Friday lunchtime on 29 June 2018 and the end of a scorching week in the sunny South West. Standing on platform 5 at Exeter St. David’s and waiting for the slightly delayed arrival of the 13.02 “Cornishman” to London Paddington, an announcement that the train is one coach short (a shortage of coaches, we are told!) and that the service is already “full and standing” is hardly the news any weary traveller wants to hear.
Faced with the prospect of standing in a crowded vestibule for two hours, I did what any astute reader of the GWR timetable would sensibly do – I went to the rather exclusive restaurant car (17 covers) and managed to secure a wonderful – and now extremely rare opportunity – to remind myself why eating on the move was always such a pleasure. Continue reading “Lunch on the Line – GWR-style”
Among a number of marvellous locations in Cornwall to savour GWR-style lower quadrant signalling, one of the most attractive must surely be the delightful town of Lostwithiel, standing on the banks of the River Fowey, with its station and signal box situated just over the 16th century Lostwithiel Bridge from the town itself.
Lostwithiel’s 1893 GWR signal box, known as Lostwithiel Crossing, boasts a 63-lever frame and gained a Grade II Listing in 2013 for being one of 26 “highly distinctive” boxes that were selected for listing in a joint project undertaken by English Heritage and Network Rail. Continue reading “Favourite photo-spots: Lostwithiel”
Heritage traction, mechanical signalling and good beer make the Norfolk Broads a distinctly attractive place to visit, not just for those interested in boating, but also for those who fancy remembering British Rail of the 1970s and 1980s, travelling in Mark III coaches to the distinctive roar of English Electric Class 37 locomotives.
Pictured top are 37419/425 approaching Acle on 1 June 2018 with the 13.17 Great Yarmouth-Norwich service
For the past four years a pair of Class 37s, on hire from Direct Rail Services, has top-and-tailed a three-coach “short set” on regular weekday services from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, as well as seasonal summer Saturday services to Great Yarmouth. Continue reading “A Wherry nice day out”
For its combination of manual signalling, interesting scenery and the regular chance of Class 37-haulage, there can be few places in England more attractive for rail enthusiasts than the Wherry Lines in Norfolk, linking Norwich with the seaside resorts of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
This 46¼-mile network features a total of nine manual signal boxes, two of which also operate swing bridges, a weekend-only request stop (Buckenham), and Berney Arms, one of the remotest and quietest stations (albeit without any signalling) in the whole of England. Continue reading “Favourite photo-spots: Oulton Broad North”
Basingstoke to Wareham is 96 miles on the direct route via Southampton Central, but take a new summer Saturday “seaside special” and the distance becomes exactly 150 miles, while the journey time increases from around one hour 40 minutes on the main line to almost four hours!
Two years after previous franchisee South West Trains took the welcome and innovative step of launching a summer Saturday service from Basingstoke to Weymouth via Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill – with bargain fares of £5.00 return from places in Dorset like Gillingham and Tisbury – South Western Railway has not only revived that service this year, but has gone one better. Continue reading “Slow Way Round (SWR) to Corfe Castle”
Several locations on the national network can boast a mixture of upper and lower quadrant signals, but my shot today of a train passing successive upper and lower quadrant signals at Dorrington got me wondering if there are any other places where it is possible to see such a scene?
Places which mix upper and lower quadrant include Gobowen (pictured below) and Yeovil Pen Mill, where in each case the down signals are upper quadrant, while those controlling up trains are traditional GWR-style lower quadrant variety. Continue reading “Mixed signals at Dorrington”
Lower quadrant, Great Western-style signals survive at a number of locations on the national rail network, notably in Cornwall, the Worcester area and on the Marches Route between Shrewsbury and Abergavenny.
But for all that remains, which includes numerous fixed distant signals in the Worcester area such as HK5 pictured below, there is now only one working lower quadrant distant signal on the network. Continue reading “Britain’s last working lower quadrant distant signal”