Completion this month of what is known as Highland Main Line Upgrade Phase Two will see the disappearance of semaphore signalling at two locations along the magnificent route from Perth to Inverness.
This £20m project, aimed at delivering an hourly service and a ten minute reduction in journey times from December, will see the disappearance of mechanical signalling at Pitlochry, along with platform extensions to handle the new Inter7City HST sets. Continue reading “Highland semaphore farewell”
For a chance to savour Britain’s finest collection of lower quadrant semaphore signals, and a number of other unique historic features, it is well worth spending a few hours on and around Worcester’s two stations, Shrub Hill and Foregate Street.
The triangular layout north of these two stations is controlled by signal boxes at Shrub Hill and Tunnel Junction at the far tip of this triangle, while signals west of Foregate Street and its up platform 1 starter are controlled by a third box, Henwick, standing out of sight on the opposite side of the River Severn. Continue reading “Favourite photo-spots: Worcester”
Anyone who had spent one hour 50 minutes on a bus travelling the ten or so miles from Cribbs Causeway shopping centre to Temple Meads station, as I did this week, would realise how serious Bristol’s traffic congestion has become.
Whilst my choice of a 73 bus, rather than the shiny new m1 metrobus and its route via the M32 motorway, inevitably slowed my journey, it still took around half an hour longer than scheduled and underlines the need for some radical action. Continue reading “Metrobus yes, but where’s the metro train?”
Investment in upgrading the important Valleys Line services radiating north from Cardiff has been on the political agenda for some considerable time, with ambitious plans announced for partial electrification and/or conversion to light rail.
Yet while all the bold talk continues, the saga of delayed electrification to Cardiff and cancellation onwards to Swansea is a warning not to take anything for granted, and a mainstay of Valleys Line operations today remains the reviled Pacer (Class 142/3) units. Continue reading “How green was my valley”
Along with those at Pembrey and Ferryside, featured in my previous post, another South Wales signal box potentially being replaced during Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (2019-24) is Tondu, sole passing place on the eight-mile branch from Bridgend to Maesteg.
The former Tondu Middle box is another Great Western Railway Type 3 design and dates from 1884 although, unlike Ferryside, has been subject to some subsequent alterations.
It stands immediately north of the station and controls a passing loop (currently out of use), as well as access to a seldom-used diversionary route to Margam and a remaining stub of the closed Blaengarw branch. Continue reading “A trip to Tondu”
Travel down Brunel’s Great Western Main Line towards Bristol, pass through the Severn Tunnel into Wales and, after a change of train at Swansea, it will be exactly 208 miles from London Paddington before you reach the first of two semaphore signalling outposts on the South Wales Main Line.
Pembrey & Burry Port marks the start of old technology in signalling terms, and is the first of six surviving boxes between here and Clarbeston Road (junction of the Fishguard and Milford Haven routes) that are due to be closed during Network Rail’s forthcoming Control Period 6 (April 2019-March 2024). Continue reading “South Wales’ last main line semaphores”