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Bromsgrove 1979

The year began with class 37 locomotives as can be seen of the picture still providing banking power. However a continuation of the strange locomotive workings between Gloucester and Birmingham on the 1515 Plymouth to Manchester service continued. This working became well-known, attracting considerable interest from enthusiasts and photographers. 

The workings that were recorded are as follows :

Thursday 4th January


Thursday 8th March

20006 / 20180

Monday 8th January


Tuesday 13th March


Wednesday 17th January


Wednesday 14th March


Monday 22nd January


Monday 19th March


Tuesday 30th January


Thursday 22nd March


Wednesday 31st January


Friday 6th April


Monday 5th March


Locomotive failures

A number of locomotive failures characterised the early weeks of the year. On Monday 8th January 37054  worked the 0730 Bristol to Manchester service (due to motive power shortages), and 47063 hauling the 1427 Swansea to Manchester service failed a few hundred yards from the summit of the Lickey Incline, having to be helped to Birmingham New Street Station by the two bankers 37009 (now preserved on the Great Central Railway) and 37076. Then on Saturday 3rd February 46007 with an 11 coach Plymouth to  Edinburgh train needed banking assistance, and 46033 failed at Stoke Works 3 days later with the 0655 Bradford to Penzance service and had to be pushed to Gloucester by the following 0830 Manchester to Swansea service hauled by 31286.

Unusual locomotive workings

The more unusual locomotive workings in March involved 37184 on the 0920 Liverpool to Penzance service from Birmingham New Street Station on the Saturday 3rd March, 40152 on a southbound freight on the Saturday 17th March (working back north from Gloucester on the 1110 Plymouth to Manchester service and running the 5.7 miles from Stoke Works to Barnt Green in just under 7 1/2 minutes); 40013 'Andania' on an additional York to Birmingham service on the Sunday 18th March which was extended to Bristol, and 31103 hauling the 8 coach 0730 Bristol to Manchester service (banked up the incline) on Monday 26th March.

The Wagon Works are finally demolished

The beginning of April brought a rather significant event, the demolition of the first building on the Bromsgrove wagon works site. The story was covered in the local press :

The end is nigh for the massive derelict railway works at Aston Fields in Bromsgrove, with the demolition of the first buildings on the 30 acre site - a wagon building shop. This building had been becoming dangerously close to the present railway line and station. The demolition firm Joe Fisher of Stoke Works moved in to flatten it last week.

The rest of the old wagon works once the centre for engine building in the Midlands is now living under a suspended sentence.

The site has been owned by Bryant’s for about ten years,  and they hope to convert it in a warehouse area.

Tim Brotherton, of agents Banks and Silvers, reported “lt could be knocked down next month or it could be next year while they sort out what is going to happen to the site. Some of these buildings are of real cathedral Iike proportions. This place was the biggest on the old Midlands line. I can remember before the war people in hob nailed boots and flat caps walking up there with their dinners in a pudding basin wrapped in a red handkerchief with white spots on. They all had the same handkerchiefs”.

Now the sidings, turntables, workshops, chimney, sawmill, stores and wagon works are weeded over and crumbling. The works, described as an “economic blessing” to the town and a place for the aristocrats of the local labour market in the history of Bromsgrove are now only of interest to industrial archaeologists and naturalists. They were originally sold by British Rail with the intention of becoming a gas plant, but the North sea discoveries put a stop to that.

When the wagon building shop was knocked down last week all trains had to be diverted away from Bromsgrove station in case rubble should fall on the track. One train had to be diverted through Hartlebury.

extract: The Bromsgrove Messenger Friday 13th April 1979.

Through the spring and summer period the more interesting visitors were :

Friday 13th April

37084 passed through Bromsgrove on relief train to Newquay from Birmingham

Saturday 14th April

37011 and 37276 passed through Bromsgrove on a charter train to Penzance.

Tuesday 17th April

40155 passed through Bromsgrove on a southbound freight

Thursday 31st May

An unidentified HST southbound (presumably returning to the Western Region from Derby Works). 

Wednesday 6th June

47704 'Dunedin' one of the Scottish 47/7 push-pull locomotives on a test train  of mixed Mark 2/3 coaches, passing University station, the engine propelling and the leading vehicle being one of the new driving trailers. How far this test train worked is not known.

Monday 18th June

HST  set 253028 en route to Bristol for the Paddington to West of England services 

Saturday 30th June

40024 'Lucania' on the 0650 Derby to Weymouth as far as Bristol 

Saturday 11th August

45004 'Royal Irish Fusiler' was used as a banker at Bromsgrove

Saturday 18th August

37076 worked the 0732 Cardiff to Newcastle train throughout

Saturday 1st September

37126 worked the 0732 Derby to Paignton train

Saturday 8th September

37048 and 37248 (Latter now preserved on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway) hauled the failed 50026 on the 0810 Penzance to Liverpool into Birmingham, the Class 50 having failed near Abbotswood Junction  

Saturday 22nd September

47709 'The Lord Provost' hauled the 2156 Stirling to Newton Abbot motor rail southwards from Crewe, returning north the next day on the 2035 Newton Abbot to StirIing, the first visit of a Scottish push pull locomotive to the West Country and 37164 worked the 1223 Manchester to Paignton, whilst on the same day 20058 / 20208 arrived at Bristol on the 10.20 Manchester to Paington, returning north on the 1240 Paignton to Birmingham train  

Extra Trains to Bromsgrove

From Monday 1st October, for an experimental six month period, additional trains were provided for Bromsgrove, mostly by extending certain trains on the Four Oaks to Longbridge cross-city service. The Hereford and Worcester County Council provided the finance, including connecting bus services with Bromsgrove Town Centre. The extra trains were:

From Bromsgrove to Birmingham at 0716, 1648 (Monday to Fridays), 1643 (on Saturdays) & 2334

From Birmingham to Bromsgrove 0833 (on Saturdays), 0830, 1348, 1833 & 2233

More unusual locomotives at Bromsgrove

On Sunday 5th October newly-modified push-pull locomotive 47707 'Holyrood' worked the 1035 Leeds to Paignton throughout, returning north the next day on the 1053 Paignton to Leeds. These Scottish based specialised locomotives were unusual so far south, and the visit of 47707 was all the more notable bearing in mind 47704 and 47709 had also been in Southern England earlier in the year. Class 40, 40068, worked a Cardiff-Leeds service on Monday 6th October.

To round off the year it is worth reflecting on the number of services hauled by Class 31 locomotives during the year, particularly through the summer period.

These locomotives were never common on passenger work on the Birmingham - Bristol route :

Saturday 28th April

31320 worked the 1115 Birmingham to Penzance train   

Thursday 3rd May

31269 worked the 1523 York to Swansea train  

Thursday 2nd August

31240 worked the 0730 Bristol to Manchester service

Friday 3rd August

31278 worked the 1515 Plymouth to Manchester service  

Saturday 4th August

31194 worked the 13 coach 1439 Leeds to Plymouth train    

Saturday 25th August

31171 worked the 1608 Bristol to Newcastle service

Banking Locomotives observed at Bromsgrove

Saturday 6th January 37369 / 37289 Friday 20th July 37217 / 37231
Saturday 20th January 37188 / 37291 Saturday 21st July 37217 / 37231
Saturday 27th January 37188 / 37291 Saturday 4th August 37217 / 37289
Wednesday 31st  January 37009 / 37076 Wednesday 8th August 37206 / 37205
Saturday 10th February 37186 / 37188 Saturday 11th August 37206 / 37205
Sunday 25th February 37052 / 37262 Tuesday 14th August 37206 / 37305
Saturday 10th March 37162 / 37239 Thursday 23rd August 37158 / 37298
Saturday 17th March 37162 / 37239 Saturday 1st September 37158 / 37298
Saturday 31st  March 37064 / 37286 Saturday 8th September 37048 / 37248
Saturday 7th  April 37064 / 37190 Saturday 22nd September 37205 / 37208
Saturday 14th  April 37190 / 37223 Friday 28th September 37205 / 37208
Friday 20th  April 37190 / 37223 Friday 5th October 37227 / 37295
Saturday 21st  April 37190 / 37223 Friday 12th October 37205 / 37295
Friday 11th  May 37199 / 37223 Monday 15th October 37205 / 37207
Saturday 19th  May 37023 / 37199 Saturday 20th October 37207 / 37271
Thursday 24th May 37236 / 37286 Wednesday 24th October 37205 / 37268
Saturday 2nd June 37214 / 37240 Saturday 27th October 37064 / 37234
Saturday 9th June 37214 / 37240 Friday 9th November 37207 / 37210
Saturday 16th  June 37214 / 37240 Thursday 29th November 37223 / 37225
Monday 18th  June 37214 / 37240 Saturday 17th November 37204 / 37232
Friday 22nd  June 37211 / 37214 Tuesday 4th December 37217 / 37231
Saturday 7th July 37179 / 37290 Thursday 13th December 37203 / 37231
Saturday 14th July 37220 / 37251 Saturday 29th December 37203 / 37208