Sunday 25 November 2012

33: Fife, Fatalities and Four Twenties

Welcome to edition 33 of the Railwaymedia blog.
Since edition 32 I have only been out with the camera twice, and the first of these was really just a case of a couple of pictures whilst passing. Work has also precluded me continuing with my reprocessing of older pictures over the last few weeks, although hopefully with 3 weeks of night turns coming up I can crack on in earnest with this and complete those from 2006.
The first of my two trips this month was just a brief visit to Fife to visit my sister, and also a couple of Wetherspoons. It also enabled me to travel on the last bit of the 'Fife Circle' that I haven't managed to do previously, the section from Dunfermline to Glenrothes. Glenrothes with Thornton station should be more accurately named 'Thornton nowhere near Glenrothes' as it is a good 20 minute bus ride from the station to the town. Thornton Junction used to be a very busy railway centre, indeed you can still see the remains of the massive yard next to the line between Thornton and Cardenden. There is currently a small amount of coal still produced in the area, but in general Thornton now only sees 3 passenger trains an hour to Edinburgh, one via Dunfermline and two via Kirkcaldy.
Fortunately for once, this week a day off coincided with nice weather. The North West hasn't suffered the brunt of the recent deluges that much of the south has, but a visit to Leicestershire showed some very swollen rivers, especially the Soar arround Barrow and Loughborough. An early start due to the lack of direct trains from Preston to Nuneaton meant I was at Hinckley just as the sun was rising. This was fortuitous as it meant not only could I take a picture of the westbound Toton to West Hampstead RHTT circuit before the sun appeared on the wrong side of the train, but also get it returning eastwards 30 minutes later just after the sun had appeared over the houses. 
Formed of two Euro Cargo Rail class 66's repatriated from France for the Rail Head Treatment season, it is over 7 years since I last photographed 66223 and the other, 66062, is one I have never pictured before. Ironically as I was photographing these French locos in England in nice sunshine, my friend Richard Stiles was in France, in the pouring rain, for the last day of the BB16000 locomotives on the Paris to Amiens services. I had been given by the wife a belated 'pass' to go with him but I think maybe I made the right decision for once by staying in this country.
Following breakfast in Hinckley, as I boarded the next service to Leicester I found out there was disruption between there are Loughborough (my intended destination) due to a fatality. I changed my plans and caught the bus to Cossington, reasoning that the problem would be cleared up by the time I reached there. It turned out though the fatality had actually happened at the foot crossing adjacent to the bridge I was heading to and it was cordoned off by the police when I arrived. Fortunately there is another bridge to the south, although much busier with traffic, from which I was able to photograph two southbound freights before returning to the first bridge once the cops had left.
Although there is a regular procession of class 222 'Meridians' on the fast line and an hourly HST on the Nottingham fast services, the slow lines were very quiet with only the two southbound and one northbound freights in over 2 hours. However, a noise in the distance heralded something more interesting, which transpired to be the four class 20s, with their two barrier wagons, that are used to move London Underground's S-Stock, heading from Old Dalby back to Barrow Hill for the weekend. With the two GBRF liveried examples trailing, for once I also took a going-away shot.
It looks like the foot crossing may get closed following the fatality as a Highway Department crew turned up a bit later to shut off access to it. To be fair, the foot crossing is a bit pointless given the proximity of the bridge. I had intended to take a couple of shots from it but as the fields either side were so wet decided against it. I have only ever taken one shot before from there, back in 2004: it was only really useful anyway for zoom shots of trains on the Fast Lines.
With the line being so quiet I called it a day a bit early and headed onto Loughborough finally for a few beers. In hindsight I wish I had left more time to have a look at the Brush Factory there to see if anything of interest was visible outside; in the end I only got to the station at dusk, though as I got there Anglia's 170206 emerged heading back to Norwich after a bogie overhaul.
When the local stopping services were re-introduced between Leicester and Loughborough in 1993, the line was branded the 'Ivanhoe Line'. Whilst I can't find any reference to this branding now in any East Midlands Trains literature, it would appear operationally the name is still used, judging by both old and new stop signs half way down platform 4 at Leicester, so I'll leave you with a picture of these. As mentioned earlier, hopefully I shall plod on with my picture re-processing over the next 3 weeks. I would like to also try to get out this week if work permits to maybe track down a couple more Rail Head Treatment Trains in what will probably be their last week or so of operation for this year. As always, thanks for taking the trouble to read this blog, bye for now.

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