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Bromsgrove 1971

Start of the Year

The diesel-hydraulics were becoming more regular visitors to Bromsgrove. In the early part of the year the following appearances were recorded.

Tuesday 12th January

1003 'Western Pioneer' arriving at Birmingham with the 1055 Plymouth to Manchester

Thursday 25th February

7025 helped failed Peak 183 (to be 46046) into Birmingham on the 1135 Cardiff to Newcastle

Saturday 6th March

1019 'Western Challenger' on 1055 Plymouth to Manchester as far as Birmingham

Saturday 13th March

1024 'Western Huntsman' on 1055 Plymouth to Manchester as far as Birmingham

Saturday 20th March

1060 'Western Dominon' on 1055 Plymouth to Manchester as far as Birmingham

Class 47 diesels from distant depots appear on trains at Bromsgrove

From Friday 1st May the use of Westerns on the Plymouth to Manchester service ceased The service became a Class 47 working with 1989 (to be 47370) of Gateshead shed being noted on Saturday 8th May.

Various other Class 47 locomotives noted at this time from distant depots:

Saturday 8th May

1891 (to be 47372) of Knottingley Shedwas on the 1014 Saturdays only Bradford to Paignton and 1582 (to be 47462) of Stratford Shed was on the 1430 Leeds to Plymouth service

Monday 10th May

1778 (to be 47183) of Stratford Shed was on the down CORNISHMAN

Saturday 22nd May

1762 (to be 47167) of Finsbury Park Shed was on the 1010 Penzance to Manchester service

Tuesday 1st June

1534 (to be 47426) of Immingham Shed was on the 0910 Liverpool to Plymouth  service

Wednesday 2nd June

1780 (to be 47165) of Stratford Shed was on the 0840 Manchester to Penzance  service

Thursday 3rd June

1532 (to be 47009) of Immingham shed was on the 0910 Liverpool to Plymouth  service

Saturday 19th June 5 (to be 44005) CROSS FELL and Peak 26 (to be 45020) double headed the down CORNISHMAN into Birmingham, but it is not known whether they worked through Bromsgrove

Saturday 26th June

1889 (to be 47370) was on the down Devonian

About this time a resurgence of Westerns and Warship was apparent with the following examples in June to August :

Saturday 19th June

1021 'Western Cavalier' was on the 1323 Derby to Paignton service. Lickey bankers 7021/7024 assisted the 1244 Weston-super-Mare to Birmingham DMU operated service, running 45 minutes late into Birmingham.

Saturday 26th June

1060 'Western Dominion' was on the 0940 Bristol to Derby service and returned on the 1323 Derby to Paignton service

Friday 9th July

841 'Roebuck' was on a relief train from Paignton to Manchester

Friday 16th July

862 'Viking' was on a relief train from Paignton to Manchester

Friday 30th July

854 'Tiger' was on the 1120 Paignton to Manchester relief service

Saturday 31st July

1064 'Western Regent' was on the 0800 Paignton to Liverpool service as far as Birmingham New Street station and worked the 1135 Manchester to Penzance service from Birmingham New Street station.

Tuesday 3rd August

1892 (to be 47372) of Knottingley shed worked the 1135 Cardiff to Newcastle service and 7043 worked the 1413 Manchester to Bristol service taking over from Birmingham New Street station.

Friday 6th August

854 'Tiger'worked a relief train from Newton Abbot to Manchester train as far as Birmingham New Street


Warships 834 'Pathfinder', 844 'Spartain', and 845 'Sprightly' were all noted on the 6M20 Worcester to Birmingham parcels train during this month

Saturday 7th August

1020 'Western Hero' worked the 0940 Bristol to Derby service and 1033 'Western Trooper' worked the 0800 Paignton to Liverpool service.

Sunday 15th August

1008 'Western Harrier' worked the 4MB7 train from Paignton as far as at least Birmingham.

Friday 20th August

861 'Vigilant' was on a relief train from Paignton and worked the train as far as Birmingham New Street station

Saturday 28th August

845 'Sprightly' was on the the Saturdays Only 0807 Paignton to Liverpool and worked it as far as Birmingham New Street. the locomotive returned working the 1725 Manchester to Cardiff service from Birmingham New Street. 1061 'Western Envoy' worked through to Derby on a Paignton to Derby train

Western Diesels continue to regularly run through Bromsgrove

Even after the summer services ended, Westerns continued to reach Birmingham because from 4th October they were re-rostered for the 1055 Plymouth to Manchester duty.

An article in the September issue of the Railway Magazine is reproduced, indicating the traffic typically passing Bromsgrove in the summer of 1971:

Summer Saturday on the Lickey

The final few years of steam traction on British Railways produced an almost frantic fanaticism among enthusiasts in photographing and recording the last rites before elimination. The traditional locations at Dainton and Shap, Talerddig and Ais GiIl, each had their turn, and perhaps it is a sobering thought that Less than 10 years ago that classic observation on the ground, the Lickey Incline between Bromsgrove and Blackwell, would have guaranteed the railway devolve an almost continuous spectacle of smoke steam and flying cinders. Even the worst Saturday weather in June or July would not have deterred at least a small band of photographers from recording the day’s events, and on a sunny day where could one find a finer picnic spot for the family? Perhaps it is the very nature of the Lickey bank itself that, in this present diesel era, summer Saturday observations can still be of exceptional interest. The sight and sound of steam engines may have gone but given the right. Conditions the smoke is still there, preferably when trains tackle the bank from a standing start at the much-changed Bromsgrove station. The power of the modern diesel has removed the need for banking assistance formerly given to passenger trains, with the exception of certain Motorails, but a much ful1er Saturday line occupation-on than in previous years, with the increase in traffic to and from Manchester and the North-West (diverted through Birmingham from the Shrewsbury and Hereford line), is beginning to attract the enthusiast once again to this classic location - just over two miles with a continuous gradient of 1 in 37. The section of the former Midland main line from Bristol to Birmingham as far as Barnt Green, now administered by the western Region, is equipped with full track circuit block controlled from the signal box at Gloucester. At present, banking assistance, in the form of Hymek class 35s, must be provided on all freight and ballast trains between Bromsgrove and Blackwell if the unfitted part of the train is more than 200 tons or if the total load exceeds the limit for the locomotive concerned- Normally DMUs can ascend the bank unassisted, except when a quarter or more of their engine capacity is disabled. If this occurs they must be assisted up the bank in front. The variety of motive power can be assessed from the following observations during morning and afternoon sessions on successive Saturdays. In June and also from the delighted cries of the many small and not so small boys who frequented the over bridge north of Bromsgrove station, “copping” a succession of class 45s, 46s and 47s together with an occasional class 40 and Western class 52. This latter aspect of railway interest has not changed overmuch in spite of dieselisation. The afternoon of June 19th  produced 1660 'City of Truro' (to be 47076) on the 1135 Manchester Piccadilly - Penzance,  1021 'Western Cavalier' with the 1323 Derby-Paignton, and 53 'The Royal Tank Regiment' (to be 45041) on the 13.35 Swansea-Newcastle train. The morning of June 26 was notable in that it provided three named locomotives in less than an hour: class 52 1060 'Western Dominion' on 1M52 to Derby class 47 1667 'Atlas' (to be 47082) on 1E30 Plymouth-Leeds; and 1676 'Vulcan' (to be 47090) on 1E20, the 0840 Paignton to Newcastle. During the last few years class 52 have been infrequent visitors to the Birmingham area and the rostering of one for the 1055 Plymouth-Manchester as far as, New Street ceased on May it to be replaced by a class 47 diagram.  For anyone contemplating a visit to the Lickey, it would be useful to point out that summer Saturday working falls into two distinct periods. The morning session produces a succession of expresses down the bank with destinations in Devon, Cornwall and South Wales while the upward procession usually commences in earnest at lunchtime the wrong time of day for the photographer who prefers Lo operate with the sun behind him. Freight working on Saturdays is largely confined to the hours of darkness but there are a couple of northbound exceptions in the period before noon. It will be appreciated that, when one of these trains loses its path and ends up in the loop at Bromsgrove, it can often be a considerable time before a qap in the traffic stream allows sufficient leeway for the slow climb up to Blackwell. Those diehards who consider that much of the interest in railway working finished with the elimination of steam would do well to pay another pilgrimage to this interesting spot.

In November Bromsgrove was visited by yet another Knottingley Class 47 (which normally did not venture very far a field as they operated the local merry-go-round services), when 1894 (to be 47375)arrived with an oil train from Port Clarence on Wednesday 10th November.

West Midland Transport Authority wants to Close the Station - how things have changed !

A report issued by the West Midland Transport Authority in November said the closure of Bromsgrove station was likely because the average number of passengers per day was only 35, and the operating loss in 1970 had been £14,000. The local passenger action group said decision was for British Rail, not the transport authority.