Gareth’s next book – out now!


Pen & Sword Transport – ISBN: 9781526714732


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!”

Return to Berney Arms (almost!)

IMG_4325England’s remotest station is back in business, almost a year and a half after its longer-than-planned temporary closure, as part of the Wherry Lines re-signalling programme.

Train services resumed to Berney Arms on Monday, 24 February 2020 after the line between Reedham and Great Yarmouth was re-opened to passenger traffic, along with the route from Brundall to Lowestoft. Continue reading “Return to Berney Arms (almost!)”

Time to get a GRIP on railway revivals

IMG_1640Confirmation that HS2 is to go ahead raises fundamental questions about the way in which every other railway revival project around the country is treated in future, given that the traditional economic case for HS2 has always been distinctly questionable.

Campaigners have spent years, and in many cases decades, in trying to bring rails back to a host of places around the country that include Wisbech, Portishead, Keswick, Skipton-Colne, Tavistock-Okehampton, Fleetwood, Ashington and Uckfield-Lewes. Continue reading “Time to get a GRIP on railway revivals”

Day return to Dalwhinnie

IMG_2601Completion of re-signalling work early last year at Pitlochry and Aviemore has left just a handful of mechanically-signalled locations along the splendid Highland Main Line between Perth and Inverness, most northerly of which are those at Dalwhinnie and Kingussie.

Taking advantage of another ScotRail Club 50 £17.00 flat fare ticket, I was keen to see what signalling interest there was at remote Dalwhinnie and then move on to Kingussie, where its unusual signal box is one of many across Scotland to enjoy Listed status. Continue reading “Day return to Dalwhinnie”

It’s a fairway to Carnoustie

IMG_2385There are a number of wonderful outposts of mechanical signalling along the East Coast Main Line north of Edinburgh, notably Arbroath and Stonehaven, but one I had not previously visited was Carnoustie, world-renowned host of golf’s  Open Championship on no less than eight occasions.

Taking advantage of another ScotRail “Club 50” £17.00 flat fare offer while staying in the Scottish capital, a day trip to Carnoustie on Wednesday, 5 February 2020 also gave me the chance to take a pleasant walk alongside the golf links and railway to visit two of Britain’s least used stations, Golf Street and Barry Links. Continue reading “It’s a fairway to Carnoustie”

A Wherry last goodbye

IMG_1935All good things come to an end, and so it does this weekend for the marvellous signal boxes and semaphore signalling along the Wherry Lines from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, which have at least lasted a year longer than planned, owing to delayed commissioning of the new signalling.

Regular readers of this blog will know I have made numerous visits to the area over the past three years to record the changing scene, so no surprise then that I felt I must pay my respects to what is being lost by visiting the area on the final day of services to Great Yarmouth before its three-week shut-down. Continue reading “A Wherry last goodbye”

Heritage signalling in East Lincolnshire

IMG_1613Time may almost be up for mechanical signalling along the 23½ miles of route between Norwich and Lowestoft, but some 100 miles further up the East Coast the era of semaphores lives on along an almost identical length of line.

The 23¾ miles of route from Boston to Skegness are home to no less than six signal boxes, three of which have secure futures as they are all Grade II Listed, and four of which still control semaphore signals. Continue reading “Heritage signalling in East Lincolnshire”

Basils at Brundall

IMG_1307As there are just two weeks left to savour semaphore control of the Wherry Lines from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, this felt like the moment to pay a farewell visit, and attempt to see some Class 755 action at the same time.

Introduction of the new Stadler bi-mode units has been little short of disastrous and the spate of last minute cancellations continues, with workings cancelled on my 16 January 2020 visit including the 11.36 Norwich-Great Yarmouth, with the 12.55 to Lowestoft being heavily delayed. Continue reading “Basils at Brundall”