The East Midlands Wheelbarrow
Friday 20th July 2018
The 78-day Derby resignalling project started in earnest on 22 Jul with periods of restricted access to Etches Park Depot. Therefore East Midlands Trains (EMT) had to identify other locations where their trains could be stabled and serviced overnight during the disruption. Agreement was reached with Barrow Hill Roundhouse to be one of these locations, usually receiving four trains per night. To enable Barrow Hill to handle these trains, EMT had to make some changes to the site costing £2.3M. As well as installing all the new trackside equipment required for their overnight operations it also meant the following changes to the track layout itself:
>Storage Road 3 was lifted from almost as far back as the signal box leaving just a very short siding.
>Storage Roads 1 & 2 were lifted from a similar position, replaced on different alignments widening the gap between them and extended past the commercial depot, almost to the roundhouse wall itself.
>Carriage Sidings 1 & 2 access was modified; each now has an independent Running Line connection.
>Carriage Siding 2 was lengthened to the gates beyond the end of Roundhouse Halt platform.
With all the required work completed a final full test operation was due to take place on Fri 20 Jul with EMT staff and trains arriving from around 20.00. The sidings to be used would obviously all be empty ready for the test and, thanks to the foresight and efforts of 'our man on the ground' at Barrow Hill and the fixtures team, the chance to ride the new track was grabbed with both hands with the short notice organisation of 'The East Midlands Wheelbarrow.' (No, I don't know how they come up with these names either!). However, it was advertised via our new electronic messaging system on 11 Jul.
And so it was that 25 BLS and PLEG members converged on Barrow Hill for 18.30 on the evening of the test. The long drought was seemingly over in these parts with persistent rain from 17.30.
View of new Storage Road 2 (left) from the tour in new Storage Road 1. Road 3 was shortened to allow the gap to be widened between these two lines for the walkway and lighting seen here. The Roundhouse is straight ahead and the bank on the left is the former Coal Stage Road.
On the running line from Roundhouse Halt (behind the camera) the new connections to the Carriage Sidings are before the crossing; No1 is on the right and No2 is far right.
That wasn't the only bad news though, as the planned haulage by 08879 was thwarted by last minute electrical/ battery problems. This meant that a short PLEG haulage event planned for earlier that evening had to be cancelled. Our track event went ahead though with the 08 replaced by 03066 operating in top & tail mode with 02003 as planned. These locos at either end of three very smartly turned out brake vans B954215, B953231 & B730687 were sat in the Roundhouse Halt P2 awaiting our arrival. Participants were provided via email with an updated track plan (thanks to Martyn Brailsford) and a stock list (thanks to Gary Lonsdale), and also on the day with a souvenir ticket - seen earlier above (thanks to Jim Sellens - and, of course all the others featured in these reports) on the evening of the event. After boarding, 03066 led out of the platform and the following moves took place, a total of 2m 32ch, half with each loco ('chainages' thanks to Graham Parkin & Jim Sellens)…
In the opposite direction (Roundhouse on the right out of sight) Carriage Siding 2 (left) has recently been extended, No1 continues through the gate to the Loading Pad and end of line, as before.
It was noted by those at the 'keen' end of the train that new Storage Road 1 was slightly longer than 2. All new and changed track was covered as planned and efficiently so members departed happy if slightly damp. Some then headed off north to Middlesbrough for our AV Dawson event next day. That included our very wet (he should have worn his Barrow Hill P'Way Supervisor Hat) 'man on the ground' (Martyn Brailsford) who busied himself clamping points all evening and didn't get need any of the new track in fact! So a final big thank you to him, or as they say in those parts 'Thanks mi duck'!