The Present 2015

For details and photos of test train running before 2015 see the index here.

The line is leased by LUL in order to test and commission the next generation of London Underground trains, known as Sub Surface Lines (SSL) trains. Serco Assurance were awarded the contract to manage the whole of the test track of behalf of LUL which will give them the opportunity to attract other interested parties to the line.

In October 2013 the BRB Residuary was abolished and the line passed to NR ownership.

September 2015

On Monday 5th October 3Z10 will run with a Class 37, UTU2 & a DBSO.- timings here

800002 is in the process of arriving by road at Asfordby, the two power cars and first two coaches having arrived on 8th September from the brand new factory at Newton Aycliffe (County Durham) which was officially opened for business by David Cameron and Nick Clegg late last week. One power car is in the standard plain livery but the other sports red vinyls and various logos including Network Rail, Virgin Trains, Hitachi and PTM Design (who I assume provided the red vinyls).

A link to one of the news articles regarding the factory opening, including an image of the stylised power car:

97303 with UTU4 & DBSO 9703 worked 3Z10 & 3Z11 on 7th Sept and is pictured passing Rotherby on the approach to Melton running 103 minutes late

Ben Wheeler

3Z10 & 3Z11 ran on  Monday 7th Sept and although it was *officially* the first ever test train to be operated by Colas Rail who took over the infrastructure monitoring contract from DB Schenker the chosen loco was not one of their own liveried 37s but the ERTMS-fitted 97303. Doh!. Colas Rail will now supply both traction and drivers, some of whom have been transferred from DB Schenker. Once again Colas avoid Old Dalby but it's got to happen sooner or later

The use of 67's is expected to cease under Colas and therefore the previous visit of 67003 & 016 to the test track the other week (photos on this site courtesy Neil Booton!) could well have been the last for the foreseeable future. However the advent of Colas will undoubtedly bring many other unusual locomotives to the line.

Activities at the test track on 3rd - photos courtesy Neil Booton

97303 & 97304 visited the test track with 3Z10 on a slightly earlier path. Unfortunately Colas liveried 37219 should have provided the first Colas liveried 37 to visit the test track was substituted by 97304

97303 heads 3Z10 into Melton station on 3rd September

97303 at the rear of 3Z10 passing Asfordby GF on 3rd September

August 2015

On 19th August 67016 and 67003 visited the line and IEP 800 001 was running

67016 heads a short consist with Mentor in tow and 67003 at the rear - pictured at Asfordby GF

67003 at the rear passing Asfordby GF

800001 passes Widmerpool

Some pictures of the iEP returning to Old Dalby are here

The visit of the NMT on 7th August - photos courtesy Neil Booton


Near Plumtree

Near Plumtree

Two new photos from Ben Wheeler

67023 leading top'n'tailed 3Z10 through Rotherby on the approach to Melton on 4th August

67008 alongside 800101 & 800001 at Asfordby on 4th August the latter having just arrived behind 66751 following overnight ECML testing which saw both units operated in multiple for the first time on the mainline.

3Z10 is booked on Tuesday 4th August with 2 x class 67 top and tail conveying PLPR1or two days calibration and then return to Derby on Thursday evening. Look here for timings

The NMT will visit the test track on Thursday 6th August returning on Friday 7th -  timings here

July 2015

A pair of class 37's were booked to visit on Tuesday 21st with TIC2, PLPR4 & MENTOR for two days calibration and returned to Derby on Wednesday evening 5th

Yesterday afternoon 19th a visit to Widmerpool revealed that Trackwork were there tiding up, the Up line through the station is back in place re ballasted and clipped
The MPV was back in the siding , the security men had gone  and 2 Underground trains (SSL) were  parked just over the  A46 bridge . The OHLE is now  restored between Plumtree and Stanton Tunnel

At Widmerpool on 11th 'Trackwork' were busy on the Up line where the track and sleepers have been removed through the station area. The MPV was back in the siding after working at Plumtree. The overhead wires have been removed from Plumtee to Stanton Tunnel .

66544 returned the HOBC set from Old Dalby to Toton as 6M37 on Thursday evening.9th  It had been observed in operation on Asfordby West Curve earlier in the day being hauled by 47714

A visit to Widmerpool on 8th July revealed a very busy scene. 'Trackwork' were  there, as well as a ballast cleaning train but the MPV had gone .

At the Plumtree end next to Bridge 29  there were a large number of vans and cars and it appear that engineers are working on the overhead  wires  .Also in the cutting towards Plumtree Station BGS has put in some equipment to check any movement in the cutting sides as there were issues with slipping in the 1970s. Presumably all this activity is in connection with further testing of the IEP and the EMUs which appear to become a major work stream for the line in future

.66602 worked the 6M37 0900 Toton North Yard - Old Dalby on its own on Monday 6th. The train was conveying a short High Output Ballast Cleaning set (HOBC). The 66 ran-round in Melton Loop due to the lack of rear locomotive. The set is due to return to Toton tomorrow evening as 6M37 once again, timings for this are here

6M37 near Rotherby (between Syston and Melton) en route to Old Dalby on 6th July 2015

Ben Wheeler

Rail Operations Group successfully delivered unit 321448 to the line on Friday evening (3rd July) with Riveria Trains liveried 47815 'Great Western' providing the horses. The 47 returned to Derby with the barrier coaches at 1915, having arrived at Asfordby some 160 minutes ahead of schedule from Ilford. The unit is visiting following re-motoring at Ilford and is the first of a handful of EMU's that will be hauled to the line for similar tests. Understand that a 317 is on the cards at some point and then more 321's next year.

The photos below show the now incredibly busy scene at Asfordby as depicted on Friday, showing the new arrival in the midst of several other units and locos and also another pic of 5Z21 passing Ashwell nearing journey's end.

20311 & 314 are in the background having arrived with another S-Stock from Derby yesterday, along with 20132 & 118 which are out of sight on the rear. These should depart on Monday at 1142 with the next S-Stock delivery to West Ruislip.

This coming Monday 6th sees another visit by a ballast train, this time under Freightliner and most likely using top and tail 66's.

The scene at Asfordby on Friday 3rd July

Iain Wright

5Z21 pictured near Ashwell

Iain Wright

47815 plus translator vehicles at Derby on 4th July


Plus a link to some further information and a few pics of the new overhead conductor system now installed inside Stanton Tunnel:

Some reports of activity at Widmerpool on 2nd July-  the viewing platform was being knocked down and there was a large pile of ballast in the goods yard and a Network Rail Windhoff MPV train in the siding . Also at Plumtree two  Portacabins  have been placed in the old goods yard there .

5Z21 on 3rd July ,hauling a black liveried 321448 being moved following re-motoring at Ilford EMU Depot and not a 379. Barrier coaches are Arlington Fleet Services green liveried ADB975974 & ADB975978.

Riviera Trains blue liveried 47815 is now going on hire to Rail Operations Group, allocated 0Z47 1115 Barrow Hill - Eastleigh Arlington on 2nd July and will then work Eastleigh Arlington - Ilford EMU Depot with the translator coaches. Then on Friday 3rd  will work the class 379 unit move from Ilford to Old Dalby, vice Colas 47727 which is required for other traffic. Did not run the early this week due to problems with the translator coaches at Eastleigh. Timings here

It is the first of several moves to Old Dalby with these units but the rest aren't expected until some time in 2016.

June 2015

3Z10/11 ran on Monday 29th and yet again produced 37604 hauling UTU2 & DBSO 9702.

On Tuesday 30th there will be another visit by a Colas class 47. 47727 is going on hire to new operator Rail Operations Group for the 5Z21 Ilford EMU Depot - Old Dalby, hauling the next class 379 unit for testing. Two translator coaches will be used as 47's cannot couple directly unlike the usual 57/3's. No timings yet but will advise as soon as I have them.

NMT visit was cancelled on Tuesday 23rd but 67029 & 67023 with MENTOR on 3Z10 arrived on time.

In addition to the NMT (Timings here) on 23rd June MENTOR is also visiting top'n'tailed with class 67s (timings here)

The move on 22nd was hauled by 37604 as it was on 15th

37604 with 3Z10 heading south in the Midland main line at Cossington on 15th June

Ben Wheeler

Electrification update

 I can reveal thanks to Rail Technology Magazine that the work in Stanton Tunnel during March was to do with the installation of  Furrer & Frey's Rigid Overhead Conductor Rail System (ROCS). See here for details. Also featured in the Railway Gazette here

Planned movements

Activity on the line approaching a bit of a record high at the moment!

The following trains are booked to run

Monday 22nd June : Class 31 or 37 with UTU4 & DBSO

Tuesday 23rd June : New Measurement Train HST

May 2015

A new photo taken on 28th May

The class 47 does a spot of shunting with one of the IEP sets at Asfordby on 28th May 2015

Robert Lunn

On Monday 18th 31233 with UTU1 & DBSO 9708 was booked on the 3Z10 Derby RTC - Old Dalby & 3Z11 Old Dalby - Mossend return. but it worked back as 3Z11 1500 Old Dalby - Derby instead of Mossend and 7X09 was cancelled on 18th but ran on 19th via Coalville & Burton, 20118/132 & 20905/901. The other 20's have gone back to Barrow Hill again!

This week also sees the Derby - West Ruislip/Amersham and West Ruislip/Amersham - Derby moves starting up again as S-Stock units return to Litchurch Lane for yet more modification work. There is also a 7X09 1147 Old Dalby - Derby running today with a set returning directly to Bombardier having just completed initial testing at Old Dalby. 20096 & 107 are now paired with orange duo 20311 & 314 for these moves, the latter making their first appearance of 2015 on S-stock moves.

Meanwhile here are a few more pics of set 800001

800101 car of the 5-car IEP set at Asfordby on 12th May 2015l


Close up of the cab of 800101


After numerous hiccups the first main line IEP drag and subsequent testing on the 5-car set on ECML is finally scheduled to take place overnight 11th/ early Tuesday morning 12th. The train will be tested on Stoke Bank between Grantham and Peterborough, where amongst other things a Class 91 and a Mk4 set achieved 162 mile/h in September 1989

Timings as follows...

Mon 11/05 5E98 Old Dalby - Tallington:

Tues 12/05 5M98 Tallington - Old Dalby:

Also, 66751 was named 'Hitachi Rail - Inspiration Delivered' on 27th April at Asfordby and will, as mentioned previously, undertake all of the class 800 movements utilising it's specially geared 'Scharfenburg' coupler. An article regarding the naming can be found on the GBRf news page here:

5-car IEP set at Asfordby on 28th April

Ben Wheeler

Close up of the cab

Ben Wheeler

On the subject of Network Rail test trains, there has been no recent activity and there are none planned for the coming week as far as I'm aware. However, 20905 & 20901 are now back on the S-Stock movements following attention at Barrow Hill, joining 20118 & 20132 on such duties and were parked up at Derby on 9th. Their reintroduction onto these trains has seen 20096 & 20107 return to Barrow Hill for routine maintenance. 20311 & 20314 remain out of traffic at Barrow Hill but there are indications that GBRf may be looking to take on even more of the type so would expect these to re-emerge at some point.

April 2015

Another cancellation I'm afraid, none of the planned overnight IEP testing took place last week. 66751 has remained on site at Asfordby for the duration though and has been observed sporting some additional coupling gear for attaching to the IEP without use of barrier vehicles. However it went to Doncaster light engine on 25th

A pair of LUL Clayton battery locos have turned up at Asfordby for testing. These were converted from old Schoma diesel locomotives and are numbered L8 & L4 respectively. They are sporting a yellow and red colour scheme with LUL logos. 3Z10/11 is booked for Monday again with a UTU set and 31/37, if it actually runs!

IEP testing on the ECML should have begun on Wednesday night 22nd April but see above. As expected 66751 will be dragging the unit from Old Dalby to a possession site between Grantham and Peterborough and back each night. It is expected that these moves will be taking place for several months. Timings below for the overnight outward moves (down to run Weds, Thurs & Fri this week), no timings available for the return moves yet but will advise once they are. 66751 is already on site having arrived light engine from Peterborough yesterday morning.

The NMT worked 3Z10 0834 Derby RTC - Old Dalby yesterday morning 16th. It spent two days on the line for calibration and returned to Derby on Friday 17th as 3Z11 departing 13.00.

3Z10/11 was again booked for this coming Monday (20th) - UTU3 in the consist with a 31 or 37 & DBSO but was caped yet again on Friday

20905 & 901 are now back in the fray for S-stock movements having returned from their escapades on the Southern Region. Thought they might partner 20311 & 314 on Friday's 7X23 0933 Derby Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby but turned out 20107/096/118/132 ran instead.

Above info courtesy Ben Wheeler

Serco's modified 08956 on site at Asfordby on 17th April shunting S-Stock without the aid of any barrier wagons.

Ben Wheeler

3Z10 on Monday 30th March produced 37688 & 37603 with eight vehicles however it only got as far as Melton Up Loop before reversing and going straight back to Derby. 67012 & 67027 were then pencilled in for the PLPR2 visit on Wednesday 1st April but this similarly was cancelled at Derby prior to departure.

Some class 800 news, it is anticipated that 800001 will be leaving by rail very soon. I also understand that GBRf's 66751, which visited the line the other week to perform tests with the unit, has in fact been modified to haul the class 800 trains and should be the dedicated loco for moving them to/from Old Dalby (for now at least).

Also of interest is that DRS are looking at testing their brand new class 88 Electro-Diesel locomotives at Old Dalby. The first is due in October this year with the rest being delivered every few months there after. The locos, although electric initially by means of pantograph/OHLE, will all come equipped with a 'last mile' diesel engine for running into non-electrified yards and terminals.

Three S-stock moves scheduled this week, two to West Ruislip on Monday and Wednesday and a third from Derby to Asfordby on Friday.


March 2015

7X09 1147 Old Dalby - West Ruislip down to run Monday 30th as is 3Z10/3Z11 (WTT path - 1015 onto test track, 1628 back to Derby) with UTU2 and a 37 with DBSO. 3Z10 again booked on Wednesday 1st with the Plain Line Pattern Recognition 2 (PLPR2) set, this should be top and tail 67's but not 100% definite on that. 1015 onto the branch, spends a day or so undergoing calibration runs on the full length of the line then back to Derby at 1628 on Thursday 2nd.

No Freightliner moves planned for this coming week.

Last week was looking absolutely bananas with movements from Freightliner, GBRf and Network Rail all scheduled to run, some on the same days. The 20's will now arrive with the barrier wagons Monday morning before working 7X09 to Amersham/West Ruislip. The 387 movement will now take place on Tuesday 24th, however there is also a 387 being moved from Old Dalby back to Derby for rectification work on Monday too.

I have included the full timings (via Real Time Trains) below, with headcodes/details above each link, for all presently known workings this week.

6M24 Derby Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby (GBRf 20's + barrier wagons)
7X09 Old Dalby - Amersham (GBRf 20's, barriers + S-Stock)
6M72 Crewe Basford Hall - Old Dalby (Freightliner loco + barrier wagons)
7X33 Old Dalby - Derby Litchurch Lane (Freightliner loco, barriers + class 387 EMU)
6M72 Derby Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby (Freightliner loco + barrier wagons)
7X33 Old Dalby - Bletchley (Freightliner loco, barriers + class 387 EMU)
6M24 (no timings available yet, GBRf 20's + barrier wagons, AM arrival)
7X09 Old Dalby - Amersham (GBRf 20's, barriers + S-Stock)
No booked trains
3Z10 Derby RTC - Old Dalby (Class 31 or 37 + Ultrasonic Test Unit + DBSO)
7X23 Derby Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby (GBRf 20's, barriers + S-Stock)
3Z11 Old Dalby - Derby RTC (Class 31 or 37 + Ultrasonic Test Unit + DBSO)
6??? Old Dalby - Derby/Barrow Hill (no timings available yet, GBRf 20's + barrier wagons, late afternoon departure)

The return 3Z11 on Friday is now running as 1Q11, still 3Z10 outward though. It transpires it is booked for top and tail 37's with the Plain Line Pattern Recognition 2 (PLPR2) set, comprising five coaches.

Above info courtesy Ben Wheeler

Freightliner were booked to move a class 387 unit from Old Dalby to Bletchley on Friday morning 20th but it didn't take place. The barrier wagons failed to arrive from Crewe so the job was caped.

The 20's were  also expected to arrive with barriers from Derby in the morning in readiness for Monday 23rd's 7X09 but they failed to turn up.

March 2nd saw 31233 & 97301 top and tail 3Z10 Derby - Old Dalby & 3Z11 return hauling UTU1, UTU3 & SGT2, a mammoth consist comprising eight vehicles. The following day saw 950001 visit late morning with a hastily arranged calibration run following attention at the RTC, arriving around 1100 and departing late afternoon back to Derby.

Friday 12th saw the first of the new class 800 IEP's arrive at Asfordby Depot, by road instead of rail as the unit is not yet passed to be hauled over mainline metals. GBRf's 66751 ran light engine from Peterborough the same morning to shunt the unit and to allow staff training prior to class 800 transfers to/from Old Dalby commencing properly by rail. It is believed that all of them are to be tested here.

Also, some brilliant pictures have emerged on the web of 47714 shunting the new IEP train (now numbered 800001) at Asfordby on Friday 20th. These can be found on Flickr through the following link: Old Dalby

A photo of the yard at Asfordby on 13th March 2015 with the IEP behind the class 47

Iain Wright

3Z10/11 ran again on Monday 16th, worked by 37402 & DBSO. It is scheduled once again for March 30th in the now regular earlier path (0800 arrival at Melton from Derby, 1628 return from Old Dalby).

Finally Harbury Cutting, which closed for over a month due to a landslide, is expected to reopen at the end of this week and with it should see the resumption of regular SSL movements between Old Dalby, West Ruislip and Derby. 7X09 to West Ruislip is scheduled for Monday and Wednesday next week and 7X23 from Derby to Old Dalby on the Friday. Freightliner continue to operate bi-regularly 'Electrostar' movements between Derby, Old Dalby and Bletchley using 66's, a few of which have run in daylight just recently.

February 2015

The test track has now acquired its own independent power supply courtesy of UK Power Reserve

A visit to Widmerpool on Thursday morning 5th Feb found a lot going on in the old goods yard - machines and plenty of people in orange working but not clear what they were all doing!

January 2015

Network Rail TRU / class 150 No. 950001 due to visit this week, arrives early on Thursday 29th morning and will remain on the line for equipment calibration until Friday afternoon. Outward path is 2Z08 of which the timings can be found below, the return is the normal 3Z11 path departing at 1628 back to Derby.

Only S-stock move this week is Friday 30th's 7X23 0933 Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby. Currently 20107, 096 & 118, 132 are in use. 901/905 are at present based in the south for GBRf de-icing trains. 311 & 314 are both out of traffic at Barrow Hill.

3Z10 ran on Tuesday 20th with 37402 & 37425 top and tail, returning to Derby in the evening.


Overhead Line for GWML system testing - look here for an article from Rail Technology Magazine July 2014

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