This may be a bit of a fits and starts rolling blog – especially as it’s taken me until 13:00 to begin writing despite the fact I’ve been up since 04:45 and travelled from West Yorkshire to London where I’ll be for the next couple of days!
Looking through my library to find pictures for a recent series of blogs I spotted some gaps in the archive plus age of the pictures so I though I’d take what may be my last chance to visit haunts old and new to record the passing of some of the the old BR built 3rd rail electric units along with some updated shots of services I’ve not shot for some time.
It’s been a good trip so far, even if the weather’s not exactly vintage. It’s been gloomy and damp, but that hasn’t affected things too much. Tomorrow is meant to be really sunny, so I’m saving some locations for then.
Here’s a little sample. A pair of Southern’s Class 455s pulling away from Norwood Junction with a service from East Croydon to London Bridge. I’d arrived on this train earlier in the morning.
The gloomy weather’s persisted with the added fun of soft rain. Having got the shots I wanted around Norwood Junction bar one (the new high-rise Croydon as a backdrop – the weather’s too dull) I headed off to Sutton to catch some of the 455s which operate Victoria to Epsom services. En route I passed through a very old haunt – Wallington. Back in 1979-80 I used to stay with an ex-girlfriend from Liverpool who lived in a gorgeous 1920s semi that was being rented out as cheap rooms because it was blighted by a proposal to build a Motorway. I’ve never been back since but crossing the high street on the train brought back memories that are now over 40 years old. It was a very different era, with old slam door trains everywhere and little 2-car units on the service to Wimbledon via Mitcham Jn – long before the line was converted to be part of the Croydon tramlink.
My stay at Sutton was brief but productive with several different images secured. As the weather was deteriorating I decided to retrace my steps to East Croydon. In the 1980’s it possessed a grand old signalbox mounted over the tracks at the London end. I always regret I never managed to get pictures before it disappeared.
I changed transport mode by swapping train for tram to get between West and East stations. Croydon was buzzing – in more ways than one as the smell of Ganga permeated the air around the bus station and tram stop! Although life’s returned to the streets the number of shops that were vacant told a story of commerce crippled by Covid. My flirtation with trams was brief. The solid grey skies made photography unattractive so I took a spin on the Caterham branch instead and recce’d potential photo spots for tomorrow. As the weather worsened I decided to abandon picture taking for now and check out another local line, the line out to Tattenham Corner. At least i’d be dry, warm and doing something useful. I’d returned to East Croydon to change trains. Swapping between platforms using the footbridge with the spectacularly useless roof that doesn’t actually keep out the rain! Whoever designed the damned thing had never heard the expression “form follows function”.
Right now I’m sitting on a train which is splitting at Purley. The front 5 cars go to Caterham and the rear 5 to Tattenham Corner
I’ll write up my first trip on the Tattenham branch later. Sadly, the weather was awful so there wasn’t much for the camera to do but stay dry. I’m now at Victoria after changing trains at East Croydon yet again. It was a nice, quiet train (not). Now remember, this is ‘rush-hour’ and supposedly we’re going against the flow, but Croydon has an orbit of its own nowadays…