National Grid

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National Grid

Join the footplate of 56096 for a nostalgic 104-mile coast-to-coast trip across the lowlands of Scotland from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth. The Grid is hauling the 7G80 Merry-Go-Round, conveying 1,150 tonnes of imported coal in HAA hoppers from the port of Hunterston on the Ayrshire coast to Longannet power station in Fife. To capture the full audio characteristics of the Type 5, the loco was specially Wired for Sound!

The journey begins with the stiff climb out of the Hunterston loading terminal up to West Kilbride. After skirting the coast at Saltcoats, the train heads through Dalry and Johnstone to reach the outskirts of Glasgow at Paisley. There then follows a complex 20-mile trek across the city via Shields Junction, Polmadie, Rutherglen, Coatbridge and Garqueen North junction. At Cumbernauld, the 7G80 continues onto the (then) freight-only line to Greenhill Lower Junction before encountering the semaphore-signalled junctions of Carmuirs West and East. It continues via Falkirk Grahamston, Polmont and Dalmeny before crossing one of Britain’s great railway structures - the magnificent Forth Bridge. Full power is resumed at North Queensferry for the run through Inverkeithing and Rosyth. The 56 is at full bore as it tackles the notorious 1 in 74 climb through Dunfermline up to Townhill. The 7G80 enters the sidings at Townhill where the loco runs round its train of HAA hoppers. After heading back through Dunfermline, the train diverges onto the (then) remains of the truncated line to Alloa. This 10-mile freight only branch provides some delightful scenery as it skirts the shores of the Forth before reaching Longannet power station. 56096 takes the East Arrival road to access the tightly curved track of the power station loop before the loco is put into ‘slow speed’ for the unloading operation. As the train enters the discharge terminal, the wagon doors are automatically opened so that the coal can drop onto the conveyor belt beneath the track. As the train exits the discharge terminal the wagon doors are then automatically closed.

So much has changed since this programme was filmed in 1999. Both EWS and their Class 56s are long gone. So have the vast fleet of HAA coal hoppers and the Carmuirs semaphores. Coal trains no longer cross the Forth Bridge…and Longannet power station has now closed, with the result that trains over the Alloa to Dunfermline route are now few and far between!

"A thoroughly enjoyable programme which will be appreciated by anyone who has a taste for some top notch thrash" TRACTION Magazine

Programme Fact File

Narrator: David Maxey 
First Published: 2000 on VHS
Route Featured: Hunterston to Longannet Power Station via Glasgow
Class Featured: 56
Availability: Now

Click here for ordering details

Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 56  motive power: Boulby Grid
Hot and Heavy
, Black & Blue, Stay of Execution, Trainload Type 5's, Power Hour and the Traction Series.

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