Posted in Railways on Monday 30th May 2005 at 8:24pm
Woke to the news of the grounding of the entire Virgin Voyager fleet due to a problem at Barton Hill last night. Not surprised to find the 0832 from Weston cancelled on my arrival at the station. Originally plumped for the 0837 stopper, but was persuaded by announcements to risk a special relief provided by Wessex. It was a jammed 153, but it did get us to Bristol earlier. This was clearly a day when anything might happen.
Decided to stay at Newport for the morning's entertainment. Surprisingly little information around, possibly due to the Bank Holiday or the number of railtours running today. Spent the quiet start to the day chatting and socialising. Things soon got going, with a couple of 175s on both a service train and driver training, a little frieght and eventually the arrival of the specials.
Highlight of course was the double-headed class 50 hauled Stratford-Cardiff train. Mercifully, nothing was occupying the up relief when this passed by, unlike the earlier 67 hauled service.
Arriva had planned to operate several of their regular services with loco haulage, but in the event ended up running both a loco hauled service and the original unit with additional coaches. This despite being approached by Virgin for help with stock! Stayed at Newport for the remainder of these specials, before being persuaded to join 47843's train, which was surprisingly light on passengers even in the front coach. 47843 producing a nice racket for the short journey to Cardiff, including a couple of noisy starts from signal checks.
Waited for a little while at Cardiff, to get a shot of 47815 on the rear of the train. Quick dash back to Bristol in the hope of seeing the Midland Mainline HST, but a bit too late due to our excursion to Cardiff. Enjoyed the sunshine at Bristol and watched 66041 arrive with the tanks, and run around, along with another light engine move. Nothing much happening, at least until much later. As things were quiet, called it day early. Just checked how the football went - no third showing for West Ham fans next year it seems!
Posted in Railways on Saturday 28th May 2005 at 10:39pm
It was near impossible to get from Weston to Taunton this morning, due to Wessex Trains somehow messing up the interim Bank Holiday timetable. The mixture of the current Winter timetable, the additional Bank Holiday trains, and the impending Summer timetable obviously proving too much for them, with many services being cancelled. Eventually plumped for a return to Bristol, and a Bristol-Taunton return. Arrived at Taunton in time for 67022 on an Eden Project excursion, and the first of the Virgin operated HSTs. Passed the time chatting until D1015 caught me unawares, flying through on the fast line at full speed.
Waited for the third HST set to pass before heading up to Bristol following a phonecall from Lee. 'Tangmere' had arrived on the empty stock of a Victoria-Bath VSOE and 'Duke of Gloucester' was imminent. Arrived in time for the Duke and the final hired-in HST set of the day. Plenty of people waiting around for the return of 'Tangmere'. Used the time to catch up with the regulars and to sit in the sunshine in my usual spot. 'Tangmere' left in clouds of steam and with a great deal of noise to much appreciation from the assembled spectators.
Waited around in evening sunshine for the departure of 'Duke of Gloucester', which posed briefly with a pair of 66s pottering around from Barton Hill before running around the stock. Temple Meads well and truly steamed up by the Duke, prior to a thundering start. Something of a Steam Gala feel to Temple Meads this afternoon. An interesting and sociable day in the sunshine.
Posted in Updates on Wednesday 25th May 2005 at 7:36pm
It seems extremely odd to me now that I spent Tuesday morning talking about affirmation, positive thinking and all kinds of other methods of managing or developing oneself, and actually managed to get beyond my vague unease with the American-style self-helpism to feel quite bright. Since then, I've tumbled in freefall through the rest of a week where it seems people are determined to wreck everything and my chances of controlling the descent are worse than nil. I don't even think I'm entirely the intended target - more collateral damage perhaps?
Most disturbingly it feels like history is repeating itself for me. Horribly however, this time I can see it unfolding. I can't even claim blissful ignorance as a defence. Perhaps this is actually the business-end of an acute, rather cynical paranoia developed over ten years as a Local Government Officer? Or perhaps its the end of that whole sorry business?
Posted in Railways on Saturday 21st May 2005 at 6:38pm
Back from a week away in the north. Accompanied some friends on what was originally to be a holiday based in a cottage fronting the West Coast Mainline. When this proved uninhabitable, moved on to Penrith as a base. A very pleasant small town indeed.
Took the advantage of being in Cumbria to purchase and make extensive use of a Freedom of the Northwest Rover. Started out on Monday with a trip down to Chester for lunch, out via Crewe and back via Warrington. Returned for classy dinner at the George in Penrith. Another long rail trip on Tuesday, starting with an hour or so at Carlisle which produced 37029 with a noisy light engine trip through the station, followed by the Malcolm train. The diesel fumes from 37029 had yet to dissipate when we boarded our train for Skipton via the Settle & Carlisle. Lunch and exploring at Skipton - including a boat trip on the Springs Canal, then home to Penrith via Lancaster.
A shorter journey on Wednesday, to Windermere. A very pleasant, if breezy, trip on the MV Teal from Bowness to Lakeside. Object was to visit the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Didn't know much about the short line, but I was pleasantly surprised to find 26001 and 20214 in the shed at Haverthwaite. Crossed the treacherous dual carriageway to the Anglers Arms for excellent food and beer, then a slightly wetter trip back to Bowness.
Back at Penrith, we explored more local pubs including the quiet, friendly Lowther Arms and the busier Board and Elbow. Half-heartedly entered the pub quiz at the latter, and ended up thrashing the locals and doubling the score of the second place team! Slunk away with a pocket full of cash, bottle of wine and a free pint!
Thursday saw us travel north to Scotland, a first for some of our party. Very pleasant weather for the run into Glasgow Central. Seized by all the usual pangs of regret that I was only in one of my favourite haunts for a matter of a few hours. Spent some time at both Central and Queen Street and wandered around the city a little, playing tour guide to some extent. Eventually decided to take an official bus tour, which turned out to be rather good fun.
On Friday, we decided to visit the East Lancashire Railway - something planned for Sunday but abandoned due to seeking new accommodation. Rather quiet since it was a weekday, but interesting to chat to the staff and good to see 40135 even if it was masquerading as departmental 97406.
Farce at Preston on the return journey, as the wires were down south of Lancaster. Nothing moving northwards for some time. Eventually, after many false starts and wrong announcements Thunderbird 57305 arrived and backed on to the front of the 1723 Pendolino for Glasgow which had been sitting at platform 4 for over an hour. Once Virgin staff finally agreed on the revised stopping pattern for the service, set off under 57 power as far as Lancaster where the loco was detached, and then back to Penrith.
A long winding drive back today, through the Welsh Marches, with sudden storms of heavy rain in the Wye Valley.
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.