Inside Loram

The Engine Shed Society held its 2016 Annual General Meeting at Loram in Derby. Dave Richardson describes the visit.

ENTHUSIASTS leaving Derby on trains heading towards Nottingham or Leicester have a choice: eyes right for Loram UK (the former Derby Technical Centre and, more recently, RVEL), or eyes left for Etches Park depot.

No. 73952, one of the two Class 73s rebuilt for Network Rail, is pictured in the Kelvin Project paint shop.

Eyes right is the usual choice because of the unusual locomotives often present – but many cannot be seen properly and, as the train picks up speed, you may not appreciate just how big this site actually is.

I began to realise this on a tour organised by the Engine Shed Society (see panel opposite), which held its 2016 Annual General Meeting there. The ESS usually tries to organise its AGMs at a site that’s not normally open to the public, such as Doncaster Roberts Road in 2014 and Eastleigh Works in 2015.

At Loram, we were able to view about 30 locomotives – far more than I expected – as well as a variety of equipment owned by Network Rail,
which is maintained here, and some passenger stock.

The Railway Technical Centre was opened by British Railways in 1964, building on Derby’s long-established reputation for rail expertise. This continues today at Loram UK and also at Bombardier’s Litchurch Lane Works just on the other side of London Road – which was, until the opening of Hitachi’s factory in Newton Aycliffe in 2015, Britain’s
last-surviving major train building plant.

The RTC undertook many research projects over the years, and is perhaps best remembered for the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) project, which was developed there by the British Rail Research Division. The experimental gas-turbine APT-E was built at the RTC and the later electric-powered production APTs at Litchurch Lane.

Read more in February’s issue of Rail Express – out now!

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