Like our first look at the Bicester Military Railway, this is a unique chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ in an area that is definitely out of bounds to visitors.
The Base Ammunition Depot at Longtown near Carlisle, which is connected to the West Coast main line by a lengthy spur that once ran on to the Waverley route, has a very interesting and colourful history. Behind the high security perimeter fences is a very extensive military system that is not normally open to visitors.
All internal shunting is carried out by five Vanguard locomotives built by Thomas Hill between 1977 and 1982. Also on the stock list are two Baguley-Drewry railcars built in the 1970s, which are still used to carry personnel around the depot today.
The main Longtown depot is connected to a separate storage site at nearby Smalmstown, by means of a short link over British Rail metals. This involves tracing part of a spur that once linked the Waverley route with the West Coast main line at Gretna and which closed to through traffic in 1969.
Part of this spur also forms the main rail access route into the Longtown depot, but despite the fact that it only carries MOD traffic, it is still owned and maintained by BR. As well as current day operations at Longtown, Eastriggs just across the border in Scotland, which also comes under the control of Longtown BAD, is thoroughly explored.
In particular, we look at the unusual narrow gauge system and transfer facilities at Eastriggs.
Also included are interviews with the Longtown Commandant and other members of the railway operating staff.