Heritage railways - Work undertaken/services provided for TOCs and Network Rail

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geoffk

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The heritage sector provides engineering and other services to the “big railway”, including charter train operators, and I thought it would be helpful to have a thread on this. Specialist work is carried out by a commercial arm where the railway is a charity, but other services include storage of new or withdrawn rolling stock, testing of new stock and driver training.

This is a slightly random selection, some of it clearly of a one-off nature and even featuring a narrow gauge railway.

The East Somerset Railway has a carriage bodywork repair business which also does locomotive bodywork, Mark III stock and DMUs.
Keighley & Worth Valley - recent storage of withdrawn Pacers for Northern
Training of Network Rail signallers by the Swindon Panel Society, based at Didcot Railway Centre, using a reconstructed signalling panel.
The SVR operated revenue-earning freight trains in 2007 to carry long pipes to the Severn Trent Water plant at Trimpley. Carriage by road would have been difficult because of the narrow roads in the area.
Currently the SVR is testing 69001 for GBRf. Light and loaded test runs are planned and also driver training.
The GCR’s double track line allows for commercial testing of railway vehicles at speeds of up to 75 mph for diesel hauled trains and 60 mph for steam hauled trains.
The Mid-Norfolk Railway went into partnership with Greater Anglia to store its new Stadler trains during testing and commissioning. The project provided extra track on the MNR which remains as additional infrastructure once the new trains are in service. The MNR has also been used by TOCs for crew training and by Network Rail for the storage/testing of ballast tampers, stoneblowers and MPVs.
In September 2020 the Launceston Steam Railway delivered a consignment of goods to a local company to get round a road closure blocking the lorry driver’s route.
 
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Spartacus

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Low adhesion training's taken place on the NYMR before.

The East Lancs often provides motive power for engineering works on the local Metrolink line, normally diesel, but steam traction has been used at least once.
 

SeaKing

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SDREngineering based at South Devon Railway do alot of Wheel & Axle work for mainline companies mainly for Class 37's & 08/09's
 
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43096

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SDREngineering based at South Devon Railway do alot of Wheel & Axle work for mainline companies mainly for Class 37's & 08/09's
As long as they are not doing toilet floor repairs....
 

Llanigraham

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I seem to remember the Severn Valley providing spares for some Block Instruments when one broke at my Box.
 

D6130

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Both the Wensleydale Railway and the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway have in the past provided testing facilities for newly commissioned on-track maintenance machines owned/built by Grant Rail of York.
 

BigB

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Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway has been used in the past for adhesion training for both Scotrail and Virgin, using the gradient between a Kinneil and Birkhill. Both 170s and Voyagers have been seen practicing hill starts on a film of washing up liquid in the past, though not for a few years now.
Some track maintenance companies have also used the line for practicing tamping operations, not to mention the Signalling system trails towards last year and the demos for the class 230 Vivarail battery unit.
The class 19 development and testing was also carried out there, and the 314 hydrogen conversion work is due to start shortly.
The class 303 unit is actually used annually for training but I shouldn't really say who uses that or for what...

It was also used as a "base" for Colas for stabling and fuelling before this was formalised at Grangemouth and 56s were a common site, and of course when 55022 was leased to GBRF for stock movements in Scotland it often found itself based there too - in fact it was "allocated" to BO for a short period.

Last but not least is that the site was also used to stable main line steam that were up for railtours between duties, and some summers the variety was amazing, and occasionally locos would come by road to Bo'ness for a turn on e.g. The GB railtour as they were not cleared to get to Scotland, but once here were okay!
 

nferguso

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The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway has been at the forefront of testing since 2003:

https://www.mytesttrack.com/

We have also provided facilities for East Midlands Trains staff training, while later this spring, we will be hosting this:



AnyConv.com__1608550425890.jpg
 

geoffk

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A lot more examples than I thought. One point though, hasn't the Network Rail connection at Duffield been severed?

In a separate category is the freight traffic on the Ribble Steam Railway, operated by Ribble Rail.
 

JonathanP

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The SVR has done various other testing of heritage and modern traction for Chiltern, Locomotive Services Limited etc., including high speed testing between Bewdley and Kidderminster.

The fully signalled main line connection that was installed a few years ago has made main line movements a lot easier, so for a short time it was also the base for the the Northern Belle before it was sold to WCR.

Another example of 'revenue earning freight' was also delivering some roof timbers!
 

zwk500

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The bluebell, and many others, offer their tracks as training centres for the various contractors working for NR, including for Tampers. Not sure if they charge a fee, or just get their track relayed for free. The Bluebell's wheel drop was used by Clan Line when it failed a couple of years ago to return it to mainline service without requiring road haulage.

Slightly different to what the OP was asking for, but the Bluebell also provided a Steam loco to the contractors ripping up the northern portion of the line in the 60s. The contractor's own diesel having failed, ironcially.
 

geoffk

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I've discovered that the biggest commercial freight flow on a heritage line was surely the stone traffic sent over the WSR for use on the sea defences. In 1997/8 EWS ran 239 train loads ran from Merehead and Whatley to Minehead. More trains ran in 2000, 2004 and 2010 to various sites along the WSR. https://www.tauntontrains.co.uk/oldsite/ROLLING_STONE.htm

For some of this period the normal passenger service would have been running as well!
 

MistaMatthews

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The bluebell, and many others, offer their tracks as training centres for the various contractors working for NR, including for Tampers. Not sure if they charge a fee, or just get their track relayed for free. The Bluebell's wheel drop was used by Clan Line when it failed a couple of years ago to return it to mainline service without requiring road haulage.
I believe it is free. I did my training there and as you say, they got a bit of work done for free. Actually a really nice site with great people.
 

Alan Warren

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And don't forget the Mid Norfolk Railway is also used by Direct Rail Services for servicing their Railhead Treatment Trains at Dereham. rhtt 2.jpg
 

2392

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The bluebell, and many others, offer their tracks as training centres for the various contractors working for NR, including for Tampers. Not sure if they charge a fee, or just get their track relayed for free. The Bluebell's wheel drop was used by Clan Line when it failed a couple of years ago to return it to mainline service without requiring road haulage.

Slightly different to what the OP was asking for, but the Bluebell also provided a Steam loco to the contractors ripping up the northern portion of the line in the 60s. The contractor's own diesel having failed, ironcially.

Apparently when one of the contractors men saw the steamer [the North London Railway tank based there back then]. He remarked along the lines; "That loco belongs in a museum!" To which his fellow workers chorused back; "It is!" As to be honest the Bluebell like all other Heritage/preserved lines is/are, when you think about.
 

D365

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Wansford at Nene Valley Railway was used as a ”base” for a former freight operator at one point, wasn’t it? I think Class 56s were involved.
 

zwk500

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Wansford at Nene Valley Railway was used as a ”base” for a former freight operator at one point, wasn’t it? I think Class 56s were involved.
The Nene valley being another preserved railway that has offered it's steam loco services to main line operators at various points. I think Tornado ended up there after it's ill-fated 90mph attempt?
 

SECR263

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The bluebell, and many others, offer their tracks as training centres for the various contractors working for NR, including for Tampers. Not sure if they charge a fee, or just get their track relayed for free. The Bluebell's wheel drop was used by Clan Line when it failed a couple of years ago to return it to mainline service without requiring road haulage.

Slightly different to what the OP was asking for, but the Bluebell also provided a Steam loco to the contractors ripping up the northern portion of the line in the 60s. The contractor's own diesel having failed, ironcially.
Distant years ago brand new tanker wagons used on RHTT's arrived by road at Sheffield Park. Tripped to Horsted Keynes by air fitted 09 shunter. Examined by owners and worked onwards to Network Rail system via EG connection. Cannot remember why they had to come by road rather than be delivered direct to RHTT depot or what ML loco collected them from us.

Re above. the Contractors loco ( a small Ruston and Hornsby 0-4-0 269595/49) unfitted ) failed because it ran away on a 1-75 gradient with load and an attempt to stop by putting into reverse mangled the gearbox on 15 July 64(?). North London Tank 58880 was used later in the day on line demolition following previous agreement by the demolition contractor to hire a steam loco from BB to assist. (From The Klaus Marx book, Lewes and East Grinstead Rly)
 
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