At the buffer stops the other engine 37407 named "BLACKPOOL TOWER". Photo: Blackpool Tower Power from Barrie C Woods

Train with Blackpool Tower Power!

Once a month a special train arrives in Blackpool. You could say that it’s got Blackpool Tower Power!

Above photo: At the buffer stops the other engine 37407 named “BLACKPOOL TOWER” The very top of the tower can just be glimpsed above the station roof.

With many thanks to Visit Fylde Coast contributor and transport enthusiast Barrie C Woods for this article and the photos.

Blackpool Tower Power!

One of the locomotives, number 37407, was named “BLACKPOOL TOWER”.

Detail of its name and number, such a shame nobody thought to line the two up! Photo: Barrie C Woods
Detail of its name and number, such a shame nobody thought to line the two up!

The other incidentally was 37423 named “Spirit of the Lakes” – another tourist destination not that far away!

General view of the special train at Blackpool North with the iconic tower in the background, this locomotive is 37423 named "Spirit of the Lakes"
General view of the special train at Blackpool North with the iconic tower in the background, this locomotive is 37423 named “Spirit of the Lakes”

The train arrived at North Station Friday 14th August having run its complex journey over three days, covering virtually every railway line in the north-west.

After visiting Blackpool South it comes into North Station in the early hours usually between 0300 & 0500.  It lays over, giving the crews a rest until departure at 14.15. 

Having departed Blackpool North the train is powering through Layton with 'Blackpool Tower' pushing. Its heading for Blackburn, then after numerous reversals will eventually end up at Derby, its base. Photo: Barrie C Woods
Having departed Blackpool North the train is powering through Layton with ‘Blackpool Tower’ pushing. Its heading for Blackburn, then after numerous reversals will eventually end up at Derby, its base.

It consists of two diesel locomotives each around 50 years old, front and rear of four very special coaches which monitor the track for defects. The train is currently operated by Colas Rail on behalf of Network Rail. It’s one of their ‘Measurement’ trains. 

What does this special train do?

The coaches are fitted with on board computers and lasers.

They analyse the track’s geometry, clearance between lineside objects, and cants on curves for any anomalies or defects. Staff on board the train analyse the data which is recorded. They can then identify areas where potential problems might occur in future.

Teams can be sent out to inspect and mitigate before disaster strikes – which is why engineering work takes place at busy locations during quiet periods. The  trains usually run on a monthly basis, travelling over a variety of routes each day. The next month it will repeat the exercise.

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Live Blackpool website for more of the latest updates.

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