News 2020 - Railways in Worcestershire

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News 2020


During the couse of a very long shutdown there wasvery little to report with many trains cancelled.  However many movements of stock to and from Long Marston continued.

The dire shortage of daytime freight traffic that had been such a feature in 2019 continued into 2020.  This combined with the end of HST125s on the London trains and their replacment by featureless class 800 IETs has left very little to photograph in the county.

Class 170 three-car diesel multiple unit No.170217 was photographed at Abbotswood Junction on 18th February 2020 whilst working from Tyseley to Cardiff. Photograph taken by Steve Widdowson.

The one bright spot in the county has been the resurgence of traffic to and from Long Marston which has emerged as a major site for storage of surplus items as well as for refurbishment and conversion.  This has brought some interesting old diesels into the county such as this class 56 in the colours of DC Rail which brought a rake of wagons from Chaddesden to be given a final coat of blue paint. Steve Widdowson photographed the train at Worcester (left) and Robert Pritchard at Martin Hussingtree (below). The date is 18th February 2020.

On Friday 21st February Robert Pritchard photographed one of the few reliable daytime freight workings in the county - the Daventry to Wentloog Tesco container train (train code No.4V44) with class 66 diesel locomotive No.66425 in charge of the train.

This dramatic image taken from the low level platforms at Worcestershire Parkway on Sunday 23rd February 2020 shows a pair of Cross Country Trains class 125 (HST) locomotives working the 09:52 from York to Plymouth (Sundays only).  The power cars are No.43366 & 43285. The photograph was taken by Jack Summerfield.

With fewer and fewer locomotive workings in the county in 2020  not many places remain where interesting traction can be found.  One brighter spot being the Network Rail compound at Spetchley, on the site of the closed 1845 station.  This large yard is frequently home to  one of more items of on-track plant. Monday 23rd March 2020 was no exception as shown in this photograph taken by Andrew Smith. The main item of interest is a TMX Plant livery road/railer No.6898.  It was accompanied by two flat wagons plated RT 352 (nearest the camera) and RT358.
These three videos taken for his back garden are contibuted by Steve Smith.
1. GBRF class 66 locomotive Nos.66773 and 66775 photographed on 9th April 2020 with a train of redundant carriages from Neville Hill to Sims, Newport for scrap.
2. A Colas livery class 66 locomotive No.66849 has made light work climbing the Lickey Incline with its single tank wagon.
3. A rare visitor to the county occurred on 9th April 2020 when class 56 locomotive No.56103 took a train of wagons to Long Marston.

Class 37 No.37884 leading a trio of Stagecoach livery class 43 HST power cars heading to Leicester from storage at Long Marston on 16th June 2020. The class 43s are Nos.43052, 43066 and 43054.

New Class 230 unit No.230006 undertook extensive trial runs during May and June 2020. Steve Widdowson photographed it at Worcester Shrub Hill whilst working between Worcester and Stourbridge. Photograph taken on 20th May 2020.

Contrasting vinyls on this pair of class 800 IETs at Worcester Shrub Hill.  "Face Mask" adorns the front of No.800321 which has just arrived at Worcester Shrub Hill with the 09.42 from London Paddington (train code No.1W01). Stabled behind is No.800008. Photograph taken by Steve Widdowson on 21st June 2020. The face mask livery being a reminder that from Monday 15th June the wearing of such masksmon trains was mandated.
Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership

Here is the latest information from the parnership:

Station Adoption:
WMR are happy for station adoption groups to be formed once more, though actual physical work at stations will be circumscribed by the social distancing and other safety measures in place. If you are still interested in adopting a station or being part of an adoption team please drop me an email.
Backtrack Anti-Trespass competition:
The CRP is backing this national competition and is offering spot prizes to Worcestershire entrants for the next 3 months. The target audience is 11-18 year olds. Please would you spread the word to any contacts of this age that you might have -
Scenic Rail Britain:
All four of the lines within Worcestershire are now on Scenic Rail Britain – see It is hoped that there will be a competition to name each of the northern three in conjunction with Visit Worcestershire during August.
Stitch Train Worcestershire:
Look out for more information on our Community Tapestry project which it is planned to launch at the start of July….
Peter Chapman
Community Rail Officer - Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership

There were chaotic scenes at Norton Junction when class 37 diesel locomotive No.37601 failed whilst towing class 350 electric multiple unit No.350130 to Long Marston (5Q92, 0919 from Northampton). The folly of private operation of the railways was highlighted as a rescue locomotive, class 47 diesel locomotive No.47815, was sent for from Leicester. Also bound for Long Marston on the same day were class 43 "High Speed Train"  power cars Nos.43062 & 43082 from Leeds Neville Hill depot. Perhaps just as well that there were so few, if any, passengers caused any inconvenience. With thanks to Steve Widdowson for story and photographs.

First sight of the new class 196 diesel multiple units was on Thursday 23rd July 2020 when No.196101 made a test trip from Tyseley to Hereford and back. Steve Widdowson photographed the unit at Droitwich (right) and Worcester Foregate Street (below).
(below, left) The only reliable Saturday freight train in Worcestershire in 2020 was the Daventry to Wentloog "Tesco" container train. On 1st August 2020 class 66 diesel locomotive No.66430 was in charge and was photographed at Abbotswood Junction.

(below, right) Soon after the container train passed there was another of the now frequent exchanges of class 350 four-car electric multiples units between Northampton and Long Marston.  The return working saw class 57 diesel locomotive No.57310 take No.350130 back to Northampton, seen at Worcester Shrub Hill.

Photographs taken by Andrew Smith on Saturday 1st August 2020.

This GBRf livery class 66 diesel locomotive was in charge of the Clitheroe to Avonmouth tanks.  No.66739 "Bluebell Railway" has just rejoined the main line at Abbotswood Junction after being held for the passage of the Corby to Margam empties and a Voyager. Photograph taken by Andrew Smith on 10th August 2020.
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