The Present 2014

For details and photos of test train running before 2014 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 who lost no time modifying the OHLE and bringing in a Javelin for some testing work.

October 2014

Another 387 unit move took place on 17th. Barrier vehicles came back from Bletchley and the return working with a class 387 as 7X33 back to Bletchley was another evening departure. Freightliner traction once again. Certainly a hive of activity at the moment.

Electrostar unit 387102 left for Bletchley EMU Depot on the evening of 16th behind a class 70 - the first time one of the class has visited the test track. The barrier wagons for the 7X33 move to Bletchley came from Crewe Basford Hall behind 70002 running as 6Z33 which left Crewe at 1430. The loco then took the unit away as 7X33 in the evening departing about 19.00h.

387101 unit was returned to Derby on Tuesday 14th with Freightliner haulage in the shape of 66561 as 6M71 to Old Dalby (loco and barrier wagons) and 7X33 return.

37601 & 605 on 3Z10/11 on 6th October but in a revised path. It returned in the normal 1628 3Z11 path off Old Dalby. Possibly a 31 or 37 with a UTU set for calibration. The working also ran the previous Monday (29/09) with 37405 taking the reigns.

7X09 1147 Old Dalby - West Ruislip is in the system down to run on 6th and should be the last one until December due to lack of space on LUL to house any further units.

Some of the GBRf / HNRC 20's are to be re-deployed onto RHTT work over the Autumn so expect to see several of these disappear from the circuit until this has finished. 7X23 Derby - Old Dalby should continue to run plus the movements between Derby and London.

57306 with 379013 near Melton Mowbray on 30th September

Ben Wheeler

Info courtesy Ben Wheeler

September 2014

On Tuesday 30th the first ever Network Rail liveried class 57/3 visited the line delivering the battery EMU 379013 from Derby Litchurch Lane for testing. The loco is in fact owned by DRS now but is yet to be repainted. It is the last 57 left in the yellow colour scheme. Running as 5X52, it arrived onto the test track at 1330 before the 57 returned light engine to Crewe Basford Hall.

Moves of further 387 / 378 units using Freightliner class 66 traction continued through September with two more arriving from Derby during the month.

The NMT arrived on Wednesday morning17th for calibration and ran as 1Z24 from the RTC arriving onto the test track around 1030. Returned Friday afternoon 19th, departing at 1615.

Monday 15th September was a busy day on the test track.

Pictures courtesy Neil Booton

NR Test Train

31465 with test train including Mentor heads north past Widmerpool

NR Test Train

DBSO 9714 with 31465 propelling through Plumtree curves

110 mile/h Electrostar

387102 and 387101 near Asfordby Depot

110 mile/h Electrostar

387101 leads 387102 through the curves south of Plumtree

110 mile/h Electrostar

387102 leads 387101 heading for Stanton Tunnel

110 mile/h Electrostar

387104 on the former Up line at Widmerpool

31465 arrived on time hauling 3Z10 then the class 20s departed  early with another S Stock delivery as 7X09 for Melton.

After lunch 387101 and102 headed out with some VIPs and they were photographed north of Stanton Tunnel. 387104 was also  spotted and photographed at Widmerpool where my contact encountered the staff described above.

Some news on the S-stock movements:

The focus soon will be solely on the new deliveries to Old Dalby and subsequent movements to Amersham/West Ruislip. As a result 20107 & 20901 will be going out of traffic for top end overhauls. This will leave just six 20's, four main locos plus two spare. The moves between Derby and London should finish. 20142 & 20189 (Balfours livery) are on hire to DCR for freight and stock movements currently.

Info courtesy Ben Wheeler

387104 was moved  to Old Dalby on Wednesday 10th as 7M33 17:06 Litchurch Lane to Old Dalby, arriving 20:06

Info courtesy 'Sparkyscrum'

3Z10/11 ran on 1st September with 31285 and UTU4 with DBSO 9703.

August 2014

3Z10 ran on Thursday 28th in an earlier path, 0800 arrival into Melton from Derby RTC.

On Tuesday 26th 66539 ran from Litchurch Lane to Old Dalby as 7M33 17.00 ex Litchurch Lane to Old Dalby arriving at 20:00 with 387102 in tow. This is the second 110 mile/h Electrostar to be moved to the test track.  Locos returned with the barriers as 6M72 ex Old Dalby at night as per last time.

The first 110mile/h Electrostar EMU 387101 was moved to the test track on Friday 15th as 7M33 hauled by 66507.

It achieved 110mile/h a few days later. Look here for some pictures and more info on the testing plans

Info courtesy 'Sparkyscrum'

Lots going on in the yard at Widmerpool during week ending 9th. It looks like they were renewing track on the up line, and  re ballasting both the up and down lines. At the gate to the Pullman Inn there is a Planning Application to change from a restaurant to a private dwelling - the end of an era stretching back to the mid 1960s.

3Z10/11 ran on Monday 4th with 31465, UTU4 & DBSO 9703. Didn't run last Monday 28th but was to have been UTU2

July 2014

3Z10 ran on 21st instead of 22nd, 31233 with load four (UTU1) & DBSO 9708. The 31 was pushing from Derby. It returned to Derby in the evening of 23rd in the 3Z11 path

Reported on 16th that a large amount of ballast and 2 diggers were noted in the yard at Widmerpool . The Pullman Inn appears to be closed yet again!

3Z10/11 ran on Monday 14th with 31233, UTU3 & DBSO 9714.

June 2014

Nothing to report

May 2014

The site at Widmerpool appears to have returned to normal now that the Javelin has gone. Nobody in vests is patrolling anymore and the gate to the yard was open last Friday 9th. Also the Pullman Inn is open again.

April 2014

Network Rail Class 150 track inspection DMU TRU 950001 visited on Thursday 8th and stayed until Friday 9th May. 2Z08 0834 Derby RTC - Old Dalby arrived 1033 Thursday, 2Z08 1629 Old Dalby - Hither Green Friday.

20118 & 20132 worked the first 7X09 Old Dalby - West Ruislip on 5th after a brief hiatus due to deliveries being ahead of schedule. 20107 & 20096 were on the rear. 7X23 Derby Litchurch Lane - Old Dalby is booked for Friday 9th.

Thursday 1st May saw top and tail traction (37's or 67's) with TIC & TRC for calibration to work 3Z10 0834 Derby RTC - Old Dalby (arr 1033) returning Friday as 3Z11 1628 Old Dalby - Derby.

67016 & 67020 worked 3Z10 Derby - Old Dalby on Thursday 3rd April with one of PLPR sets, returning on Friday afternoon as 3Z11. Here are a couple of pictures at Melton station on Friday as the 67's departed for Derby.

67016 67016 heads the Radio Survey Train at Melton station

Ben Williams

67020 67020 brings up the rear

Ben Williams

Also I hear rumours that the S-Stock movements could now be ending in the Winter of this year as they are ahead of schedule with deliveries. There is also a strong possibility of class 47's appearing on the moves at some point, GBRf are now hiring 47812, 47815 & 47843 from Riviera Trains with potentially a few more to follow. 843 was to have appeared on Friday 4th but instead partnered 20118 on the 6K50 Toton to Crewe and return departmental.

The Javelin 395011 left on Tuesday evening 1st April with Colas Rail handling the move. 47727 arrived on Monday 31/3 with the barrier coaches from Eastleigh running as 5Z95. Then on Tuesday it departed as 5X95 to Ashford with the unit, departing Asfordby at 1907 and through Melton station at 1924.

March 2014

3Z10 didn't run on Monday 24th

Here are a couple of shots from Neil Booton of 395011 being hauled out of Asfordby depot
and running north of Stanton Tunnel on Monday 24th

Leaving Asfordby 47714 hauls Javelin 395011 out of Asfordby depot on 24th March
Next stop Nottingham - we wish! 395011 north of Stanton Tunnel on 24th March
Experimental pantograph A close up of the pantograph on 395011 - two strip head with aerofoils at the knuckle - this is the prototype for IEP

Neil Booton

395 pantograph The pan normally fitted to Javelins is basically a Japanese design with single strip head and no aerofoils. On the French OHLE of CTRL the aerodynamic principle of uplift increasing with speed is accepted since the OHLE is under high tension and can withstand higher uplift forces.

Dave Coxon

Asfordby Tunnel has had a concrete slab base laid through it and rails attached. There are some photos of Flickr - search on  'Asfordby Tunnel' and you will find a few shots by Sam Tait.

Network Rail Class 150 track inspection DMU 950001 visited on Thursday morning 20th until Friday afternoon for calibration. Worked as 2Z08 0834 Derby RTC - Old Dalby (arr 1030) then returned as 2Z08 1630 Old Dalby - Derby RTC on Friday.

Also on Wednesday morning 19th an observer noted that re-ballasting work has begun between Grimston Tunnel and Asfordby Triangle. There appears to be rather a large amount of engineering work going on around the junction area at Asfordby of late.

London Underground promotional white liveried 66721 together with GBRf liveried 66737 were on 6T77 Whitemoor - Old Dalby / 6T77 Melton Junction - Whitemoor engineers on 18th March.

7X09 was cancelled on 17th March but 7X23 is still planned for Friday 21st .

3Z10/11 is running with top and tail 31's / 37's and sets UTU2 & UTU4 next Monday 24th then same again but with UTU3 & UTU1 the following Monday (31st March).

LU red liveried 20189 worked 7X09 1147 Old Dalby - West Ruislip on 10th March and on Monday 3rd, paired with 20142 and in top and tail with 20132/118. These four also appeared on Friday 7th's 7X23 Derby - Old Dalby.

Colas Railfreight's 47727 worked 0Z47 0900 Washwood Heath - Old Dalby on 10th to fetch the two barrier vehicles which were used to bring the Javelin unit in last month. It took them to Doncaster West Yard as 5Z47 via Loughborough and Chesterfield, departing Asfordby Depot just after 1300. The Javelin is staying for the time being it would seem.

Last week saw further visits by GBRf engineering trains from Whitemoor, locos used included 66722, 66743 & 66732. More are expected next week too.

February 2014

The Javelin performed several high speed passes through Widmerpool on 27th. Sources tell me that it is expected to stay at the test track for another 4 weeks as the OHLE installation was delayed by 2 weeks.

Javelin 395011 passing Widmerpool on 27th February

Neil Booton

Some photos from 25th

Javelin 395011 on the curves south of Plumtree

Jamie Williams

From above

View from the overbridge with A606 in background

Jamie Williams

Javelin 395011 under the ovebridge on the curves south of Plumtree

Jamie Williams

Another busy day 08956 still wearing Serco Railtest branding with an SSL set at Asfordby

Neil Booton

Some photos from 21st courtesy Neil Booton

Where's the juice gone?

SSL pictured at Widmerpool
Asfordby The Javelin  395011 is seen stabled at Asfordby

31105 & 31285 top and tailed an additional 3Z10 0834 Derby RTC - Old Dalby & 3Z11 1628 return on 24th. However the outward was two hours late arriving at Melton and didn't go up the branch until 1300.

Series One OHLE testing with the Javelin is apparently going well, despite the obvious delays. the train has already achieved 100 mile/h south of Old Dalby. There were a few spotters out on Thursday morning 20th at Asfordby and G62 foot crossing - any photos??

The train actually went as far as Plumtree today, albeit under the cover of darkness. Testing should now commence in earnest with aerodynamic pantograph testing of the 2nd pan using the first pan to collect power (for details of the principles of how it is done look here)

Steve Wallis reported that at Asfordby on the morning of 19th the Javelin unit was moved onto the test track by the class 47. The unit then moved under its own power onto the test track. Not yet likely to go Widmerpool as they are still working there!

Despite horrendous weather on 12th Neil Booton managed to get a few shots of 395011 being shunted around at  Asfordby and the ongoing work at Widmerpool. Testing will not begin until at least the back end of next week i.e. 20th -21st.

All photographs courtesy Neil Booton

SSL shunt

An SSL set is being shunted into the shed at Asfordby


395011 is hauled out of the sidings by 47714..............

Hauled out of the siding


Stabled - temporarily

The set is stabled on the back road

Not nice weather for this

Work on the OHLE outside the Pullman Inn

The New Measurement Train visited on 5th performing several high speed passes through Widmerpool.

All photographs courtesy Neil Booton


The NMT crosses onto the test track at Asfordby GF on 5th February 2014........................

into the tunnel

..................and heads into the tunnel

Probably the best pantograph - in the world

A close up of the BR/BW highspeed pantograph on the NMT

High speed train!

The NMT heads north passing a road-railer vehicle at Widmerpool  ...............

Next stop Edwalton

..and heads towards Edwalton on 5th February 2014

Unusually the 47 made a trip down to the ground frame at Asfordby to give instructions to the NMT crew.

Asfordby GF

The 47 stands at the GF as the train crew advise the NMT crew about the operation on 5th February 2014

Asfordby GF

The 47 heads back towards the depot pictured at Asfordby GF on 5th February 2014

3Z10 ran on 3rd with 31285 hauling the test train, also the 7x09 ran with the usual 20s.


31285 heads the UTU test train onto the test track on 3rd February 2014

Neil Booton

The Javelin will not be running till at least Monday 10th as the juice has not been switched on yet.

it would appear only a small section of the OHLE is being upgraded as there don't appear to be any alterations north of Stanton Tunnel and nothing has been altered at Upper Broughton

Here are a few shots at Widmerpool with the new OHLE which will be fitted to GWML

All photographs courtesy Neil Booton

Looking south

Looking south from the overbridge near Widmerpool shows the new masts and equipment on the main line with the original Mk3 on the left on 3rd February 2014

OCS close up

A close up of the new equipment - very different from existing kit

Portal frame structure

The new design of portal frame - looks substantial and expensive

395011 was stabled outside the main shed at Asfordby where Neil Booton managed to get a picture on Sunday 2nd.


The Javelin (395011) pictured at Asfordby on Sunday 2nd February 2014

Neil Booton

January 2013

The Javelin set arrived on Asfordby Depot at 0400 on 29th January behind 47727 & 47739. Barrier vehicles left behind then 47's ran light engine to Washwood Heath.

3Z10/11 booked for Monday 3rd with UTU1.

The Windhoff MPV electrification train visited on Tuesday 28th, 6Y53 ex Crewe TMD - Old Dalby arriving onto the test track at 11.30am.

Near Asfordby

The Windhoff wiring train approaches Asfordby tunnel on 28th January 2014

Neil Booton

The visit of the Javelin was caped at Kensington Olympia and the train returned to Ashford dept.

47739 was booked for 7X95 (see below) and then to run light engine to Hoo Junction so it looks like the barrier vehicles are staying on site until the class 395 unit goes back.

EWS liveried 67020 & WSMR liveried 67015 worked 1Z16 from Derby with the PLPR set on Wednesday 22nd and then returned on Friday 24th to Derby under the same headcode following two days of calibration.


20096 and 20118 at Frisby heading towards Syston with a delivery for West Ruislip. 20311 & 314 were on the rear on 14th January 2014

Ben Wheeler


 67015 brings up the rear as the PLPR train enters Melton Loop prior to reversing on Wednesday 22nd

Ben Wheeler

Hitachi Javelin unit 395011 was booked to be hauled by Colas Rail to Old Dalby during the early hours of Tuesday morning 28th January. Running as 7X95 from Ashford Chart Leacon Depot, the movement was booked to arrive into Melton station at 0300 and then onto the test track around 0345. The unit is fitted with a next generation pantograph, the same type which is to be fitted to the new IEP's.

Testing of the unit is to commence as soon as Tuesday daytime so presumably the OHLE at the Asfordby end is not being upgraded yet. 7X95 will not only bring the first visit of a Javelin to the test track but also the first visit of a Colas Rail locomotive to the test track.

3Z10/11 was booked to run on Monday 20th with UTU4 but has been cancelled

However, the Plain Line Pattern Recognition set is visiting from Wednesday 22nd until Friday 24th for calibration. Should be top and tail traction, runs as 1Z16 from Derby on Wednesday and return on Friday:

An article concerning Network Rail's plans to increase the frequency of train testing at Old Dalby appeared in the Melton Times on Tuesday 14th January. It also confirms that the new 'Javelin' EMU's (I think they mean IEP's) will be tested at Old Dalby prior to being 'rolled out' on the GWML once it is electrified. I sincerely hope that IEP's are a cut above Javelins and that they sort out the hunting problem with the bogies.

Check the link here or the contents of the article

New catenary masts were observed at Widmerpool this week so the re-vamp of the OHLE between Old Dalby and Plumtree seems to have commenced. No changes at the Asfordby end as yet.

66717 & 66727 worked the 6T77 Whitemoor - Old Dalby - Whitemoor engineering train yesterday (Tuesday 14th) with a rake of ex-Railtrack liveried Autoballasters.

Info and picture below courtesy Ben Wheeler

7X09 20901 & 905 at Frisby with Monday 13th's 7X09 to West Ruislip.

The first engineering train arrived on Thursday 2nd top'n'tailed with class 66s

All photos courtesy Neil Booton

66719 66719 heads the engineering train north past the site of Upper Broughton station on 2nd January 2014
Ballast drop? Workers walk alongside the train at Upper Broughton - hope the juice was switched off!
66716 66716 brings up the rear of the train
Nice here isn't it? More workers stroll along behind the train

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