There's an introduction to Bloomfield Jn. (with a signalling diagram) here.
Bloomfield Jn. Saturday 24th March 1962
A few locomotive notes:- T235 comes down hauled by 70004 'William Shakespeare'. Sad to think that a few years ago this was a regular engine on the 'Golden Arrow'. She returned up in the early afternoon with T347.
The London (1B08) was hauled by 'Princess Marie Louise': the first 'Princess' I've seen working over the Stour - I rather thought they were prohibited.
The Stockport parcels has 70026 'Royal Star' at the head end.
Note the entries in my register on this date by the coloured trainee. First time I've had a trainee!
Bloomfield Jn. Saturday 7th April 1962
The down Crewe local at seven o'clock was behind a 'Sulzer' Bo-Bo - these engines don't do much working over the Stour. The same loco. returned on the up at 2.40 p.m. (passing time) with a train from Liverpool.
T348 is what I know as T235 but it evidently runs as T348 on Mondays and Saturdays. It arrives with one on and stops main line. Whilst it detaches one in the down sidings, the following Diesel Parcels Unit is drawing towards our down home. Having completed its shunt, T348 disappears towards Deepfields as 'Engine and Brake' ('Horse and Cart'). The Parcels closely follows and is, in turn, closely followed by the Saturdays Only local.
T172 goes onto the Up Branch at 9.15 a.m. with a 'Super D'. Earlier, at 7.15 a.m. the 'Duck 8' had come off the Curve for Spring Vale, propelling its brake.
T206 is an early bird today at 9.15 a.m., not a '3' as signalled but Engine and Brake. It's a diabolical small diesel shunter (as in the 'Airfix' series with a chimney (!) and propelling the brake. She stands outside the box while T342 coasts by sedately with a 'Blackie' then backs over the crossover onto the up. This movement caused the box and the instrument shelf to tremble violently.
Bloomfield Jn. Saturday 11th August 1962
Another summer Saturday, to try to build up a fair picture of rail traffic in the Midlands area in '62. Posterity, please note!
(1) On the way to Bloomfield, I'd passed a Class 8 engine and brake on the down.
(2) By the time I arrive at the box, another down light engine is standing at Bloomfield's Down colour light starter.
(3) As Spring Vale accepts this engine (under the Warning), we take on another light engine from Tipton. When this arrives, he has to be loosed down to the starter to await the road. It's a 'Jubilee' - 'Canada', carrying the mysterious headboard '1D41'. This train, we afterwards discovered, is the 8.0 a.m. SO (SX-Q) Euston - Holyhead via the Trent Valley. No theories to offer, but quite an intriguing problem.
(4) We've already received the 'Shunt' for the mystery engine and, as he steams towards the starter, we take on the following Manchester. There is a slight panic when Spring Vale says he can't have the engine (as you can imagine, the Stour Valley was somewhat over-populated with motive power at this time). The fireman phones in from the starter just as an Up Local approaches and then, as the down Manchester moves towards us, Spring Vale takes the engine with a sudden '3-5' (actually 2-1 followed by 2-3). We clear the starter and almost immediately, it drops back behind the rapidly-departing engine.
(5) This allows the Manchester (1H03 hauled by a 'Type 4') to be sent on down to the starter. After a couple of minutes, we're able to get the road for the Manchester.
(6) Down and Up locals pass with their bread-winner passengers.
(7) 'The Vicar' (Harry Harris) at Spring Vale offers T37 (pronounced 'two-five-seven' by real railwaymen!), pulls off with one hand and sends 'special section' with the other. While the train pulls through the section, Deepfields opens and complains on the 'phone a few minutes later that the freight has no tail lamp. We loose the train down to the starter to await the opening of Tipton Curve - the fireman on the 2-8-0 is only mildly interested in the absence of a tail lamp. The train of coke wagons, with the high boards round the top, rumble past and the brake appears, with side lamps and tail lamp - on the wrong end of the van! 'The Curve' opens, the train is offered on and disappears towards Bescot with the tail lamp corrected.
(8) '235' (now called T73) rushes through on the Down for Spring Vale - a Class 8, 1 van, 4 mineral wagons loaded with scrap and the brake.
(9) 1G02, from Crewe, passes on the Up, right time, headed by a Type 4 with a 4-wheel, long wheelbase van (as modelled by Hornby-Dublo) bringing up the rear.
(10) A twinset forms the Down Local.
(11) The Up Parcels passes - as usual a 2-6-0 tender first with one 4-wheel van and one bogie parcels vehicle.
(12) An express is offered right behind the Parcels but Tipton can't get rid of it on the Down because he's already accepted 1D27 and sent it on to Bloomfield. The 'Black 5' heading the Up, a relief from Holyhead (1Z24) is already 35 late as we draw him towards the Starter. As he creeps towards the bridge, Tipton 'knocks out' and we just keep the special moving.
(13) The Local is offered right behind the special and 'Section' comes almost immediately. We clear the Home and Starter for the train just as the front of the DMU appears under the bridge towards Deepfields, passing with a 3-minute headway.
(14) T342 is already approaching on the Up before the Llandudno (1D27) roars towards us, heavily loaded, with a 'Black 5' working hard.
(15) T42 (as we should no call T342) roars past with a Stanier 2-6-0 and a varied selection of wagons.
(16) T34 (as we should now call 244) is offered right behind.
(17) After 'Section' for the Up, the Down Local passes.
(18) '206', offered as a 'horse and cart' follows close behind the local.
(19) '244' and '206' approach simultaneously. '206' sounds the Annunciator and is loosed in; immediately '244' sounds the annunciator and is also loosed in. '206' carries on past the top crossover, preparatory to backing into the Western Sidings.
(20) The driver of '244' wants to put off his dozen wagons here and 'brake-up' but he's been misinformed. Tipton Curve opens (entry missed in the book) and the Class 8 drags off its train towards Bescot.
(21) At 9.25 a.m., '206' comes out of the Western, propelling three mineral wagons of sludge (next to the engine) and the brake. The brake was at the other end of the engine, that is the Wolverhampton end, when it arrived from Tipton. '206' is brought through the top crossover onto the Up and the brake is backed onto 2 Road, crashing into the wagons there (although 1 Road was clear. The engine and mineral wagon pick up old locomotive-type sludge tenders off 3 Road and then backs them onto the brake. As the wagons stop, the white, liquid sludge slops over the end of the rear end of the last sludge tender in a cascade which Randle, the guard, is fortunate to miss! '206' then roars off round 'The Curve', its spam-can Drewry shunter at the head end and the guard signalling in friendly acknowledgment from the end.
(22) On the Down, '1K10' is already over ten minutes behind time, well-patronised with a 'Black 5' making a nice exhaust sound as he tries to clip-off the lost minutes.
(23) '1B08' on the Up was initially refused, since 206 was out main line without a block-back (all running moves, of course!). He passes (about 3 minutes late, 5 miles from his starting point) behind 'Scot 6'.
(24) At the same time, the Manchester passes on the Down, only 5 minutes behind the previous Liverpool.
(25) After these two expresses '206' is taken off 'The Curve' and the Drewry shunter returns, propelling his brake. We cross him to the Up and he goes into 8 Road, to pick up one van for Cross and Blackwell's Depot. As Tipton Curve closes, '206' comes out main line and goes through the bottom crossover and back into the Western Sidings to position the van. He returns through the top crossover, stops outside the box to say that the Depot is closed and then disappears, fast, for Watery Lane.
(26) I was suspicious of the engine Tipton offered at 9.58 a.m. and, sure enough, it was cancelled off! So we wind the mis-named Emergency Release on the block control (It is NOT an Emergency Release, since its use is authorised for traffic purposes such as this).
(27) 1G05 from Manchester, steam hauled by a 'Black 5' carries a suitable headboard and is running almost to time.
(28) The 3-car DMU from Newcastle follows right behind, with a 3-minute headway.
(29) The Down Local passes shortly before the Up Liverpool, 1G06 about 12 late, rumbles past with a 'Type 4' as the skies darken and the rain starts to fall.
(30) A quarter of an hour later, 1G07, a 3-set DMU, sweeps past six minutes late from Stoke.
(31) The Down Local is taken on and a '3' is offered from 'The Curve' but refused (but just when did 'The Curve' open and close? The booking on this score is reprehensibly incomplete). 2G59, the local to Wolverhampton, is a 2-car DMU and, as it heads towards the down Starter, the junction points are turned over to the Curve and we have the offered freight 'off the top'. (Note that the Down Starter being 'Off' does not back-lock the junction because you can have the required 1/4 mile clearance beyond the Down Branch Home to accept a train from Tipton Curve whilst a preceding train is still approaching the Down Starter, as in this case). The '3' is 'T61' (formerly two-six-nine) to put off. We decide not to leave him main line, as there isn't much time before 1S61, so we put him on the front road and shut him in.
(32) We're surprised when 'T90' (formerly one-five-three) is offered on the Down, 'Rightaway Catchems'. But he takes his time coming and is, eventually, cancelled off. Somebody with cold feet, eh?
(33) So, we let 269 put off - one mineral on No. 2 and back up ready for off.
(34) 1S61 passes, about 4 late, but rushing away with a 'Type 4' on the front end. The third blind of the 4-character headcode indicator is missing, revealing the two bulbs which illuminate it.
(35) After giving 'T.O.S.' for 1S61, I waited for a couple of minutes to give Watery Lane a chance to turn '153' out and give him a run. Nothing is offered so, instead, '269' is turned out and sent on, as Deepfields clears for the express. And still '153' doesn't come, so we made the right decision. We changed the description of '269' to a '1-4' so that Mr. Almond (at Deepfields) wouldn't think it was '153' coming. For once, he didn't telephone (as he always does) to ask what was coming. Instead, he just pulled off, because we heard our down Starter change to green.[Whenever the aspect of the colour light changes, the lamp current is momentarily interrupted. This briefly releases the lamp proving relay (ECR), causing the 'Lamp Out' annunciator to give a 'burp']. We then informed Deepfields by 'phone that the train was 'T61' for 'The Vale' and he promptly throws his pegs back, just as the driver rounded the curve and the colour light came into sight! Oh Well!
(36) Control 'phones to ask us to keep an eye on '153', as the Pilgrimage Special (1X68) is running early. Heaven knows what Watery Lane is holding '153' back for. The train crew will be pleased, I'm sure.
(37) 1Z23, the second relief from North Wales ex-Llandudno, passes at 11.38 a.m. only about twelve minutes late behind 45395.
(38) The Empty Stock rushes past on the Down and the Up Local makes its way to Birmingham.
(39) At noon, 1X68 is offered on the Down. This is the return Pilgrimage Special from Folkestone Harbour, terminating at Wolverhampton and running ten minutes early. It speeds past with a 'Black 5', full brake, green Ambulance Car, 3 Open Seconds, Kitchen Car, 2 Open Seconds and a Brake End. I presume it had been to Lourdes.
(40) and then, at last, '153' comes down, rushing away to Catchems' with a 'Crab' 2-6-0.
(41) At 12.20 p.m., 1G10 passes on the Up from Rhyl, with Class 5 5354 on a rake on dingy stock.
(42) Six minutes later, 5313 coasts by with 'Seven On' from Manchester.
(43) A 'Black 5' passes with 1G12 with some mixed stock, including one W.R. coach. This train was one of the few without a headboard.
(44) 1T66 struggles by from Blackpool with 5574 on a long train with an 8-minute headway.
(45) Control are in an informative mood and say that the Down Manchester is 50 late with the local, 2K60 to follow.
(46) 1B13, the SO Llandudno - Leamington, comes Up early before the 12.40 p.m. local.
(47) 1G13 arrives at our Up Home only 4 minutes after the local has passed and we loose him towards the Starter. 'Zanzibar', with '8 on' from Morecambe is stopped for a moment waiting for the local to clear Tipton.
(48) 1H13 eventually passes on the down behind a 'Type 4'. All the passengers somehow seem alert. It's strange how a mishap enlivens passengers and gives a sense of cameraderie.
(49) Five minutes later 2K60 rushes past, formed by a three-set.
(50) After the Up twinset, the second Local arrives at our Down Home and is loosed down to the colour light, three minutes behind the previous Local. The Local is two 2-car sets and, as he passes the box, the train is accepted forward and the traffic is kept moving.
(51) A relief from Liverpool, 1Z74, rattles past with a 'Black 5' on the head end.
(52) The 8.20 a.m. SO from Carlisle (1G14) is heavily loaded behind 6116.
(53) 1H16, in the hands of a 'Type 4' is a long heavily-loaded Manchester-bound train.
(54) The Liverpool is offered right behind. Class 5 5347 heads out with 1K28, making white exhaust clouds in the grey, rainy sky.
(55) At 2.14 p.m. the next Up is belled. Oh, the joys of manual block! 1G15 stops at Deepfields and comes up with a 'Black 5' whistling for Tipton's Distants. He sees one clear Distant as he rattles past with some clean Midland region stock, two Southern region coaches and three elderly Eastern region coaches.
(56) 1G17 ex-Liverpool comes up right behind with a 'Type 4'.
(57) A little later, '200', now called 'T78' passes with a 'Class 8', and handful of loose-coupled vans and Billy Cook on the Brake.
(58) The Liverpool to Coventry (1Z70) comes up with a 'Black 5' heading a mixture of Midland, Scottish and Western region stock.
(59) 2G86, masquerading as an express, is formed of two 3-car sets.
(60) A 'Special' train of coke for Spring Vale comes off the top behind a 'Class 8', right in front of the SO Down Local.
(61) The Local, made up of three twin sets is stopped at our Down Starter for five minutes because Deepfields has closed early. This means that, instead of the 'Special' being turned into the 'Loop' at Deepfields, it's gone main line to Spring Vale and then backed clear of the main line. The driver of the Local has time to report in from the telephone at the Starter before we get him away.
(62) 'Comet' brings 1G20, the 12.15 p.m. from Blackpool, through with a heavy train.
(63) A little later, the 'Class 8' off the 'Special' to Spring Vale re-appears on the Up, tender first, bound for Bescot. Tipton Curve box has closed and so the engine is sent to Tipton, to enter the Princes End branch from that end.
And so ends a hectic Summer Saturday in 1962, with a walk to Tipton to catch the Down Local back to Wolverhampton.