Tuesday 31 December 2019

Review of 2019 : December

And so the end of the year and the final month of the 2010s. December began with a trip to Ratcliffe-on-Soar. Trips to Rugby and Stafford mid-month and in the Christmas holidays a busy schedule of trips to Codsall, Langley (including the Titford Canal), Seer Green and finally Redditch yesterday!

It was a packed year of travel which included travelling on two hundred and forty mainline trains, you can add a few more score for preserved lines and the tube! There will be more analysis on this later this week. The travels were mapped, you can see that here.

It was a quiet month on the model railway but Bear returned to action.

Song of the month was "china shop" by St Lucia, artist of the year was Trevor Something. And that was 2019!

Monday 30 December 2019

Recalling Redditch

There was time for one more rail adventure this year. I didn't go far, just down to Redditch. I have been before a few years ago but didn't venture into the town centre itself back then. I did that this time and also updated my photos of the station. You can see my photos here.

And that was that for rail adventures in 2019, which included two hundred and forty separate trains (plus others on preserved lines and the tube)!

Sunday 29 December 2019

Seeing in Seer Green

The year is coming to a close but there is time for a few more rail adventures. Yesterday i headed to Seer Green in Buckinghamshire, one of the few stops on the Chiltern Main Line i have yet to visit. Seer Green is a lovely little village although the parish church is a nineteenth century construction not medieval.

Not a large place, indeed the railway station was originally build (and named for) the golf club the other side of the railway line from the village! You can see my photos here.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Review of 2019 : November

The rains continued, early November was as moist as late October yet for some perverse reason i decided to do a lot of canal walks along the muddy towpaths! My first trip was to Burton-on-Trent which included a walk along the Trent & Mersey Canal though this had to be quickly curtailed due to conditions. Next up was a trip to Tanworth-in-Arden and two stations (Wood End and Danzey) either side of it.

Wilnecote and Fazeley was also visited to finally walk the Fazeley end of the canal which passes my house, and the Coventry Canal (though more mud of course). I returned to Aylesbury and spent some time in the town instead of just walking the canal and staying on the station as i have on previous visits, though i did do a canal walk too! The final trip of another busy month was to Warwick.

Model railway highlight of the month was the return of Ruby the shunter to the active fleet.

Song of the month was "1000 lights" by Fury Weekend featuring Megan McDuffee.

Friday 27 December 2019

Langley Green to Rowley Regis

I didn't go that far in today's rail adventure, just over to the other side of Birmingham to Oldbury in Sandwell. I alighted at Langley Green and walked the Titford Canal up to Titford Pools. This means I have now walked the entire canal (though the rest was done a few years ago). You can see my canal photos here.

I decided to continue walking until Rowley Regis the next station on the line after Langley Green. I must return to Rowley Regis some time to explore more around there. For now though here are my photos of the two stations plus a few points in between.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Review of 2019 : Music A-Z

One of our end of year traditions, an A-Z playlist of the pop groups and solo artists we have liked this year. However as usual the A-Z is incompete if we didn't listen to anyone who started with a particular letter. This year A is missing incredibly. Q is missing as always.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Christmas morning

Merry Christmas to all of our blog visitors. I hope you had some nice presents, i got a new clicky keyboard which i am testing out by typing this blog post! I've also got a lot of new books to read (as usual). My pile of unread detective novels is nearly as high as the desk they are stacked next to!

I also received a Rupert annual which is traditional, i think i have had one every Christmas for as long as i can remember. Alas the other present tradition, a pack of blank VHS video tapes has long since passed.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Review of 2019 : October

October is when we feel Autumn is here, and also when i celebrate my birthday! I visited the SVR again, for it's Autumn Diesel Gala in early October and the Engine House in Highley. I also had time to visit the pretty village of Upper Arley. I returned to Loughborough and this time fully explored the Great Central Railway visiting every station on the preserved line.

Mid-month saw a visit to Manchester, including the Ashton Canal and the railways and trams of the city. I also went to Leicester to see the tomb of King Richard. The end of October saw the start of an extended spell of wet weather but i did manage to visit Derby station.

BGLR highlight of the month was the arrival of the third (and maybe final) coach for the heritage train. I also managed to get around to doing some ballasting!

Song of the month was "the hanging gardens (Ice Choir remix)" by Pinkshinyultrablast.

Monday 23 December 2019

Bilbrook and Codsall

I didn't go on a railway adventure on Saturday due to illness and how strange that was, i think only the second Saturday this year that i didn't go anywhere! I didn't mind too much though as i have finished work for 2019 so knew i would have the chance to go somewhere today. I went to Bilbrook which is just outside Wolverhampton.

I then walked to neighbouring Codsall (just over a kilometre) and had a look at the rather fine church of St Nicholas before getting the train back home. You can see my photos here.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Review of 2019 : September

Well that was a very busy Summer how can you follow it, well by keeping going obviously. September began with a return to London and a Hidden London tour (the only one we did this year) to Piccadilly Circus. The next trip was a bit closer to home, Solihull which is where i work but seldom do i ever go into the town centre itself so i thought it was time.

Later in September i finally made it to Colwall (earlier in the year my trip there had had to be cancelled at the last minute due to a train issue). I also visited Market Harborough and finally a trip to Bicester and Islip.

Highlight on the BGLR was the arrival of the first two coaches for the new heritage train.

Song of the month was "strange telepathy" by Night Drive.

Saturday 21 December 2019

BGLR : The 2020 vision

As the year comes to an end we won't reflect on the BGLR in 2019 (the existing review covers that anyway) but will instead look forward. In 2020 the plan is to complete the tramway and begin operating it regularly. Work will also begin on an extension to the main board which will include enough siding storage space that we may no longer need to rotate the active locomotive fleet. The final corner of the layout will also get some scenic attention.

Rolling stock wise we are keen to get a steam locomotive and a new shunter. A tank wagon would also be good as that is the one thing the freight fleet is lacking. However rolling stock plans depend on availability which can be hard to predict. Anyway there is much more to look forward to on the BGLR in the new year.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Review of 2019 : August

The Summer rolls on, August saw some long-range trips. The month began with a visit to Denham Green, mostly to walk the Grand Union Canal. Next up was a trip to Hagley in Worcestershire. I also visited Loughborough, for some reason I didn't realise the Great Central Railway is based in the town and only had time for a short visit. The GCR was to be properly visited later in the year...

Highlight of the month was a short holiday in Cardiff. As well as the usual touristy stuff like the castle I also did some rail travel around the city and walked Cardiff Bay and Penarth Marina.

At the end of the month came a short stay in London which enabled me to explore the Oxted Line, including Crowborough and the Spa Valley Railway.

Highlight of the month on the BGLR model railway was the arrival of two new wagons.

Song of the month was "left behind" by Michael Oakley.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Shivering in Stafford

I had a day off today (to use up my remaining holidays) and decided to go and do some railway photography in Stafford. The conditions were not the best though, it was rather murky and very cold.

However it was worth it because i was finally able to see and photograph and couple of 1960s vintage Class 86s on Freightliner work. In the past i've always been unable to photograph them by either being too far away or on a train. But finally i could photograph them, whats more I was able to photograph a second pair too! You can see my photographs here.