5th & 6th October 2002
Barrow Hill Diesel Gala

A review of the Saturday from Mike Searle.

The A two hour M25 / M1 journey to the outskirts of Chesterfield saw the bright sunshine of Essex and places south of the A52 transform into the drizzle of Derbyshire. Having followed the signs to Staveley a local council cleansing operative directed me towards Barrow Hill and the memories of spotting trips of some fifteen years earlier came flooding back. The drizzle stopped, the queue lengthened and we were let in about five minutes before the first train was due to depart.

The depot and adjacent area was awash with locos in various states of repair. 37194 looked immaculate in Harry Needle livery and, in my opinion, should have put in a trip or two (could it be that I need this Tractor ?)

45060 pulled the first two-carriage departure to the headshunt and 08868 hauled the ensemble about half way along the connecting spur. The procedure, which was repeated throughout the day, was reversed and a swift cross-platform move at "Roundhouse Halt" had us on board the single-carriage 'shunter only' departure with 08809 leading and 06003 on the rear. The 08s remained at their 'station' all day and the only change to the shunter train came around 2pm when 03066 replaced 06003.

There was more activity on the 'main line' train which saw 46035, 40135, 20096 (immaculately turned out), 56006 and 66544 take the lead at various times. Although the website timetable was not strictly adhered to (there were more runs than advertised, but only in a similar order), the organisers seemed to make sure that nobody missed out on their required haulage, despite a few quickening heartbeats from time to time (I understand that 46035 / 45060 finished the day off with a couple of runs).

With seven scratches in the book, and all advertised haulage having worked, a 3.15 Ford KA departure saw a 5 pm arrival at Kidderminster for a further seven locomotives (six scratches), before a late evening departure took us to the pouring rain of Essex !!!!!!!!!

This was my first visit to Barrow Hill since mid-eighties spotting jaunts and I was impressed with the site, the number of working locos, the reasonable admission charge and the informative web-site which was updated on the Friday evening to keep everyone accurately informed. So thank you and well done to everyone involved in the organisation of this event. Please can I have 37194 next time?

Mike Searle

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