Railway Photography by Paul Robertson
The yard at Chaddesden sidings, just North-east of Derby station was always a fascination to me in my spotting days.
The yards purpose was for the disposal of spent ballast and materials, reclaimed from weekend engineering possessions, which were removed from the wagons by mechanical grabbers which worked on a ridge of ballast adjacent to the southernmost siding, depositing the spoil into large heaps which were then later loaded into lorries for distributing to the crushing facility. With only this 1 siding being available for the actual removal of the content of the wagons, there was much shunting required to position rakes of wagons for the grabbers to work on. Obviously when the rake was emptied, the pilot loco would shunt these wagons out into an empty road and reposition the next loaded rake for unloading.
There were also two timetabled paths each way from/to Bescot engineers yard, again for the movement of spoil from the West Midlands area. These were an early path ex Bescot at approx 0530, returning around 0930, then a second trip around 1300, returning 1630ish. I recall the headcodes in latter years as 6M36/6G38/6M40/6G40. Quite often the loco that worked the morning trip also worked the afternoon trains, so if the weather didn't play ball in the morning, you had a second chance.
Chaddesden was also used as a stabling facility for weekend possession trains, with either rakes of empty spoil wagons running to possessions for loading with spoil or pre-loaded ballasts, which were usually loaded at Mountsorrel quarry, then stabled at Chaddesden in readiness for the weekend. In the early 90's, Toton T91 trip was the regular trip for taking empty wagons from Chaddesden to Mountsorrel for loading, usually leaving Chadd between 0900 & 1000, and returning back to Chadd at lunchtime or early afternoon. Toton had another 'general purpose' trip, T93 which was utilised as required, sometimes running an extra trip from Chadd to Mountsorrel and return.
Photography in the yard area was a little hit and miss, as you could often end up hanging around waiting for the pilot loco to perform a shunt. This was often
the case if you managed to arrive whilst the grabbers were still unloading a rake of spoil, the pilot would retreat to the bottom of the yard, adjacent to the
shunters cabin, where the shunter and traincrew would 'relax' until the grabbers had finished their task and another rake was needed to be shunted into position.
The usual route into the yard is via the path that
runs at the side of the cattle market, which leads under the dark and dank tunnel under the
head of the sidings
which for many years was partly blocked by the burnt out shell of a mini. Whoever managed to drive it into the tunnel and get to the far end must have had
some bottle as there wasn't much room each side, certainly not enough room for them to have managed to open a door to get out, so
I guess they kicked the
windscreen out to escape prior to torching it.
In the late 90's, news spread of EWS's & Railtrack's plan to implement the virtual quarry concept, the East Midlands being served by a VQ at Toton, the West Mids
at Bescot. This was what put paid to the outstabling of weekend ballasts at Chadd, and with the news that a spoil recycling facility was also to be built at
Toton, the nails were really starting to be hammered into Chaddesden's coffin. The Toton and Bescot trips fizzled out in 2003, but Chaddesden wasn't quite dead yet.
Fastline Freight, a subsidiary of Jarvis, began running coal trains to Ratcliffe power station in 2008 and based their leased locos and wagons at Chaddesden, which was not an ideal situation as not all of the sidings could
accommodate whole trains of 21 wagons so a lot of shunting and splitting of trains had to occur at weekends.
Chaddesden is used to stable the 7 car Loram rail grinder trains, and DCR also use the sidings. DBS had also inquired into using a siding here for the loading of scrap trains but this seems to have gone quiet. The site also now has a large Network Rail Pway & S&T depot built on the site, this has seen the outside (most Northerly) road being curtailed. With Chaddesden having a quiter life at the moment traffic wise, and with the decline in coal traffic from Spring 2015 due to a new Government coal tax, Freightliner have stabled 40 or so wagons here pending them being required again in the Autumn.
Photographs of traffic to/from Chaddesden