Finding an attractive and remote rural location where there is a variety of freight and passenger traffic, a signal box controlling semaphore signals and heritage diesel action might sound too good to be true.
But that was what I was able to savour on Thursday (22 October 2020) at Earles Sidings, near the village of Hope in the Peak District, and a junction on the Hope Valley Line for a 1½-mile branch line to the country’s largest cement works.
News that the semaphore signals at Tram Inn, south of Hereford, have been replaced seems like a good excuse to publish a few shots I was able to get at this remote spot while on the way to spend a weekend in the B&B at nearby Pontrilas station on Friday, 10 February 2017.
What I remember most about my stop there was the help I got from an ex-railwayman (a fireman) who was running a large car dealership alongside the level crossing and kindly fetched me a step ladder to get the shot looking north!
Finding a holiday destination in Europe that does not require 14-day quarantine on returning to the UK seems increasingly difficult, so I count myself lucky to have been able to take advantage of bargain basement air fares to pay an early October visit to the fascinating railways of Sardinia.
Having previously had two wonderful trips to neighbouring Corsica and its marvellous metre-gauge, I was particularly keen to sample what I could of the numerous narrow gauge (950mm) lines that are dotted about the second largest island in the Mediterranean.
A five-day blockade of the main line between Taunton and Exeter St. Davids from Monday (28 September 2020) meant the rare opportunity to see GWR Class 80x IETs at Yeovil Pen Mill, as services between London and Plymouth were diverted between Castle Cary and Exeter via Yeovil.
Yeovil Pen Mill is a rather delightful spot, 141¼ miles from Paddington, and the only place that these diverted GWR services will encounter semaphore signalling on their journey to Plymouth, with an unusual mixture of upper and lower quadrant arms controlled by Pen Mill signal box.