60004 Lochnager heads along the slow line between Wrawby and Barnetby with the Tioxide working. Although not the neatest of photos with the p-way staff in the foreground, now we find it full of details – not the lack of hard hats on the staff.
A winter’s day at Barnetby in the mid nineties, 60004 Lochnager is bring a train bound for the Tioxide plant through the station. All is fine it seems, the train has come along the slow from Wrawby Junction and is signalled straight back onto the fast line beyond the station (the slow line beyond here towards Brocklesby has been out of use for a number of years by this point). Nothing unusual at all. Until the last wagon passes us.
The train has the road and moves steadily from the slow to the fast line.
We noticed that one of the wheelsets wasn’t rotating and had developed a terrible flat, obvious from over thirty feet away. The signalman at Barnetby East Signal Box had obviously seen around the same time we had, as at this moment we head the signal wires and saw the last semaphore bouncing after having been returned to danger in front of the train – something which, even when you know it’s the right thing to do in an emergency, feels very counter intuitive. It’s also a bit of a shock for the driver too.
The train came to a stand at the signal and very little happened for some considerable time. Traffic heading for Immingham, Grimsby and Cleethorpes came to a complete stand.
47677, University of Stirling, is passing the signal at danger proceeding towards the train to allow access to the cross over so it can be released. The exact reason for needing to do so with this loco wasn’t clear at the time.
The first thing which did happen was a light engine being allowed to pass the signal guarding the rear of the train in order to access the crossover in order to return back the other way. We saw 47677 University of Stirling slowly proceed towards the crossover where the driver was met by the signalman who will have been giving the driving his instructions.
47677 has just crossed over – the signalman can be seen by the loco, passing on instructions to the driver as to where he’s now heading. The Tioxide train can clearly be seen blocking the line in the distance.
Once the class 47 had departed it went quiet again.
After a while someone had arrived and was clearly inspecting the wagon – the decision was taken to set the whole train back (through quite a number sets of points!0 into the sidings alongside the station.
With a suitable gap in traffic the train is propelled towards the sidings.
The member of staff who had come to inspect the wagon can be seen along with the signalman carefully watching the train slowly setting back – no doubt keeping a particular eye as the errant wagon traversed the point work.
By now most of the train is in the sidings, the damaged wagon is well within the sidings and no further harm has been done. You can just see the first train heading for Immingham after quite a gap – an empty iron ore can be seen disappearing into the distance.
With the train safely in the sidings there then followed a mad hour or so as train after train passed, one after another with, seemingly, no gaps between them.
60004 Lochnager has now eased its train into the sidings, out of harm’s way.
In all it must have been a couple of hours from the train first passing to it being safely in the sidings out of the way.
And with the light fading 60004 Lochnager sits in the sidings waiting – we never saw what happened afterwards as we left once things quietened down. But days like this are the ones which fuelled my interest in the operation of it all. How everything works together, how the system recovers from something like this.
And it was all the more fascinating with semaphores and classic traction.