BIGGER THINGS ON RAILS
At a Nene valley Railway special event a few years ago
Whats this then - you thought this site was all about buses didn't you?
Although I was a young loco-spotter c.1955-59 and spent many a happy hour on platform ends at Waterloo, Paddington, Euston and Kings Cross (alas no camera), and watching the comings and goings along the GC London extension, and those lovely Bo-Bo locos on the Metropolitan Line Aylesbury trains from my friends bedroom window near Willesden Green station, I somehow never did get to know much about railways.
I did manage the best of both worlds a couple of times at Mitre Bridge, Scrubbs Lane where a sharp eye and a rubber neck could cop trolleybus numbers on the 626/628/630 and still catch the names and numbers of speeding Castles, Kings, Halls, Manors and Granges etc on the Great Western main line below. As with coaches I did manage, in later years anyway, to snap the odd frame from time to time, including a few of London Underground and also later visited a lot of preserved lines, so what's on offer here is not going to be very historic but a real mixture nevertheless from home and abroad - I hope you find it interesting.
At the North Yorkshire Moors (later of Heartbeat and Harry Potter fame) Railway - 1983.
One of the latest privatised railway freight locos. All rather sad that they had to buy them from Canada!
British Rail offering to commuters on the Richmond -Broad Street line in the late 1970s. Very strange how these 'slam-door' trains served us admirably for decades but are now considered too unsafe for us to travel on.
The highlight (for many) of our secondary school year in the late fifties and also in 1960 was the annual visit to Swindon Works organised by railway enthusiast teacher Mr Johnson. This was early May of 1960, and whether by design, or accident, I don't know, soon after our train from Paddington arrived (hauled by an engine named Viscount Portal, which despite this moniker was a member of the post-war Castle Class), this famous old GWR puffer chugged into the other side of the station. As a prize exhibit in the national collection 3440 City of Truro has since made many an appearance on preserved lines up and down the country and has recently undergone a new re-paint. It dates from 1903 I think and is the first locomotive unofficially credited with breaking the 100mph barrier.
All sorts from the sixties, seventies eighties and nineties and (just) into the twenty-first century...
Photo taken to show the wonderful architecture of Gent St Pieters Station - the locomotive was just there to complete the view
AUSTRIAN INTERLUDE - 1987
St. Wolfgang 1987 - Near the beginning of its hard slog to the summit of the Schaffberg this rack railway bears many similarities to our own Snowdon Mountain Railway but is somewhat longer.
Getting ready to descend.
Trains a Grande Vitesse (TGV) Paris 1984.
At Chamonix - 2002.
Typical (I suppose) SNCF commuter train that took me from Calais to Lille 1983
Seeing this was my main reason for going to Lille again, after nearly twenty years in 1983.This extensive automatic driverless system pre-dated London's Docklands Light Railway by some five years.
I know nowt about this one which I saw steaming up and down in a siding in Opporto.
Definitely no prizes for guessing this location! - Yes it's Paris and this metro train is crossing the Seine in 1971. The centre (red) car was for first class passengers only - I'm not sure whether the system still has this option today.
Here's a closer look at one of the 1920s Thomson-Houston-Sprague train sets variations of which ran most of the services at this time although a couple of lines then already had the rubber-tyred stock for which the system became famous.
SOMEWHERE IN SWITZERLAND - 1965
It's a Crocodile - I think?
typical Swissrail EMU in 1965.
...........and, over to Germany, this delightful little one and a bit mile long line with 19th century engine and coaches should perhaps more accurately be described as a 'steam tramway'. In the pouring rain in 1965 it is seen running between Prien DB station and the lakeside at Chiemsee in Bavaria. It is, I understand, still fully operational although, as a backup now often uses a replica diesel powered tramway engine for motive power.
Also in Germany at about the same time was this little train with, as I recall very colourfully decorated coaches. This may have been a Munich but I can't remember. This is a rather poor photo from a 6x9 transparency taken on a Box Brownie!
This magnificent beast was hired by the LRTL in 1965 and I was fortunate to be a passenger. Known as the Glass Railcar (whatever that is in German) is was owned by the German State Railways. Typically 1930s, it was delivered as one of a pair, the second example having been destroyed by allied bombing.
SPANISH MYSTERY LINE
Well, not that much of a a mystery really, insofar as it can be said that its line of route was from the Costa Dorada resort of Salou to the nearby town of Reus, a distance if I remember correctly, of about 7 miles (11kms). Reus at this time had a military airfield that was being used by some charter holiday flights. I took these photos on my one and only visit to Spain in July of 1971. I made a number of trips on the line - Reus was the starting point to catch an ex- London Q1 trolleybus to Tarragona!. I'm sure that the line no longer exists and would be interested to hear from anyone who can supply further information. i.e closure date, details of the rolling stock, particulary those Bristish built trailers etc. I actually had contact a couple of years ago with a Spanish enthusiast, Alberto Gonzales who told me that a number of steam locos had in fact been saved from scrapping along with some original trailers, presumably those illustrated here, but did he mean those working in 1971 or those even older ones then derelict. Alberto's e-mail seems no longer current so if he reads this hopefully he will be in contact.
The design of the station building harks back to 19th century Mexico or South America. Only the obvious European tourists give the game away here
The line terminated and ran at right angles away from the main line station platform at Salou.
It was all in a pretty run down state in 1971 but clearly they did not like to throw anything away!. Around the back of the deserted depot/engine shed about halfway along the line were these (about six in all) obviously nineteenth century bellamy roofed horse tram style cars rotting slowly away. Interestingly they were built by the Falcon Engine & Car Works of Loughborough UK. It would be a great pity if none of these have survived. Also, inside the locked and gated shed could be seen two or three, again obviously 1890-1900 period small steam engines that looked as if they had not run for a very long time. I believe that these engines were also supplied by Falcon and were licence built versions of Dick Kerr designs. When was steam traction abandoned?
Motive power was then with three of these French built diesel railcars.
But the trailers were much older - again they were built by Falcon. In later days this company was better known as Brush. But were these supplied new I wonder or acquired second-hand? If so can anyone state where from?
The outskirts of Salou and of Reus (don't remember which this was) were very much un-developed then. I guess the hotels and/or apartments still exist but you might find it a little difficult to identify this spot today.
Presumably this was a redundant water tower.
Only a minor road maybe but no need was seen for any crossing warnings.
Sunday was its busiest day, when the locals were out in force.
A few views from 1965. Some of the carriages seen here were later to be acquired by the Llanfair & Welshpool Railway for use in Wales. I believe they are still working today.
STANDARD GAUGE PRESERVATION
North Yorkshire Moors Railway 1983.
At Minehead - West Somerset Railway - 1998
Not at all sure when and where I saw these two
I think this one might be at my namesake North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish. Maybe the red Hetton Colliery saddle-tank above is there too.
SEVERN VALLEY RAILWAY
I paid my thus far one and only visit to the Severn Valley line as long ago as the mid-1970s when the following views were recorded. I think then it had not yet reached its full extent.
43106 is a Ivatt Class 4MT (mixed traffic) engine. It looks very smart here but long since this photo, within the last few years in fact, it has had to be thoroughly overhauled which involved complete dismantling. I presume it now to be back in use.
45110, on the other hand, is a Stanier 'Black 5' - A very popular engine type with enthusiasts. There are several others like it preserved.
This famous Victorian steel bridge over the River Severn is a major feature of the line.
The last shot for now, until I get to go there again (one day, after 40+ years maybe!). I know now't about this one - it looks a bit contrived to me, a British design engine made up to look perhaps European. It looks newly restored here - was it something done for a film?? or am I completely wrong on this. My early trainspotting memory tells me that 60116 was the number given to a Gresley A1.
WHY O' WHY
I spotted these (about seven altogether) ex BR Pullman coaches parked like this at Marazion on the Cornish coast a few years ago. What a criminal act to allow these beautiful luxury coaches to get into this state. Why was it allowed to happen? When I returned there more recently they had all gone - was that for scrap or are some brave railway preservation souls attempting what looks here to be impossible? Maybe the answers are common knowledge, but I don't read railway periodicals so would love to know.
The Brighton Belle at Clapham Junction in 1967 - I don't know whether the above were electric or steam stock. If the former I wonder if any of them are in this rake! Some of the coaches were numbered but many carried classical and mythological names. This famous train lasted until 1972 but for its last three years or so fell victim to Richard Marsh's corporate image game and the coaches were painted turquoise blue & grey -The classic dark brown & cream with gold lining and lettering was the very essence of this train and should have been retained, but as it became it was utterly horrible, it took away all the mystique and spoilt the exclusivity of this wonderful service.
See what I mean - yuk!
SOUTHERN STEAM - THE FINAL GASPS - CLAPHAM JUNCTION IN 1967
Reduced to more mundane work.
That's better - rebuilt version doing what it was meant to do.
Presumably empty stock - there's nearly a dozen coaches on this one!
ISLE OF WIGHT RAILWAY - NOW AND THEN
When the old steam railway was decimated in the 1960s basically one line remained. This was converted to electric using redundant former LT Tube Stock adapted to the Southern Region three rail system, at first some 1927 series trains and later 1938 stock. This photo of the latter is of about 1994. This stock was nominally seventy years old in 2008 and I think one set has been restored to pre-war LT red/cream. At least one other however carries a garish scheme liking it to a childrens theme park railway.
But it wasn't always like this - Here's what I saw at Ryde in 1964...............
Not sure but I think at one time the carriage stock there included a number of ex-Metropolitan Railway coaches. I had one previous experience of this operation,a family holiday in 1956 when we stayed in Ventnor and travelled through a long tunnel on leaving the station.
.........and this was still running in 1964 too. I feel sure it was green though I've seen photos of it as red.
The Ryde Pier tramway opened originally as horse-drawn. It was converted to electric, then petrol driven 1927-1959. Diesel engines were used from 1959 until closure in 1969. Most of the trackwork apparently still exists.
SOUTHEND PIER RAILWAY
The one and a quarter mile long Southend Pier is the longest in the British Isles and has had its own railway for, albeit with a rather chequered career, probably around a hundred years. I well remember being taken there by my grandmother as a three or four year old and can still recall rattling along in an open-sided carriage similar to those operated on the Volks Electric at Brighton, indeed I think that when the time came for their replacement in the early fifties some of the trains actually migrated to Brighton and may still be in use there today. The photos below are those I took in the 1970s of the 1950s replacement trains which were smart modern looking fully enclosed sets that were constructed, strangely enough, by a small speciality car manufacturer rather than a railway carriage maker. The pier's history since that time is a sad one and during the last quarter of the 20th century it suffered at least two disasterous fires. Money for upkeep of the railway (mainly its elecrtrical equipment and track) by Southend Corporation, and of the pier itself was not always there when it was needed and this, together with the fires resulted in long periods of non-operation. The future is seemingly better now but at the cost of losing the magnificent trains below and their replacement by a rather ugly and noisy diesel replacement, the electrical apparatus having, I believe, been declared unsafe many years ago.
These carriages were constructed for the railway c.1949-50 by AC Cars of Thames Ditton, Surrey. AC Cars were a low volume car maker specializing in sports saloons.
TYNE & WEAR METRO
Crossing the Tyne.
Other views to follow, mostly from 35mm transparencies 1980-83
I place this here only because I spotted it laying alongside one of the Tyne & Wear Metro stations back in, I think, 1983. If it was a restoration project under way then I do hope it succeeded. Perhaps someone can say what became of it.
BRITISH RAILWAYS - AROUND & ABOUT
At Old Oak Common 1964.
This will show up my lack of railway knowledge! The negative immediately before this is of a Hull Corporation AEC Regent bus while the one after is a Leicester City Leyland PD3, so this could be in either place. I suspect the latter - if so it might be the train I have arrived on from Marylebone but those in the know will be aware from the locomotive number 45267 and the various headcodes. I used the former GCR line to go to Nottingham, Leicester and Manchester in 1964/5.
Passing through Hitchin Station - 1964.
Passing through Marks Tey c1964.
Sudbury (Suffolk) 1964.
LONDON UNDERGROUND ODDS & ENDS
I took surprisingly few photos of the Underground - I'll gradually build up a small selection here though................
I could never quite understand why District Line trains were run like this, formed of a mish-mash of different stock that looked very untidy. I always had a wish that I could get them all on the sidings and sort them out . As far as I can see, this train at Edgware Road station in 1964 has clerestory roof stock of 1923, 1927 and 1931 plus a Q38 (basically same as CO/CP stock of 1938 but specially configured to run with earlier cars).
A train headed by a Q23 driving motor and en-route to Ealing Broadway.
Memory has deserted me and I can't place this at all.
A somewhat neater assemblage of Q stock on a District working, I think near Ealing Broadway. This set would appear to exclude any Q23 carriages, unless the driving car at the other end was one.
When I commenced my quarter century of service with LTE I was posted to work within a department called Traffic Audit and initially went to their Hillingdon offices. At this time (Autumn of 1962) the 'F' stock all-steel trains aka 'Tanks'of 1920 on the Metropolitan Line were 'on their last knockings' . I travelled from Willesden Green each day changing from Bakerloo to Metropolitan at Wembley Park. I soon found out that by going a little earlier and ensuring I caught the 07.58 Uxbridge train I could be certain (for several weeks anyway) that it would be a train of this stock, starting its day and coming via the flyunder from Neasden Depot, operating it. Not for me then those boring shiny new A60/A62's (although I always liked the 1938 CO/CP's). These wonderful heavy noisy old bangers had, as I recall, very efficient heaters which were much appreciated as the worst winter since 1947 approached and finally hit. The above shot was actually taken in Spring of 1963 after the type had gone from the Met. It's not on the running line but parked on an accommodation siding just north of Willesden Green station. Maybe it was awaiting a tow away to the scrap merchant!
Although I admired them much it seems I never raised my camera to a CO/CP stock train. Their design to me typified 1930's elegance coupled with functionality. Here though, caught from the footpath alongside the line near Acton Town station is perhaps the next best thing, a post-war incarnation which was known as 'R' stock. There were technical differences which I do not begin to understand but their distinctive feature that I recall is that they were always painted white! I think some, or maybe they were not the same, were also painted silver with go faster red stripes at one time.
Caught on camera at the time of the 1963 Underground Centenary celebrations when there was public access at Neasden Depot a bright and new A60/62 stock train heads citywards.
A few years later a train of A60/62 Metropolitan Line stock arrives at Croxley.
Took this one just before this section of the Northern Line was withdrawn as part of the re-organisation for the coming Victoria Line.
Now it can be told, for I'm sure the motorman would have got a heap of trouble if found out, but on seeing me photograph his train he spoke to me, found out I was staff and took me for a cab ride on his next trip! This was a train of c1927 tube stock, although on this section the tunnels were big enough for the larger former GN & CR trains. Back in 1960 I went to London Airport by pre-1938 Piccadilly Line train with my friend, and we failed to hear the announcement when, on the way, the train terminated at Northfields and it went off to the depot with us on board. We had to be led through the train to exit via the drivers cab and my abiding memory was of the immense heat that almost burnt our ears as we went through the narrow gap between the motor units which were not underfloor as on later stock.
A train of 1959 stock at speed on the Piccadilly Line
Not often seen in daylight unless you made special efforts were the 'ugly ducklings' of the Underground, namely the service locos, often battery operated and used at night when the current was switched off. This one rests in the sunshine within the confines of Acton Depot.
No - don't go loooking for this one on your Underground map. This photo dates from 1973 when I spent a couple of days in Berlin. Apparently this sign was made up and presented a few years earlier by LTE Publicity to the Berlin U-Bahn. Wittenbergplatz Station was very near to my hotel then and it was not long before I was taking a ride on my first evening there. I managed to get to Templehof (Berlin Airport) and to the station for the Olympic Stadium built as a Nazi showpiece for the 1936 Games there. The next day I got bolder and traversed the lines that then went under that wretched Wall, through a small part of the eastern sector and out again into the west. Armed guards patrolled the platforms of the closed stations there and, of course, the trains did not stop. One station there where trains did stop was above ground Friedrichstrasse, apparently to facilitate interchange for west Berliners with the overground S-Bahn, however as this was run by the east Berlin authorities most of them boycotted it.
This sighting came as a surprise to me even though I worked in the Publicity Department at the time.
I spent a couple of evening hours in the Kurfurstendam area there a few years ago (my - hasn't the city changed since 1973!) but had no time to ride the U-Bahn and see whether the sign was still there - can anyone confirm?
SOME GREAT LITTLE TRAINS OF WALES
(AND A FEW OTHER PLACES TOO)
This paragraph and all its photos 'went missing' recently and I am taking the opportunity to re-instate it with a few extras.
To get it started again here's three views at the Snowdon Mountain Railway I captured in 1969
SNOWDON MOUNTAIN RAILWAY
The summit is always in need of supplies so goods trains are occasionally run
This train is descending to Llanberis. I wished I'd had the oppotunity to be actually here when an upward train passed
........but I did snap one here (1969 or 1970?). The climb is beginning but there's a long way to go yet. Although We've been to this part of North Wales many times we have yet to sample this ride, but in 1987 did try out its Austrian counterpart to the summit of the Shaffberg.
.........and here's a couple of much more recent views (at Minfford, the first station out of Porthmadog), both within the last three years.
THE WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY
Although we have regularly visited Porthmadog, both before and since
the mammoth enterprise to re-instate this railway there was completed I have yet to get much photography done. A first ride is still awaited as we have not had the best of weather.
Motive Power is mainly in the hands of a number of these rather large Garret locomotives, mostly repatriated from South Africa for whose systems they were originally UK built.
Rather controversially, trains starting away have to use and cross the public highway to access the start of their route to Caernavon running a few hundred yards across the river bridge. No gates! - safety is ensured by visual and audible signals.
Its initial routeing (not the original) takes it away from Porthmadog through a rather run-down outskirts area. Just as well that the adjacent house here is derelict as I doubt it would be comfortable to reside there!