Train enthusiasts from across the country enjoyed a one-off treat at the weekend, when local quarry operator Tarmac gave special permission for UK Rail Tours to run a Charter Train, The Cottam Farewell, into its railhead at Barrow-upon-Soar. The railhead is the sidings area next to the main line, where empty southbound trains stop to be loaded and weighed. The busy railhead is usually working flat out to supply pink granite – a vital building material – to construction projects across the country.
However, with support from Tarmac Railhead Manager Jonathan Norman and Deutschbahn Local Operations Manager Richard Lockley, this normally inaccessible stretch of track was made available to a specially chartered passenger train running north from Clapham Junction to Cottam Power Station in north Nottinghamshire.
The charter run was held to mark the closing and decommissioning of the iconic, energy providing facility, after more than 50 years of operation. The rail enthusiasts on the special charter visited several ‘freight only’ branch lines, including the Tarmac rail sidings at Barrow-upon-Soar, which serve Mountsorrel Quarry.
After some careful planning, risk assessments and collaboration between Tarmac, DB Cargo, Network Rail and UK Railtours, the train successfully passed through the site at 10.30 hrs on Saturday morning at about 5 miles per hour – much to the delight of the several hundred rail enthusiasts on board.
The special train exited at the north end of the Barrow-upon-Soar Tarmac Railhead, which is very rarely used by freight trains as it is a one-way junction heading north only.
In recognition of Tarmac’s support of this unique tour, UK Railtours made a £500 donation to a local charity that is raising funds to provide cancer care for children. The donation was made in the name of Tarmac and all the Mountsorrel staff, particularly in the Rail Distribution Department.
Jonathan Norman, newly appointed Rail Loading Manager at the Tarmac Barrow-upon-Soar Railhead said: “This was a unique opportunity for Tarmac to work with our rail partners DB Cargo, Network Rail and UK Railtours to provide a novel opportunity for rail enthusiasts to visit previously unexplored territory.
“This is likely to be a one-off event and we hope the rail enthusiasts on board the Cottam Express enjoyed their day out.”