Forty years ago today, the final iron ore train ran to Consett Steelworks.
On 10 September 1980 it all came to an end with the running of 6K60, the 18:15 Redcar to Consett ore train hauled by 37053 and 37055, the final ore train to run to Consett.
The photographer who took the shots of the last train below was an Assistant Freight Controller responsible for the Redcar to Consett ore trains, sent me the following notes:
“One aspect of the Redcar to Consett Ore trains, and the sole reason why I was able to record the passing of the last one, was that they consistently ran early.
The crew diagrams and train working were packed with spare time. The driver was allowed enough time to prepare two Class 37s on depot, then light diesels to Tees Down Stagings, attach the set of the previous working from Consett, work to Redcar Ore Terminal, load the same set, work to Consett, slip work onto the set off the previous working, then return to Tees Down Stagings, detach the set then light to the shed. But, in practice, they walked across to Tees Down Stagings, relieved the inward working from Consett, at Redcar Ore Terminal they detached their set and took one that was already loaded, as there were more than enough sets of wagons to do this, then ran round at Washington in such a short time that I find it hard to believe that a brake test was conducted. To this end they ran amazingly early, right to the last. When I photographed 6K60 it was approximately 110 minutes early!
The light was fading fast, and another ten minutes or so would have been too late. I was mightily relieved when 6K60, which was timed to leave Redcar at 18:25, appeared around the sweeping curve from Annfield Plain just in the nick of time.”