During June and July 2016 a major scheme took place to modernise the signals and track in the Malvern Wells area including a total possession of the line west of Great Malvern Station from Saturday 18th June to Wednesday 22nd June 2016. All photographs taken Andrew Smith (except as indicated).
On Friday 17th June 2016, one of the last trains to pass the pass through Malvern Wells before the start of the work was London Midland's three-car diesel multiple unit No.170634 with a very late running 12.49 service from Birmingham New Street to Hereford (train code No.1V27).
This is the same scene but photographed early on Saturday 18th June 2016. By this time the 'up' main had been taken over for the use of engineering trains whilst road-rail on-track plant was positioned on the 'down' main. Several trains had already gone through to Colwall with lifted track and spent ballast and No.66128 was in charge of a train of Network Rail wagons containing new ballast. The on-track plant item is No.RTEM005 which is owned by A.P.Webb Ltd. A Colas Rail 30 ton crane is in the ' down loop'.
After the departure of No.66128 a train of track panels was moved into its place on the 'up' main. This photograph shows class 66 diesel locomotive No.66092 with several items of on-track plant in use.
During the works a roughly hourly service was maintained between Great Malvern and Worcester Foregate Street stations. All trains used the 'down' line as can be seen in this photograph on class 166 three-car diesel multiple unit No.166213 in Great Western Railway livery. The train had arrived with the 06.21 service from London Paddington (train code 1W11) and was waiting to return with the 09.46 1P40 service.
Barriers were placed alongside platform one to provide clearance for freight trains and direct passengers to the subway.
Trains from Great Malvern towards Worcester ran 'wrong line' from Great Malvern Station as far as Newland East Signal Box where the rarely used point crossing was utilised to allow the trains to regain the right track. Pilots were used to assist drivers of trains between Newland and Great Malvern, and trains stopped across Stocks Lane to allow them to alight from the train cabs. Three-car London Midland Trains diesel multiple unit No.172334 was in charge of the 10.46 from Great Malvern to Dorridge on Saturday 18th June 2016 (train code No.2C30).
This is the first of three trains that arrived at Malvern over Saturday night/Sunday morning. No.66047 was over an hour late bringing more track panels to the site at Malvern Wells. All three trains used the 'down' main line and this train was put into the loop at Malvern Wells.
The second train, like the first, came from Bescot conveyed empty yellow box vans. After entering the possession at Great Malvern this train, headed by No.66129, followed the first to Malvern Wells.
The next train arrived early on Sunday morning with new ballast from Hinksey Sidings and was headed by Freightliner livery class 66 diesel locomotive No.66595. It is seen at Malvern Wells.
This photograph shows the result of all the activity over the weekend of 18th and 19th June 2016 with the insertion of a new crossing in the foreground and furthest away from the camera can be seen the renewal of the crossing into the 'down' loop line. The locomotive on the 'down' line is Freightliner No.66536 (with sister locomotive No.66524 out of sight round the corner) which had arrived on Sunday with a train of new ballast.
The line reopened on Thursday 22rd June 2016 by which time the old 'down' and 'down loop' semaphore signals had been replaced by those in this photograph of Great Western Railways two-car class 150 diesel multiple unit No.150202 at Malvern Wells with the empty stock from the 12.27 service from Southampton.
The line was taken over by the engineering department after the end of services on Friday and eight more trains arrived with wagons, ballast and rails to allow the whole of the 'down' main track from the site of the new crossover to Malvern Wells Signal Box to be relaid. These trains were hauled by a mixture of Freightliner and DB Cargo class 66 diesel locomotives: Nos. 66951, 66595, 66550, 66525, 66599, 66076, 66115, 66205 and 66176. The photographs below were taken by Steve Widdowson on Saturday 25th June 2016.
The final photograph from the Saturday/Sunday 25th/26th June 2016 possession shows Freightliner class 66 diesel locomotive No.66524 loaded with spent ballast'on the 'up' main line with a Colas Railcrane in the 'down' loop.
Over the weekend of Saturday 2nd July and Sunday 3rd July 2016 the 'up' loop line near Malvern Wells Signal Box was removed and the 'up' line renewed for about a quarter of a mile. Six trains were used on the work but there was no need for the Colas crane used previously. As before, trains were hauled by DB Cargo and Freightliner class 66 diesel locomotives. Colas tamper No.73931 arrived on the afternoon of the 3rd July. Below are a selection of photographs taken during this period.