Tuesday, 20 March 2012

M62- A Soviet Monster

I am slowly developing my own thoughts on what my 'favourite' non-British locomotives would be. Certainly there are many worthy contenders throughout the world and while I am not sure that they would win an outright 'favourite locomotive in the world' category, the M62 would certainly top a 'Soviet' group.
Built between 1965 and 1980 the M62 is most definitely a monstrous class with a massive 7164 (according to Wikipedia) single sections produced to be formed into more than FIVE THOUSAND locomotives! To put that into context the most locomotives of any single class to ever operate in Britain were the class 47's at a meagre 512 pieces!
The locomotives have been common throughout former Soviet states from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Poland and of course Hungary (from where the designation M62 originates) to name just a few. Some M62 locomotives have even found their way to Cuba!
In Poland the class (known as ST44) have been in decline for many years now due to their huge fuel consumption and excessive track wear. Despite this many private operators continue to use the reliable locos, and even within PKP cargo rebuilt locomotives of this type are seeing something of a renaissance.
One of the highlights of my recent trip is photographed above- Privately owned Pol Meidz Trans loco M62-1199 heading a heavy ballast train through Poznan Staroleca on 2nd March 2012. This was the second PMT loco we had seen within the hour, the first being M62-3101. While 3101 gave the air of having been re-engined, M62-1199 with it's characteristic sound and exhaust was most definitely the real deal!
All being well I hope to be able to post some further M62's over the coming months...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Picture of the week- 19th March 2012

An interesting overview of the urban landscape of Newport (Gwent). While the ideal location for the photograph would have been the car park visible to the right this was sadly not accessible. Instead I found a perch high up with the pigeons in another city car park with a view looking east. While the River Gwent is obscured by trees the rolling landscape of rooftops still creates an interesting backdrop.
The train headed by 66127 is, I believe, a service from Exeter Riverside to Bescot conveying China Clay- it is about to head left onto the marches line towards Hereford, though quite how it would come to be travelling east through South Wales I am not entirely sure!
The photograph was taken on 17th March 2012.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Good things come in pairs

On February 19th 2012 GBRf liveried 73206 and 204 heading a train from the Thameslink worksite at Cricklewood. 73141 and 73213 are on the rear.

The humble class 73's have now been serving the railway for 50 years since the first JA arrived on southern metals in 1962. Despite having reached their half century mark many of the locos are still hard at work hauling trains just as they were designed to do. Since 2005 when 4 locomotives were overhauled by GB Railfreight the class have become common on weekend
engineering trains across the former Southern region. As well as their core work on the SR the class have also found uses slightly further afield- often due to their narrow body design which permits the class to travel on lines barred to larger locomotives. It is for this reason that in early 2012 class 73's have found extensive use on engineering jobs in the Thameslink tunnels- where loading restrictions only permit class 31, 33 and 73 hauled trains.
On March 10th 2012 GBRf 's 73208 (in BR blue) and 73212 (in ex-first group colours) lead a loaded train from Cricklewood back towards the Thameslink tunnels through West Hampstead Thameslink .

Over 5 weeks GBRf has provided up to four pairs of locos for the trains which enter the tunnel from the northern end with wagons being marshalled at Cricklewood. The large requirement for locomotives has seen many of the more interesting 'ED's hired in to supplement GBRf's own fleet on these trains.
March 10th saw both ex-SWT 73109 and 73136 hired to supplement the GBRf fleet. The locos are seen stabled at Kentish Town.

73201 and 73107 were two further hired in locos working on 10th March 2012. The pair of ED's from RT rail are seen leading a spoil train out of the worksite between Kentish town and West Hampstead Thameslink.

The complete train of hired in locomotives- 73201 'Broadlands', 73107 'Redhill 1844-1994', 73136 'Perseverance' and 73109 'Battle of Britain 50th anniversary' trundle towards Cricklewood station.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Poznan Diesels- How long can they survive?

Not so long ago Poland was awash with diesel hauled passenger trains travelling to all manor of small destinations, on single track routes, where a diesel locomotive would haul anything upwards of a single coach.
Sadly those days are gone- the break up of some of Poland's railways together with line closures and an influx of new DMU's have resulted in scores of former passenger locos being laid up. There is still however a small amount of diesel haulage still available for the enthusiast in some parts of the country.

In Poznan there is now only one daily diagram (Mon-Fri) that brings diesel haulage to the city- a 5:53 Leszno-Poznan Gl and 15:34 return. The train is booked for an SU45, though in reality it could also produce an SP32 or SP42.
On Fridays and Sundays there is also an evening return trip from Poznan Gl to Gorzow departing Poznan at 16:27 and returning from Gorzow at 19:36. Again this turn is booked for an SU45 but other classes of loco can turn up as above.
Of course it is also worth mentioning the two steam trips each day from Woltszyn to Poznan and return- which can produce diesel locos in the event of the steam locomotive being unavailable.

Pictured above is Przewozy Regionalne SU45 079 awaiting the afternoon departure from Poznan to Leszno. The train is formed of a set of 4 articulated double deck vehicles- now quite a rarity. Running under the wires for the duration of it's trip the future for workings such as this must be fairly bleak.

Pictured below is SP32 202 ready to work the Friday Gorzow trip. Both photographs were taken on 2nd March 2012. Two days earlier a third loco hauled turn to Krzyz had reverted to EMU operation.

Monday, 5 March 2012

A long way from home...

At first glance there is little unusual about this photograph- it is simply one of the 250 built EWS class 66's- an almost ubiquitous sight on the UK rail network.
Look harder and you may notice a few oddities.
First of all- this is not the UK rail network! 66153, now under the umbrella of DB Schenker is one of the locomotives which has been exported to Poland.
The give aways are the low level platforms- unheard of in the UK but common through much of Europe. The wagons in the picture are also not of UK origin.
The locomotive itself appears largely unaltered (it certainly looks more 'British' than the French 'Euro Cargo Rail' locomotives), the only alterations are to the lighting clusters and the application of a UIC loco data panel.
The location is Wegliniec in south western Poland from where the locomotives is about to depart light engine. Unlike the French exports the polish 'sheds' are unlikely to return to the UK.