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Out and About Appleby Frodingham By Cath Locke In 1990 British Steel asked each Department of its Scunthorpe Steel Works to come up with an activity or event to mark 100 years of steel production on the site. The Traffic Department decided to run 3 steam hauled trips around the extensive site. And thence was borne the ApplebyFrodingham Railway Preservation Society. So successful were these three initial trips that the Society has been supported by successive owners of the site and now runs weekly trips from May to the end of September around the steelworks (now British Steel, again) by train as well as separate Brake Van trips access parts of the site not visited on the standard tour. The name Appleby-Frodingham comes from Appleby-Frodingham Steel Company, which, together with the Redbourn Iron Works and the Normanby Works formed the original British Steel Company in 1967. From Victorian beginnings the site grew to cover an impressive 2000 acres and at its peak employed around 17,000 people. To service the site an incredible network of 110 miles of track (and associated sidings) was developed to allow key ingredients in the steel making process to be delivered to where they needed to be and the finished product removed. Although large parts of the site are now mothballed railways are still used to move both the constituent parts and the finished product around and away from the site. Modern trains are now radio controlled, though, with operatives walking alongside their charges and ‘driving’ them from consoles worn around their necks. The site is still serviced by external rail too with a merry-go-round of coal trains coming in from Immingham and imported iron-ore also arriving from there by train too. And the mainline from Cleethorpes to Manchester bounds the site too. Despite the clearly modern plant on the site now there remains evidence of its Victorian beginnings in odd brick buildings or isolated brick walls throughout the site. The tour is in standard railway carriages and accompanied by a ‘colour coded’ commentary (telling you want you can see out of the red or yellow window frames). But, on the day we did the trip this wasn’t working. However, as the tour is actually run by retired drivers from the site we probably got a more personal and more informed commentary than usual.

Model Railway Express Issue One December 2016  
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