Just not the same anymore.......

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Hound Dog
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Just not the same anymore.......

#1

Post by Hound Dog » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:44 pm

It has been quite a few years since I did a long rail journey, but yesterday I travelled from Gloucester to Ayrshire after visiting my daughter, but I was saddened by the run-down state of things and the distinct lack of loco’s.

Departure from Gloucester gave a view of the waste ground that used to be Horton Rd ( only ever saw pictures of it in the past) and the trip up to Birmingham revealed only a steady stream of multiple units, apart from the odd DRS, GBRF or EWS Class 66.......

What really saddened me was the empty sheds and platforms at Crewe, once the holygrail of train-spotting and the journey up thru Wigan and Preston was not any better......... I was briefly rewarded by the sight of a shiny Class 57 at the head of a Pullman service at Carlisle, (with a West Coast Railways Class 47 at the rear) and it looked stunning to see a proper locomotive at the head of a rake of coaches - just a pity I could not get off to listen to throb of those diesels.

Finally an array of DRS diesel traction at Kingmoor, but then nothing until multiple unit land resumed at Glasgow Central.

Yes my train was comfortable and on time, but it is hardly worth looking out the window these days, and I wonder what motivated the solitary middle-aged train spotter who I saw standing at the end of Warrington Bank Quay..........I guess I must be getting old right enough, but thank goodness I caught the last of the BR Blue era and can attempt to replicate this on my layout.

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#2

Post by Mountain Goat » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:13 pm

I agree. Dont get me wrong. Modern trains are easy to work and efficient, but for the thrill of watching them pass and the skeleton network we have left it is less exciting.
It has been stated that more Milages were lost during the 1990's on the railway then at any other point of time in the UK railway history. The BR blue 1980's years were the last of the older workings and system.
A strange thing is that not too far away from me is said to be one of the largest marshalling yards left in Europe. Yet it only has a few sidings and was one of the smallest around hsere until the others closed during the '90's. The reason why is due to the recessionnof the early 1990's which hit Britain's industry hard. My area has not really recovered yet from those days.

Hound Dog
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#3

Post by Hound Dog » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:01 am

Yes Mountain Goat, the demise of industry has played a huge part in the reduction of the rail network......., not far from where I live is the Hunterston Coal terminal on the Clyde which was introduced to serve the Ravenscraig Steel works near Motherwell .....it is hard to forget the noise and vibration from a Class 37 Push-pull coal train thundering by at speed, but these ceased when Ravenscraig closed in 1992.

For the remaining years there was a steady stream of Class 66 hauled coal services for the Longannet and even Drax coal fuelled Power Stations, but they have now gone also, and so the yards lie empty and forelorn, and the mighty cranes at the end of the deep water jetty are currently being dismantled - something that I estimate will take a year or more based on the current slow pace.

........perhaps Brexit will make Great Britain great again, but I very much doubt it.

Pedros
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#4

Post by Pedros » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:50 pm

There was something to enjoy from pretty much every era in rail travel in the UK, from it's original inception, really up until recently. I simply cannot grasp the thinking today. Commuters suffer overcrowding and cancelled trains by the dozen. So surely there must be, for passengers at least, the scope to expand. Indeed, with the ever growing gridlock on our roads, do I detect a willingness to put more freight onto rails? It strikes me that our railways, with some energetic, forward thinking management could once again be great. But I think perhaps, over the last 150 years or so, hasn't this been said before and always turned into false dawns.

Phew, that's a bit reflective. Think I'll put the kettle on.

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bulleidboy
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#5

Post by bulleidboy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:48 am

I quite enjoy my periodic trips up to Waterloo - I probably do between fifteen and twenty return trips each year. Always after 10am and usually returning just after lunch or between eight and nine pm. As a modeller, I like looking at tree colours, what's growing between the tracks - just outside Clapham Junction the growth is about six feet high. The odd overgrown pill-box out in the country. As you approach Vauxhall the building work is incredible - if you own a space fifty metres square, you can get a twenty to thirty storey building on it - usually flats/apartments.

Having commuted into Waterloo for forty five years I have seen a lot of change - Nine Elms and Stewarts Lane were very active sheds back in the early/mid sixties. I've experienced having a "silver-service" breakfast on the commute up to London, as has been said, it's now a trolley if your lucky.
I also survived the Clapham rail crash in 1988 - that's another story.

The journey from Basingstoke took forty five minutes in 1972 and still takes forty five minutes on a fast train (I commuted from Surrey for eight years before moving the Basingstoke). The annual season ticket from Basingstoke cost £151 - it's now £3500 - and it still takes forty five minutes!

There has been a lot of change - and yes, it's not the same anymore, buy I still enjoy my journeys.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#6

Post by Mountain Goat » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:22 am

Tell you what I really enjoyed working on and on rare occasions I still see trundling past, are the class 143's. They were always good to work, reliable and exciting. I had more thrill working those then working engine and coaches.

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AugustusCaesar
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#7

Post by AugustusCaesar » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:25 pm

Whilst I had an hour or so free the other day during peak travel PM and having my camera with me (keen photographer) I decided while waiting for my wife to meet me for a meal in the City Centre at Newcastle to head to the Central Station and take some photos of the locos passing through.

Having my 'pass' for access to the platforms etc. I headed off and got some decent pics to start with then there was a lull in movement and almost a deathly silence around the place. At peak time I found this so unusual compared to what it used to be like years back. As most will or may know a lot of platforms have been turned into carparking spaces here which is tragic but probably a needs be so traffic is cut naturally there to start with.

I don't normally take pics of trains and am no spotter (no disrespect to those who are) but when travelling or meeting someone off the trains some years gone by it was always busy, noisy, active and bustling.
Now, there's a little of that when a London to Edinburgh train drops off its passengers for example but no real buzz about the place. It's a case of... get me tickets, get on board, dash off and vacate as soon as possible with no stop-offs for a coffee or sarny and the likes.

Even when at other main stations there seems to be little going on. What say we get the transport dept. to ban lorries and the likes and get freight back to our railways using a little steam, a good few deisels and drop a few of the modern locos so we can all go back in time and appreciate fully what was once there in all its glory?

We can but dream... :|
"Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!" - Emp. Augustus Caesar after losing his legions in the Teutoburg Forest, Germania, Sept, 9AD.

cheshire lines
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#8

Post by cheshire lines » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:39 pm

Mountain Goat wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:22 am
Tell you what I really enjoyed working on and on rare occasions I still see trundling past, are the class 143's. They were always good to work, reliable and exciting. I had more thrill working those then working engine and coaches.
Hi Mountain Goat, I'm not sure the regular passengers on my local line from Manchester to Chester via Northwich would agree with you about the class 143's!
They are still used regularly on that service and don't have a good reputation for comfort or reliability. They were supposed to be replaced by more modern units cascaded from other services following further electrification north of Manchester, but that has been delayed several times.
The other gripe is that when Northern took over the franchise, they were supposed to increase the frequency from hourly to half-hourly, but that hasn't happened yet either. The latest proposal is for the additional trains to run from Chester to Altrincham only, due the pathing problems around Stockport. This would mean changing to the Metro for the Altrincham to Manchester leg (which uses the part of the original route from Altrincham to Manchester Oxford Road). The route now used between Altrincham and Stockport is the single line which used to be the South Manchester Freight Loop. Incidentally the other of the line into Chester General is different from the route into Chester Northgate that I remember from the 1960's.

The ironic thing is that the proposed HS2 route between Crewe and Manchester will run less that a mile from my house, but unless the local services are improved it will still take an age to get to Manchester to pick it up!

Living in Northwich, we used to have a lot of freight traffic generated by the local ICI factories, including several trains per day of limestone from the Tunstead Quarries in Derbyshire, using ICI's own hopper wagons, plus coke (and later oil tankers) for fuelling the plants and covhops and tank wagons for finished products. ICI had their own fleet of shunting locos and exchange sidings on both the Cheshire Lines Committee Chester to Manchester line and the West Coast Main Line at Gorstage. I have recently purchased a set of the hopper wagons commissioned by Hattons and have also got a rake of covhops.
Our local line does still see some freight traffic, including some biomass trains carrying fuel brought by sea from the USA to Drax power station.

The lightly used single track freight only line from Northwich to Crewe via Middlewich and Sandbach is still occasionally used as a diversionary route for the WCML between Weaver Junction and Crewe. The Pendilo unit I saw a couple of years ago being local hauled on the triange curve where the freight line meets the Northwich to Chester line wasn't half making some screeching noises from the wheels!

Mountain Goat
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Re: Just not the same anymore.......

#9

Post by Mountain Goat » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:02 pm

Have the 143's up there been upgraded (I feel downgraded) to airline type seats (Which is a major task as the whole floor has to be removed and a heavier new floor installed)? I feel downgraded as they were only able to touch 80. They would do a good 85 and accelerate much quicker before the upgrades. (I didn't say this officially as they are top speed 75mph rated trains). If the shocks need renewing, the rear coach starts to shake above around 68-70 mph of a 2 car set. They never were intended for long distance use. They were intended as cheap to run railcars. Having said that, when I used to work them on a Swanline service which used to call at all stops to Bridgend and then Cardiff Central I used to regularly catch up with the HST which was only calling at the principle stations and started out a full five minutes before us, such was the acceleration of these little units. We would get quicker times in the areas where thew HST's would be running at higher speeds as the HST's were slow accelerating in comparison.
The downsides were that the little railcars were not the best for passengers at high speeds due to each coach only having four wheels. The wind came in through the doors so as guards we used to take our more vulnerable passengers to the seats above the five heaters that the units had in cold frosty weather. I called them greenhouses as you'd need the windows open in the summer. There were a few places which they couldn't be used due to sharp curves. Crewe depot with our company were not allowed to sign to use them due to this as the curves to the platforms they used with Central Wales trains were too sharp. We could work 142's and 143's up the Central (Known as Heart of Wales to passengers), but we would have to bring them back down and swop passengers where we met with the other train.
143's are interesting for both guards and drivers to work. During slippery weather they can be prone to skid. Guards need to learn about their peculiarities like what to do if ones accidently had the doors out of sequence if one changes ends. I loved the visibility of a 143 when working them as a guard as I could see both the platform side and the inside of the doors, as even the door the other side of the toilet had the open button within sight so one could see where passengers were when one was at stations.

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