Today was a busy day of activity at the railway with two major empty coaching stock moves taking place. Several items of coaching stock owned by Eastern Rail Services that have been in long term storage at Wolsingham Depot, left the railway bound for Great Yarmouth Carriage Sidings.
The previous evening, two Class 47s in BR two-tone green livery - D1924 'Roger Hoskins MA' and D1935 'Crewe Diesel Depot', provided by Locomotive Services Ltd, had arrived from the mainline at Bishop Auckland and were stabled at Wolsingham Depot overnight.
Early this morning (31st January) D1924 and D1935 left Wolsingham Depot double-heading with 12 coaches consisting of various Mk2 and Mk3 coaches including sleepers and a DBSO. Trust volunteer Kevin Richardson acted as route conductor as far as Bishop Auckland West, where the train then formed the 5Z37 0952 'Bishop Auckland West to Yarmouth CHS'.
Once the stock had left the line, our attention diverted to Stanhope where the Mk3 former Great Anglia coaches owned by Weardale Railway Limited were being stored. Since these coaches arrived at the railway on 30th November 2020, they have been stabled at Stanhope Station, due to the minimal storage space at Wolsingham Depot. Some of the ERS owned stock that was also being stored at Stanhope was transferred to Wolsingham in May last year to enable the heritage service to run from Platform 1 at Stanhope Station.
The removal of the ERS stock has freed up much needed space in the Depot yard and allowed the railway to move their Mk3 coaches to Wolsingham to undergo maintenance and examinations before they can be used for passenger traffic, with the coaches being used for special events.
The six Mk3 coaches and a Mk2 BSO brake coach were moved up to Wolsingham Depot using Class 31 '31465', where they refilled the short-lived space that had been created in the depot sidings. Platform 2 at Stanhope Station is now devoid of stock and looks very different!
These photos courtesy of Tom Hatton show the visiting class 47s at Wolsingham Depot and departing Scotch Isle loop with the empty coaching stock bound for Great Yarmouth, 31465 departing Stanhope with the Mk3 coaches en route to Wolsingham Depot and a final picture of Stanhope Station with all stock removed from the 'down' platform.