Scunthorpe steel works
Appleby Frodingham
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© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2015
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
27 June 2015
It’s more than 20 years since they began - tours around the huge steelworks complex at Scunthorpe, operated by the Appleby Frodingham Railway Preservation Society. It was still “British Steel” when I joined a most enjoyable tour back in 1996. Three years later, after merger with Hoogovens, it was Corus. Since 2007, the works has been in the ownership of the Indian company Tata. Throughout that period, the tours continued. I wondered how things would look now, nearly 20 years after my first visit, as I joined this tour by kind invitation of Stafford Railway Society. The internal rail traffic in 1996 was in the hands of a fleet of Yorkshire “Janus” (Roman two-faced god...) diesel-electrics, dating from the late 50s - early 60s. These twin-engined 0- 6-0s were joined by ten Hunslet Bo-Bo diesels in the early 70s, and in 1977, seven small 0-4-0 diesels arrived from Baguley-Drewery specifically for the blast furnace “Highline”. Our train for today’s trip, two brake vans, arrived behind a preserved example of the “Janus” class, nicely-restored to the livery of the old Appleby-Frodingham Steel Company. It propelled us the short distance to the society’s depot, to be replaced by black-liveried ex-BR D2128, bearing the number 03901 (reflecting, apparently, the fact that it’s now running with a 14-litre Cummins engine and hydraulic transmission).
So - off we went, for a tour that would keep us entertained for the best part of five hours, exploring the main lines, spurs, loops and sidings of this fascinating site, passing blast furnaces, coke ovens, torpedo ladle wagons full of molten iron, steel-making plant, rolling mills etc. And yes, as in 1996, we were accompanied on the metals by several Janus and Hunslet locos - and one of the two ex-BR class 20s, no 82 in the Tata fleet. We weren’t on the train for the full five hours, of course (facilities on board being somewhat limited...) - we had a booked lunch stop at the society’s loco shed, for sandwiches, cakes etc., and the opportunity to inspect the (preserved) loco fleet. Only the diesels were available today - there are also five steam locos on the society’s stocklist. Two of them were parked a little way down the line from the shed - “Slough Estates No 5”, awaiting restoration, and a sheeted “Hutnik”, undergoing repair. Not sure where the others were... Photography is not allowed on these trips, except at the station and the loco shed, so those photos will have to suffice; nevertheless, it’s an excellent and absorbing outing - well worth a decent donation to society funds and operating costs. See the AFRPS website (below) for details of public tours - fortnightly through the summer. Link: AFRPS
Our train approaches - No 1 (YE 2877 of 1963) At the distant No 1 at the platform On shed 03 901 (D2128) and our train at the loco shed Sentinel 10180 of 1964 Appleby-Frodingham Ex-BR Ruston 07012 (formerly D2996) D2853 (with extra-large chimney) YE 2872 of 1962 Under repair - ARNOLD MACHIN YE 2661 of 1958