Midland freight 1970-2016 and beyond...
In the early 70's the principal Midland freight flow was coal in vast quantities from the Nottingham coalfields to Acton, Norwood Jn and Cricklewood yards with Northfleet consuming vast quantities of coal too. There was also Northbound coal from the Kent coalfields to Goldlington and later Wellinborough yard. Add in oil to Dunstable and the Midlands, cement to Dunstable and beyond, there was an awful lot of freight.
The Luton log extract from Saturday February 3rd 1973..am lists
68 (45046) 6M31Ripple Lane-Rowley Regis oil
104 (45063) 6E43 Northfleet-Thoresby MGR e’s
1701 (47113) 6C35 Brent-Dunstable oil (to Luton Bute St headshunt)
1701 (47113) 4S32 Luton-Johnstone cars
1730 (47138) 6V67 Leagrave-Westbury stone
1983 (47281) 6M53 Ripple Lane-Kingsbury oil
83 (45142) 8015 Wellinborough-Norwood Jn coal
7663/7593 (25313/25243) 8L35 Wellinborough-Cricklewood coal
7570 (25220) 8T61 Bedford-Cricklewood trip
1867(47217) 6E56 0850 Langley-Immingham oil
7540 (25190) 9X45 addit engineers
By the 80/90's the coal traffic steadily declined with stone from the Leicestershire mega quarries the main traffic. The decline continued into 2000 and beyond with today seeing on a good "day" no more than 8 freight each way on the Midland. The up freight tends to come up overnight returning afternoon and early evening on a Midland where passenger services are dominant.
Midland Freight phot spot
The Leagrave stone which is famous for its many Western workings got a lot more Western 47's in its 12 year operation. 47247 awaits departure back to the Western Region via London with the stone empties, whilst 25122 and 207 are signalled to use then then freight only line at Luton station on 070177.
25278 which survives in preservation rattles small Sulzer style through Sundon on 060777. 25278 is on the Bedford - Luton "pick up" freight a duty which included delivering water containers to the signal boxes between Bedford and Luton.
66140 passes Bromham Road bridge, Bedford with 6F93 1105 St Pancras Churchyard sidings - Ketton cement empties on 181016. This cement flow has a local WCML connection as Tring cement works used to supply the then Kings X goods with cement with 2 x 25/31 traction until the late 80's when Ketton replaced Tring with the cement traffic.
66753 passes Bromham with 6D12 1712 Luton Crescent Road - Wellinborough yard stone empties on 191016. This train was running 80 early at the time. The up "Luton stone" runs as 6C12 0756 Wellinborough - Crescent Road recessing in the new Sundon loop before arriving Luton around 0930.
60002 passes Bromham with 6E38 Colnbrook - Lindsey empty oil tanks on 191016. This flow has a long Midland history when the "Immingham oiler" ran with Immingham 47 haulage to Langley 3 times daily albeit with just load 15 100 ton tanks.
More Midland freight detailed features to follow, contributions new and old welcome...Thanks to "TC" for much of the gen