Modern Diesel Loco Hauled Services
The Windermere Branch Line recently hit the news following West Coast Railways' decision to run loco-hauled services (with a Class 37, 57 and 33). This was due to the lack of services in operation by Northern. This got us thinking about other diesel locomotive hauled services that are still operating in the UK, such as those on the Cumbrian Coast Line, Anglian lines, Fife Circle and elsewhere.
Below you can find out more about some of these services and even find models to reproduce such services on your own layout! Which present-day diesel loco-hauled service is your favourite? Let us know in the comments.
Windermere Branch Line (The Lakes Line)
The "Lakes Line", or Windermere Branch Line, is a 10 mile branch linking Windermere, Staveley, Burneside and Kendal with Oxenholme on the West Coast Main Line. The line is fully single tracked and there are no passing loops or sidings. Typically services on the line are provided by Class 153, Class 156 or Class 185 multiple units, until recently...
Due to the UK timetable change in May 2018, Northern were (and are still currently) unable to run services on the line, due to a lack of trained crew. Working with local community groups, West Coast Railways stepped in to provide a free daily service on the line utilising their Class 37, 57 and 33 diesel locomotives - providing an utterly unique experience for many enthusiasts. Some of our team even went up to take a ride!
Recreate your own WCRC services with either a OO gauge Class 47 from Bachmann or an N gauge Class 57/3 from Graham Farish. Both of these models are available to pre-order now.
The Cumbrian Coast Line
The Cumbrian Coast Line runs from Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness along the coast, passing through many towns and villages such as Whitehaven and Workington along the way. The line passes through beautiful, but, quite challenging terrain as it winds along the waterside. Services are mainly provided by Northern Class 142, 153 & 156 DMUs but also by Direct Rail Services' Class 37 and 68 diesel locos.
The line is interesting due to its heavily restricted clearances along the section between Maryport and Carlisle. The narrow dimensions of several overbridges mean that DMUs such as Class 150s and 158s are banned on the route. To increase capacity on some services, Class 37s or Class 68s with Mk2 coaches are employed as they are capable of passing through these tight sections.
Recreate a service like this on your layout with either a Bachmann OO Class 37 or Dapol Class 68 in OO or N gauge.
The Wherry Lines
The Wherry lines are a collection of rural brach lines that link Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. The lines are home to 14 stations, a few of which are known for being some of Britain's most remote - including the infamous Berney Arms, one of the UK's least used stations. As with other lines on this list, services are run typically by Class 153, 156, 158 and 170 DMUs, in this case by Greater Anglia.
Since 2015, Direct Rail Services have provided Class 37s and Mk2 coaches to Greater Anglia to increase capacity on the lines, due to a shortage of rolling stock as none of the route is electrified. For a short period, Class 68 locomotives were also employed on the lines.
A Bachmann Class 37 or Dapol Class 68 in OO or N gauge are great for reproducing such services.
The Fife Circle Line
The Fife Circle forms the local rail services out of Edinburgh to the North. The line links the towns of South Fife and coastal towns along the Firth of Forth. Despite being known as "The Fife Circle", it's actually a point-to-point service that reverses at the Edinburgh end and has a large bi-directional loop at Fife. The current service is actually a combination of two local routes that were previously separate. Services are provided by Scotrail's fleet of Class 158 and 170 DMUs.
Since 2014, Scotrail have sub-leased two Class 68 locomotives as well as 12 Mk2 coaches to boost capacity on peak-hour services.
Dapol's OO or N Gauge Class 68 makes the perfect loco to run your own "Fife Circle" style services.
Chiltern Main Line
The Chiltern Main Line links London to Birmingham via Banbury, Leamington Spa and High Wycombe. The line totals 112 miles of track and is the second main line to Birmingham, the other being the West Coast Main Line. Being a mainline, a huge variety of rolling stock is implemented, including: Sprinters, Networkers, Clubmans, Turbostars and Voyagers. However, Chiltern Railways also uses Class 68s on the line.
Chiltern sub-leased six locomotives in 2014, along with Mk3 coaches and DVTs. The locomotives have been fitted with AAR push-pull equipment to enable them to run with the stock.
Recreate an express Chiltern service with a Dapol N or OO gauge Class 68.
Arriva Premier Services
The Premier Service (now known as the 'Business Class Service') is a premium service that runs once a day between Holyhead and Cardiff in Wales. Funded by the Welsh Government, the service features mostly first-class accommodation with a full dining car and travelling chef. The services runs along the North Wales Coast, Chester/ Shrewsbury, Welsh Marches and South Wales lines - taking around 4.5hrs to reach its destination. A second set also runs between Manchester to Holyhead, although this is a standard service.
Arriva subleases Class 67 locomotives from DC Schenker repainted into ATW livery, along with a rake of Mk3 coaches and DVT for the daily services. However, it originally ran with one of four Class 57s sub-let from Virgin Trains.
Utilise a Hornby OO Class 67 and Mk3 coaches to produce a similar version of these services, or alternatively, pre-order the Bachmann OO or Graham Farish N Gauge Class 57.