Class 56

56031 Hinksey 27 July 1983

Pictured a couple of months before it was named Merehead, the still anonymous 56031 passes Hinksey Yard on 28 July 1983 with the 6V38 11:52 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. Even without the train, there can be no doubt what this loco has been recently hauling, as there is a good coating of limestone on the roof! This was the first occasion that I saw the first British built Class 56, and the only time I saw it prior to it receiving its Merehead nameplates.

56031 Claydon (Oxfordshire) 2 June 1984

56031 Merehead passes Claydon on 2 June 1984 with the R.E.S.L. Waterloo to Crewe 'Midland Executive' railtour. With limestone staining on the roof, it is obvious that this particular loco has seen frequent use on stone trains from Westbury. Merehead was a highly appropriate name at the time.

56031 Circourt 25 April 1986

56031 Merehead approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 25 April 1986 with the 6V11 10:03 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. This location changed out of all recognition in the following two decades, as this view of 60074 in 2009 proves. Virtually everything has changed including the signaling and the bridge in the background, to say nothing of the huge increase in vegetation (thankfully only on the north side of the line) and the reinstatement of the relief lines. Unfortunately the Class 56s & PGA stone wagons are also no more!

56031 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 7 April 1990

On 7 April 1990, 56031 Merehead approaches Oxford with the 6V11 10:03 Wolverton to Tytherington ARC stone empties, unusually running on a Saturday. The train has just come down the former LMS line from Bicester, and Class 122 departmental 'bubble car' 975042 can just be seen in the background standing in the down loop, waiting to gain access to the single line that the 56 has just vacated.

56031 Hinksey 3 October 1990

56031 Merehead passes Hinksey Yard on 3 October 1990 with the very late running 6C13 12:15 Calvert to Bath Avon County Council Binliner. Being allocated to Cardiff's FAWK aggregates sector, 56031 was a regular through Oxford in 1990, on both stone and waste trains.

56031 Compton Beauchamp 30 August 1991

Low evening lighting at Compton Beauchamp on 30 August 1991, as 56031 Merehead heads westwards with the 6V55 15:26 Wolverton to Whatley ARC stone empties. Late running has provided much better lighting than the rather head on light at the booked time. Because of the curve in the line between Uffington and Shrivenham, it is possible to take pictures on the north side of the line on summer evenings.

56031 Goole Docks 6 December 1997

56031 shunts steel wagons in Goole Docks on 6 December 1997, prior to working the 6J50 11:34 steel empties to Rotherham. Note the crude patch painting (not even in the right shade of grey!) where the depot plaque and Merehead nameplate have been removed from the loco's bodyside. Unfortunately before I could get many pictures of this interesting working it was taken over by the dreaded Class 66s.

56032 Kidderminster (Hodgehill Farm) 14 December 1996

You can almost feel the cold looking at this picture! 56032 Sir De Morgannwg / County of South Glamorgan approaches the footpath crossing behind Hodgehill Garden Centre at Kidderminster on 14 December 1996 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 07:07 Bristol Temple Meads to Guildford 'Rooster Booster' railtour. Although the sun which was out weakly when I arrived had decided to disappear into high cloud, for once I think the muted colours and soft light make an excellent picture. Unfortunately the light level was very low (note that a street light is still on to the right of the locomotive) and I had to take the picture with the lens wide open. I am quite surprised that the depth of field is this good considering it is taken on a 100mm lens.

56032 Drem 4 October 2001

56032 approaches Drem with the 6B44 11:15 Oxwellmains to Powderhall Binliner empties on 4 October 2001. The East Coast Mainline to the east of Edinburgh is not blessed with many good photographic locations, but this one has less lineside clutter than most. Typically the sun disappeared just before the train came into view, but as this is the only time I have got a picture of a Class 56 on this train and I am certainly not going to get another chance, it will have to do!

56033 Oxford North Junction 28 July 1983

56033's train weaves across from the Bicester line, over the up relief, and onto the up main line at Oxford North Junction on 28 July 1983. The train is the 6V11 09:30 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties, on this occasion running 40 minutes early. This was the first of the two daily ARC trains that traversed the Bicester line in the early 1980s. The only other traffic being the occasionally empty stock move to Wolverton. The second ARC train was pictured later in the day at Hinksey, headed by an equally dusty roofed 56031.

56033 Upton Scudamore 23 September 1986

56033 descends the 1 in 70 gradient at Upton Scudamore on 23 September 1986 with the 6V59 09:55 Ardingly to Westbury ARC stone empties. Although this looks historic now, I was much more impressed at the time with the then nearly new 59001 seen earlier in the day at Crofton, also on stone empties. The weather was also much better a few hours earlier!

56033 Bicester Town 30 April 1993

56033 pulls away from its booked stop at Bicester Town on 30 April 1993 with the 4C13 11:21 Calvert to Bristol binliner empties. Although this line was originally double track, as is again now, at this time the line on the right was purely a headshunt for the nearby MoD sidings.

56033 Corsham 30 April 1993

56033 passes Corsham on 30 April 1993 with the 4C13 11:21 Calvert to Bristol binliner empties. The viewpoint had recently been opened up somewhat by the removal of trees and bushes near to the track. This train has seen a considerable variety of traction over the years, starting off with 47s, then changing to 56s, 60s, 37s, 58s, and then the inevitable 66s.

56034 & 56048 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

56034 & 56048 pass Hungerford Common on 3 September 1984 with the Purfleet to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. Double headed 56s were the order of the day on the heaviest stone trains at the time, but of course all that would change a couple of years later with the introduction of the super powerful Class 59s from General Motors.

56034 Shrivenham 25 October 1985

One of my favourite Class 56 pictures from the 1980s. In perfect autumnal light, 56034 Castell Ogwr / Ogmore Castle passes Shrivenham on 25 October 1985 with the 6V38 11:52 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. 56034 had only been named a few months previously, and this is my first picture of it with its bilingual nameplate. The only downside to this picture is that at the time my Pentax 6x7 was loaded with Kodak Tri-x b&w film, so this is unfortunately only from a 35mm slide.

56034 Foxhall Junction 31 July 1986

With Didcot Power Station's coal stockpiles dominating the background, 56034 Castell Ogwr / Ogmore Castle approaches Foxhall Junction on 31 July 1986 with the 6A18 05:00 Robeston to Theale Murco oil tanks. Just about the worst possible photographic conditions - mid summer at around midday, with the sun at its highest point in the sky, putting the wheels in dense shadow.

56034 Shrivenham 10 December 1987

56034 Castell Ogwr / Ogmore Castle passes Shrivenham on 10 December 1987 with the early running 6B27 16:00 Theale to Robeston oil empties. A very misty day, bit the light was just holding out long enough for this picture. Luckily in those days there weren't any bushes along the lineside fence, causing a problem with shadows!

56034 Foxhall Junction 18 August 1991

56034 Castell Ogwr / Ogmore Castle passes Foxhall Junction, Didcot on 18 August 1991 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 14:45 Paddington to Didcot Power Station 'Didcot Lupin' railtour. This was certainly a busy day for 56 railtours at Didcot, as 56022 & 56025 had visited earlier in the day. This train actually used the same stock from the previous tour.

56034 South Moreton (Didcot East) 18 August 1991

56034 Castell Ogwr / Ogmore Castle passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 18 August 1991 with the Hertfordshire Railtours Didcot Power Station to Paddington 'Didcot Lupin' railtour. I had already a photographed (in much better light) a Class 56 railtour at this location, when 56022 & 56025 headed for London with the Pathfinder Tours 'Strider' tour.

56035 Potbridge 16 March 1990

How's this for an unusual working? 56035 was called upon to work the 1L14 13:18 Salisbury to Waterloo Network SouthEast service on 16 March 1990, as no NSE 47s or 50s were available! Luckily I was spending the day photographing Class 50s at Potbridge, near Winchfield, so was in the ideal position to get this rare working. With just six coaches, there is plenty of power available from the 56's 3,250 hp Ruston Paxman engine, but unfortunately for the passengers, none of it is available to heat the train!

56035 Great Heck 18 July 1996

56035 passes Great Heck on 18 July 1996 with the 6E09 15:52 Etruria to Tees Yard steel train. The whole area around the line here is at a noticeably lower level than the surrounding fields, and marks the site of a worked out gravel pit.

56035 Whitlry Bridge Junction 31 May 1997

The driver of 56035 has a snooze, while the secondman reads the newspaper during a typical lengthy period of inactivity in the course of an engineering possession at Whitley Bridge Junction on 31 May 1997. The train is parked on the branch to Eggborough Power Station. At this time of course Class 56s would be far more likely to be seen at the head of MGR coal trains at this location, either to Eggborough, or via the lines on the right, to Drax.

56035 Ardley Quarry 13 December 1997

56035 passes the site of Ardley Quarry Sidings on 13 December 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z28 06:03 Swindon to Tonbridge 'Festive Fiend' railtour. Since this picture was taken the route has been redoubled, although ironically at this spot a short section of the original down line had escaped the original track lifting. This was retained in order to gain access to the quarry siding. The point from the down main to the siding can just be seen to the left of the first coach, whilst the weed choked siding is just visible in the background.

56036 Denchworth 7 February 1987

With just a trace of weak winter sunshine, 56036 passes Denchworth on 7 February 1987 with the 6V11 10:03 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. Although a little awkward, as the bridge is situated on a very sharp bend in the road, this was an excellent vantage point prior to the erection of a pair of enormous signal gantries on either side of the bridge in the 1990s. With hindsight I should have taken more pictures from this spot rather than the much more popular Circourt Bridge a mile to the west.

56036 Water Eaton (Banbury Road) 15 September 1990

56036 stands at Water Eaton (Banbury Road) with engine shut down on 15 September 1990, while its stone train is unloaded. Not the ideal position for photography, but I suppose it's a different viewpoint (photo taken with permission). Normally these trains arrived at Banbury Road during the night and departed back to Whatley in the early morning. However, this was an additional Saturday working, presumably in connection with the nearby M40 construction.

56036 Marshfield 27 August 1998

56036 passes Marshfield on 27 August 1998 with the 6B50 09:00 Port Talbot to Llanwern MGR. Of the three freight companies formed in 1994 as a prelude to privatisation, Transrail was the least adventurous with new liveries, preferring instead to fix large T logos to whatever existing colour scheme the chosen loco was in. Here, a former 'Dutch' liveried departmental machine has been given the 'Big T' treatment.

56037 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

56037 Richard Trevithick just finds a patch of sun, but unfortunately with typical railway photographer's luck, the rest of the picture is in cloud. The location is Hungerford Common, and 56037 is working the 6A18 05:00 Robeston to Theale oil train on 3 September 1984. At this point the railway parallels the Kennett and Avon Canal, which can just be seen above the loco.

56037 Badminton 15 March 1990

Badminton station closed in 1968, but over two decades later the station was still largely complete. The down platform even still retaining its coping stones, as the removal of the loop lines meant there was no need to remove them. 56037 Richard Trevithick passes by on 15 March 1990 with the 6V17 10:00 Allington to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties.

56038 Knighton 26 January 1980

A picture that is totally impossible to recreate now. 56038 passes the site of Knighton Crossing (between Didcot and Swindon) with a Didcot Power Station to Newport Docks empty MGR coal train on 26 January 1980. A visitor to this spot today would not recognise it, as it is totally grown up, and it is no longer possible to take pictures from the cut off road to the old crossing. The fairly recent underbridge that replaced the crossing can just be seen in this view, with the line of the new road marked by the recently planted trees on the left. Although empty coal trains from Didcot once again use this route (now to Avonmouth), neither Class 56s or HAA wagons will be seen on these trains.

56038 Crofton 15 January 1991

56038 Western Mail passes Crofton just as the sun is rising on 15 January 1991 with the 6A52 07:45 Merehead to Thorney Mill Bardon stone hoppers. This is the site of Grafton East Junction. The course of the diverging route to Andover can be seen on the left, with the remains of the bridge which carried the line over the Kennet & Avon Canal on the extreme left of the picture, with lock No. 57 in the background. The bridge from which this picture was taken has recently been demolished.

56038 Haston 1 June 2003

56038 Pathfinder Railtours 30 Years of Railtouring 1973 - 2003 is appropriate traction for the Pathfinder Tours 'Crewe Invader' railtour on 1 June 2003, seen here passing Haston. The nameplate had just been unveiled prior to the train's departure. The loco is working the 1Z56 14:58 Crewe to Hooton section of the tour, which also saw the use of 37503 & 37674, 57005 (on the rear here), & 37517 & 37695. The closed station at Hadnall is behind the bushes near the bridge in the background.

56038 Ninian Park 7 February 2004

Not much work for the driver of 56038 Pathfinder Tours 1973 - 2003 as it brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z42 13:50 Margam to Crewe 'Valley Vostock' railtour on 7 February 2004, so he is reading the paper as the tour heads back through Ninian Park station. 60021 was on the front of the train.

56039 Woodborough 28 July 1988

56039 passes Woodborough on 28 July 1988 with the 6O53 08:10 Whatley to Ashford West Yard ARC stone train. At this time the ARC stone trains from the Mendips were still Class 56 hauled, but just a couple of years later they would follow Foster Yeoman's example, and order Class 59 locomotives from General Motors.

56039 Grateley 14 November 1991

56039 speeds through Grateley with the 6O89 06:45 Whatley to Woking ARC stone train on 14 November 1991. A very pleasant autumn day was spent at this location with a variety of trains and motive power that can only be dreamed off in today's highly standardised and predictable railway. Also unlike today there were no other photographers, despite the bright weather and the prospect of plenty of classic traction!

56040 & 56050 Stormy 15 June 1983

Pairs of Class 56s were used on the heavy Port Talbot to Llanwern iron ore trains in the 1980s, taking over from the even more impressive triple headed Class 37s (which I unfortunately never got around to photographing). On 15 June 1983, 56040 Oystermouth & 56050 pass Stormy with the 6C48 14:35 Llanwern to Port Talbot empties.

56040 Abercwmboi 21 October 1995

56040 Oystermouth brings up the rear of the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z33 08:03 Paddington to Tower Colliery 'Faulty Tower' railtour at Abercwmboi on 21 October 1995. 33116 & 33109 were leading the tour, but as they were heading up the valley they were unfortunately coming straight out of the sun. However, this convenient mound of spoil made an excellent vantage point to photograph the grid quietly smoking away on the back.

56040 Tower Colliery 21 October 1995

56040 Oystermouth leaves Tower Colliery on 21 October 1995 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z33 'Faulty Tower' railtour. As can be guessed from the tour's name, this was the highlight of the day, with the train having been brought up the branch from Abercynon by 33116 & 33109. The train had started from Paddington. The loading terminal in the background marked the end of the line, although this formerly carried on to Neath. Tower Colliery was situated a little to the south, feeding the loading terminal by conveyor. When it closed in 2008, it was the last deep coal mine in South Wales. It could also claim to be the longest continuously worked coal mine in the UK.

56040 Morganstown 21 October 1995

56040 Oystermouth passes Morganstown on the Taff Vale Line with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z33 'Faulty Tower' railtour returning from Tower Colliery on 21 October 1995. 33116 & 33109 can just be seen on the rear of the train. The tour would later traverse the Cwmbargoed line, but I didn't bother to travel that far west as it would have been just as the sun was setting. I was very lucky with the light here, as although the train is perfectly lit, Castell Coch in the woods in the background definitely isn't!

56040 & 33019 Congerstone 19 September 2009

56040 Oystermouth & 33019 Griffon pass Congerstone in superb light with the 10:00 Shackerstone to Shenton service during the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala on 19 September 2009. I've had some narrow escapes with lighting while taking railway pictures, but this has got to be one of the closest calls. As the train came around the corner it was still completely cloudy. The sun just came out at the critical moment and as the coaches were passing me it disappeared again. A few seconds of sun just at the right moment! Of course in that situation the dark cloud in the background really stand out. In addition to the 'Carry On Clagging' headboard the loco is carrying a SN Shackerstone depot plaque.

56040, 56086 & 73114 Market Bosworth 19 September 2009

Unfortunately in one of the cloudy periods during the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala on 19 September 2009, but worth recording nonetheless, 56040 Oystermouth, 56086 & 73114 (brake translator) accelerate away from Market Bosworth with the late running 13:30 Shenton to Shackerstone service. There is a private airstrip in the field on the left, and the building in the background is in use as a hangar for a small private aircraft.

56040 & 73114 Congerstone 19 September 2009

After waiting for ages for 56040 Oystermouth & 73114 to pass Congerstone with the 17:15 Shackerstone to Shenton service on 19 September 2009, the sun dropped into some high cloud just before the train was due, and although there is still a trace of light, this is not the result I had anticipated. The immaculately restored original Railfreight liveried grid was certainly the star of the show at the Battlefield Line Diesel Gala.

56041 Narroways Hill Junction 16 April 1991

56041 passes Narroways Hill Junction, Bristol, on 16 April 1991 with the 4B05 17:47 Bath Oldfield Park to Westerleigh Avon Binliner. This conveyed both loaded containers from Bath and empties for Westerleigh. This well photographed train ran, with various changes of motive power, from 1985 to 2011.

56041 Charlton-on-Otmoor 5 July 1991

With some kind of gesture from the driver (!), 56041 passes Holts Farm, Charlton-on-Otmoor on 5 July 1991 with the 6C13 11:22 Calvert to Bath Avon Binliner. In subsequent years the lineside vegetation grew up, virtually obscuring this viewpoint. However, in 2013 this was cleared, and by a happy coincidence, Class 56s briefly returned to the route.

56043 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 23 August 1985

56043 passes Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 23 August 1985 with what is presumably the 6M20 03:05 Stoke Gifford to Wolverton ARC stone train. If indeed it is 6M20, then it was two hours late, but there is nothing else in the working timetable anywhere near the time. Strangely, I saw this same loco at this very location five years later, on a similarly vague working.

56043 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 8 September 1990

56043 ambles along the down relief line at Walton Well Road, Oxford, on 8 September 1990 with what is presumably the late running 7A15 01:00 Whatley to Banbury Road ARC stone train. In any event, after a short wait in the loop it headed up the Banbury line, rather than the Wolverton route. It is amazing just how rural this view is, considering its proximity to Oxford city centre. In 2013 the view has been blighted by a controversial development totally out of keeping with the surroundings. Note the water tower in the background, on the site of Oxford shed (81F).

56043 Severn Tunnel Junction 15 April 1991

56043 passes through the totally deserted Severn Tunnel Junction station on 15 April 1991 with the Mondays only 6V08 09:20 Fawley to Clydach LPG tanks. Once an important goods yard and loco depot, even by 1991 Severn Tunnel Junction had been reduced to just an unimportant wayside station.

56043 Denchworth 17 August 1992

56043 passes Denchworth on 17 August 1992 with the 6C13 11:22 Calvert to Bath Avon Binliner. The reinstatement of the down relief line is taking shape, with fresh ballast in the foreground, and a rather wobbly line of sleepers waiting for the new rails in the background. Once the down relief was completed, work would then start on the up line.

56044 Water Eaton 17 August 1988

56044 passes Water Eaton on 17 August 1988 with the 6M24 Tytherington to Wolverton ARC stone train. This location used to be very quiet, being some distance from the nearest main road, but during 1988 the A34 to the east of Kidlington was realigned, which entailed the construction of a brand new section of road in the fields between Kidlington and Water Eaton. Construction work can be seen in progress on the right of this picture.

56044 Baulking 18 September 1991

56044 Cardiff Canton passes Baulking on 18 September 1991 with what is presumably the 6V45 11:35 Leicester Braunstone Gate to Cardiff. The correct day (6V45 ran on Wednesdays and Saturdays only), and more or less the correct time. However, this train usually conveyed scrap. Confirmation anyone? This viewpoint has become a lot more difficult in recent years, with more than just the brambles seen here now growing on the cutting sides.

56044 Challow 11 January 1992

I generally do not bother to photograph light engine movements, but this picture of 56044 Cardiff Canton passing the site of Challow station (between Didcot and Swindon) on 11 January 1992 is included here not only as it gives a good view of the site, but also as it makes an interesting comparison with the same location in 2008. The most obvious difference is that the former station's platforms were still intact in 1992. Unfortunately the other thing that is noticeable is the lack of maintenance of the bridge in later years. Whereas it is in relatively good order here, the fact that nobody on the railway paints anything anymore is all to apparent in the modern view.

56044 Little Stretton 26 October 1996

56044 Cardiff Canton passes Little Stretton on 26 October 1996 with the 6M84 05:29 Margam to Dee Marsh steel coils. It looks like the banding has broken on the fourth coil, with the outer windings becoming loose.

56044 Trelewis 19 April 1997

A lucky patch of sunshine at Trelewis on 19 April 1997, as 56044 Cardiff Canton descends the Cwmbargoed branch with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z63 17:40 Cwmbargoed to Crewe 'Welsh Wizard' railtour. The train had been photographed a short while earlier heading up the valley behind 56118.

56045 Oddington 26 April 1984

56045 approaches Oddington crossing on 26 April 1984 with the 6M24 05:15 Stoke Gifford to Wolverton ARC stone train, running over an hour late. At the time there was no problem with such late running, as there were no passengers services on this Oxford to Bicester section, and with only one other stone train, the Bicester MoD freight, and the occasional ECS to Wolverton, there was little else to get in the way. However, in retrospect all that freight traffic seems quite a lot!

56045 Hungerford Common 3 September 1984

56045 passes Hungerford Common on 3 September 1984 with the 6A28 13:15 Westbury to Brentford Foster Yeoman stone hoppers. This used to be a very popular spot for photography, but it has long since become so grown up that only very head on viewpoints are now possible. Note the Kennet & Avon Canal on the right.

56045 Swanbourne 20 February 1988

56045 passes Swanbourne on 20 February 1988 with the 6M24 07:25 Whatley to Wolverton ARC stone train. The former down line is already out of use, and just five years later the line would be closed, with track being taken up to the east of this point. Despite the awful weather, this is therefore a record of a long gone traffic flow and location. By 1988 the line saw very little traffic, but on this particular Saturday, I had just 35 minutes to wait for another freight train.

56045 Lower Basildon 6 January 1991

56045 waits patiently in the drizzle, facing the wrong way on the down fast mainline at Lower Basildon on 6 January 1991 with a short formation Redland self discharge ballast trains during an engineering possession. It was fortunate that it wasn't moving as a Pentax 6x7 loaded with Fujichrome 100 is definitely not the ideal combination for these weather conditions!

56046 Oxford 25 September 1987

56046 passes through the centre road at Oxford station on 25 September 1987 with the 6V11 09:10 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. This working, via the former LMS route through Bicester, retained these four wheel PGA hoppers right to the end.

56046 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 24 October 1989

56046 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on 24 October 1989 with the 6M24 08:05 Stoke Gifford to Wolverton ARC stone hoppers. It's hard to believe now that this location ever looked as open as this, as in addition to there now being double the number of tracks, the amount of vegetation in the background had increased enormously during the following two decades.

56046 Verney Junction 29 May 1993

To mark the closure of the Claydon Junction to Bletchley section of the former Oxford to Cambridge line, Hertfordshire Railtours ran the appropriately named 'Mothball' tour on 29 May 1993. 56046 passes the grass grown platforms at Verney Junction with the 1Z40 10:51 Waterloo to Bedford tour. If you think the vegetation has taken over here, just look what the same location looked like nearly two decades later!

56046 Stewartby 29 May 1993

56046 approaches Stewartby on 29 May 1993 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z40 15:13 Bedford to Euston 'Mothball' railtour. This train was run to mark the closure (or mothballing in case of future use) of the Claydon Junction to Bletchley section of the route. Two decades later it looks like the line is finally going to get a reprieve and a substantial upgrade.

56046 Stockton Cut Junction 22 July 1996

56046 passes Stockton Cut Junction with the 6G40 10:00 Hartlepool to Immingham gas pipe train on 22 July 1996. This was a short term contract that operated during the summer of 1996. Stockton Cut Junction is where the lines from Hartlepool and Middlesbrough converge, and is ideally situated for a photo from the A66 bridge - if you can put up with the traffic!

56047 Bletchingdon 21 August 1982

56047 passes the site of Bletchingdon station on 21 August 1982 with what is presumably the 6E60 08:50 Didcot Power Station to Barrow Hill MGR empties. The bridge and the track still survive, but virtually everything else in this picture no longer exists. 56047 was withdrawn in 2003, and cut up shortly afterwards. My Vauxhall Cavalier suffered fire damage in 1988 and was scrapped, and Shipton-on-Cherwell Cement Works, which can be seen in the background, was closed in 1986, with the chimney finally being demolished in 2015. On the plus side, a small industrial estate now occupies the waste ground in the foreground, which does unfortunately mean that this viewpoint no longer exists.

56047 Hinksey 14 June 1983

You certainly had to get up early to photograph this train! 56047 passes the north end of Hinksey Yard at 05:25 on 14 June 1983 with the 6M20 03:05 Stoke Gifford to Wolverton ARC stone train. While it was easy enough to photograph the return 6V11 empties, a determined effort was required to get a picture of the loaded train! The sun had only just risen, but luckily there were nothing shading the line at this point. The poor technical quality is because this is really stretching what you can take on Kodachrome 64.

56047 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 18 December 1985

56047 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 18 December 1985 with the 6V38 11:52 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. The loco has obviously received a small percentage of the train's load, with stone dust all over the roof, over the grilles, and down the bodyside!

56048 Didcot North Junction 6 May 1990

It's been many years since this wide panoramic view of trains approaching Didcot North Junction has been possible, and I cannot now understand why I took so few pictures from this spot, before the roadside bushes grew up and obscured the view. 56048 approaches the junction on Sunday 6 May 1990 with the 4A53 12:20 Appleford to Brentford binliner empties, running two hours early. The train's point of origin is behind the bushes that can be seen above the locomotive. The short branch from the tip joins the mainline by Appleford Crossing signal box, which can just be seen in the background, above the second wagon.

56048 Milford Junction 18 July 1996

56048 passes Milford Junction with the 4L79 16:13 Wilton to Felixstowe freightliner on 18 July 1996. A welcome change from the never ending procession of coal trains to nearby Drax and Eggborough power stations that makes (or at least used to make) this location a popular photographic spot. The sheer repetition of it meant I didn't visit that often.

56048 North Blyth 15 November 1999

On 15 November 1999, after a completely cloudy day, the sun finally broke through in the late afternoon producing the dramatic lighting seen here. 56048 is ready to leave North Blyth with the 6G69 15:00 North Blyth to Lynemouth alumina tanks. The setting sun glints on the alumina storage tanks, while the blades of one of the newly erected wind turbines can just be seen above the first wagon. The Honda that does all the wandering is parked on the right! Unbelievably I was the only photographer to witness this superb lighting that did actually persist long enough for another picture further down the branch.

56048 Cambois 15 November 1999

56048 just manages to avoid the shadows, as it passes Cambois on 15 November 1999 with the 6G69 15:00 North Blyth to Lynemouth alumina tanks. After a completely dull day, the sun had finally burst through the clouds to produce some really clear light. Freemans signal box can be seen near the rear of the train, which at this time controlled both the lines from North Blyth, and the route to Blyth Power Station.

56049 Black Bank 20 May 1991

56049 passes Black Bank (between Ely and March) with a short rake of Redland stone empties on 20 May 1991. According to the 1902 Ordnance Survey 25 inch map, the buffer stop on the left marks the end of a refuge siding, not as I first suspected a headshunt for the goods yard at Black Bank station, which was situated by the level crossing that can just be seen in the distance.

56049 Fenwick 13 September 2003

With the cooling towers of Thorpe Marsh Power Station just visible on the left, 56049 passes over Fenwick level crossing on 13 September 2003 with a rake of former domestic coal HEA hoppers en-route from Scunthorpe to Redcar. This shows Transrail's very minimal rebranding of the 'Dutch' engineer's livery.

56050 Wolfhall 2 July 1985

56050 rounds the sharp curve at Wolfhall on 2 July 1985 with the 6A11 10:05 Acton to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties, complete with single interloper ARC hopper. The train is passing the abutments of the MSWJR bridge that carried the Swindon to Andover line over the GWR route. I'm not quite sure what's happened to the loco's cab door, but it seems to have suffered slightly. Is this a result of the door sticking and somebody using some excessive force to open it?

56050 Fairwood Junction 20 April 1988

56050 approaches Fairwood Junction on 20 April 1988 with what is presumably the late running 6A63 Wootton Bassett to Merehead Foster Yeoman stone empties. These four wheel PGA hoppers would soon be phased out in favour of higher capacity bogie wagons.

56050 South Moreton (Didcot East) 16 November 1988

56050 pulls away from a signal check at South Moreton on 16 November 1988 whilst working the 6V17 10:00 Allington to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. The overgrown area behind the train is the site of Moreton Sidings, laid during the Second World War to cope with the increases in freight traffic in the Didcot area.

56050 South Moreton (Didcot East) 29 April 1990

56050 passes South Moreton (Didcot East) on 29 April 1990 with the 6A55 12:10 Appleford to Brentford GLC binliner empties. Unfortunately, as far as the angle of the lighting goes, this was running over an hour early. Two decades later, this junction layout has been improved, with extra points enabling high speed switching from relief to main lines.

56050 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 22 June 1991

56050 passes the site of Ashbury Crossing, Shrivenham on 22 June 1991 with the 6M24 04:35 Whatley to Wolverton ARC stone train. The white building in the background (near the site of the long closed Shrivenham station) is the Victoria Tavern, which has since moved upmarket and become the Fat Dog Restaurant, although how the name Fat Dog is considered more upmarket than Victoria is a mystery!

56050 Oxford 28 June 1991

Running over two hours late, 56050 approaches Oxford on 28 June 1991 with the 6A42 04:10 Stoke Gifford to Calvert Avon Binliner. I have numerous pictures of the returning empties, but very few pictures of the northbound loaded train, understandably so in view of its early morning booked path.

56051 Foxhall Junction 31 July 1986

56051 slowly moves across from the relief line to the down main at Foxhall Junction on 31 July 1986. After a brief pause at Didcot, it is now continuing westwards with the 6V17 10:00 Allington to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties.

56052 Hereford 23 April 1994

In freshly applied Trainload grey livery (minus any branding), 56052 leaves Hereford on 23 April 1994, after a long wait in the centre road, with the 6M86 11:00 Margam to Dee Marsh steel coils. Plenty of reminders of the steam age here, with the disused goods shed, impressive station building, and just visible underneath the station footbridge, the GWR signal box.

56052 Micheldever 11 December 1994

A panoramic view of Micheldever station taken on 11 December 1994, a day that was so dull that this was on the absolute limit of photography for a moving train! 56052 is just about the enter Micheldever Tunnel with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z30 08:42 Bristol Temple Meads to Dollands Moor 'Southern Serpent' railtour. Micheldever station can be seen in the background, with the oil depot sidings on the left. The wide flat area in the foreground was formerly covered with sidings, serving the WW2 built fuel depot, the tanks of which are built into the hillside, off to the left of the picture.

56052 Melton Ross 30 October 1998

56052 The Cardiff Rod Mill passes Melton Ross on 30 October 1998 with the 7G07 13:39 Immingham to Scunthorpe loaded MGR. An everyday sight at the time, but how many photographers would be jostling for space on this bridge if a Class 56 was used on these trains today?

56053 Foxhall Junction 31 July 1986

56053 Sir Morgannwg Ganol / County of Mid Glamorgan is spot lit in a small patch of sunshine at Foxhall Junction on 31 July 1986, as it heads westwards along the Great Western Mainline with bitumen tanks, presumably heading for Llandarcy. Instead of sticky black stuff, this loco's previous loads have obviously more of a powdery white nature, judging by the deposits on the roof. Stone from either the Westbury area or Tytherington would be the culprit!

56053 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 8 May 1987

56053 Sir Morgannwg Ganol / County of Mid Glamorgan approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 8 May 1987 with the 6B08 12:00 Langley to Robeston oil empties. In the background is the original brick twin arched Denchworth Road Bridge, which was replaced in 1992.

56053 Magor 14 March 1997

Train reporting headcodes ceased to be displayed on locomotives in 1976, and indeed later build classes, such as this Class 56 had no provision for displaying them. Therefore this a bit of a novelty, as 56053 Sir Morgannwg Ganol / County of Mid Glamorgan clearly has the train's headcode prominently displayed in the windscreen! It is pictured approaching Magor on 14 March 1997 with the 6C24 14:09 Parc Slip to Westbury Cement Works loaded MGR coal train. Celtic Energy had opened the Parc Slip loading point the previous year.

56053 Ashington 30 March 1998

56053 Sir Morgannwg Ganol / County of Mid Glamorgan rounds the sharp curve at Ashington on 30 March 1998 with the 6M02 14:35 Lynemouth to Wolverhampton aluminium ingots. I remember being severely disappointed at the time that this was not the booked Class 37! The train's point of origin, the Lynemouth smelter, can be seen in the background.

56054 Langley 6 November 1986

The sun is setting in the west, and 56054 just manages to dodge the worst of the encroaching shadows as it passes Langley on 6 November 1986 with the 6V90 11:48 Chislehurst to Westbury ARC stone empties. The Chislehurst stone terminal has since closed and houses built on the site. It was a very basic facility which required the use of a mechanical grab for unloading, hence the use of these former British Steel PTA iron ore tipplers, rather than hopper wagons.

56054 Crowle 31 May 1997

56054 British Steel Llanwern runs alongside the Stainforth & Keadby Canal at Crowle with the 6D99 07:20 Hull Saltend to Immingham wagon transfer working on 31 May 1997. This Saturdays only working was used to move wagons between the two locations, but was always very lightly loaded, often with just one wagon, as here. Usually either a Class 37 or 56, either class was just a little bit overpowered for such a load!

56054 Goole (Potter Grange Junction) 16 May 2002

56054 British Steel Llanwern approaches Potters Grange Junction, Goole, on 16 May 2002 with the 6D51 08:01 Doncaster to Hull Enterprise, comprising six BYA covered steel carrier wagons. This rural view has been completely transformed since this picture was taken. An industrial estate now occupies the field on the left, and the huge Guardian Industries float glass plant now dominates the background. The large house visible in the background amid the trees is New Potter Grange, a large and imposing house built by local businessman William Smith in 1881. Unfortunately, this local landmark had become derelict, and was demolished in 2008 after an arson attack. The Goole to Knottingley line can just be glimpsed on the right, and this has now been joined by a new line into the glass factory. However, all this has been obscured by rampant vegetation.

56055 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 9 December 1986

56055 approaches Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 9 December 1986 with the 6V11 10:03 Wolverton to Stoke Gifford ARC stone empties. Three decades later there is nothing in this view that hasn't changed. Class 56s on four wheel hoppers have of course long gone, but so too has the brick bridge in the background (replaced in 1992), the PW hut, and even the view of the fields in the background, which have now been obscured by trees. In addition, the line has now reverted to four tracks, and worst of all, has been disfigured by the catenary of the fantastically mismanaged project to electrify the Great Western Mainline.

56055 Didcot North Junction 24 March 1991

56055 passes Didcot North Junction on 24 March 1991 with the Sundays only 6A54 09:20 Brentford to Appleford GLC Binliner. Another load of London's rubbish to be dumped in a hole in the ground in Oxfordshire - thanks for that! Apart from a small area around the base of the pylon in the background, the waste ground seen here has now been turned into an industrial estate.

56055 Plean 27 April 1998

56055 passes Plean on 27 April 1998 with the 6E43 13:55 Aberdeen Guild Street to Doncaster Enterprise, principally composed of empty cement tanks bound for Oxwellmains. I remember being disappointed at the time that it wasn't the booked pair of 37s! Although a Loadhaul grid in Scotland, and in sunshine (albeit severely backlit) is certainly nothing to complain about.

56056 Princes Risborough 15 May 1993

56056 arrives at Princes Risborough on 15 May 1993 with the late running 6A70 01:30 Northolt to Calvert Binliner. This is the point where the up and down lines merge together again, after separating at Saunderton. 56056 marks a slight change in the front end design of the class, with the removal of the protruding lip above the buffer beam, and a larger, square horn grille. Note the Westbury 'White Horse' depot plaque.

56056 & 56103 Croome 27 June 2002

Unfortunately just missing the sun, 56056 & 56103 Stora pass Croome on 27 June 2002 with the 6E39 16:47 Llanwern to Lackenby steel empties. This is another one of the rare locations that has actually improved as far as trackside vegetation is concern. In the mid 1980s this shot would not have been possible.

56062 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 22 April 1986

56062 approaches Oxford on 22 April 1986 with the 7V65 11:56 Desford Colliery to Didcot Power Station MGR working. At this time the majority of coal trains to Didcot (there were often as many as fifteen per day) were in the hands of Class 58s, so a relatively clean 56 in original Railfreight livery was a definite bonus. This picture is taken from the Walton Well Road bridge which is relatively traffic free, as it only leads to a car park on the edge of Port Meadow. The footbridge in the background is at the end of Aristotle Lane.

56062 Kings Sutton 17 March 1990

You couldn't get a more appropriate locomotive for this train! 56062 Mountsorrel passes Kings Sutton on 17 March 1990 with the 6V20 10:23 Mountsorrel to Didcot Redland self-discharge stone train. This was a pleasant location to watch southbound trains in the 1990s, however two decades of tree growth have made this a summer only photographic location now if the sun is shining.

56062 Foxhall Junction 1 May 1992

56062 Mountsorrel has just traversed the west curve at Didcot, and is pictured taking its train onto the Great Western Mainline at Foxhall Junction on 1 May 1992. A Railfreight Construction liveried Class 56 on Regional Railways liveried stock is certainly something out of the ordinary! The train is the Pathfinder Tours 1Z17 06:52 Liverpool Lime Street to Cranmore 'Aggregator' railtour. The tour visited both Merehead and Whatley quarries.

56062 Cargo Fleet 26 November 2001

56062 has full power applied as it passes Cargo Fleet on 26 November 2001 with the 6F45 08:00 Tees Yard to Skinningrove steel slabs. Fine early morning lighting and some late autumnal colour makes a good picture, despite the background.

56062 Melton Ross 26 July 2003

56062 is pictured at Melton Ross on 26 July 2003 with the 7C77 13:35 Immingham to Scunthorpe imported coal, passing 66601 which is heading the 6E55 10:03 Kingsbury to Humber empty oil tanks. Surprisingly given the amount of freight traffic on the line, and the then possibility of some Class 56 hauled trains, there is nobody on the popular footbridge at New Barnetby visible in the background. Class 60s were starting to take over these workings at the time, 60004 being seen just a short time earlier.

56062 Kirkby Woodhouse 17 January 2004

During one of the few brief sunny periods of the whole day, 56062 passes the site of the long closed Portland Colliery, near Kirkby Woodhouse on 17 January 2004 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 05:34 Reading to Harworth Colliery 'Joint Line Jester' railtour.

56062 Harworth 17 January 2004

56062 climbs the bank towards Harworth Colliery, passing the golf course with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 05:34 Reading to Harworth Colliery 'Joint Line Jester' railtour on 17 January 2004. 47 853 was on the rear of the train. A crowd of photographers gathered around the footpath crossing generated a lot of the usual 'Is there a steam train coming?' questions from the golfers!

56062 Conisbrough 17 January 2004

56062 rounds the curve at Conisbrough on 17 January 2004 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z57 11:40 Harworth Colliery to Reading 'Joint Line Jester' railtour. The viaduct of the former Doncaster to Barnsley line can just be seen in the background.

56063 Trimley 18 April 1996

56063 Bardon Hill passes through Trimley station on 18 April 1996 with the 4L58 19:45 Coatbridge to Felixstowe South freightliner. The canopy behind the loco now serves no purpose, as the passenger line to Felixstowe is the right hand track. These are in fact two separate single lines. The rear of the train is negotiating the junction.

56063 Althorpe 4 May 2002

Towards the end of its life, 56063 acquired this unusual non-standard grey livery. It is seen here passing through Althorpe station with the 6D65 10:01 Doncaster to Immingham Enterprise service on 4 May 2002. Quite why somebody has decided to highlight the area formerly occupied by the Bardon Hill nameplate by painting it red with a white edge is a mystery.

56064 Didcot Power Station 12 June 1983

There are numerous pictures of Class 56s working MGR coal trains from the Midlands to Didcot Power Station in the 1980s, but I have not yet seen many taken here, at their ultimate destination. On 12 June 1983, 56064 draws slowly forward into the unloading building prior to dropping its load of coal through the slatted floor. It would move through at 0.5mph, with the wagon doors being tripped by the blue actuators on the right. This was the worst possible conditions to try to take a photo, inside a dark building on a bright sunny day, resulting in an excessive contrast range. Considerable work using layers in Photoshop has been required to get an acceptable result from what looked like a very unpromising Kodachrome transparency.

56064 Lympsham 8 May 1995

56064 passes Lympsham on 8 May 1995 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z60 06:09 Wolverhampton to Penzance 'Grockle Grid' railtour. The 56 worked the train between Bristol Temple Meads and Plymouth, and from Penzance to Bristol on the return. Class 47s were used between Wolverhampton and Bristol, 47471 outward, and 47536 return. 37669 & 37696 were used in Cornwall, which included a trip along the freight line to Carne Point.

56064 Pilning 2 October 1996

56064 descends towards the Severn Tunnel at Pilning on 2 October 1996 with the 6B20 10:55 West Drayton to Coedbach empty HEA hoppers. Pilning's diminutive station is just behind the bushes in the background.

56064 Ponthir 5 August 1998

In superb evening light, 56064 passes Ponthir with a featherweight 6M75 16:04 Avonmouth to Warrington (via Alexandra Dock Junction) Enterprise service on 5 August 1998. Even with the housing development on the left, Ponthir is an excellent locations for northbound trains in the evening, but unfortunately there is no chance of a picture of anything that comes the other way. Note the piles of steel sleepers stacked at the side of the track for imminent track repairs.

56067 Tinsley 14 October 1995

56067 passes underneath the two tier Tinsley Viaduct on 14 October 1995 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 05:25 Swindon to Drax 'Aire Freighter' railtour. The viaduct carries the M1 motorway and the A631 across the valley of the River Don. As the weather was so awful, I particularly wanted a picture of this train passing an identifiable location.

56067 Drax Power Station 14 October 1995

56067 rounds the sharp curve on the approach to Drax Power Station on 14 October 1995. It is just a few yards away from it destination, as it works the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 05:25 Swindon to Drax 'Aire Freighter' railtour. The train had also visited nearby Eggborough Power Station.

56067 Drax Power Station 14 October 1995

After its circuit of Drax Power Station, 56067 leaves the site on 14 October 1995 with the Pathfinder Tours 'Aire Freighter' railtour, now running as the 1Z27 16:12 Drax to Swindon. Unfortunately, this gloomy and misty weather persisted all day.

56068 Marshfield 4 November 1989

56068 passes Marshfield on 4 November 1989 with the 6B91 11:05 Llanwern to Port Talbot MGR empties. The many bridges between Newport and Cardiff were the lazy option for photography in the 1980s and 1990s, with a constant procession of freight traffic hauled by Class 37s, 56s, and latterly 60s.

56068 Worlaby Carrs 24 May 2001

Warning - coal dust storm approaching! The camera was quickly put in the bag after I had taken this picture, as I was enveloped in a gritty black cloud, which despite the ruggedness of the vintage Canon A1, was probably best kept away from the camera. 56068 spreads its load over the fields at Worlaby Carrs on 24 May 2001. It is working the 7C79 16:40 Immingham to Scunthorpe MGR.

56070 Hinksey 28 July 1983

Hinksey Yard is home to just a short rake of oil tanks on 28 July 1983, as 56070 passes by in the background with the 7V63 12:37 Three Spires Junction to Didcot Power Station MGR, which was running exactly to the booked time. Built during the Second World War, and extremely busy until the end of steam, the 1970s and 80s saw the yard used for nothing more than the storage of odd rakes of wagons, and latterly as a dumping ground for condemned stock. It has since been transformed into a busy 'Virtual Quarry' ballast dump.

56071 Prestatyn 20 May 1995

56071 passes Prestatyn on 20 May 1995 with the 1T75 13:00 Llandudno to Crewe special. This was one of a number of special trains organised by the Crewe Rail Events Committee, and billed as the North Wales Coast Motive Power Day.

56072 Ashchurch 11 January 2003

56072 emerges from the fog at Ashchurch on 11 January 2003 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 06:02 Doncaster to Bristol Temple Meads 'Mod & Docker' railtour. This is the MoD branch, as viewed from Ashchurch station footbridge. This is therefore the 'Mod' part of the tour, the 'Docker' part came later, in considerably better light!

56072 Lodway 11 January 2003

With the houses of Lodway in the background, 56072 slowly approaches the M5 Avonmouth Bridge on 11 January 2003 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 06:02 Doncaster to Bristol Temple Meads 'MoD and Docker' railtour.

56072 & 56051 Lodway 11 January 2003

With the very last of the afternoon light giving a red tint the reeds in the foreground, 56072 & 56051 pass underneath M5 Avonmouth Bridge near Lodway on 11 January 2003 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 06:02 Doncaster to Bristol Temple Meads 'MoD and Docker' railtour. The train is seen here returning from Portbury Dock.

56073 Wolvercote Junction 7 April 1988

56073 approaches Wolvercote Junction on 7 April 1988 with the 6M55 17:30 Didcot Power Station to Three Spires Junction MGR empties. This was a bit of a surprise, as the Three Spires workings were usually Class 58 hauled by this date. 56073 was one of the two class members that were fitted with experimental remote control slow speed equipment, and consequently had roof mounted flashing lights. This was not a success, and the equipment was removed in the early 1980s.

56073 Oxford (Walton Well Road) 20 February 1994

56073 Tremorfa Steelworks accelerates away from the Oxford pick up stop and crosses the Castle Mill Stream (a backwater of the River Thames) on 20 February 1994. It is working the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 09:00 Reading to Sheffield 'Standedge Stomper' railtour. Amazingly, it has already had one change of traction, with 47823 working the short distance between Reading and Didcot Parkway. 56073 worked as far as Birmingham New Street, with 60066 onwards to Manchester Piccadilly, then 47356 to Wakefield Kirkgate, 58008 to Sheffield, 37358 to Derby, 31242 & 31285 to Crewe and 56033 back to Didcot Parkway, where 47823 (the only repetition of the day) was waiting to take the train back to Reading. Phew!

56073 Aller 25 May 1996

56073 Tremorfa Steelworks passes Aller on 25 May 1996 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z56 13:06 Paignton to Meldon Quarry 'Dartmoor Warbler' railtour. This was a mini tour using the loco and stock off the main Paddington to Paignton 'Paignton Decorator' tour.

56074 Burton Salmon 25 October 1995

Class 56s and coal trains - two things that have all but disappeared from the railway scene this picture was taken. 56074 passes Burton Salmon on 25 October 1995 with another load of coal from Gascoigne Wood, destined for Drax Power Station.

56074 New Barnetby 26 July 1996

56074 Kellingley Colliery passes New Barnetby on 26 July 1996 with the 6G40 10:00 Hartlepool to Immingham gas pipes. This was a short term contract that only ran during the summer of 1996, so I couldn't be too choosy about the weather conditions on the few occasions that I was in a position to photograph it.

56074 Wantage Road 8 May 1999

A rare section of track for a passenger train. 56074 Kellingley Colliery traverses the up relief line at Wantage Road on 8 May 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 05:05 Plymouth to Canterbury West 'Kent Coastman' railtour. The 56 had taken over the train at Bristol Temple Meads.

56074 Minster 8 May 1999

56074 Kellingley Colliery passes through Minster station on 8 May 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z36 05:05 Plymouth to Canterbury West 'Kent Coastman' railtour. The line to Dover can be seen diverging to the right. Another chord giving access from the Dover line to Ramsgate can just be seen joining the mainline in the distance, beyond the signal box.

56074 Sturry 8 May 1999

56074 Kellingley Colliery passes a fine Southern Railway lattice post bracket signal, and equally vintage whistle board, as it approaches Sturry on 8 May 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 15:55 Canterbury West to Plymouth 'Kent Coastman' railtour.

56074 Faversham 8 May 1999

56074 Kellingley Colliery arrives at Faversham on 8 May 1999 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 15:55 Canterbury West to Plymouth 'Kent Coastman' railtour. The train's point of origin is only a few miles away via the line on the right, but as it started from Canterbury West station, rather than East, it has travelling the long way round via the Isle of Thanet.

56074 Selby 23 May 2001

56074 passes through Selby station on 23 May 2001 with MGR empties destined for Hull. Hard to imagine that this sleepy backwater, with its quaint station, sharp curves, and swing bridge was once on the East Coast Mainline. Gone are the procession of mainline expresses, now DMUs reign supreme.

56078 Seamer West Junction 31 March 1997

56078 passes Seamer West Junction on 31 March 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z37 16:55 Scarborough to Reading 'Scarborough Maid' railtour. The Grid only worked as far as York. This is not quite the perfect framing that I had in mind, but a Pentax 6x7 has no means of firing off multiple exposures!

56078 Walsden 31 March 2004

31 March 2004 was a sad day for Class 56 fans, with the final railtour marking the class's withdrawal from traffic on the national network. 56078 Doncaster Enterprise heads through typical Pennine scenery at Walsden with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z57 'Twilight Grids' railtour, running an amazing 50 minutes early. This caused consternation among the photographers on the hillside, as the sun had only just got round far enough to illuminate the side of the train, although this was better than some photographers who missed this section of the tour completely because of the unexpected early running!

56078 & 56096 Wantage Road 6 December 2014

56078 & 56096 approach Wantage Road in fantastic winter light on 6 December 2014, as they prepare to move onto the relief line with the 6V62 11:20 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. Despite being early December, there is still a fair amount of autumn foliage on the trees, which adds to the general golden glow.

56078 Moreton-in-Marsh 4 November 2016

56078 stands next to Moreton-in-Marsh signal box on 4 November 2016 on the rear of the 3S33 05:56 Swindon to Gloucester Horton Road Rail Head Treatment Train, which had been diverted to Moreton from its usual Ledbury destination. 56105 is the lead locomotive.

56078 Moreton-in-Marsh 4 November 2016

Having reversed using the crossover visible in the background, 56078 enters Moreton-in-Marsh station on 4 November 2016 with the 3S33 05:56 Swindon to Gloucester Horton Road Rail Head Treatment Train, with 56105 bringing up the rear. It would wait for a few minutes while the preceding train cleared the section, before heading back to Worcester. The dark grey sky is an indication of the heavy rain I would have to drive through on the way home!

56078 Moreton-in-Marsh 4 November 2016

In extremely dull conditions, with the threat of rain, the 3S33 05:56 Swindon to Gloucester Horton Road Rail Head Treatment Train pulls away from Moreton-in-Marsh station on 4 November 2016, led by 56078, with 56105 bringing up the rear. This was a one off diversion of the train away from its usual Ledbury destination. Budgens supermarket dominates the background, but note the unusual survival of a concrete railway lamp post in their recycling area! The rail workers walking back to the station had just been attending to Moreton's GWR lower quadrant signals.

56081 Hatfield Colliery 24 May 2000

56081 passes Hatfield Colliery on 24 May 2000 with the 6D78 12:11 Redcar to Scunthorpe coke. In February 2013 the large spoil tip on the right slid down onto the track, depositing 200,000 cubic metres of slurry onto the four running lines, moving them approximately 5 metres vertically and 20 metres horizontally!

56081 North Lee 9 July 2015

UK Rail Leasing's 56081 looks superb as it rounds the curve near North Lee on 9 July 2015 with the 6Z57 10:16 Calvert to Willesden Euro Terminal spoil empties. The loco is on hire to DCR, and has become a reliable performer on this working. This train had actually left Calvert nearly half an hour early, but that made no difference, as due to pathing constraints on this single track line between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough, it had to wait for the passage of the 2P37 10:33 Aylesbury to Princes Risborough DMU, before it could continue south.

56081 Chalfont St Peter (Mumfords Lane) 10 July 2015

56081 passes Mumfords Lane, near Chalfont St Peter, on 10 July 2015 with the 6Z57 10:16 Calvert to Willesden Euro Terminal spoil empties. Unfortunately the midday mid summer sun and head on lighting do provide ideal illumination, but at least the sun is on the front. Unfortunately, good locations on the Chiltern Line are at a premium.

56081 Claydon (Gloucestershire) 31 July 2015

56081 passes Claydon (Gloucestershire) on 31 July 2015 with the 6Z35 11:41 Chaddesden to Cardiff Tidal loaded scrap. Luckily this was running pretty much to time, as any later and the sun would no longer be glancing across the front end, and that shadow that has just reached the rail would start to become a real problem! Bredon Hill dominates the background, but the growth of the lineside trees means that from this angle Ashchurch station, a mile distant, is now hidden from view.

56081 South Moreton 10 September 2015

56081 brings up the rear of the 5Z56 16:27 Eastleigh Arlington to Tyseley barrier coach move at South Moreton on 10 September 2015 The train is being led by 56104. The closed Didcot Power Station can be seen in the background, with the electrification depot on the site of Moreton Sidings in the middle distance.

56082 & 56083 Kiverton Park Colliery 5 September 1993

56082 & 56083 pass Kiverton Park Colliery on 5 September 1993 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 23:59 Edinburgh Waverley to Bristol Temple Meads 'Coal Scuttler II' railtour. The colliery closed the following year, and now virtually all the buildings have been demolished, and the site landscaped.

56084 Clink Road Junction 11 May 1985

56084 comes off the Frome line at Clink Road Junction on 11 May 1985 with the Saturdays only 6A56 11:10 Whatley to Hayes & Harlington Tarmac stone hoppers. This was the second Class 56 to receive large logo livery (56036 being the first), and even in 1985 the colour scheme still had novelty value.

56084 & 56085 Parkside Junction 23 May 1993

Very difficult lighting conditions at Parkside Junction (near Newton-le-Willows) on 23 May 1993, with the sun right behind the train. Consecutively numbered 56084 & 56085 round the short and sharply curved freight only chord between Lowton Junction and Parkside Junction with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 17:05 Preston to Crewe 'Lancastrian Mini Excursion'. The line in the foreground is the Liverpool to Manchester line, famously the first passenger carrying railway to open in 1830.

56086 Kingham 6 October 1996

Pictures of Class 56s on the Cotswold Line are naturally a little thin on the ground, as the route hasn't seen any regular freight for years. Not having taken up photography in time to see the diverted MGRs to Didcot Power Station that were allegedly routed via the line in the 1970s, this will have to suffice for my picture of one of the class on the line, prior to their use with open access operators in later years. 56086 The Magistrates' Association stands 'wrong line' at Kingham during a Sunday engineering possession on 6 October 1996. It looks like this is the end for the vintage bullhead rails on the up line!

56086 Wolvercote Junction 18 May 1998

56086 The Magistrates' Association passes under the Oxford ring-road, as it approaches Wolvercote Junction on 18 May 1998 with the 6M17 15:00 Avonmouth to Rugby coal train. As the same loco generally stayed on this diagram for several days, and given the good spell of weather, it was an easy decision to go out again the following day.

56086 Kings Sutton 19 May 1998

56086 The Magistrates' Association passes Kings Sutton in superb evening light with the late running 6M17 15:00 Avonmouth to Rugby coal train on 19 May 1998. Although an ideal time of year for photography at this location with masses of hawthorn blossom by the track and in the hedges, those same bushes are just starting to cause a problem with shadows being cast across the line, so I was certainly relieved that it wasn't any later!

56086, 56040 & 73114 Carlton 19 September 2009

This was probably the highlight of the day for most visitors to the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala on Saturday 19 September 2009. 56086, 56040 Oystermouth & 73114 (acting as a brake translator) pass Carlton with the 13:00 Shackerstone to Shenton service. It should have been even more impressive, as it was originally intended to have 56098 included in the train as well!

56086 & 73114 Market Bosworth 19 September 2009

56086 & 73114 (acting as a brake translator) approach Market Bosworth with the 15:15 Shackerstone to Shenton service on 19 September 2009, during the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala. The traffic cone shaped headboard reads 'Coanheads On Tour'!

56086 & 73114 Congerstone 19 September 2009

56086 & 73114 (acting as a brake translator) round the curve at Congerstone with the 15:45 Shenton to Shackerstone service on 19 September 2009, during the Battlefield Line's Diesel Gala. Plenty of grid bashers in the first coach!

56087 Pencoed 4 April 1992

56087 passes Pencoed on 4 April 1992 with the 6B91 11:05 Llanwern to Port Talbot MGR empties. 56087 was just another nondescript Grid at the time, and little did I realise that over two decades later it would be one of the few members of the class that would find a second life working for Colas.

56087 & 56113 Baulking 4 August 2014

In the last few seconds of sunshine, before a large black cloud blotted out the sun, 56087 & 56113 pass Baulking on 4 August 2014 with the 6Z16 09:24 Llanwern to Washwood Heath covered steel wagons. On this occasion a single BYA telescopic hooded wagon spoils the appearance of the otherwise uniform rake of IHA curtain sided vehicles.

56087 Uffington 29 November 2014

Superb late afternoon light at Uffington on 29 November 2014, with the bonus of a fine display of golden autumn leaves on the oak tree in the background. 56087 heads westwards with the 6V62 11:00 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. This was running ten minutes early, which was just as well, as the sun was getting very weak at the booked time. This train has been dominated by Colas's newly refurbished Class 60s, since numerically similar 60087 took over from the former 56/66 haulage in the summer. However, the failure of 60021 on the previous Wednesday resulted in a return, at least temporarily, to the old order.

56088 Whitley Bridge Junction 25 October 1995

At the time, an everyday occurrence, now a part of history. On 25 October 1995, 56088 curves off the Eggborough power station line at Whitley Bridge Junction, with MGR empties bound for nearby Gascoigne Wood opencast mine. The main line here is in fact virtually a freight only line, with numerous coal trains to Drax power station being the main traffic, and only a very infrequent Knottingley to Goole passenger service.

56088 Hambleton West Junction 24 May 2001

56088 approaches the level crossing at Hambleton West Junction with the 6G33 10:57 Eggborough Power Station to Lindsey oil empties on 24 May 2001. It is just about to turn right onto the chord between Hambleton West and South Junctions, prior to joining the East Coast Mainline, which it will travel on as far as Joan Croft Junction, before turning left onto another freight only link to Stainforth Junction. The Gascoigne Wood coal loading point can be seen in the background.

56089 & 56100 Cottam Power Station 5 September 1993

56089 Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station & 56100 are completely dwarfed by the cooling towers of Cottam Power Station, as the emerge from a circuit of the complex whilst working one of the Worksop Open Day Committee's Trainload Coal Motive Power Day specials on 5 September 1993. The train had arrived as the 1Z76 14:28 Sheffield to Cottam, and is now after the briefest of pauses, heading back as the 1Z77 15:45 Cottam to Sheffield.

56089 Graythorp 15 September 2001

56089 passes some mostly newer, but now redundant alternative forms of transport, as it negotiates the Seaton-on-Tees branch at Graythorp on 15 September 2001 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 20:22 Newport to York 'Blyth & Tyne Meanderer' railtour.

56089 Seaton Snook Junction 15 September 2001

56089 brings up the rear of the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 20:22 Newport to York 'Blyth & Tyne Meanderer' railtour at Seaton Snook Junction on 15 September 2001. 66142 is leading the train towards Hartlepool, where the train will reverse again.

56091 Cambois 22 July 1996

56091 Castle Donington Power Station approaches Cambois on 22 July 1996 en-route from Tyne Yard to Blyth Power Station with a loaded MGR, one of a several daily coal workings along this line at the time. Unfortunately a rather dull misty day, but note St. Peters Church, West Sleekburn (built in 1867) visible on the horizon.

56091 Saxondale 22 March 1997

56091 Castle Donington Power Station passes Saxondale on 22 March 1997 with the 6E82 10:45 Rectory Junction to Lindsey empty oil tanks. Interesting enough, but half an hour later something much more unusual passed by in the opposite direction - 33116 & 33051 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 'Swineshead Revisited' railtour.

56091 Hinksey 3 April 2013

56091 became the fifth member of class to work the Didcot to Calvert flyash train on 3 April 2013, when after several days of the train being it cancelled, it finally worked the loaded 6Z92 18:10 Didcot Power Station to Calvert. It is seen here slowly negotiating the relief line at Hinksey in terrible light, which did at least allow a reasonable shot from the east side of the line. Had the sun been out (as of course it was when I arrived!), it would have been very awkward. This is my first picture of the northbound loaded train, which until the clocks went forward the previous weekend, was very difficult to photograph.

56091 Foxhall Junction 5 April 2013

56091 passes Foxhall Junction on 5 April 2013 with the 6Z91 10:53 Calvert to Didcot Power Station flyash empties. The rear of the train is still on Didcot West Curve, which connects the Great Western Mainline with the Oxford route. This particular train only runs alongside the GWML for a few yards, before peeling off into the power station site.

56091 Hinksey 12 April 2013

Well, I suppose it could have been a lot worse! The tail end of the 4M66 09:32 Southampton Western Docks to Birch Coppice intermodal does its best to get in the way, as 56091 powers past Hinksey Yard on 12 April 2013 with the 6Z91 10:53 Calvert to Didcot Power Station flyash empties.

56091 Hinksey 16 April 2013

56091 passes Hinksey Yard on 16 April 2013 with the 6Z92 18:10 Didcot Power Station to Calvert flyash. Luckily it was routed along the main line, unlike the last time I photographed it here, as otherwise it would have resulted in a very difficult photographic situation, with the train partly in the shadow of the parked wagons on the right. In fact it was running ten minutes early, having ignored the booked layover in Kennington Loop. Consequently it was travelling very slowly, under adverse signals.

56091 Islip 13 May 2013

56091 passes Islip on 13 May 2013 with the 6Z91 10:53 Calvert to Didcot Power Station flyash empties. As can be seen from the piles of chippings in the foreground, a large amount of vegetation clearance has taken place in readiness for the Oxford to Bletchley line's forthcoming upgrade. This has opened up numerous new photographic viewpoints, including this one from Islip's recreation ground. The bridge in the background is one of two that cross the line in the centre of the village.

56091 Calvert 21 May 2013

56091 pulls slowly away from Calvert on 21 May 2013 with the 6Z91 10:53 Calvert to Didcot Power Station flyash empties. Although still a very dull day, at least when departure time came it was reasonably bright in the foreground, with a dark sky, rather than the other way round which it had been a few minutes before! Note how the grass and bushes have completely taken over the disused platform in the foreground.

56091 Hinksey 4 June 2013

56091 approaches Hinksey on 4 June 2013 with the 6Z92 Didcot Power Station to Calvert flyash. This train is booked to leave Didcot at 18:10, but that is exactly the time it passed me, nearly eight miles further north! This was lucky, as the evening shadows were already becoming a problem. The early running meant that it had no need to use Kennington Goods Loop, which can be seen on the right. Had it sat in there as booked, the picture would have been hopeless! Kennington Junction can be seen at the rear of the train, with the Morris Cowley branch curving away to the left.

56091 Kennington 6 June 2013

56091 approaches Kennington on 6 June 2013 with the 6Z92 18:10 Didcot Power Station to Calvert flyash. The available locations to photograph this train with the sun on the front are a little limited. So, after having covered the obvious places, I decided to investigate some less obvious ones. This location does require a stepladder in order to look over the tall fence, but does qualify (just) as a 'sun on the nose' spot.

56091 & 56312 Charlton-on-Otmoor 14 June 2013

56091 & 56312 pass Charlton-on-Otmoor on 14 June 2013 with the 6Z91 10:53 Calvert to Willesden Euro Terminal empties. 56091 had worked the final 6Z92 Didcot Power Station to Calvert flyash the previous evening, but instead of bringing its MBA wagons back as expected, it is pictured here with failed 56312, and its JRA wagons from the Willesden to Calvert spoil train. This recently cleared location on the single track Bicester to Oxford line was the one remaining location that I had not got around to using for the flyash empties. This final chance to get the picture, albeit slightly different to expected, proved to be an ideal choice for a broadside view of this unusual double header.

56091 South Moreton 19 August 2013

56091 brings some welcome classic traction relief from the constant monotonous diet of 66s on Thames Valley freight. It is passing South Moreton on 19 August 2013 with the 6Z84 10:53 Calvert to Willesden Euro Terminal spoil empties. Unfortunately, whilst the aforesaid 66s passed in good light, when it came time for some more interesting motive power the sun had disappeared!

56091 Water Eaton (Banbury Road) 20 August 2013

Two empty (almost) stone trains in one picture! 56091 passes Banbury Road stone terminal, at Water Eaton, on 20 August 2013 with the 6Z84 10:53 Calvert to Willesden Euro Terminal spoil empties. In the foreground are the wagons of the 6C54 13:06 Oxford Banbury Road to Whatley empties, which would follow 56091, after the Didcot to Bicester MoD train had passed in the opposite direction. Unfortunately 6C54's loco (59202) was parked in a totally unphotographable position underneath the bridge, so a short drive to Wolvercote was required for a picture of the train. Note that they had obviously not finished unloading 56091's train at Calvert when departure time came around, as the first two wagons are full, returning the spoil back to Willesden!

56091 Bourton 28 August 2013

56091 passes Bourton on 28 August 2013 with the 5Z56 11:40 Wembley to Bristol Barton Hill, conveying a single Chiltern Railways Mk 3 coach. Typically this was during a cloudy spell, although the sun is just starting to come out weakly, at least on the loco. Annoyingly the sun was out on the other side of the bridge, and it remained in this bizarre state, with sun on one side, and cloud on the other for well over ten minutes!

56094 Milford Junction 25 October 1995

Lengthy early morning shadows at Milford Junction on 25 October 1995, as 56094 Eggborough Power Station heads south with a rake of empty HAA coal hoppers. Although the once common sight of these four wheel MGR wagons is now history, happily the loco has faired better, and in is now part of the Colas fleet.

56094 Bottesford 6 September 2012

Gleaming in its new Colas livery, 56094 speeds through Bottesford (travelling noticeably faster than the East Midlands units that also pass through without stopping) on 6 September 2012 with the 6E07 11:51 Washwood Heath to Boston Docks steel empties.

56094 Rauceby 6 September 2012

Superb evening light at Rauceby on 6 September 2012, as 56094 passes the 1880 built Great Northern Railway signal box with the 6M08 17:20 Boston Docks to Washwood Heath loaded Colas steel train. Note the 158 unit waiting in the platform near the signal box. It could have so easily blocked the view at the critical moment!

56094 Charlbury (Cornbury Park) 22 December 2012

56094 accelerates away from Charlbury station, and passes Cornbury Park in the rain on 22 December 2012 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 06:38 Crewe to Euston 'Thames Angerman' railtour. The ultimate destination of the tour would be Angerstein Wharf, near Greenwich. The extremely unusual appearance of a Class 56 on the Cotswold Line was well worth recording, despite the atrocious weather, although the bright Colas livery of the locomotive goes someway to brightening up the scene. I particularly wanted to photograph the train here, as it shows the transition from the newly reinstated double track onto the remaining single track section to Wolvercote Junction. The tour was running very early at this point, having arrived at Charlbury station (just out of sight around the corner) 17 minutes ahead of time. It therefore had to wait several minutes for the preceding HST to clear Wolvercote Junction.

56094 Compton Beauchamp 3 February 2014

56094 passes Compton Beauchamp in atrocious light on 3 February 2014 with the 6Z08 09:39 Llanwern to Washwood Heath (via Oxford) covered steel wagons. Despite the dismal weather, it was definitely worth going out to see this, as remarkably 56302 also passed this way a little earlier. After a dearth of Class 56s on the Vale of White Horse line, to have two in one day was almost like the 1980s, when they appeared daily not only on the oil trains but on the Wolverton to Stoke Gifford stone empties.

56094 & 56113 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 10 February 2014

56094 & 56113 run along the up main line at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth on10 February 2014 with the 6Z08 09:39 Llanwern to Washwood Heath (via Oxford) covered steel wagons. As they are obviously going to miss out the booked stop at Wantage Road, the few minutes early running here, had turned into half an hour at Didcot. Unfortunately the early bright weather had been replaced by menacing dark clouds, although at least it didn't start raining until I got back to the car! The biggest problem was a Rail Grinder DR79723, which was slowly making its way along the down relief line, threatening to get in the way of a decent picture. Luckily it was moving really slowly, having to follow a tamper, which was being held at Challow.

56094 Denchworth 19 February 2014

56094 passes Denchworth on 19 February 2014 with the 6V62 11:00 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. Unfortunately the promised brighter afternoon had not yet happened, and in fact it had got much darker, necessitating a setting of ISO 1600 for this picture.

56095 Wolvercote Junction 27 March 1982

Just after sunrise on 27 March 1982, 56095 approaches Wolvercote Junction with the 6M34 06:55 Didcot Power Station to Toton MGR empties. Virtually everything in this picture is now history. 56095 has been cut up, HAA coal wagons are now no longer part of the rail scene, and of course the point of origin of this train, Didcot Power Station, has now closed. Even the bridge in the background has been replaced, albeit with a near identical structure.

56095 & 56091 Milford Junction 25 October 1995

Pairs of Class 56s working freights were certainly not common and were usually the result of a failure, as is probably the case here. 56095 Harworth Colliery makes a smoky departure from Milford Sidings with 56091 Castle Donnington Power Station on 25 October 1995. Milford Junction (Monk Fryston) is a popular spot to photograph coal trains heading for nearby Eggborough and Drax power stations, although apart from unusual events like this it can get a bit monotonous!

56096 Weaste 30 October 1993

56096 very cautiously descends the steeply graded Weaste branch with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z44 06:35 Bristol Temple Meads to Seaforth Docks 'Merseyman' railtour on 30 October 1993. The train had arrived at Eccles (just visible in the background) behind 50033 & 50007, and is pictured here running parallel to the Liverpool to Manchester main line which it as just traversed, prior to turning sharply and burrowing underneath both the railway and the A56 road.

56096 Elsham 31 December 2001

The very last of the year's light! Just moments before the sun finally dropped below the horizon, 56096 approaches Elsham on 31 December 2001 with the 7C78 14:48 Immingham to Scunthorpe loaded MGR. This photo is taken from Moor Lane, a track that leads from B1206 into the forest around Wrawby Moor. Unfortunately this viewpoint has now been ruined by the inclusion of a colour light signal in the foreground.

56097 Old Denaby 15 August 1998

56097 just manages to escape the approaching cloud, as it passes Old Denaby on 15 August 1998 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z27 05:27 Cardiff Central to Newcastle 'North-East Excursioner' railtour. Classmate 56018 returned the tour south in the afternoon.

56098 & 56104 Croome 7 November 2015

Stunning light at Croome on 7 November 2015, as UK Rail Leasing's 56098 & 56104 round the curve with the 5W56 05:27 Kilmarnock Barclays Sidings to Laira ECS. This is a refurbished Mk3 HST set returning to First Great Western, or GWR as they are now branded. The cost of repainting the entire HST fleet into the new green livery could not be justified, hence the retention of the old colour scheme on this set. I was very fortunate with this picture, both with the fantastic lighting, and actually having arrived in time! It was already running an hour early when I left home, but was nearer two hours early here, just a few minutes after I had arrived. Unfortunately numerous other photographers were not so lucky, with several turning up just after it had passed. The headboard reads 'Rail Operations Group' - the operators of this particular working.

56098 & 56301 Severn Tunnel Junction 30 January 2016

56098 Lost Boys 68-88 & 56301 pass Severn Tunnel Junction in superb winter light on 30 January 2016 with the Rail Operations Group 5Z56 02:29 Kilmarnock Barclays Sidings to Laira ECS, conveying a rake of refurbished GWR Mk3 HST coaches.

56098 Fiddington 8 March 2016

56098 Lost Boys 68-88 passes Fiddington on 8 March 2016 with the 6Z34 09:46 Cardiff Tidal to Chaddesden scrap empties. Although a very dull day, it was worth the long walk to this location, as just five minutes later 37602 & 37605 also passed by with the early running 6M56 13:41 Berkeley to Crewe nuclear flask. With this much classic traction, it was almost like the good old days!

56100 & 56089 Whisker Hill Junction 5 September 1993

56100 & 56089 Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station pass Whisker Hill Junction, near Retford with the 1Z70 10:03 Sheffield to Cottam Power Station special on 5 September 1993. This was one of a number of special trains run in connection with the Worksop Open Day. The high level lines here connect with the East Coast Mainline, while the line the train is on burrows underneath it.

56100 Coalbrookdale 12 January 2002

56100 powers up the valley past Coalbrookdale on 12 January 2002, running wrong line with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z28 13:40 Ironbridge to Swindon 'Grid Iron Grinder' railtour. 60076 is just out of sight on the rear of the train, having worked the tour from Wolverhampton.

56101 Ryecroft Junction 15 August 1988

56101 passes Ryecroft Junction on 15 August 1988 with 7T65 07:30 Baddesley Colliery to Ironbridge Power Station MGR. In the background the course of the line to Brownhills can be seen. It had been lifted in 1983. Also just visible are the abutments of the bridge that carried the Willenhall to Aldridge line over the Brownhills route. Tree growth has hidden all this, and also made this location much more difficult for photography.

56101 Madeley Junction 15 August 1988

56101 comes off the Ironbridge line at Madeley Junction on 15 August 1988 with a rake of MGR empties from Ironbridge Power Station, heading back to Baddesley Colliery, near Tamworth. The scratch along the side of the locomotive through the number is not a fault of the original Kodachrome slide, but is visible on a number of other photographs taken at around this time.

56101 Bletchingdon 17 August 1988

56101 passes Bletchingdon on 17 August 1988 with the 7V85 13:58 Toton New Bank to Didcot Power Station MGR. At this time there was still a possibility of seeing Class 56s on coal trains from the Midlands to Didcot, although the majority of workings were in the hands of Class 58s, such as 58034 seen a little earlier on this day. Also in the short while I was at this location 47327 passed by with 6O36. It was this variety of traffic and traction that made railway photography so interesting in the 1980s, in marked contrast to the depressingly dull freight scene today, where virtually everything has the same traction.

56102 Hinksey 14 June 1983

56102 pictured in Hinksey Yard on 14 June 1983, after detaching from a northbound MGR. Not quite sure what is going on here, as the working timetable only quotes a 6M21 04:45 Didcot Power Station to Mantle Lane at around this time.

56102 Medge Hall 6 September 1999

56102 passes the 1886 built Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway signal box at Medge Hall (between Scunthorpe and Doncaster) with the 6M99 15:53 Immingham to Wolverhampton steel train on 6 September 1999. The signal box controls the level crossing, but this is not overly busy, as it is not a through road, merely leading to various farms on Crowle Common. Just out of the picture to the right is the equally little used Stainforth & Keadby Canal.

56103 Old Denaby 15 August 1998

56103 Stora passes Old Denaby on 15 August 1998 with the 6E28 07:05 Wolverhampton to Scunthorpe steel empties. This train probably had a much larger photographic audience than normal on this day, as 56097 was following behind with the 'North-East Excursioner' railtour.

56103 Tredington 17 February 2015

56103 screams past Tredington on 17 February 2015 with the 6Z35 11:34 Cardiff Tidal to Stockton scrap empties. As the train was running over a hour early, the lighting was even more impossibly backlit than I had expected. The western escarpment of the Cotswold Hills can be seen in the background.

56103 Bredicot 18 June 2015

56103 passes Bredicot on 18 June 2015 with the 6Z34 15:10 Chaddesden to Cardiff Tidal scarp train. This train had originated the previous day at Stockton, and was indeed originally booked to work straight through to Cardiff. However, there was a change of plan, and it was recessed overnight at Chaddesden. This was good, as the timings were earlier than previously, and therefore the lighting angle would be better. Unfortunately though, the Met Office's forecast for Worcestershire was totally wrong. The full sun predicted was in fact nearly total cloud cover!

56103 Waddesdon Manor 19 January 2016

56103 passes the site of Waddesdon Manor station on 19 January 2016 with the 6Z57 10:16 Calvert to Willesden Euro Terminal spoil empties. Unfortunately I was unable to visit this location the previous Friday morning on what was a gloriously sunny day, due to the failure of my car's battery (hardly surprising after nearly 14 years!). However, the Met Office had predicted this to be another sunny morning, but a bank of thin cloud had drifted in from the north, resulting in it being just bright, rather than sunny. On the plus side, unlike the previous Friday, there was a covering of frost on the grass and lineside bushes.

56103 Grange Court 22 February 2016

56103 rounds the curve at Grange Court on 22 February 2016 with the 6Z34 09:46 Cardiff Tidal to Chaddesden scrap empties. After its early departure from Cardiff, I thought this might miss out its booked layover at Lydney. It didn't however, and after waiting there for over an hour, passed me running just a couple of minutes early. Grange Court was formerly the junction for the cross country line to Ross-on-Wye.

56104 Penmanshiel 10 August 1997

Whilst travelling up to Scotland early on the morning of Sunday 10 August 1997, I noticed 56104 parked on the main line at Penmanshiel with a ballast train, obviously waiting to proceed south at some point during the day to drop ballast at an engineering possession. Although it was stopped in a slightly awkward position, it was just possible to take this record shot without the overhead wires getting in the way. The course of the old A1 road can be seen on the right, with the new road on the left. In the background, on the right is the site of Penmanshiel Tunnel, which collapsed during repair work in 1979, unfortunately with the loss of two lives. A new line was constructed avoiding the tunnel.

56104 Castor 11 April 2015

UK Rail's 56104 was one of the star attractions at the 2015 Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala. The ex-works machines looks superb as it passes the blackthorn blossom at Castor on 11 April 2015 with the 2E39 11:22 Wansford to Peterborough service.

56104 Castor 11 April 2015

The late afternoon sun is getting very head on at Castor on 11 April 2015, as 56104 passes by with the 2M55 17:30 Peterborough to Wansford service. This was not helped by the train running some 40 minutes late. The UK Rail owned loco was one of the star attractions at the Nene Valley Railway's Diesel Gala.

56104 South Moreton 10 September 2015

Complete with 'Rail Operations Group' headboard, UK Rail Leasing's 56104 passes South Moreton on 10 September 2015 with the 5Z56 16:27 Eastleigh Arlington to Tyseley, conveying two Mk1 barrier coaches. 56081 is bringing up the rear. The barriers are required for moving London Midland units between Soho and Tyseley. This was running a few minutes early, which was fortunate, as although the train just fits in the gap between the shadows, it wouldn't stay that way for long!

56104 Claydon (Gloucestershire) 23 February 2016

With a wave from the driver, 56104 passes Claydon on 23 February 2016, running as the 0Z34 13:09 Washwood Heath to Bristol Barton Hill. I don't normally bother photographing light engine moves, but with a loco this clean, and in perfect lighting, why not! Due to the lack of a train, I chose a tight crop, to show off the loco.

56104 Challow 24 February 2016 With a of the little overnight frost still visible on the ballast, and in the lineside field, 56104 passes Challow on 24 February 2016 with the 5Z34 07:39 Bristol Barton Hill to Wembley, conveying a single refurbished Chiltern Railways Mk 3 coach.
56104 Uffington 24 February 2016

56104 passes Uffington on 24 February 2016 with the 5Z35 12:08 Wembley to Bristol Barton Hill, conveying a single Chiltern Railways Mk 3 coach for refurbishment. Unfortunately the sun dipped slightly as this approached, just taking the edge off the lighting. However, it was a good job it wasn't booked to run a couple of hours earlier, as during the middle of the day it was much cloudier than the Met Office had predicted. It didn't worry me, I had gone home for lunch!

56105 & 56054 Grove 21 February 1993

During the early 1990s a pair of relief lines were reinstated between Wantage Road and Challow on the Great Western Main Line, principally to cater for the then new Avonmouth to Didcot Power Station coal trains. On 21 February 1993, 56105 & 56054 are pictured standing on the recently laid down relief line near Grove with a Redland stone train after ballasting operations further up the line. At this time the up relief line had not yet been laid. The driver told me that the train would stay in this position until 21:00, when the whole ensemble was due to be hauled back to Didcot by a Class 37. The site of former Wantage Road station is just beyond the trees in the background.

56105 Dove Holes Quarry 25 January 1997

56105 passes Dove Holes Quarry on 25 January 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z56 06:32 Bristol Temple Meads to Hindlow Briggs Sidings 'Rock'n'Robin' railtour. It is passing 08915, and in the background, RMC Roadstone Sentinel 0-6-0DM shunter S10107.

56105 Elsham 11 March 1997

56105 passes the remains of Elsham station on 11 March 1997 with the 6G05 12:39 Scunthorpe to Immingham MGR empties. Elsham station closed in 1993. This view clearly shows the staggered platforms, with the up platform commencing by the now redundant crossing warning notice to the right of the building.

56105 Elsham 11 March 1997

The final rays of a weak winter sun illuminate 56105 as it applies full power at Elsham with the 7G08 15:12 Immingham to Scunthorpe MGR on 11 March 1997. The old wheel operated gates seen here were replaced with lifting barriers in 2003. The old platform at Elsham was an ideal location to get westbound trains perfectly framed with the crossing and box, and with a splendid bracket signal in view as well.

56105 Yarnton 10 June 2013

56105 passes Yarnton on 10 June 2013 with the late running 6Z56 11:20 Crewe Basford Hall to West Ealing, conveying two Network Rail generator container wagons. This location has become very overgrown, but in this case the gap in the trees ideally suits this short train! Also, it was very convenient, as apart from a short walk across the field to the footbridge, it involved no extra travelling, as I was passing the spot anyway, en-route to photograph 56311 at Islip.

56105 Bourton 2 July 2014

56105 passes Bourton on 2 July 2014 with the 6V62 11:22 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. The sun was gradually disappearing into high cloud, but at least it was a tad brighter when this passed, giving just a hint of some shadows.

56105 & 56113 Uffington 12 July 2014

56105 & 56113 pass a field of ripening wheat at Uffington on 12 July 2014, as they head for South Wales with the 6V62 11:20 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. The day had started sunny (apart from the early fog!), but by the afternoon it was very hazy, and by the time I had walked to this location, it was getting quite cloudy. The prospect of a picture of a pair of Colas Grids at this spot was enough to make me chance the weather. While I waited it was more often cloudy than hazy sun, then suddenly just as this was due, the sun reappeared at full strength, sharply contrasting the bright foreground with the dark clouds. The last thing that I expected, but a very welcome couple of minutes of full sun, and for once I was in the right location at the right time!

56105 Moreton-in-Marsh 4 November 2016

On Friday 4 November 2016, the Rail Head Treatment Train that normally visits Ledbury was diverted to the other end of the Cotswold Line, taking a trip from Worcester to Moreton-in-Marsh. Unfortunately the weather was terrible, especially at Moreton-in-Marsh, as the station was under thick cloud, but there was clearly much brighter weather to the north. At least the autumn colours brighten up the scene as the 3S33 05:56 Swindon to Gloucester Horton Road RHTT enters Moreton station, led by 56105, with 56078 on the rear.

56105 Charlbury 7 November 2016

56105 speeds through Charlbury station on 7 November 2016 with the 3S34 20:09 Gloucester Horton Road to Gloucester Horton Road (via Oxford) Rail Head Treatment Train. This was unusually being worked by a single locomotive, as the common RHTT problem of wheel flats had resulted in 56078 being removed at Worcester. As a consequence of this the train was running 72 minutes late. This had improved the lighting angle for a picture at Charlbury, and I was quite surprised to be the only photographer present to record this unusual single loco RHTT working.

56105 Chilson 7 November 2016

Running an hour late, 56105 passes Chilson on 7 November 2016 with the 3S34 20:09 Gloucester Horton Road to Gloucester Horton Road (via Oxford) Rail Head Treatment Train. Most unusually this is being worked by a single locomotive, due to the removal of 56078 at Worcester, with wheel flats. More by luck than judgment, this has resulted in a perfectly framed picture, as if there had been a loco on the rear, the signal would have got in the way slightly!

56106 Nottingham 2 April 1994

56106 pulls away from Nottingham station with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z46 'Sector Swansong' railtour on 2 April 1994. A superb multi-traction tour to mark the end of the British Rail sectors it featured 47636 between Bristol Temple Meads and Nuneaton, 86613 & 86627 between Nuneaton and Northampton, 31105 & 31107 between Northampton and Willesden, 73141 between Willesden and Clapham Junction, 33030 & 73141 between Clapham Junction and Bedford, 58037 between Bedford and Leicester, 60098 between Leicester and Nottingham, 56106 between Nottingham and Derby, 20075 & 20187 between Derby and Crewe, 37675 and Crewe and Stafford, and 47823 between Stafford and Bristol Temple Meads!

56106 Stranraer 18 May 2002

A Class 56 well off the beaten track! I was the only person stupid enough to be standing in the rain at Stranraer on 18 May 2002 to see 56106 arrive at the harbour with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z33 18:32 (the previous day!) Crewe to Glasgow 'Rhins and Marches Crompton' railtour. A Class 56 at this Scottish outpost is unusual enough (presumably unique), but the title of the tour gives a clue to the even more unusual motive power on the other end of the train.

56108 Llangewydd 15 April 1991

56108 passes Llangewydd (between Bridgend and Port Talbot) with the 6B69 Llanwern to Port Talbot coal empties on 15 April 1991. By this date sectorisation had taken hold and many locos were appearing in the new triple grey sector liveries, but there was still plenty of variety with original Railfreight, and as here, the later Red Stripe Railfreight livery on my many locos. Note the milepost on the left indicating 193 miles from Paddington.

56108 Winwick 25 March 1993

56108 passes Winwick on 25 March 1993 with MGR empties from Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. This location is extremely popular with railway photographers, and has become very hackneyed. However, as I live over 150 miles away, it is less so for me! As Railfreight red stripe 56s are no more, it is certainly worth including here.

56108 New Brotton 18 November 1995

Just a trace of weak winter sunshine at New Brotton on 18 November 1995, as 56108 returns from its trip along the North Sea cliffs near Saltburn with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z49 13:40 Boulby to Kings Cross 'Boulby Prize' railtour. Photo taken from a public footpath crossing.

56108 Coatham 18 November 1995

56108 passes Coatham in very weak autumnal light on 18 November 1995 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z49 13:40 Boulby to Kings Cross 'Boulby Prize' railtour. The train is pictured here returning from its trip along the freight only Boulby line. The outward run was headed by 47783, which can just be seen on the rear of the train.

56109 Sandbach 9 February 2002

56109 approaches Sandbach on 9 February 2002 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z29 14:25 Oakleigh Sidings to Cardiff Central 'Mersey Yardmaster' railtour. The tour also featured silver 60033, which is out of sight on the rear of the the train at this point.

56110 Allandale 23 July 1999

56110 passes Allandale (between Polmont and Cumbernauld) with the 6D16 14:00 Grangemouth to Motherwell fuel oil tanks on 23 July 1999. This was a Fridays only working and nominally booked for a Class 60. Despite the gloomy weather, I was certainly pleased to see a Loadhaul Class 56 rather than a 60, although of course ten years later I would be pleased to see a Class 60 rather than a 66!

56112 & 56111 Mostyn 11 August 1991

With the former Sealink 'Duke of Lancaster' ship dominating the background, 56112 & 56111 pass Mostyn on 11 August 1991 with the 1T56 17:30 Crewe to Llandudno Junction special, one of a number of trains that operated along the North Wales coast using interesting traction during the Trainload Coal Motive Power Day.

56112 Cambois 22 July 1996

56112 passes Cambois on 22 July 1996 with the 6G64 Blyth Power Station to Tyne Yard MGR empties. Unfortunately this scene can no longer be repeated as not only are there no Class 56s on the national network in the smart Loadhaul livery, but Blyth Power Station closed in 2001 after 43 years of operation, so bringing to an end all coal movements along this line. At the time Blyth Power Station was the oldest coal fired power generating station in Britain.

56113 Wolvercote Junction 25 July 2002

Alternative forms of freight transportation at Wolvercote Junction on 25 July 2002. As the Parcel Force van negotiates the A34 Oxford by-pass, 56113 heads northwards with the 6M65 18:15 Didcot to Carlisle Enterprise service.

56113 Baulking 18 June 2014

56113 passes Baulking on 18 June 2014 with the 6V62 11:22 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties. This location is getting very restricted because of the ever increasing lineside vegetation, necessitating a relatively head on viewpoint. However, it is about to get a whole lot worse, with the forthcoming electrification, which will make photography here all but impossible.

56113 & 56087 Grove 14 July 2014

The morning of 14 July 2014 presented something of a dilemma, with the option of two interesting Class 56 workings. Should I go to Long Marston for the 6Z56 working to Chaddesden, or the Vale of White Horse Line for the 6Z16 09:23 Llanwern to Washwood Heath (via Oxford) covered steel wagons. I correctly assumed that 56312 would work the Long Marston trip, but as there were three Colas 56s at Llanwern, a double header on the Washwood Heath train seemed likely. As it was also nearer, that option won! So here are 56113 & 56087 romping along the up main line at Grove with the 6Z16 09:23 Llanwern to Washwood Heath.

56113 Challow 30 July 2014

After its booked brief stop in the loop at Challow, 56113 accelerates away with the 6V62 11:22 Tilbury Riverside to Llanwern steel empties on 30 July 2014. Surely the sight of a Colas Class 56 on the Vale of White Horse line cannot have become so commonplace already that the novelty has already worn off with photographers, but nobody else turned up here, on what was (despite what the Met Office said) a perfect sunny day.

56114 Silverdale Colliery 7 November 1998

56114 arrives at Silverdale Colliery on 7 November 1998 with the Pathfinder Tours 1T55 06:48 Watford Junction to Silverdale 'Cheshire Mole' railtour. Silverdale Colliery closed the following month. The old station building had been demolished since my visit three years earlier.

56114 Avonmouth 25 June 1993

56114 Maltby Colliery stands amid the recently completed Avonmouth Bulk Handling Terminal during gauging trials on 25 June 1993. Along with 60077 (which can just be glimpsed through the bunker in the background) and 37887, it was used with rakes of HEA wagons for checking clearances through the new structure, prior to services of imported coal starting to Didcot Power Station. This saw a switch of supply for Didcot from home produced coal from the Midlands to imported coal from around the world, supposedly as a 'greener' alternative due to its lower sulphur content. Although, of course the pollution caused by transporting it halfway round the world was ignored!

56114 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 2 September 1995

56114 Maltby Colliery passes the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, in the rain on 2 September 1995 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z56 08:03 Paddington to Llandrindod Wells 'Crug and Glog Grid' railtour. Thankfully the weather had improved by the time it reached the Central Wales Line.

56114 Knucklas Viaduct 2 September 1995

56114 Maltby Colliery crosses Knucklas Viaduct on 2 September 1995 with the Hertfordshire Railtours 1Z56 08:03 Paddington to Llandrindod Wells 'Crug and Glog Grid' railtour. This impressive structure, with its distinctive castellated turrets, was built by the Central Wales Railway in 1865.

56115 Church Fenton 25 May 2002

A brief burst of very welcome sunshine illuminates 56115 as it approaches Church Fenton on 25 May 2002 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z65 16:30 York to Llandrindod Wells 'York Explorer' railtour. Less than two years later I would be photographing this same loco (along with 56078) at this same location, on the very last (we all thought at the time!) Class 56 railtour.

56115 & 56078 Church Fenton 31 March 2004

70 minutes early was translated into 50 minutes late by the time the Pathfinder Tours 1Z58 17:43 York to Bristol Temple Meads 'Twilight Grids' railtour departed York on 31 March 2004, due to 56078 & 56115 not talking to each other. The multiple working problem was resolved by running the locos around, so it was 56115 Barry Needham that was leading classmate 56078 as the train hammered through Church Fenton in failing light.

56118 Great Heck 17 September 1996

A tricky location to take a picture in 1996, and now probably totally impossible! With the driver checking the snaking rake of wagons behind him, 56118 eases out onto the main line at Great Heck on 17 September 1996 with the 6P68 16:50 Heck to Biggleswade Plasmor blocks. There was only a very small gap in the hedge through which to take this picture, which probably explains why I have seen so few pictures taken from this angle, although I have seen more pictures of this train taken from the other side, which of course is totally wrong for the sun.

56118 Taff Bargoed 19 April 1997

56118 slowly climbs up the freight only branch line towards Cwmbargoed on 19 April 1997 with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z63 07:02 Crewe to Cwmbargoed 'Welsh Wizard' railtour. The location is Taff Bargoed, between Trelewis and Bedlinog. Photo taken from a public footpath crossing.

56118 Magor 19 April 1997

A golden Class 56! A superb glint effect at Magor on 19 April 1997, as 56118 heads east out of the setting sun with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z63 17:40 Cwmbargoed to Crewe 'Welsh Wizard' railtour. The train had visited various freight locations in South Wales, including Newport Docks, Barry, and the highlight of the trip - the steeply graded Cwmbargoed branch.

56118 Ulceby South Junction 27 March 1999

With Ulceby South Junction signal box visible in the background, 56118 traverses the curve towards Brocklesby on 27 March 1999 with the 7C08 15:12 Immingham to Scunthorpe MGR coal. In the bushes behind the loco is the single track line that heads towards Cleethorpes.

56118 Goole (Potters Grange Junction) 23 May 2001

56118 approaches Potters Grange Junction, Goole on 23 May 2001 with the 6D51 08:01 Doncaster to Hull Enterprise. Even though this view only dates from 2001, there have been significant changes already. Obviously there are no Loadhaul 56s now, but the rural delights of Goole (!) have given way to industrialisation. The Guardian Glass Works now dominates the background, whilst the field on the left has also become an industrial estate.

56118 Goole Bridge 24 May 2001

56118 crosses the swing bridge over the River Ouse at Goole with the 6D54 14:36 Hull to Doncaster Enterprise on 24 May 2001. This bridge was severely damaged in 1973 when a barge collided with it, and there was a possibility of this section of line being closed permanently as a result. Happily this was not the case. It is still opened occasionally for river traffic, which I can vouch for personally, as a train I was on returning from Hull one evening was held up for a considerable time when the bridge was swung open to allow a ship to pass.

56118 South Killingholme 8 December 2001

56118 is just a couple of miles into its journey, as it passes South Killingholme on 8 December 2001 with the 7C77 13:36 Immingham to Scunthorpe MGR. This picture was taken from a track that was once one of the entrances to the WW2 North Killingholme airfield.

56118 & 56107 Eckington 2 August 2003

Loadhaul liveried 56118 & 56107 race past Eckington (between Abbotswood Junction and Cheltenham) with the Worksop Open Day Committee's 1Z56 05:40 Worksop to Paignton 'Worksop Riviera' railtour on 2 August 2003. The tour was running half an hour late at this point, as a TPWS fault on 56107 necessitated the loco being run round prior to departure. However, some smart running saw most of the tome made up, the arrival at Paignton being just 2 minutes late.

56119 & 33114 Redbridge 12 January 1992

In early 1992 DC Tours ran a series of railtours over various Southern Region lines using unusual combinations of motive power. On 12 January 1992 it was the turn of a Class 56 & 33 combination. 56119 & 33114 (running as 6532) passes Redbridge station with the 1Z24 10:12 Waterloo to Weymouth 'Solent & Wessex Wanderer 2'. The open ground on the right has now been replaced by the inevitable forest of vegetation!

56119 Onibury 20 August 1995

56119 approaches Onibury with the 6M29 11:38 Llanwern to Dee Marsh steel coils on 20 August 1995. This was one of two northbound steel trains that ran over the Welsh Marches line on Sundays during the 1990s, the other being the 6M30 10:56 Margam to Dee Marsh, which would have passed this spot approximately two hours later, usually with Class 60 haulage. Very little walking is required to get to this spot as the Onibury to Bromfield road is only just over the hedge on the left, running parallel with the railway.

56119 Croome 29 September 1995

The horse takes no notice as 56119 passes Croome on 29 September 1995 with the 6V69 13:19 Brierley Hill to Cardiff Tidal steel empties. In 1995 this particular Transrail liveried loco seemed to turn on steel trains wherever I went!

56120 Knottingley 19 July 1992

56120 rests on Knottingley depot on 19 July 1992 in between Aire Valley coal duties. At this time virtually all MGR coal trains to the nearby Drax and Eggborough Power Stations were worked by Knottingley 56s, still using 1960s built HAA hoppers, some of which can be seen in the background.

56123 Knottingley 12 May 1990

A sea of Trainload Coal grey liveried locos at Knottingley Depot on 12 May 1990. 56123 Drax Power Station slowly moves onto the depot, in what at the time was an everyday scene. In those days British built locos and wagons moved British mined coal. How times have changed!

56123 Cockenzie Power Station 23 July 1996

56123 Drax Power Station pulls its train of HAA coal wagons slowly through the MGR unloading bunker at Cockenzie Power Station on 23 July 1996. The train had originated at the Blindwells opencast mine just a few miles away. This picture was taken with full permission of Scottish Power, as this is definitely not a publicly accessible spot. It is difficult to appreciate from this picture, but this dead end line is situated on a high embankment, and the ground dropped away sharply right behind where I stood! The power station is located near the Firth of Forth, some distance away from the unloading bunker. This brief burst of sunshine was the one during the day.

56123 Cockenzie Power Station 23 July 1996

56123 Drax Power Station pictured underneath the unloading bunker at Cockenzie Power Station on 23 July 1996. It had just unloaded its train from nearby Blindwells opencast mine. This picture was taken with the full permission of Scottish Power. Cockenzie Power Station closed in 2013, adding yet more uncertainty to the nation's ability to keep the lights on!

56123 Drongam 23 July 1997

A large patch of bright pink Rosebay Willowherb is some compensation for the dullness of the day on the Annanbank Junction to Killoch Washery freight line near Drongan on 23 July 1997. 56123 Drax Power Station works the 7R73 09:45 Chalmerston to Killoch MGR. As this train is just travelling to Killoch to run the coal through the washery, it was just a question of waiting for the loco to return a few hours later.

56123 Drongan 23 July 1997

In a bizarre coincidence on 23 July 1997, I saw 56123 Drax Power Station exactly one year to the day since I had last seen it in Scotland on MGR duties. Here it seen approaching Drongan on the freight only Killoch Washery to Annanbank Junction line with the 7R83 13:20 Killoch to Ayr Falkand Yard coal.

56125 Standish Junction 1 May 1994

56125 passes Standish Junction with the Pathfinder Tours 1Z40 06:40 Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth 'Plym-Exe Cursioner' railtour on 1 May 1994. This was run in connection with the Exeter Rail Fair. The 56 was replaced by 59004 at Westbury. The track layout at Standish Junction has been slightly altered since this photo was taken. The diamond crossing under the first coach has been replaced by a pair of points.

56132 Elsham 11 March 1997

56132 passes a fine example of an upper quadrant semaphore signal complete with sighting board, as it approaches Elsham on 11 March 1997 with the 7E34 08:00 Tuesdays and Thursdays only Ashton-in-Makerfield to Lindsey empty Total oil tanks. 56132 was withdrawn in January 2000 and after languishing at Wigan Springs Branch for several years, was finally cut up by C. F. Booths of Rotherham in June 2006.

56133 Goole Docks 7 February 1998

56133 Crewe Locomotive Works propels a couple of steel wagons back towards Goole station from the dock area on 7 February 1998, running as the 6J50 11:34 Goole Docks to Rotherham. Although by this time a Class 08 shunter had been deployed at Goole in view of the upturn in traffic, previously the train loco (usually a Class 56) traveled the entire length of the dock lines, involving considerably sharper curves than the one 56133 is pictured on here.

56135 & 56068 Askern 10 July 1994

56135 Port of Tyne Authority & 56068 pass Askern on the freight only Knottingley to Doncaster line with the Pathfinder Tours 'Donny Deviator' railtour on 10 July 1994. It was certainly living up to its name, and at this point is pictured running as the 1F51 13:48 Doncaster to Doncaster (via Drax Power Station). Other locos involved in the tour included: 58034, 37694 & 37698, 56077, 60002, & 31271 & 31276. Those were the days!

56135 Melton Ross 18 July 1996

Going against the general flow of imported coal from Immingham to Scunthorpe, 56135 Port of Tyne Authority heads west past Melton Ross on 18 July 1996 with a rake of empty HAAs. 56135 was the last of the class to enter traffic, in January 1984.

56135 Coedkernew 11 September 1997

56135 Port of Tyne Authority passes Coedkernew on a very dull 11 September 1997 with the 6V64 07:35 Warrington to Cardiff Canton Enterprise. Transrail's Enterprise network was a nationwide wagonload service, a sort of successor to Speedlink, and in the end just as successful!