July/August/September 2019.

The East Coast Main Line (ECML) is a 393-mile long (632 km) major railway link between London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster,
Wakefield, Leeds,York, Darlington and Newcastle, electrified along the whole route. Services north of Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness use diesel trains.
 The main franchise on the line is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

The route forms a key artery on the eastern side of Great Britain and is broadly paralleled by the A1Trunk Road. It links London, the South East and
 East Anglia, with Yorkshire, the North East Regions and Scotland. It also carries key commuter flows for the north side of London.

 It is important to the economic health of several areas of England and Scotland.

 It also handles cross-country, commuter and local passenger services, and carries heavy tonnages of freight traffic.

 Roger Carvell is a rail enthusiast who contributes much of the local content to this website. He now lives in Biggleswade, near the ECML, but 
on this page he reports on news and movements on this historic line, close to his home and heart.



July 10th 2019.


Report by Roger Carvell.

My insider at LNER tells me that the 08.45 from Leeds to London pulled down the wires just nth of Peterborough, on the famous two-track
section over Stoke Bank where Mallard triumphed all those years ago.  It was an Azuma 800113 that did the dewiring too!

 It was still stranded at Tallington as at 13.30. Diesel diverts via Lincoln, from Peterborough to Doncaster which has recently been upgraded for
 freight and diversionary express services although the line is not electrified.


July 10th 2019.

The ECML internet ‘photter’ chat livened up last week when an '0Z60'was found on Real Time Trains, booked departure Doncaster Decoy at 17.07, on
Wednesday, July 3rd. This duly happened, the '60' part of the headcode was indeed a Class 60, the first seen at the south end of the ECML for some years.

It transpires that a contract has been placed with GBRf to move London spoil north to the site of Maltby Colliery, in the former South
Yorkshire coalfield.

Below is GBRf's 60096, still in its former owner's livery but with 'Colas' removed, on its light engine run up to the capital to
collect the first loaded train.

60096 is one of ten 3,100hp Class 60s acquired by GBRf from Coltas, in anticipation of heavy construction work associated with
 HS2 and other big 'civil' projects.

On Tuesday, July 9th, 60096 (below) reappeared with its raft of rather battered bogie wagons, en route, now empty, from Barnetby in Lincolnshire, to
Willesden dc sidings, in north London, running as ‘6Z46’.

 A fully loaded down spoil working, again with 60096, is expected down the ECML in the wee small hours of Wednesday or Thursday,  July 10 or 11th to
Maltby Colliery.

The Class 60 Co-Co heavy freight diesel was first introduced in 1989 by BR, with the class of 100 machines built by Brush, at Loughborough.
For some years, the Class 60 or ‘tug’ as it is nicknamed was a familiar sight across England but in recent years, since privatisation
and the successful introduction of the less powerful US-built Class 66, the ex-BR heavy hauler has rather fallen on hard times, with DBS
side lining over half the class at Toton, outside Nottingham for many years.

 Some  suitable Class 60s have since been upgraded to ‘Super 60s’. It is hoped that rail freight prospects may change for the better and
that a heavy freight revival is in the offing, for the slow-revving Class 60 is ideal for moving heavy material transshipments.


July 2nd 2019

There seems to be a steady stream of new trains arriving on our shores at present,
displacing older, and not so old, British-built trains.

802205 is seen approaching East Road vehicle and foot crossing, at Langford, just south of Biggleswade, some 38
miles north of King's Cross

802205 going away.

As part of TransPennine Express's (TPE) plan for new bi-mode trains, on June 20th (above), brand new, but not yet vinyled and titled,  Hitachi-built
802205, a five car bi-mode train left Eastleigh Works at Southampton, and travelled up the SW main line to London and then gained the ECML
via the key North London Line that links the two trunk routes. En route to Heaton depot in Newcastle 802205 will have now joined
earlier-built 802s, ready for testing and driver training across the Pennines this summer.

These 802s will have been assembled at Hitachi's Pistoia factory in mid-Italy, following  shipment of parts from Japan, and are a
follow-on order from Great Western Railway's own fleet of 36 trains, which run in nine and five car formations.
 Pistoia is about 19 miles north of Florence and the plant there, was previously owned by AnsaldoBreda.

The Italian factory was called in to supply further Class 802s as Hitachi's Newton Aycliffe facility is at full capacity with LNER's own orders.
TransPennine hope to introduce the Class 802 by the end of the year, and the bi-modes will link Newcastle with
 Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

TPE are to call their new trains 'Nova1'

Not to be outdone, Hull Trains have also ordered 802s to replace their unreliable Class 180s by next year. A pair of GWR HSTs, reduced to
five coach lengths, are deputising for the Class 180s at present. The HSTs had earlier been displaced by new GWR Class 800s!

To return to the picture, 802205 is seen approaching East Road vehicle and foot crossing, at Langford, just south of Biggleswade, some 38
miles north of King's Cross As a fellow photter remarked, 'Won't be seeing these trains again anytime soon, down here in the south of England!'

It is not easy to photograph a plain, glossy grey, train on a dull day. A neat yellow warning panel would have helped 'lift' the photo.
Yellow panels or ends are no longer mandatory, a shame.


The photo below shows LNER's 07.00 Hull to King's Cross service, on June 15, racing through Sandy, with bi-mode 800113, a
 nine-car set, seen here, despite the 25kv overheads, running on diesel power. Bi-mode
Class 800s, branded on the LNER as 'Azuma', will total 13 nine-car sets and 10 five-car units
LNER have also ordered the all-electric nine and five-car all electric Class 801 derivative, 30 and 12 units respectively.

 Top speed will be 125mph. All should be in service by early next year, although a small fleet of LNER's classic HST sets are
 expected to be retained until next summer for operational reasons.