Scuds scrambled

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Over the past three years of visiting the Wherry Lines to photograph its loco-hauled services and its semaphore signalling, one consistent feature has been the sight of Class 153 one-coach units, usually operating singly, but occasionally in pairs.

As the quintet of “Scuds” has now departed East Anglia to join some of their classmates in South Wales, this seems like the right moment to share a short selection of my favourite images of Class 153 action on the Wherry Lines. Continue reading “Scuds scrambled”

Wherry new trains, Wherry old signals

IMG_0301Less than two months from now and the Wherry Lines transformation will reach its final stage, with a three-week shutdown to complete and commission long-delayed re-signalling of the lines from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Already this year we have seen the end of loco-hauled Class 37 services and, more recently, the rather less-lamented exit of the single car Class 153 “Scuds”, as the new Class 755 units make their delayed appearance.

Having written many articles about the line’s signalling attractions over the past three years, I was delighted to be invited by Network Rail to pay visits on Tuesday, 3 December to the five splendid signal boxes that will close early next year.

Continue reading “Wherry new trains, Wherry old signals”

Steaming to Sroda

IMG_9948On my first ever visit to Poland 30 years ago (October 1989) I paid a visit to the country’s last steam-worked narrow gauge railway, a charmingly rural line that ran 14 kms westwards from a town called Sroda to the south of Poznan.

In those far off days there were six round trips a day, conveying a mixture of workers, shoppers and schoolchildren in a pair of ancient wooden coaches each heated by a coal-fired boiler mounted beneath the coach floor. A single fare to the terminus at Zaniemysl (pictured above) cost the princely sum of 170 [old] Zloties (less than 2p). Continue reading “Steaming to Sroda”

Railways and the 2019 General Election

 

IMG_2157Transport and the railways was never going to take centre stage in an election that is dominated by Brexit and the NHS, but with all the manifestos now published there are a pretty wide range of promises being made to improve and expand our rail services.

So, without fear or favour, here is a review of what is being said by all the political parties on the future of our railways, looking in particular at four key topics, namely ownership and control, HS2, electrification and network expansion/re-openings.     Continue reading “Railways and the 2019 General Election”

A new direction for Wolsztyn steam

IMG_0225Daily steam working will now continue from Wolsztyn in western Poland into 2020, at least until the famous May Day Parade event, and there is even the prospect of extended weekday operations from the world-famous depot.

Plans to refurbish a water column on platform one, as part of the station re-building, would allow steam services to run from Leszno and through Wolsztyn all the way to Zbaszynek on the Berlin-Warsaw main line. Continue reading “A new direction for Wolsztyn steam”

A scenic walk over the Firth of Forth

IMG_9538Having been to the same school as one of the two engineers who designed it (Sir Benjamin Baker), I have always had a special affection for what, three years ago, was voted Scotland’s greatest man-made wonder, the truly remarkable and iconic Forth Bridge.

Travelling over it by train on a clear day gives fantastic view of the Firth of Forth looking east and the two road bridges to the west, but it is only by walking over the original Forth Road Bridge that you can fully appreciate its magnificence. Continue reading “A scenic walk over the Firth of Forth”

Britain’s most northerly semaphores

IMG_9713After recent visits to Britain’s most south-westerly semaphores (St. Erth) and our most easterly (Lowestoft), another bargain-price Scotrail Club 50 £17.00 flat fare offer gave me the chance to pay a welcome return visit to our most northerly outposts of mechanical signalling.

Unlike St Erth and Lowestoft, Keith Junction has only enjoyed its geographic accolade for the past two years. It took the honour from Elgin, the next station westwards along the Aberdeen-Inverness route when a re-signalling exercise, completed in October 2017, led to elimination of both Elgin West and Forres signal boxes. Continue reading “Britain’s most northerly semaphores”