Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Class 20s

A recent trip to the East Midlands throws up all sorts of conversations with Mrs F. re the North/South divide which I've discussed here before. What I am sure of is that in the allegedly rich South East we're loco poor. I can go months without seeing a locomotive down here on the main line. However as soon as the divide line of somewhere around South Mimms is passed things change. Jumping on a train at Oakham not only was I greeted by a seemingly endless line of pristine Midland signal boxes, but within half an hour one Cl 66 on a container run FOUR Cl 20s parked up under a bridge and a brace of stored Cl 56s at Leicester. Not only are we strangled by high house prices down here, but we don't get the loco-porn either.
The above looks scarily like a model at first glance, but suggests that using PECO track in a modern setting is fairly accurate. These four 20s are parked under a bridge at Melton Mowbray - why I don't know. I  presume waiting for the next hire-out.


  1. Very interesting observation Chris. Yes, you're so right about the dearth of locos dahn sarf. When I worked near Wadhurst I used to look out eagerly for the British Gypsum freight that trundled over the bridge I could see 400m away. The diesel had to work hard going up the incline.

    Apart from that I saw a very occasional light engine and once - great excitement - a steam special hauled by a spam can, blasting up the slope.

    On infrequent trips to the big smoke I always look out to see what's laying by outside Tonbridge then the works on the right, just as you're approaching the outskirts of London. But apart form that - nowt.

  2. We do still get locos down here; if anything there's more variety than I remember back in the '70s and '80s (33s and 73s).
    The 73s are still around in a bewildering variety of liveries and the latest development is the 73/9 which are 73s re-engineered so they make roughly similar power on diesel to "on the juice".
    66s are pretty common, mostly GBRf-owned with the odd EWS/DBS example.
    Most weeks I see pairs of DRS 37s on the Dungeness flask train, sometimes 20s or if you're really lucky one of each.
    GBRf have some 20s as well; I've seen them at Hastings several times.
    Getting closer to London there's often the odd Network Rail 31 or 37.
    They are out there alright, it's mainly a case of being in the right place at the right time.