8568 the Hemel Clayton

8568, Clayton Place.

An early and very rare passenger turn for 8568 to begin with. 5315 was replaced after failing at Hawick on the Waverly route, 8568 worked forward on the 0706 Edinburgh – Carlisle on 090367. 8568 being on position as Hawick pilot. Otherwise 8568’s main duties were freight turns througout the Central belt of Scotland

My first encounter with 8568 was dumped with many of her classmates in 2 long lines at Polmadie in March 72. At this time there were magazine reports of 8568’s involvement in a fatal collision on Beattock. 8568 and 5100 a few months earlier were working 8Z26 Dalzell New Yard – Carlisle down Beattock in the early hours when the rear of the 17/24’s freight was hit by a runaway 47 (1838) and freight on 6V26 at high speed resulting in fatal injury’s to 8Z26’s guard. 8568 was undamaged.

On Polmadies dump line on August 15th 1972 were 8507, 8508, 8525, 8529, 8536, 8557, 8562, 8568, 8574.

In late 1973 rumours from the local “top men” persisted that a Clayton was now based at the Hemlite factory on the old Harpenden – Hemel branch (closed to passengers 160647 and leased by Hemlite from 290468).  After much doubting and fearing I was about to be well withered, me and a mate cycled on a warm June 25th 1973 the 11 miles or so from Dunstable to Cupid Green in rural Hertfordshire. Any doubts re the gen were silenced at Cupid Green’s main roundabout where high on an embankment was the unmistakable profile of a green Clayton.

We passed under the line’s underbridge and into the works which was busy making breeze blocks. The line had a small shunter and Drewry 04’s (D 2203) to cop but it was the Scottish beast we wanted a close look at. Unchallenged , we parked our bikes by the depot wall and a then we heard a whine, chug and pulse of unfamiliar nose as 8568 burst into life. The secondman then looked out of the  huge cab and invited us aboard, superb or what. The driver then turned up and he told us to stay “on board for the ride”, could it get better. We then purred off and coupled to 5 or six empty mineral trucks and propelled them along the 5 mile branch through Redbourn in the warm late afternoon sun in a wooded cutting near Harpenden Jn we left the trucks.

We were told these would be picked up by the local Luton-Cricklewood trip freight which would also drop off loaded trucks during the night. We then returned light engine. The loaded trucks (with fly ash) would be picked up in the morning we were also told. On the way back the driver also advised how he had driven her on the delivery run from Scotland (in early Sep 72) via the S and C (this we later found out included 80mph down Sharnbrook!!) and admitted the engine had more power than his favoured Drewry. She made her first trip on the branch on October 12th 1972.  With our memorable trip over, 2 very happy young enthusiasts then leapt off back at Cupid Green and cycled home in high spirits, an unforgettable afternoon thanks to the kindness of the Hemlite staff.

By now out of use a front end view of 8568 parked up in the headshunt at Hemlite Sidings on January 9th 1977

A side on view of 8568 at Hemlite on January  9th 1977

A few years later in Jan 1977 I returned to the Hemlite works on a quiet Sunday afternoon. The works and locos were silent, the Drewry was locked up in the shed but the Clayton looked good parked up on the headshunt, possibly out of use. The branch had begun to make the news as a dispute over costs in providing the Harpenden North crossovers serving the branch as electrification pruning progressed. Hemlite leased the line from BR and the crossover costs issue perhaps tilted the balance in favour of road and sadly rail traffic ceased shorty after my visit.

8568 was eventually sold to Ribble Cement, leavng Harpenden for Cricklewood on June 16th 1977 Clitheroe  arriving there on June 24th 1977 working as a “super shunter”, in “Ribble Cement” grey branded livery.With railborne cement traffic declining from the works, 8568 was sold 6 years later to preservation at the NYMR.

 8568 at Goathland after a good thrash up the back with the 1105 from Grosmont on April 22nd 1989

Back in BR green she was rake in for mileage up Grosmont bank in April 89. She left the NYMR in August 91 turning up at various open days and even Sudbury engine sidings! and WN depot (for tyre turning) before arriving at Chinnor in April 92.

Nedding around at the end of Chinnor’s short platform in Sep 96, I again was invited aboard this machine 20 years after I had last done so at Cupid Green. Then front coach seats again saw her sounds experienced again and thanks to the efforts of the DTG 8568 was hauling trains on the Chinnor branch again in April 29/30 2011. 

More recent 8568’s phots

 8568 heads for the sidings at Chinnor to run round after working the first trip of the running day on April 29th 2011

 With an appropriate royal headcode 8568 brings the stock for the 1115 departure into Chinnor, note the new housing on the ex cement works site on April 29th 2011

 With the front engine clagging nicely 8568 approaches Horsenden crossing April 29th 2011

 “Thunderbird 37” to the rescue, 37116 approaches, prior to both locos thrashing back to Chinnor, thanks to Robin morel for the phot. April 29th 2011

 8568 then performed faultlessly for the rest of the day and is seen here approaching Horsenden on the last turn of a hugely enjoyable and nostalgic day April 29th 2011

8568 comes off the Chinnor stabling sidings for an entertaining running day on May 3rd 2014

8568 has a clear road ahead, May 3rd 2014

 8568 arrives at Staverton with a Buckfastleigh – Totnes working on November 3rd 2017

A celebrity local enthusiast is engrossed in his timetable as 8568 awaits to leave Totnes Riverside for Buckfastleigh on November 3rd 2017

8568 at Arley with a Bridgnorth – Kidderminster Gala day working on May 18th 2017. The Clayton is currently in Kidderminster depot being repainted in BR blue for the very first time. She is expected to work SVR trains in Summer 2022



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