Monday, 13 January 2014


Seen entering the Middlewich passing loop on Saturday February 28th 1998 is this Pathfinder Railtour headed by  unusual motive power. The Type 73 electro-diesel is a kind of hybrid loco which can operate over electrified lines but also has its own diesel engine for use on other lines.

Most Type 73's are to be found on what was once BR's Southern Region, where they can take advantage of the electrified lines in that area, as the on-board diesel engine is  less powerful than the loco's electric traction motors.
This makes it quite rare for them to be seen in this area.
There are a few examples, however, not too far away on Merseyrail, which runs trains in the Merseyside and Wirral area and has been operated by several different companies over the years.
The leading loco appears to be in a former Merseyrail livery (although, at first glance, it looks strikingly similar to the notorious Middlewich UDC 'tangerine and delft blue' livery of the early 70s which our sister site, the Middlewich Diary showed us here.)
The second loco is in plain old BR Blue.
There's a bit of a mystery about the name of the train itself, as displayed on the green headboard on the front of the leading loco.
We've enlarged it as best we can, but still can't make a guess at a name for the train which sounds likely.

It appears to say something like 'THE HEN HAM'.
Does anyone know what this might mean? Or are we reading it wrongly? If so, what does it actually say? All information gratefully received.
If you've followed the Middlewich Campaign saga to any extent you'll know already that the train in our picture is passing the proposed site for the new Middlewich station.
The scene has changed somewhat over the years, with many track and signalling improvements on the branch, but this view, at the southern end of the Middlewich loop, remains a favourite for photographers of movements between Sandbach, Middlewich and Northwich.

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