Commissioning of the Hall Royd Storage Yard
On 27 April 2014 the final wiring was complete, the joints between the boards had been formed with copperclad fibreglass, and the vacuum cleaner passed over to remove the shavings. All that was left to do was to run the trains in.
The first train in is the longest the layout needs to accommodate and was the Newcastle-Red Bank empty newspaper van train. The loco is an unusual choice which, as far is known, never worked the real train. It is one of the Class 37s transferred from South Wales to Yorkshire and initial deployed on loaded coal trains from Haley Mills to Rose Grove.
The next train in is also Class 37 hauled, and is one of the scratch rakes rustled up by the North Eastern Region used for weekend specials to the seaside composed of Mark 1s, with a Gresley buffet included for essential refreshments. The sharp eyed will spot that this train actually has a second catering vehicle and one of the reasons for creating the sidings was to ease the remarshalling of trains.
The third train in was the bread and butter of Hall Royd - an 8F powered coal train.
A Hornby Dublo 8F re-motored with a Portescap RG4 arrives with the first proper freight train. These were the primary traffic at Hall Royd, running from the Yorkshire collieries via Healey Mills yard and then either heading for Rose Grove via Copy Pit and the East Lancashire power stations, or staying on the L&Y mail line and heading towards Rochdale and Manchester. Although lacking the finesse of the current Hornby model, she's got the grunt to move heavy trains.
A second rake of Mark 1s arrive, this time hauled by a green Heljan Class 47. These did work through the area, although the photo that I have seen shows a green Class 47 returning from Blackpool with a rake of LMS stock.
The a freight from Fleetwood and heading for Healey Mills together with a local steam hauled passenger train have arrived. The loco on the freight is a current Hornby model, whilst the Stanier tank is 42616 - the last Stanier tank in active service, and normally seen in the Hall Royd area in the early evening with the short parcel train which picked up fledgling chicks from Mytholmroyd. 42616 came back light engine later in the evening, having dropped the vans at Rochdale.
Some of the DMU stock has now arrived. In the foreground is a Hornby Class 110 Calder Valley unit. These diesel trains replaced the steam-hauled corridor trains: the 10.30 a.m. from Liverpool Exchange to Newcastle consisted of 9 LMS vehicles most of the week, but was strengthened to 10 carriages on a Saturday. This train stands on road 2 (from the left): it needs another two carriages but does have an LMS 12-wheeler restaurant car. The restaurant car was removed the year before the steam trains were withdrawn, but the comparison between the 10.30 and its replacement is remarkable. Shame being that the real railway is now carrying the sort of numbers that would have been comfortably accommodated in the old steam train, but still have to suffer in a 3-car equivalent unit on the Standedge line. Such is progress when London calls the shots... On road 3 another mixed freight has turned up, whilst in the DMU sidings the end of our Class 128 can be seen. These worked specials to Todmorden, particularly at Christmas.
Still to be recovered from the Engineering Sidings is another coal train, whilst out on the Down Loop is a 3-car Metro-Cemmell DMU (outer cards green, centre car blue), whilst the layout 108 and 105 still have to be parked up. Also missing from the above view is 70000 'Britannia', portraying its last run in BR service with a freight from Manchester to Healey Mills. It returned via Hall Royd later in the day, and was then steamed the following year to travel under its own power to Stratford, London.