Monday, 31 January 2011

A Blast From The Past

Whilst tidying the office today I found a March 2003 copy of Railway Magazine lying around. We'd kept it because it had an article about our first train decontamination operation at MOD Shoeburyness, so I took a time to browse through it and see what a different place the railways were 8 years ago.

Apart from our article illustrated by pictures of 302s, there was a full page spread on Fragonset's facility at Derby outlining their plans for expansion and domination of the spot hire market. As we all know, the future turned out to be very different.

Eastleigh was still run by Alstom and was storing 375s (for Bombardier? I didn't know that) as well as carrying out crash repairs to 423 units 428 and 452.
Next door in the depot Fragonset (them again) collected 73104, 73139 and 33046 for movement to Carnforth.

4CEPs were operating to London Bridge and Virgin 47s were still in service, whilst GNER had a Eurostar set in traffic. Freightliner took delivery of 66564-6 at Newport where the latest class 70 was bent last week.
The last 303s or Blue Trains were sent out of service by a lone piper on December 30th whilst Siemens were using our MOD base for testing 450012 with a 47 derived shore supply.

So on a cold January in 2011 I wonder what the industry watcher of 2003 would
have made of our position now ?

Freightliner ordered more 66s but who would have predicted that we would be storing 4 of them off lease only 8 years later ?

Siemens now overhaul the 450s at Eastleigh Works so I will get a chance to meet unit 12 again soon. CEPs, VEPs and CIGs are long gone and would be completely alien to modern commuters, whilst Fragonset found out that truth and publicity are not the same thing and went down owing money to just about everybody.

Oh and Alstom baled out of Eastleigh Works leaving it to that bloke from Shoebury to pick up the pieces.

My waistline was less than it is now but I have had some fun since 2003

Here's to the next 8 years. Anybody care to make any predictions ?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Two Major Lifts in Two Days!!

On Tuesday 25th January, 50026 was lifted for a replacement traction motor to be fitted. The following day, Wednesday 26th January, the boiler was successfully lifted off 'CHELTENHAM', marking a milestone in the overhaul of the loco.

Check out the KRS website 'Latest News' section or my Fotopic website (the password will be removed from the latter as soon as approval has been given)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A busy day today saw 2 trains arrive with wagons for store and repair. The first was hauled by a Freightliner 66 (no I don't know the number) with 21 coil carriers and arrived just after midday. The second followed on a couple of hours later with 14 bogie vans and a potash carrier behind yet another 66, this time from DBS.

This latest influx means that we have run out of siding space for the present, at least until some more stock goes out. We also have 10 or so container flats in each week for routine maintenance and whilst these spend most of their time in the workshops, they do take up room in the yard when they are swapped over.

Although wagon storage and maintenance is neither glamorous or particularly lucrative, it does make up bread and butter work and keeps people in jobs. It also generates lots of shunting for the 07, without which we would be in real trouble.

The 306 unit is safely tucked up inside, sharing its berthing with a 66 undergoing heavy maintenance and the Schools class Cheltenham. As someone who spent his early railway years working on these venerable trains its a sight I never thought I witness again. Nice simple engineering and well thought out interiors that put modern trains to shame. In this 1930s designed commuter train all of the seats line up with the windows and there is plenty of circulating room around the doors, as well as good draft large screens and a heater under every seat.

Compare that with your Voyager or Pendolino

Friday, 14 January 2011

NRM Class 306 no.017 arrives at Eastleigh Works

Class 306 electric multiple unit no 017 arrived at Eastleigh Works on Thursday this week. It is here for asbestos removal by Knights Rail Services. Built in the late 1940s and part of the National Railway Museum collection, this unit has been in secure storage at MOD Kineton for the last few years.

As an Essex boy myself and having lived alongside the line that this unit would have run on in the mid to late 1960s it was quite fascinating watching this being unloaded and shunted through the yard and into the Works.

I also remember seeing this unit in the late 1980s when it was the last survivor of the class and was used on specials and at open days. It must be almost 25 years since I last saw it so it was quite nostalgic watching it once again.