Images of 2021

As another year blighted by the spectre of COVID-19 draws to a close, and all the signs are that we are about to face another winter of travel restrictions, this seems a good moment to briefly cast aside health worries and take a look back at some UK railway images of the past year.

Despite not being able to take any rail trips until late April, I was fortunate enough to be able to make numerous trips around the country in the following months, so what follows is a selection of 21 favourite images from 2021.

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Kent’s last semaphore signals

TEN YEARS after a major re-signalling project in East Kent led to the loss of mechanical signalling at Canterbury East and at Shepherdswell, near Dover, there remains one place in the Garden of England where our fastest domestic trains are controlled by semaphore signals.

When that East Kent re-signalling project was completed at the end of 2011 it left an isolated outpost of mechanical signalling at Deal, where a handful of semaphores remain controlled by its 1939-vintage art deco style signal box, known as a Southern Railway Type 13, which also controls a level crossing just north of the station. 

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A trip to Truro 

Less than two years before its loss to re-signalling it is time to pay another visit on Monday, 6 December 2021 to the Royal Duchy, and spend a few hours photographing the fine collection of semaphores that are controlled by Truro Signal Box.

Truro is one of three locations along the main line in Cornwall, along with Par and Lostwithiel, both of which I re-visited and featured earlier in the year, that is due to close in autumn 2023 when control is taken over by Exeter Power Signal Box. 

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