Slow Train

Jul. 12th, 2016 09:26 pm
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
I love this video to one of my favourite Flanders and Swann songs, an elegy for the passing age of the branch line railway.



Not all of these stations closed in the end - St Erth to St Ives is still a beautiful run, and you can't beat the view from St Ives station, even on a cloudy day.

Read more... )
sally_maria: 1950s British Railways logo (British Railways)
Last weekend it was the Steam Gala at my local heritage railway, now a fixture of the late May bank holiday weekend.

The weather was nicer this year, as I enjoyed my customary brake van ride from Toddington to Cheltenham and back, and as usual took lots of pictures.

2016 GWSR Steam Gala

Two Manors - click through to my Flickr account for more pictures.


Highlights of the weekend )
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
Even though I'm no longer involved in the Tolkien Society committee, I still try to get to the AGM weekend every year. It's a great excuse to spend the weekend with friends, often listen to an interesting speaker at the Annual Dinner, and visit a new and interesting town/city. (There are so many interesting places I would probably have never got round to visiting if it wasn't for the TS.)

This year it was York, and while I'm sure I would have visited more of the city if it wasn't for the stinking cold I've been fighting, I did get to see quite a lot of the centre, including the Shambles, the Minster, the Yorkshire Museum and of course, the National Railway museum.

NRM April 16

(Click through for more pictures.)

Flying Scotsman fever has of course seized the museum, as it has the country - there are a lot of interesting presentations of the history of the FS express service, which existed long before the steam locomotive bearing the name, and the media and publicity attention it had from the very beginning.
(I must admit I'm more of a GWR fan - and my discussion of the exhibits included pointing out the model of City of Truro - which did 100mph long before that LNER upstart. ;-D)


On Sunday morning I went round with a group from the TS, and demonstrated that a little learning is a dangerous thing by attempting to explain various railway related things. I was obviously speaking too loud, as I was pounced on by one of the museum volunteers, who wanted to talk me into joining them. *blushes* Still, it was a good visit, and I was pleased to find Mallard, and a Royal Mail sorting carriage, which I missed the first time round.
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
As someone of you have seen elsewhere, this weekend is my local heritage railway's Steam Gala. It's been too long since I paid them a visit, and I couldn't resist the temptation to see some new engines, and take another ride in a brake van.

As they've done in previous years, they had three visiting engines from other railways, as well as four of the home fleet in steam. (This involves complicated logistics with the timetable, with six of them actively involved in pulling four trains, plus one on standby, just in case one of them breaks. The gala runs for three days, and they have a different permutation every day...)

The visitors were Wadebridge: )

and City of Wells )

both West Country Class "spamcans" - a very strange shape for people like me used to the classic GWR style but variety is the spice of life, they say. :-)

And also Raveningham Hall )

which is what I expect a steam engine to look like. :-)

Another attraction was a further Southern engine - P&O Line - which has taken the best part of 30 years to be reconstructed, and which was displayed away from Toddington for the first time. (She might actually be in traffic later this year, but then they said that last year and the year before. ;-D)

3 years in the life of a Merchant Navy Class )

The next project was on display in the car park at Toddington this year...

In case you were wondering just what takes that long )

Other highlights that don't photograph so well included the brake van ride, as always. I'm usually so much an indoor person, who'd happily not step foot outside as long as I have my books and my computers, but when it comes to riding exposed to the wind and the rain, with a great view of the surroundings, I don't mind at all. This year we were right behind the engine going through the tunnel on the return journey, and it was fascinating to watch the roof in the light of the fire from the firebox. (On the way down we were at the back of the train, and it's pitch black, no light at all to be seen.)

And finally, a train actually moving:
Wadebridge coming into Winchcombe station )
sally_maria: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway logo (GWSR)
As some of you will have seen elsewhere, I've been squeeing over Saturday's episode of Doctor Who, not only because I thought it was very good, though I did, but because of the local interest.

Some of the episode was filmed on location very close to home - in Greet Tunnel on my local heritage railway, about a mile from my house. They also used one of our DMUs, normally used for the shorter run from Winchcombe to Laverton, as the train.



There are shots of the filming on this week's Doctor Who Extra as well, from about 7.10 mins in. You just have to ignore the narration that claims that one: they are in Gloucester, and two: that the tunnel is disused. The hundreds of people who travel through it every week for most of the year might find that a little surprising. :-)
sally_maria: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway logo (GWSR)
Aerial views, showing our trains, both steam and diesel, and quite a bit of the beautiful part of England the railway runs through.

sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
This morning I got an email from the railway volunteers list, saying that the steam department had run out of clean rags for cleaning the engines - I suppose 7 engines for 4 days on the trot is going to go through a lot of them. :-) We had some old unwanted towels, so we decided to take them up to Toddington this afternoon.

It was a pretty miserable day, but I'm not sorry we went, as we were greeted by this...

P1010007

8572 on a low-loader, waiting to go back to the North Norfolk railway. We went off to find someone to give the rags to and when we came back they were shunting the tender out into the car park as well, and another lorry was coming in to pick it up. We waved her goodbye, and I'd love to see her in her usual home one of these days.
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
The weekend was the first Steam Gala for my local railway for a number of years, and they decided to push the boat out with a major event, including 3 visiting locos (925, 80072, 8572) as well as the 4 that normally work the line.

I was working Friday and Saturday, unfortunately, but was able to volunteer to help in the cafe yesterday (very busy, lot of fun) and to go as a visitor today. My shiny new phone came in very handy, and I took quite a few pictures, some of which you can see on Flickr here.

Highlights of the day including travelling from Toddington down to Cheltenham in the brake van on the back of the freight train they had running all weekend, as well as 3 passenger trains.

Brake van )

As you can probably tell from the picture, it was a draughty trip but the view all round was wonderful. We had the chance to chat with the guard, and a couple of experienced volunteers, and hear a lot more about the history and running of the railway. The most exciting bit was probably going through the tunnel - it's nearly 700 ft long and curves through the hill, so the middle, in the unlit brake van, was pitch black. The last time I was anywhere that dark, it was down a coal mine.

Coming back to Toddington in a slighter better lit vehicle, I looked around the site and had a ride on the narrow-gauge railway. Only about half a mile, but their workshop was open and interesting to look around - though I was rather amused by this sign on the way out.

What did they think we were going to get up to in there? )

I also climbed up onto the foot plate of this monster...

Merchant Navy Class 35006 )

She's been under restoration at Toddington since 1983 (she'd been heavily cannibalised for parts for other engines), and they're hoping that she'll be ready to steam later this year.

Finally, back in Cheltenham the Racecourse was being used for a Bank Holiday weekend fun event, and this was the sight we were greeted with, as we came into the station. :-)

sally_maria: (Amy Pond - Happy Girl)
I learnt from [livejournal.com profile] nakeisha that apparently the UN has decreed that the 20th March should be the International Day of Happiness

So I thought it was a good excuse to talk about 5 things that make me happy - if you feel like doing the same I'd love to see it.

1. A vid that always makes me smile and want to dance in my chair.

Starships by bironic
- Starships are meant to fly. :-)

Embed under here )
2. A series of cartoons that you may have seen in your local card shop - but you can see them on their blog for free.

Harold's Planet

My most recent favourite... )

3. Doctor Who is back on the 30th March. :-) I can't wait to find out more of the mystery of Clara/Oswin.

From the BBC Doctor Who blog

4. Things are going well for my favourite railway - the GWSR. (Well, apart from getting me as a volunteer. ;-D)

The landslips on the line have been repaired, the available track is longer than ever and the work to rebuild the line to Broadway is continuing. I'm very much looking forward to the Gala for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May, and the chance to see the 925 Cheltenham as close as she can get to her namesake school.

One image from the opening day of the season. )

5. For my ebook reader, Calibre and even more, the Fanfiction Downloader Plug-in. It works with dozens of different archives, from AO3 and FF.net to smaller ones for individual fandoms, and the programmers are very good at listening to suggestions and including improvements. It's so much nicer to read long stories on my reader than on my desktop, and has kept me entertained through my daily bus journey.
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
Those of you who follow me in other places may well be aware that our local heritage railway has recently completed repairs to a major break in the line caused by a landslip. The formal opening is this week, and next weekend (3/4th November) they are going to running trains the whole length of the line for the first time for over a year. (http://www.gwsr.com/news/latest-news/changing-trains-after-30th-october-%E2%80%93-a-24-mile-round-trip!-.aspx)

I'm planning on a visit to the railway - including the steam train ride from Cheltenham to Winchcombe, the DMU trip out to the northernmost point of the line (where I haven't been before), hopefully lunch at the tearooms at Toddington and a visit to the updated museum there. If anyone is free on Sunday and feels like joining me, it would be lovely to see you.

If not, I hope I'll be able to take some pictures, and they'll go on my Tumblr blog of steam engines - http://www.tumblr.com/blog/uksteamengines (Most of the pictures aren't my personal ones, but I do put them in when I can.)
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
It was quiet yesterday and I wasn't down to work all day anyway, so my manager sent me home an hour or so early. It was such a nice day (not hot, but sunny and warm enough) it seemed to shame to head straight home to glue myself to the internet.

So I decided to have a coffee in my favourite local tea shop, the one that sells Winstones Ice Cream. :-) It's on Hailes St - I think - one of the interesting quirks of Winchcombe is that the main street has 3 or 4 different names as it goes through the (fairly small) town. Then I took the route back home through the houses and along the side of the river, which was a very pleasant walk.

Encouraged by the continued good weather, and the great news that our local heritage railway has made the money it needs to complete repairs to the landslip on the line that happened a couple of years ago, I decided to pay them a visit and enjoy the countryside from a steam train.

Oh and take pictures of the engine for my Tumblr blog. :-)

One picture under here )

It's great to see them doing well, and I'm looking forward hopefully to the day when I might be able to get the train to Broadway, or even link up with the main line at Honeybourne.
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
For those of us who grew up before that new-fangled Thomas the Tank Engine series. ;-)

Time Flies By When I'm The Driver of a Train.



Ivor the Engine - pssssht-CUF! pssssht-CUF! pssssht-CUF!

sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
We had a good day on the Severn Valley Railway, but I was a little disappointed that I hadn't managed to get to the GWSR's gala in celebration of 175 of the Great Western Railway.

So it was rather exciting on the way home down the motorway, when we realised that the trailer we were passing in the slow lane was carrying a steam engine. And not just any steam engine but the City of Truro originally built in 1903 and with a strong claim to be the first steam train to do over 100mph.

Picture under the cut )

It was obviously leaving Toddington for another railway, to take part in their GWR 175 celebrations.

I'm looking forward to visiting the GWSR again, probably after they've had the chance to restore services to Cheltenham after a landslide on the line, but in the meantime they've put up a video to give a sample of the event.

YouTube video here )
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
Yesterday my family and I visited the local Heritage Railway Steam Gala, which we really enjoyed.

I'll put the pictures of steam engines (there are more on my Flickr account) under a cut, but before I do, some things will make much more sense if you read this thread - when you've stopped LOLing...

ETA - thanks to help from [livejournal.com profile] wellinghall, I've identified the unexpected aircraft as a Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, who were doing a show at Prescott Hill Climb.

Read more... )

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