Headcode 98

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Headcode 98 - Destination Swanage


Between 1967 and 1969, British Railways ran loco-hauled services from London Waterloo through to Swanage using either Class 33s or 73s and two 4TC sets. Fifty years after those services last ran, Class 33 D6515 made a nostalgic trip along the same route, displaying the authentic 98 headcode. This cab ride is a record of the 82 miles of that journey from Basingstoke to Swanage. The stock of this August 2019 charter train comprised London Underground’s 4TC set with 73107 on the rear of the train, making the formation the equivalent of load 8.

The Class 33 was booked for plenty of 85mph running over what was once familiar Crompton territory. The 59-year-old B&RCW Type 3 is in fine fettle and put in an excellent performance - as can be heard from the superb WIRED FOR SOUND Sulzer soundtrack.

After a spirited departure from Basingstoke, the Class 33 makes a lively run through Winchester, Eastleigh and Micheldever to Southampton Central where it stops for a crew change. After passing the vast Freightliner terminal and the Fawley branch, the Crompton powers across the New Forest, passing Brockenhurst, New Milton and Christchurch before arriving under Bournemouth’s magnificent station roof. The journey continues through Branksome to Poole. After passing through the tight curve of Poole station, the Class 33 passes the site of the former Holes Bay Junction, where more than forty years ago in May 1977, D6515 worked the final freight to Wimbourne.

After crossing Holes Bay and passing through Hamworthy, the Crompton pauses at Wareham to pick up the Swanage Railway pilotman. A mile later, D6515 leaves the main line at Worgret Junction to take the scenic Swanage branch. The line descends sharply to cross the River Frome, after which the loco is on full power again for the 1 in 78 climb up to Furzebrook. After encountering the first semaphore signals of the journey at Norden, the line passes under the shadow of Corfe Castle. The Class 33 rounds off a memorable journey with a non-stop run through Harmans Cross before arriving at Swanage alongside Crompton classmate 33111.

This programme was produced with the assistance of GB Railfreight and 71A Locomotives.

Programme Fact File

Narration: David Maxey
First Published: 2019 DVD
Route Featured: Basingstoke - Poole - Wareham -  Swanage.
Class Featured: 33
Availability: Now

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 33  motive power: 
Medway Crompton, Power Hour, London Orbital and the Traction Series.

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