Baltic beauties

IMG_8804Last month’s return to the wonderful Harz metre-gauge network prompted me to pay a long-overdue first time visit to two more of the steam-worked narrow gauge railways in eastern Germany, both on the country’s attractive Baltic coast.

This charming duo is the 24km (14.5-mile) 750mm gauge Rügensche Bäderbahn (RBB) or Rasender Roland (“Raging Roland”), running along the south side of Rügen Island from Putbusto Göhren, and the 15.4km (9.6-mile) 900mm gauge Mecklenburgische Bäderbahn or Molllibahn (Molli), linking the town of Bad Doberan with the Baltic coast at Kühlungsborn West. Continue reading “Baltic beauties”

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Britain’s most easterly semaphores  

IMG_8370After my return last month to Britain’s most southerly semaphores at St Erth in Cornwall, it was time for what will probably be my final visit to our most easterly semaphores, namely those at Lowestoft Central.

The end of a 23½ -mile long Wherry Lines route from Norwich is signalled until next February (2020) by an attractive 1885-vintage Great Eastern Railway box with a  61-lever frame, which is thankfully arousing interest in its preservation from local people. Continue reading “Britain’s most easterly semaphores  “

Nine Wherry distants signalling the line

IMG_8203Class 37-haulage may finally be at an end on the Wherry Lines, but there are still a few months left to appreciate another charming aspect of these routes from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

What operator Abellio describes in its timetable leaflet as a “Victorian era signalling system” was due to have been replaced in the Spring, but the usual delays in any railway infrastructure project means the semaphore signals will now survive until a three-week shut-down in February 2020. Continue reading “Nine Wherry distants signalling the line”

Harz delights

IMG_7834Imagine an attractive and rural corner of Central Europe where you can travel on your own steam-hauled narrow gauge train just as the sun is rising, and then spend all day riding a vast narrow gauge network for around £13 a day.

What may sound like a dream is actually a reality on the delightful Harz metre-gauge system in eastern Germany, where for two consecutive days last week I was the only passenger aboard the 07.34 Gernrode to Alexisbad service.  Continue reading “Harz delights”

Britain’s newest ghost station

IMG_3830Built and opened in 1978 for a bargain price of just £50,000, Lelant Saltings Park & Ride was an instant success, and for more than four decades it was the place where thousands of visitors to St Ives left their cars and took a scenic four-mile train ride to the bustling artistic capital of Cornwall.

But Lelant Saltings is no more. Three months ago (in June 2019) the popular facility was replaced by smart new parking at nearby St Erth station, its 300 parking spaces now standing eerily empty and its half-hourly service to St Ives reduced to a Parliamentary level of one train a day in each direction. Continue reading “Britain’s newest ghost station”

A semaphore stronghold in North Yorkshire

IMG_7286Just three miles from the National Railway Museum is the start of one of Britain’s finest remaining outposts of mechanical signalling, the 17½ miles of railway route between Harrogate and Poppleton, a growing village north-west of York city centre.

After previously spending time photographing the signalling at Harrogate and other intermediate stations, including remarkable Knaresborough, my latest challenge was to visit three of the route’s gate boxes that are signalled by semaphores. Continue reading “A semaphore stronghold in North Yorkshire”