© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
Many of the "Rail Diaries" pages involved a fair
amount of travel - here was a photographic
opportunity right on my doorstep. The occasion
was a Bescot open day - to mark the event,
three "Ironbridge Ramblers" were organised by
Pathfinder Tours. The first and second trains
would start from Walsall, then run out to
Castle Bromwich Junction, back through New
Street and Wolverhampton to Madeley Junction, and down
the normally freight-only branch to Ironbridge power station.
I'm not certain what the route the third train followed -
though I gather it was quadruple-headed back from
Ironbridge. (No, I didn't go to see it - can't remember why!)
The first two trains were "topped and tailed" by pairs of
locomotives - 37 101 and 278 at one end, 20 130 and 143 at the
other. The first train is seen hauled by the 20s up the steep bank
through Coalbrookdale, past the furnace pond and over the
Jiggers Bank road bridge, on the double-tracked 1 in 50 gradient
(below) It is also seen (above) near Holmer Lake - the trees hide
not only the lake but also the Halesfield
industrial estate on the left and the modern
housing estates to the right.
The second train is seen descending the 1 in 50
behind the same pair of 20s - it is just coming off
the viaduct and passing the site (behind the
photographer) of the temporary platform which
served the museum a couple of years previously.
Coming back up the bank, the 37s are in charge as the special
passes Cherry Tree Hill, then finally rejoins the main line at
Madeley Junction, where a Shrewsbury - Wolverhampton
"stopper" has been held to let the special out.
Of the locomotives depicted, the two 37s, out of use for some
time, were cut up earlier this year (I write in September '03),
and the 20s went some time ago. The branch still carries coal to
Ironbridge power station, although the long term future of the
latter has been in some doubt in recent years...