// archives

Archive for 2011

‘New’ Western Region HQ at Swindon shock!

Le plus ca change. You have to laugh, don’t you? NR has decided that devolution is the way forward and they’ve come up with the idea that we could have a Western (isn’t there a word missing before that?) Region network based at Swindon to cover everything west of Paddington. Apparently, across the country, this […]

‘Great Western Kings’ by Kevin McCormack reviewed

Is there anything more to be said on the topic of GWR 4-6-0s in general and the Kings in particular? It’s a subject that has been covered so many times by people who knew the locomotives, like O. S. Nock, and in the case of Kenneth Leech, fired and drove them. Surprisingly, yes, and this […]

Torbay Express – last trip in March for King Edward I

6024 King Edward I is to work 5 rail tours in early 2012 before it is withdrawn for its 10 year major overhaul. The last trip is a Torbay Express to Kingswear, preceded by a  Bristolian (starting in Shrewsbury), a Cathedrals Express to Cardiff, a ‘Help for Heroes’ trip commemorating the steps of the famous […]

A 38xx ‘Breakthru’

Just discovered that Didcot’s freight 2-8-0 3822 was the loco used in Queen’s video for their song ‘Breakthru’.  It starts with drummer Roger Taylor’s then girlfriend, the gorgeous Debbie Leng wearing a black mask (hmmm…) waking up to find she is lying on the line of the Nene Valley Railway with 3822 charging towards her […]

50 Years of the ‘Westerns’

In December 1961 the first of the ‘Westerns’, Class 52 as they became later categorised, emerged from Swindon Works.  Steam fans may have been muttering under their breaths at the onward march of the diesel enemy at the time but there was always a grudging recogntion that here was a diesel that was, at least, […]

A ‘new-build’ Great Bear?

Astonished to find that someone thinks we should build a new ‘Great Bear’!   Churchward’s pacific was not a great success and aesthetically it left quite a lot to be desired (that puny little cab, for example).  For historical data on the ‘Bear’, click here Nonetheless, the fact that Hawksworth did consider building a Pacific after […]

Gotherington Loop opens for Santa

On Sunday 4th December, Gotherington signal box on the GWSR reopened and signalled trains in and out for the first time simce 1949. A Santa train pulled by 2807 was the first train into the new loop and and 45160 passed it going in the opposite direction, the first time this has happened at this […]

Rolling Back Beeching – the Helston branch stirs

It is continually and truly marvellous how this heritage railway movement continues to give birth to new schemes that bring back to life those corners of the GWR that Dr Beeching thought he had killed off. The latest of these is the Helston Railway, which used to run for 8 miles from its mainline junction […]

The GWR’s Inspiring Cathedrals

On Friday, I stood among the rampaging hoardes of people at Paddington and found a quiet moment, before plunging down into the Underground, to admire and appreciate the work that has gone into the restored roof at Paddington.  It would have been such a tragedy if it had been torn down and it now it […]

‘Truro’ to be retubed for Railfest 2012

Don’t listen to everything you hear!  Various rumours have been circulating that iconic 4-4-0 No 3440/3717 City of Truro might be sidelined for a long while following boiler problems that have occurred while at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. It was said that, even though it had earned good money for the NRM while on […]


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