A brand new cab-ride featuring the freight-only Boulby to Saltburn line in Cleveland and North Yorkshire.
Today the potash trains out of Boulby mine are worked by Heavy Haul Class 66s but for this programme we go back to 1993 when EWS Class 56s were the regular motive power for these services. The first 12 miles of the journey are along part of the former North Eastern Railway route from Whitby to Saltburn, which has survived to carry vast tonnages of potash and salt from Boulby to Teeside. It includes the stiff climb out of the mine to Grinkle Tunnel, the embankment that was once a viaduct spanning Kilton Beck, the Crag Hall semaphore signals, and the taxing 1 in 64 climb up Warsett Hill where – at a height of 300 feet - the line skirts clifftops above the North Sea.
After descending past the sites of several closed stations to Saltburn, we join the Tees Valley Line - originally past of the Stockton & Darlington Railway - and travel through Marske, Longbeck and Redcar Central to Grangetown. There the Class 56 runs round its train before proceeding along the freight-only branch to Tees Dock, where the consignment of potash is destined for export.
The splendid views from the cab of 56115, filmed on a glorious summer’s day in 2003, feature the scenic North Yorkshire and Cleveland countryside and the contrasting industrial landscape of Teeside. Two months after this programme was filmed, Class 66s took over this long-standing Class 56 working, thus bringing to an end another chapter in the history of Teeside freight. As the Class 56 isn’t frequently on the verge of meltdown, we are not billing this as a ‘Wired for Sound’ programme - but that’s not to say there’s no thrash from the Grid. And that’s because there’s a 1,000 tonne trailing load, a couple of nice gradients, and a spirited run from Redcar to Grangetown!