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It’s a painfully slow process, but I’m determined that 2019 will see the majority of my old railway back catalogue scanned and available on my Zenfolio website – although the travel pictures will have to wait a little longer! The past couple of months has seen me slog through a several hundred slides from 1996 onwards. Right now I’ve got as far as July, having uploaded or replaced another 40 images today. My plan is to continue my way chronologically through the years up the point I stopped taking slides and went digital, which was on the 20th February 2004, almost 15 years ago now! With the benefit of hindsight I’d wish I’d done it sooner – but hey ho!

These old pictures show just how much the railway scene has changed in the past 22 years. They’re all from the very early days of privatisation, when the railways had been ‘sectorised’ but not everything had been franchised. The first passenger service to be privatised was SouthWest trains in February 1996. This is adding another layer of complexity to scanning as the pictures are split up into different galleries on my website that are dedicated to each operator, so I’m having to do a lot of historical referencing as well. Here’s a few examples of today’s batch.

05865. 31421. Springs branch TMD. Wigan. 08.7.1996crop

A shot taken from a passing intercity service of the former Transrail depot at Wigan Springs Branch. Transrail was one of six companies the BR freight division had been broken up into as a way of introducing internal competition. In the end it, Loadhaul, Mainline Freight, Railfreight Distribution (RfD) and Rail Express Systems (RES) were bought by  American company Wisconsin freight which marketed them as English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS). Many of the old BR locos you can see in the picture were actually stored.

05887. 3202. Herne Hill. 30.06.1996crop

A Eurostar set led by 3202 snakes through Herne Hill in South London. These services would run for another 11 years, until High Speed 1 and St Pancras International opened in 2007.

05925. 31455. 31255. Wolverton. 14.7.1996crop

A pair of class 31s work an engineers train during track relaying work on the West Coast Main Line North of Wolverton. These old locomotives would sit idle during the week as they were kept purely to work these trains. That meant their reliability was poor, often leading to engineering work being disrupted. Note that the adjacent pair of tracks remains open. This would never be allowed today due to the risks it passes to track workers, who can be seen ahead of my Euston-bound Intercity service.

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