8568, Clayton Place.
My first encounter with 8568 was dumped with many of her
classmates in 2 long lines at Polmadie in March 72. At this time there were
magazine reports of 8568’s involvement in a fatal collision on Beattock. 8568
and 5100 a few months earlier were working 8Z26
Dalzell New Yard - Carlisle down Beattock in the early hours when the rear of
the 17/24’s freight was hit by a runaway 47 (1838) and freight on 6V26 at high
speed resulting in fatal injury’s to 8Z26’s guard. 8568 was undamaged.
In late 1973 rumours from the local “top men” persisted that a Clayton was now based at the Hemlite factory on the old Harpenden – Hemel branch (closed to passengers 160647 and leased by Hemlite from 290468). After much doubting and fearing I was about to be well withered, me and a mate cycled the 11 miles or so from Dunstable to Cupid Green in rural Hertfordshire. Any doubts re the gen were silenced at Cupid Green’s main roundabout where high on an embankment was the unmistakable profile of a green Clayton.
We passed under the line’s underbridge and into the works which was busy making breeze blocks. The line had a small shunter and Drewry 04’s (D 2203) to cop but it was the Scottish beast we wanted a close look at. Unchallenged , we parked our bikes by the depot wall and a then we heard a whine, chug and pulse of unfamiliar nose as 8568 burst into life. The secondman then looked out of the huge cab and invited us aboard, superb or what. The driver then turned up and he told us to stay “on board for the ride”, could it get better. We then purred off and coupled to 5 or six empty mineral trucks and propelled them along the 5 mile branch through Redbourn in the warm late afternoon sun in a wooded cutting near Harpenden Jn we left the trucks.
We were told these would be picked up by the local Luton-Cricklewood trip freight which would also drop off loaded trucks during the night. We then returned light engine. The loaded trucks (with fly ash) would be picked up in the morning we were also told. On the way back the driver also advised how he had driven her on the delivery run form Scotland via the S and C (this we later found out included 80mph down Sharnbrook!!) and admitted the engine had more power than his favoured Drewry. 2 very happy young enthusiasts then leapt off back at Cupid Green and cycled home in high spirits, an unforgettable afternoon thanks to the kindness of the Hemlite staff.
A few years later in Jan 1977 I returned to the Hemlite works on a quiet Sunday afternoon. The works and locos were silent, the Drewry was locked up in the shed but the Clayton looked good parked up on the headshunt, possibly out of use. The branch had begun to make the news as a dispute over costs in providing the Harpenden North crossovers serving the branch as electrification pruning progressed. Hemlite leased the line from BR and the crossover costs issue perhaps tilted the balance in favour of road and sadly rail traffic ceased shorty after my visit.
8568 was eventually sold to Ribble Cement, Clitheroe arriving there in June 77 working as a “super shunter”, in “Ribble Cement” grey branded livery.With railborne cement traffic declining from the works, 8568 was sold 6 years later to preservation at the NYMR.
Back in BR green she was rake in for mileage up Grosmont bank in April 89. She left the NYMR in August 91 turning up at various open days and even Sudbury engine sidings! and WN depot (for tyre turning) before arriving at Chinnor in April 92.
Nedding around at the end of Chinnor’s short platform in Sep 96, I again was invited aboard this machine 20 years after I had last done so at Cupid Green. Then front coach seats again saw her sounds experienced again and thanks to the efforts of the DTG 8568 was hauling trains on the Chinnor branch again in April 29/30 2011.
8568’s running day phots 290411 and beyond