Class 20 locomotives
20005 and 20208 coast down the hill towards Ryecroft with a short engineer's train, no doubt bound for Bescot. I have no details for
this shot, which I think are in a lost notebook. However it was possible to deduce the number of the second loco, and a rough date,
from other photos of 20005 on the web. The date is early summer 1989, and 20005 is in the last few weeks of its 32 year life. It
was withdrawn in July 1989.
20006 leaves Wednesbury with spoil empties, probably bound for Bescot. This shot was taken on Friday 6th September 1985; the cooling towers at
Ocker Hill Power Station were demolished later that same month.
D8059 rounds the curve by Bewdley Safari Park. This is the 11:15 Bridgnorth - Kidderminster, photographed at 12:42 on Thursday 4th
October 2012. This was a diesel gala, and at the time all trains were running about 25 minutes late due to loco failures earlier
in the day.
20063 and an unidentified classmate waiting to depart from the north end of Bescot Up Reception Sidings. This was taken in the
late 1970s, or early 1980 at the latest. The driver and secondman have rung out, and are waiting patiently for the road.
20070 coasts down the hill through a snowy Leamore at 15:23 on Wednesday 13th February 1991. This is the return Bloxwich - Bescot trip,
which ran as T18 at the time. The red solebar was acquired when the loco was allocated to Thornaby, although it had returned to Toton by
the time this shot was taken.
This shot was taken in August 1986, and shows a Bescot - Toton freight passing Walsall. 20071 leads an unidentified classmate, and the lovely
little consist includes withdrawn 03189, en-route from Birkenhead to Norwich. The 03 would likely have been routed via Chester, Crewe, Bescot,
Toton and Whitemoor. A lot of what appears here simply doesn't exist any more, 20071 survived into the mid 1990s, before being broken up. There's
every chance that its unidentified classmate suffered the same fate. I wouldn't hold out much hope for any of the wagons in the train, nor any
of the cars and vans, although the car park behind platform 1 is still there. Also gone is the distinctive Boak building, destroyed by arson in
July 2012, and all six of the distant tower blocks in Pleck, demolished in 2007/2008. Ironically what does survive is the humble 03, now preserved
at the Ribble Steam Railway.
20075 and 20128 stand in the loop at Bloxwich with the 6T45 trip to Washwood Heath. This photo was taken at about 10:00 on Thursday 8th
June 1995. After leaving Bloxwich the train made a traffic stop at Bescot and on this day it collected a cartic set before setting off
for Birmingham. BRT Class 20s had only just taken over the T45 duty, and this was one of the first workings. Bloxwich smelter traffic
ceased circa 2006, and the associated sidings and the loop have since been lifted. The semaphore signals went in August 2013, when
the line was re-signalled.
20096+20107 round the corner at Bordesley Jct with 7X10 Amersham - Derby. This shot was taken at 08:22 on Tuesday 10th June 2014.
20314+20901 are out of sight, dead on the rear of the train.
20128 and 20075 worked T45 again on Thursday 29th June 1995, and are seen passing Ryecroft at 11:06 en-route from Washwood Heath to Bescot.
As well as the Bloxwich traffic this trip conveyed various bits-and-bobs such as cripple wagons and fuel tanks for Bescot TMD - hence the
four TTA tanks seen here.
20075 and 37201 head the 7G07 Bescot - Honeybourne spoil train as it passes Lower Moor between Norton Jct and Evesham. This shot was taken at
12:33 on Wednesday 9th August 1995. The 37 was booked to work this train on its own, but the crew requested extra power due to the load -
a Class 20 being specially requested. This resulted in a late start from Bescot, and after waiting for a path at both Droitwich and Worcester
it was a couple of hours down at this point. A picture of the return working can be found on the Class 37 page.
20075 passes Lye with the 6G75 Brierley Hill - Bescot trip on Wednesday 25th September 1996. This was a very unusual working for a BRT
20, and the only time I knew of that it happened. The load of the inward 6G74 from Bescot consisted of just three wagons, and
with a single SPA going back it was very suited to Type 1 traction. 6G74 left Bescot at 09:35 and arrived Brierley Hill at 10:45,
after a run-round at Stourbridge Jct of course. 6G75 departed Brierley Hill at 11:25, leaving me ample time to drive the couple of
miles to Lye and get this shot at 11:57.
20090 and 20120 stand in the platform at Smethwick West with the "Velvet Glove" railtour. This shot was taken at about 12:50 on Monday
6th May 1991. The train had just returned from the Handsworth branch with the 20s at the rear, and after this reversal at Smethwick was
about to set off for Ironbridge via New St and Sutton Park. Smethwick West station effectively closed in 1995 when the nearby Galton Bridge
was opened, but it retained a token "parliamentary" service until final closure in 1996.
20096 and 20107 trail on the back of 7X10 Amersham - Derby Litchurch Lane as it passes the village of Whitacre Heath. This photo
was taken at 08:57 on Tuesday 9th July. 20905 and 20901 were leading the train (see pic below).
20097 propels the Bilston - Wednesbury trip freight through Moxley at 17:58 on Tuesday 6th September 1988. The traffic is loaded scrap
wagons from the Norton Barrow scrapyard. At Wednesbury the locomotive will run-round the train, probably attach some other traffic, and
then go forward to Bescot. During 1988 the Wednesbury trip was worked by a single Class 20, the same loco usually sticking for several weeks
at a time. This stretch of track between Bilston and Wednesbury now forms part of the Midland Metro route.
20218 and 20099 coast towards Tutbury & Hatton with a Crewe - Derby local service. This shot was taken on Saturday 5th August 1989.
A shortage of Sprinters meant that Crewe - Derby local services were loco-hauled, mainly by 20s, for several weeks. Also out on this
day were 20065+20208 20154+20140 and 20188+20044. Thanks to Dave B for help with the caption.
I'd arrived at Tutbury from Derby behind a different pair of 20s. Having bagged 20218 and 20099 on their way to Derby (see previous pic) it
was simply a case of waiting for them to return on the next service so that I could get a shot with sun on the nose. Sitting on the quiet
footbridge near the River Dove was a pleasant way to pass an hour or so on this warm summer's day. After this shot it was a short walk back
to the station for a 20-hauled train back to Derby and more shots there.
A shot of 7X10 Amersham - Derby, taken on Tuesday 1st July 2014. It's not immediately obvious that this location is near the centre of Birmingham. The outer
suburbs have always been leafy, but the inner industrial areas much less so. Not the case these days though, as the urban forest expands ever more. 20118 and
20132 approach Saltley Viaduct at 08:41. 20905 and 20227 were on the rear. It would have been a better shot if the train was on the up slow, rather than the
up fast, but this was my first attempt here, and I've no idea which line it normally uses.
20126 and 20022 draw into Shirley with the Stilton and Branston Ploughman
railtour. This train ran on Saturday 11th July 1987.
20128 and 20168 approach Newton-le-Willows with a Fiddlers Ferry - Parkside coal empties. This shot was taken at 13:12 on Wednesday
8th May 1991. Parkside Colliery closed in June 1993, and Fiddlers Ferry in March 2020. The use of coal for electricity generation
in Britain was nearly over by summer 2021. Only three coal-fired power stations remained at the start of the year. Drax took its remaining
coal units offline in March 2021, and apparently don't expect to use them again although they'll still be available for winter 2021/22 if
needed. West Burton reportedly withdrew from the capacity market for winter 2021-22, and decommissioning has been announced for
September 2022, so that looks to be finished. Ratcliffe does have capacity market contracts for winter 2021/22, and no firm closure
date has been announced. However there are plans to convert it to a waste incinerator supplying electricity to the grid.
20128 and 20075 climb away from Ryecroft (Walsall) on Monday 13th May 1996 with a 6L95 Bescot - Beeston BRT train. From Summer 1995 to
Easter 1997 the four operational BRT-liveried Class 20s were based at Bescot and used by Transrail, and later EWS, on their own work when not needed
for BRT duties. Such duties were few and far between, and the arrangement with Transrail and EWS was intended to keep the locos active
and serviceable. In practise there were rarely more than two of the four available for traffic at any given time. Indeed for most of the
second half of 1996 only 20075 was serviceable. Thanks to Paul R for the reporting number and destination of this train. Paul
photographed this train at Trent Jct.
20128 and 20075 coast downhill from Bloxwich at 13:57 on Thursday 21st September 1995. This is the 6T45 Bloxwich - Washwood Heath trip,
the first of the regular jobs undertaken by BRT Class 20s during the two years between 1995 and 1997.
Not a brilliant composition this, but by 1995 there weren't many angles available for shots of trains entering the smelter sidings at
Bloxwich. This glorious morning was Tuesday 25th July 1995. 20075 and 20128 are crossing Fryers Road at around 10:00, but my notes
don't reveal whether they were going in or coming out of the sidings in this shot. There were no lights or barriers here, it was the
duty of one of the factory staff to open the gates to the yard (on the left here), stop the traffic, and hold the stop sign. My earliest
visits to Bloxwich in the 1980s pre-dated the lollipop stop sign, in those days a beaten up old red flag was waved in the general direction
of the traffic until it stopped.
A convoy of locomotives is moved from Bescot Depot to the Holding Sidings after being re-fuelled. This shot was taken on Saturday 8th February
1986, and the locos are 20135+20129 31159 47624 25059 and 58007. Such moves were quite common well into the 1990s, and involved shunting off the
north end of the depot onto the down main, reversing across the trailing crossover to run through the station on the up main, then going along
the up loop before reversing again into the former up reception sidings. Prior to 1981 diesel locos would run along the UDG loop to stable in
the Down Local Sidings.
Another shot of D8137 on Sunday 1st April 2007, this time trundling into Gotherington at 11:52 with the 11:30 Toddington - Cheltenham.
And a third one of D8137, this time with 73129. This duo were passing Hailes with the 10:00 Cheltenham - Toddington at 10:40 on Saturday
1st April 2006.
20142 and 20227 lead 7X09 Old Dalby - Amersham along the down goods loop at Elford. This shot was taken at 17:07 on Wednesday 23rd
May 2012, and the train was running around 17 minutes early. The train conveys new LUL S Stock, which is built at Derby and commissioned
at Old Dalby. The 20s actually deliver the trains to Neasden depot, running on LUL metals over the last leg.
20142 and 20189 head a 6Z21 Long Marston - Doncaster as it drops off the Camp Hill line at Bordesley Jct. This shot was taken at
12:58 on Wednesday 31st July 2013, and the load is five JNA bogie wagons. In the event this train went AWOL after Chesterfield and
was assumed to have terminated at Barrow Hill. The photo wasn't the close call that it first appears. The coal train on the down line
is 4V06 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford, and it was at a stand when I arrived, 30 minutes earlier. In fact it had come to rest at 10:55, some
two hours before this shot was taken, with 66508 apparently in difficulty. I waited another 30 minutes to see what might happen,
but gave up at that point. Eventually 66566 was despatched from Lawley St to assist. It propelled 4V06 to Kings Norton, before running
round and finally going forward four hours late.
20142 and 20205 sandwich a single coach while forming a 5Z21 Washwood Heath - Wolverton special. The train is seen just east of Whitacre Jct,
and was photographed at 12:47 on Wednesday 20th April 2016.
Recently ex-works 20181 shunts a ballast train at Whifflet on Thursday 31st May 1979. A decade earlier
Whifflet East Jct signalbox stood behind
20181. We were on a spotting trip when I took this. Our visits to Whifflet would have normally been to view the locos stabled on the
R.B. Tennant branch, visible in the background, but on this midweek occasion we lingered there for an hour or two. In retrospect it
seems odd to see the stabled locos on a midweek visit, and for some reason their numbers went unrecorded. However we'd been to Whifflet
on the previous Sunday, and found 06003 08731 and 08227 stabled there. I believe 20181 was a Toton loco at this time, presumably only in
Scotland because of its works visit. We'd seen it in Glasgow Works on the previous Saturday. In this pic it's on the up goods line,
on the north end of its train. Thanks to Dave B and Jeff B for help with the caption.
This shot was taken on a spotting trip to Scotland in the summer of 1979, on Wednesday 30th May to be precise. When the crossing gates at
Dunfermline Townhill came down we would obviously have waited to see what came along. What came along was 20184 and 20206 on a westbound
coal, probably bound for Longannet but evidently going into Townhill loop/yard given that the subsidiary arm of the signal is off. Such
trips did provide the occasional opportunity to get shots of moving trains, but most of the pics I took were of engines stabled on the
depots that we were visiting.
20189 and 20205 tow 50049 through Bescot at 13:52 on Monday 3rd April 2017. All three were returning from the previous
weekend's Bluebell Railway diesel gala. They were running as 0Z20 East Grinstead - Kidderminster, the 20s returning the
Class 50 to the Severn Valley Railway.
20189 stands outside Kidderminster Diesel Depot (SVR) on the morning of Sunday 20th May 2018.
20190 and 20104 were working the 6T43 Round Oak - Washwood Heath steel trip when signal-checked near Ryecroft on Tuesday 19th February 1991.
At this time West Midland steel traffic was centred on Washwood Heath rather than Bescot, which meant quite a few trips made the journey
through Sutton Park as most of the West Midland steel terminals were in the Black Country. The T43 trip was worked by the engines off the
Boston - Round Oak train which arrived at Round Oak around 08:00. After an out-and-back trip to Washwood Heath in the morning the locos
would take the Boston empties away from Round Oak in the afternoon.
20197 and 20013 arrive back at Bescot with a weekend ballast train. This shot was taken at 12.18 on a glorious autumn day, Sunday 30th
October 1988. The platforms had yet to be widened, that happened when Walsall FC moved from Fellows Park to Bescot Stadium in 1990.
20225 and 20203 pass under the Stour Valley line at Dudley Port with 6E29, the Brierley Hill - Scunthorpe steel empties.
This shot was taken at 12:02 on Tuesday 5th July 1988.
8X23 Derby Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby passes Bagworth on Tuesday 9th August 2011. The already very late train had been waiting at
Bagworth Jct for 6Z22 Eastleigh - Stud Farm to clear the single-line section before it was allowed to proceed. 20305 was leading when
it passed Bagworth at 15:22. It just made it before the sun went behind a small cloud. Getting bowled on this would have been very bad
luck, given that the sun had been out for about 48 of the preceding 50 minutes. Happily all was well in the end.
Twenty-two seconds elapsed between taking the previous shot, and taking this shot of 20301 trailing on the rear of 8X23. Such trivia is
one of the joys of digital photography.
20302 and 20301 blast through Stableford, between Crewe and Norton Bridge, with 6Z58 Penrith - Cricklewood. This was a short-lived
trial which didn't materialise into a regular working. The load was a single milk tanker, as reflected in the "Milkliner 2000"
headboard, and the photo was taken at 16:22 on Saturday 5th July 1997.
DRS provided 20308 and 20309 from their operational fleet for an event at Crewe Heritage Centre on Saturday 9th April 2011. This is 309,
which was previously 20075. At this stage 14 years had elapsed since this loco was part of the four-strong BRT fleet based at Bescot.
D8075 entered traffic in summer 1961, so was almost 50 years old when this photo was taken.
20308+20305 trail on the rear of a 1Z47 Crewe - Bromsgrove charter as it departs from the Up Dudley Siding, near Bescot Curve Jct, at 10:14
on Sunday 12th April 2015. The train had run via Cannock with 37610 on the rear so that it could lead to Bromsgrove via Sutton Park after a
reversal here. This was the first passenger train to use this stretch of line since it was re-opened as a run-round facility in autumn 2014.
DRS took over the 6Z96/6Z97 Crewe - Bescot - Toton - Crewe engineer's trains on Monday 20th January 2014, but due to incapacity I was
unable to photograph this train until March. The normal power had been a pair of 57s, but on my first opportunity to point the
camera at it a pair of Class 20s was turned out for the first time. 20309 and 20303 worked the 6Z96 leg from Crewe to Bescot on Wednesday
5th March, and are seen here at 14:24 accelerating away from a 20 minute signal stop on the approach to Bescot. The train was terminated
at Bescot, with the Choppers returning light engine to Crewe.
7X10 Amersham - Derby ran on Tuesday 4th June 2013. This path is used to return new
LUL S stock underground trains back to their builder -
Bombardier - for modifications. I knew that orange-liveried 20311+20314 and BR blue-liveried 20096+20107 would work this train, but
not which pair would lead. In the event I'd have much preferred the blue pair on the front, but was happy enough that the light was
guaranteed on a lovely morning. The train is seen approaching Bordesley Jct at 08:13, which surprised me a bit as it's booked a long
recess in Bordesley goods loop until about 08:30. Saplings had been planted on the public side of the fence since I was last there,
which means that it's likely to be another shot lost in a year or two when they mature.
20314 and 20307 pass Norton, just south of Worcester, with the 6M67 Bridgwater - Crewe on Monday 7th August 2006. This shot would have been better
if the train had run 15 or 20 minutes later, as that would have put some light on the nose. Nonetheless I was pleased with this photo which came out
much better than I'd imagined when I took it.
Another shot of 6M67 on 7th August 2006. This picture shows it about to cross over the A442 at Hampton Lovett, just north of Droitwich.
One virtue of a short train is that it fits comfortably into a side-on shot.
At the time I took it I didn't think this shot was going to be usable, but on closer inspection it turned out that there were some
fairly faint shadows on the train. A hefty chunk of levels and curves adjustment has generated a much more presentable shot than the
original image. Sometimes you just have to "cheat" a bit, and being shafted by the light after a three hour wait is one of
those times. 20311 and 20315 approach Kidderminster with the 6M67 Bridgwater - Crewe flask at 18:29 on Thursday 9th August 2007.
20901 and 20904 top-and-tail a weedkiller train as it heads south through Bromsgrove on Saturday 12th August 1995. The background of this
shot has changed somewhat in recent years: the oil depot has gone, and houses are being built on the site behind where the trees stand.
20901 and 20905 haul 37412 37672 and 37029 through Stenson Jct at 11:30 on Friday 20th March 2009. The train was 6Z37 Barrow Hill - Long
Saturday 17th December 2005 saw 20905 and 20096 work a 5Z22 Gloucester - Long Marston special consisting of stored HST vehicles. The
ensemble is seen here passing Lower Moor, near Pershore, at 10:11. It had been a decade since I last visited this location, the picture of
20075 and 37201 above was taken from the bridge in the background of this shot. The fact that both pictures feature Class 20s is quite
a co-incidence given their rarity on this line.
20905 and 20901 lead 7X10 Amersham - Derby Litchurch Lane towards the footbridge at the south end of Willington village. This shot
was taken at 11:10 on Tuesday 9th July 2013, with 20107 and 20096 trailing at the rear of the train.
20906 brings up the rear of a weedkiller train as it drops down towards Ryecroft junction. This shot was taken in the summer or early
autumn of 1989. At the time the vegetation around Mill Lane still permitted a view of the Walsall skyline, these days all you can see
from this spot are fifty-foot high trees. Visible above the cab of the 20 is the trackbed of the Lichfield line, which closed in 1984.