Climbing the Lickey, 1972 - 2006


Locally we had the climbs to Sharnbrook, Saunderton and Tring but whilst rateable they

weren't a touch on the legendary Lickey. Situated South of Birmingham on the Brum - Bristol

main line this had a gradient of 1 in 37 for a continuous distance of over 2 miles. The Lickey's

steepness meant most freight and some passenger trains needed banking the 2.17 miles up the

bank from Bromsgrove to the summit at Blackwell.

Below are my runs up the Lickey with a few extras (in italics) from the Railway Observer

and elsewhere. No phots i'm afraid but enjoy the memories  



                                                            16/8/72 We

6978    1615 Bristol - Edinburgh                                                                                GL-NS

7055}  1615 Bristol - Edinburgh                                                                                 BR-BG


37 replaced a failed peak at Gloucester Eastgate, Hymeks were booked bankers in 1972


                                                            15/6/77 We

45012  1M07 0725 Bristol-Manchester                                                                      GL-NS

my first Lickey climb, the peak stormed up on load 10 no problem


                                                            4/11/77 Fr

45065  1E61 0110 Bristol TM-Sheffield                                            (fail Worcester) TM-WO       

37247} 1E61 0110 Bristol TM-Sheffield                                                                   WO-NS          


37184} 1E61 0110 Bristol TM-Sheffield                                           (banking)         BR-BL


I was woken at Worcester when the heating in the compo rattled as it was turned off. Peering out into

the gloom i realised our peak had failed as a 37 was atop the peak. My compo also contained my normal

mate who remain dossed as 37247 erupted in style out of Worcester at 3am. We then slowed after Stoke

Works Jn where after a few minutes 37184 and 37186 backed on as bankers.

On moving forward we had 3 37s and a groaning peak on load 12 up the bank. I woke my mate for

the show, he was well impressed with the "raw power" for the 6 minutes of banking. My only disappointment

was that the 3 37s were boilered , regular steamers in South Wales, but the "raw power" memories remain

sharp enough.


                                                            25/11/77 Sa

45016  1E61 0110 Bristol TM-Sheffield                                                                    TM-NS


                                                                            4/11/78 Sa

47168  xxxx Swansea-York Adex                                                                              SW-YK


                                                                29/6/79 Fr

47262  1M71 1430 Swansea-Manchester                                                                   GL-NS


                                                            21/6/80 Sa

40044  1S19 2130 Bristol - Glasgow/Edinburgh                                                        TM!-NS

37232} 1S19 2130 Bristol - Glasgow/Edinburgh                                (banking)         BR-BL


Wish i was there, 40044 went through on V56 early that morning. Load 16 must have been loud!


                                                            11/7/80 Fr


40192  1507 Plymouth-Manchester                                                                            GL-NS

37203} 1507 Plymouth-Manchester                                                   (banking)         BR-BL


very steady climb, 40 thrashed deeply, no fireworks from 37s


                                                            2/11/80 Su

47510  2130 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                                                 TM-NS

37208} 2130 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                                                 BR-BL


Reportedly very slippery rails, took 22 minutes to clear summit, all 3 locos slipping badly!, summit cleared at 1mph!


                                                            16/10/82 Sa

50005}  2124 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                                                BR-NS


Booked a pair to avoid using a sat night banker, a one off rare Lickey climb

                                                                        9/9/83 Fr

50039  1S19 2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                                                          CH-NS

37305}  1S19 2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                                (banking)         BR-BG


My first Lickey climb on 1S19 sleeper. Rear coach seats for the almighty thrash for 5

minutes climbing the bank in the otherwise silent, dark Worcestershire countryside

                                                                        25/11/83 Fr

45130  1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                                          BP-NS

37203}  1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                (banking)         BR-BG



                                                                        17/12/83 Sa

40028  1Z36 Christmas Cracker tour                                                                          CF-NS

            (via Didcot W, Oxford, Worcester)

45146  1Z36                                                                                        (banking)         BR-BG

A train load of 40 fans were hoping for an unassisted Lickey climb or if banked some EE Type

3 power not some "mouldy eh peak"!


                                                                        11/2/84 Sa

45108  1S19 2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                                                          CH-NS

37296  1S19 2124 Bristol-Edin/Glas                                                  (banking)         BR-BG

As expected on a Saturday night a solitary 37 banking but this was a winner although the peak

did most of the hard work on the climb


                                                                        17/2/84 Fr

45108  1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                                          TM-NS

37208}                                                                                                 (banking)        BR-BG


Leaning out enjoying the thrash from up front and rear the carriage lights lit the adjacent fields

on the Lickey. The light picked up a field of sheep, which despite it being 11o'clock on a February

night were all still eating the grass, this got a bellow too! 


                                                                        2/3/84 Fr        

45106  1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                                          TM-NS

37306}                                                                                                (banking)         BR-BG



                                                                        3/3/84 Sa

45116  1M63 1747 Cardiff-Derby                                                                             GL-NS


                                                                        6/4/84 Fr

45120  1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                                          TM-NS

37291} 1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                            (banking)  BR-BG



                                                                        8/7/84 Su

37176} 1Z38 0505 Bristol-Plymouth (via Brum) Railtour                                         TM-NS


45105  1S23 2140 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                                          TM-NS

2 climbs of the Lickey in one day and neither got banked!


                                                                        15/7/84 Su

47901  1Z27 0500 Cardiff-Cleethorpes Railtour                                                       TM-NS



                                                                        24/8/84 Fr

37177  1E50 1709 Bristol-York Relief                                                                       CH-NS

pathetic load 5, no banker needed

                                                                        24/5/85 Fr

 47563  1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                                         CH-NS

 37219} 1S19 2124 Bristol-Glas/Edin                                                (banking)         BR-BG


                                                                        28/5/85 Tu

45144              1709 Bristol-Derby relief                                                                    CH-NS


                                                            12/9/85 Th (thanks to GK)

45103              1S19 2124 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                           TM-NS

37232}             1S19 2124 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                           BR-BL



S19 stock 84445, 9423, 5539, 5353, 10612, 10718, 10539, 92236, 84419,

9476, 5854, 5940, 10614, 10717 and 10617

To quote Guy Kendrick " at 2240 37232 and 37303 banked us up the Lickey,

cue hanging out the window to savour the thrash from all, load 15 up the bank.

Epic stuff and worth the price of entry all day long!"


                                                                        15/5/88 Su

47522              1S19 2125 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                           TM-NS

37071}             1S19 2125 Bristol - Glas/Edin                                                           BR-BG


Thanks to Rail Gen Archive, the last booked service train banking, ever...


                                                                        14/4/90 Sa

47822              0455 Swindon - Dundee Railtour                                                       SW-NS           


                                                                        1/9/90 Sat

55032   1301 Worcester FS - Barnt Green (via Lickey!)                                            WFS-BG

Booked a bubble and a gentle climb up the Lickey




                                                                        2/5/93 Su

20138}    1758 Worcester SH - Birmingham NS Rtn "Severn Slaps" Railtour          WO-NS



Stock was 2 x 4 Car DMU's that may have had a brake issue. My slowest ever climb of the Lickey

taking around 15 mins with photographers on the bank offering to give us a push. Still we made the top

for a storm back to New St from Barnt Green


                                                                        30/7/99 Fr      

47726  2155 Swindon - Dundee "Spinnin Haggis" Railtour                                      SW-NS

66115                                                                                                  (banking)         on bank


The 47's fan was roaring like a "peak" as we quickly lost speed half way up the bank. We then stalled, the driver

cursing the loco after 2 failed restarts as a "fuckin heap of shit"!. Several anti shed men then ballast bailed off the

train as 66115 and its short freight assisted us to the summit.                                                     


                                                                        15/8/02 Th     

47854  1535 Bristol - Edinburgh                                                                                CH-NS


                                                                        25/2/06 Sa

47714}  Rtn Cardiff - Crewe "Welsh Whistler" Railtour                                     DR-NS



40145 had failed with a brake fault in the Droitwich area. Rescue loco 47714 and 40145 both powered up the Lickey that evening



Other Lickey bits


coming off the Worcester line was the "30 mph restriction at Stoke Works Jn means giving it the beans as soon as the rear wagon is clear of the points usually

hitting the foot of the bank beyond Bromsgrove at 60 mph on full bore and often by the time id got to Blackwell i'd be down to

around 20mph passing the cottages at the top! ta to Rugd1022


Climb times passenger off the Glos line about 2mins 10secs,,  6-8 mins S19 banking, 14 mins freight!


Climbing the Lickey

1S19 1838 Paignton - Glas/Edin. On Friday 250388 was load 15. Haulage was by 447629.Arr Stoke Works Banking stop 2240.31 dep 42.44 Bromsgrove pass 43.44, Blackwell 49.20 Barnt Green 51.20 banked by 37303

S19 was composed of 92371, 10609, 10718, 10610, 5367, 17138, 5540, 84280 (Glasgow), 84211, 6523, 17115, 5745, 10579, 10719, 10578 (Edin)


last booked S19 banker on Sun May 15th 1988, 47522 on 2125 Bristol - Glas/Edin banked by 37071/37133  



sadly all history now.


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