Class 66 locomotives
66007 passes Leaton, just north of Shrewsbury, with the afternoon Dee Marsh - Llanwern, seen here at 16:31 on Saturday 7th October 2006.
66009 takes the down slow line at Pleck Jct with an empty coal train from Ironbridge. This shot was taken at 18:14 on Wednesday 12th July
2006, and would have been better if I'd been fortunate enough to get another train in the frame. No such luck though. The spot from which this
photo was taken is no longer available. A large chunk of the open ground adjacent to the railway was built on during the autumn of 2007,
a couple more big anonymous sheds being added to the existing development.
66015 and eighteen MEAs trundle along the down goods line at Washwood Heath, as seen at 11:54 on Wednesday 31st October 2007. The train is
6Z42 Croft Quarry - Brierley Hill stone. With the abandoned South Staffs route through Dudley no longer available trains like this
had to go to Worcester to run-round before returning north via Stourbridge. This traffic flow was later won by Freightliner Heavy
Haul, but has since ceased completely.
66034 rounds the curve at Ryecroft Jct with the 4L74 Birch Coppice - Ipswich liner. This shot was taken at 18:17 on Tuesday 18th
May 2010. This train was subsequently revised to run to and from Felixstowe rather than Ipswich, using the reporting numbers 4L07/4M07
rather than 4L74/4M74. In autumn 2014 a further change saw the northern terminus revised from Birch Coppice to Burton-on-Trent, but
the train subsequently became a GBRf working, once again running from Birch Coppice.
This train was waiting at the signal on the up main when I arrived back at Bescot after a quick shopping trip to Walsall on
Saturday 23rd September 2006. As the sun was out I hung on for a few minutes to photograph it when it was eventually allowed
into the downside at 13:13. 66037 was working 6M13, a Portbury - Rugeley coal train diverted via Hereford and Shrewsbury due
to engineering work on the Gloucester route. Routing trains from the Bristol ports via Shrewsbury would become the norm when
Freightliner Heavy Haul subsequently took over all Rugeley coal traffic, as they had no access to a banking engine for the Lickey
incline. All history now of course.
South of Tame Bridge the railway runs dead straight for about a mile, crossing under the M5/M6 links at Ray Hall, and then
the A4041 Newton Road before it curves eastwards on the approach to Hamstead. The immediate foreground is dominated by the
aqueduct which carries the Tame Valley canal over the railway.
This shot was taken at 16:44 on Sunday 15th June 2008, and shows 66043 heading north with what I presume was a diverted Margam -
Dee Marsh steel train.
66055 rolls past Walsall cement terminal as it approaches Pleck Jct with the 6G22 Washwood Heath RMC - Bescot trip. This picture
was taken at 17:27 on Friday 9th June 2006. As mentioned above it's not possible to take pictures from this spot any longer.
4E69 Southampton - Wakefield approaches Willington on Tuesday 18th September 2007. 66081 is providing the power.
66095 heads east along the reversible down Derby line at Water Orton. It was heading for Whitacre Jct with 4M74 Ipswich -
Birch Coppice when photographed at 12:20 on Wednesday 5th September 2012. In early 2013 this train morphed into 4M07
Felixstowe - Birch Coppice, and by 2014 it was running to Burton vice Birch Coppice. It ceased to run in late 2017.
66111 is seen at Ryecroft with 7G22 Washwood Heath - Bescot. This picture was taken at 18:17 on Thursday 28th May 2009. The load consists
of new railway sleepers from the Cemex factory.
66127 passes Whittlesea with the 6L39 Mountsorrel - Trowse stone train. This shot was taken at 12:19 on Friday 8th September 2006. The
10:57 Norwich - Liverpool, visible in the distance, only just got out of the way in time.
I spent the morning of Thursday 23rd April 2009 at Ryecroft, which was busier than I'd seen it for many a year. Two and a bit hours saw
four different (FLHH) Rugeley coal trains, two intermodals, a Bescot - Long Marston special, a steam engine (62005 en route Tyseley to Carnforth),
a StoneBlower, and the Rugby - Immingham coal empties (twice). EWS/DBS coal trains were already uncommon in the Black Country when this shot
was taken, and when this flow ended they dried up completely. 6E11 had been diverted to run-round at Bescot when Washwood Heath yard closed.
Here's 66141 heading towards Bescot at 10:44. It returned east at 11:55.
Views of the yard at Washwood Heath could be a bit awkward due to the prominent lighting posts. However if a train used the right road you
could lose most of them, as was the case here. 66155 draws to a stand with a Toton - Daw Mill empty coal train at 11:55 on Wednesday 31st
October 2007. The yard contains the usual assortment of wagons for this period, i.e. recessed intermodal trains to the right and empty car
wagons to the left. Among the car carriers are a handful of coal wagons, no doubt cripples knocked out of trains like the one 66155 is
working. The 66 will run-round its train before heading east to what was then the West Midlands' last remaining pit. Daw Mill closed in
February 2013 after a major underground fire.
66157 hauls a uniform rake of SPAs loaded with steel wire around the curves on the approach to Whitacre Jct. This pic was taken at
11:27 on Friday 6th April 2007, and I presume the train is 6Z58 Cardiff - Rotherham which had been a regular runner at this time.
66162 starts away from a signal check at Bordesley Jct with the 6M60 Tavistock Jct - Bescot china-clay. This shot was taken at 08:42 on
Saturday 14th June 2008. 6M60 was later revised to run via Hereford and Shrewsbury, arriving at Bescot late on Saturday afternoons. It
then reverted to the Lickey route, but this time running on Fridays rather than Saturdays.
66168 negotiates Whitacre Jct with what I suspect is a Bescot - Mountsorrel train. This was taken at 10:03 on Friday 2nd March 2007.
For those not familiar with the location the church-like building in the background is Severn Trent's Whitacre Water Works.
This shot shows 66172 approaching from the Nuneaton direction with 6B30 Mountsorrel - Northampton, and was taken at 14:21 on Wednesday 5th September
2012. After an accident with a self-unloading train at Mountsorrel in February 2016 this train was formed of conventional bogie box wagons.
66185 takes southbound coal empties past Elford at 14.20 on Thursday 9th November 2006.
66187 headed 6M47 Aldwarke - Wolverhampton on Monday 18th October 2004, and was photographed on the approach to Water Orton at 12:04.
The loco was nearly five years old at this stage, but the paintwork still looks very tidy.
66192 passes Kingsbury with 6V40 Lackenby - Margam. This shot was taken at 08:42 on Saturday 5th September 2009. At this time
Freightliner worked the Kingsbury tank trains, hence the green 66 parked in the yard.
66201 heads south near Wylde Green on the Sutton Park Line. The train is 6Z35 Bescot - Avonmouth, and this photo was taken at 15:35 on Monday 10th March
2014. The consist is cement tanks from Clitheroe, which recessed at Bescot on the southbound journey. A regular runner on MWFO, it was recoded as 6V35
later in the year. The four-wheel tanks were replaced by new bogie wagons in December 2015, and the whole operation was taken over by GBRf in May 2018.
GBRf used both the four-wheel and bogie tanks, and normally run trains via the Pleck - Darlaston chord, with no recess at Bescot in either direction.
66205 is seen just north of Stoke Works Jct, Bromsgrove, at 10:54 on Tuesday 6th March 2007. The train is
6M96 Margam - Corby. At this time there were usually two such trains each day, 6M96 ran in the morning
and returned empty as 6V93 in the evening. The other was 6M94 which ran overnight and returned empty as 6V92
during the day. In recent years only the latter train has run. 66205 was exported for use in France in
the latter half of 2007, one of many such EWS locos to find work abroad as traffic declined in the UK.
By early 2018 only 160 of the original 250 EWS Class 66s remained in use with DBC in Britain. 79 had been shipped
abroad for use in Europe, 10 had been sold to GBRf and 1 had been withdrawn due to accident damage.
Freightliner Heavy Haul hired two locos from DRS during 2006, at the time this picture was taken they had 66407 and 66409. The latter is seen passing
Elford at 17:08 on Friday 14th April with the 6M51 Hull - Rugeley coal, a train it had also worked on Tuesday 11th April.
This shot shows 66414 passing Rugeley Trent Valley with 4M44 Mossend - Daventry. It was taken at 15:12 on Thursday 5th April 2007. The
signal on the down fast is at red because the road was set off the branch for the 14:12 New St - Stafford. Meantime the green on the slow
was for a northbound liner. The down fast and down slow lines were subsequently swapped as part of the Trent Valley four-tracking scheme.
66426 leads 6U77 Mountsorrel - Crewe through Barrow-Upon-Trent at 14:30 on Wednesday 27th February 2019.
66504 heads south near Tame Bridge at 15:52 on Thursday 4th September 2008. Trains were being diverted off the Trent Valley during
66508 passes Hednesford with 4V47 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford. This shot was taken at 12:11 on Monday 6th May 2013.
This is 66509 coasting through Ryecroft Jct at 18:42 on Thursday 24th July 2008 with empties from Rugeley Power Station. The speed
restrictions were subsequently raised to 40 over the points and 45 onwards to Bloxwich.
Something of a lucky shot this. I'd gone out to this spot in Wylde Green (on the Sutton Park line) for 67018 hauling 507001 as 5X61
Birkenhead - Eastleigh. The weather consisted of dark cloud with small, but usable, patches of blue sky. One of those days when you'll
be lucky to get a moving target in the sun, but if you do it'll probably have a lovely dark-sky backdrop. The sun was behind a cloud when
5X61 arrived, but while I was waiting 66513 came past with the colourful Jarvis engineers train, probably en-route to its base at Washwood
Heath. The sun just peeked out as it passed, which was at 16:18 on Monday 30th August 2004.
66522 climbs past Leamore (Bloxwich) with the 6M49 Hull - Rugeley coal train. The time is 16:13 and the date is Thursday 5th April 2007.
This shot took about three attempts to get in the sun. It was finally nailed, with some luck in the end, on Friday 21st June 2013. 66525
winds through Bloxwich at 17:32 with the 6M04 Portbury - Rugeley coal train. The longest day was the best day for this shot, as the
sun doesn't get onto the front of northbound trains until around 17:00, but still needs to be as high as possible to clear the
trees on the west side of the line. 6M04 was the sixth of seven loaded
trains into Rugeley Power Station on this day.
The morning of Saturday 15th September 2007 saw me at Willington for a Wakefield - Salisbury charter, but hoping to get at least one
northbound freight in the lovely early autumn sunshine. Sure enough one duly appeared, 66526 and a rake of empty Bardon stone
hoppers were drawing to a stand for a red signal when photographed at 10:13. I presume this is the Washwood Heath - Bardon Hill
service, but what it was doing on this route I don't know. Later in the day this same loco was reported heading south on the Rugeley
- Portbury coal empties, and (to confirm that sighting) it was subsequently reported at Bristol on Sunday 16th. Quite how it managed that
little feat is a bit of a mystery.
66536 powers across Cannock Chase with 6M02 Portbury - Rugeley. On Saturday 8th June 2013 this train ran via Crewe and Walsall,
and is seen here passing Brindley Heath at 09:13. The train is passing underneath the new bridge at Moor's Gorse, which replaced
the level crossing at this point. The bridge was built in response to greatly increased traffic on a bicycle trail across the Chase,
but hadn't opened for business when this photo was taken.
66555 re-starts the 6M14 Harlow - Bardon Hill stone empties out of the loop at March. This shot was taken at 15:19 on Friday 8th September 2006.
66560 passes Leamore, south of Bloxwich, with empties from Rugeley Power Station. This shot was taken at 13:49 on Saturday 21st March
2009. The new houses built on the open ground to the left hadn't blocked the shot off the bridge, although you needed height to see over
the new wooden fence. All a bit academic once the wires went up and the last of the freight over the Chase disappeared.
Summer belatedly arrived in mid-September 2009, and fortunately I was able to get a few days off work to enjoy the sunshine. I
started off at Branston, south of Burton-on-Trent, on Thursday 10th September. 66567 and 66956 were at the head of the 4O54 Leeds -
Southampton liner, which passed at 09:18.
66585 heads 6M66 Immingham - Rugeley on the last few hundred yards of its journey. The train is running 26 minutes late, and is seen
passing Brereton Sidings signalbox at 11:12 on Wednesday 1st May 2013. A new colour light signal stands alongside the box, which closed
at the end of August 2013 when the line was re-signalled.
66594 passes Bentley Heath at 14:24 on Thursday 19th March 2009. The train is 4O05 Birch Coppice - Southampton.
I'd been wanting to do this shot since the trees opposite Hednesford box were removed at the end of May 2013. The later the better really,
so that the sun wasn't too high when my preferred train passed by. In the end I got it with two days to spare before the box closed, and
only with some luck. My target was 4V47, the 11:15 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford, which wasn't running much in early August. Things looked better
on Tuesday 20th August, a day with some sunshine, and with 4V47 running. I had to be away by 11:30 at the latest for an appointment elsewhere,
so needed it to run on time. In the event I had to pop away from the bridge for 10 minutes around 11:00. On my return I was pleased to see
a coal train waiting at the up home signal, and a decent sized hole in the cloud approaching from the south west. Sure enough 66599 was
duly bagged at 11:15. Only later did I realise that I'd photographed a very late running 4V06, the 08:52 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford. 4V47
was 40 minutes late, and I'd long gone by then. 66599 re-appeared on Thursday
22nd August, when the last freight trains passed Hednesford's semaphores.
66605 has just detached from 6M78 Immingham - Rugeley in the Up Dudley Siding at Pleck Jct. After drawing forward to the stop board the driver
dismounts so that he can change the trailing point which leads to the shunt neck, which is situated under the southbound lane of the M6, at the
site of the former Bescot Curve Jct (a few yards behind the camera). The loco will then cross to the former down Dudley line and proceed to a
position just beyond the Wednesbury Road bridge at Pleck Jct, where a dummy signal controls a reversing move across a trailing crossover back
to the up Dudley line. This shot was taken at 10:00 on Thursday 9th April 2015.
This shot was taken at 12:15 on Thursday 19th March 2009 and shows 66608 heading east with coal empties from Rugeley. The location is
the Erdington Road bridge, Aldridge.
66611 approaches Ryecroft Jct with 6M51 Hull - Rugeley. This shot was taken at 18:27 on Thursday 28th May 2009.
66614 passes Elford with the 6M00 Humber - Kingsbury tanks. This shot was taken at 15:51 on Friday 14th April 2006, the same afternoon as
the shot of 66409 above.
66615 winds across Ryecroft Jct with a Rugeley-bound coal train at 08:42 on Tuesday 25th July 2006. This path was often used by 6M53 from
Immingham, but I'm not sure whether that was the train on this occasion.
66616 coasts downhill through Leamore, south of Bloxwich, at 13:18 on Thursday 11th February 2016. The train is 4E82, the 14:00 Rugeley - Leeds,
running about 68 minutes early. Two days earlier it had been announced that Rugeley Power Station would close in summer 2016. Regular coal trains
to Rugeley ceased on Friday 19th February 2016, and the power station ceased generating on Wednesday 8th June when the coal stockpile ran out.
66620 passes Bagworth at 16:24 on Wednesday 19th July 2006. The train is, I think, 6M54 Thorney Mill - Bardon Hill stone empties.
To comply with the large combustion plant directive, flue-gas desulphurisation equipment was commissioned at Rugeley power station
in 2009. A by-product of this process is gypsum, which is usually sold to the manufacturers of plasterboard.
There had been very occasional gypsum trains out of Rugeley prior to this, but in the summer of 2011 they seemed to have started running
to a regular pattern, inbound late on a Friday evening (4M80), and out early on Monday morning (4M81). This is 66706 seen on Monday 22nd
August 2011. It has run round 4M81 Rugeley - Hotchley Hill at Bescot and is seen departing towards Pleck Jct, pretty much bang on time
at 09:28. In the event it proved to be a false dawn, and these services soon stopped. No more gypsum trains ran to Rugeley until the
end of May 2013 when the weekly service re-commenced, once again arriving on Friday or Saturday evening, and leaving on Monday morning.
66708 departs from the up loop at March South Jct with a short engineer's service from Whitemoor Yard. The picture was taken at 16:10 on
Friday 8th September 2006, but I've no idea where the train was bound (I suspect it was a "Z"). This is another grab shot of
sorts, I was at March East when 66708 crept out of Whitemoor Yard and slipped into the loop to allow a unit to pass. I'd originally tried
to make a dash to Manea for it, but the tea-time traffic was so heavy, and my knowledge of the locality so poor, that I ended up at March
South by accident.
After some erratic running in early in February 2013 the Ironbridge biomass trains settled into a more regular pattern by the middle of the
month. The week commencing Monday 18th saw 6M09 03:35 Tyne Dock - Ironbridge running every day, returning as 4E05 17:00 Ironbridge - Tyne
Dock. Tuesday 19th February was a lovely near-cloudless day in the West Midlands, and 66709 worked 6M09/4E05. The loaded train is seen here
passing Cosford a few minutes early at 14:15.
66710 arrives at Bescot with the 6G16 ballast train from Stud Farm quarry. This train is a very good timekeeper and almost always follows
the 13:45 Walsall - New St semi-fast. That was indeed the case on Monday 7th March 2016, and this shot was taken at 13:53. The train is
normally reversed straight into the ballast siding, and unloading commences immediately.
This shot was taken at 11.54 on Saturday 4th November 2006, and shows 66712 passing underneath the M42 with 4M21 Felixstowe - Hams Hall.
This train ran up the WCML via Nuneaton, but when that route was unavailable on Saturdays it used to run via Reading, Banbury and Birmingham
instead. Nowadays a cross-country diversion via Peterborough is more likely.
Ironbridge Power Station stopped generating electricity on Friday 20th November 2015. In its final years it had burned biomass,
conveyed from Liverpool Docks by GBRf. But having opted out of the LCPD
scheme it was obliged to close by the end of December 2015, even if it hadn't used all the operating hours permitted under that scheme.
This train was a 4Z61 Ironbridge - Hexthorpe conveying three wagons for repair. It ran on Friday 20th November, and is seen passing Cosford
at 12:32. Two full rakes of wagons remained at the power station at this stage.
66718 worked a 6Z33 Cardiff - Doncaster empty scrap train on Sunday 1st April 2012. This train was routed via Worcester, Stourbridge
and Bescot, providing the then relatively unusual sight of a GBRf loco on the Sutton Park line. This photo shows it passing East View
Road, Wylde Green, at 16:28. In 2013 GBRf locos became a much more common sight with similar locos heading both Portbury - Ironbridge
biomass and Peterborough - Rugeley - Hotchley Hill gypsum flows. Light engine moves between Hams Hall and Ironbridge or Crewe also
became more common in 2013.
66719 works a diverted 4M21 Felixstowe - Hams Hall through Willington at 10:01 on Saturday 14th June 2008.
66719 rolls downhill towards Bordesley Jct at 08:59 on Saturday 6th June 2015. The train is 6E89 Portbury - Hexthorpe Yard, formed of empty MJA
box wagons. The loaded service conveys gypsum from West Burton Power Station to Portbury Dock. 6E89 had been standing at the signal in rear for
over 20 minutes, most of it in sunshine. It's booked to follow 4M62 Southampton - Lawley St through the junction, and duly did. However by the time
it moved a big block of cloud blowing in from the west had arrived. The sun was poking faintly through the cloud, but it wasn't the shot I'd
hoped for. A second attempt at Saltley Viaduct produced no luck with the light either.
An 0Z72 Kidderminster - Swanage ran on Thursday 8th May 2008. It conveyed preserved locos en-route to the Swanage Railway diesel weekend,
and was routed via Old Hill, New St, Tyseley and Oxford. Seen here passing Blakedown at 09:48, the train was formed of 66724 hauling D444
37906 37275 and 20096. The nameplate on the box reads "Churchill and Blakedown Signal Box".
66724 heads 4G01 Seaforth - Ironbridge past Dunston, just north of Penkridge. This train conveyed biomass in containers, and
was photographed at 08:32 on Friday 21st March 2014.
66731 leads a 4D80 Rugeley - Hotchley Hill gypsum train through Bloxwich at 08:51 on Monday 3rd June 2013. It's passing signal BH6,
a three-aspect colour-light which was Bloxwich's down home signal, located about 250 yards south of the signalbox. The
down distant was BH5, a two-aspect colour-light sited immediately to the west of the point at which the railway goes under the A34
(Green Lane). Both were replaced when the line was re-signalled in August 2013. The inbound gypsum train had run on the late afternoon
of Friday 31st May, and recessed at the power station over the weekend.
On the afternoon of Friday 12th September 2009 I had a trundle over to Barrow-on-Soar, for no other reason that I like this spot
and fancied a crack at some gypsum trains. 66703 had done the morning train to Hotchley Hill, but I didn't arrive in time to see
that train go south to Leicester to run-round. I did, however, catch 66732 heading south with the afternoon train, which passed
Barrow at 14:35. This is 4M82 Doncaster - Hotchley Hill, which originated as 4D55 Drax - Doncaster on this occasion.
By the time 66703 returned north I'd moved around to the footbridge, but it used the fast line where there isn't really a shot.
66732 came north on the slow however, passing Barrow at 15:55. This was my first time on the new footbridge, which doesn't have
high sides and is therefore photo-friendly. It does bounce around when a fast express goes underneath though, much more so than
the old bridge I think.
66738 stands in Bordesley Down Goods loop with 6M26 Eastleigh - Mountsorrel. Booked to recess here from 12:35 to 15:03, on this
day it was in the loop from 13:38 until 14:46. This shot was taken at 13:51 on Thursday 18th February 2016 as a 170+153 combo
heads south from Moor St.
66745 powers away from Ryecroft Jct at 10:12 on Monday 3rd June 2013. The train is 4D80 Rugeley - Hotchley Hill, which had been
hauled by 66731 from Rugeley to Bescot (see above), with 745 dead on the rear. 731 was detached at Bescot, and ran light engine to
Hams Hall, following a few minutes behind 4D80.
The fourth run of the Rugeley gypsum train in 2013 took place over the weekend of 6th/7th July. Summer had arrived in fine style, and on
Monday 8th the sun was nailed on as 66746 passed Bloxwich at 08:53.
The same train as the previous shot. 66746 is heading for Sutton Park after running round 4D80 Rugeley - Hotchley Hill at Bescot, and
it was taken at 09:37 on Monday 8th July 2013. GBRf locos were once rare birds in the Walsall area, but by summer 2013 this was no
longer the case. On this same day 66749 passed Walsall twice on Loughborough - Ironbridge and Ironbridge - Doncaster workings. And
66730 reached Bescot with an aborted Ironbridge - Portbury train which ran-round before returning to Ironbridge. Signal WL83 on the
left controls the westbound exit from platform 2, the up slow line. This LED head was installed in spring 2013, mounted lower down
than the one it replaced, presumably to improve sighting under the station canopy as trains emerge from the tunnel. It also has a
position 1 feather for moves across to the up fast, rather than the theatre route indicator provided previously. When Walsall box
closed in August 2013 control was passed to the WMSC at Saltley, at which point WL83 was renumbered DR6358.
66747 drifts downhill through Leamore, south of Bloxwich, at 12:54 on Saturday 30th April 2016. The train is a 1O95 Manchester Piccadilly -
Bournemouth railtour, which had run via Stoke, Hixon and Colwich Jct (Norton Bridge was closed for work on the new junction there to be
completed). The tour had started at Euston, with 87002 taking it to Manchester. 73109+73119 were also used later in the day. The reporting
numbers used for this tour were of note. The first and last legs were 1Z94 and 1Z96, but the middle leg ran as 1O95 rather than 1Z95. That
was the headcode of the Manchester - Bournemouth "Pines Express", which this tour was commemorating.
66954 passes Small Heath at 13:33 on Monday 12th October 2015. The train is 4M28 Southampton - Garston. This loco was exported to Poland
in January 2018.
66956 heads a northbound liner through Rugeley Trent Valley at 17:17 on Friday 3rd July 2009. The loco still looks fairly shiny, having
been delivered to the UK in November 2008.
Walsall station on a dull and damp February day is a fairly depressing place, enlivened only briefly by tha passage
of the occasional freight train. This one is 66956, heading eastwards at 12:16 on Tuesday 2nd February 2010 with an
unidentified liner. Several lamp-posts in the background went missing during the post-processing.
66957 passes Bloxwich with 4V57 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford on Tuesday 23rd April 2013. The time is 16:21, and the train is running
29 minutes late. The semaphore was designated number 1 up home, number 2 being another semaphore to the rear, just the other side
of the bridge in the background. Bloxwich box, and all of its signals, were abolished in August 2013. Regular coal trains to Rugeley
power station ceased on Friday 19th February 2016, with one last coal arriving from Portbury on Thursday 28th April 2016. Having
burnt the last of its stockpile the power station stopped generating electricity on Wednesday 8th June 2016. How quickly things