Railways around Peterborough & The National Rail Network & Heritage railways in the UK
''March Whitemoor Openday in 2004'
( page 1 of 4 in 2009 at March)
Whitemoor open day in 2004
GB Railfreight class 66 701 was re-named "WHITEMOOR" at the opening of the new Network's Rails Distribution Centre on a Sunday in June 2004 This new yard is now on part of what was the Old Whitemoor Yard at March
The name of this class 66 was"Railtrack National Logistics" . The name was changed after Railtrack had been put into administration.
The class 66 was named Whitemoor by the March town mayor and the head of GBRf who will be runing the yard .
In his speech the man from Network Rail said how pleased they were with the way the yard had been made so quickly, even though the fen soil had turned into mud in the heavy rain during the winter.
He also hoped that the children would not trespass, and that the people of March would forgive the noise of the construction and get on well with Network rail.
He also said that they had though a few people might turn up on the day, not the hundreds that did turn up to the event.
On a Sunday in June 2004 I went to Network's Rails New Distribution Centre on the site of part of The Old Whitemoor Yard. The yard was once Europe biggest marshalling yard. This yard died in the 1980s and 1990s.
Just one year be for the then out of use Wisbech line, was all that was left of Whitemoor yard. Whitemoor Prison had been built on some of the land after the GN&GEJR line to Spalding had been closed.
I had been to Whitemoor a few weeks before and was amazed at what had been achieved in such a short time. You could not get any were near to most of the yard, as this was a working site. When some one said there was to be a open day, this was a must attend event!
"Rail" had given details but no start time, so at about 11 am I turned up to find it started at 1pm, my fault. Even this showed how much had been done. I then went to the South junction near to the signal box and took some photos. After some Central trains units and then a class 60 with a train of ballast wagons from the Ely. This train was March heading for the new yard and was put into the down goods loop .
Then I went to the Norwood road bridge. How much had been done soon became apparent. The EWS class 60 with the the train that I had seen earlier came round the curve from the station ,past were March North signal box used to be. This bought back memoirs . Even on a Open Day Sunday the yard was in use. The train went into the sidings and a Cotwold 08 in new paint work, shunted the wagons
I then headed for the open day Car park. All had been rather quieter two hours earlier, but I soon found myself in a traffic queue. All of March was going to the open day, some on foot all with there children.
The car park was full and I parked on the road side just finding a space. Was this the same lane that I took photos of the MPD from twenty years ago?
The car park was on the site of the MPD now with just the one building left. On walking though the car park you started to get some I dear of the size of this site. A road way had been made past trees and bushes that had been left to grow as the yard slowly lost all its traffic .
The single wagon load mixed goods, and wagons of coal for the many wayside station and sidings, that had been reason why the yard was built had disappeared .
Bogie flat wagon at Whitemoor open day in 2004
On getting to the new yard my first thoughts were, "Its Big". There were hundreds of people . A large marquee had been put up which housed stalls from the local community. Some were the March flower club March Senior Citizens club and The March Handicapped swimming club ,Guides, RSPCA and Neighbourhood watch. The marquee also had railway stalls from the Nene valley railway and the North Norfolk Railway and The March Model Railway club .
The yard is split in two with what is a very large wooden fence. On the other side the yard it was working day, with siding full of large hopper wagons and class 66s. On this side of the yard two class 66s one of which was to be named later were placed each side of the marquee.
The North Northfolk's J15 was in steam renumbered for the day. The engine who's real number is 65462 was renumbered to 65420 for the day, as this was a Whitemoor engine, which was a nice touch. The size of the yard began to be appreciated as one walked alongside the network rails ballast wagons .These are large wagons but looked small . The tipping of wagons by a man with a large TV remote sat on a chair reminded you this was 2004.
As you walked along the large blight yellow Network Rail hoppers of the type I had seen at the Doncaster open day the year be for showed that someone has faith in our rail future
Network Rail Rail Grinder HGH 20C at the open day in 2004
Page updated 8/5/2019