Freight out, passengers in: this is Colas Rail No 56087 approaching a cautionary signal at Ripple Lane West Junction with the 6L39 Bridgend – Dagenham auto parts service on 3 June, a flow on borrowed time since Ford announced it will be closing its Welsh engine factory at Bridgend next year. The start of reinstatement of the down relief can be seen, a precursor of extension of Gospel Oak – Barking trains along the new branch to Barking Riverside in 2021. Antony Guppy
Swedish ‘66s’ for GBRf
GB Railfreight is to introduce three more Class 66s in the UK, transferred from Sweden. Loco Nos T66 403/4/5 will become Nos 66790-792 and will be leased from Beacon Rail Leasing. Prior to entering service, the locomotives are undergoing upgrades in Gothenburg before being shipped to Immingham and transferred to Electro-Motive Diesel’s Longport facility for conversion to UK specifications. EMD has previously converted other ‘66s’ from European to UK specification for GBRf, with the work including provision of train-borne safety systems and air conditioning, as well as cab and system specific reliability improvements. The locos will also receive GBRf’s livery.
March sidings revival
GB Railfreight has secured a lease for the disused Up Yard sidings at March in Cambridgeshire, which it is to return to use in partnership with Network Rail. The site is just over three acres in size and will accommodate trains up to 320 metres long. The sidings will be operated in conjunction with the Down Yard, which GBRf already uses. Initially the Up Yard will be used for the stabling and maintenance of rolling stock used on the traffic between Middleton Towers and Yorkshire, as well as that used to carry aggregates between the Peak District and East Anglia. As rail traffic to and from Felixstowe continues to grow, the yards will be used for container wagons as well. As part of the lease, GBRf will refurbish the track, with consideration being given to the possible installation of a fuel point. The scheme will incorporate new fencing and acoustic barriers to mitigate the impact of the yard’s reopening on nearby residents.