Saturday, 27 June 2015

Another Bubble Car

I took a trip to Carnforth last week, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I got a Day Rover ticket through my weekly newspaper and it cost me £12.50 rather than the usual £21.10. Secondly I wanted to revisit The Snug micro pub, which I enjoyed on my trip a few months ago (note the sliding hoist running just below ceiling level which is used to load full barrels into the chiller cabinet).
Other reasons include dining in the Refreshment Room as featured in the film "Brief Encounter" (based on the play "Still Life" by Noel Coward) and having another look at the visitor's centre. All in all, a grand day out, as a certain Wensleydale cheese munching aficionado often says.
The picture at the top shows a Class 153 Bubble Car in Leeds station, which was coupled to a two car Class 158 train set to make a three carriage consist. There are 70 Class 153's which started out life as 35 two car sets. A firm in Scotland split them up and added cabs to the inner ends. They are much smaller than the original cabs and the exterior lights are mounted half way between the bottom of the window and the buffer beam, unlike the other end where they are just above the buffers. Northern Rail own 18 of them ( the largest single holding) but they are still rare to see around here.
And finally a picture of the famous station clock which you will be familiar with if you have seen the afore mentioned film.

Monday, 25 May 2015

I own a train!

I haven't done a post for a long time but I want to share this exciting news with you. I now own a train! Well, part of one anyway. I have a share in a BR Class 121 "bubble car".
Wensleydale railway wanted to purchase this from Chiltern Railways but needed the help of supporters like me to raise the cash. I probably own one buffer, or a driver's seat, but it's really exciting to be involved in this project.
It has a number of modern conversions, such as central locking and CCTV, and will be a great asset to the Railway.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Grand Day Off

Since I had a whole Friday off work recently I decided to do the Stockport to Stalybridge train run again. I did it in 2000 when I had an afternoon to kill in Manchester but until I moved to Yorkshire it has not been a viable day trip. In fact until recently it wasn't even possible from York because the train left Stockport too early to get there in time.
When I say "the train" I mean the one and only train, operated by Northern Rail, that runs between these two stations every week. That's the whole novelty of the trip. Only one train in one direction each week. The reason is that it is cheaper to do this than go through all the expense of decommissioning the redundant parts of the line. There are a few examples around the country and they are referred to as Parliamentary or Ghost trains.

The train currently leaves Stockport at 10.13 and the first stop is Reddish South at 10.20

We stopped at Denton next but unfortunately my carriage window ended up opposite the last lamppost on the platform and it's sign had fallen off. We departed before I could get down the train and take a picture of another sign. Both these stations get little maintenance due to their infrequent use.

Guide Bridge is actually on a busy piece of track but most trains pass through without stopping

My journey's end in Stalybridge and a chance to take a picture of the train. A Class 142 built by BREL in Derby between 1985 and 1987. Based on the Leyland National bus but with 3+2 bench seating across the carriage.
The final thing I did was visit the Stalybridge Buffet Bar which is on one of the other platforms. It is like a cross between "Brief Encounter" and "The Rovers Return". Altogether a most enjoyable day and I am sure Martyne will be glad I have got it out of my system at last. She's been looking rather threatening the last few times I've mentioned the trip!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


I have recently come across a very amazing boy. His name is Stanley Herbert Vickers. Despite being only 3 years old, he has not only mastered the English language but Windows 7 as well! If you want to read his philosophical musings click on the "So Stan Says" link in my Favoured Blogs list.

Welcome to the Blogosphere young man.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Train Driver Extraordinaire

Now that I live in a county that boasts a number of Heritage Railways, I decided to treat myself to a Driver Experience Day. The top picture shows me in the driving seat of a DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) on the Wensleydale Railway recently. The train (pictured in the middle) was the same as the ones I used to take to school in the early Sixties (Class 101 should you be interested), so it was a great thrill. Unfortunately I released the pressure on the "Dead Man's Handle" and the train brought itself to a halt. This explains the look of consternation on my face.

My left hand was on the throttle/accelerator, and my right hand is on the brake. The gear lever is just to the left of my right hand. The controls are similar to a car but they are all hand operated and feel very different to what I am used to. In the bottom picture I'm doing the maximum permitted speed of 25 mph, and am loving it.

My sincere thanks to Kev who was also on the course, and took all the above pictures. We shot pictures of each others efforts and then swapped by email later. The wonders of technology!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

In Training

I can't believe two years have gone by since my last post. There is far too much to relate in one go, but I'll give you the main points.

After our mother died in late 2007 I had a long think about my position. Although I had a good job in an accountancy firm in Edinburgh there was little else to keep me there. After a long hard think I decided to relocate to Yorkshire, like Martyne. I have visited her and Hester a few times in the last couple of years. She lives in a little village, which is not really for me, but the county is lovely and there are plenty of towns and cities, which are more to my taste. Consequently I got a job with a firm in York, and am now living in rented accommodation there. Strangely ironical since I have rented out my flat in Edinburgh in order to pay my rent in York! But that is the state of the housing market at the moment. One day, when things have improved, I will probably sell up and buy a property down here.

The big plus point, apart from being closer to my sister, is that I can now visit the National Rail Museum any time I want. The above picture is of Mallard (or 4468 to her friends), taken during one of my now frequent visits.

I have tried to encourage Martyne to return to her writing, now that she has had time to settle in Yorkshire, and I am confident I can get her back to composing her Blog. Time will tell!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Top News

It's been such a long time since I put pen to paper, so to speak. I have lots of news to tell you. Little sister Martyne and her "companion" Hester are moving to Yorkshire soon. In a way I will miss them although they have spent as much time in the West Midlands as they have in Edinburgh in the last year. I might actually see more of them because I intend to visit them frequently and nip into the National Rail Museum in York in the passing.

On a recent stopover in York they visited a restaurant called Il Treno (that's Italian for "The Train"). I am still waiting for Martyne to send me the pictures, but from her description they dined in a converted old compartment train carriage. This and others were joined to a building which served as an entrance and bar.

My great idea is to build a house along similar lines. I want to build a central lobby with a glass roof and then attach four carriages in a cross formation! I'd love to get some early DMU's, like the ones I travelled to school in, but I guess they are probably all scrapped or preserved now. Modern ones would probably have to do.

I have been sketching plans and hope to build a model eventually. Will keep you all informed.