailGenArchive website updates continue, and this week we've also added a new feature to the date search pages. Want to look at consecutive summer Saturdays, well now you can, with just the click of a button.

Although the site currently covers the years 1970 - 1995 we will also add any new data for other years that we receive. To avoid lots of empty pages being generated, only dates within the above years are excepted by the date and diary search pages, but workings from outside those years will appear under loco search options.

If there are any features that you'd like to see added to The RailGenArchive site, your suggestions are always welcome, also any feedback, new info or error reports, then please Contact Us either via email or the contact form provided on the main site.

There is currently a feature in preparation to be posted here soon, facts to be checked first, also more news from the The RailGenArchive project soon.

Many thanks for all your help and support so far.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead'
Preserving the gen online since 1999...
Keeping you posted on behalf of the RailGenArchive team -

Saturday, 11 May 2019

RGA mini revamp

Apologies for the lack of blog postings of late, this due to my efforts with the main ongoing project, The RailGenArchive website for which regular rounds of updates and corrections continue. The site database currently contains 370310 records with all loco classes featured and is updated regularly. The site currently covers the years 1970- 1995 . We will expand that date range if the demand is there and the gen is forthcoming. In the meantime, we will include any workings we receive that are outside those years and you will now find those records when listing workings by individual locos.

The RailGenArchive site has had a bit of a mini revamp this weekend so any feedback on the new look of the data pages would be very welcome, as would any suggestions for further site improvements or new features that you would like to see, together with any corrections or additional gen then please Contact Us either via email or the contact form provided on the main site.

With luck, there will be more posting here soon with more news from the The RailGenArchive progect and maybe even a few notes and photos of how things were.

Many thanks for all your help and support so far.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead'
Preserving the gen online since 1999...
Keeping you posted on behalf of the RailGenArchive team -

Sunday, 17 February 2019

1995

The RailGenArchive website has again been expanded to include coverage of the year 1995. The site now covers the years 1970- 1995 and the archive contains 363481 records.

Back in the days of the old Timewarp site, we would often get asked if or when would we cover the 1990's, but unfortunately that was never going to be practical due to how much time the old site took to update. With the RailGenArchive site, which is purposely easier to maintain, we have been able to expand the years covered. However, so far, only a few new gen contributions for the 1990's have been received, suggesting that the interest in those years may not be there, so any further expansion of years covered on the site will be all down to you...

Our intention is to feature all areas of the BR network and all loco classes without bias to our own personal tastes, and where that is not the case this is entirely a reflection of the info made available to us and is NOT intentional, so if you feel that your favourite locos or local area is currently under represented then please get in touch and share your records with us. Also please let us know when you spot errors or disagree with workings shown so that we can look into it and using our skill and judgement make changes as necessary. If you have any information relating to loco hauled passenger workings over BR that we don't already feature, then please Contact Us either via email or the contact form provided on the main site, or use the box at the foot of this page. We can handle gen in any digital format, all years welcome.

Many thanks for all your help and support so far.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead'
Preserving the gen online since 1999...
Keeping you posted on behalf of the RailGenArchive team -