The weather’s been stereotypically grim up North, with low cloud, wind and rain most of the day, so the Calder Valley – well, what you can see of it – hasn’t been at its best. My day’s been spent type-swiping, as an old girlfriend once described her secretarial duties! I’ve been busy writing up part 1 of my Railrover trilogy and (as usual) the problem isn’t what to write – it’s what to leave out. 12,000 words over 3 articles souns a lot until you realise that’s only 4,000 words per article and one of them is three days worth of travelling the country. To be honest I could easily fill a book.
Whilst I’ve been ‘type-swiping’ (copyright Mary Jones!) I’ve been bouyed by the reaction to an article that’s hit the bookstands today. I’d written an eight page piece on the Tay bridge disaster and Sir Thomas Bouch (the man who designed the structure) for RAIL magazine a couple of months ago. It was a complex article as it required a lot of technical research to tell a story many people weren’t aware of. So, when you see reactions like this from an expert in their field it makes you feel it was worth the effort…
Hopefully people will find my travels around the UK’s rail network as interesting!
All this brings me neatly to the picture of the day – which was used to illustrate my Tay Bridge article. This was taken on the 29th May 2019. It shows the new bridge with the piers of Bouch’s ill-fated structure in front.
It’s a fascinating story as this was (thankfully) the only major railway accident in which their were no survivors. You can read the full story in the latest copy of RAIL magazine which is on sale today (you can buy electronic copies by the way…)
I’ve a favour to ask… If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances need all the help that we can get. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website – https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/
The end of another working week, not that the concept means much nowadays! The pair of us kept occupied throughout the day in our respective offices, slaving away over different things, allowing the time to really whizz bye. If my work was different and I had nothing to do I might find the whole lockdown process difficult. As it is – it just allows me to concentrate on things I’ve been meaning to do for years without the distraction of travelling the country. I can’t think of the last time I spent so much time within a 2 mile radius of home! Although I’m here physically my mind’s ranging in both space and time as I’m researching an article on a railway in East London and scanning pictures from around the country taken 30 years ago. There’s plenty to see and do even within the four walls where I spend most of my time.
The fantastic weather we’ve been having seems to be on the turn right now. The temperatures plummeted and the wind’s sprung up. It’s a real contrast to yesterday when I had to break out the suntan lotion. Hopefully it’ll encourage the folk who’ve been tempted to break out of social isolation to retreat back into their homes. I know that it’s impossible to trust the statistics for the number of Coronavirus infections but the numbers for Calderdale are still remarkably low compared to neighbouring authorities. I’ve no idea why, but it does give a small shred of comfort to know that we’re *possibly* in one of the safer areas. It certainly encourages you to stay put anyway…
The news isn’t all bad. Today the FTSE 100 stock market had a bounce upwards by nearly 3% althought the volatilty of the markets could easily see that gain wiped out pretty quickly, especially as the virus news from the USA isn’t good. The projections from the states look like they’re going to rocket and Trump is a big part of the problem. Statesman? He’s a snake oil salesmen and a lot of people are going to lose their lives because of him. To see the religious right and the gun nuts out on the streets because their ‘freedoms’ are being limited is bizarre, but then that’s USA for you. This really is social Darwinism in action. Could it signal the turning point of populist politics? It’s far too early to tell…
Having slogged away all day I did make a converted effort to make up for it by getting my 12.5k steps in after sitting in front of a screen all day – even if it was by sticking to a well-trodden route by now. Spring has most certainly sprung and our local woods are bursting into leaf with the Bluebells following on behind. Hopefully we’ll have a lovely display to this year to help lift the mood. I do love woodlands and we’re very lucky to have so much of it on our doorstep – as well as all the creatures that inhabit it. Funnily enough, the one feathered friend I’ve not heard yet this year has been the Woodpeckers. Last year they were constant. It was like living next to roadworks and pneumatic drills!
Meanwhile, here’s a sample of the pictures I’ve been scanning. This isn’t the best quality as it was a crap day weather-wise but it’s the incidentals that matter.
This is a Class 31s being backed on to Crewe shed by the depot pilot in February 1990. At the time I’d have cursed the cars in front for not allowing me a clear shot. Now I love them for the fact they didn’t, because it’s the cars that capture the spirit of the age and date the picture! They’d have belonged to rail staff who worked at the depot. What I appreciate as I scan all these old pictures is the ones where its those incidentals that tell the story. It might be paraffin lamps, old parcels trolleys, staff uniforms or even passengers fashions. They all set the scene and make you appreciate what has changed in 30 years. As Joni Mitchell once sang in ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ – you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone…
Thursday’s are our most exotic day of the week as we escape from the confines of the Calder Valley in order to go over to Huddersfield to do the shopping for Dawn’s parents who’re both in the ‘at risk category due to their age – although neither of them act it!
I managed to get a bit of work done first before we got in the cars – a novel act in itself at the moment. When one considers the fact we’re normally cooped up at home it almost feels rebellious, although we do have a very good reason for doing what we do. This is very much an essential journey and one we make the most of. I still can’t get used to having a clear run up the bypass to Ainley Top under the M62 before entering the outskirts of Huddersfield with nary another car in sight. It really is quite surreal. En-route we called in at the ACoRP office at Huddersfield station so that Dawn could check on the vacant office and make sure everything was OK. Compared to last Thursday Huddersfield town centre seemed even more deserted. You could have dumped a herd of elephants in the square outside the station as the only occupants were a sad circle of traffic cones blocking one entrance to the concourse and one lonely member of station staff who’d nipped out for a fag.
We shopped at Sainsbury’s which was busier than last week. The queue was still well organised but it stretched far enough around the car park that were had to queue for 10 mins – hardly anything to complain about. There was no shortage of stuff to buy – unless you were after bog roll. What on earth are people doing with the stuff? Mummifying their kids with it? Whilst Dawn shopped for her parents I picked up the things we needed. It was all pretty painless, if still a bit surreal, but it’s surprising how quickly the odd becomes the norm.
Driving over to Dawn’s parents we were surprised just how windy the weather had got with gusts touching gale force. Because of it we didn’t hang around as it was unfair to leave Dee parents being buffeted by the wind so after exchanging shopping backs and having a chat at a distance over the garden gate we left and drove home. Our route back is different in that we pass over the M62, where we stopped just long enough for me to grab a shot of the (lack of) traffic. Wagons were still ferrying important goods East and West, but nowhere near in the same volume and car traffic was minimal.
Battling our way through the winds we headed back to home and our life in lockdown, with the car parked up for another week. It’s no wonder that air quality is improving (especially in the cities) when you consider how many vehicles are off the roads at the moment. I’ll be very interested to see some of the numbers that’ll be crunched by the end of all this.
Hunkering down for a few more hours work Dee was busy at her makeshift workstation in the living room whilst I managed to get more old pictures scanned upstairs and dispose of yet another set. I’ve now finished albums that take the archive up to August 1991. Whilst we were dropping food off to John and Norah I asked John to dig me another one out of their loft where I have much of my archive in safe storage. So now I’m going right back to the beginning to scan the very first slides I took, way back in August 1989. In retrospect I wish I’d transferred to tranny film earlier, but then I only bought my first SLR camera the year before. My next door neighbour in London was selling his old Pentax ME super which I snapped up, and it’s on that these first pictures were taken before I bought my first Nikon a year later.
Back in 1989 I often used to spend weekends with Nancy, an old friend from Southport who lived in Peterborough. I’d travel up from London and we’d spend the weekend exploring the areas pubs and sights. Nancy shared my interest in railways and one weekend in August we drove over to the Rutland Railway Museum where I shot with my first roll of slide film. Here’s the picture which is numbered 0001 in my database!
Who knew then that I’d end up making my living as a photographer? Certainly not me when I look at this picture. I had a hell of a lot to learn – but then I was doing this for fun. If I’d known then how much the railways would change I’d have been a little more diligent in what I was recording. Still, isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? At least I have some fantastic memories captured on film going back over 30 years and this current crisis is giving me the time to finally dig these pictures out of the archive – some for the very first time – like this scene which now really is history…
This is a picture of the signalbox at Addiscombe on the outskirts of South London, taken on the 2nd September 1991. It was the end of a branch line from London Bridge that was opened by the Mid-Kent railway in 1864. The railway gradually declines throughout the years with train services cut back, especially when this signalbox was burnt down by vandals in 1996. The whole line closed in 1997, only to be reborn as part of the Croydon tram network a few years later. Had I any idea what was going to happen when I took this. Did I heck as like. I’m just glad that I passed through there on a whim…
The start to another week, although the days are getting harder and harder to separate from each other as the routine is pretty much the same. There’s no “hooray, it’s Friday, let’s go to the pub”, or “It’s Saturday, let’s go out for a meal/to the cinema/see a show”. Now the choices are nearly all binary. Work/Don’t work, take your daily exercise indoors/outdoors, go buy food/stay in – and this is only the first week. All those choices we used to be able to make have been taken away from us in the hope isolation will slow the spread of Coronavirus. Will it? It’s too early to tell yet, although some people are making optimistic noises. We shall see…
Our day started at 06:00 as Dawn was up exercising and I was determined to get an early start on scanning another big batch of slides. The weather was cooler and cloudier again today so there was no real incentive to go out. Instead, the day was spent working. I’ve had several picture requests from a magazine, so I’ve been sorting through the archives to fulfil them. After that the slide scanning marathon began. It’s a long, slow, tedious process which is only made bearable by being able to have diversions – such as music to listen to or a film to (half) watch. But at least I’m doing something productive. I feel for those folk who’re cooped up with little to show for it, other than perhaps an expanding waistline!
It’s difficult enough getting exercise during the lockdown without the recent reports of overzealous police and Council officers who’re essentially just making up rules by checking people’s shopping and deciding that they’re making frivolous and unnecessary purchases and trips, or telling shops they shouldn’t be selling Easter eggs and they’re ‘non-essential’. These are dangerous precedents. Policing in the UK has always been by consent, and if the authorities start to ignore this age old rule to resort to heavy-handed authoritarian pettiness we are in danger of seeing a cooped up population become increasingly resentful and fractious.
To help understand these laws and rules I offer this from ‘BarristerBlogger’ Matthew Scott. It’s humorous but legally accurate look at how the rules vary across the UK, and offers advice on what’s reasonable, or not. It’s well worth a read and might even save you a few quid if you’re unlucky enough to encounter one of these petty coppers.
Now, on the bright side, I’ve been ploughing through more and more old railway slides. Right now I’ve got as far as the summer of 1991 when the railways looked very different to the way they do now. I’ve been adding hundreds of pictures to the BR gallery but I’ve also added this new gallery – which is a series of pictures taken at Bath Road locomotive depot in Bristol. It’s all history now, the depot was closed and the site cleared back in the 2000s, so they’re an interesting historical archive. Looking back, I wish I’d taken more, but at the time I was saving up to travel the world for a year so I was being miserly with my film. If only I’d known what the future was going to look like! Here’s a sample of the Bath Rd pictures. Dented or crash-damaged locomotives were much more common in BR days as safety standards weren’t a rigerous. There was no TPWS in 1991! Here’s 47202 which was badly damaged in a crash at Frome on the 24th March 1987. 47202 was hauling a freight train which collided head-on with a passenger train hauled by 33032 after the freight passed a signal at danger (SPAD). You can find the accident report here.
47202 was dumped at Bath Rd for several years, but when this was taken on the 29th June it wasn’t going to last much longer. It was cut up on site by Maize Metals Ltd in September 1991.
It’s not just the depot that’s gone. See the Royal Mail building in the background? After being reduced to a bare concrete skeleton for many years that’s now been demolished too.
So there we have it. The Government has announced that the UK is now in ‘lockdown’ due to the Coronavirus – although not in complete lockdown as people are still allowed to be out to do several things. Go to work, go to buy food or – to exercise once a day. The caveats? No gatherings bigger than two people or household groups if everyone lives together. All non-essential shops are to be closed, as are playgrounds and places of worship. Mind you, for some people, clothes shops are places of worship, so for them it’s going to be a double-whammy! All wedding and christenings are off, but funerals are OK – just don’t go to one, unless it’s your own, obviously – although if I had the choice that’s the one I definitely would avoid! You can find the full list of closures and don’ts here in the Governments press release. The police will be given powers to break up any gatherings that don’t conform to the new rules, which will be reviewed after three weeks. I think most of us suspected this was coming. We’ve had the social screws slowly tightened over the past week, but the sights of the weekend, when thousands ignored the calls to self isolate have made it easier for the Government to act as – in general – people agree with the actions they’re taking, despite this being the most draconian cut in people’s civil liberties since WW2 as it will actually save lives.
Tomorrow we’ll see the reaction of the stock markets, although that can’t get much worse as the FTSE100 has already fallen by 3.79% today. The economic damage this pandemic is causing are going to be far-reaching and any resolution is too far in the future to see. The markets have lost 30% of their value in the past month, which is causing a lot of financial pain for many people and companies.
All we can do now is live for the present. That said, most of what I’m doing is living for the past as the present and future’s very much on hold! I finished writing my latest piece on HS2 and the Curzon St archeological excavations for RAIL magazine today so now I’m going to be concentrating on scanning yet more pictures from the 1990s. I always said I needed to find the time to do this, now I’ve had that time thrust upon me – like it or not. I’ve got two albums of rail pictures with me at home, plus another half dozen travel ones containing pictures from around the world. I’m tempted to vary my output. If I’m going to be stuck in these four walls for most of the day it might be a nice distraction to look upon pictures of sun-kissed beaches and exotic locations – or it could drive me batty as I realise what I’m missing out on. Only time will tell!
Here’s a little sample of the latest additions from today.
Tomorrow I’ll be ploughing through another batch of pictures from 1991 and also digging out some more modern digital shots for a future RAIL article. I may be confined to barracks, but I’ve no shortage of things to do…
Ugh! Up at sparrowfart again getting ready to go to Birmingham. This morning I’m getting a lift to the station because I don’t want another soaking! The weather here is still what’s best described as ‘changeable’. I’m heading for the 06:44 from Halifax, so let’s see how today goes…
I’m now on my way to Manchester aboard the 06:44 which is worked by a fully-functioning CAF built Class 195. We have heating, PIS and even the wifi which I’m using to type this. They’re lovely trains when they’re like this and a real step-change from what we’re used to.
It’s a beautiful sunny morning in the Calder Valley although it’s a chilly 4 degrees according to the trains info screens. It’s a bit of a contrast to London yesterday when I basked in 14 degree sunshine!
Having crossed the Pennines and called at Littleborough we’re trundling towards Rochdale at reduced speed. Looking up from my laptop for a moment I was just in time to catch sight of a trio of deer feeding in a meadow, their white tails attracted my attention, otherwise I’d have missed them as they were standing stock-still whilst the train passed.
We’ve arrived at Rochdale where around a dozen early-bird commuters are waiting for our arrival. I was surprised to see so few, but there’s another Manchester bound service in the bay platform which seems to have a good crowd on it. No doubt it’ll be following behind shortly.
After my usual 20 minute sprint across central Manchester from Victoria to Piccadilly I’m back in the warmth aboard Cross-Country’s 08:05 to Paignton. We’ve luxury this morning as this is an 8-car formation. Even the Conductor is boasting that there’s “lots of room this morning, so make the most of it”. I assume that this must be an aberration!
There is an irony in me travelling to Birmingham to see HS2 archeological work in this fashion. This journey between two of our premier regional cities will take 1 hour 28 minutes. Voyagers – be they four or five car – are less than an ideal offering. HS2 (when it’s completed) will cut the journey time by more than half to just 40 minutes. Plus, it’ll be on a 400 metre long, modern intercity train that will make a Voyager look primitive in comparison.
We’ve just left Macclesfield. I don’t know about the year Voyager, but this front set is filling up nicely! There’s lots of business travellers aboard. In the airline seats opposite me two young professionals have their papers spread out on the meagre backseat tables and are preparing themselves for the meeting they’re heading for. Others are using their time to catch up on the budget news in copies of the ‘Metro’ but on one table ahead I can spy an unopened bottle of Prosecco with four plastic cups atop it – so there’s business mixed with pleasure on this coach as I assume these people are race-goers!
Bugger, we’re just leaving Stoke-on-Trent and the weather’s changed dramatically. We’re now blessed with thunderously grey skies and it’s chucking it down! Please let this clear before Birmingham…
We’ve just left Wolverhampton and the penny’s finally dropped as to why this train is a double set! There were queues of well-dressed people waiting for us to arrive and I suddenly realised that we call at Cheltenham – where the races are on! Now the fact the catering crew were heavily advertising what deals they have on Prosecco or gin and tonic at this hour of the day makes sense!
Apologies for the delay in updates but it’s been a very hectic few hours. Our little group got to the HS2 site at Curzon St for 10:00, donned our PPE, had a site induction, then went to visit the site of the London & Birmingham’s locomotive roundhouse, which was built in 1837. You’ll be able to read about my full visit in the future edition of RAIL magazine, but here’s a taster of how the site looks, with the remains of the turntable pit in the middle and 15 pit roads radiating from it. Everyone was surprised just how extensive the remains are, not just of the roundhouse, but other structures as well. Thankfully, the rain we’d had earlier held off and we had sunshine interspersed with cloud – which was just as well because there was a bitter wind blowing across the exposed site that made you thankful for the layers of PPE you had to wear!
The visit took several hours as we were given an extensive tour of the site of the roundhouse and the remains of the goods shed with its wagon turntables still in situ. Afterwards we were shown round the last building standing. The grade 1 listed station building and former boardroom of the London and Birmingham railway.
Afterwards I went to have a look at a modern transport innovation. The extension to the Midlands Metro tram network, the first to use dual-powered trams that don’t have to use overhead lines in the heart of the city so as to preserve the architectural heritage of the area.
Homeward bound! I left Birmingham on the 16:57 Cross-Country Voyager bound for Manchester. Unsurprisingly, it’s packed even though this is a 5-car. This time of day it acts as a fast commuter train between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, after which the vestibules empty out and some seats become free. With the advent of HS2 I’d like to see these trains withdrawn and the twice-hourly paths used for more commuter services for local passengers whilst long-distance passengers can transfer to a faster, more comfortable service from Curzon St so that we have an inter-city service worth its name.
I’m now on the final leg home. After abandoning the Voyager at Piccadilly I retraced my steps to Victoria to catch a train back across the Pennines. I’m now on a 2-car Class 195 heading for Halifax. It’s not as busy as I’d have expected but I honestly can’t tell if that’s due to people not travelling through fear of the Coronavirus or the fact some folks may have left work earlier.
There’s certainly plenty of panic about. I had chance to scan the media earlier and saw the news about the Tango’d Buffoon in the White House banning all travel (except via the UK) to the USA for a month. An already very weak stock market which has suffered many days of losses went into complete meltdown and shed over 10% of it’s remaining value, propelling it into its worst decline since 1987. The spectre of another global financial crash is starting to rear its ugly head…
I’m finally home in the warm and dry, having taken the sensible precaution of bringing a brolly with me today, although they’re often of little use up here in the Pennines due to the fact the wind rips ’em to shreds within a few minutes. Right now I’ve begun the task of loading some of the past two days worth of pictures to my Zenfolio website. If you follow this link, you’ll be able to see which galleries they’ve been added to.
Tomorrow I have a day working from home, trying to catch up on picture editing, paperwork and communications, although there might still be time for some blogging, it certainly won’t be rolling…
Today’s been another one where I’ve been tied to the office as I’ve continued to make inroads into scanning my old slide library in order to get them onto my Zenfolio website. Mind you, it does free up an awful lot of physical space too – and now they can be seen by anyone and I can access them anywhere!
Yesterday I added another batch of old rail pictures from 1990. This morning I was up at Sparrowfart to start scanning more travel pictures from Brazil, this time from the Island of Fernando de Noronha which I was lucky enough to visit in 2002. I have to say it’s been one of my favourite Islands. It’s pretty unique and (at least in those day) unspoilt. It’s now a world Heritage and conservation site and the main reasons to go there are to enjoy the wild coastlines, beautiful beaches and the flora and fauna. I must admit, scanning these pictures is really giving me itchy feet! Anyway, here’s a link to the gallery. I’ve still plenty more pictures to add and I’ll alternate them with the railway shots.
Here’s a selection of both as a sample.
Whilst scanning archive pictures I’ve also been keeping abreast of various news. Originally I thought I might need to take a trip down to London today to visit the latest national StopHs2 protest, but as I predicted the other day – it’s turned into a damp squib that wasn’t worth bothering with. If it had happened it would have been the first national StopHs2 demonstration since 2004. As it is, the Stop Hs2 website lowered expectations yesterday when they published this excuse.
“On Wednesday, Elizabeth Cairns and Matt Bishop invite you to join them in Parliament. This event will NOT be happening in Portcullis House, no matter what Facebook says, and there is no rally in outside Parliament either. Stop HS2 will also be launching our latest briefing for MPs that day, but that is a separate thing, so sorry for any confusion as the two things got a bit mixed up!”
Really? So what WILL be happening? Not a lot it seems. This is a classic example of someone writing cheques they can’t cash. I don’t think Ms Cairns actually understood what this entailed. Hence this…
“I’m asking people to come as individuals, to use your democratic right to visit parliament, lobby your MP and make your voice heard. I will be there with my family from 11am and plan to stay in the public spaces (st Stephens hall) peacefully as long as I am able to be there and welcome anyone who wishes to join me.“
OK, so no-one’s actually made an appointment to see their MP then? By the way, here’s today’s Order paper. Somehow, I think many MPs may have better tings to do…
Later, this video appeared on Facebook. Apparently, all of 6 MPs were lobbied and that was a ‘success’. Excuse me if I’m underwhelmed! Meanwhile, back in the wider world, Grant Shapps, the Transport Minister has yet again confirmed that an announcement on Hs2 will be made next month.
Daft anti HS2 stuff aside I was saddened to hear that today, yet another of the Monty Python team has passed away. We lost Neil Innes at the end of last year. Today, Terry Jones joined the choir invisible after battling a rare form of dementia since 2017. There’s so much that I could write about this subject, but this isn’t the blog to do it in. Suffice to say I feel so much for Terry’s family. It’s an awful thing to happen. Dementia and mental illness rob you of the person you loved. It takes their essence and leaves a husk. Personally (having experienced lost a for few loved ones in my time) I think it’s one of the worst things to have to cope with. My heart goes out to them, but I’m also grateful that Terry (and Neil) have left us all with so many happy memories – and a huge amount of laughs!
Monday started at 6am as Dawn was up to get into work because Network Rail have taken over the area outside the ACoRP office as a secure compound. They’re using it as a base for kit they need for the rebuilding and refurbishment of Huddersfield station, which was unfortunate timing as ACoRP are having their own contractors carrying out work to the water tower!
Once the alarm clock went off I made coffee then sought refuge in the office to finish of scanning a load of old slides and gave Dawn free rein on the bathroom. There are advantages to working from home. It means one of us gets priority over the ablutions!
The early start allowed me to clear yet another old slide album and prepare the next for scanning by weeding out all the duplicates. By lunchtime I’d added another 40 plus images to my Zenfolio website which you can find by following this link. There’s a real mixture of rail stuff from 2003 but the next album steps back in time to 2002. Here’s a sample of the 2003 slide images. It was this job that persuaded me to bite the bullet and go digital. I was on the train with a freelance photographer who was working for the Telegraph newspaper. Whilst I had a Nikon F5 and F801s loaded with colour slide and high ISO black and white, he had a digital Nikon D1 and it was obvious to me he could get shots it was impossible for me to take. That’s when I realised that it was a case of ‘adapt or die’, so I started saving for the camera kit to allow me to make the transition, which I did a few months later in March 2004.
I’m not sure I’ll have time to scan any more slides this week, but there’s lots of pictures in the queue – from the launch of Virgin Trains Pendolino services to the building of High Speed 1 into St Pancras.
Having cleared my desk of lightboxes and slide gubbins I nipped out for a couple of hours to make the most of the gorgeous winter sunshine we were blessed with today. The hills are too high and the shadows too long around Sowerby Bridge so I nipped over to Todmorden to get a few pictures like this to add to the library.
The pair of us have another early start in the morning so I’m going to call it a day. Sadly the weather’s not predicted to be as good, so I’ll have to play things by ear as I’ve a queue of subjects and locations to photograph as well as all the mundane stuff like paperwork. Whatever happens, expect more pictures – old and new soon!.
Richard Clinnick has published news in the latest RAIL magazine that the first of the BR era Class 60 diesel locomotives have been sold for scrap. Built between 1989-1992, the 100 Class 60s were never the most successful design but they were significant as they were the end of an era – the last diesel locomotives ever ordered by British Railways before the railways were privatised.
Three of the 59 examples of the class that are stored at the DB Cargo depot in Toton are on their way to scrapyards. Raxstar have purchased 60050 (formerly named ‘Roseberry Topping’) whilst 60006 ‘Scunthorpe Ironmaster’ and 60086 ‘Schiehallion’ are off to Ron Hull’s scrapyard at Rotherham. All three locos have been out of service since the 2000s, with 60006 out of service the longest as it was withdrawn in November 2004. The two other locomotives that were on the tender list, 60060 and 60081 have apparently been bought privately.
Here’s a look back at the three locomotives that have gone for scrap.
Today the six of us are off on our own private trip (hosted by Quasimodo tours) to some of the major First World War battlefield sites around Ypres. Despite four years of bloody fighting and all the lives lost, the front line around the town moved back and forth littke more than 4 miles between 1914-18. Here’s the map we’ve been given as a guide.
Our first stop. The German war cemetery at Langemark. 44,000 Germans (and two British) soldiers are buried here. 1000s of the Germans are 18 year old volunteers who had less than a months drill training before being sent to the front
To be honest, today has been too much to absorb and try and blog about at the same time. We’ve visited a vast array of sights on what was a fantastic and informative tour, but that was also deeply moving. The sheer scale of the slaughter and destruction is hard to take in. I’ll blog about this in detail in the future. Right now I’ll just leave you with a few pictures from the day.