Derby Trainman: Like a limestone cowboy

One of the toughest, but most tedious, jobs for a 1990s Derby trainman was the stone train to Washwood Heath, as Tim Helme explains.

The early 1990s saw a pair of Class 37s rostered to the Washwood Heath stone job, as illustrated by Nos. 37686 and 37676 in charge on June 29, 1991. The pair are seen heading the empty wagons north through Duffield, Derbyshire, as an additional 6Z15/13.30 Washwood Heath to Peak Forest RMC. No. 37686 was withdrawn in 2000 and scrapped in 2006, but No. 37676 survives in store with West Coast Railways at Carnforth. Phil Chilton
The early 1990s saw a pair of Class 37s rostered to the Washwood Heath stone job, as illustrated by Nos. 37686 and 37676 in charge on June 29, 1991. The pair are seen heading the empty wagons north through Duffield, Derbyshire, as an additional 6Z15/13.30 Washwood Heath to Peak Forest RMC. No. 37686 was withdrawn in 2000 and scrapped in 2006, but No. 37676 survives in store with West Coast Railways at Carnforth. Phil Chilton

“WHOA!” came the urgent shout, crackling through the walkie-talkie wedged on the driver’s desk of the lead Class 37.

This partially garbled transmission had issued from our guard, having just set the first of 23 wagons in the RMC discharge point at Washwood Heath.

The official command was “stop”, but that just did not have the same punch as “whoa”. Besides, the latter seemed entirely appropriate, being as there were about 3500 horses at the head of this particular wagon train.

Headed by two Class 37s, the Peak Forest-Washwood Heath stone train was a mighty beast and, on this occasion, I was riding shotgun as secondman.

Read more in the latest edition of RE

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