Saturday, 29 May 2010

50 at basingstoke

One for Paul Beard!

A class 50 on an Exeter train at Basingstoke station 9.8.1986.

The Salisbury-Exeter route was much neglected in the 60s and 70s - incredibly closure was ever considered at one time. It was run down, singled over most of its length and often employed underpowered locos. The 50s however were good for this route, and could be said to be part of the line's revival which since the 80s has seen stations reopened (Feniton and Templecombe) and the line partly redoubled. The next few decades should see the line electrified throughout, nore stations reopened and hopefully some of the branches rebuilt (Sidmouth, Lyme Regis etc). With the New S&D reopening Templecombe should become an interchange station once more, and even the Seaton Tramway should be re-extended to Seaton Junction allowing exchange traffic.

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Monday, 24 May 2010

shanklin 1977

Isle of Wight Railways Remembered

I've always liked the Isle of Wight railway network, even if today it's a lot smaller than it was and will be again. One of the daftest closures of the Beeching years was the Shanklin-Ventnor line which connected the busy seaside town of Ventnor to the outside world. Of course BR at the time fully expected the IOW railways to all have closed by 1975, so that the rather silly situation with the line terminating short at Shanklin would have been short lived. Fortunately at least part of the essential Newport and Cowes line is currently being operated as a heritage line, I can't seriously see Cowes and Newport staying off the network for many more years!
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Sunday, 23 May 2010

20 and APT at beattock 1985


(5.6.1985 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

I lived near here for five years, but five years after these pics were taken. This is Beattock summit on the main Carlisle to Glasgow line. I'd photographed a class 20 with a guards van waiting in the passing loop when quite by surprise the APT came through on a test run!
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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

twyford 1977

Some more random shots from Twyford in Berkshire, all taken on 8 August 1977. One of my favourite locations both for the variety and quantity of traffic passing through, with the added bonus of branch line trains to Henley-on-Thames.
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Monday, 17 May 2010

jaffa cake

(barnham 13.8.1986)

In the mid eighties the first moves towards privatizing the network began to be made with regions being allowed to drift away from the corporate blue and grey. For a brief few months Network South East experimented with the classy 'Jaffa Cake' livery, which sadly soon gave way to the garish red, white and blue. The old slam door stock, which had been exclusively either rail blue or blue and grey for the best part of twenty years, could for a year or so could be seen in a variety of colours. This was by far the best!
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Sunday, 16 May 2010

eighties electrics

(All Kings Langley 3.6.1985 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

A lovely sunny day at this LMR station - very busy with trains, mostly loco hauled back then, and most with blue and grey livery still. From the island platform it was easy to capture most of the traffic on film.

Kings Langley railway station is just under the M25 motorway at Junction 20. It serves the village of Kings Langley, and the nearby villages of Abbots Langley and Hunton Bridge. The station is 21 miles (34 km) north west of London Euston on the West Coast Main Line. The station and all services calling at the station are operated by London Midland.
The station was opened in 1839. From 1909 the station was known as Kings Langley & Abbots Langley, becoming Kings Langley on 6 May 1974.


Monday to Saturday a half-hourly service to London Euston southbound and Tring (Saturdays Milton Keynes Central) northbound. Evenings and Sundays there is an hourly in each. A number of night and rush hour services are extended to and from Birmingham New Street and Coventry. There is one train each weekday morning to and from Crewe.
Preceding stationNational Rail National RailFollowing station
Apsley London Midland
West Coast Main Line
 Watford Junction

Accidents and incidents

  • On 14 March 1935, an express passenger train from Liverpool to London was brought to a halt at Kings Langley due to a defective vacuum brake. Due to a signalman's error a milk train ran into its rear. A freight train then ran into the wreckage.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

oxted 1973

(All 2.1.1973 © Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Three dull and cold shots taken at Oxted in Surrey on 2 January 1973. These lines were worked by a rather boring procession of rail blue DMUs, at one time these routes were even under threat of closure! They are likely to undergo a transformation in the future with the reopening of the Eridge-Tunbridge Wells Central, Lewes-Uckfield and possibly even the Eridge-Polegate 'Cuckoo) line, offering a huge number of possible routes. Railways were just about at their nadir in 1973, with empty trains, crumbling infrastructure and unhappy customers. I hope these pictures capture that atmosphere a little!

More info (from Wikipedia)

Oxted railway station serves the commuter town of Oxted in Surrey, England. A relatively busy interchange station and terminus, all rail services are provided by Southern. The station is the busiest suburban station on the Oxted Line and is a terminus for some services on the Uckfield branch of the Oxted Line. Trains depart to London Victoria via Clapham JunctionLondon Bridge via East Croydon stationEast Grinstead and Uckfield in East Sussex.


Oxted was built as a joint London, Brighton and South Coast Railway/South Eastern Railway station when the South Croydon to East Grinstead line opened on 10 March 1884. The three platforms are connected by a subway which runs under the track. In addition, a lift is provided for entry to Platforms 2/3. There are tunnels at each end of the station:
  • Oxted Tunnel 1 mile 23 chains (2.07 km) at the London end
  • Limpsfield Tunnel 551 yard (501 m) at the country end
In 1951 the station had a train every thirteen minutes of the day, services running to Victoria and London Bridge in the up direction and to Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne and Brighton in the down. Locomotives using the station on an average weekday would be of the following classes: BR4 2-6-4T's (14), C2X 0-6-0 (2), H 0-4-4T (12), L 4-4-0 (1), LM2 2-6-2T (5), LM4 2-6-4T (38), N 2-6-0 (2), Q 0-6-0 (8), U 2-6-0 (1) and U1 2-6-0 (2). In addition, diesel 10800 was a regular visitor to the station four times a day between 1952 and 1954.
The station was the scene of a bomb attempt by suffragette sympathisers in 1913 – Harold Laski (later a professor at the London School of Economics and chairman of the Labour Party) and a friend placed the device in the men's toilets. Although it did detonate the damage was limited as the fuse failed to ignite the petrol contained in the device. A similar device (containing some pieces of metal and a watch in addition to the explosive charge) was planted at the Bank of England on 13 April 1913, which was successfully defused.


On the London-bound platform is a manned ticket office (staffed daily till late) and two standard quick-pay self-service passenger-operated ticket machines in Southern branding are located outside the station on the London-bound side and at the entrance to the underpass on Platforms 2 and 3 side (Uckfield/East Grinstead bound.) The station is the biggest served solely by Southern on the line, and is staffed 17 hours a day. The station accommodates a cafe, refurbished toilets, two waiting rooms and a line control centre in a large concourse.
All of the platforms are linked by a subway which also links the two main streets in Oxted together as well as the local supermarket and the town's leisure complex.
There is an underground car park located under the adjacent supermarket.
The station acts as a terminus for the Uckfield branch of the Oxted Line and trains use platform three on a regular basis after termination for both train maintenance and cleaning. The present signal box opened in the 1980s and covered control of the Uckfield line in January 1990. It replaced the previous original wooden structure located at the end of platform 2/3
The station was also the first station and terminus on the Southern network to receive two fully DDA-compliant ticket windows which will move down to accommodate easy use by wheelchair users. The station is also linked to the Southern Control Centre in Croydon, by two help points (one on each platform) where passengers can receive help 24 hours a day externally.


In 2010 the station was refurbished a new lift installed, followed by a deep clean and internal rezoning.
In May 2010, Platform 1 and 2 were lengthened by Balfour Beatty to take 12 car trains.
During January 2011, Southern installed a number of ticket gates on the Main Concourse as well as the exit and indoor area in between platforms two and three. Gate-line staff operate at the station also.


As of October 2011 the typical off-peak service is:
  • 2 trains per hour (tph) to London Victoria from East Grinstead
  • 1 tph to London Bridge from Uckfield
  • 2 tph to East Grinstead from London Victoria
  • 1 tph to Uckfield from London Bridge
Sunday and some peak-hour services to Uckfield start from this station. All services are currently operated by Southern.
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  1.236 million
2005/06Increase 1.268 million
2006/07Increase 1.310 million
2007/08Increase 1.851 million
2008/09Decrease 1.430 million
2009/10Increase 1.431 million
2010/11Increase 1.470 million
2011/12Increase 1.555 million
2012/13Increase 1.579 million
2013/14Increase 1.692 million

Saturday, 8 May 2010

mid-hants S&D style

(All Mark Warr 09/09)

Four excellent shots from Mark Warr which show steam on the Mid-Hants, recreating the S&D, which is now being rebuilt. Hopefully within ten years these scenes will be repeated on the real S&D as more and more of the route is restored!
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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

sunny buxted


(All 12.6.1989 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Buxted, on the Uckfield line in Sussex, on a lovely June day back in 1989. I'm hoping this summer brings lots of hot and sunny weather!


Sussex Transport History
Southern Region Scene 1980s
Down the Line - Oxted to Lewes
Rail Thing Routes - Rails of Sussex

Monday, 3 May 2010

a western at Truro


(Copyright 18.8.1972 Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

I've never been a great loco fan but the Western Region diesel hydraulics were distinctive even to me! Family holidays spent at Dawlish Warren in the early 70s introduced these exotic locos to me, and I did manage to capture a few of them on film before they disappeared. This one was at Truro on 18 August 1972.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

an essex branch in 1984


(All 29.5.1984 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

The Southminster branch always seemed a rather surprising branch survival to me considering that Southminster had a population of under 2000 in the 1980s. True, the line serves the march larger town of Burnham-on-Crouch, but it would have been just as easy to retain the route to the far larger town of Maldon. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to why the branch ended at the smaller town?

Back in 1984 the line was operated by DMUs, and retained a lot of original railway infrastructure. This was my only visit to this line - has anybody more up to date shots?


Rail Thing - Eastern and North Eastern Regions

Rail Thing - 80s UK Railscene

Rail Thing - British Railway Stations and Buildings

Rail Thing - Classic British Rail