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Bromsgrove 1978

With a considerable variety in motive power being evident all year, the first recorded appearance of a class 56, a derailment a fire, and a visit from a steam engine, 1978 was an eventful year.

A rail tour to South Wales on Saturday 11th March brought Class 40 40120 through Bromsgrove although the return train was headed by 47001 due to the failure of the class 40. On Sunday 12th April a class 56 locomotive was noted for the first time at Bristol when 56043 arrived hauling 50047 which had failed at Saltley depot. The Class 56 returned north light - engine almost immediately. Three days later 31404 and 31408 double heading a returning Peterborough excursion from Weston super Mare with only 8 coaches was banked up the Lickey incline by 37230 and 37231. Another class 40 visitor appeared on Wednesday 10th May when 40197 passed Gloucester on the 0940 Edinburgh to Plymouth, although it later failed at Bristol.


Cross City rail line opens

An encouraging sign for West Midlands rail users was the start of the new Cross City Birmingham commuter services linking Four Oaks and Longbridge was launched on Monday 8th May 1978. There were new stations at Five Ways (replacing a previous one on that site), University and Longbridge. The service provided four trains an hour which increased to six trains an hour at peak times.


Locomotives on the Redditch Stone Trains

During the 1970's the ARC stone terminal at Redditch received regular deliveries of stone from their  Tytherington Quarry in Gloucestershire. These trains ran up the Lickey Incline and to avoid running the train around to gain access to the Redditch branch they ran via the Camp Hill line through New Street Station and back via the West Suburban line so that they could run straight onto the Redditch branch. Here are a few of the locomotives used on the morning train with the reporting number 6M31

Thursday 5th January    47194
Thursday 26th January    25187 / 25147
Thursday 2nd February   25131 / 25152  
Thursday 9th February   25151 / 25131  
Thursday 2nd March   47295  
Thursday 9th March   47488
Thursday 6th April   25143 / 25211
Thursday 13th April   47336
Thursday 20th April   47369
Monday 24th April   25147 / 25217
Thursday 4th May   25039 / 25115
Thursday 11th May   25264 / 25273
Thursday 25th May     25158 / 25136
Thursday 8th June   47526
Thursday 22nd June   25131 / 25191
Thursday 29th June   25127 / 25136
Wednesday 20th September   47034
Wednesday 27th September   47298
Wednesday 11th October   25130 / 25125
Wednesday 18th October   25127 / 25101
Wednesday 15th November   47095

Some unusual visitors on Saturday 27th May were :

25129 and 25136 on the 0802 Walsall to Plymouth service

47343 on the 0901 Derby to Penzance service

47221 on the 0821 York to Tenby service


A Class 44 returns to Bromsgrove

The 'best' visitor of the month was surely peak 44009 'Snowdon' on Wednesday 31st May, being noted in sidings at Gloucester on an unknown working.


During June some unusual locomotives were noted on the 1515 Plymouth to Manchester working between Gloucester and Birmingham. The engines on this roster originated from a Bescot to Gloucester freight diagram earlier in the day and could produce almost anything some of the locomotives noted during the rest of the year are listed below:

Wednesday 21st June   20141 / 20196
Friday 23rd June   25142 / 25167
Thursday 17th August   25184
Friday 15th September   20070 / 20199
Wednesday 1st November   31155 / 37164
Monday 6th November   37179
Tuesday 7th November   20001 / 20037
Wednesday 8th November   20128 / 20212
Monday 13th November   31136
Wednesday 15th November   47218
Saturday 18th November   50041
Monday 20th November   31239
Tuesday 21st November   50018

The summer traffic was bring out (as usual) unaccustomed motive power, some of these workings being:

Saturday 29th April 47028 worked the British Rail Spalding Flower Festival Special from Plymouth to Spalding. On the return leg the locomotive failed near Totnes and was replaced by 50007
Monday 1st May 47146 works the Cheltenham to Aberystwyth BR Day excursion the train was banked by 37238 and 37220 over the Lickey Incline
Friday 19th May 47201 works through Bromsgrove with the London to Penzance via the Lickey Incline L.N.E.R. Society Railtours Scilly Isles Express
Sunday 21st May 47201 works the return leg through Bromsgrove with the Penzance to London via the Lickey Incline L.N.E.R. Society Railtours Scilly Isles Express
Thursday 29th June 47347 on the 1428 Swansea to Manchester service and 47377 on the 1335 Newcastle to Swansea service   
Friday 7th July 40126 on the 1053 service from Paignton to Leeds from Bristol (this was the locomotive that was involved in the Great Train Robbery)
Saturday 22nd July 47350 working the 0821 York to Tenby service and 20009 and 20188 working the 0834 Leeds to Paignton, having taken over from 47128 which failed at Derby.
Saturday 27th July 47306 worked the 1423 Manchester to Swansea service
Saturday 5th August 47339 worked the 1335 Newcastle to Swansea service
Saturday 12th August 37039 worked the 0821 York to Tenby service
Thursday 17th August 47358 worked the 1428 Swansea to Manchester service
Saturday 19th August 37050 worked the 0821 York to Tenby service 
Saturday 23rd September 47506 worked through Bromsgrove on a BR Excursion from Swansea to Crewe and 47072 hauled the train back through Bromsgrove on the was to Swansea
Sunday 24th September 20167 and 20170 worked a special in both directions through Bromsgrove from Leicester to Didcot for a Great Western Society Open Day
Saturday 14th October 47122 ran through Bromsgrove in both directions on the Honiton Round Table Scanner Express from Axminster and York (40113 hauled the special in both directions between Birmingham and York). On the same day 37204 and 37282 ran northbound on the D1041 Preservation Society The Pennine Explorer from Cardiff and Manchester Piccadilly. The special also featured Class 76 haulage and returned through Bromsgrove hauled by 37204 on its own

Events during August

There were other more startling events during August. The two Lickey bankers 37225 and 37229 became derailed at 2225, on Monday 14th August at the stop-blocks of the engine spur at Blackwell (between the main lines) blocking both up and down lines. Breakdown cranes attended the scene hauled by 46020 and 46028 the lines being opened again on Tuesday 15th August. Then on Thursday 24th August a fire broke out on the locomotive heading the 0920 Liverpool to Penzance service  as it descended the incline. When the train was halted near Dunhampstead crossing, between Stoke Works and Abbotswood, three fire appliances tackled the blaze. Further problems were evident on 9th September when 37203 and 37281 were used to haul failed 45075 on the 0933 Penzance to Wolverhampton service into Birmingham New Street Station. On the same day 37174 worked the 1600 Birmingham to Bristol. Class 37's were much in evidence about this time with :  

Saturday 16th September 37252 worked the 1600 Swansea to Manchester service
Saturday 30th September  37001 worked the 1145 Cardiff to Newcastle service
Saturday 6th October  37031 worked the 1911 Sheffield to Bristol Service

Steam Returns to Lickey Incline

On Saturday 6th October steam engine 7029 'Clun Castle' passed southbound through Bromsgrove in steam at 1818 en-route from Tyseley to Hereford for a steam special. There was quite a crowd at Bromsgrove station to witness its progress. In the morning preserved Western class diesel hydraulic D1048 'Western Lady' was hauled northbound by 31123 en route from Swindon to its first heritage Railway home on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Two days later 7029 ' Clun Castle' returned to Tyseley, passing Bromsgrove about 1800.


The remaining part of the year was dominated by Class 40 visits which normally were few and far between : 

Wednesday 10th October

40084 which arrived at Cardiff 50 minutes late with the 1010 Newcastle to Cardiff service, following a loco failure at Darlington

Sunday 14th October

37204 & 37282 arrived at Birmingham on a Cardiff to Manchester special and 37122 arrived at Birmingham on a Honiton to York special

Wednesday 1st November

40055 worked the 0924 Washwood Heath to Severn Tunnel Junction freight

Friday 3rd November

40179 worked the 1110 Plymouth to Manchester passenger train 

Friday 10th November

40049 worked the 0655 Gloucester to Leeds train

Monday 13th November

31156 worked the 0655 Gloucester to Leeds train   

Wednesday 22nd November

47527 worked the 0655 Gloucester to Leeds train   

Tuesday 28th November

40015 'Aquitania' arrived at Bristol on 0946 Crewe to Plymouth relief train, returning north on the 1006 Penzance to Birmingham service  extra


Banking Locomotives observed at Bromsgrove

Thursday 18th May 37217 /37298 Monday 14th August 37225 / 37229
Monday 22nd May 37178 / 37298 Wednesday 6th September 37203 / 37207
Thursday 25th May 37225 / 37229 Friday 6th October 37234 / 37292
Tuesday 13th June 37229 / 37289 Saturday 18th November 37297 / 37298
Thursday 6th July 37175 / 37213 Wednesday 27th December 37190 / 37205
Friday 21st July 37192 / 37214 Thursday 28th December 37190 / 37205
Saturday 29th July 37214 / 37192 Friday 29th December 37258 / 37291