So it was Sunday Morning, sun was shining and it was also my first one back at work later in the evening, so what better way to do then go out with the camera, Sunday however isn't one of the better days for transport photography so it was a case of check Realtime Trains to see what was happening. I seen that the car train from Halewood to Southampton was running so it was a case of plot a place and go, with the light being decent, the best place to get to was Barby Nortoft next to Daventry International Railfreight Terminal on the fringes of Northamptonshire, so it was down the A5 I went.
Arriving at the location, which on RTT is classed as Daventry North Junction, no surprise really seeing the junction is literally just North of the bridge. Another glance at RTT seen there was also 2 engineers' services due so I hung about to see what materialised.....
Compared to the day previous when the weather was rubbish, Good Friday yielded some decent light and weather to boot, the only downside was most stuff was showing as either cancelled or just not running, anyhow, determined not to let the nice weather go to waste, I armed myself with my camera and headed off, first port of call being Elford, just North of Tamworth....
Well it wasn't an ideal day to be out with the camera with it being dull and a forecast of rain for some parts of it, nevertheless there was some workings which commanded my attention.
Seen, in order, was:
I was also aware of 68011 working 6U76 Crewe Basford Hall - Mountsorrel empty ballast boxes but this seemed to have had issues near Stafford and with the rain starting I decided to shut up shop and go home.
Given the weather over the weekend just gone was a mixture of rain, sun, sleet, snow and winds, Monday was quite a contrast with clear blue skies, plenty of sunshine but chilly. Monday's however are quite dire on the railway front so I didn't really expect to get much, so much so I had planned to do some lorry photting on the A5 however as the morning drew on, it became apparent that there was a few bits knocking about, however my first phot was to occur at my local lineside spot of Burbage Common, on the outskirts of Hinckley - yes I know many of you will already know where Burbage Common is from my posts on the gen groups but I still get the odd question of "Where is Burbage Common??". The train in particular is a somewhat regular runner; 6U76 Crewe Basford Hall - Mountsorrel empty ballast boxes which - if running to time - passes Burbage around 10:20, give or take a minute or two. Needless to say, some early morning heads up suggested 68019 Brutus would be providing the horses, 68019 of course being the latest to the Class 68 fleet, operated by Direct Rail Services and the empty wagons to Mountsorrel tend to be regularly 68-hauled. Due about the same time as well was 56098 working a light engine move from Leicester Depot to Cardiff Tidal, in preparation to a rake of empty scrap wagons from Cardiff to Chaddesden Sidings on Tuesday 8th March.
Needless to say, upon arriving at Burbage Common, I was getting my camera and video camera out of the car when the unmistakable sound of a Class 56 horn cut through the still, calm chilly air - heralding the approach of the locomotive to any ramblers near any of the 2 foot crossings in the area, all I could do was watch as she passed by. OK no problem, I proceeded with getting my equipment and lugging it the couple hundred yards to the foot crossing whilst dogging the various puddles and wet patches, I still had 15 minutes or so to kill before the arrival of 68019 which gave ample time to get set up. Before long, she came into view with a tasty rake of former Railtrack liveried MRA wagons as opposed to the more common rake of yellow IOA boxes.
Getting back to the car, it was a case of checking the gen to see what else was happening as well looking at Realtime Trains, as I hadn't done much on the West Coast Mainline, I checked to see what was running and seen first off there was a light loco move, running as an 0Z92 from Crewe to Willesden, this was down as a Caledonian Sleeper loco and so naturally I though "Oooo.......A Class 92" especially as GBRf have given quite a few a new lease of life over the last couple of years, and with more to come too. Driving away from Burbage Common though a new situation arose whereby I had to relieve myself, it wasn't extremely urgent but there was no way I was going to make it to Atherstone in time without leaving a tidy little mess. Fortunately I don't live far from The Common so a small divert was made back home.
Having relieved myself, it was back in the car and getting myself acquainted with the A5 for the trip to Atherstone - where, unbeknown to me at the time, I would spend the best part of 3 hours. The actual location was the footbridge off of Westwood Road - a handy place for anything going South but useless for anything going North. Meeting a couple more enthusiasts we all soon got talking and before long 0Z92 was almost upon us, in the shape of Freightliner's 90049 as GBRf have been hiring a fair few Class 90's from Freightliner of late due to ongoing issues with the Class 92's, in all fairness though most of the Class 92's haven't turned a wheel in nearly a decade and so you can't expect them to run straightaway without ironing a few kinks.
Whilst at the bridge, we were also aware of a 3Z68 test train running from Derby RTC to London Euston Down Carriage Shed Neck, yes I know it's a bit of a tongue twister lol, the info originally was it was to be a DBSO + loco combination with the DBSO leading from Derby, as the move was booked to turn off the Derby - Birmingham line at Wichnor Junction and meet up with the West Coast Mainline at Lichfield Trent Valley, the loco would therefore lead to London, at this point we had no idea what the loco was although the train hadn't left Derby and was running late. Soon enough it flagged up as leaving Derby - 120 minutes late, but it made good progress down to Lichfield, even though we still had no idea what the loco was, until it got to Comberford where an enthusiast reported it as 37219 top and tailed with 37175 on the rear. Happy Days as both tractors are in Colas livery and would look nice in the sun.
Soon, and as with Burbage Common, the still atmosphere was shattered with that all too common English Electric thrash as the train came into view, even more surprising was that the train was on the Up Fast as well which in my opinion was even better.
Another nice surprise for the day was a pair of Gatwick Express liveried Class 387 units doing mileage accumulation tests between Wembley and Crewe, with 387213 and 387214 being the pair.
The Sightings is as follows:
With the Ruggex services doing the rounds between Coventry and Nuneaton, there was also 2 "Footex" services operating from Liverpool to Wembley Central in conjunction with the Carling Cup final game between Liverpool -vs- Manchester City at Wembley Central.
The first service to run was 1Z68, the 10:05 Liverpool South Parkway - Wembley Central, this train was consisted with EWS-liveried 90035 leading with Royal Train 67005 Queen's Messenger on the rear, running approximately 4 minutes early, I photographed the train at Atherstone Westwood Road just as a Virgin Pendolino train was overtaking, originally I didn't think much of the shot but on the other hand I think it represents a good West Coast Mainline shot.
The second service was 1Z57 10:48 Liverpool Lime Street - Wembley Central, which was DRS Northern Belle set, Northern Belle-liveried 57312 Solway Princess was leading, with DRS-liveried 57310 Pride of Cumbria on the rear. I shot this train at Atherstone Station, with the classic station building forming the back drop.