Posted in Railways on Saturday 19th September 2009 at 10:34pm
I've become used to people describing the Battlefield Railway, and particularly the Shackerstone Diesel group in hushed tones. A preservation group with a home fleet of well-maintained, beautifully kept locomotives - but in an almost impossible to get to location. Everywhere I went at railway events I'd spot the ubiquitous 'SN' depot insignia on bags, mugs and notebooks - people were impressed with this bunch, and didn't mind who knew it. So when this gala was advertised with a bus link to Nuneaton station, I wasted no time in booking. It was a tough call between this and Pathfinder's jaunt up to North Wales with D1015, but curiosity to see this line in operation got the better of me - along with a busy month ahead and a need to keep the purse strings in check. I travelled up to the Midlands yesterday, and had a pleasant evening out in Birmingham with relatives before setting off early this morning. However, a second consecutive night out on the town (which also included a trip to the legendary Wellington pub with its many real ales on offer) had left me feeling a little out of sorts - and I dozed through the journey to New Street, sleepily changed trains and only really began to surface on the unit to Nuneaton where the sun began to shine through the windows very strongly. We were in for a hot day it seemed. The last leg of the journey was conducted in a coach, winding through the Warwickshire and Leicestershire countryside before finally arriving at Shenton station, with the resident DMU chugging away at the platform. I'd finally reached the Battlefield Railway!
The DMU started things with a complete run of the line to Shackerstone, and this was useful in getting my bearings - while staff puzzled over my 'ticketweb' purchased rover. The line is around four and a half miles long, and is part of the former Nuneaton to Ashby route. Population around the line is sparse, the only town of note being Market Bosworth. However the station there is in disrepair following vandalism and trains don't currently stop. Once at Shackerstone, the intensive operation started in earnest, with the next loco hauled departure at 09:00. I could see a yard full of interesting locos behind the station, but soon realised that one of the rather tricky bits of this gala would be that you were either on the train or elsewhere photographing things and exploring. The layovers between trains were too short to combine the two. Consulted the timetable and decided that the 73/25 combination, whilst very tempting, was eclipsed by the bigger engines on offer today, so decided that would be my break between trips. Soon off Shackerstone with the resident 33 on the front and 47640 'University of Strathclyde' on the rear to haul us back. Briefly hopped off at Shenton and noted that with the long train blocking the foot-crossing, and the other loco way off the platform there were few photo opportunities. Settled in for the run back, with the alternating aromas of diesel and the excellent griddle car!
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.