Sunday, 26 March 2017

Night Photos of Diesel Multiple Units at Leamington Spa Station

Diesel Multiple Unit Trains

Here is a small selection of Diesel Multiple Units operated by 'Cross Country', 'Chiltern Railways' and 'London Midland Trains', following a night photography session at Leamington Spa railway station towards the back end of 2016.

Night photo of an unidentified Cross Country 4-car DMU 220 010 standing in Leamington Spa railway station while operating a service to Southampton in 2016
Photo: Charles Moorhen

Cross Country Trains, Class 220010, 4-car DMU stands in Leamington spa station before continuing on to Southampton Central.

Night photo of Chiltern Railways Class 165 006 DMU stops at Leamington Spa railway station while en route to Banbury 2016
Photo: Charles Moorhen

Chiltern Railways, Class 165006 2-car DMU, about to leave heading for Banbury.

Night Photo of London Midland Trains Class 172 344 DMU in a bay platform at Leamington Spa railway station in 2016
Photo: Charles Moorhen 

Standing at platform 1 of Leamington Spa station, Class 172344 DMU, is stabled for the night awaiting its morning's work.

Night photo of Cross Country Trains Class 220 028 Pauses at Leamington Spa railways station while operating a service to Birmingham New Street 2016
Photo:  Charles Moorhen
Cross Country Trains, Class 220028, DMU about to continue on to Birmingham New Street.

For full list of 'Along These Tracks' posts, please see Railway Blog Previous Posts in right-hand column at edge of page.

You may also wish to visit my other blog, 'Pen To Paper', which contains interesting posts on a wide variety of subjects.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Nostalgic Era of The Railway Camping Coach

The Days of The Railway Camping Coach

A selection of photos and descriptive text highlighting the one-time immense popularity of people taking their annual holidays aboard a railway camping coach in the uk.

A Camping Holiday That Disappeared With The Steam Age

For many people nothing compares to waking up in a new and exciting location following a night spent camping under canvas, to the mouth-watering anticipation of sausages and bacon sizzling in the frying pan and baked beans simmering in the saucepan.

In the 1930’s when camping and hiking were said to have been at the height of their popularity, the railway companies of the time, always on the look-out for new ways to increase revenues, added an extra dimension to the whole idea of camping and thereby making it more attractive to people with families. They introduced the camping coach; a former railway carriage that was no longer fit for use by the travelling public, but still had potential for other employment that would extend its working life.

The first railway company to spot an opening in what they hoped would be a lucrative market, was the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in July 1933. 

Their operation was quickly copied by the other three big rail companies. So much so that by 1935 there were more than 200 camping coaches parked up on railway station sidings at over 150 locations throughout the UK, that included North Wales, the West Country, Scotland and countless other countryside sites and seaside resorts.

Converting and fitting-out the redundant coaches proved no problem at all for the railway companies, as each of them owned and operated their own carriage and wagon-building works. A situation that proved to be ideal when the time came for the coaches to be brought back from their sites in winter for repair and service, before being returned in the Spring.

Each camping coach was provided with a bedroom, bathroom and a living-room area where extra beds could be made up – and of course, a kitchen. Although basic in design, the kitchens were quite adequate for the needs of most campers with fitted cupboards, a stove with a fully functioning oven and a table with six chairs. All utensils such as pots, pans, plates, cups and cutlery were provided.

The coaches could comfortably accommodate a party of up to six people and the average rent for a week was £3.00, equating to a mere 10/- (0.50p) for each member of the party. 

By paying a little extra, in the 1960’s, a party could choose to hire one of the limited number of luxury Pullman Cars, similar in style to those used to form the famous ‘Golden Arrow’ boat train, that were gradually being taken out of service.

One non-negotiable rule was applied by all of the railway companies. It stated that anyone hiring one of their camping coaches must travel to and from the coach site by train. But in the days when few cars were owned privately this would not have proved to be an obstacle.

Although quite a large number of coaches were sited at seaside resorts, thereby allowing the campers the freedom of not having to adhere to the stringent rules laid down by guest house landladies, many coaches were placed in the countryside at places of natural beauty.

Situated close to country stations on quiet branch lines, it was a completely safe environment for children to play and investigate the wonders of nature, while at the same time enjoying the fresh air that was so often lacking in the smoky towns and cities in which they lived. 

Adults were able to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside; go for walks, climb the windswept hills, have picnics by the river, visit the village pub or simply sit in the sun and relax.

However, there were storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

As more and more people in the 1960’s began to take package holidays abroad with the promise of guaranteed sunshine, and as the private ownership of motor cars increased dramatically, there was a negative effect on booking figures for the camping coaches. 

Railway companies could no longer attract the numbers of campers that they had achieved three decades earlier, and so the inevitable happened. So much so that by 1971 the very last British Railways coach had been rented out. The time had come when it was no longer financially viable to provide and maintain them.

Sadly, like the much-loved steam locomotives that had once hauled them, the halcyon days of the railway camping coach were over.  

For full list of 'Along These Tracks' posts, please see Railway Blog Previous Posts in right-hand column at edge of page.

You may also wish to visit my other blog, 'Pen To Paper', which contains interesting posts on a wide variety of subjects.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Night Photo of Class 222 002 DEMU at Wellingborough Station

Class 222 DEMU Trains at Night

Night Photo of East Midlands Trains Class 222 002 DMU Pauses at Wellingborough railway station 2016
East Midlands Trains Class 222002 DEMU          Photo: Charles Moorhen

East Midlands Trains, Class 222 002, DEMU, seen here at Wellingborough railway station, with Class 66005 in the background, placed me in a bit of a quandry when it came to taking its photo.

At that particular time I was intent on photographing the Class 66 when Class 222 002 DEMU, - one of a fleet of 27 train sets - pulled into the station.  

Glad that the Class 66 was safely stored on my camera memory card, I quickly re-positioned the tripod, reset the camera and prayed that the demu would not move before the required amount of seconds had passed to produce an exposure. 

Seconds passed by at the rate of one an hour as I nervously waited, holding my breath, and crossing for luck everything I had.  

Luckily, photographing the Class 222 turned out ok with only a few seconds to spare before it began to move away.  A close look at its lights will show that it slipped back slightly before gaining grip.

Other Class 222 DEMU blog posts:
Class 222015 DEMU Train Approaches Wellingborough Station

Class 222 Trains Video Filmed at Wellingborough

You may also wish to visit my other blog, 'Pen To Paper', which contains interesting posts on a wide variety of subjects.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Night Photo of EWS Class 66005 Locomotive at Wellingborough

Class 66 Locomotives at Night

Night photo of Diesel Locomotive Class 66005 in EWS livery waits for the all-clear on the freight line at Wellingborough station in 2016
EWS Class 66005         Photo: Charles Moorhen

 EWS Class 66005 Strikes A Colourful Pose

While carrying out some night photography at Wellingborough railway station - trying to record some of its interesting architecture, I happened to be at one point in the evening's activities at the northern end of the station taking the opportunity to photograph East Midlands Trains DMU Class 222002.

As I did so I noticed out of the corner of my eye diesel locomotive EWS Class 66005 slowly coming into the station heading north on the freight-only line.  

Knowing I had no chance of taking a night photo of a moving Class 66 locomotive using a long exposure, I was satisfied to simply jot down the number, pick up my tripod/camera and go back to taking night photos of the station when, lo and behold, DMU Class 222002 pulled out and there stood diesel locomotive Class 66005 - one of 455 in operation - in a perfect pose.

I hoped and prayed that it would not move before I had a chance to set up the camera again and hit the shutter button.

As well as the above I also captured one more train that night during my night photography session - East Midlands Trains Class 43066 paused before continuing on to London St. Pancras.

If you would like to see more photos from the Wellingborough railway station night photography session, please click here.

Other Class 66 locomotive blog posts you may wish to see:

Class 66013 and 66502 Pause at Night at Rugby Railway Station

Class 66136 Through Northampton To Form Silk Road Train

Class 66761 Locomotive Named In Ceremony at Wensleydale Railway

Freightliner Diesel Locomotive 66528 Named After 86 Year-Old Veteran Railway Campaigner Madge Elliot MBE

For full list of 'Along These Tracks' posts, please see Railway Blog Previous Posts in right-hand column at edge of page.

You may also wish to visit my other blog, 'Pen To Paper', which contains interesting posts on a wide variety of subjects.

Photo of Class 67017 Arrow Diesel Locomotive at Leamington Spa

Class67017 , seen here in EWS livery, hauling a Chiltern Railways train, was photographed at Leamington Spa station . A number ...