Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Weardale Railway April 2012

Due to the fact that the Weardale Railway haven’t yet completed their run round loop at Bishop Auckland West they have to use another loco to either shunt release at Bishop Auckland West, or alternatively they top & tail the train all day, when they run the whole length of the line. Often, on “normal” running days they use an 08 to shunt release, on busier days, generally event weekends, they top & tail.

On this particular weekend 31601 was sent light engine to Wolsingham to act as shunt release loco for the whole Easter period, however using the 31 vice 08 resulted in too much time being lost with changing ends etc while doing the shunt at Bishop Auckland West and by the Sunday afternoon 31601 was working in top & tail mode with the line’s industrial steam loco. Thanks to a text from a BAR employee, who happened to be driving the steam loco on the Sunday, people were notified in enough time to make arrangements to go up on the Monday.

31601 worked the following on Monday 9th April:

0H00 09:40 Wolsingham Shed – Stanhope

5H02 10:15 Stanhope – Bishop Auckland West (#40 steam loco attached to rear at Wolsingham Shed)

2H01 13:25 Stanhope – Bishop Auckland West

5H03 17:45 Bishop Auckland West – Stanhope

0H01 19:05 Stanhope – Wolsingham Shed

31601 & #40 were run round each other at Stanhope after the arrival of 2H04 14:45 Bishop Auckland West – Stanhope, which meant that if you’d turned up for the 14:45 ex Bishop Auckland you’d have had the kettle up and back. This is regular practice when the train is T&T to allow the kettle to be knocked off the rear of 5H03 at Wolsingham Shed.

Despite the 10:15 Stanhope – Bishop Auckland West being advertised as an ecs passengers can travel on it. The only reason it isn’t advertised to passengers is due to the fact that it’s departure time is governed by what time the freight is booked to depart Wolsingham, which isn’t always the same time. 5H02 can depart at 09:30 or 10:15, the railway will confirm what time if your ring their Stanhope office.

Notes: There is limited parking at Stanhope station and there is no parking at all at the railway’s Bishop Auckland West station, which is a 400 yard walk from the mainline Bishop Auckland station. There is a station buffet at Stanhope that serves all sorts from full breakfasts to paninis, so you won’t go hungry. There’s also an on train buffet.

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