Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

I go to the Severn Valley Railway a lot but thought it was high time i visited another preserved line, there are after all many in the UK. I visited the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway today and enjoyed it immensely. Its a lovely preserved line running from Wirksworth to Duffield in Derbyshire. Its not far away from me, the train journey from Birmingham to Duffield takes about an hour.

Used to the well established SVR the EVR is much more back to basics and seems a bit more fun too (and very friendly). They run DMUs mostly, and it was highly nostalgic to ride in a BR blue & grey DMU again, but with a motley collection of stock in their yard at Wirksworth. I shall definitely be visiting more often. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Pigeon House, Monks Risborough

Monks Risborough is a lovely village in Buckinghamshire at the foot of the Chilterns that has been in existence since pre-Norman times. Not quite as old but still very interesting is a building near the church of St Dunstan (originally between the church and a farmhouse) that dates from the 16th century.

This is the Pigeon House which now stands in a recreation ground. Pigeons were bred for food in the house though later it was used by the nearby farm as a cattle shelter. One curiosity is a door on the Northern side of the house which does not match the rest of the architecture and may have been originally part of another building.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tyseley Locomotive Works Open Day

Birmingham has a kind-of railway museum, really a locomotive works that has a few open days a year, and on Saturday i finally got around to going to one of them. Well i say "finally" but i have been to one of the open days before back in the mid-1980s, i was a child back then and everything at the adjacent Tyseley MPD was in BR blue and grey...
Nowadays i am a lot bigger and the trains at the MPD are in London Midland and Cross Country livery. The open day was great fun and included plenty of iconic motive power including City of Truro (the first locomotive to exceed 100mph of course) which was great to see. Personally though i enjoyed seeing the "modern image" locomotives more such as the Class 86 though these are coming up to 50 years old now so can hardly be considered that modern surely? Anyway you can see my photos here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Erdington rails

Usually i go out of Birmingham to do some train photography, i certainly have never done a proper photo shoot at my nearest station Erdington before mostly because it is usually a commuter station with a parade of 323 EMUs and little else. However this morning i saw on RTT that there were a few different workings going through the station so went along to take some photos. I've never seen a HST go through Erdington before and also never seen a Rail Head Treatment Train in operation until now. You can see the photos i took here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Class 487 (Waterloo & City)

The Class 487 Electric Multiple Units were unique on the British Railways / British Rail network in that their revenue service was spent entirely underground. They ran the Waterloo & City Line which nowadays is part of London Underground but originally the 1 and a half mile long line between Waterloo and the City of London was separate and operated by a succession of mainline railway companies until the advent of nationalisation and British Rail. In 1994 the line was transferred to LU to become a "tube" proper.

The O.V.S. Bulleid designed Class 487s were built for the Southern Railway during WW2 and entered service from 1940. The units consisted of driving motor cars (with cabs at both ends - and hence could operate singly) and trailers. In off-peak periods the Waterloo & City Line trains often ran with just a pair of motor cars while in peak times 3 trailers were usually marshalled between 2 motor cars.

They remained in service until being replaced by the Class 482 in 1993 seeing out their final days in Network South East livery no less. The Class 487s operated on 660v DC third rail and spent all of their working lives on their short underground line though they did see sunlight now and then when they needed heavy maintenance and had to be bought up to the surface. For test purposes one driving car operated above ground in the late 1970s for a short period.

One DMBSO driving car has been saved from the scrap man and is being restored at the London Transport Museum. It will be restored to Network South East livery.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Back to Worcester

Last year i worked in Worcester for 6 months and have come to really love this beautiful and historic city so it was nice to visit again yesterday, for rail and canal photography natch.

One thing i never did do when i worked there was take a train to Worcester Shrub Hill which is a lovely grand old station though somewhat out of the way compared to Foregate Street which was the station i used when i worked in Worcester. I also walked along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal up to Diglis Basin. Many photos of course, of Shrub Hill here and of the canal and basin here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Project #066 is a Focke-Wulf Fw190A-8 and has now reached completion. The last few model kits have been a bit slow going but we got there in the end! I've decided it makes more sense to move posts about model kits to my railway modelling blog so thats where any future posts on kit building will be from now on.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal is not one i have walked along (yet) but it is one i regularly travel over when i visit the Severn Valley Railway as the line crosses the canal via the Falling Sands viaduct in Kidderminster. The canal is 46 miles long and was opened in the early 1770s. The canal links up with the river Severn at Stourport and the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood.

The canal's strength was that it linked up the Severn to the Trent and was a major North-South link through the West Midlands, much of the trade being coal. Traffic from Birmingham and the Black Country used the canal as part of the route up to the Mersey. Later canal openings such as the Worcester & Birmingham Canal did take away much of its trade however it remained profitable until the end of the 19th century which is more than could have been said for a lot of canals. It remained independent until canal nationalisation in 1948 with commercial coal traffic continuing up until then.

The Southern terminus of the canal is at Stourport which was built as an inland port to serve the new transport link to the Severn. Stourport was the only town in Britain built because of the canals.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Diesel Gala

The highlight of my year in 2014 was probably going to the Diesel Gala at the Severn Valley Railway so of course i couldn't wait for the 2015 edition. It was fantastic too with a great line-up of guest locomotives most notably the only Class 17 still in existence and a working Class 35 (there is already one on the SVR in the process of restoration but i've never seen one actually running before).

So i enjoyed some thrash a.k.a. a number of trips along the line (travelling behind a Class 08, 11, 14, 17 and 52). Of course i took a lot of photos too. Now to wait for the 2016 gala.