The 2015 Diesel Gala kicks off for Ross and I at Herston for a change and the first down train of the weekend approaches with fresh out of the box class 37 D6757 hauling 2N01 0915 Norden to Swanage. This is running slightly late otherwise we would have missed it. 8/5/20141
A class favourite of mine is the Peak and the pleasing sight of returning 45060 approaching Herston made me smile big time.
45060 "Sherwood Forester" fronts 1N02 0946 Swanage to Norden class 1 service which is not booked to stop at Herston or Harmans Cross.
The headline attraction is diesel hydraulic class 35 Hymek D7076 making it the first Hymek to grace Swan Rail metals. Its train is 2N06 1000 Swanage to Norden.
I have never seen a Hymek at work or travelled behind one so I was looking forward to it later in the weekend. I noticed Steve Barker was the Swanage pilotman so I texted him to say not to break it as I was wanting it for haulage later!!
This lovely gem of a loco is also a first time visitor, class 25/1 D5185 passes through Herston with 2N03 1000 Norden to Swanage.
The delightful type 2 wears BR green with small yellow panel and working headcode blinds which show the correct headcode.
15 minutes after the Hymek passed Herston I took a call from Steve Barker to say the Hymek had failed at Harmans Cross and it was all my fault!! A coupling shaft from the hydraulic drive to one of the bogies had broken and it looked like it may be out for the whole weekend. D6757 heads north as 0N01 Thunderbird rescue loco to clear the failed train. Oh dear had I jinxed it with my earlier comment?
This loco is running for the first time in preservation and is mainline approved and looks stunning in BR green livery, small warning panel and split headcode boxes.
This is also a first, a class 66 loco. GBRf 66741 was named "Swanage Railway" the previous day and was booked for the weekend. The airbraked only loco needs a brake translator and GBRf also provided 73107 which is dual braked. The working is 2N08 1045 Swanage to Norden.
Another returnee is class 50 type 4 50035 "Ark Royal" looking stunning in a spanking new coat of BR blue livery and full yellow cab. It passes through Herston with 1N01 1020 Norden to Swanage running about 30 minutes late due to the Hymek failing.
Moving back to the bridge on Washpond Lane and Romanian built 56006 leads translating 33201 with 2N05 1045 off Norden to Swanage also late but now some 20 minutes down.
56006 was built by Electroputere in Romania in 1976, the first 30 of the 135 class 56s ordered were built there due to no spare capacity in BR's workshops. The quality of the work was so poor that they were all rebuilt by BR. The train passes the stores bank at Herston.
On the back of the train is the errant Hymek and D6757 sent out to rescue it. Parked up on the far right is Bulleid rebuilt light Pacific 34028 "Eddystone" awaiting overhaul. The haze was caused by the driver of 56006 opening it up once clear of the 10mph slack under the bridge.
One more train to see before we move on and class 25 D5185 comes into view with 1N04 1116 Swanage to Norden running about 15 minutes late, the deficit is getting smaller.
This class 1 working will not stop at Herston. The little figure in the centre windscreen is a toy rat. Class 25s were nicknamed Rats and D5185 has its own pet.
Moving up the line to the level crossing at Quarr Farm and 50035 powers through the Wilderness climbing hard at 1 in 76, the steepest section on the branch.
50035 works 2N10 1130 from Swanage to Norden. When it was here 5 years ago it was numbered 50135 and was in LoadHaul livery. The first time I photographed this loco was on 15/6/1987 at Reading on a Paddington to Oxford service.
Crossing at Harmans Cross with 2N07 1130 Norden to Swanage and Peak 45060 drops down the 1 in 76 drop passing the up distant semaphore.
Swanage driver Graham Froud watches the photographers gathered at the crossing as he approaches with his train.
15 minutes after the Peak went south another Swanage bound working passes the up distant. 66741 with 73107 drifts downgrade with 1N03 1150 Norden to Swanage.
Coming through the Wilderness in fine style is "slim Jim" 33201 with four mkI coaches and a Bulleid coach on the drawbar. The type 3 will be working a fair bit up the 1 in 76 grade with 2N12 1215 Swanage to Norden.
The exhaust is clearly visible and the sound of the Sulzer 8LDA28 1,550hp powerplant was well audible as the narrow bodied class 33/2 loco comes up to the crossing.
Still powering away hard at work with a very noticeable exhaust 33201 has about half a mile until Harmans Cross is reached and the top of the climb from Swanage.
Class 25/1 D5185 crossed the class 33/2 at Harmans Cross and now comes by the distant signal dropping down grade with 2N09 1215 Norden to Swanage.
The crew on the cracking type 2 are really entering into the spirit and putting the correct headcode for their train up each time, a nice touch and appreciated by me as it adds to the atmosphere.
Also entering into the spirit of the headcodes is the crew with D6757. The trees of the Wilderness echo to the sound of the English Electric 12CSVT 1,750hp powerplant growling away with four on running pretty much to time now.
Four coaches and a more powerful loco means less of an exhaust as D6757 brings 1N09, 1246 Swanage to Norden, up to Quarr Farm level crossing.