Tuesday, 28 December 2010

diesels under the wires

(Photos Leyland, 24.5.1985 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

I'm firmly convinced that diesels will have all but vanished from our railways by 2040. This is because of Peak Oil, which will make the running of these machines totally uneconomic, and is now official government policy. We'll see all railways either electrified or run by a new breed of steam locomotives, using super efficient wood burning as power.

The above four pictures all show diesels running under the wires at Leyland on the West Coast Main Line back in May 1985.

I'd encourage all railway enthusiasts to photograph this transitional form of transport whilst they still can! Once they are gone they really will be gone for good.

Monday, 27 December 2010



(All 4.7.1977 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

This was Uckfield back in 1977. The station has now been resited to the north of the level crossing and this scene has vanished.

The line used to continue to Lewes, double track throughout and a very useful diversionary route when the main London-Brighton route was blocked. The dinosaurs still saw fit to close this route in 1969 but the call for reinstatement has never gone away and is now stronger than ever.

It's inevitable that this line will be reopened in the not too distant future, and hopefully electrified, once again allowing it to take some of the pressure off the main London to Brighton line. So trains will doubtlessly pass this point again!


Rail Thing Routes - Rails of Sussex
Southern Region Scene - 1970s
Rail Thing - British Railway Stations and Buildings
Rail Thing - Vanished Rail Scenes

Sunday, 19 December 2010


(All 23.11.2010, copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

This is the monorail that serves Disney in Orlando, Florida. I didn't really know anything about this system before visiting, and was quite surprised that it was far from being an amusement park ride as expected. It actually serves a vital function, linking the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and some other Disney attractions to each other and to the Transportation Center. Trains run every couple of minutes and were packed. I was very impressed by the PA system on board which told us exactly why we were waiting for a few minutes just before our station (one of the trains was being switched to the Epcot route). All in all quite an experience.

Monorails can work in very dedicated situations like this - there's a similar short system at Orlando International Airport for example, but must cost a good deal more than conventional rail. A high capacity tramway would probably do the same job at a half the price - but you would lose the experience of seeing everything from an elevated position.