Class 70 locomotives
70002 rounds the curve at Walcot between Shrewsbury and Wellington. This shot was taken at 12:08 on Thursday 10th December 2009, and the
train is 6M55 Portbury - Rugeley. Class 70s had only started to enter traffic earlier that same month, hence the still pristine
70003 passes the disused Washwood Heath yard at 11:10 on Monday 15th March 2010. This diagram originated at Portbury or Avonmouth,
and the loaded 6Z70 working reached Rugeley via Worcester, Stourbridge and Bescot. This is the 4Z70 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford
return empties, which ran-round at Bescot before proceeding via Sutton Park and Birmingham. Running loaded trains via Stourbridge,
even with Class 70s at the helm, was evidently deemed unsuccessful after a couple of incidents with Class 70s getting into trouble
on 6Z70 in the Stourbridge area. FLHH trains from the Bristol area to Rugeley soon reverted to the established route via Hereford
and Shrewsbury, irrespective of what was hauling them.
70003 again, this time heading 6M55 Portbury - Rugeley through Walsall station at 13:06 on Friday 26th March 2010. 6M55 was routed via
Newport, Hereford and Shrewsbury, and normally followed the 12:39 New St - Rugeley TV which departed from Walsall at 13:00.
70004 worked 6Z96 Crewe - Toton on Tuesday 15th January 2013, and is seen on the approach to Bescot at 13:38. It had been waiting at
the signal for over 30 minutes, and eventually went into the downside. It subsequently left for Toton at 15:15, with the same train
consisting of JZA rail carrying wagons. This train called at Bescot for traffic reasons, and normally the wagons brought from Crewe
and those taken forward to Toton were at least partly different, so this was unusual. This remained a fairly reliable Class 70 job, despite
the loads being typically moderate in weight, until DRS took over the working on Monday 20th January 2014.
70006 passes Bloxwich at the head of 4V61, the 16:55 Rugeley - Stoke Gifford coal empties. This shot was taken at 17:20 on
Friday 11th June 2010. Like most empty coal trains this ran to Bescot where the loco ran-round before
the train proceeded via Sutton Park, Camp Hill and Bromsgrove. From August 2013 such trains should have been able to reverse in a
specially provided run-round facility just south of Pleck Jct, rather than go into Bescot. In practise trains didn't start using
that facility until autumn 2014, and even then only sporadically. Regular coal traffic to Rugeley ceased in February 2016.
70006 heads 6U76 Crewe - Mountsorrel through Dunston, north of Penkridge. This shot was taken at 08:33 on Saturday 14th May 2011.
70009 trundles through a dark and damp Walsall at 07:53 on Saturday 13th June 2015. The train is 4O27, a Garston - Southampton
liner. Walsall station is something of a freight hotspot by modern-day standards, but it can be a grim place, especially when
the weather is foul. The island platform is a sort of mini New St, concrete cavern, partly covered by a shopping centre and low
roof. It was darker than it might look, ISO1000 was required with the lens wide open.
70805 crawls into Bescot Down Reception sidings at 16:15 on Thursday 12th June 2014. The train is 6M50
from Westbury, which on this day ran via Coventry, Birmingham International and Aston rather than the
booked route via Coventry, Nuneaton and Water Orton. Two items of interest in this shot apart from the
train: the unusual OLE wiring in the foreground; and the yellow "Molex" Drain Train, stored in the
Local Sidings. The Drain Train was formed of three wagons, two four-wheel tanks and a converted bogie
flat carrying the mechanical equipment. It had been in store at Bescot for a very long time, over 20 years
I think, until it was disposed of in late October/early November 2016.