Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Traffic Movements at Bloomfield Jn, 1962 (Part 2)

There's an introduction to Bloomfield Jn. (with a signalling diagram) here.

Bloomfield Jn. Saturday 3rd November 1962

(1) Early in the morning, 'T37' toddles onto the Curve with empties, hauled by a 'Class 8' tender first.
(2) Tipton Curve offers 'T34'. He comes towards us with great difficulty, the sky palled by black exhaust. The driver lets the train rumble to a halt with the engine opposite the box. The guard divides off the first eleven wagons and the engine drops them onto the Back Road on the Down. The engine then backs onto the remainder of the train and opens up, making a fine performance up the bank towards the Starter.
(3) Once we have a 'clearance' we accept the Parcels Engine from Tipton. When he reaches the berth track circuit at our Down Home, the annunciator sounds, not for the intended 10 seconds but for about a minute! Once 'T34' has cleared the Starter, we can let the Parcels Engine travel down to the Starter. The engine stands for about 8 or 9 minutes while the preceding 'Class 8' slogs over the hill to Spring Vale. The driver of the Parcels Engine comes on the colour light signal telephone to identify himself - 'Dudleyport-Wolverhampton engine to work Parcels'. The engine stands for eight or nine minutes before we can get him away.
(4) Meanwhile, the Down Crewe Local roars towards us from Tipton. Once the parcels engine has passed the Starter, we can let the Local down to the starter. This morning, the local has not just the usual 'Type 4' but two 'Type 4s' so he passes with a particularly loud roar.
(5) The Parcels Engine reappears on the Up at 7.50 a.m., 2-6-0 tender first and one bogie parcels vehicle, as always, but with a main line Buffet Car bringing up the rear.
(6) '235' (now 'T73') comes down at a quarter past eight and backs his short train onto the Down Front Road, allowing the Diesel Parcels Unit to come down from Tipton, closely followed by the local.
(7) The freight guard on '235' detaches his Brake Van and rolls in downhill to pass the box, stopping clear of the crossover between the Back and Front roads. The engine ducks out onto the main line so as to get onto the Back Road. The driver backs onto the eleven wagons left by T34 and pushes the last three through the crossover onto the Brake. He then draws forward and propels the remaining wagons down to the stop block on the Back Road. The 'Class 5' then gingerly backs onto his short train. After a short pause, standing underneath the box, the train departs smartly along the Front Road.
(8) Meanwhile, on the Up, a grimy 'Sulzer' 'Type 2' whisks the five-coach 1G02 towards Birmingham.
(9) 'T42' rattles southwards with a lengthy mixed freight.
(10) A light engine is signalled on the Up. Despite my premonition that it is destined for 'The Curve', we do not receive 'Special Section' so the 'pegs' are cleared on the Up Main. The engine soon appears under the bridge and majestically coasts to a halt outside the box. 'We'm for Wednesbury!' shouts the driver, so the Porter Bobby is rapidly summoned to open Tipton Curve box.
(11) 'T23' comes down from Tipton with Guard Randle riding the Brake and also stops out side the box. The driver of the light engine on the Up is cautioned to keep his engine where it is and 'T23' is reversed onto the Up line to commence shunting in the Up sidings. Two trains in station limits! The diesel shunter enters No. 1 and picks up a sheeted all-steel open wagon. Randle drops the one and the Brake on Three and the engine then disappears down Two to pick up some Sludge Wagons.
(12) By this time, we have received the 'Shunt' for the engine on the Up. The fireman, who signed the wrong (right!) Train Register whilst making tea in the box, is quickly sent back to his engine and told to shunt it down No. 9, so that we can get the London through. But, needless to say, just as the 'Black 5' 48602 moves forward, Brian opens 'The Curve' so, with a hasty change of plan, the engine is despatched towards Tipton Curve.
(13) The London is handled with very little damage done.
(14) The following freight train on the Up is taken under the Warning (Regulation 5: Section clear but Station or Junction blocked) to allow us to continue shunting '23'. The diesel re-appears from the Canal Basin with Sludge. It picks up six more Sludge wagons off One and backs up on Three.
(15) 'T34' was the freight taken under the 'Warning'. We run him by onto 'The Curve' with coal empties, receiving the 'Shunt' for the following Up Local.
(16) When we 'Knock Out' for T34, we refuse the offered Local, to allow 'T23' to wait its turn at the Up Starter to run onto 'The Curve' with its Sludge for Tipton Curve Tip.
(17) Just in time, 'T23' is despatched and we 'take on' the Local.
(18) At 10.24, an Excursion is offered on the Down, just as Deepfields decides to 'Block Back' on the Down and do a bit of shunting. However, we soon 'get the road' and the 'pegs' come off for two Metro-Cammell 3-sets rushing to Blackpool with happy football enthusiasts.
(19) The Down Local follows the Special.
(20) A 'Type 4' is on the front of the Stockport Parcels, right behind the Local.
(21) The waiting freight is now accepted from Tipton Curve and the driver of 'T40' begins to get the train moving towards Spring Vale. When he sees our Home signal come off, he really opens up, not knowing that the 'Stockport' is still in Deepfields platform. There is some anxious clock-watching in Bloomfield box, as the freight roars past the box and laces into the bank. Fortunately, Deepfields clears for the Parcels before our starter looms into the driver's view, so the freight gets a "Yeller 'un" at our starter and all is well. The driver really makes a noise getting those 29 coal to Spring Vale!
(22) The Auger Train
[used during electrification to drill holes and prepare foundations for overhead line masts] is offered from 'The Curve' but, since his destination is Wolverhampton and Penkridge, we delay acceptance to allow the road ahead to clear a little. This is so that, once the train is moving, he can keep going. At 11.15 he comes 'Off the Top', with the 48602 = the engine we had dealings with before 1B08 = on the front. The driver is given the unofficial 'right away' [one hand held upright and rapidly twisted left and right] to indicate our Starter is off. The driver opens up and takes his strange train up the bank - Auger Borer, flat-roofed 'Electrification' coach, tanker for water, concrete mixer, bogie hopper wagons with sand and gravel and various formers on match trucks.
(23) The mid-morning Scottish express '1S61' goes down.
(24) Yet another freight comes off 'The Curve'. 'T61' stops main line and puts off four vehicles at the top of the 'Western' sidings, before departing for Deepfields with 'Eight On'.
(25) On the Up line, after a bit of cancelling and re-offering, the engine off T40 returns, light, to Bescot.
(26) Because the Up Stoke Local is late, '1G12' from Liverpool, with a 'Class 5', precedes along the Stour.
(27) After the Down Manchester, 'T90' rushes past for Catchems' with one and the Brake.