Wednesday 13th Dec 17

Greetings one and … well one.

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. My mother has been quite ill so although I’ve been on trains I’ve not “spotted” at all, only the ones I’ve travelled on. Only one I have dione is a little jaunt over to Rainham and Stratford which I’ll post up when I get a chance.

Today not a lot has run and looks like the 6V60 Ardingly to Acton was cancelled.

But a COP 🙂
5B89 Bletchley TMD to Bletchley TMD 387160, 387173.

Haulage marked: .
New Sightings/Haulage (aka ‘cops’): .
Photographed marked: .
Total 2017 ‘cops’ = 340
Total Miles 2017 = Coming Soon
Last New Sighting = 387173 13/12/2017.
Last New Haulage = 1S05 Kings Cross to Edinburgh (Kings Cross to York) 91109 (04/05/2017).
Newest Route = South Ruislip to Paddington (09/08/2017).

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Branch Lines Of Desire #1

Branch Lines Of Desire #1 – Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey.

The Abbey Flyer is the local nickname given to the trains on the Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey line. Opened in May 1858 by the London & North Western Railway and initially it had just the two intermediate station on it; Bricket Wood and Park Street. The line is just over six mile line and has a speed restriction on it that makes the journey some seventeen minutes to traverse in full. On the day I did the journey it was a class 319 (319216) in it’s greens and silver. It hasn’t always been a 319 on this line previously it was operated by Class 321s (now in Scotland), class 313s and Class 150 DMUs when required. Prior to electrification in 1988 Cravens units, class 104s and Park Royal/1957 DMUs would work the services.
319216 2F14 1428 St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction
Watford Junction (0m 00ch):
This station needs no introduction realistically as over the years many of you have spent time on the platforms spotting but for those new to the hobby Watford Junction is a medium sized station which is served by Virgin Trains, London Midland (soon to be the West Midlands and will be called London Northwestern) and London Overground (Lorol).
The Lorol services terminate here having started in London Euston. Virgin Trains serve the North West and Scotland (Glasgow Central) whereas London Midland run from London Euston to Northampton, Birmingham and Crewe. Watford Junction is a nice location for freight too with class 90s, 66s and 92s all passing at different times with Freightliner, DB Schenker and Gbrf trains. The St Albans only ever depart from platform 11 at the far end of the station.

Watford North (1m 51ch):
Originally opened in 1910 as Callowland station Watford North (renamed in 1927) is an unmanned station just two minutes outside Watford Junction and has an automatic level crossing at one end of the station. It has a small shelter and is a single platform and rather uninspiring.

Garston (1m 51ch):
When the line was spared from the Beeching Axe in the early 1960s, Garston was opened in 1966 by the Mayor of Watford. It was initially a just a short wooden platform without cover but since then (2010) it has seen an upturn in fortune with new lighting, shelter and artwork from a local school.

Bricket Wood (3m 22ch):
One of the original stations on the line, Bricket wood is just eight minutes out of Watford Junction. When it was opened the station had two platforms and had a passing loop allowing for longer and more frequent trains on the line. The station was well patronised originally as the Edwardians families would come to Bricket Wood to take in the fresh air and the local funfairs. The station was also home to one of the Emergency Railway Control Centres, this one built in 1954, in case of war. The station has also starred in six different films over the years. The station still has a brick built building which is the last vestige of the original structures on the line.
Bricket Wood 2 Station 1895274 9cd248e3

How Wood (4m 21ch):
The baby of the stations on the line being opened in 1988 when the line was electrified with the Overhead 25kV lines, it is another unstaffed halt with a very modern looking shelter.

Park Street (4m 37ch):
The station is the other original station on the line but has nothing of the original station left. Originally known as Park Street & Frogmore it was then closed and relocated and in 1974 named plainly Park Street. Personally I like the original name.

St Albans Abbey (6m 30ch):
The terminus station on the line is fully open aired but does have a small shelter on the platform. Looking at the platforms it appears that there may have been two platforms in use at one time but it appears there was only ever one platform. When I was looking for information on the line and it’s history I came across this superb image on Flickr by TrainsandTravel of the station in it’s heyday.

I hope you have enjoyed the trip along the line. I hope that the Branch Line posts become a bit better as I go on. Thanks for reading.

Timetable Graph Monday-Friday

The Timetable Graph of the St Albans Abbey branch line Summer 2017.

Information for this article was obtained from the following sources; Wikipedia, Abbey Flyer User Group, Real Time Trains, Rail Mileage Engine, Rail Forums UK.

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Branch Lines of Desire – Introduction.

Welcome to a new branch of my blog.

I won’t be writing these a lot as I don’t get out and about as much as I used to and with the icy grip of winter and Christmas approaching, it’s not likely I can get out until the new year. This series will be about a trip on one of the many branch lines that are in England (maybe Scotland and Wales later on). The idea for this came about when I popped up to see my lad at St Albans when he was working there for a while. I trundled up to Watford and caught the branch over to St Albans Abbey. I got back and over the next few weeks I looked at the lines I fancied doing for a first trip or redo.

Wikipedia describes a branchline as:

A branch line is a secondary railway line which branches off a more important through route, usually a main line.
United Kingdom
Many British branch lines were closed as a result of the “Beeching Axe” in the 1960s, although some have been re-opened as heritage railways.
The smallest branch line that is still in operation in the UK is the Stourbridge Town Branch Line from Stourbridge Junction going to Stourbridge Town. Operating on a single track, the journey is 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometres) long and the train takes around two and a half minutes to complete its journey.

And the Collins English Dictionary:

branch line or branchline (ˈbrɑːntʃˌlaɪn)
a secondary route to a place or places not served by a main line

So what criteria am I using for a branch line? It can be one or more of the following;

  • No more than 4 trains per hour.
  • Does NOT have to be a terminus at one end.
  • Not a heritage line i.e. North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
  • Can be either diesel or electrics traction.

What will I be including in my posts?
I’m not going all wordy, and it won’t be all photos either. I hope to mix it up a bit. Some text, some photos, some maps, some stats maybe even a graph. Of course tractions images will appear, some stations photo any other sort of thing I can find to put in …

Have I got a list of the ones I want to feature?
Simply put, yes. Some will mean a long old trip to get there, some are a lot more local. I have a list here but it is not limited to this and nor is it going to be this order .. after all engineering works, delays and cancellations may force me off route or even to abandon the branch I was heading for. Here are a few that I fancy the look of:
Esk Valley Line – Middlesbrough to Whitby.
Romford to Upminster.
Ipswich to Felixstowe.
Sutton to Epsom Downs.
St Albans Abbey line – Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey.
Ely to Kings Lynn.
Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town.

Well here’s to a new series of posts.

Thanks for reading


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Time Travel: June 1993

Into the DeLorean (actually its a converted class 37) now and get it up to 88 mph and watch the coloured time streams flash past our heads as we arrive in June 1993 in Scotland.

Okay a bit of retro spotting now. Back in 1993 we flew to Inverness (first time for the wife on a plane).

17th June 1993:

08754 shunted in to Inverness station to move a set of Intercity sleeper stock out. This was then followed out by 37170 (Dutch livery) and 37167 (Railfreight coal Subsector) pushing 632(?) NHA(?)

Stabled (visible) that morning at Inverness were:
26035 (Dutch livery), 26003 (Dutch livery), 37087 (Dutch Livery with black numbers), 37184 (Dutch Livery),

37428 ‘David Lloyd George’ (Railfreight Petrolium Subsector) left with a rake of six MKII Scotrail livery coaches heading south on the Inverness to Glasgow Queen Street.

18th June 1993:
37071 (Dutch livery) and 37248 ‘David Lloyd George’ (Railfreight Petrolium Subsector) were at the head of Inverness to Glasgow Queen Street. We boarded it and travelled to Aviemore to the Strathspey Railway to Boat of Garten (Our trip on this will appear when I get a chance on a Preserved Railways thread).

Later that day 37274 (Dutch livery) took us back from Aviemore to Inverness. On arriving there 37683 was there in Intercity livery.

21st June 1993:
We planned to go to Kyle of Lochalsh for the day but as we left Inverness behind 37087 the camcorder we had suddenly stopped working. No power!!! Rather than go all the way to Kyle we decided to jump off at Muir Of Ord and instead visit the Glen Ord Distillery. After a good tour and a free dram we headed back to the station. Strangely whilst sat on the station I retried the camcorder and it sprung to life !!!! I heard a two tone horn and saw this heading towards us (Click for video).
Muir Of Ord 1993

37232 (Dutch Livery) and Saloon DM45020 in Scotrail livery. DM45020 was General Manager’s Saloon and Inspection Saloon (formerly a MOD Escort Vehicle) and today (2017) is in EWS livery. The Gods were looking after us !

Shortly after 156477 took us back to Inverness.

22nd June 1993:
We did go the Kyle, the very next day behind 37402. When we got there and had lunch in a pub the lady told us that the previous day has been constant rain. Today we had loads of warm sunshine! SO the Gods were REALLY looking after us.

Returning back to Inverness was behind 37087 in it’s Dutch livery.

If anyone has the train IDs for any of the June trains in and out of Inverness please can you get in touch … Thank you.

A bit more about DM45020.
Designed for the LMS and built at Wolverton in 1944 as a Bogie District Engineer’s Saloon, it has held Scotrail, EWS Liver and LMS Crimson. The saloon spent some time in 2006 in RTC Derby, before moving to Toton TMD and is currently situated at Scottish Industrial Railway Centre in East Ayrshire.

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