Slow Train To Fife!

Taking delivery of 26040 meant in practice hiring a specialist company to pick it up from Springburn and move it by road to Fife. A week after a first attempt had to be called off due to access problems at Methil Power Station the move was finally on.


1. In this first vsnap the winch has just started to pull the locomotive up onto to the low-loader.


2. An end-on view as 26040 is hauled slowly up the ramp. Another Class 26 destined for preservation is visible in the background waiting its turn. This building was formerly part of the BREL Glasgow site, which at the time of this move was rented out to a company doing asbestos removal on locomotives being sold by BR. Although a bit gloomy for filming, it was ideal for loading on a winters night!


3. A close-up of the hook pulling 26040 upward by its coupling. This was the obvious and best way of pulling the locomotive up as the coupling was designed to take a far greater tonnage than the weight of a Class 26, even up a fairly steep incline!


4. Almost there! The winching operation was quite slow and I didn't film it all. Three of my friends & preservation colleagues can be seen studying the bogies close up.


5. Loaded, fastened, lift-off!. This vsnap shows the front of the low-loader being lifted up ready to move, with my friends watching intently!


6. Ready To Go! Here is a vsnap of 26040 with the low-loader starting to back up.


7. A train being shunted is not unusual, but on a lorry? The lorry entrance to the building was at right angles to the track used for loading, so a lot of careful maneuvering was required before the low-loader could drive out. This vsnap is lighter than those so far as it takes advantage of a single frame of camcorder footage lit up by a convenient camera flash from my friend George!


8. A few seconds later? Actually no. The loading of 26040 was carried out in the evening, with the low-loader being reversed back into the building on a straighter alignment after the shunt in the last vsnap to park for the night. This vsnap shows it emerging the next morning to get ready for the trip. There was however a bit of a wait after this for the police escort that a large load like this requires.


9. Waiting for the police escort, 26040 is finally ready to set out for Fife. Even painted gray on a dull day, it was a fine sight (especially for people who had been working to preserve it for over 18 months!).


10. As we departed with the police escort, some winter sun was shining on us. The low-loader driver is having to swing quite wide to get the whole length of the low-loader round, which is why a police escort is needed at many junctions to clear the way.


11. Under way and looking good! A zoom shot as 26040 approaches Springburn Road, where it will turn left to reach the M8 motorway. I stopped filming soon after to get into my car as I was being left behind!


12. I obviously couldn't film while driving along the M8/A8/M8, and after 26040 stopped in a layby on the A8 outside Glasgow to change police escort, we sped ahead to Harthill services. In this vsnap (taken through a wet window) the low-loader grinds up the slip-road to stop at the services for another change of police escort.


13. Into the services and drawing to a halt. Even through rain-streaked glass it is possible to make out the size of the low-loader, which is not even the biggest size used for transporting railway vehicles!


14. A close-up of 26040 at Harthill, which isn't exactly familiar territory for a Class 26! The infrastructure livery looks quite good in this shot (if gray can look good), but then it had only been painted into this livery in about 1991 or 1992 (don't know the exact date).


15. Moving on, which we did eventually, here is a vsnap of 26040 at the Forth Road Bridge toll-booths. there was a long delay at this point waiting for the Fife police escort, which I didn't welcome as it was a bitterly cold day and the Forth Bridge Services car park was exposed to a stiff breeze!


16. By the time the next police escort arrived, it was starting to get dark, as can be seen in this wobbly vsnap of 26040 moving off. (My hands were frozen and I had difficulty holding the camcorder steady!)


17. 26040 has crossed the Forth Bridge many times in its career but this is undoubtedly the first time it has crossed the Forth Road Bridge instead! Even so, it was done in a fairly railway-like manner with 26040 and its police escort having sole possession of the northbound 'section', albeit for weight reasons! (I'm just glad none of the pre-Christmas northbound car drivers knew whose locomotive this was!)


18. A long shot of 26040 as it crosses the Forth Road Bridge. As this was nearly the shortest day of 1994, it is still only the late afternoon, but already my camcorder was struggling with the poor light. Had 26040 not had to wait for police escorts, it would have been crossing at least two hours earlier, but the traffic police in Lothian and Fife must have been busy that day!


19. A short time later 26040 passed onto the Fife Regional Road at Halbeath, and I managed to get ahead of it to film it passing under the bridge at Crossgates. By pointing the camcorder downward at the time, and by doing a little tinkering with the resulting vsnap, I have actually produced a brighter picture than the last one!


20. Crossgates again with the 26040 moving away from me on its eastbound journey to Methil. Once in Fife, progress was steady, but this was almost the last of the daylight!


21. After another handover of police escort, and some imaginative routing in the Methil area (the police overruled the route given to the haulier as it involved climbing a steep hill, going through Leven, and then crossing the Bawbee bridge - an over complex route that risked overloading the bridge (which had a severe weight restriction placed on it about 5 years later as it happens), 26040 arrived at Methil Power Station.


22. Despite the darkness I couldn't resist filming 26040 touching down in Fife as it was winched down off the low-loader. This is the last vsnap from the day of the move as the rest of the camcorder footage is almost completely black! (I did come back the day after, so there are still three vsnaps to go.)


23. In storage. Thanks to the generosity (still continuing at the time or writing) of Scottish Power we had somewhere to take 26040 to in 1994. Despite modest vandalism, it has been fairly safe there since (apart from losing a roof-panel in a gale).


24. By the time I was able to return on the day after the move to get film of it stored at Methil, the December sun was getting low in the sky, leading to this strangely lit view. I have seen an aerial view of the power station from the early 1990s in a local photographers window which showed a 'dutch' Class 26 sitting in almost this spot on an empty coal-train, so it's quite possible that 26040 had tried out this track only a few years before!


25. Seen from a distance, 26040 looks very small, vulnerable and lonely. At the time of writing (2001) it is still there, but we hope to move it elsewhere this year so that we can work on it (access has always been restricted at Methil Power Station for safety reasons). Even after more than 7 years of ownership, this is a project that is (I hope) just starting!!!



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