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Nerd's Day Out: Part 2 - Stafford

Ian Fowler




IAN FOWLER explains what there is to see at this station in the West Midlands.

Iíve chosen to name these features ďNerdís Day OutĒ as that is what my great friend, former colleague and legend of this parish Nick Duxfield christened our regular six monthly outings (in our own time I hasten to add Ė the owners might be reading this..) where weíd basically spend a day out taking photos of trains and watching the world go by. Iím concentrating on the contemporary scene rather than days gone before. Iíve got to also pay tribute to my dear old dad who diligently took me to a variety of locations as a small boy to watch the trains, even though his own interest was minimal at the time. And Stafford was one of the places we went to in the late 80s. So thanks, Dad.

Iíd love others to be able to fill in the gaps for me, so please do email any of your own information on this location to us at rightlines@gaugemaster.co.uk so we can expand and update this feature in due course, selling the concept to a publisher for millions of dollars and not split it with Stuart!

GETTING THERE (From GM HQ at Ford)

By Rail
From Ford, up to London Victoria with Southern, Victoria line to London Euston on the Underground then Virgin Trains or London Midland to Stafford. You can plan your journey at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

By Road
Not an arduous drive but if you do it in less than four hours from Ford then you are doing well. The obvious route is A27/A24/M25/M40/M42/M6 but I actually prefer M27/M3/A34/M40/M42/M6 as there isnít a lot in it time wise AND there are convenient break points at Didcot (just off the A34) and Eastleigh (just off the M3). I cannot think why anyone might want to stop there! Top Tip, park in the car park to the NORTH of the station building right at the end of the car park and after 1100. Itís only 4.00 for the day after then, and if you are unsociable (like me) you can enjoy an unobstructed lineside view from the comfort of the car!

LOCATION

National Rail Enquiries information on Stafford

Stafford is a busy station on the West Coast Main Line with 5 platforms and two through lines. London bound express passenger trains generally leave from platform 1, Platform 2 is a rarely used bay platform, platform 3 is usually used for Virgin Trains services heading north while platforms 4 and 5 are the domain of Cross Country and London Midland services, with platform 4 being southbound and platform 5 being northbound. The through lines are between platforms 1 and 3 and these are for non-stop passenger trains and some Class 4 freight services

REALTIMETRAINS

It could be argued that this addictive website has taken all the surprise out of observing the real railway, but it is an absolute godsend when deciding when you should go home! Itís very mobile friendly too. Recommended!
www.realtimetrains.co.uk

WHAT CAN I SEE AND CAN I BUY THE MODELS?

Passenger-wise, sadly the days of lots of locomotive hauled action are long gone and basically you are going to see a LOT of Pendolinos and a LOT of Voyagers. You will also see London Midland Class 350s and the Royal Mail Class 325s make an interesting appearance in the evenings as 12 car formations.
Freight-wise, fill your boots. I always find that the early evenings are excellent and recent ďfield researchĒ on a recent overnight business stay saw the following haul of 34 locomotives (all on freight or light engine movements) between 4pm and 9pm.

  • 1 x Class 57
  • 19 x Class 66s
  • 3 x Class 67s
  • 1 x Class 68
  • 2 x Class 70s
  • 4 x Class 86s
  • 3 x Class 90s
  • 1 x Class 92

My impression was that this was an exceptional session but even so, Iíd imagine 20+ during a similar time frame isnít unrealistic.
Traffic included Intermodal, Automotive, Biomass, Network Rail runs and light engine workings. What was really interesting was all the different liveries with EWS, EWS Euro Cargo Rail, DB Schenker, Freightliner (triple grey), Freightliner (old), Freightliner (new), DRS (old), DRS (new), GBRf (old, new and bizarre), and even Royal Train!
Itís a very interesting location and I think a scaled down version in N is very possible as there are bridges that act as scenic breaks at each end of the station, and for those who just like running lots of trains preferably quickly Ė itís a winner!

WHAT YOU COULD RUN

Hereís a list of Locomotives and Multiple Units currently available from RTR manufacturers that can be seen at Stafford. The really interesting bit is trying to find the appropriate coaches, wagons and buildings on our website so Iím going to leave that up to you!

Class 37

Class 08

Bachmann 32-370 Class 37/4 37405 DRS Compass - OO Scale

Class 57

Class 57

Bachmann B32-763 Class 57/3 57309 Pride of Crewe DRS Compass Blue - OO Scale

Graham Farish GF371-656 Class 57 57312 Network Rail Yellow - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-657 Class 57 57309 Pride of Crewe DRS Compass Livery - N Scale

Class 66

Class 66

Bachmann B32-981 Class 66 66416 Freightliner Powerhaul - OO Scale

Bachmann 32-982 Class 66 66434 DRS Plain Blue Compass - OO Scale

Hornby R3345 Freightliner Class 66 - OO Scale

Dapol DAGM220 DB Schenker Class 66 001 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-000 Class 66 709 GBRf/MSC Sorrento Ship Livery - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-000D GBRF Class 66 709 MSC/Sorrento Diesel Loco (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002 Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002D Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Livery (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003 EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003D EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004 Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004D Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-383A Class 66 66101 DB Schenker - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-384 Class 66 66209 EWS (Weathered) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-385 Class 66 66546 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-396 Class 66 (Low Emission Variant) 66731 InterhubGB GBRf - N Scale

Graham Farish 371-397 Class 66 66434 DRS Plain Blue Compass - N Scale

Class 67

Class 67

Hornby R3272 EWS Class 67 Royal Sovereign Claret - OO Scale

Hornby R3348 EWS Class 67 016 - OO Scale

Hornby R3349 EWS Class 67 024 - OO Scale

Class 68

Not currently available but Dapol have the rights to produce the model in the future. I believe itís been laser scanned.

Class 70

Class 70

Bachmann B31-588 Freightliner Class 70 005 Powerhaul Diesel Weathered - OO Scale

Bachmann B31-590 Class 70 70015 Freightliner (Air Intake Modifications) - OO Scale

Bachmann B31-591 Class 70 70805 Colas (Air Intake Modifications) - OO Scale

Graham Farish 371-635 Class 70 PowerHaul 70006 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish 371-636 Class 70 PowerHaul 70003 Freightliner - N Scale

Class 86

Class 86

Dapol ND-147 Network Rail Class 86 Twin Pack - N Scale

Class 90

Class 90

Hornby R3350 DB Schenker Class 90 029 - OO Scale

Bachmann 32-612 Class 90 90042 Freightliner Powerhaul - OO Scale

Class 92

Class 92

Hornby R3346 DB Schenker Class 92 009 Marco Polo - OO Scale

Hornby R3347 EWS Class 92 EPS Livery 92019 - OO Scale

Class 220

Not currently available Ė Bachmann, Graham Farish and Dapol have produced in the past though.

Class 221

Not currently available Ė Bachmann, Graham Farish and Dapol have produced in the past though.

Class 325

Not available at all.

Class 350

Class 350

Bachmann 31-031 Class 350/2 Desiro 4 Car EMU 350 238 London Midland - OO Scale

Bachmann 31-032 Class 350/1 Desiro 4 Car EMU 350 102 London Midland - OO Scale

Graham Farish 371-701 Class 350/2 Desiro 4 Car EMU 350 238 London Midland - N Scale

Graham Farish 371-702 Class 350/1 Desiro 4 Car EMU 350 101 London Midland - N Scale

Class 390

Class 390

Hornby R1155 Virgin Pendolino Starter Set

MODEL SHOPS

Stafford has its own model shop Ė Topp Trains being located about 5mins away from the station by car or about 20mins on foot. Iíve not yet been there myself but both Warren and Craig tell me itís a great outlet so who am I to argue? Salter Street Toys & Models are also a similar distance away and they are a more general toy store.

SUMMARY

Stafford is great. It feels like a safe location which is important if youíre planning a late evening session and the ability to stay warm from the comfort of your own car is a big bonus! The station has good facilities and the staff are friendly. There are usually many like-minded people at the north end of platforms 3 and 4.

RATING

Iím giving Stafford 4 British Rail Pork Pies out of, 5 but the particular session Iím describing is a 5. I canít imagine any other location being quite as busy in such a short period of time.

BR PieBR PieBR PieBR PieBR Pie

I'm looking forward to the next instalment from Ian, and not just because he's the boss...

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