Time running out for daily Wolsztyn steam services

IMG_9196Europe’s last scheduled main line steam services look set to end in little more than a year’s time, with the timetable change on Saturday, 7 December 2019, when a three year agreement to maintain steam working from Wolsztyn in western Poland is due to expire.

With a number of the depot’s remaining steam loco drivers approaching retirement and unwillingness on the part of the Polish authorities to invest in sustaining the world famous museum depot, it seems increasingly certain that 2019 will mark the end of regular steam operations. Continue reading “Time running out for daily Wolsztyn steam services”

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Britain’s most southerly semaphores

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Spending a few days at Carbis Bay finally gave me the opportunity to photograph our most southerly semaphore signals, which stand around three-quarters of a mile beyond St Erth station, but are totally out of view from the station platforms.

IMG_9044.jpgTake a walk down the A30 from St Erth station for a about half a mile, passing the closed Lamb & Flag pub, then head down a narrow lane signposted Rosevidney and you come to an over-bridge with a good, though distant view of the two elusive semaphores.

These are down section Signal SE7 and up outer home SE68, which stand almost opposite each other at a point on the main line from Penzance, where a section of straight track bears round to the right as it approaches the station (pictured top). Continue reading “Britain’s most southerly semaphores”

Railway rambling in SW Cornwall

IMG_8870.jpgOne of Britain’s finest long distance walking routes must surely be the 630-mile long South West Coast Path, which extends all the way from Minehead in Somerset to the Sandbanks Ferry near Poole in Dorset. But for those who like to mix their walking with some scenic rail travel the path offers few opportunities for what I call railway rambling, with one notable exception.

That exception is a seven-mile stretch of the path from the small town of Hayle (meaning estuary in Cornish) to the charming and cultural resort of St. Ives, which takes in the estuary at Hayle and then follows the route of the scenic St. Ives Bay Line, with numerous attractive photo-opportunities of both railway and seascape along the way. Continue reading “Railway rambling in SW Cornwall”

Mallaig, ScotRail and the RBS £1 note

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For me, a banknote collector as well as a railway enthusiast, one of the joys of visiting Scotland is the nostalgic opportunity to put £1 notes in my wallet once again, thanks to the Royal Bank of Scotland continuing to issue them, the last of the three Scottish note issuers to do so.

Sadly there seem precious few people left who, like me, will ask for the £1 notes in any RBS branch, so awareness of their remaining legal tender falls, and a number of retailers erroneously assert that they do not accept them.

One such culprit I recently encountered was in the booking office at Mallaig station, where a ScotRail supervisor instructed the booking clerk she was overseeing not to accept the £1 notes I was tendering in part payment for my ticket to Arisaig. Continue reading “Mallaig, ScotRail and the RBS £1 note”