West Coast Railway Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
Class 57/6 no. 57601 passing Brockhampton, north of Cheltenham, on 16 April 2005, whilst working a Bath-Skegness charter train

West Coast Railways, also known as West Coast Railway Company, is a railway spot-hire company and charter train operator, based at Carnforth MPD in Lancashire, using buildings and other facilities previously owned by the old Steamtown heritage depot. In 1998, the company became the first privately-owned company to be given a licence as a train operating company.



West Coast Railway Company is a spot hire company which provides locomotives, stock and crews to other companies within the rail industry. The company operates charter trains throughout the year, many of which are hauled by steam locomotive and has grown to become the UK's leading special trains operator. The company now provide most of the stock and crews for steam workings on the national network plus a large amount for diesel tours as well. The headquarters and large engineering base and depot at Carnforth are where locomotives and stock are stored and maintained and contract work is also undertaken for other operators.

West Coast are also famed for their operation of steam locomotive 5972 "Olton Hall" under the guise of "Hogwarts Castle" for the Harry Potter film series, with the "Hogwarts Express" train being featured in each of the films.


West Coast Railways operate three main services during the year; they are "The Cambrian", "The Scarborough Spa Express" and "The Jacobite".

The most famous of these trains is The Jacobite (named for the historic Jacobite political movement). It runs along the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct. It runs Monday to Fridays from the middle of May until the end of October and also runs at weekends from the end of June until the end of August. For 2011 WCRC have added a second "Jacobite" service leaving Fort William in the afternoons from the start of June until the end of August running on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The Scarborough Spa Express operates from York to Scarborough from July until September on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Using a variety of motive power including Black 5's, Royal Scots and Britannia's.

In 2007 West Coast took over operations of the Cambrian Coast Express running over the Cambrian Coast Line from Machynlleth to Porthmadog and Pwllheli and renamed it "The Cambrian. The service runs from the last week of July until the end of August. Before the 2011 season West Coast issued a statement on their website, "Network Rail are carrying out modernisation and extensive EU compliance work on both the Cambrian line and our engines, it was anticipated that work would be complete in time for this years (2012) season. Unfortunately this will not be the case and our Cambrian route will not run this year. It is unknown if the cambrian will run again in 2013 or a few years later, we apologise for this inconvenience and disappointment but look forward to welcome all passengers back once the cambrian is running again".

Train Operating Company

As a Train Operating Company West Coast provides locomotives, stock and crews for many railtour organisers across the country. It also provides crews to some such as SPRS and Vintage trains who own their own stock. run by West Coast.

West Coast act as TOC to the following companies:


Routes commonly operated over by WCR include the nearby Cumbrian Coast Line and Furness Line, Little North Western Line, the Settle and Carlisle Railway and the West Highland Line. The company utilises several sidings at Hellifield railway station, south of Settle Junction, where the lines to Carlisle and Carnforth diverge, allowing easy access to the WCR home base.


West Coast have two operational bases. The headquarters and main depot for the company is at Carnforth MPD. The former London Midland and Scottish Railway 10A depot has workshops for steam and diesel locomotives, and also carriage and wagon facilities to maintain the companies fleet of Mark 1 & 2 carriages. The site includes extensive sidings plus a paint shop.

The company's second base is the former Great Western depot at Southall Railway Centre in West London. "The Green Train" is based here and is used on "The Cathedrals Express" workings for Steam Dreams. Steam locomotive 34067 "Tangmere" is often based here along with other locomotives plus some of the companies fleet of diesels.

For half of the year the company also use part of Fort William depot to base stock and locomotives for its Jacobite service.

Rolling stock

The company owns and operates a fleet of diesel locomotives, which are primarily used to haul charter trains, but have also been hired to other railway operators. The fleet is mainly composed of Class 37 and Class 47 locomotives, but also includes Class 57 locomotives including the prototype passenger Class 57, no. 57601.

Several Class 37 locomotives were purchased from Ian Riley Engineering, which ceased its spot-hire operations in mid-2004, however these locomotives have now been sold on to Direct Rail Services, in exchange for four Class 33s.

Class 47 locomotive no. 47851 'Traction Magazine' at Ely with a charter train in British Railways Two-Tone Green livery

In 2005, WCR won the contract to haul The Royal Scotsman luxury train. As a result, its two operational Class 37 locomotives and a Class 47 were repainted into a revised maroon livery, officially known as Royal Scotsman Claret, based on that of the Royal Scotsman carriages. The contract sees the West Coast locomotives in use all over Scotland.

In late 2005, WCR sold its two operational Class 37 locomotives (nos. 37197 and 37261) to Direct Rail Services (DRS), and received four Class 33 locomotives in exchange. WCRC later sold non-operational locomotive no. 37423 to DRS as well. In 2006, WCRC hired two preserved locomotives, nos. 37214 and 37248. 37214 is now owned by WCR, however, 37248 was owned by three Growler Group members under the venture 'Type Three Traction'. The hire period for the locomotive ended in 2009 and the engine was moved back into preservation at the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre in May 2009. 37214 is currently undergoing repairs and has been out of action for around two years, as of May 2009.

In early 2007, WCR purchased five Class 47/7 locos from EWS. These were nos. 47760, 47776, 47786, 47787 and 47792. These locos had been stored at Healey Mills, near Wakefield, after being deemed surplus to requirements. Of these, 47792 was the first to be returned to service and returned to its former number, 47804. This was followed by the return of 47787 in September 2007, 47760 in April 2008 and 47786 in October 2008. These were supplemented by the purchase of 47772 from EWS at Margam, South Wales, in June 2008. 47772 and 47776 are currently under repair and expected to return to traffic at some point in the near future.

Later in 2007, WCR again added to its fleet by purchasing a number of Class 37s from EWS. 37676 was the first to be purchased in October, followed by nos. 37517, 37668, 37685, 37706, 37710, 37712 and 37717 in December. These were transferred across the Pennines to Carnforth in January 2008 in several batches. Of these locomotives, 37712 returned to traffic in July 2008, with 37676 following in November 2008 and 37706 working again in December. 37712 suffered a serious fire in November 2008 at Crewe while working an empty stock movement to Southall and has since returned to Carnforth for major repairs. 37717 was sent for scrap at Booths, Rotherham, and 37516 was bought from DB Schenker (formerly EWS) as a replacement. This locomotive arrived at Carnforth in February 2009 and returned to traffic in May 2009.

Its coaching stock consists of vacuum and air plus dual braked Mark 1 and Mark 2 coaches, mostly painted in the British Railways maroon livery, albeit with West Coast Railways branding on the bodyside.

Fleet details

Key:In serviceUnder repairUnder Overhaul or Restoration

Steam locomotives operated by West Coast Railways

Updated 10/10/12

NumberNameClassLiveryOwnerStatusAir BrakesMainline Ticket ExpiresBoiler Ticket ExpiresCurrent LocationNotes
4936Kinlet HallGWR "Hall" 4-6-0BR Brunswick Green, Late BR Crest.Kinlet Hall Locomotive CompanyOperationalNo20182021Bishops Lydeard
4965Rood Ashton HallGWR "Hall" 4-6-0GWR Brunswick GreenVintage TrainsOperationalNo20162019Tyseley
5029Nunney CastleGWR "Castle" 4-6-0BR Brunswick Green, British Railways Lettering.Jeremy HoskingUndergoing bottom end overhaulYes20142017TyseleyTo have British Railways lettering replaced with BR Logo & Smokebox numberplate
5043Earl of Mount EdgcumbeGWR "Castle" 4-6-0BR Brunswick Green, Early BR Crest.Vintage TrainsOperationalNo20142017Tyseley
5972Olton HallGWR "Hall" 4-6-0Hogwarts Railways MaroonDavid SmithAwaiting WorkNo20142017York
30777Sir LamielSR "King Arthur" 4-6-0BR Brunswick Green, Late BR Crest.National CollectionOperationalNo20132014/15?
34067TangmereSR "Battle of Britain" 4-6-2BR Brunswick Green, Late BR Crest.Private individualOperationalYes20182021Southall
35018British India LineSR "Merchant Navy" 4-6-2N/AN/AUnder RestorationN/AN/AN/ACarnforthUnder restoration from Scrapyard condition
44871-LMS "Black Five" 4-6-0BR Blackberry Black, Early BR Crest.Ian RileyOperationalYes20172020Fort William
44932-LMS "Black Five" 4-6-0BR Blackberry Black, Late BR Crest.David SmithOperationalNo20172020York
45231The Sherwood ForesterLMS "Black Five" 4-6-0BR Blackberry Black, Late BR Crest.Bert HitchenUnder OverhaulN/AN/AN/ACarnforth
45305Alderman A E DraperLMS "Black Five" 4-6-0BR Blackberry Black, Late BR Crest.Draper familyOperationalNo20172020York
45407The Lancashire FusilierLMS "Black Five" 4-6-0BR Blackberry Black, Early BR Crest.Ian RileyOperationalYes20172020Fort William
5690LeanderLMS "Jubilee" 4-6-0N/ABeet familyUnder overhaulN/AN/AN/ACarnforth
45699GalateaLMS "Jubilee" 4-6-0N/ADavid SmithUnder restorationN/AN/AN/ACarnforthRestoration nearing completion
46115Scots GuardsmanLMS "Royal Scot" 4-6-0BR Brunswick Green, Late BR Crest.David SmithOperationalNo20152018Carnforth
6201Princess ElizabethLMS "Princess Royal" 4-6-2LMS Crimson LakeLocomotive 6201 Princess Elizabeth SocietyOperationalYesDec 2012Dec 2012TyseleyDue out for overhaul after final trip on 17th Nov
46233Duchess of SutherlandLMS "Princess Coronation" 4-6-2BR Brunswick Green, Early BR Crest.Princess Royal Class Locomotive TrustOperationalYes2018/192021ButterleyDue to be repained at end of 2012
48151Gauge O GuildLMS Stanier 8F 2-8-0BR Blackberry Black, Late BR Crest.David SmithOperationalNo20172020CarnforthCurrently running without nameplates
60007Sir Nigel GresleyLNER A4 4-6-2BR Garter Blue, Early BR Crest.Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation TrustOperationalYes20152017Grosmont
60009Union of South AfricaLNER A4 4-6-2BR Brunswick Green, Late BR Crest.John CameronOperationalYes20192022York
60019BitternLNER A4 4-6-2LNER Garter BlueJeremy HoskingOperationalYes20122015Didcot
61994The Great MarquessLNER K4 2-6-0BR Blackberry Black, Early BR Crest.John CameronOperationalNo2014/152018York
62005Lord of the IslesLNER K1 2-6-0BR Blackberry BlackNorth Eastern Locomotive Preservation GroupOperationalNo20192022Fort William
70000BritanniaBR Standard Class 7 4-6-2BR Brunswick Green, Early BR Crest.Royal Scot Locomotive and General TrustOperationalYes20172020Eastleigh
70013Oliver CromwellBR Standard Class 7 4-6-2BR Brunswick Green, Late Crest.National CollectionUndergoing Minor OverhaulNo20142017SouthallUndergoing minor overhaul after last trip on 11/10/12

Diesel locomotives

Key:In serviceUnder repairStoredSpares

Operational Diesels

NumberClassNameLiveryDate AcquiredInto TrafficPrevious OperatorStatusLocation
0841808-EWS Red02010-08-01August 201002010-11-01November 2010ex-DB SchenkerDepot shunterCarnforth
0848508-BR Blue02010-08-01August 201002010-09-01September 2010ex-DB SchenkerDepot shunterCarnforth
3302533Glen FallochWCR Maroon02005-09-01September 200502005-11-01November 2005ex-Direct Rail ServicesOperationalSouthall
3302933Glen LoyWCR Maroon02005-09-01September 200502006-03-01March 2006ex-Direct Rail ServicesOperationalSouthall
3320733Jim MartinWCR Maroon02005-09-01September 200502005-11-01November 2005ex-Direct Rail ServicesOperationalCarnforth
3751637-WCR Maroon02009-02-01February 200902009-06-01June 2009ex-EWSOperationalInverness
3767637Loch RannochWCR Maroon02007-11-01November 200702008-11-01November 2008ex-EWSOperationalCarnforth
3768537-WCR Maroon02007-12-01December 200702010-05-01May 2010ex-EWSOperationalCarnforth
3770637-WCR Maroon02007-12-01December 200702008-12-01December 2008ex-EWSOperationalSouthall
4723747WCR Maroon02011-01-01January 201102011-07-01July 2011ex-Advenza FreightOperationalCarnforth
4727047SwiftBR Blue02010-05-01May 201002010-05-01May 2010ex-Boden RailOperationalCrewe
4750047-WCR Maroon02009-12-01December 200902010-07-01July 2010ex-EWSOperationalCarnforth
4758047County of EssexBR Blue, Large Logo02007-04-01April 200702008-06-01June 2008ex-EWSOperationalYork
4776047-WCR Maroon02007-02-01February 200702008-04-01April 2008ex-EWSOperationalTyseley
4778647Roy Castle OBEWCR Maroon02007-02-01February 200702008-10-01October 2008ex-EWSOperationalCarnforth
4780447-WCR Maroon02007-02-01February 200702007-06-01June 2007ex-EWSOperationalCarnforth
4782647-WCR Maroon02005-04-01April 200502005-06-01June 2005ex-Virgin TrainsOperationalCarnforth
4785147WCR Maroon02005-04-01April 200502005-06-01June 2005ex-Virgin TrainsOperationalCarnforth
4785447-WCR Maroon02003-06-01June 200302004-02-01February 2004ex-Virgin TrainsOperationalCarnforth
5700157WCR Maroon02011-01-01January 201102011-03-01March 2011ex-FreightlinerOperationalCarnforth
5700657-WCR Maroon02011-04-01April 2011ex-Advenza FreightOperationalCarnforth-
5760157WCR Maroon with Black Stripe02003-11-01November 200302004-02-01February 2004ex-Porterbrook Spot HireOperationalCarnforth

Locos Stored or Under repair

NumberClassNameLiveryYear AcquiredPrevious OperatorStatusLocationNotes
0319603-BR BlueJuly 2002ex-British RailUnder repairCarnforth
D238103-BR GreenMarch 1976ex-British RailUnder repairCarnforth
0867808ArtilaGlaxo Blue and Black01994-11-01November 1994ex-Glaxo, UlverstonUnder repairCarnforth
3303033-DRS BlueSeptember 2005ex-Direct Rail ServicesSpares donorCarnforthPlanned to be sold
3721437Loch LaidonWCR MaroonMay 2006ex-PreservationSpares donorCarnforth
3751737-LoadhaulDecember 2007ex-EWSStoredCarnforth
3766837-EWSDecember 2007ex-EWSUnder repairCarnforth
3771037-LoadhaulDecember 2007ex-EWSSpares donorCarnforth
3771237-WCR Maroon02007-12-01December 2007ex-EWSUnder repair (fire damage)Carnforth
4719447-RailfreightSeptember 2005ex-FragonsetSpares donorCarnforth
4723647-RfDDecember 2006ex-FragonsetSpares donorCarnforth
4724547-WCR Maroon02004-04-01April 2004ex-HNRCUnder repairCarnforth
4735547-FragonsetMay 2010ex-European Metal RecyclingUnder RepairCarnforth
4736847-RailfreightDecember 2006ex-FragonsetSpares donorCarnforth
4749247-Rail Express SystemsMarch 2010ex-preservedSpares donorCarnforth
4752647-BR Large LogoDecember 2006ex-FragonsetSpares donorCarnforthDue to be sent for scrap
4774647-Rail Express SystemsMarch 2011ex-preservationUnder RepairCarnforth
4776847-UndercoatMarch 2011ex-preservationUnder RepairCarnforth
4777247-Rail Express SystemsJune 2008ex-EWSUnder RepairCarnforth
4777647-Rail Express SystemsFebruary 2007ex-EWSStoredCarnforth
4778747Windsor CastleWCR Maroon02007-02-01February 2007ex-EWSUnder repair (engine overhaul)Carnforth
5700557-Advenza Freight Blue02011-01-01January 2011ex-Advenza FreightUnder repairCarnforth

External links

Coordinates: 54°07′52″N 2°46′22″W / 54.1311°N 2.7727°W / 54.1311; -2.7727