8X09


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8X09

We have waited a long time to add the Class 20s to our ‘Wired for Sound’ series, but it has been well worth the wait. This programme features no fewer than four of them! The train is one of the railway’s more unusual workings - GB Railfreight’s 8X09 Asfordby to Neasden, which is conveying brand new S Stock for London Underground’s Metropolitan Line. The unit is ‘top & tailed’ by DRS locos 20301 & 20302 at one end and 20304 & 20305 at the other. Due to numerous operating restrictions, the 8X09 has to travel from Leicestershire to London the long way round...which is a far more interesting route! 

The first stage of the journey is along the short branch from the Asfordby test centre to the loop at Melton Mowbray. There, the train reverses and heads for Syston Junction where it joins the Midland Main Line for a spirited run to Leicester. South of there, the 8X09 enters Knighton loop where it reverses again – this time onto the 30-mile ‘freight only’ Leicester & Burton Line via Coalville. This is a fascinating route famous for its mining subsidence and the climb up Desford bank has Class 20s at full bore. Although the eastern end of this route is still busy with aggregate traffic from the quarries at Stud Farm and Bardon Hill, the only trains to use the route beyond Coalville via Moira West are the S Stock moves. So this particular section is rare track! 

At Birmingham Curve Junction the 8X09 takes the little-used curve to Branston Junction where it joins the Derby to Birmingham main line. At Kingsbury Junction the train takes the route to Whitacre Junction. The journey across the West Midlands is via Water Orton, Washwood Heath, Tyseley and a pathing stop in Dorridge Loop. After that it passes through Solihull and Warwick to Leamington Spa. From there the Class 20s power their way uphill for the following 14 miles through Harbury cutting to Fenny Compton. Because the programme was filmed in June, it was still light as the train arrived at Banbury at 21.20. Not so when the train left there an hour and 20 minutes later, and so the programme concludes with a series of atmospheric lineside shots as the train passes through various stations on the last leg of its journey to London.

RUNNING TIME: 3 hours 15 minutes

ROUTE FEATURED: Asfordby-Banbury via Melton Mowbray, Leicester, Coalville, Water Orton, Dorridge and Leamington Spa.



Programme Fact File

Narration: David Maxey
First Published: 2011
Route Featured: Asfordby - Banbury.
Class Featured: 20.
Availability: Now.

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 20  motive power: Jet Set,
Power Hour, and the Traction Series.

 

 

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