Featured

Gareth’s next book – out now!

IMG_2959

Pen & Sword Transport – ISBN: 9781526714732

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Britains-Last-Mechanical-Signalling-Hardback/p/16355

Almost a century after the first colour light signals appeared on Britain’s railways in the early 1920s there are still a considerable number of places where the passage of trains is controlled by the Victorian technology of a signaller in a signal box pulling a mechanical lever that will tug up to ¾ mile of wire that then moves a signal arm up or down.

Replacement of mechanical signalling has been going on in earnest since the 1960s and continues apace, with losses over the past couple of years at Blackpool, North Wales, Humberside, and at a number of locations in Scotland. Next to go will be the delightful Wherry Lines between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Continue reading “Gareth’s next book – out now!”

Britain’s most easterly semaphores  

IMG_8370After my return last month to Britain’s most southerly semaphores at St Erth in Cornwall, it was time for what will probably be my final visit to our most easterly semaphores, namely those at Lowestoft Central.

The end of a 23½ -mile long Wherry Lines route from Norwich is signalled until next February (2020) by an attractive 1885-vintage Great Eastern Railway box with a  61-lever frame, which is thankfully arousing interest in its preservation from local people. Continue reading “Britain’s most easterly semaphores  “

Advertisements

Nine Wherry distants signalling the line

IMG_8203Class 37-haulage may finally be at an end on the Wherry Lines, but there are still a few months left to appreciate another charming aspect of these routes from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

What operator Abellio describes in its timetable leaflet as a “Victorian era signalling system” was due to have been replaced in the Spring, but the usual delays in any railway infrastructure project means the semaphore signals will now survive until a three-week shut-down in February 2020. Continue reading “Nine Wherry distants signalling the line”

Harz delights

IMG_7834Imagine an attractive and rural corner of Central Europe where you can travel on your own steam-hauled narrow gauge train just as the sun is rising, and then spend all day riding a vast narrow gauge network for around £13 a day.

What may sound like a dream is actually a reality on the delightful Harz metre-gauge system in eastern Germany, where for two consecutive days last week I was the only passenger aboard the 07.34 Gernrode to Alexisbad service.  Continue reading “Harz delights”

Britain’s newest ghost station

IMG_3830Built and opened in 1978 for a bargain price of just £50,000, Lelant Saltings Park & Ride was an instant success, and for more than four decades it was the place where thousands of visitors to St Ives left their cars and took a scenic four-mile train ride to the bustling artistic capital of Cornwall.

But Lelant Saltings is no more. Three months ago (in June 2019) the popular facility was replaced by smart new parking at nearby St Erth station, its 300 parking spaces now standing eerily empty and its half-hourly service to St Ives reduced to a Parliamentary level of one train a day in each direction. Continue reading “Britain’s newest ghost station”

A semaphore stronghold in North Yorkshire

IMG_7286Just three miles from the National Railway Museum is the start of one of Britain’s finest remaining outposts of mechanical signalling, the 17½ miles of railway route between Harrogate and Poppleton, a growing village north-west of York city centre.

After previously spending time photographing the signalling at Harrogate and other intermediate stations, including remarkable Knaresborough, my latest challenge was to visit three of the route’s gate boxes that are signalled by semaphores. Continue reading “A semaphore stronghold in North Yorkshire”

A nice Wight railway ramble

IMG_7018

Exactly a year after publishing an account of a scenic stroll from Ryde to Brading, the last Saturday of summer (31 August 2019) seemed like an ideal time to pay a return visit to the ever-charming Isle of Wight.

Arriving on the island by hovercraft once again, I began where I left off last year and took a leisurely four and a half-mile walk from Brading to Shanklin, during which my challenge was to find a few off-the-beaten-track places at which to photograph Britain’s oldest passenger trains, Island Line’s 80-year old Class 483 units. Continue reading “A nice Wight railway ramble”