Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

The Bridgnorth Cliff Railway is a funicular railway that links the high and low parts of the Shropshire town of Bridgnorth. The railway was built in the 1890s to help provide an easier way to travel between the 2 parts of the town, the high town being where Bridgnorth Castle's ruins are. Before the advent of the funicular railway traveling up to the high town was a 200 step climb so no doubt the opening of the railway was warmly welcomed by most!

Originally the railway used water and gravity to operate with water being pumped into a tank in the "top" railway car to counteract the weight of the "bottom" car and hence allow movement. This was changed to electricity when the railway was upgraded in the 1940s and the original wooden railway cars were replaced with lighter aluminium ones in the 1950s, these remain in use today. The railway is only 61m in length though rises a height of 34m.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Planet was the UK's last manned lightship having served in Liverpool and later in the Channel Islands. The ship was built and launched in Liverpool in 1960 and served as the Mersey Bar lightship until 1972. After leaving BAR station Planet was sold to Trinity House and headed south serving until 1989 at CHANNEL station. Planet was then sold and has been restored to its original condition, arriving at its current berth at Liverpool's Albert Docks in 2006. Planet is now open to the public as a cafe and a museum.

Lightships are ships which act as lighthouses of course. They were used where the waters were too deep or conditions were unsuitable for building a permanent lighthouse. Most lightships have been replaced by permanent structures or buoys nowadays but there are still a number of unmanned lightships around British waters.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Back to the Severn Valley

The Severn Valley Railway is firmly on my visit itinerary these days after last year's rediscovery. Yesterday i paid my first visit of the year to the SVR, heading up to the Engine House in Highley and then onto Bridgnorth. This time i had time to visit the low part of the town, i'll go up to the high part later in the year when i have more time and the weather is better. It was a bit cold up in Shropshire yesterday, but i took it all stoically. Even standing atop the Bridgnorth station footbridge waiting for a train to come in the sleet!

It was all a good day though my highlight was finally getting to travel on the SVR's heritage DMU (below). Maybe some might think this would be a strange "highlight" but this is the kind of train i grew up travelling on so it was highly nostalgic (though they were blue and grey when i used to travel on them!) You can see the photos i took on the SVR here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle dates from the Norman conquest though little of the original castle remains. The castle occupied a commanding position on raised land and was a major fortress during the Middle Ages.

The castle was built on the orders of William the Conqueror though there may have been a Saxon fortress on the site beforehand. Following an initial wooden Norman castle a stone castle was built by Henry II in 1170. Major additions were made to the castle by Edward III and IV as the castle was kept as a royal refuge and a regional symbol of power during the Middle Ages.

As castles fell out of favour after the Civil War it fell into disuse and decay. It was converted into a mansion by the Duke of Newcastle in the 17th century but badly damaged by rioters in 1831 who were protesting the Duke's opposition to parliamentary reform. Since 1878 the castle has been an art gallery and museum.

Thoroton, Robert. 'Section II: Nottingham Castle.' Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Ed. John Throsby. Nottingham: J Throsby, 1790. 17-33. British History Online. Web. 13 February 2015.

About Nottingham Castle.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tamworth station

Back to Tamworth but this time for some rail photography. To be honest i found the station a bit frustrating with its high and low levels. It seemed like i was frequently in the wrong place at the wrong time and missed a few interesting trains.

I still managed to catch a fair number including a lot of freight. I guess once i have been a few times i'll start to get the hang of it and find the best angles. Having said that some of the pics i took today arn't bad at all (even if i say so myself!) My photos can be seen here.