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More things culled from RAILDATE up to 21/01/00, plus anything else that's come my way.
Gallery has been updated with shots taken in Scotland and the North East of England:
Come and hear Slug 6 and many more updates following the EWS/ELR Classic Traction Event:
BR Dieselweb Updated Class 37 soundfiles added - 37029 in action:
All Class 37/4 Diagrams for the Winter are now available on the North Wales Coast notice board:
Last Class 40 working of the Century:
(I listened to the recording on the way home from the ELR last Saturday and when D345 opens up in the tunnel my speakers nearly blew up and I almost drove off the road!)
Type 1 Locomotive Association
Co-Bo World, the website dedicated to D5705 and the Metrovicks has been updated to include a new page on their australian cousins. Enjoy!
Updated, and now gives details of which TOC operates any given station:
A page about maintenance boats operated by the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and its' successors from 1853 to 1948.
Pages have changed to:
NSE Page: http://www.nse.org.uk or http://www.networksoutheast.co.uk NSE Gallery: http://www.nse.org.uk/gallery NSE Models: http://www.nse.org.uk/models
From Nick Robson...
"Does anyone know anything about the why's and wherefore's of diesel movements on the Portsmouth line? Over the last two weeks I have seen a Class 47 heading three corridor coaches and followed up by another Class 47, all in "Virgin" livery, roaring south through Petersfield, and also from a distance, a two-coach DMU trundling north in "Express" livery."
From Graham Mackenzie...
Re Nick Robson's enquiry, I think you'll find that the 47+3+47 is part of the new service run by Virgin Cross Country from the Midlands to Portsmouth. The reason for top and tailing is the lack of a run round at the harbour station these days. So the extra loco comes on/off at Reading. I hadn't realised it was just 3 coaches.
The two car DMU I think is the service that ends up in somewhere like Blackpool, after traversing half of southern England. I believe it goes from Portsmouth to Southampton, Salisbury and Bristol and ends up in Blackpool without touching Birmingham. Probably takes all day and has very few through passengers.
I have been in Basingstoke over the past couple of weeks and have noted an interesting down freight working just after 3 in the afternoon. It is a train of what looks like skips on 4 wheeled wagons, hauled by a "Shed" (Class66) and invariably travelling fairly fast. I haven't been able to identify what may be in the "skips", where the train is heading for or when the return working is, so if any one out there knows, please pass the info on.
By the way, I was working in Perth a week or so ago, which means traversing the Forth bridge (road). THE Forth Bridge has a very large illuminated sign on the centre span indicating days to go to next year/century. Other parts are heavily covered in plastic sheet. Obviously the painters are busy again and not as hardy as in the olden days.
Back to Portsmouth, reminds me of a discussion with a friend of mine who works in the Zurich Building close to Portsmouth station and we were talking trains, as you do. He commented that one day he had seen three Virgins in the station at the same time, to which I remarked, "Impossible, the only known one in Portsmouth has been inside the convent for the past 50 years".
Over 200 transport plans for London at:
Virtual tour is online at:
"A Welsh English Electric Afternoon" shows classes 20,37,50 and 55 on the North Wales Coast on Friday afternoon:
Updated the North Wales Coast news site 23.14 Sunday evening with Alan Crawshaw's excellent pictures and report on 'The Slate Miner' steam specials up the Conwy Valley earlier in the day:
Website now carries some more pictures and a report on the new class 175 units for FNW:
I have recently added to my photography site (railway sub-site) a small selection of B&W pics which I shot at Stafford on 25th September 1999:
Try out the new site covering rail and bus in the area at:
A new website has been set up to provide information regarding purely demonstration freight trains at the Midland Railway Trust.
Diesel day photos:
Re-designed for the new m*******m. The frames have gone together with the dark maroon background. The new site is now much easier to navigate with links to all topics now on every page:
Some lovely operating Rolling stock, set in lovely countryside, with work done at the work sheds on site. Has a nice little shop that does a nice line in models, and accessories:
Signalling page has been updated - the "Featured Cabin" this month is Kwinana, currently the only operational lever cabin on the Westrail network. You'll find the SIGWA page at:
The Channel Tunnel Rail Link Photographic Project is a unique UK photographic project documenting the construction of the entire railway from London to the Channel Tunnel:
By Graham Mackenzie
In summary this is the largest and probably the best model railway exhibition that I have been to. There were over 200 stands and all gauges from Z to 1 were represented. Models ranging from non-UK through to detailed, specific UK locations were modelled, plus of course, plenty of trade stands, mainly for OO and N and of course Hornby, Bachmann and Graham Farish.
The centrepiece was a Pete Waterman Class 37 and the man himself was there looking very relaxed.
My favourite layouts were Tebay, a 4mm slightly compressed version capturing Tebay Junction in the 1950s. Lots going on, including bankers and the NE branch. Next to it was another 4mm layout featuring the 1980s, set in a fictitious part of Manchester. Scale length trains running at scale speeds and plenty of variety. Stoke Summit was up to its usual high standard and as I had seen it before at Brighton, it was like returning to a favourite spot on the lineside, again in the late 50s/early 60s. Then there was the Austrian HO layout which featured a specific location in the mountains and is a passing point for a single line section. The scenery was simple but very convincing. These were my top 4 which I went back to more than once. On some of these layouts, the fiddle yard is more complex than the viewing side.
There was plenty of room in the aisles which made moving around the exhibition very easy. The problem came if you wanted to view or buy. Some stands were 4 or 5 deep and in most cases, a little bit of patience was rewarded. Like many of these exhibitions, the crowds started to thin around 4.30 and the last hour and a half could be taken at leisure.
For those who have never been to the NEC, travelling by road or rail is very easy, about 2 hours by road from Winchester and slightly more by rail. Car parking is very easy and cost £5, with courtesy buses to the exhibition halls. The facilities in the NEC are also very good and not too expensive, if compared with the likes of Earls Court.
If you want to go next year, book now at £6 or £7 on the day. The dates are confirmed as the 4th and 5th November.
There is a link to the Bachmann site, as well as a newsletter and a fairly extensive catalogue of items.
Bookstore, free downloads, information etc:
The 'newspaper' of choice for railstaff:
Railnews reports that an extremely rare LMS poster extolling the charms of Southport in the rain went under the hammer at Christie's last week for GBP 6,325...
It had been expected to fetch between 1,500 and 2,000!!
I wouldn't mind, but there isn't even a train in the picture, just a couple of motor cars that seem to be all engine and running board.!
The Internet Railroad Directory has recently been updated to include more than 3,800 listings in its categorized and searchable rail sites directory. If you would like to promote your own rail-related web site with a free RailServe listing, use the simple "Add a Site" link found in the drop-down menu at the top of all RailServe pages. RailServe also includes a message forum, ICQ communication list, and railroad web design and advertising services:
From Larry Schwartz
One wonders if James Burke (Connections) knows about this one!
The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8 inches.
That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US railroads.
Why did the English build them like that? Because the first railway lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
Why did they use that gauge in England, then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay! Why did their wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts.
So who built these old rutted roads? Imperial Rome, for the benefit of their legions, built the first long distance roads in Europe. The Roman roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The wheels of Roman war chariots first made the original ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever.
So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be right on the mark. Because of the Imperial Roman Empire, there is an interesting extension of the story about railroad gauge and horses' behinds.
When you see a space shuttle sitting on the launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are the solid rocket boosters, or SRB's. Thiokol makes the SRB's at a factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRB's reportedly might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRB's had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad from the factory runs through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRB's had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than a railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So a major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was originally determined by the width of a horse's ass.
W H Auden, 1907-73
This is the Night Mail crossing the Border, Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor, The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb: The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder, Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily, she passes Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches, Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course; They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes, But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens. Her climb is done. Down towards Glasgow she descends, Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes, Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen. All Scotland waits for her. In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs, Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks, Letters of joy from girl and boy, Receipted bills and invitations To inspect new stock or to visit relations, And applications for situations, And timid lovers' declarations, And gossip, gossip from all the nations, News circumstantial, news financial, Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in, Letters with faces scrawled on the margin, Letters from uncles, cousins and aunts, Letters to Scotland from the South of France, Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands, Written on paper of every hue, The pink, the violet, the white and the blue, The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring, The cold and official and the heart's outpouring, Clever, stupid, short and long, The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong
Thousands are still asleep, Dreaming of terrifying monsters Or a friendly tea beside the band in Cranston's or Crawford's: Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh, Asleep in granite Aberdeen, They continue their dreams, But shall wake soon and hope for letters, And none will hear the postman's knock Without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
Maps of the railway system at the turn of the century are now downloadable. At present the site only covers southern England, but the intention is to expand it to the rest of Britain and Ireland in time:
Railway Photography By Martyn Fordham:
Peter's Pictorial Railway Review:
UK Railway Photographic Gallery:
Pictures from Welshpool Gala, West Somerset Gala, SVR Gala taken in September:
Black & White Gallery:
37431 on its way to Wigan for the last time 56010 (now on decision) on an MGR and more:
A collection of videos by the Aarchive Group of almost all the old stations in the South West region, from South Brent to Kingsbridge, and Plymouth to Launceston via Tavistock South. 11 titles in all:
Over 50% discount on shop prices!
New website where you can order online and view complete range of videos produced by one of the leading rail film producers:
The following new titles have been added to our shop at:
http://www.pastimes.co.uk/transport/emporium/publications/trra1715.html Martin Bairstow Publisher
http://www.pastimes.co.uk/transport/emporium/publications/trra1716.html Platform 5 Publishing Limited
My wife is a railway artist who's been featured in a couple of magazines and had several exhibitions. She now has a web site, so if you fancy some steamy pictures (or even a Class 40) please pay a visit:
RCN site: http://www.trainweb.org/rcn-uk/ Gallery : http://www.trainweb.org/rcn-uk/gallery.html
I have created a Web page on the subject of Railways and Music, listing, in chronological order, pieces of music influenced by or evoking railways, and indicating available recordings where known. This is only a beginning; I have no doubt that my knowledge of this fascinating subject is far from comprehensive. I would be very pleased indeed to hear from anyone who can add any further information:
There is a website which lists of all the UK Government and Local Government sites in the Great Britain. It is quite a useful site, as there are links to The Rail Regulator as well as to your Local Authority. It is quite fun to surf, as there are a number of really obscurer Governmental Departments and Quangos who are worth looking into.
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