The Branch Line Society


Scunthorpe Steel Tracker
Saturday 19th September 2015

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:

*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 site.