- 66007 passes Leaton, just north of Shrewsbury, with the afternoon Dee Marsh - Llanwern, seen here at 16:31 on Saturday 7th October 2006.
- 66009 takes the down slow line at Pleck Jct with an empty coal train from Ironbridge. This shot was taken at 18:14 on Wednesday 12th July 2006, and would have been better if I'd been fortunate enough to get another train in the frame. No such luck though. The spot from which this photo was taken is no longer available. A large chunk of the open ground adjacent to the railway was built on during the autumn of 2007, another couple of big anonymous sheds being added to the existing development.
- 66015 and 18 MEAs trundle along the down goods line at Washwood Heath train at 11:54 on Wednesday 31st October 2007. The train is 6Z42 Croft Quarry - Brierley Hill stone. Brierley Hill is the terminal that refuses to die. Every time a traffic flow dries up or is diverted elsewhere something else comes along, and it saw both scrap and stone flows in 2007. With the abandoned South Staffs route through Dudley no longer available trains like this have to go to Worcester to run-round before returning north via Stourbridge. This traffic flow was later won by Freightliner Heavy Haul.
- 66034 rounds the curve at Ryecroft Jct with the 4L74 Birch Coppice - Ipswich liner. This shot was taken at 18:17 on Tuesday 18th May 2010.
- This train was waiting at the signal on the up main when I arrived back at Bescot after a quick shopping trip to Walsall on Saturday 23rd September 2006. As the sun was out I hung on for a few minutes to photograph it when it was eventually allowed into the Down Yard at 13:13. 66037 was working 6M13, a Portbury - Rugeley coal train diverted via Hereford and Shrewsbury due to engineering work on the Gloucester route. Routing trains from the Bristol ports via Shrewsbury would become the norm when Freightliner Heavy Haul subsequently took over all Rugeley coal traffic, as they had no access to a banking engine for the Lickey incline. EWS/DBS coal trains are no longer seen in the Black Country.
- South of Tame Bridge the railway runs dead straight for about a mile, crossing under the M5/M6 links at Ray Hall, and then the A4041 Newton Road before it curves eastwards on the approach to Hamstead. The immediate foreground is dominated by the aqueduct which carries the Tame Valley canal over the railway. This shot was taken at 16:44 on Sunday 15th June 2008, and shows 66043 heading north with what I presume was a diverted Margam - Dee Marsh steel train.
- 66055 rolls past Walsall cement terminal as it approaches Pleck Jct with the 6G22 Washwood Heath RMC - Bescot trip. This picture was taken at 17:27 on Friday 9th June 2006. As mentioned above it's not possible to take pictures from this spot any longer.
- 4E69 Southampton - Wakefield approaches Willington on Tuesday 18th September 2007. 66081 is providing the power.
- 66111 is seen at Ryecroft with 7G22 Washwood Heath - Bescot. This picture was taken at 18:17 on Thursday 28th May 2009. The load consists of new railway sleepers from the Cemex factory.
- 66127 passes Whittlesea with the 6L39 Mountsorrel - Trowse stone train. This shot was taken at 12:19 on Friday 8th September 2006, and it wasn't the photo I was after. What I really wanted was 47703 on the Oxley - Norwich ECS which passed at 12:27, making serious clag, but with the sun behind a cloud (and back out at 12:28). This was a frustrating day with regards to the weather. In a climate like Britain's I can forgive the forecasters for getting the forecast wrong, but driving around the Fens at 10:30 under near complete cloud cover is seriously annoying when the weatherman on the radio is telling you how wonderfully sunny it is all over England right now. By noon the cloud had begun to break, and I thought it was going to be OK for the ECS - but no such luck. It was a close call with 6L39 too, the 10:57 Norwich - Liverpool only just got out of the way in time.
- I spent the morning of Thursday 23rd April 2009 at Ryecroft, which was busier than I'd seen it for many a year. Two and a bit hours saw four different (FLHH) Rugeley coal trains, two intermodals, a Bescot - Long Marston special, a steam engine (62005 en route Tyseley to Carnforth), a StoneBlower, and the Rugby - Immingham coal empties (twice). EWS/DBS coal trains were already uncommon in the Black Country when this shot was taken, and when this flow ended they dried up completely. 6E11 had been diverted to run-round at Bescot when Washwood Heath yard closed. Here it's heading towards Bescot at 10:44. It returned east at 11:55.
- Views of the yard at Washwood Heath could be a bit awkward due to the prominent lighting posts. However if a train used the right road you could lose most of them, as was the case here. 66155 draws to a stand with a Toton - Daw Mill empty coal train at 11:55 on Wednesday 31st October 2007. The yard contains the usual assortment of wagons for this period, i.e. recessed intermodal trains to the right and empty car wagons to the left. Among the car carriers are a handful of coal wagons, no doubt cripples knocked out of trains like the one 66155 is working. The 66 will run-round its train before heading east to the West Midlands' only remaining pit. At this time loaded coal trains from Daw Mill were usually bound for Ratcliffe Power Station near Nottingham.
- 66157 hauls a uniform rake of SPAs loaded with steel wire around the curves on the approach to Whitacre Jct. This pic was taken at 11:27 on Friday 6th April 2007, and I presume the train is 6Z58 Cardiff - Rotherham which had been a regular runner at this time.
- 66162 starts away from a signal check at Bordesley Jct with the 6M60 Tavistock Jct - Bescot china-clay. This shot was taken at 08:42 on Saturday 14th June 2008.
- 66168 negotiates Whitacre Jct with what I suspect is a Bescot - Mountsorrel train. This was taken at 10:03 on Friday 2nd March 2007. For those not familiar with the location the church-like building in the background is Severn Trent's Whitacre Water Works.
- This shot was from a test session with a new 24-105L lens on Thursday 9th November 2006. The best of the batch was this one of 66185 hauling southbound coal empties past Elford at 14.20. In no small part the result was down to some lovely autumn sunshine set off by a background of dark clouds.
- Freightliner hired two locos from DRS during 2006, at the time this picture was taken they had 66407 and 66409. The latter is seen passing Elford at 17:08 on Friday 14th April with the 6M51 Hull - Rugeley coal, a train it had also worked on Tuesday 11th April.
- This shot shows 66414 passing Rugeley Trent Valley with 4M44 Mossend - Daventry. It was taken at 15:12 on Thursday 5th April 2007. The signal on the down fast is at red because the road was set off the branch for the 14:12 New St - Stafford. Meantime the green on the slow was for a northbound liner.
- This is 66509 coasting through Ryecroft Jct at 18:42 on Thursday 24th July 2008 with empties from Rugeley Power Station. The speed restrictions have subsequently been raised, and are now 40 over the points and 45 towards Bloxwich.
- Something of a lucky shot this. I'd gone out to this spot in Wylde Green (on the Sutton Park line) for 67018 hauling 507001 as 5X61 Birkenhead - Eastleigh. The weather consisted of dark cloud with small, but usable, patches of blue sky. One of those days when you'll be lucky to get a moving target in the sun, but if you do it'll probably have a lovely dark-sky backdrop. The sun was behind a cloud when 5X61 arrived, but while I was waiting 66513 came past with the colourful Jarvis engineers train, probably en-route to its base at Washwood Heath. The sun just peeked out as it passed, which was at 16:18 on Monday 30th August 2004.
- 66522 climbs past Leamore (Bloxwich) with the 6M49 Hull - Rugeley coal train. The time is 16:13, and the date is Thursday 5th April 2007, and the hybrid "Shanks" livery carried by the loco is a mess.
- The morning of Saturday 15th September 2007 saw me at Willington for a Wakefield - Salisbury charter, but hoping to get at least one northbound freight in the lovely early autumn sunshine. Sure enough one duly appeared, 66526 and a rake of empty Bardon stone hoppers were drawing to a stand for a red signal when photographed at 10:13. I presume this is the Washwood Heath - Bardon Hill service, but what it was doing on this route I don't know. Later in the day this same loco was reported heading south on the Rugeley - Portbury coal empties, and (to confirm that sighting) it was subsequently reported at Bristol on Sunday 16th. Quite how it managed that little feat is a bit of a mystery.
- 66555 re-starts the 6M14 Harlow - Bardon Hill stone empties out of the loop at March. This shot was taken at 15:19 on Friday 8th September 2006.
- 66560 passes Leamore, south of Bloxwich, with empties from Rugeley Power Station. This shot was taken at 13:49 on Saturday 21st March 2009. The new houses built on the open ground to the left haven't blocked the shot off the bridge, although you need height to see over the new wooden fence.
66560 again, this time passing Ryecroft as it heads towards Bescot to run-round its coal train on Friday 8th May 2009. It isn't
often that a new bridge has a lower parapet than the one it replaced, but that's what happened at Littleton St West as part of
the new ring road works in Walsall. There's no sign yet of any improvement in the traffic flow, but it has opened up this shot
looking north towards Ryecroft Jct. No steps are required, but trees on the left make it a summer only shot.
At the time of this photo the signal in the background (WL61) had yet to be adjusted to cater for the re-configured Ryecroft Jct. The position 1 feather was unused, and the position 2 feather signified the Bloxwich route, even though this is now the straight route. No feather was lit for trains going via Sutton Park, which is the route set in the photo. This RSSB document discusses the feather positions used on WL61 in 2009. And this Special Notice dating from the Walsall area resignalling undertaken in summer 1967 explains what the redundant position 1 feather was originally provided for.
- Summer belatedly arrived in mid-September 2009, and fortunately I was able to get a few days off work to enjoy the sunshine. I started off at Branston, south of Burton-on-Trent, on Thursday 10th September. 66567 and 66956 were at the head of the 4O54 Leeds - Southampton liner, which passed at 09:18.
- 66594 passes Bentley Heath at 14:24 on Thursday 19th March. The train is 4O05 Birch Coppice - Southampton.
- This shot was taken at 12:15 on Thursday 19th March 2009 and shows 66608 heading east with coal empties from Rugeley. The location is the Erdington Road bridge, Aldridge.
- 66611 approaches Ryecroft Jct with 6M51 Hull - Rugeley. This shot was taken at 18:27 on Thursday 28th May 2009.
- 66614 passes Elford with the 6M00 Humber - Kingsbury tanks. This shot was taken at 15:51 on Friday 14th April 2006, the same afternoon as the shot of 66409 above.
- 66615 winds across Ryecroft Jct with a Rugeley-bound coal train at 08:42 on Tuesday 25th July 2006. This path is often used by 6M53 from Immingham, but I'm not sure whether that was the case on this occasion. The shot was taken from the apex of the junction, a spot once occupied by the engine shed, but which is now a small wood. It's a rarely used angle, but accessible to the public from Mill Lane or Coalpool Lane. There are some surprising wet spots in the wood, so take care if you venture that way. However the fence adjacent to the Bloxwich line is of modest height and not spiked, so the picture is not hard to take once you've scrambled through the undergrowth. It was no surprise when I disturbed a fox, they're quite common in this area and often seen on the railway lines in my experience. I've cloned out a lamp post which was growing out of the loco roof (in the exhaust haze).
- 66620 passes Bagworth at 16:24 on Wednesday 19th July 2006. The train is, I think, 6M54 Thorney Mill - Bardon Hill stone empties.
- 66708 departs from the up loop at March South Jct with a short engineer's service from Whitemoor Yard. The picture was taken at 16:10 on Friday 8th September 2006, but I've no idea where the train was bound (I suspect it was a "Z"). This is another grab shot of sorts, I was at March East when 66708 crept out of Whitemoor Yard and slipped into the loop to allow a unit to pass. I'd originally tried to make a dash to Manea for it, but the tea-time traffic was so heavy, and my knowledge of the locality so poor, that I ended up at March South by accident.
- This shot was taken at 11.54 on Saturday 4th November 2006, and shows 66712 passing underneath the M42 with 4M21 Felixstowe - Hams Hall. In the week this train runs up the WCML via Nuneaton, but when that route is unavailable on Saturdays it usually runs via Reading, Banbury and Birmingham.
- 66719 works a diverted 4M21 Felixstowe - Hams Hall through Willington at 10:01 on Saturday 14th June 2008.
- An 0Z72 Kidderminster - Swanage ran on Thursday 8th May 2008. It conveyed preserved locos en-route to the Swanage Railway diesel weekend, and was routed via Old Hill, New St, Tyseley and Oxford. Seen here passing Blakedown at 09:48, the train was formed of 66724 hauling D444 37906 37275 and 20096. The nameplate on the box reads "Churchill and Blakedown Signal Box".
- On the afternoon of Friday 12th September 2009 I had a trundle over to Barrow-on-Soar, for no other reason that I like this spot and fancied a crack at some gypsum trains. 66703 had done the morning train to Hotchley Hill, but I didn't arrive in time to see that train go south to Leicester to run-round. I did, however, catch 66732 heading south with the afternoon train, which passed Barrow at 14:35. This is 4M82 Doncaster - Hotchley Hill, which originated as 4D55 Drax - Doncaster on this occasion.
- By the time 66703 returned north I'd moved around to the footbridge, but it used the fast line where there isn't really a shot. 66732 came north on the slow however, passing Barrow at 15:55. This was my first time on the new footbridge, which doesn't have high sides and is therefore photo-friendly. It does bounce around when a fast express goes underneath though, much more so than the old bridge I think.
- Walsall station on a dull and damp February day is a fairly depressing place, enlivened only briefly by tha passage of the occasional freight train. This one is 66956, heading eastwards at 12:16 on Tuesday 2nd February 2010 with an unidentified liner. Several lamp-posts in the background went missing during the post-processing.