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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


Thursday 26th January

25187 / 25147

Thursday 2nd February

25131 / 25152

Thursday 9th February

25151 / 25131

Thursday 2nd March


Thursday 9th March  


Thursday 6th April

25143 / 25211

Thursday 13th April


Thursday 20th April


Monday 24th April

25147 / 25217

Thursday 4th May

25039 / 25115

Thursday 11th May

25264 / 25273

Thursday 25th May

25158 / 25136

Thursday 8th June


Thursday 22nd June

25131 / 25191

Thursday 29th June

25127 / 25136

Wednesday 20th September


Wednesday 27th September


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

However, 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

Wednesday 8th November

20128 / 20212

Friday 23rd June

25142 / 25167

Monday 13th November


Thursday 17th August 25184

Wednesday 15th November


Friday 15th September

20070 / 20199

Saturday 18th November


Wednesday 1st November

31155 / 37164

Monday 20th November


Monday 6th November


Tuesday 21st November


Tuesday 7th November

20001 / 20037

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 Swansea service

Saturday 5th August

47339 worked the 1335 Newcastle Swansea service

Saturday 12th August

37039 worked the 0821 York Tenby service

Thursday 17th August

47358 worked the 1428 Swansea Manchester service

Saturday 19th August

37050 worked the 0821 York 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 in August

However, 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