This page is intended to display any odds and ends that do not clearly fit into any other sections.



In 1991 I was interested in taking as many pictures of class 33s I was able so when the class started work on a short-term contract to remove heavily contaminated soil from Chatham Docks in Kent, prior to much work into turning the site into a public visitor centre, I pencilled in a trip or two. The first was on 28 March of that year and as soon as I arrived at Gillingham, where the junction of the dockyard branch was situated I saw 33029 leave the yard and go down the branch with its set of empty low sided wagons complete with tarpaulin covers. The waste being removed was hazardous being contaminated with heavy metals and therefore had to treated with care to avoind pollution of the surrounding area. The same locomotive was acquired by WCRC in 2006 and painted in their house colours in which it seen here at Honeybourne with an HST power car on wheel skates in May 2014.
The material being removed from Chatham Docks in 1991 was not only hazardous but very dense and the loaded wagons proved a real test of the class 33s power and traction. The branch also had a steep gradient as it climbed away from the River Medway and a loaded train really made the small lcomotives produce some exceptional sound effects; I wish that I had had the facilities at the time to have made some video recordings. Here is 33029 with the first of the loaded trains I saw on 28 March and there is little evidence other than a mist of exhaust smoke of the hard work being done as it comes towards the end of the branch at Gillingham Yard.
The loaded trains from Chatham Docks were taken into Gillingham Yard where, I think, 3 sets were joined together ready for a clas 56 to take to Forders Sidings on the Bedford to Bletchley line. Here, 33029 is about to be uncoupled from the set shown above on the docks line. There was a convenient staff access gate in the fence protecting the yard and as the entrance was on public land it was easy to lean on the gate and take images such as this. Just as few moments later 60002 went by on the main line with a load of ballast wagons in tow.
I had a chat to one of the staff at Gillingham on 28 March 1991 and was told that there was quite a break between trains over lunchtime. With that in mind I had a trip to Queenborough where many of the trains to and from the Allied Steel and Wire works at Sheerness were staged and marshalled in the yard. My knowledge of industrial locomotives is limited to say the least but this shot of of one such engine moving a load of steel just had to be taken even though the light was a bit tricky looking almost straight into the sun from the station platform.
In contrast to the shot above the light couldn't have been better when 08600 came in the opposite with a long rake of bogie scrap-carrying box wagons. It's a mystery to me why I didn't take a colour transparency of this train as it was about to pass the station and enter the yard.
Another trip to Gillingham was made on 3 May 1991 and the first shot was this of 33207 standing alongside 33048. Neither of these locomotives worked the trains along the branch to Chatham Docks during the day as 33051 was the one used on the the trips all day. Just for a change 56028 also worked at least one of the trains.
Before concentrating on the traffic to and from Chatham Docks there was a main line freight to photograph in the form of 56007 with an empty MGR from Sheerness Steelworks to Oxcroft opencast colliery. I took this image from the footbridge adjacent to Gillingham signal box which protected a road crossing as well as being in charge of the yard used by the docks traffic, The weather was dull in the extreme so I didn't bother with a colour shot of this train as it passed some typical 1980s cars parked alongside the line.
Just after 56007 had passed Gillingam signal box on 3 May 1991 I could hear 33051 with its heavy load of contaminated spoil from Chatham Docks working hard as it came up the gradient towards Gillingham Yard. The procedure here was for the trip freights to join the down main line when a path was available, pull forward until clear of the crossing and then propel into one of the roads within the yard. The loaded trains, 3 of them from memory, were coupled together and then taken to Forders Sidings by a class 56.
As mentioned above class 56 did work some of the trips to Chatham Docks after bringing the empty spoil wagons from Forders Sidings. This picture shows 56028 just after it was uncoupled from a loaded set and is about to cross the main line before going back into Gillingham Sidings from the up side of the yard.
The Venice-Simplon Orient Express stock, as it was then known, was scheduled to work a train through Gillingham on 3 May 1991 and its passage behind 73207 coincided with just about the darkest time of day. I had walked up to another nearby bridge to take this shot without knowing quite how tree-lined the spot was but at least the lineside building gives the view a bit of identity.
After the customary lunch break on 3 May 1991 the Chatham Docks trips started off again and here is the first of the afternoon runs with 33051 bringing the loaded wagons up the bank towards Gillingham Yard. The exhaust haze produced by the loocmotive can been seen which emphasised the work involved but the sound effects really were much more spectacular and I do wish that I had some evidence of this.
Just to complete the scene here is 56047 leaving Gillinghma Yard on 3 May 1991 with yet another trip comprising empty wagons going to Chatham Docks for loading with toxic waste to be moved to Forders Sidings for safe disposal.
Here is another shot of 33051 climbing away from Chatham Docks on 3 May 1991 and the only one taken in proper sun. I used a 210mm lens on my Mamiya 645 for this picture and although completely head-on I thought it quite striking. The blast from the exhaust was shaking the lineside trees and parting what looked like a green tunnel.
These trains were not moving very fast because of the gradient of the branch and heavy load being conveyed so there was plenty of time to put down one camera and pick up another loaded with colour film. I took this one in vertical format to remove some of the lineside vegetation and whilst this looked fine after being projected onto a screen it makes producing it for the web a bit unsatisfactory. I think it worth including here as it was the only shot in full sun that I managed of one these trips over both of my trips here.
In common with many photographers I have all too few images of class 08 and 09 shunters. The 3 shots here were taken on 16 August 1991 during a visit to Kent and show the scene at the British Oxygen Company's plant near Sheerness. They were taken from a public viewpoint but I can't recall the details of the actual location. This one shows 08216 and an unidentified sister loocmotive stabled in front of the shed just before some action was to take place.
Within a few minutes of taking the shot shown above on 16 August 1991 08216 moved away from the shed and was coupled to a large bogie pressure tank and moved it forward before propelling it back into the plant. I remember being irritated at the time that the very large metal visible to the left of the scene was too tall to be completely included in the picture without resorting to a vertical format which would have left too many of the interesting bits out of the picture.
Another pressure tanks was attached to the first vehicle and 08216 soon brought them both forward to make up the train ready for a main line locomotive to take out of BOC Sheerness on 16 August 1991. There were no more pictures available from this viewpoint so it time to move off.
This and the following few images are a record of one of the very few times I have visited a preserved line; not something in which I have any real interest. The occasion was the first Severn Valley Railway diesel gala which took place on 7 May 1988 and during which Foster Yeoman's 59001 made an appearance and hauled the class's first ever passenger trains. The locomotive was due to work its first train from Kidderminster on the Saturday morning and I was on the footbridge over the main lines waiting for it and took this shot of Tyseley's T325 class 116 DMMU as it worked from Worcester to Birmingham.
I can't remember when 59001 reached the SVR but assume that it must have been on the day before the gala otherwise I would have had a shot of it on the main line but this view shows it going away from Kidderminster station (SVR) on the way to collect a rake of coaches for its inaugural passenger working.
After seeing 59001 at Kidderminster some of us on the footbridge went, trackside permits in hand, to the cutting near the portal of Bewdley Tunnel which was the ideal spot for the first trains of the day, 7 May 1988. First along was 55015 working on both engines and laying an impressive if smelly smoke trail all along the track. It was clearly a completely windless morning as the exhaust is visible all around the curve from the direction of Bewdley station.
Once 55015 had reached Bridgnorth on the SVR's diesel gala day, 7 May 1988, it ran round the stock and headed back towards Kidderminster and is seen here leaving the tunnel. As I spent most of the morning near the exit from Bewdley Tunnel it is inevitable that a fair bit of repetition in my shots will be apparent but the variety of traction may make up for that.
Several main line locomotives worked on the SVR during the first diesel gala on 7 May 1988 and among them was 31413, named "Severn Valley Railway" carrying a bizarre if colourful livery. It was pictured approaching Bewdley Tunnel with the second train of the day and with a slightly cleaner exhaust than the first working of the day.
The next visitor to approach Bewdley Tunnel during the SVR's gala on 7 May 1988 was 20170 with a short set of 4 coaches. The price of an annual lineside photographic pass was 10.00 and even though I used it only twice it was good value for an occasion such as this. The location here was well-used as can be seen from the worn path down the bank towards the end of the cutting. I do recall that even with quite a few photographers being present consensus on where to stand to get a decent shot without any interloping bodies being in view was always reached in an amicable fashion; not always the case at other similar events or so I have been led to believe! The return of 20170 from Bridgnorth made for a more interesting picture as, of course, the locomotive was running bonnet first; always a more difficult formation to photograph as class 20s usually ran in pairs coupled so that the cabs were outermost.
There were 2 Western class locomotives at the SVR diesel gala on 7 May 1988 and first to operate was D1062 Western Courier. With a headcode nearly showing its number Courier is seen on the approach to Bewdley Tunnel making, I can still recall, a sound I hadn't heard for many years. My father took me on a few occasions to Hatton station to see and hear Westerns in action as they climbed Hatton Bank and in the days before the nearby M40 they could be heard from Warwick accompanied by the sound of semaphore signals being pulled off and clunking back once the train had passed.
The highlight for many haulage enthusiasts at the SVR gala on 7 May 1988 was the first ever chance to ride behind a class 59 owned and operated by Foster Yeoman. For some reason I decided to take my shot near Bewdley Tunnel in vertical format and to fit it comfortably on a web page had to make an enormous scan of the Kodachrome 64 slide and then crop it into landscape format. This explains to some extent at least the poor quality of the image. Prominent on the locomotive is the 4 tone USA air horn which was used liberally and made the typical American sound so familiar over the Atlantic. The array was switched between ends when run-rounds at either end of the line as this view shows a short while later.
Another main line locomotive visiting the SVR's diesel gala was 37427 which is seen here leaving Bewdley Tunnel on its return from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.
Unusually for a gala day Regional Railways sent one of their units, 156404, to the Severn Valley Railway on 7 May 1988. Although probably not among the favourite for enthusiasts on the day it is the train that would have most accurately represented the sort of transport along here had the line not been closed and divorced from the national network.
The second Western class locomotive in action on 7 May 1988 was D1013 Western Ranger although the headcode suggests that it was masquerading as D1019 Western Buccaneer which was scrapped in 1974 after being withdrawn from service the previous year.
After spending the morning of 7 May 1988 near Bewdley Tunnel on the Severn Railway I had a break for lunch and then walked to the cutting just around the corner from Bewdley station. In the time it took to move the previously clear sky had clouded over and I took only a coujple of shots before calling it a day. Here is 55015 slowing for the station stop on a train from Bridgnorth.
There was, as always at diesel galas, a token steam presence for the usual punters who just turn up on the day and expect to see the usual fare in action. On 7 May 1988 2-8-0 2857 was the locomotive in steam and here it is accelerating away from Bewdley towards Bridgnorth.
Foster Yeoman's 59001 was in action throughout the day during the May 1988 SVR diesel gala and this view of it approaching Bewdley station from the Bridgnorth direction was my final shot of the day.
As far as I can recall this is my only photograph of a class 26 and which was taken at Warcop on 10 March 1990. I went on a Pathfinder Railtour's excursion and this was my sole image, taken just before the train left Warcop, after waiting for a few minutes for the sun to appear. I seem to recall that I was the last passenger to board the train, 1Z38, being more interested in photography than either the rare track or haulage! I think that this may have been the final train over the line but it is possible that one or two MOD workings may have taken place.
While waiting for 5Q95 on the road bridge at Honeybourne on Saturday 24 February 2018 I was told that a pair of class 73/9s was topping and tailing a 1Q69 train from Hither Green to Derby and was due to pass Hatton at 16.15. This was too good a chance to miss for a bit of rare motive power on the GWR line north of Leamington Spa especially if the weather held up. It did and just after 16.00 I joined the 4 or 5 other photographers at Hatton North Junction ready for this image of 73965 leading the stock and 73962 on their way north. Thanks to Martin Loader for the gen on 1Q69.
There was a late addition to the Sunday schedules for 26 February 2016 when a 5Z02 from Woking to Derby RTC showed up on Saturday evening. These are usually worth keeping an eye on and this was the case on this occasion when 73965 + 73965 were on the train on top-and-tail mode. Unlike the last time a similar working happened today's train ran close to right time throughout, being scheduled to pass Hatton at 13.40. With plenty of time to drive over I went to Hatton North Junction where I had only about 10 minutes to wait before hearing 73964's horn as it passed the station at Hatton. The light wasn't great but with just enough brightness to show the poor workmanship on the locomotive's panelwork which look as if it has had attention from a gang with rubber hammers.
After returning home from organ playing duties on Sunday 6 November 2016 I found on my 'phone a message from a friend saying that 73962 + 73965 were to top and tail a 1Z13 Woking to Derby test train, 1Z13, via Oxford and Hatton rather than the more usual route down the Midland Main Line. I have missed similar albeit southbound moves on 3 occasions through being on holiday (twice) and a light engine move (didn't bother) so was keen to get a shot this time. The booked time at Hatton wsas 16.47 which would have been in the dark but fortunately the train left Woking 55 minutes early, the earliness increasing to 121 minutes by Aynho Junction, which I took as my cue to leave home for Hatton. I wanted a shot with a recognisable background for such a rare picture so went to the station footbridge arriving just as 1Z73 was passing Leamington Spa. It soon appeared, now 127 minutes early, and although it was dull in the extreme neeeding ISO 800 to get a fast enough shutter speed the result is a new class for me in the area. The verticals for a shot here are awkward; I have taken the radio mast in the background as my guide because the lamp posts and shelter on platform 3 do actually lean "backwards" because the platform has quite a camber...
A example of Sod's Law at its best. A VSOE charter ran from London Victoria to Kidderminster on Saturday 16 May 2015 with 55009 providing the power. The forecast was for a nicely cloudy morning, essential on the Leamington Spa line at around 10.30. The train was booked to run along Hatton Down Goods Loop and given the extreme rarity value this would have been my first choice for a location but given that a down Chiltern service was to overtake 1Z55 there, hence the use of the DGL, and that an up train was also nearby, I felt that the chances of being stuffed were too great. So to Hatton North where a huge patch of unwelcome clear blue appeared which with the sun high in the sky and close to shining straight into the lens made it an especially awkward proposition. I heartily dislike excessive post-processing of images and always try to keep manipulation to a minimum for the sake of a natural appearance but on this occasion all the Photoshop CS2 tools came into play to produce a distinctly awful image that looks more like a watercolour painting than a photograph. Nice exhaust though...
Class 55 Deltics have never been a common sight on the Leamington Spa to Birmingham (GWR) line and would, I thought, make for a worthwhile image on 21 April 2015 even when running without a train in tow. I chose this location for 0ZO4 because 1) the head-on angle made the lack of a train less obvious and 2) I knew that there would be some exhaust smoke as 55009 + 55019 exited the down loop at Bentley Heath whilst on their way to Kidderminster SVR from East Grinstead. A train, 6X01, running on the up line had only just cleared the crossing when 55009 running on just one engine passed over the crossing belching out its smelly exhaust. Here is a view of rail blue 55019 as the pair recede from the footbridge.
I hardly ever photograph railtours these days but one that took my interest was a Leicester to Weymouth that ran on Saturday 7 September 2103. The locomotive from Bescot was D1015 on its first run after overhaul (other than a loaded test a few weeks ago) and with there being about a 50% chance of clear skies I went over to the Birmingham to Gloucester line. Here is 1Z52 passing the footbridge at Northway just about on time in some good sun just after a short cloudy spell; the exceptionally clean locomotive making an attractive sight in its maroon clolour scheme. The sides of D1015 were so clean that the reflection of a blue drain cover can be clearly seen just above the battery boxes. This location wasn't my first choice but a weekend road closure between Teddington Hands roundabout and the M5 meant that the A46 through Ashchurch was blocked. I had left home early enough to make it here with a few minutes to spare via some narrow lanes but there wouldn't have been time for the shot I originally planned which involves a walk of some 15 minutes across public footpaths.
From time to time a charter train comes along that, if the weather is right, simply screams out to be photographed. Such a train ran on Saturday 15 May 2010 when D1015 (running as D1012 Western Firebrand) + 40145 double-headed a tour to Penzance, the Western having been added as pilot engine from Birmingham International. The weather looked to be set fair so I headed to Banbury so that the location was easily identifiable rather than just a nondescript piece of track such as can be found in several places a few miles further north. By the by 1Z40 was due, a lot of fluffy cloud was building up causing a certain amount of angst among the small gallery on the bridge adjacent to the Banbury Reservoir stone terminal. The charter was only 3 minutes beind a Chiltern Railways class 165 and was crawling along against adverse signals to its booked stop at Banbury station. Cloud was rapidly approaching the sun but in the event all was well and a nice sunny shot of this probably unique working was had by all. Who would have thought, just a few years ago, that it would have been possible to see such a sight on the GWR main line to Paddington.
The second of 2 private charters I photogtaphed on 14 September was, judging by the headboard on Western Champion, to celebrate a 50th Birthday. The train was 1Z82, the 08.45 Victoria to Kidderminster VSOE which ran behind Clan Line to Salisbury from where D1015 took over for the run to Kidderminster, from where it ran over SVR metals to Bewdley South Junction, hauled by 67012 which was at the rear of the formation. The train is here seen thrashing away from Norton Junction towards Worcester Shrub Hill in some more poor light, having just missed a small sunny patch. It was great to hear a Wizzo in full cry again - I used to sit at Hatton Station in my spotting days and listen to them bringing heavy trains up the bank - today's train didn't have quite the same atmosphere without the accompaniment of creaking wires and clanking semaphore signals, but it was pretty good. I hesitate to think how much it must have cost to organise this charter, I have dropped hints to my wife; in vain I suspect!
As I have mentioned before, railtours hold little interest for me these days and I photograph one only if it runs within a short drive of my home and if the locomotive is something out of the ordinary. Even then I'll only go for one shot and unlike some won't waste time or petrol charging like a thing possessed around the countryside for yet another shot of the same train in whatever location, however poor, is close to the road. A Deltic on the Gloucester to Birmingham line fitted with all my criteria on Saturday 29 March 2008 and with the promise of some reasonable light coupled with sensible timings I went to Stoke Prior near Bromsgrove. Needless to say, the weather caved as soon as I arrived and stayed poor when the distinctive nose of 55022 appeared leaving the single track from Droitwich and onto the main line at Stoke Works Junction. The sound effects were excellent as 1Z47 accelerated towards Bromsgrove and the 1/37 of the Lickey Incline although the smoke effects had subsided a little by the train reached me. I much prefer this shot to one of vantage points on the Lickey itself as there is an identifiable background rather just a row of trees as at Pike's Pool. The crossing at Vigo would have been an option, but I suspect that this would have been heaving with enthusiasts and it would have been difficult to have parked without causing an obstruction in the very narrow lane.
Here is a much earlier shot of a Deltic, in fact it was the first mainline run of a class member in the preservation era. 55001 is seen some 9 minutes late leaving the wood at Croome Perry on 18 April 1997 with 1Z56, the 11.30 London Euston to London Paddington via Birmingham and Bristol Temple Meads. I have never seen so many photographers at this location; I guess that there were around 40 in the gallery. Before this run it was unusual to see more than a couple of locals here, but following the publication of a photograph taken here of 55001 it became much more popular and resulted in the removal of much vegetation from the roadside. The occasion was marred for many enthusiasts by the late arrival of a bunch of loud-mouthed individuals just a few minutes before the train. These characters barged their way into the assembled ranks and spoiled the shots of several photographers who had been patiently waiting for some time. The same group became well known for their loutish behaviour over the following years and were the cause of much ill-feeling around the country, particularly in South Wales. It is these people that put me off photographing railtours as they seemed to turn up everywhere en-masse, always at the last minute and always with the arrogant attitude that their photographs were more important than anybody else's as theirs would doubtless be published. Great... 645
A Deltic in a much more unusual colour scheme was seen on the network in 2002. 55016 was painted in the house colours of Porterbrook Ltd and ran around for a while, no doubt attracting approbation and approval in equal measures. On 6 April 2002 the purple locomotive ran at the head of a railtour from Crewe to York, from where 37521 + 37682 took over for the run to Scarborough. The train, 1Z40 is here seen at Lea Marston on a nicely lit bright morning. I totally messed up the shot as I was on the other side of the road when the train appeared and managed to skew the verticals by some 5 degrees, meaning that heavy cropping was necessary to straighten things up with the concomitant loss of composition. Still, it's the only photograph I am ever likely to get of 55016 so it will have to do.
One of the preserved class 55 Deltic locomotives, 55022, was scheduled to haul a railtour from Doncaster to Paignton on Saturday 9 July 2011. I don't very often photograph charters unless they are very local but I thought that this one would be worth a trip to the Worcester avoiding line, "The Old Road", because it ran at the right of time of day and not far behind it was an empty coal train from Ratcliffe Power Station to Avonmouth. There isn't usually any freight on the southbound line here in the morning so with a reasonably clear sky at home I made the journey here with a view to photographing a couple of locomotive hauled trains within around ten minutes of each other. Whilst there were a few clear patches in the sky over Worcestershire the sun completely failed to find one when 1Z32 appeared. I suppose that it is lucky that 55022 isn't in the awful colour scheme of the WCRC, as is 47804 on the back of the train, because that would have made for an even worse image in the poor light. It was though lucky that the 47 was attached because 55022 failed later on the trip and was stopped in Tiverton loop while it was run around to the front of the stock and dragged the whole lot forward to Paignton.