January 2021 was notable only for the almost total absence of passengers after another lockdown caused by rising cases of Covid. Just about the only thing worth noting was the passage of No.230009 from Long Marston via Stourbridge and Malvern to Wrexham. Robert Pritchard took this photograph from Peachfield Road bridge on Thursday 21st January 2021 whilst he was taking his daily exercise.
2021 dawned as 2020 had ended with the county in lockdown with the result that train services were largely empty and only limited opportunity to take photographs.
Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th January 2021 were a bumper days for class 37 diesel locomotives on the line from Worcester to Hereford. The New Measurement Train from Derby to Llandore was powered by No.37610 (out of sight) and No.37099 with a rather nice split headcode panel. The snow on the Malvern Hills enhances the picture.
The third class 37 diesel locomotive was No.37610 which came through Malvern when night had fallen with a Tyseley to Hereford (reverse) to Bristol working. The same trains returned in the opposite direction on 27th.
Both pictures taken by Jack Summerfield.
Early in 2021 the first class 170/5 'Turbostar' units were sent to Crewe for refurbishment and repainting into East Midlands Railway livery, with Nos.170530 and 531 (formerly 179639 and 170631 as three-car units) having gone for treatment with more to follow in due course. The other class 170/6 three-car units had their centre-car removed (for Cross Country Trains) and renumbered as 170/5 units.
Jack Summerfield took the two photographs (above) showing the shortage of units had been made up for by class 172/3 sets. They show No.172336 at Malvern Link on Thursday February 25th 2021 with the 15:42 train for Hereford (train code No.1V29) and No.172341 an hour later on the 16:40 train for Hereford passing Newland East. (train code No.1V30).
Andrew Smith took the photograph (below) of renumbered and shortened No.170532 at Great Malvern on the 09.50 Birmingham to Hereford on February 17th 2021 (train code No.1V24).
Jack Summerfield was up and about early on Sunday 14th March 2021 to see Colas livery class 56 diesel locomotive No.56094 and engineering train at Lower Howsell, near Malvern Link during an overnight possession. The train had originated at Oxford, Hinksey Sidings and routed via Newport to Malvern Wells where it delivered a new set of points, before returning to Oxford. The following week the same locomotive ran a route learning trip to and from Westbury via Malvern Wells and Hereford.
Class 37 diesel locomotive No.37240 with Driving Vehicle carriages Nos.82111 and 82145 on the way to Long Marston from Derby RTC. Photograph taken by Steve Widdowson on 26th March 2021.
The former mail bridge at Shrub Hill Station, which was removed in 2020, has returned from being restored. Steve Widdowson photographed it in the staff car park on Saturday 19th April 2021 waiting to be moved back into place.
On Sunday 9th May 2021 a class 56 diesel locomotive No.56049 "Robin of Templecombe 1938-2013" was used to deliver new track to Ledbury Viaduct (Herefordshire). After offloading, the train stabled at Newland East Signal Box before continuing to Bescot. It was photographed by Jack Summerfield at Newland.
The local railway infrastructure operator was replaced early in 2021. The operator that won the contract was called "Central Rail System Alliance".
This fine photograph shows a pair of Class 66 diesel locomotives (Nos.66715 & 66723) on either end of the 03.35 from Kirkdale to Long Marston with new unit No.777002 for display at a trade event at Long Marston (left). No.66723 returned from Long Marston with a train of tanks (below). Both photographs were taken at Norton by Steve Widdowson on 14th June 2021.