Lovely Laurencekirk


IMG_5185Re-signalling in the Aberdeen area has meant closure of signal boxes at Inverurie, Dyce and Newtonhill, but further south, on the section of East Coast Main Line to Dundee, there are a number of fine outposts of mechanical signalling, notably at Stonehaven and Arbroath, but also at half a dozen other smaller places.

One of these smaller locations is Laurencekirk, a town which is now home to many commuters into the Granite City. The station here fell victim to Beeching and was closed in September 1967, but was re-opened at a cost of £3 million in May 2009 and, like so many other reopened stations, has seen traffic boom. Continue reading “Lovely Laurencekirk”


Return to Stranraer Harbour


Three years after my last rail trip to Stranraer, the latest Scotrail Club 50 ticket offer (a bargain £17.00 return from Edinburgh Waverley) gave me the chance to revisit Scotland’s least known scenic railway, and to see if passenger traffic had improved from the dismal levels I noted in January 2016.

For those unfamiliar with SW Scotland, the 38-mile 55-minute journey south from Girvan takes you through some delightfully wild and spectacular scenery, with just one station stop at remote Barrhill and its diminutive signal box, then further pauses at the former stations of Glenwhilly and Dunragit, before arrival at the desolate former ferry port. Continue reading “Return to Stranraer Harbour”

Parliamentary train to Oxford

IMG_4773Nowhere in the London commuter belt does any rail traveller enjoy a less frequent or convenient rail service than that offered to the inhabitants of three attractive North Oxfordshire villages – Ascott-under-Wychwood, Finstock and Combe.

Ever since being reprieved from proposed closure during the Beeching era of the mid-1960s, this trio of halts has been served by a sparse “Parliamentary” service,  usually comprising just one up morning train and one down evening train a day, while there is currently no week-end service whatsoever. Continue reading “Parliamentary train to Oxford”

Favourite photo-spots: Kings Sutton


IMG_4591Not a place notable for its signalling interest, but a pleasantly rural spot that is worth a visit for the variety and frequency of traction passing through this very quiet station, four miles south of Banbury.

Kings Sutton was once a junction for the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, whose route via Chipping Norton and Kingham (closed to passengers in June 1951) left the main line just to the south of the station. Continue reading “Favourite photo-spots: Kings Sutton”

Testing time in Wuppertal


Intensive test running has begun on the Wuppertal suspension monorail ahead of its planned re-opening to passengers in August, ten months after damage to its track led to the suspension of services in mid-November.

During a visit to the town on 23 May, empty trains were running along the unique and world-famous 13.3km (8.3 mile) route at 3-4 minute intervals, with services being indicated outside stations, but the stations themselves remaining locked. Continue reading “Testing time in Wuppertal”

Cotswold lines bid HSTs good-bye

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Bidding farewell to the GWR HSTs on Saturday, 18 May, I decided to avoid the crowds at Paddington for the four evening departures. Instead, I opted to witness last day operations on the two routes that I know best, the Cotswold Line from Oxford to Worcester and the Golden Valley route from Swindon to Cheltenham Spa.

First up was a trip to Moreton-in-Marsh, a place I featured last month with its current IET Class 80x series-operated services. My aim was to get there early enough to photograph the 11.22 ex-Paddington from a good vantage point I had discovered south of the station then photograph its 15.29 return departure, as the last-ever up HST service from Moreton. Continue reading “Cotswold lines bid HSTs good-bye”

Wherry Lines’ working distant signals

IMG_4082While the wait goes on for its newly-installed colour light signalling to be commissioned (see my previous post “A Wherry big delay”), one feature to savour on the Wherry Lines in Norfolk is the remarkable number of working semaphore distant signals.

These distinctive yellow and black arms, with their fishtail ends, have all but disappeared in many other places – there is only one left in Scotland and two in Wales – yet the 46 miles of route from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft features almost a dozen working distant signals. Continue reading “Wherry Lines’ working distant signals”