Saturday, 5 September 2015

Class 31 Diesel Locomotive A British Railways Workhorse

Class 31 31288 on the sidings at Northampton      Photo: Charles Moorhen


The Class 31, a one-time powerful workhorse of the British Rail network, became one of the railway enthusiasts favourite diesel locomotives.

As romantic and evocative as the steam locomotive was, with such impressive names as Mallard, the IronDuke and TheFlying Scotsman, like all good things it was inevitable that the golden age of steam would someday have to come to an end. And so it was that in the mid-1950’s the dawn of the diesel locomotive, such as the Class31, began to creep over the horizon.


By 1967, the majority of steam locomotives had passed into history, (though fortunately a number were saved by heritage lines in England), superseded by a cleaner more efficient type of motive power – the diesel locomotive.
Although there was a certain amount of initial animosity against these new and powerful machines by railway enthusiasts, one such diesel locomotive - the Class 31 - did eventually become a firm favourite among enthusiast and train-driving crews alike.

                                                   31306 at Bletchley - late 1980's    Photo: Charles Moorhen

As one of the classes of diesels known as the ‘Pilot SchemeLocomotives’, ordered by British Railways to replace their costly and out-of-date steam locomotives, the Class 31  was built by Brush Traction in Loughborough. With a top speed of 90 mph (though the majority never exceeded 75 mph) and weighing in at 49 tonnes, the first of the class made its appearance in public service in September 1957.

Incidentally, the building of the full fleet took only five years to complete with the final locomotive leaving the works in 1962.

Originally intended to be used mainly on the Eastern Region, they were soon to be seen frequently on the Western and London Midland regions and eventually across the whole of the railway network performing freight duties; although they also carried out relief passenger work. With a fuel tank capacity of 750 gallons (2409 litres) of diesel, they were ideal for a wide variety of duties.
























                                     31467 Entering Bletchley station      Photo: Charles Moorhen  

The Class 31’s, which were later divided into sub-classes 31/0, 31/1 and 31/4, with a few classified as 31/5 and 31/6, were easily identified by the large head-code boxes on the roof above the cab. 

However, the first twenty examples of the fleet were not fitted with these boxes and were quickly nicknamed ‘Skinheads’ by enthusiasts.  

The sub-class, 31/4, was powerful enough to haul a train of up to eleven BR Mark 3 carriages though in practice the actual number of carriages hauled at any one time was often fewer than five.                                                                                                                                                                        
Apart from the day-to-day work that the Class 31’s carried out, four of the fleet made brief appearances on television. 31233 and 31107 were used in a ‘crash’ scene for the BBC series ‘Top Gear’ on the 21st August 2006, to promote safety at level crossings.
31414 featured in an episode of ‘Casualty’, while 31108 was seen in an episode of ‘EastEnders’ filmed on the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough – once again involving a railway level crossing.

                                            31462 passing Banbury in the late 1980's  Photo: Charles Moorhen

Like the steam locomotives that they superseded, the Class 31 fleet of diesel locomotives eventually became redundant with many ending up in pieces in scrap yards. However, around twenty-five or so survived this fate and were bought by heritage railway lines up and down the country.
31018, the first locomotive built, is now in preservation in BR Blue livery at the National Railway Museum in York, while the last locomotive to be built is preserved in BR Green livery.

                         31168 in a neglected state on Bletchley sidings in the late 1980's   Photo: Charles Moorhen
                                      
With a number of these sturdy locomotives still surviving, the legend of the 31 lives on!


A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video



Bluebell Heritage Railway Events For 2016


Monday, 6 July 2015

'Tornado' Locomotive Sets Off Fire Alarm

UK Railway News


Steam locomotive Tornado accidentally set off a fire alarm at Edingburgh's Waverley railway station
Tornado Passing Through Huntingdon in 2014     Photo: Charles Moorhen


It seems that a few members of the public were a bit too quick off the mark in phoning the fire services as they passed Edinburgh's Waverley station on Sunday 5th July 2015.


 At 3pm in the afternoon, three fire engines were dispatched to the station in response to calls from the public stating that they believed a building was on fire on Waverley Bridge.



It soon transpired that the 'fire' was a false alarm.  The smoke had come from the steam locomotive 'Tornado' as it passed through the station.

Still.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Other 'Tornado' posts you may wish to see: 
Steam Locomotive 60163 'Tornado' To Visit Cornwall June 2017
92 Year-Old Model Maker Completes Matchstick Tornado Locomotive.
Tornado Steam Locomotive 2016 Rail Tours Start in April.


A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video








Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Pensioner Completes Tornado Locomotive Matchstick Model

Pensioner George Day recently completed a matchstick and copper wire model of the Tornado steam locomotive
George Day With 'Tornado' Matchstick Model


92 year-old model maker, George Day, who lives in Darlington, has recently completed the construction of his latest model railway locomotive - 60163 Class A2 Tornado - made entirely from matchsticks and copper wire.


 
Pensioner Mr. Day, who worked for the London North Eastern Railway when he left school at the age of 16, and then for British Railways and British Rail at Bank Top Engine Shed in Darlington, has, over the years, created dozens of models of the steam locomotives he worked on either as a cleaner, fireman or driver.

Speaking about the making of the Tornado model, he said: "It took me over a year to complete, but I am really pleased with the Tornado; it is certainly one of the best models I have made."

The Real Tornado Locomotive
A stickler for detail, Mr. Day also uses copper wire to represent the pipes that would be on the locomotives.

Spending a few hours each day crafting his models, which require thousands of matches, he joked: "I think I am keeping the matchstick industry going, given how many I use."

His current project is another locomotive, a J27, which featured in the long-running television drama, Hearbeat.

More 'Tornado' posts:


A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video




Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Shillingstone Railway Acquires Virgin Mk 3 Buffet Car

Heritage Railway News




The Shillingstone Railway Project based at Shillingstone station, opened in 1863 and owned by the Dorset Central Railway, has acquired a former main line coach to add to its inventory of railway items.


 
The coach, transported by road from Chilmark, is a Mark 3 Buffet Car built for British Rail in 1970 at their Derby works.

The Mk 3 saw service with British Rail before joining the ranks of Virgin Trains rolling stock where it worked until retirement in 2002.  It was then stored until 2005 and was used by the Army for bomb disposal training.

The Shillingstone Railway Project plan to restore the Mk 3 coach - which at time of writing still carries the early Virgin Trains livery - hoping to run it on their 1/4 mile of track from Shillingstone station pending planning permission.


A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video

         

Ffestiniog Railway's New Pullman Observation Coach

Heritage Railways News


Ffestiniog Railway's Pullman Observation Coach on Home Turf


Rail passengers using London's Paddington station throughout the month until the 27th of June 2015 have the opportunity to see a superb example of moden-day railway coachbuilding skills.


 
On display between platforms 8 & 9, celebrating 150 years of passenger service on the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway (F&WHR), is a brand new Pullman observation carriage designed and built by craftsmen at the railway's Boston Lodge works, at a cost of £250,000.

Paul Lewin, spokesman for the 40-mile railway said: "Our brand new luxury Pullman Observation Saloon marks the beginning of a new era for our railway and sets high standards to enable passengers to enjoy the glorious Snowdoniam scenery in style.

However, it is not only passengers at Paddington station who will get the chance to see the stunning new coach, it will also be visiting Bristol and the Shrewsbury Flower Show, with other venues yet to be announced.

The Pullman Observation Saloon will go into public service in 2016.

More Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway post on this blog:
Ffestiniog Railway Building New Waggon Shed

Further details on the Ffestiniog Railway website.


A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video




Friday, 17 April 2015

34016 'Bodmin' Ex-Spam Can Steam Locomotive

Photo: Charles Moorhen



Battle of Britain Locomotive Still Battling




Belonging to a class of steam locomotives known as the West Country class, 34016 'Bodmin', seen here in preservation at Alton railway station on the Mid-Hants Railway also known as the 'Watercress Line', is as good today as she was when she hauled an endless succession of trains between London and Cornwall.


'Bodmin' was one of 110 locomotives, numbered 34001 to 34110, designed by O.V.Bulleid specifically for hauling passenger trains on the non-electrified main lines of the Southern Railway.

The first of the class, 34001 'Exeter', came out of Brighton Works brand-new in May 1945. Production of the class increased to the point that by November of the following year, 48 locomotives of the West Country class were in traffic. They quickly earned the nickname 'Spam Cans' from the trainspotting community due to the fact that the locomotives were encased in air-smoothing body panels.

  At the beginning, the West Country locomotives were given names associated with locations in south-west England such as cities, towns and popular tourist destinations. The first example of this naming being, 34001 'Exeter'.

In November 1946 the naming policy was changed. As more locomotives of the class began to be used around Kent, a decision was made to name a number of engines after aircraft, airfields, RAF squadrons and key personalities associated with the WW2 Battle of Britain. And although identical in every way, a new class of locomotive was born - the Battle of Britain class.

Photo: Charles Moorhen
34016 'Bodmin' saw sterling service over the years on Southern rails. On more than one occasion she headed the 'Man of Kent' train between Charing Cross station and Dover Marine station, such as on the 13th September 1958.

On the 11th April 1958, she was swarmed over by railway enthusiasts at the annual Eastleigh Works Open Day as she stood resplendent in her new 'rebuilt' condition which included the removal of her air-smoothing body panels, leaving her as she appears today.
By June 1964, after 19 years of service, she had been withdrawn.

With the last of the West Country/Battle of Britain class, 34110 '66Squadron', emerging new from Brighton Works in January 1951, the writing was on the wall for steam locomotion.
As a result, the majority of the West Country, Battle of Britain, and their sister the Merchant Navy classes, ended their days cut up in scrapyards.

Luckily, avoiding one of these scrapyards, 34016 'Bodmin', made the transition from main line British Railways duties to further duties in preservation.
At the time of writing, 'Bodmin' is out of service and stored at Carnforth.

34010 'Sidmouth' leaves Waterloo 28 June 1952   Photo: Brian Morrison

     

A selection of railway videos from 'Along These Tracks'
UK Railways - Banbury Trains 16 June 2014 Video 
UK Railways - Trains at Gravesend March 2014 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 and 319 EMUs at Northampton 1999
UK Railways - Freight Through Northampton May 1999 Video
UK Railways - Class 58018 Heading a Ballast Train at Finedon
UK Railways - Banbury Trains at Night Video
UK Railways - Trains at Basingstoke Station 12 August 2013
UK Railways - 375 and 395 EMU's at Martin Mill and Ashford International
UK Railways - Freight Trains Through Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolinos Through Bletchley May 2013
UK Railways - Class 350 Desiro EMU Trains at Northampton May 2013
UK Railways - Class 390 Virgin Pendolinos Through Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 350 'London Midland' EMU's at Wolverton 2013 Video
UK Railways - Chiltern Railways, First Great Western, XCountry DMU's at Banbury 2013
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains DMU's at Wellingborough Apr 2013
UK Railways - Class 43 IC125 Trains at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 222 Trains, DMU's, at Wellingborough Apr 2013 Video
UK Railways - Class 321 EMU Snakes into Bletchley Sidings 1990's
UK Railways - Class 321 & 350 EMU's at Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Network South East leaves Bletchley Video
UK Railways - Class 321 Silverlink Trains EMU leaves Wolverton Video
UK Railways - Class 325 Royal Mail EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 350 127 EMU Passes through Rugby Video
UK Railways - Class 321 418 Silverlink EMU at Wolverton
UK Railways - Class 60 015 Diesel Locomotive approaches Wolverton
UK Railways - Virgin Pendolino Class 390 041 EMU at Rugby Video




British Rail Shunter Class 08909 at Rugby 1988

Once a common sight pottering around Rugby station , Class 08909 shunter, built between 1952 and 1962, in BR blue livery, similar in de...