Boulby Grid

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Boulby Grid

Part of the former North Eastern Railway route from Whitby to Saltburn has survived as a freight-only line to carry vast tonnages of potash and salt from Boulby mine to Teeside. This programme features a cab-ride on board EWS’s 6F65 Boulby to Tees Dock, conveying potash mined from under the North Sea. The splendid views from the cab of 56115, filmed on a glorious summer’s day in 2003, feature the scenic North Yorkshire and Cleveland countryside and the contrasting industrial landscape of Teeside.

The first stage of the 22-mile journey is the short, sharp climb out of the Boulby terminal up to Grinkle Tunnel. We then pass the sites of the closed stations at Easington and Loftus, after which we cross the embankment that was once a viaduct spanning Kilton Beck. After passing Skinningrove steelworks, the single line ‘token’ from Boulby is surrendered to Crag Hall signalbox, which still retains an array of semaphore signals. With a 1,000 tonne trailing load, the Class 56 is then at full power for the taxing 1 in 64 climb up Warsett Hill where the line skirts the top of Hunt Cliff, which towers 300 feet above the coastline of the North Sea. After descending past the sites of Brotton and North Skelton stations, we cross the impressive 783-foot long Riftswood Viaduct before arriving at Saltburn West Junction. There we join the Tees Valley Line, originally the world’s first public railway - the Stockton & Darlington Railway - and travel through Marske, Longbeck and Redcar Central to Grangetown. There the Class 56 runs round its train before proceeding along the freight-only branch to Tees Dock.

Although not billed as one of our ‘Wired for Sound’ productions, there is still some nice thrash to enjoy as the Class 56 tackles some nice gradients with a decent load. Two months after this programme was filmed, Class 66s took over this long-standing Class 56 working. Today, the workings out of Boulby are operated by Freightliner Heavy Haul so this is a double helping of Teeside freight nostalgia.

Programme Fact File

Narration: David Maxey
First Published: 2012
Route Featured: Boulby - Tees Dock.
Class Featured: 56.
Availability: Now.

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 56  motive power: National Grid, Black & Blue, Heavy Metal, Hot and Heavy, Power Hour, and the Traction Series.



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