Latest updates (most recent first)
New photo added on Wednesday 15th September 2021...
37424 trundles into Bescot at 15:12 on Wednesday 15th September 2021. 6G94 had shown no sign of leaving Basford Hall around
its booked time, even though the light engine from Gresty Bridge had run. When I checked again around 13:20 it was showing as
cancelled ("by the train operator") on RTT. It looked like game over, which was annoying because the weather was brightening up
very nicely, and the occasional recent appearances of 37s on this train had all been under grim skies. I'm not sure why I
looked again, but at 13:50 the cancellation had disappeared and the train was showing on maps waiting to leave Basford Hall.
It eventually reached Bescot 96 late, with the ever improving weather making a sunlit shot more likely than it would have been
had the train run to time. Slightly backlit, but a nice result in the end.
New photo added on Wednesday 8th September 2021...
Carrying its unique "Newell & Wright" livery 66747 takes 4L68 Birch Coppice - London Gateway over the River Tame, just south of Bescot.
This shot was taken at 15:10 on Wednesday 8th September 2021. The loco on this diagram tends to stick for the whole week, the return
being 01:47 from the London end. 747 had done it only a couple of weeks earlier when the weather was crap, but the week starting
Monday 6th was much better. I'd had a go on the Monday but it ran 30 mins late so the sun had gone off the nose a bit, and I fired a
bit late as well. Not an unusable shot by any means, but I knew I'd have a second chance if I wanted it. On Tuesday it was 36 mins
late, so I didn't bother. But on the 8th it ran to time and all was well. The joys of the same loco and same weather persisting over
multiple days, not a combination that occurs often.
New photo added on Monday 6th September 2021...
The shell of 08649 stands on what was once the connection into Dudley Freightliner Depot on the morning of Sunday 5th
September 2021. This is now part of the VLR test track. The building in the top left corner, partially obscured by trees,
is the Hippodrome theatre, under threat of imminent demolition at this time. An art deco building dating from 1938 it
hosted all the big names of the post-war era. Reportedly the last star to perform there was, of all people, Roy Orbison
in August 1974. It had a number of uses thereafter, and was latterly a bingo hall until closure in 2009. Beyond the building
is the hill on which the castle and zoo stand.
New photo added on Sunday 18th July 2021...
37425 had just four MXAs in tow when arriving at Bescot with 6G94 from Crewe, although the following 6D95 to Toton had a bit more weight
to it. Class 37s have always been uncommon on this diagram, but when they do appear it's most often a pair. Single 37s are pretty rare.
This shot was taken at 13:30 on Wednesday 25th August 2021, another summer's day with zero prospect of decent light.
New photo added on Sunday 18th July 2021...
66716 and 69002 take the up fast through Walsall, running as 0M69 Tonbridge - Bescot. 66780 was also part of the consist, but was detached
at Wembley. This shot was taken at 19:54 on Sunday 18th July 2021. The 69 had been named at Waterloo on Sat 10th, but the plate on the
nearside was still under cover here. It was due to go forward at 07:25 the next day as 0G69 Bescot - Longport.
New photo added on Thursday 1st July 2021...
D213 worked a Bangor - Bristol charter on Thursday 1st July 2021. The return train was hauled by steam locos 46100 and 45231, with D213
returning light engine and shadowing the charter. It preceded the charter into Bromsgrove, pausing there in case it was needed as a bank
engine (it wasn't), It then followed the charter to Castle Bromwich, overtaking it there and preceding it to Crewe, where it was due to
relieve the steam locos and work the charter forward to Bangor. The afternoon sunshine disappeared about 30 minutes before the 40 passed
Walsall at 19:28.
New photos added on Thursday 24th June 2021...
37424 and 37423 arrive at Bescot with 6G94 from Crewe. The load here is a rake of wagons used in a HOBC (High Output Ballast Cleaner)
train. This photo was taken at 13:25 on Thursday 24th June 2021, a day of grim light for mid-June.
37424 carries the name "Avro Vulcan XH558" to celebrate the last airworthy Vulcan bomber. XH558 was its RAF serial number, and the loco
also carries the fake number 37558 on its sides (but has the correct 37424 number on its nose ends).
New photo added on Wednesday 23rd June 2021...
37884 hauls 323221 through Tame Bridge at 14:48 on Wednesday 23rd June 2021. It was running as 5Q65 Doncaster - Soho, and thrashing
sufficiently that it could be heard passing Bescot station, well before it came into view. Note the dropped down coupler on the loco,
eliminating the need for translator vehicles. Helpfully for me 2A31 New St - Walsall (due here 14:47) was cancelled, so had no chance
to get in the way.
New photos added on Wednesday 9th June 2021. Back in the 90s...
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.
56132 climbs out of Walsall with 6V70, the Cliffe Vale - St Blazey china clay empties. This shot was taken at 19:10 on Wednesday
8th June 1994, at which time this was a regular Class 56 job. The slurry tanks behind the loco would have been added at Bescot.
You could take the equivalent photo in 2021, as 6V99 still runs in much the same path. Four important differences though:
there'll be a 66 on the front, not a 56; there'll be no slurry tanks in the train; it only runs on Tuesdays, rather than every
weekday as it did in 1994; and you'd be shooting through a maze of OLE catenary now that the line here is electrified.
New photos added on Monday 24th May 2021. Under dark skies...
Around the turn of the millenium there were long rakes of withdrawn Class 20s and 31s dumped in Bescot Down Storage Sidings awaiting
disposal. This shot was taken on Friday 11th February 2000, the closest locos being 31125 on the left and 31155 to the right. 31125
had been withdrawn in late 1994, so had been lying idle for over five years. Some sources show 31155 as withdrawn in May 2000, but as
this image shows the reality was different. July 1995 is the more likely date, albeit that it may have been stored unserviceable on
paper. Either way the yellow end is oddly unfaded compared with the bodyside, and the front of its neighbour. 125 went for scrap at
EMR Kingsbury in 2001, but 155 lingered until 2004 before being dispatched to Thomson's at Stockton.
57002 gets a clear road into Bescot with 6G94 from Crewe, in a shot taken at 13:36 on Monday 24th May 2021. After a period with no
exotic traction this diagram produced some notable locos in quick succession during May. 37424+37402 appeared on Thursday 13th,
57304 on Wednesday 19th, plus 68019 (TPE livery) on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st. 57/0s were pretty thin on the ground by this
stage, with only 002 in active use. This loco started life as D1803 in January 1965, and was renumbered to 47322 in 1974. Its 33 year
life as a Brush Type 4 came to an end in 1998 when it was rebuilt with an EMD engine. In 2008 it was acquired by DRS from Freightliner,
and it remained active when most of DRS's other 57/0s fell by the wayside during the mid-2010s. When this photo was taken it was 56
New photos added on Friday 5th February 2021. More oldies...
33007 stands in platform 8 at a damp Birmingham New St. This shot was taken in early 1983, but I don't have further details
(possibly 1E22 Portsmouth - Leeds on Friday 25th February?). The Crompton hasn't long arrived from the south, and the driver
is winding the blinds to red before I've managed to grab the phot.
08147 and 08170 are stabled at Sunderland South Dock in this photo from early 1982. Three vacuum-only Gateshead shunters stabled
here over the weekend, along with a half-a-dozen Class 37s. The short trip out from Newcastle, and subsequent walk from the station
down to South Dock, was a good value excursion. En-route you'd normally see a Class 03 at Tyneside CFT and another at Sunderland station,
plus a further Class 08 at Monkwearmouth.
New photo added on Saturday 23rd January 2021...
47813 passes Bescot at 13:51 on Friday 22nd January 2021. It was running light engine from Worcester to Derby.
New photos added on Tuesday 19th January 2021. Oldies...
31178 waits for the road in the down platform at Bescot. A shot from the mid 1980s I believe, when the booking office was open
and the waste bins were solid and hid the rubbish.
It's hard to read the on the grimy bodyside, but I'm fairly sure the loco here is 25235, arriving at Elgin with grain hoppers from the
east. There was another Class 25 on the end of the oil tanks in the yard, although it's been cropped out as it misbalanced the image.
This shot was taken in the early summer of 1979.
New photo added on Saturday 31st October 2020. The Badger in Brum...
89001 stands outside Soho depot on the afternoon of Saturday 31st October 2020. It had arrived from Barrow Hill on
Tuesday 27th October to facilitate various electrical tests. This shot was taken through the depot perimeter fence, which currently
requires a bunfight with the vegetation to reach from the canal towpath.
New photos added on Sunday 25th October 2020. 6G16 again, and an oldie...
66789 leads 6G16 from Stud Farm into Bescot. 66705 was trailing on the rear of this train, and the same pair had worked the
outbound 6F16 earlier in the day, namely Thursday 22nd October 2020. Top-and-tailing of this train is very unusual, but it must
have been intentional as the same pair had evidently worked the train on Wednesday 21st. It didn't run on the other three days
of that week.
The nameplate of 66705, on the rear of 6G16. An interesting exercise in weathering for anyone with a model of a 66. The streaking
is presumably from a trip under the loader.
An impressively clean 84002 was stabled in Bescot Down Storage Sidings when this pic was taken, sometime in the late 1970s I think.
It's been many years since electric locos stabled in the yards at Bescot, and they no longer can as the downside yards were dewired
around the turn of the 2019/2020 calendar year. Only the masts and gantries remain, all the wiring and arms have been removed.
New photos added on Wednesday 30th September 2020...
66755 trundles into Bescot with 6G16 from Stud Farm. MRAs with disabled generators are the regular wagons used on this flow, although
this train also had some JNAs on the rear. These MRAs can no longer tip their contents, which is unloaded by a grab like any other box
wagons. This shot was taken at 13:59 on Tuesday 29th September 2020.
The nameplate of 66755. RFG is the Rail Freight Group, a lobbying organisation for the railfreight industry.
New photos added on Sunday 27th September 2020. Chasewater gronks...
08939 approaches Norton Lakeside at 11:23 on Saturday 26th September 2020. 08359 is trailing on the rear of this BLS charter. This was
the first of six return trips, due off Brownhills at 10:30, so running very late here. I'd been waiting near Chasewater Heaths, but had
given up due to the late running, and the fact that the security gates were still closed. Fortunately on my walk back to Brownhills to
see what was going on I'd just reached Norton Lakeside halt when the train finally appeared, although this ended up being a grab shot as
The return run was photographed passing Norton Lakeside at 11:43. 08359 leading and 08939 now on the rear.
It was originally intended to use RSS-owned 08730, which had been at Chasewater for several weeks. However 730 left Chasewater for Wolverton
on Thursday 24th, to replace an ailing 08752. Fortunately RSS-owned 08939 was also at Brownhills, so this was co-opted to work the BLS trains
instead. A cloudless morning had evaporated very quickly just after noon, and I only paused to see this departure as it was due away 15 minutes
after I'd walked back to Brownhills station. As the sky suggests I was lucky to catch the 13:30 service departing in a very brief burst of sun.
New photos added on Tuesday 15th September 2020. Tram livery variations...
Tram 19 runs down the Bilston Road at 13:54 on Monday 14th September 2020. It's heading south, and about to pass under the Stour
Valley railway line. Number 19 lost its "20 years of the Metro" advert in August, when it was replaced by an ad for Marks Electrical,
a white goods firm based in Leicester. However it retained its hybrid white and blue livery, so remains the only one that isn't in
the standard blue.
Tram 25 comes off the Bilston Road and onto the dedicated railway line at Priestfield. This shot was taken at 14:13 on Monday 14th
September 2020, and 25 was the second blue tram I'd seen with white battery boxes on the roof. 32 was the other one.
New photos added on Thursday 10th September 2020...
Two very different types of shunting loco in this shot, taken at Brownhills on the afternoon of Wednesday 9th September
2020. My aim was to get a photo of 08730, an RSS loco recently painted into ABP (Associated British Ports) livery, evidently
destined for use at ABP's Hams Hall container terminal. 08730 was at Brownhills earlier in 2020, but returned to Wishaw where
it was re-painted before returning to Brownhills in August. Obstructing the view are Chasewater's two Simplex locos, built by
Motor Rail at Bedford. These were used in industry and carry BR black livery and running numbers to mimic similar LNER/BR
Class Y11 locos. There were three Y11s (15097-15099), although none survive. The loco blocking the view of 08730 was built in
1919; it carries the number 15097 and is named "Ubique". The one to the left is numbered 15099; it dates from 1920 and is
Tram 27 was heading south from Wednesbury, and about to cross the Tame Valley canal, when photographed at 15:51 on Wednesday
9th September 2020.
New photos added on Tuesday 11th August 2020. More G80 test shots...
Tram 27 was heading south between Soho and the Jewellery Quarter when photographed at 14:53 on Tuesday 11th August 2020. The trams are
considerably less interesting now than they were last year. Apart from 19 it's only those carrying adverts that provide any variety.
I didn't see all those in traffic on this afternoon, but of the nine or ten I did see only 18 and 27 weren't all blue.
This is a spot I've not used before. It's All Saints St, situated half-way between Soho Benson Road and the Jewellery Quarter. A nice
sweeping curve, with the bridge parapet being high enough to need the milk crate, although I might have just managed on tip-toes. The
north-facing shot (above) is do-able, but rather spoilt by the adjacent Lodge Road bridge. The better shot is this south-facing view,
with the BT Tower visible to the right (0.93 miles away as the crow flies). Unfortunately trees on the right mean that it's only useful
for trams, and not main-line trains. Tram 18 heads north at 15:23 on Tuesday 11th August 2020.