68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

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TimBrown
Posts: 229
Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

Post by TimBrown » 11:36 Saturday 22nd July 2017

Took a few photographs of the Pathfinder Tours Charter train at Shrub Hill station, from the passenger overbridge, this morning when it called in en route from Bristol Temple Meads to Carlisle.

Locomotive 68004 'Rapid' is one of a batch of mixed traffic diesel-electric locos built by Vossloh of Valencia, Spain in 2014 for DRS (Direct Rail Services of Kingmoor, Carlisle). It is powered by a 84.67 Litre Caterpillar C175-16 V16 four-stroke diesel engine producing 3,800 HP at 1,740 RPM which spins an alternator to produce the electricity taken by the axle mounted traction motors to give the locomotive a maximum service speed of 100 MPH.

A number of the class are used by Chiltern Railways on express passenger services between Birmingham and Marylebone and they have a good reputation for fast running and quick acceleration. They are very noisy which pleases most diesel enthusiasts, but seem to generate too much black smoke, in my opinion, for a modern locomotive.

Note the tree-lined approach to Worcester Shrub Hill station and the wonderful weeds in the 'four-foot' of what is actually the main line from the City to Paddington and Bristol! Also in the final shot is the decrepit second overbridge at the station, with now defunct lifts on both platforms, formerly used to move mail 'trolleys' across the lines when BR transported most of The Royal Mail about the country. It was supposed to be reinstated as a passenger lift commencing September 2015, but work stopped when it was realised that the structure was too corroded to remove and restore off site. I believe over £1 million was earmarked for the job and some initial preparation work was started, but the bridge has continued to deteriorate and wheelchair passengers plus those with buggies/pushchairs still have to cross the tracks at the north end of platform 1 and 2 accompanied by a member of staff - how 19th Century!
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 101.jpg
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 103.jpg
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 105.jpg
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 107.jpg
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 109.jpg
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 110.jpg
22 July 2017 Shrub Hill 111.jpg

MattW
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Joined: 20:42 Sunday 3rd July 2016
Location: Welland

Re: 68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

Post by MattW » 19:40 Sunday 23rd July 2017

Great pics Tim but as you say the state of those tracks is an embarrassment.

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SEVERNLINK
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Joined: 14:44 Thursday 27th October 2016
Location: Bromsgrove

Re: 68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

Post by SEVERNLINK » 00:45 Monday 24th July 2017

Nice pics.The semaphores certainly help to make the scene,great work to get so many in each shot.

chason
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Joined: 14:24 Friday 22nd July 2016
Location: Bromsgrove

Re: 68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

Post by chason » 09:16 Monday 24th July 2017

Thanks for the nice pictures but every time I see Shrub Hill, I wonder just how its been allowed to get in such a state and for such a long time too. What first time visitors by train to the city must think, I don't know. With Foregate St being the busier of the two stations and now Worcester Parkway apparently on the stocks, I don't suppose anyone will spend any money on Shrub Hill, or indeed if it has a future at all.

TimBrown
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Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Re: 68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

Post by TimBrown » 14:11 Monday 24th July 2017

chason wrote:
09:16 Monday 24th July 2017
Thanks for the nice pictures but every time I see Shrub Hill, I wonder just how its been allowed to get in such a state and for such a long time too. What first time visitors by train to the city must think, I don't know. With Foregate St being the busier of the two stations and now Worcester Parkway apparently on the stocks, I don't suppose anyone will spend any money on Shrub Hill, or indeed if it has a future at all.
The Dft passenger usage figures for 12 months 2015/2016 give Foregate Street as 2,293,021 and Shrub Hill a mere 618,467. This would probably mean that most visitors to Worcester use Foregate Street because of its central location at the heart of the city. My guess would be that many passengers from Hereford and stations on that route requiring a change of trains to go to London or Bristol would catch the local Birmingham train and change at Foregate Street. They would be wise to do this as many of the trains from Paddington and Bristol booked to terminate West of Worcester at Great Malvern and Hereford fail to make it past Shrub Hill, mainly due to late running and conflicting movements on the single line bi-directional section between the two Worcester stations. If you want confirmation of this just have a look at the last week of operations on the Realtime Trains website advanced section!

Worcestershire C. C. have just published a 91 page wishlist study (available on their website) titled 'Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy' which includes a half hourly service to Paddington with some trains starting from Kidderminster and others from Bromsgrove, but these will only operate when the lines from Droitwich to Stoke Works Junction have been returned to two line working in addition to the remaining sections on the North Cotswold line from Norton junction to Evesham and from Charlbury to Wolvercote Junction (near Oxford). Unfortunately there is no mention of the funding source!

There is also mention of another document due in late Autumn of plans to regenerate Shrub Hill with disabled access lifts and to make the area a transport interchange. Currently the road outside the station entrance canopy has a 5 ton weight limit so it would need strengthening if buses are to use the station access road (I have seen three axle 14 ton unladen coaches use it without falling 20 feet to the ground below). However, there were similar ambitious plans a few years ago to turn the old post office adjacent to Foregate Street into a transport exchange and that property is now a very busy and presumably lucrative Tesco Express!

Car parking charges at Shrub Hill are £6-50 for the day (lower for short stays) which compares favourably with many West Midlands County stations such as Stourbridge junction which are free. Shrub Hill has recently had a very costly repaint job where all the visible bits have received cream around the windows or (horrible in my opinion) London Midland black and grey on doors and stanchions just ahead of the change of franchise to West Midlands Railway which uses mainly orange, grey and purple! The repaint job hasn't tackled the blistered and flaking paint under all the canopies, nor has the semi-translucent plastic sheeting been replaced throughout by clear glass as seen above the recently restored Victorian waiting room on Platform 2.

Many enthusiasts feel that Norton Parkway cannot be other than a 'white elephant' until Dft insist on Cross Country stopping their long distance NE and NW trains to the SW every hour in addition to the Nottingham to Cardiff trains currently promised. If capacity is a problem there will be numerous HST sets going begging when the new IEP trains enter service with GWR in a few months time. Even so, the survival of Shrub Hill is in the balance without the previously mentioned line re-doubling.

chason
Posts: 80
Joined: 14:24 Friday 22nd July 2016
Location: Bromsgrove

Re: 68004 'Rapid' hauling Bristol to Carlisle Charter 22 July 2017.

Post by chason » 22:03 Monday 24th July 2017

Thanks for that, Tim, particularly for the facts and figures and also the info about the recent and impending studies. As far as Shrub Hill is concerned, I'm obviously a little out of date as I wasn't aware that there had been some recent painting. But it clearly needs rather more than that for it to be fit to be a decent 21st century station although, with its future unclear, I can't see that happening.

In the meantime perhaps a visit from the weedkiller train is due - among my pet hates are weed and litter ridden tracks especially in and around stations.
Also weeds (and trees and shrubs) growing out of lineside brickwork including even viaducts and bridges. Apart from giving a general air of neglect, it must be doing untold and costly damage to the infrastructure. I remember reading a published letter from someone asking if you would have confidence in an airport which had runways covered in weeds. Obviously not, so why should you in a railway in the same state? Look at old railway photos - never a weed in sight along the beautifully kept permanent way but I see the current Chief Exec of Network Rail has just got his bonus despite its many failings - not just weeds but also projects being delivered late and over budget.

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