Rail Events of 1970

Article from Bob Poole

(GRES Chairman)


                                                         Rail Events of 1970

The founding of GRES wasn’t the only event of 1970. Below are a few of the other events of that year, both normal and quirky.

The “Railway Children” film, shot on location on the Keithley and Worth railway starring Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbins was released.

This was the year by which “much of the railways’ deficits are to be eliminated” according to the The Beeching report published in 1963.

British Rails’ shipping interests moved into a new division, for which the marketing name ‘Sealink’ was adopted.

From 1970 onwards all of the class 33 (Cromptons) narrow bodied locomotives were fitted with slow speed equipment making them suitable for use in merry-go-round workings at the APCM cement plant at Northfleet as well as some collier power stations.

The 1970 Tyne-Wear Plan suggested major investment to convert the North Tyne loop and South Shields branch from heavy rail to modern rapid transit standards.

January – Passenger services withdrawn on the “Woodhead Route” between Sheffield Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.

February – Approval given for electrification of WCML between Weaver Jct and Glasgow

April –   BR increase the price of a cup of tea from 9d to 11d.

               OVS Bulleid died aged 87.

May – The Glasgow Central – London Euston expresses used pairs of class 50 diesel electrics working in multiple.

          Brittania bridge between the Welsh Mainland and Angelsey was destroyed by fire.

End of main line steam haulage in UK – Steam haulage continued on Northern Ireland   Railways until 2nd May 1970. The principal steam work was to haul quarry waste from near Larne to the Belfast Lough foreshore for the use in the construction of a motorway. The last passenger train had operated at Easter.

WT Class 5′ 3″ gauge 2-6-4T

August-  HST prototype was authorised. The power cars were equipped with Paxman Valenta 12RP200L, 2,250 HP 12-cylinder marine engines chosen for their high power to weight ratio but although the vehicles had been built with sufficient room for a much larger 16-cylinder version these were never fitted.

September – British Rail fails to close the Swanage line because local councils object.

October  –     Peterborough to Grimsby via Spalding and Boston passenger services withdrawn

           Spalding to Boston line closed

            Lincoln to Woodhall Junction line closed.

December – Northfleet New Bevan Cement Works was fully operational, and on 14th of that month, the cement sidings to the south of Northfleet station were brought into use. The line closed in 1993, now (2010) the line may well re-open as part of a new aggregate terminal.

Falmouth Town Station opened. The station was opened as Falmouth by British Rail on 7 December 1970 when the branch line was cut back to terminate here. The platform was constructed using components from Perranporth Beach Halt which had closed in 1963.

                        The British Rail flying saucer.

Officially known simply as space vehicle, this was a proposed spacecraft designed by  Charles Osmond Frederick. A patent application was filed by Jensen and Son on behalf of British Rail on 11 December 1970 and granted on 21 March 1973. The flying saucer originally started as a proposal for a raiseable platform. However, the project was revised and edited, and by the time the patent was filed had become a large passenger craft for interplanetary travel.