West Coast Railways Timber Trains.

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66C

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WCR will be starting up timber trains from Georgmas to Inverness for Norboard in the near future.
 
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66C

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That's what my mate says when he was offered a job by them. Also wondering how many wagons they could haul with a 37.
 

stantheman

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Going to be loaded timber from Georgemas to Inverness , trial initially using BTA wagons . WCR .
 

Amlag

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There Is an 0044 Invernes Millburn yd to Georgemas Jn on Mon 3/8 with empty timber wgns returning
at 1735 on Tues 4/8 loaded .
 

158820

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According to well placed Feight sources on another forum WCR are operating this on behalf of Colas which makes a lot of since as Colas regulary hire drivers from WCR. And Colas operate all the other timbet trains.
 

Bob figgis

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Train worked to Inverness yesterday with (thanks JTC)
37516
37669
37685
950246
950664
950734
950654
950581
950984
950514
950629
950588
950534
950187
950862
950548
950736
 

Murray J

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According to well placed Feight sources on another forum WCR are operating this on behalf of Colas which makes a lot of since as Colas regulary hire drivers from WCR. And Colas operate all the other timbet trains.
is this only short-term (IE only a few weeks) or long-term?
 

ScottDarg

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is this only short-term (IE only a few weeks) or long-term?

6 week trial apparently. 2 loaded trains to Inverness per week.

In the long term Norbord want their own siding for bringing in both the raw timber and sending out the finished product:
Bosses at Norbord are looking to the Highlands’ rail lines to support the expansion of its plant near Inverness.

The Canadian firm is investing more than £125 million in the Morayhill plant, safeguarding 130 workers and 300 further Highland jobs, mainly in forestry.

It is the world’s largest producer of oriented strand board (OSB), which is used in construction and furniture manufacturing as a replacement for plywood.

Site improvements are due to get underway in the coming months following approval by Highland councillors of a plan to increase the height of two towers at the Moray Firth site.

The increase in production means a rise in HGV movements to and from the factory from around 340 each day to 378.

Highlands and Island MSP John Finne has written to Norbord asking that it commit to moving materials by rail in an effort to ease traffic flow on the roads network in and around Inverness.

The company already makes use of Highland rail links, with boards loaded onto rail containers on site and transferred to Inverness Railway station before being transported onto rail carriages on the southbound line in the marshalling yard.

Norbord officials have also been in touch with officials from Network Rail, investigating opportunities for a rail connection on the Inverness to Aberdeen rail line.

A series of trials have been undertaken to support the concept.

A spokesman for Norbord said: “We would support the development of the rail infrastructure in Inverness.”

Mr Finnie said: ““I have visited the Norbord plant and recognise the significant contribution its work contributes to the Highland economy.

“Given the climate emergency we face, an increase in HGV traffic will concerning to many.

“With the site’s immediate proximity to the Aberdeen to Inverness line, I’ve written to the company asking them to examine opportunities to convey material to the site by rail.”

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are committed to encouraging more businesses to transport their products by rail and we are working with Norbord and the rail freight industry to explore options at this location.”
 

pmb

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Obviously WCR are using the same locomotives for these trains as on their passenger trains, but is special training needed for their drivers to move onto freight? I was thinking about the same concept as when a tractor driver has to take a trailer test even though he can drive a tractor already.
 

alexl92

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Sorry to ask the daft question but are there any photos of the move mentioned above? My twitter feed is normally full of photos of any unusual or one-off moves like this but I haven't seen any of this. Cheers!
 

ScottDarg

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Sorry to ask the daft question but are there any photos of the move mentioned above? My twitter feed is normally full of photos of any unusual or one-off moves like this but I haven't seen any of this. Cheers!

A Flickr user that lives along the Far North Line has posted some images of the empty train arriving at Georgemas and the loading: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
 

ScottDarg

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I will see your Flickr images and raise you a YouTube video from a Scot-Rail member of the timber train at Georgemas Junction itself.
I do like the sound of Class 37s in the morning!!

Funnily enough it's the same person! He's a respected member of another forum who provides good input on anything relating to the Far North and railfreight - can always rely on him to get some snaps / videos of things like this.
 

tiptoptaff

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Obviously WCR are using the same locomotives for these trains as on their passenger trains, but is special training needed for their drivers to move onto freight? I was thinking about the same concept as when a tractor driver has to take a trailer test even though he can drive a tractor already.
No, a qualified driver can drive passenger or freight trains all on the same license.

I could leave my TOC when qualified and go to a FOC quite happily, all I'd need to do is my routes and traction. There's a different feel to driving DMUs and EMUs, and loco+stock so I'd probably do some additional handling hours to get the feel of it, rather than retraining.
 
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Obviously WCR are using the same locomotives for these trains as on their passenger trains, but is special training needed for their drivers to move onto freight? I was thinking about the same concept as when a tractor driver has to take a trailer test even though he can drive a tractor already.
Pulling people or logs makes no difference to operating your locomotive safely.
 

tiptoptaff

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Pulling people or logs makes no difference to operating your locomotive safely.
It'll feel different - twin piped passenger stock brakes will recharge much faster than single piped freight stock. Also the freight is likely to be heavier and thus handle differently
 

Amlag

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It must be a trial. I cannot see the economics working out long term with 3 locos on 14 wagons!

I was surprised at how little timber was actually loaded onto each BTA type stanchioned bogie wagon compared to the amount carried on the wagons used on the Carlisle etc to Chirk trains , which are currently
suspended.
Possibly these wagons could not have instead been used for this trial due axle loading etc restrictions between Georgemas Jn and Inverness ?

I guess one timber lorry could do two round trips in 24 hrs between Caithness / Flow Country forests and Inverness.
 

ExRes

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I was surprised at how little timber was actually loaded onto each BTA type stanchioned bogie wagon compared to the amount carried on the wagons used on the Carlisle etc to Chirk trains , which are currently
suspended.
Possibly these wagons could not have instead been used for this trial due axle loading etc restrictions between Georgemas Jn and Inverness ?

I guess one timber lorry could do two round trips in 24 hrs between Caithness / Flow Country forests and Inverness.

Don't forget this a trial period, the number of wagons and their loading may well differ from day to day during the six weeks
 

alexl92

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Slightly off topic - can anyone explain the working shown in photos in the flickr link above which consisted of 66s top-and-tailing two MK2 brake coaches and a nuclear flask? I'm familiar with DRS' flask workings but never seen it with coaches?
 

Murray J

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Slightly off topic - can anyone explain the working shown in photos in the flickr link above which consisted of 66s top-and-tailing two MK2 brake coaches and a nuclear flask? I'm familiar with DRS' flask workings but never seen it with coaches?
I believe the coaches carry armed police in case the train is attacked.
 

3973EXL

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Victa Railfreight is running this trial with a grant from Transport Scotland.
Haulage WCR
Wagons supplied by DB Cargo.

 

3973EXL

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I was surprised at how little timber was actually loaded onto each BTA type stanchioned bogie wagon compared to the amount carried on the wagons used on the Carlisle etc to Chirk trains , which are currently
suspended.
Possibly these wagons could not have instead been used for this trial due axle loading etc restrictions between Georgemas Jn and Inverness ?

I guess one timber lorry could do two round trips in 24 hrs between Caithness / Flow Country forests and Inverness.
There could be any number of reasons for the wagon choice.
As you say, wagons used by Colas may not be suitable, not available for the length of trial, too expensive to hire or the operator/owner may have reasons of their own.

When you start to dig there are not a vast number of wagon type available these days. If there is not a use for somethings it tends not to last, so, best choice of what is available.
It is not just payload of a wagon to consider, loading and securing for the type of load play a large part. You pick the best available to prove the concept and learn as much as possible. You can then look at figures for new build or modifications if the traffic is viable by rail.

The Colas wagons are modified vans after lessons learned in the past with OTA's etc.
 

Mills444

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Slightly off topic - can anyone explain the working shown in photos in the flickr link above which consisted of 66s top-and-tailing two MK2 brake coaches and a nuclear flask? I'm familiar with DRS' flask workings but never seen it with coaches?

To my knowledge it is a ministry of defence flask not a normal one and so that apparently requires extra protection.
 
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