As the blight of COVID-19 gives way to the blight of disruption caused by prolonged industrial action, it is time for some seasonal cheer to lift the gloom, and a look back at some of my railway travel and photographic highlights from around the UK, with a selection of 22 photos from trips on the British railway network during 2022.
My focus has remained on capturing our last outposts of mechanical signalling, so on 19 January I paid a return visit to the wonderful York-Harrogate line, where fine semaphore signalling remains, despite some piecemeal replacement by colour lights since my previous visit. Seen below is 170458 approaching Wilstrop distant signal W5 with 2C36 from Leeds (13.29) to York.
In less than a year’s time the railway scene at Par will look very different from what it is today, with re-signalling set to have swept away its fine array of lower quadrant semaphores and the absurdly short-lived existence of GWR’s Castle Class 2+4 HST sets ending prematurely by December 2023.
Taking advantage of another fine winter’s day (Friday, 9 December 2022), it seemed like a good moment to pay a return visit to this attractive Cornish junction and capture more views of its doomed signals and the the 40+ year old HSTs that will all have disappeared in 12 months’ time.
Time is almost up for the remaining 18 Class 313 units, currently our oldest mainline EMUs in passenger service, with a reduction in their use on Southern’s Coastway services on the cards in the 11 December 2022 timetable change and the whole fleet due to be withdrawn by May 2023.
Having not visited the area for almost three years, a forecast of some welcome winter sunshine on 1 December 2022 seemed like the perfect excuse to take a trip on the fascinating nine-mile long Seaford branch, to experience and capture some Class 313 action before it finally disappears.