My wife had a night out in Leeds with friends last night, leaving me to my own devices, which gave me chance to start scanning some of the thousands of old rail and travel slides I have sitting around in albums. Most of them have never made it onto my website, so no-one’s seen them since I took them. Even I’ve forgotten what’s in them!
The album I’ve started working my way through now consists of old railway images starting in summer 1995 and going through to summer 1996. I wasn’t as prolific a photographer in those days. I was living in London, working as a Housing Officer and Lynn (my first wife) and I were saving up to buy a flat in Crouch End before going off travelling for 18 months. Most of my pictures were taken around London at weekends when I could nip out for a day, or on days off when I could get further afield
Now, 23 years on, it’s fascinating to look back on the pictures and see how much has changed on the railways. These were the early days of rail privatisation. Railtrack had taken over from British Rail, the ownership of passenger rolling stock had been transferred to the three ROSCOs (rolling stock leasing companies) but most services were still run by shadow franchises as it would take until 1997 for everything to be privatised. No-one really knew how things would pan out in the end.
Here’s just a few pictures from the series I’m scanning. You can find the full series starting with this picture.
Most Class 60s like this one were only 2-3 years old back in 1995 but they’d already developed a reputation for unreliability. Here’s 60072 ‘Cairn Toul’ passing through Didcot with a train of BOC tankers on the 21st August 1995. Now Didcot’s a mass of overhead wires as the line’s been electrified and most of the Class 60s have been in store for years, including this example.
Then (as now) most East Coast Intercity services were in the hands of the Class 91s, which has been introduced between 1988-91. Ironically, one (91019 as was) has just been repainted in the livery you see here as the 91s are to be replaced by Hitachi built ‘Azuma’ trains from next year. Here’s 91016 at Kings Cross on the 14th September 1995.
A day later, just down the road at Euston, loco-hauled still ruled West Coast services which were in the hands of the 86s, 87s and Class 90s. Here’s 86251 ‘The Birmingham Post’ stabled in the loco holding sidings.
Cross-country service were still in the hands of unreliable Class 47s hauling rakes of Mark 2 coaches. Here’s 47843 at Birmingham International with the 11.25 to Manchester Piccadilly on the 18th November 1995.
Also on the 18th November, 310102 arrives at Wolverhampton on a local service from Stafford. These 75mph slam door units were originally built for regional services out of Euston in 1965-67. 102 (originally 310055) was one of 11 renumbered as they were transferred to the ‘Provincial sector’ to operate service around Birmingham.