Picking a selection of my favourite railway images from the past year has proved a good deal harder than usual, with many months written off due to lockdown, leading to the cancellation of many planned outings.
Fortunately I began the year early with visits to see the final days of semaphore signalling on the Wherry Lines in January and managed to fit in a number of other interesting visits during the course of this challenging year.
What follows are 20 photos from 2020, featuring places across Britain that I was lucky enough to visit during the course of the year, from Carnoustie, Kingussie and Dunkeld in Scotland, to the Cumbrian Coast, Teesside, and Earles Sidings in the north, to Liskeard in Cornwall and Park Junction in South Wales.
My fascination with seeking out those elusive yellow and black distant signals takes me on a pre-Christmas return to the delightful Cumbrian Coast Line and the search for a clutch of these fishtailed beauties around the town of Millom.
Over a distance of eight route miles there are a total of seven working semaphore distant signals, controlled by the signal boxes at Foxfield, Millom and Silecroft, as well as by two gate boxes at Kirksanton and Limestone Hall level crossings, on the A5093 between Millom and Silecroft.
Uniquely for the Cumbrian Coast Line, the two gate boxes are protected by three combined home and distant signals on the same post, which I believe are the only working examples of combined home and distant signals on this route.
A first day out since the ending of Lockdown Two and a return on Saturday, 5 December to the charming city of Worcester, for an overdue visit to the county’s newest station, and a walk over the River Severn to see one of the country’s newest semaphore signals in action.
My challenge was to get a shot of a train passing Norton Junction’s down home signal (NJ25), which can be seen from the western end of Cotswold Line platform at Worcestershire Parkway, and then to photograph a lunchtime service passing Henwick’s new semaphore, on the west side of the city.