On a warm sunny day 37½ members
(one was 11) rendezvoused for 10.30 at the very familiar Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation
Society (AFRPS) platform for a seven hour visit to Scunthorpe Steelworks and its incredible 100 mile
railway system. Some were on their first visit (so could only claim one piece of new track?) and as
always were really amazed by what they saw. The 1962 built RRM15 No1382 (Yorkshire Engine 2872)
0-6-0 Diesel Electric made its BLS tour debut having arrived from 'Rocks by Rail' (formerly spending 20
years languishing in a field). Travelling with three brakevans, initially round this massive site anticlockwise
for a change, the tour initially covered some areas that were quiet:
- South Melting Shop Running Road: Loop and siding (off blast furnace branch) to buffer stops.
- Torpedo Repair Bay: Loop and lines '0' & 1 to buffers, 2 & 3 to shed door, 4 & 5 to rolling stock.
- Caparo Merchant Bar, Gate 7 and Rod Mill Billet Stock Bay doors, branch siding, 14 & 15 loops.
- Scrap Bay: Main and loop lines, Right Hand and Left Hand roads and East Bank (to wagons).
- Branch between Billet Caster and Slab Bay: Both buffer stops, the loop and crossover (this
required a second visit later after the lines had been cleared). Both lines to the Billet Caster.
- Medium Section Mill: Outside siding, along the east side of the building to the end of line.
- Container Terminal area: Roads D3 and C3 to each stop block and road C2.
- Anchor Exchange Sidings: Full extent of Roads 15 and 13 and beyond to the TATA limit.
- *Rail Service Centre: 5 Bay, almost to the end of line; 6 Bay line to doors.
- **Blast Furnace Area (North): Both lines and clear of points to cross between them.
- Mills Exchange Sidings: No5 (end), through 8, 9 & 11, north X/O & line avoiding two north X/Os.
*While waiting for the single track Dawes Lane 'bottleneck' to clear at 15.00, the railway suddenly
came to life with a profusion of internal movements in all directions, more so than seen previously.
This included a Class 20 bringing some empty long rail wagons out of the Rail Service Centre, providing
a window of opportunity to visit 5 Bay line there while it was (unusually) empty. Afterwards the Class
20 returned with more rails for welding; it was strange to watch the long rails aboard bend as the train
took the curves.
** The north two of the four blast furnaces were shut down; known as 'The Four Queens' they are
(with year of first commissioning), from north to south: Queen Mary (1938), Queen Bess (1938),
Queen Anne (1954) and Queen Victoria (1954).
RRM15 expired by the Slab Bay late morning with a failed compressor belt but was ably rescued by No1
with only a 20 minute delay. The usual lunch break with sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks included in
the price was taken at the AFRPS depot, with a chance to view their rolling stock and have a leg
stretch. After 7 hours and 63 reversals (thanks for that information, Colin!) and much rare track, some
carrying passengers for the first time, participants felt they had enjoyed a very good day. AFRPS's
events appear on http://afrps.co.uk/ site.