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Well, that’s been a unique good Friday. We went nowhere and did nothing. We didn’t even make it out for a walk!

Admittedly, Friday started later than we’d originally planned as there seemed little urgency to the day, it’s a holiday after all – even if there’s nowhere to go. Dee had a lie in with our old moggie (Jet) keeping her company on the bed. The pair of them looked a picture curled up together! Meanwhile I got on with scanning some more old slides in an effort to keep the momentum going. Considering the fact we’re meant to have more time on our hands than normal I’m really not sure where it goes. Shouldn’t time be dragging? The opposite seems to be true for me – I’m struggling to fit everything in. Admittedly, slide scanning is incredibly time consuming, but even so…

As if to taunt us this Lockdown Easter, the weather’s excellent. Normally you can guarantee will have storms, floods or suchlike, with events rained off and shows cancelled. This year? No chance – it’s perfect. So much so that I eventually gave up scanning to head out in the garden for some down-time and chance to catch up on blogging whilst enjoying a cool beer, the sunshine and the birdsong.

Despite the solitary nature of the day we did socialise after a fashion as in the evening a group of us from our local pub all got together via WhatsApp for our weekly quiz session. The event was made all the more funny by the fact Quizmaster Mel’s phone kept losing reception. It was like watching the old comedian Norman Collier performing his faulty microphone sketch. The hilarity was magnified when Ollie switched on some of the trick apps his kids had taught him and we were treated to his ever changing visage and a range of cartoon-like characters! We certainly had fun out of the whole performance, which united us all in laughter, despite the physical separation and the fact it’s going to be quite some time before we’ll all be able to do this in the Big 6 once more.

The rest of our evening passed equally quickly with the pair of us catching up on news and events or with friends via the power of t’internet. I finished editing my scanned slides which you can find in this gallery. Here’s a couple of samples.

0157. 50028. Waterloo. 12.10.1989.+crop

Here’s London Waterloo on the 12th October 1989 as Class 50, 50028 ‘Tiger’ raises the roof as it pulls away with an express heading for Salisbury or beyond. So much of this scene has changed now. Back in 1989 loco-hauled passenger trains were still a common sight in many of London’s termini. The Class 50s were gradually being withdrawn but would hang n for another couple of years before they were replaced by the Class 159 DMU’s built at York by BREL. 50017 survived in service until February 1991 when it was withdrawn. It was cut up at Old Oak Common depot in July 1991. 

In the background you can see several old Waterloo and City line underground cars which have been condemned and are waiting to be taken for scrap. They’ve been lifted up on the lift which was situated to the right of the vehicles, which was the only way of getting access to the ‘drain’ (as the Waterloo and City line is known). This area has disappeared completely. It was demolished to make way for the Eurostar terminal, Waterloo International which opened in 1994.   

Here’s a picture going back to an even earlier age of the railways.

0167. Signalbox. Littlehampton. 15.10.1989.+crop

This is the pretty little signalbox at Littlehampton on the South Coast, seen on the 15th October 1989. The box survives to this day as it’s a grade 2 listed building. It’s an example of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway Type 2 design built of brown brick in Flemish bond with hipped slate roof which was completed in 1886 and replaced an 1863 Saxby and Farmer signal box. The LB&SCR employed Saxby & Farmer designs exclusively for its signal boxes until the 1880s, but from then built an increasing number to its own designs. The LB&SCR Type 2 appeared around 1880 and continued to be built until 1896. The design derived from the Saxby & Farmer Type 5 with hipped roofs and broadly similar proportions. The most noticeable differences were the absence of the characteristic toplights above the windows with plain boarding substituted in its place, a different eaves bracket and on some boxes, elaborate valancing at eaves level of a type found in contemporary LB&SCR stations. The LB&SCR built some Type 2 boxes with valancing and some without.

Littlehampton survives substantially intact with the original operating room windows and eaves valancing. The operating room windows have been bricked up but survive behind the bricks. The operating room retains a 1901 LB&SCR Bosham Pattern Lever Frame and the locking room has a locking frame with bars and locking trays. This is the only LB&SCR Type 2 signal box to survive with valancing, matching that used on their railway stations, a feature only rarely used on signal boxes.

It’s lovely to be able to scan and display all these pictures again, although some like the Waterloo shot have never been seen before as they never made it onto my old Fotopic website, which gives them more of a historic interest as even I’d forgotten what was in some of the albums I’m now scanning. You forget just how much the railway world’s changed in 31 years, yet some things – like the signalbox at Littlehampton – haven’t changed at all! That said, the speed of changes is picking up and I can’t help wondering what the railway network we know in 2020 will look like in 2050. Somehow, I doubt I’ll have chance to find out, but who knows – maybe I will live to be 91!