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Bromsgrove 1963

The year commenced with only the third recorded visit of a former LNER V2 class locomotive to the Birmingham to Bristol main line (the previous two visits both occurring in late 1959). The engine concerned, 60945 of 50A York shed, arrived at Bristol on Wednesday 23rd January from Birmingham, the exact working not having been recorded. When the Western Region Authorities realised it had infringed clearance restrictions on the route to Bristol, it was sent back home on a Bristol East to Woodford Halse freight via Didcot on Thursday 24th January. Another unusual working occurred on Thursday 31st January when Britannia Class 70018 'Flying Dutchman' of 5A Crewe shed, worked the 0830 Birmingham New Street to Worcester.


Winter weather  

The severe winter weather which had started just after Christmas with heavy  snow, caused many steam locomotives which had been put into  store to be  returned to service to deputise for ailing diesels which froze up in the terrible  conditions. A number of the Jubilees based at 16F Burton shed were utilised,   and for a while steam came back to  prominence. For example, 45557 'New Brunswick' headed the 1440 Bristol to Nottingham on Thursday 31st January.


Run down of the Wagon Works  

February brought the first dismissal and redundancy notices at Bromsgrove Wagon Works under the Beeching British  Railways streamlining  plan. 21 men were given notice and the total closure of the works was confirmed for Autumn 1964.


Class 47 D1500 tested on the Lickey Incline  

Also during this month the first production Brush 4 (later class 47), number D1500 (built  at  the Brush Works, Loughborough in September 1962) was tested on the Lickey  bank. The unassisted stop and starts were successfully made with a 690 ton  train  comprising 19 coaches and a dynamometer car, with the resident  banker Class 9F 92079 trailing some distance behind during the test as safety measure, both to prevent any accidental runaway and to assist if a restart could not  be effected unaided.


Unusual visitors  

Unusual  visitors in this early part  of  the  year were 44674 (12A Carlisle  Kingmoor) on Wednesday 9th January, 42855 (16A Toton) on the 1640 Birmingham New Street to Gloucester on Saturday 16th February, and former WD 90189 (36C Frodingham).


Class 33's on the oil trains   

By this  time the heavy oil trains from Fawley (near Southampton) to  Bromford Bridge (Birmingham) were being hauled regularly throughout by type 3 (now class 33) diesels via the Lickey incline, requiring up to five bankers (usually 92079  and four 0-6-0  Panniers). Some of the locomotives recorded on this duty during March and April were: Saturday 2nd March - D6530, Saturday 16th March -  D6585, Tuesday 19th March - D6583, Wednesday 20th March - D6575, Wednesday 3rd April - D6520, Friday 5th April - D6517, Saturday 6th April - D6536, Thursday 11th April - D6533 and D6556, Saturday 13th April - D6520, Saturday 20th April - D6536 and /D6546, Monday 22nd April - D6585 and Sunday 30th April - D6521. Occasionally, however,  steam locomotives were recorded on this turn, one example being Class 9F 92000 (from 84E Tyseley) on Wednesday 17th April.


Closure of Stoke Works and Blackwell Stations   

Considerable local concern was aroused by the British Rail announcement on 27th March of the proposed closures of over 2000 stations in the UK, including  Blackwell and Stoke Works. Both stations were over 100 years old (Stoke Works  had been opened in 1852), but passenger traffic was poor with less than 30  people per day using each station, despite there being eight stopping trains per  day at Stoke Works and 14 per day at Blackwell. Bromsgrove Urban District Council protested in early April about these proposals, and in the event they survived for a while longer.


Unusual locomotives in March and April 

March

5081 Lockheed Hudson'(88L Cardiff East Dock) on a  northbound freight

Saturday 13th April 

6912 'Helmster Hall' on a northbound freight banked 8409 and 8415

45429 (2A Rugby)

Friday 18th April  

48385 (1G Woodford Halse) 

Saturday 19th April

92022 (15A Wellingborough)

Thursday 24th April   

7805 'Broome Manor' (88L  Cardiff East Dock) on an unknown working

 

70006 'Robert Burns' (31B  March) on a  Birmingham to Bristol  relief  ahead  of  the 1220 from Newcastle train returning north next day on  a  Cardiff to Newcastle service

By the  time June came round with the summer service and holiday traffic former LNER B1's were in evidence again, a regular duty being the Saturday 1406 arrival at Bristol. Examples noted at this  time were 61060 (41A Sheffield Darnell) on Saturday 8th June, 61169 (41F Mexborough), a regular visitor, on Saturday 22nd June, while on Saturday 29thJune 61075 (41F), 61169, and 61194 (41D Canklow)were all noted the former on a Weston Super Mare to Sheffield turn. On the same date, Saturday 29th June, some other steam workings were:

44849 (55A Leeds Holbeck) 0900 Paignton to Leeds

44962 (15C Leicester Midland) 1V27 Leicester to Paignton

45113 (1F Rugby) 1245 Bristol to Sheffield

45585 'Hyderabad' (16C Derby) 1M18 Paignton to Nottingham

45608 'Gibraltar' (5A Leeds Holbeck) 1M40 Newton Abbot to Bradford

45649 'Hawkins' (16F Burton) 1V31 Nottingham to Plymouth    


More Summer variety of motive power 

As  the  summer  progressed  the  type 3 diesels  continued  to  appear on the  Fawley oil  trains D6534 on Thursday 11th July, D6525 on Friday 26th July and 61169 appeared  again on Friday 9th August  arriving  at  Bristol  with a  relief  to  the 'Devonian'. To  provide  some  variety,  Hymek D7032 was on the 0334 Frodingham to Severn Tunnel Junction steel train on Monday 26th August (deputising for a Western  diesel), while D1052 'Western Viceroy' was seen passing  through Bromsgrove  on Wednesday 21st August. However, the  most  interesting  event  was  undoubtedly the visit of English Electric type 3 (later class 37) D6860  on Wednesday 28th August and Wednesday 4th September for test ascents  of the Lickey  Incline. Climbs  were  made unaided  with 15 coaches and the dynamometer car and this performance set the scene for locomotives of  this  class to assume banking duties in 1964 when Bromsgrove steam shed was closed.


A visit on Thursday 8th August to Bromsgrove 

A  brief visit to  Bromsgrove on Thursday 8th August  showed a good variety of  locomotives  passing  through -  it is difficult to  believe this was the former Midland Railway main line to the West: 

4916 'Crumlin Hall' (86C Cardiff  Canton)

4976 'Warfield Hall' (81F Oxford)

6920 'Barningham Hall' (87B Duffryn Yard)

8418

45444 (16A Nottingham)

45455 (12A Carlisle  Kingmoor)

61075 (41F Mexborough)

61104 (41D Canklow)

61155 (41F Mexborough)

D178

D180

D6523


More variety of motive power to end the year

In the remainder of the year on Saturday 5th October Crosti 92026 was noted at Bromsgrove and the first of the Jubilee Class 45552 'Silver Jubilee' (5A Crewe) was noted climbing the Lickey on Saturday 12th October with a LCGB  excursion using green Southern Region stock, while on the same day 45676  'Codrington' (2E  Saltley) passed southbound through Barnt Green hauling a four coach passenger train, a sign of the times. Who would have foreseen Jubilees on stopping  trains? A notable visitor to the Redditch branch on Monday 16th December was Ivatt 2-6-0 46523 on the 0825 Redditch to Birmingham of Newton  Heath, (9D shed), whilst  days  later this  train produced Standard 4-6-0 73073 (1G  Woodford  Halse).  The 0647 Gloucester to Sheffield train was noted behind 45598 'Basutoland' on the Saturday 16th November, 44660 on the Thursday 28th November and 44828 on the Friday 29th November.