Today’s been exactly that. So far I’ve spent it at home, sitting in my office and avoiding the gales and rain that battered the house this morning. Instead of braving the elements I’ve been catching up on some paperwork, then scanning more old slides. The latest batch are all from my days living in London in the latter years of the 1990s. I’ve now moved on from 1996 to 1997. I was keen to document as much of the changing UK rail scene as I could as Lynn and I were only a few months away from packing in our jobs and leaving the UK for 18 months to travel around the world. I was still working in Tower Hamlets as a Housing officer, hence many of these pictures being taken at Stratford, just down the road from where I worked. Here’s a couple of samples.
On the 26th February 1997 EW&S Class 56 (56066 for the number crunchers) sits in the old Bow Midland goods yard with empty Plasmor concrete block wagons, ready to return them to Heck on the East Coast Mainline. This service is about the only thing left in the picture that hasn’t changed. It still runs today! The background and surrounds to the picture have changed completely. The shot was taken from the Docklands Light Railway station at Pudding Mill Lane. This has been swept away by the tunnel portal for Crossrail and a new station opened on a new alignment further South. The housing estate you see in the background is the Lefevre, run by Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust (or HATs as they were known). This is where I worked. My job was to manage this estate, which was being demolished in phases and the tenants rehoused in new, modern, low rise properties.
Another place that’s unrecognisable today. This is Stratford in East London. Class 86247 pushes the 11.25 from Liverpool St to Harwich through the station on the same date in 1997 as the last shot. The whole area’s been transformed through investment. The station’s been rebuilt and expanded. The area to the left is now the massive Westfield shopping centre. And, if you’d have told us this station would one day be the key gateway to an Olympic games, we’d have looked at you like you were mad!
OK, that’s enough memories. Now the pair of us are off out for a meal with friends in Mytholmroyd, Sue and Geoff Mitchell, who are stalwarts of the local station friends group. See you later!
I’ve a favour to ask.
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