Saturday, 30 December 2017

Micklefield 1985


All 18.6.1985 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing

An hour or so at Micklefield in Yorkshire back in 1985 produced a variety of trains, most of which would now be extinct! The station was still fairly original and was orientated east-west so afternoon photos would catch the sun right - except I never saw the sun out there!

Monday, 4 December 2017

46 years on ...


(All 1.12.2017 and 2.12.2017 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

I took my first ever railway (or indeed any sort of photo) on 9 July 1971, just south of Dawlish Warren station, on our first summer holiday to Devon. 

Last weekend I revisited the area for a weekend and took loads more!

The trip included the classic walk along the sea wall and it was good to see the work done where it was breached. The line seemed pretty busy with a succession of trains in both directions, including plenty of HSTs. I even manged to catch a surprise whilst waiting for the train back to Dawlish Warren at Dawlish station, when a couple of class 66s came through on an RHTT.

It was this area which really got me into running railways, up until then I'd really been into disused lines, and it's ironic that this may be one of the few railways that close in the future, thanks to sinking land, rising sea levels and a deteriorating climate with more storms, but for now it's all still there, a free work of art for anybody that appreciates such things!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A door opening very slowly ...

(Pic copyright Rail Thing/Steve Sainsbury)

Way back in 2009, when the New Somerset and Dorset Railway was formed, we were living in a very different world! Roads still seemed to be in the ascendant, and rail enthusiasm was still considered a tad eccentric.

Things have changed a lot in 8 years! Rail reopenings are gathering pace and some interesting closed lines are coming into the spotlight. One of course is the S&D!

I got an early morning phone call today from Radio Solent who had got the press release from the government re rail reopenings. I was invited to do a piece for the 11.30 am slot, live! I managed to wing it without stuttering or swearing, the net result being that the New S&D got yet more publicity and I managed to name check all five restoration groups along the route. I also managed to name check all the bigger places en route (Blandford, Sturminster Newton, Wincanton, Midsomer Norton and Radstock), all of which will benefit enormously in so many ways when the line returns.

That door is opening very slowly. Real energy crunches are still a way off, but already the rail restoration movement in all its variety is beginning to move into the mainstream. The important thing is to organise LOCALLY, so your line gets a profile. Most Beeching closures should be reversed over the next few decades, but there will be inevitable shortages of cash, materials and manpower as restoration picks up. 

Please do your bit!

(Pic is Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway back in 1976, now totally restored and transformed ...)

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Today at Midsomer Norton

The station.

Coal wagon (static exhibit)

The museum

Signalbox and greenhouse


'David Cook'

The line heads south

The station

The line to the right is the start of great things for the future!

Trip down to Midsomer Norton South station today, always a treat!

I was attending one of the twice yearly joint trusts' meeting, to which all S&D revival groups are invited. It's always good to meet up with others who, between them, have done so much to make a revived S&D possible. A great deal of positive stuff was discussed!

After the meeting I had a quick walk around the site - we'd just experienced a Mendip hail and sleet shower so it was freezing - and got some fresh pics of the site. The museum is VERY impressive, it used to be an old workshop/store for the line and is now a real credit. I'd like to have walked the whole length of the relaid line but have an issue with my leg so could only make the end of the platform. Hopefully next time ...

Monday, 25 September 2017

Rowlands Castle 1977


(All pics 6.7.1977 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Four lovely shots I managed to take back in 1977 at the neat station at Rowlands Castle in Hampshire. I took the motorbike up from Littlehampton on a hot summer's day, the roads round Rowlands Castle weaving in and out of Hampshire before I got there.

Back in 1977 the Portsmouth Direct Line wasn't that busy, one express and one stopper per hour I think, but I snapped one train passing through. The station looked in pretty much original condition with few if any passengers. I suspect it's a lot busier now, hopefully all the buildings survive.

A piece of luck was the elderly car in the exterior shot making the picture look like it was taken about ten years earlier!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Wivelsfield 1977


(All pics 4.7.1977 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

A few shots from an oddly quiet Wivelsfield station in July 1977. At this time it was still replete with traditional buildings on both platforms. These black and white shots capture station details nicely and for a change I managed to include a few passengers in the shots!

Wivelsfield is on the Brighton Main Line and in 1977 saw both fast and stopping services from Brighton to Victoria. Trains from Littlehampton to Victoria via Hove and trains from Eastbourne and Ore also passed through, so the lines were quite busy.

Nowadays the stopping service is Brighton to Bedford via Thameslink (2 trains an hour) and Eastbourne/Ore to Victoria (Brighton to Victoria on Sundays) (1 train an hour). The station serves the northern part of Burgess Hill, the village of Wivelsfield is two miles away.


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Grantham 1986


31 119

150 101

(All 4.6.1986 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Still being paid for travelling around the country in 1986! I dropped into Grantham pre-electrification and got these shots. I'm particularly pleased with the class 31 shot.

All this was to change of course soon after as electrification of the ECML was completed.