Motive power in Wessex area in the 1980s

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by Thebaz, 28 Aug 2019.

  1. Thebaz

    Thebaz Member

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    I'm tentatively playing with some modelling ideas based around a "spared" S&D line and was wondering if anyone could advise what sort of motive power and rolling stock would have been seen in the Wessex area during the 80's. Obviously Class 50s on the Waterloo-Exeter and Class 33s + 8TCs on the Weymouths, what else would have been seen say between Weymouth and Bristol? Swanage and Wareham? Any DMUs work these lines?

    Thanks.
     
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  3. High Dyke

    High Dyke Established Member

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    Someone may be able to provide a better answer than I, but at the start of the 80's then many DMU workings would still be in the hands of 1st Generation DMU's, probably the Class 117 or 118 types. You may have also seen Southern Region DEMU types about like 205's. From 1985 onwards the 2nd generation DMU's were being introduced.
     
  4. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    In the late 1980s the summer Bristol to Weymouth (and return) was worked by all sorts of locos 37119 (D6700) in green had a stint on it, I remember having 47381 on it amongst others of both classes, and I think probably the odd 31 may have gone that way too earlier on.
     
  5. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Waterloo-Exeter line still had an early morning Yeovil terminator which could be 33+8TC, or sometimes 33+6 mk1 (I've read somewhere they were Oxted line spares). The class 50s were the mainstay, but on bad days ETH fitted 47s from almost anywhere could turn up - including Scotrail locos. Later the 50s gave way to 47/7
    There was an evening service from Exeter which terminated at Sherborne around 7PM, which could be a 3-car DMU or a type 2 + 3 mk1, usually a 25 though could be a 31.
    Southampton - Bristol - Cardiff were virtually all class 33 hauled.
    Bristol - Weymouth was a choice of DMU, 25 or 31. 33 and 37 came later in the decade.

    One thing to note is that almost anything could turn up on Waterloo-Exeter as parcel vans (one at each end). I've seen Gresley pigeon vans, Southern 6-wheelers, GUVs, pressed into use
     
  6. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    I think the 119/120 cross country units were still around in the first half of the decade?
     
  7. High Dyke

    High Dyke Established Member

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    Indeed they were. The 120's being a personal favourite of mine. A mainstay on Midland region services to/from Lincoln for many a year. I recall travelling on a 119 unit from Tonbridge to Dorking.
     
  8. Thebaz

    Thebaz Member

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    Interesting info - thanks for the replies
     
  9. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Seem to recall seeing pics of Swanage station before closure with SR DEMU at the platform. So if it had survived I'd have thought any of the BR(SR) DEMU types - apart from the Hastings Line slim designs, could have ended up operating Swanage to Wareham.

    They might even have sent the Class 210 there for a bit of testing!
     
  10. Thebaz

    Thebaz Member

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    Yes, I'm sure I've seen pictures of 205s on the Swanage branch too
     
  11. SWTCommuter

    SWTCommuter Member

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  12. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    The 3-Hs (H for Hampshire) were standard at Swanage from 1966 till closure in 71 or 72 but also worked half the Portsmouth-Cardiffs (alternating with WR units - I suppose it was better than having to change at Salisbury!) for a few years before the 33s took over. I have a feeling one may have been timetabled down to Yeovil Junction briefly, but generally D(E)MUs were rare between Salisbury and Axminster.
    Saying that, the SO Brighton-Exeter had several years of being a Hastings unit, or rather two.
    Bridport BTW was a bubble car and survived until 1975, the car working from/to Westbury.
    About L/H stock west of Salisbury (and my memory is 70s rather than 80s), at various times as well as the standard 8/9 sets you had:
    a WR 4-set plus van which got up to Basingstoke late evening and back as the first down train;
    one of the two SR Channel Islands sets as far as Yeovil;
    the aforesaid SR newspapers set of 5-6 and a van fore and aft, which stuck to its one working (for some years it returned in stages and finished at Clapham Yard.

    So that's lots to play with - though I fear your line would have been units only :(
     
  13. Sprinter107

    Sprinter107 Member

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    On the Bristol to Weymouth line in the early 80s dmus of classes101, 117, 118, 119 and 120 were regular units. By the late 80s 108 power trailer sets were working the line in place of the above units, then of course the 155s and 150/2 were appearing about the same time.
     
  14. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Interesting, had no idea Hastings units worked that far west regularly. I'd not have been old enough to note that.
     
  15. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Just to add some extra ideas.............there was a weekly coal train to Yeovil Junction often hauled by a Peak, but I don't know if that stopped in the 70s or 80s.
    Gillingham had regular trains of bulk fertilizer in curtain sided bogie wagons - there was a bagging plant next to the station.
    Also at Gillingham during the 80s dumped on one of the sidings was an old wooden clerestory coach, painted what should have been olive green but the paint had oxidised to make it look dirty red brown with green patches. I never saw it used or moved, often wondered what it was and what became of it, the body looked in reasonable condition for a wooden coach

    Also, the S&D being what it was, would you have expected MR based stock to work through? Good excuse to run a class 40............
     
  16. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    The locals on Salisbury-Exeter pretty much disappeared, but the few that remained were normal WR dmus.

    Bristol to Weymouth, apart from the dmus (entirely in winter) was Class 31 and 47, gradually moving from the former to the latter over time.

    Although Waterloo to Exeter theoretically changed over from Class 33 to Class 50, there were still a number of Class 33 around as substitutes, as I don't think there was a spare Class 50 kept east of Exeter. Occasionally they were turned out double-headed, which avoided delaying others on the single line.

    If you have a Peak on your layout, these turned up from time to time at Bath Green Park right to the end of the S&D.

    For the Evercreech-Burnham line, maybe a Wickham platelayers trolley with 4 passenger instead of ganger seats - because that is all the accommodation that ever seemed necessary on the branch trains :)

    The Brighton-Exeter Hastings dmus were, what, 1970s-80s? Normally a 12-car formation, one with Buffet. Out from Brighton in the morning, back in the afternoon. I believe it worked ecs over from St Leonards depot to Brighton first, where some convoluted shunting was required as the formation was too long for the one platform at Brighton that connects to both east and west. It was certainly the noisiest train of the day, departing Axminster on full throttle all four engines to take a run up Honiton Bank westwards, although not quite as bad as when I once saw, and heard, two such trains depart from Tunbridge Wells in opposite directions at the same instant ...
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2019
  17. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

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    Thanks - great recollection. I was pleased that I was able to make use of Hastings Units a few times on the Hastings line just before their withdrawal. I ought to get on a tour with the preserved set at some point.
     
  18. Thebaz

    Thebaz Member

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    Thanks for the contributions folks, interesting stuff indeed.

    I should say my plan is based around Broadstone and I have the assumed the retention and electrification of Castleman's Corkscrew loop back to Brockenhurst, so as well as the diesel motive power there will have to be some EMU kit-building too. It's a long term project!
     
    Last edited: 3 Sep 2019
  19. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Generally thought that diesels never worked on the S&D - but they did. When the system closed a new connection was fashioned at Radstock from the adjacent ex-GWR line, which lost its passenger traffic in the late 1950s but was kept going by coal from the Somerset collieries, as the S&D had been. Hymeks from Bristol thus ran onto the old S&D for some years through Radstock, until the mines closed.

    At the other end Blandford Forum stayed open for goods for some years, principally for the local coal merchants covering a wide rural area that had no gas supply. Class 33 brought these trains from Poole.
     
  20. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

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    Surprised that they didn't seek retention of at least part of the Somerset and Dorset - for example, the Blandford area is now a very wide area with no nearby rail station, and of course the Bournemouth conurbation has no particularly direct link to either the Bristol area or Exeter area. Wimborne, which it passes fairly nearby, is also a sizable town with no rail station. If they'd have kept limited stations: 'Wimborne Road', Blandford, Sturminster Newton, and Templecombe, it would have presumably been reasonably fast.

    I'd have thought a case could have been made for retaining the southern part at least, with a new link onto the GW main line in the Bruton area to allow Bournemouth-Westbury-Bristol services for instance.
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2019
  21. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    However apart from the through holiday traffic the southern end of the line was the one with the least traffic at the time, particularly for freight. The most passenger use, without a doubt, was Bath to Radstock.
     
  22. Ianigsy

    Ianigsy Member

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    My recollection of a Bristol to Weymouth trip in 1991 is of Class 101 or 108 DMUs. It was a particularly cold February and the fairly new 442s didn't like it, so a 2HAP was working out of Weymouth- not sure whether it went all the way to Waterloo or not.
     
  23. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

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    True but I was thinking more of a through Bournemouth-Bristol being the main service, with the target market the long distance traffic from Bournemouth - and this would have the side effect of retaining stations such as Blandford. If timings at Templecombe were good it could also be used for Bournemouth-Exeter, one can imagine a modern clockface Regional Railways Alphaline type service having been introduced in later years, run by 158s which connects at Templecombe into Exeter services.

    Still think either the southern S+D or the Bournemouth-Salisbury line should have been retained for this long-distance Bournemouth-South West traffic, as there seems to be a noticeable gap in the network there. Thinking about it, if only one of the two should have been retained, the Salisbury route would probably have offered the most benefits from the POV of connections. One could then imagine a half hourly service on the Salisbury-Cardiff corridor, alternating between Portsmouth and Bournemouth.


    Could Radstock have been retained by somehow diverting the northern part into Bath Spa along the main GWR route? I would agree that this is an area which surprisingly lacks a rail connection, given its proximity to Bath and Bristol.
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2019
  24. Snow1964

    Snow1964 Member

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    Marginally earlier than 1980s but there used to be a summer Saturday train (which ran to either 1978 or 1979), only ran about 8-10 Saturdays between late June-August.
    Ran from Bristol area to Weymouth with mk1s, but return was routed via Poole, Bournemouth, New Milton, Brockenhurst, Southampton, Salisbury (it was a re-routed remnant of a summer train to Swansea via the Broadstone-West Moors - Salisbury line)

    Often had a 47 on it, but a fortnight after 31 appeared, a class 46 Peak did it and I got to ride behind it from New Milton to Brockenhurst. My one and only Peak hauled service train on Southern Region. I think it was July 1978. Somewhere I have a photo of it.
     
  25. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    Didn't 2 Haps work Brockenhurst-Lymington shuttles in the 1980s?
     
  26. Snow1964

    Snow1964 Member

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    Yes, with 4VEPs on summer weekends (or occasionally a 4CIG)
     
  27. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    This is an interesting subject which I often ponder. One thing which strikes me if the S&D had survived is that in the 1986/7 era there were a lot of Hastings DEMU's and 4TC units going spare as a result of the Hastings and Weymouth line electrification schemes.

    It strikes me that if you'd matched a Hastings power car with half a 4TC, you'd get a 3 carriage DEMU with 2+2 seating and vestibule connections throughout. In other words, ideal for a longish cross country route, but possibly with the need for access by a conductor-guard due to several unstaffed stations. If you put two together with the TC driving trailers facing inwards, you could have five carriages of accommodation all accessible to the guard - an ideal unit for a surviving S&D !
     
  28. MatthewRead

    MatthewRead On Moderation

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    I thought 3 CEP's were most commonly used on that line back in the day.:)
     
  29. L. B. & SNCB

    L. B. & SNCB New Member

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    The Brighton - Exeter Hastings demus were brought in from (iirc) the summer timetable change. I think at that time there had been no Brighton - West Country service since the end of steam to Plymouth - certainly the train was trumpeted as a novelty at the time. The formation was 2 x 6B, I think, so a buffet in each part, 09h00 ex Brighton and non-stop to Worthing, which was in itself fun. In those days it was the only way you could get to ride the "Portsmouth avoiding line", as it were.
     
  30. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    why bother when you could use a 33+TC combination giving a better power:weight ratio? When the TC sets became redundant on the Weymouth line they were switched to some of the Waterloo-Salisburys, especially when the 50s became a problem, making the 3-car DEMUs redundant.
     
  31. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I suppose that would be an option, although loco-hauled seemed to be going out of fashion at that time.

    I must admit, I only thought DEMU's were only used on Waterloo - Salisbury services in extremis !
     

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