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Heathfield branch developments

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'A new timber flow, operated by Colas Rail, will commence operation on Wednesday December 7th 2011. Trains will run twice weekly to and from Teignbridge on the Newton Abbot to Heathfield line, and the contract will run for three years.'


The News above was reported on the SWRG forum today. Times are not available yet.

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  • RMweb Gold

There is no rail freight facility at Heathfield these days, and precious little land left to implement any such scheme. The oil depot was closed circa 15 - 20 years ago, and the last clay trains ran circa 8 - 10 years ago (although the Imerys facility appears to be essentially intact when viewed from the track).


Essentially access to the old station is via an industrial estate, and I am unsure of the rights of members of the public to access across it, although fortunately NR retains legal access rights to the line there.


The timber train will run down to Heathfield purely to run round, and will then draw down to Teignbridge Level Crossing, where the timber loading pad has been constructed.


Although there is a public road across the railway at Teignbridge, the railway land remains private, and I would advise anyone going to the level crossing to watch the train to take extreme care, due to the amount of road traffic that passes over it, especially during the 'rush hour'. For a country road, it is very busy!

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From Chirk on a Tuesday and to Chirk on a Wednesday is what I've been told.


Guessing to Shrewsbury then Crewe then via Chester to Chirk, return straight from Chirk - Shrewsbury and return via whatever route.

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66847 and 6Z41 (14 KFA) due to leave Chirk in about 30 mins, heading to Gloucester today, it's starting ... :sungum:


via Walsall and the Lickey.


Ta to various

Wagons will lay-over in a yard en-route and will arrive in South Devon on Monday early afternoon.


Timber already being stacked at Teignbridge -see following post.

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I visited the site today and found that the stacking of timber had already started, in preparation for next weeks first train.


The extent of the site:





Lorries unload on this side and turn round the end of the stack to exit the site:



Another lorry arriving whilst I was there:





You have been warned!



First (blue) lorry making ready to depart, second lorry starting to unload:




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Ok so the lorries are fitted with Hi-habs to unload themselves, so how is it proposed to load the train?


Gordon A


With the self-same HIABs, I should imagine- most timber terminals seem to work by building up a stock of timber on the ground, sufficient to fill a train, then using one or two of the lorries to load the train. The trains on this contract are only weekly, at best, so it's hardly worth getting in a specialist loader.

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Don't know how permanent that Alphington situation will be at the moment, we are still awaiting more info from GBRF...


The loading at Heathfield is confirmed as being done by one or two of the road lorries, as stated above.


There is a lot of timber in South Devon, this is a 3 year contract to begin with!

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This little branch seems to have more life's than the average cat! How many times has a 'last train' run? Who'd have thought that when it closed to passengers in the late 50s that 50years later it would be running new flows having survived the loss of general goods, oil and clay (more than once).


I know people have mused on Heathfield as inspiration for a 80s ish model - if you warp time a little and add the traffic together then clay, oil and timber would make for some interesting operations and traffic. Good variety of locos seen in photos, from 08 to 66s. Something else to ponder on...

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First train of empties passed Teignmouth bang on time today (thanks Tim!) with shiny Colas 66847 on the front. Unfortunately work prevented me going to see it starting up the branch from Newton.














Five minutes earlier this NR RHTT came by - I don't think I've seen such a frequency of non-passenger trains on this line! 66061 and 66139.









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Great photos in nice conditions, Rod. Hadn't realised the sun was out until I looked out the window at lunchtime!

Will you be able to get the return set as well? Supposedly a fine day again tomorrow (but I have no idea on actual timing...)

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Here are some photos from yesterday, when I was there in an official capacity:


6Z50 arriving at Newton Abbot - note the relatively high level of interest!



I was provided with a cab permit, so rode on the train along the branch (photos taken with permission) - just outside Newton Abbot station on the branch:



Sylvan scene just north of Newton Abbot. Very picturesque in the winter sunlight, some parts of the branch reminded me of what the Wenfordbridge line must have been like as it wound it's way through the woods:



Approaching Teignbridge LC:



Waiting for the level crossing gates to be opened:



Walking back up to the cab after the train had drawn clear of the level crossing:



Approaching Teigngrace level crossing:



The remains of Teigngrace Halt:



More views in the woods:







The approach to Heathfield. The disused connection to the ball clay works is on the left (the first set of points):



A38 bridge at Heathfield:



Waiting to run round:



Starting the run round. Photo taken from old Down platform at Heathfield station:





Ready to start back towards Teignbridge:



The view as we approached Teignbridge on the return trip:



Train about to pass over the level crossing:



Train positioned next to logs:




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