The Branch Line Society

Guest



The Rossington Recycler,
Saturday 13th April 2019

Report by Terry Cotter

The weather forecast on the evening of the 12th concerned me as this was warning of 'frost' which, as far as Southeastern is concerned, is now a severe weather event! My commute to work the previous week had been badly affected by this new excuse, sorry event! Anyhow, despite seeming much colder than the previous week, my 05.38 departure to St Pancras was on time and allowed me to make my booked departure from King's Cross to Doncaster. As often happens to members travelling to or from a Society event, a rare crossover was unexpectedly bagged in the form of Sandy North Jn Down Slow to Down Fast (only booked use weekday early hours per the excellent UT Tracker https://www.UTtracker.com website).


     

There were four identical trips on the branch with departures at 10.00, 11.15, 12.30 (the one I was on) and 13.45. Each was met by a complimentary bus provided by Black Prince buses departing from Doncaster bus station adjacent to the railway station 30 mins before the tours departed. For those interested, the buses used alternately were Volvo 'TRR 814R' and Mercedes 'P441 SWX'; the latter displayed 'BLS' in its destination display!


Mileage thanks to Pogo




Black Prince Mercedes 'P441 SWX
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]


From 6 Apr, a week before, the branch with its loop (and headshunt along the west side of the East Coast Main Line) became a private siding. Engineer's Line Reference FWR2 ceased to exist. The new NR boundary is 151m 78ch - just north of the loop, beneath the A6182 'Great Yorkshire Way' overbridge. The NR part is still called 'Rossington Colliery Branch' then it becomes 'Rossington Private Sidings'. Before booked departure time, participants were allowed to walk over to the internal loco 08527 (which saves main line trains having to be top & tailed or propelled on the branch) for a photo. This was under controlled conditions - before boarding our very smart looking (both outside and inside) riding vehicle 'Molly' for the trip. It began by heading towards the buffer stops at the end of the remaining line near the site of the former Rossington Main Colliery. Coal production ended on 31 Mar 2000 due to the many geological faults in the coal seams and the pithead gear was demolished in 2007. The spoil tip was reworked, extracting more power station coal that was removed by rail as was the spoil (inert capping for part of Roxby tip near Scunthorpe). The landscaped site is now disappearing under a housing development. After reversal, it was back to the boarding point and onwards, curving sharp right to follow the River Tome (on the left) with Rossington Drain to our right. Approaching the East Coast Main Line at Rossington Colliery Jn Loop the main line connection came in left from Doncaster. Our line split to form a run round loop and we proceeded towards the buffers (well, actually sleepers before the buffers) at the other far extremity of the branch near the ECML.

Return was, of course, by the other side of the run round loop not covered on the outward journey. Memories of the last two railtours to the area were shared by participants as we returned again to the other end of the line. They were 'The South Yorkshire' on 15 Oct 1989 with the Institute of Mining Engineers - picture BLN 1326.770 - doing the branch and Pathfinder's 26 May 2001 tour which didn't. Then it was back to the embarkation point and, for most, the bus back to Doncaster.

Another excellent high quality well supported event run jointly with PLEG, on a branch line that some had thought they would never be able to do. Thanks to everybody involved in making this happen. The day also raised £4,000 for local good causes nominated by ECO Power Environment. Much of the branch has been relaid and there is a train of inert waste most weekdays to Roxby which is good news. However, due to the cost of transporting 'Molly', a repeat of our trips is very unlikely to happen.


Two of our stewards, left Mike McCabe (rear) and right Mark Haggas 'tick off' participants on arrival - in the nicest possible way.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




The sandwich and refreshment van arranged specially by Kev for the occasion.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




Approaching the present end of line (the guard, a certain Mr K L Adlam, waves the driver on).
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




Looking towards to the colliery site and new housing; the power cables are a useful marker.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




The other end of the line, the headshunt at the south end of the run round loop by the ECML.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




'Molly' about tospeed past an Azuma going north on the Down main towards Doncaster.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




Loversall Carr Jn, an Up Grand Central Class 180 Adelante heads for London with the A6182 'Great Yorkshire Way' overbridge in the background. The branch connection to NR is seen left (still part of the private sidings now here).
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




A little further south. Both looking north towards Doncaster.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




So just what is the collective noun for a group of BLS stewards?
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]




Our hard working train crew who made these well organised trips such a success.
[© Geoff Plumb 2019]

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