Saturday, 5 January 2008

Battlefield Line Photographic Charter

'Linda' passes Shackerstone Box with a freight train

I've been involved on railway photographic charters on a number of occasions, but it's been some years since the Battlefield Line ran one. On 5th January 2008, 'Linda' and 'Sir Gomer' ran photographic charters for a party of photographers led by Russ Hillier. It was planned to be the last appearance of 'Linda' before her move to Chacewater, so, although I had no rostered duty, my friend John Archer and I decided to go and have a look.

After a failure some days earlier, 'Sir Gomer' was only able to perform after major efforts behind the scenes by volunteers to remedy the leaking boiler tube. 'Linda' had already gone down the line with a freight train coupled to the 2-car DMU to provide accommodation for the photographers.

Quite significant shunting operations at Shackerstone, involving both 'Sir Gomer' and a diesel mechanical shunter, were required after 'Linda' had departed. I was invited to assist by taking over as fireman on 'Sir Gomer'. The six-coach passenger train was shunted from Platform 2 to Platform 1 and 'Sir Gomer' was positioned at the South end of the second freight train, less brake van.

Later in the morning, the charter returned (with the DMU leading) and then made a second foray down the line. I managed to get some decent pictures as 'Linda' stormed away. When the charter returned, more shunting took place to transfer the brake van from the train hauled by 'Linda' to the second freight train. 'Sir Gomer' moved the second freight train to platform 2 and the DMU was attached at the rear.

After a brief pause to allow the photographers to get refreshments, they boarded the DMU and 'Sir Gomer' set off, bunker first, for Shenton. Here, more shunting was necessary to detach the DMU and run 'Sir Gomer' round, so that the steam locomotive could make a series of departures for the benefit of the cameras. The cavalcade moved on to Market Bosworth and the photographers disembarked once again to allow a series of run-pasts leaving the station. This process was repeated a number of times, progressively moving towards Shackerstone until it was agreed that we had 'lost' the light. The weather was generally kind and there had been bright sun for most of the day, giving the photographers some interesting opportunities. 'Sir Gomer' then made a final 'romp' back to Shackerstone, a satisfying conclusion to what was judged to be a successful day.

More pictures.