Tuesday 30 July 2019

Buckinghamshire Places (1) : Wendover

The market town of Wendover is at the foot of the Chiltern hills. Settlement at Wendover dates from Saxon times and was at one time the manor was held by Edward the Confessor. Wendover was granted a market charter in 1214 with the town being a stop on a trade route through the Chilterns.

In the 1790s the Wendover Arm of (what became) the Grand Union Canal was built. The arm is still in existence though is unnavigable for most of it's length. Wendover railway station was opened in 1892 by the Metropolitan Railway on it's line from London through to Aylesbury (and beyond). It became a far flung part of the London Underground (though being very much above ground) until British Railways took over the line through Wendover in 1961.

Nowadays Wendover is a fairly affluent commuter town for the Big Smoke with a number of fine buildings including the fourteenth century church dedicated to St Mary.
The Pack Horse pub

The George & Dragon pub

Thatched cottages

The terminus of the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal

Saturday 27 July 2019

Bishopton to Wilmcote

I've walked every milimetre of the Southern section of the Stratford Canal, much of it multiple times. However the stretch from Bishopton on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon to Wilmcote I only remember doing once before so, despite the wet weather, I walked this stretch this morning. I also able to update my imagery of Stratford-upon-Avon Parkway and Wilmcote stations. You can see my photos here.

Friday 26 July 2019

BGLR : Plymouth's rebirth

Plymouth has returned to the layout following it's repaint for some testing before the work is completed. There was a little mishap before then where some damage was caused to the chassis after it was dropped but Plymouth is a tough little loco and still runs. As it has been a hot week there hasn't been a lot going on but Plymouth has been running short test trains to make sure there has been no track buckling.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Matlock Bath again

Yesterday I paid a return visit to Matlock Bath. I was not alone this time so did not do a great deal of exploring but we did walk along the Derwent and took a few nice photos of this lovely location. I must return... when it is a bit cooler!

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Churches (35) : All Saints, Narborough

All Saints Church in Narborough, Leicestershire dates from the thirteenth century though was probably built on the site of an earlier Saxon church. The church has a nave, two aisles, a chancel and a West tower. The church was built from granite rubble with a limestone dressing.

The church was rebuilt in 1883 with the chancel dating from 1887 but in a style in keeping with the rest of the church.

Monday 22 July 2019

Little Venice

As well as the rail adventures in London on Saturday I also had time to walk a canal too! I had a walk along the Paddington branch of the Grand Union Canal from Little Venice up to London Paddington station. This is the London end of the great canal, the other end of the canal is at Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham very close to where I live! You can see my Little Venice photos here.

Sunday 21 July 2019

Mail Rail

Mail Rail was the Royal Mail automated underground railway that transferred mail between various locations in London. The railway opened in 1927 and closed in 2003. A couple of years ago the new Postal Museum opened at Mount Pleasant sorting office and a centrepiece of the museum is the Mail Rail exhibit with newly build special trains taking people on trips of some of the old tracks. I travelled on that train yesterday and it is an excellent visitor attraction.

However the real purpose for my visit came later when I joined a walking tour of the tunnels and Mount Pleasant station. Now I have done a number of Hidden London tours in disused parts of tube stations but this tour was something else entirely walking on the tracks, often with hidden obstacles in the dim light deep underground. I have to rate this as one of the best rail adventures I have ever made. Years ago my Great Uncle Leslie worked at Mount Pleasant, I don't know where exactly he worked but maybe he worked on the Mail Rail all those years ago. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Across London... and back... and back again

I went to London today to visit the Postal Museum but I'll talk about that in a separate post. Before I went to the museum I did some rail travelling across the capital (of course!) I went from West to East and then travelled back West... and then went back East to the museum. I managed to see both new EMUs (Classes 710 and 717) and visit some new stations. You can see my rail adventure photos here.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Churches (34) : St James with St Thomas, Poolstock

The Church of St James with St Thomas is in Poolstock, a district of Wigan. Work began on the church in 1863 and it was consecreted three years later. The church (then known as the Church of St James) was funded by local MP and mine and mill owner James Eckersley and built in the centre of a mining village.

The church has a five bay nave with a clerestory, a chancel, a vestry, North and South aisles and a West tower. The church was built from sandstone in the Decorated style. In 1970 the neighbouring church of St Thomas closed and the parishes merged.

Monday 15 July 2019

BGLR : Plymouth's rebirth

Due to the problems with Percy the second oldest locomotive on the line Plymouth is to make a comeback. Plymouth ran well on it's comeback to the layout after two years gathering dust in the backscene. Now Plymouth is having a complete make-over being repainted in purple!

Sunday 14 July 2019

Return to the Tame Valley

Around ten years ago, when I was working at BCU, I began walking along the towpath of the nearby Tame Valley Canal at lunchtimes. Little did I know that this bit of exercise would inspire me to begin exploring more canals, starting my waterways blog and maybe also the spark for my railway interest and blogs?

As the waterways blog is ten years old in September I decided to walk the Tame Valley Canal again (since I left BCU six years ago I haven't visited the canal). I walked it from Witton to Rushall Junction. You can see my photos here.

Thursday 11 July 2019


Model project #086 was an Avro Anson and it has now been completed. The kit was an old Airfix one made in the 1960s (so a lot older than me!) After lying on a shop shelf somewhere for decades I bought it off eBay last year. The kit hasn't turned out badly at all and hopefully i've done it justice after it's long wait. It's strange but decals over fifty years old sometimes are easier to place than brand new ones...

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Churches (33) : St Laurence, Alvechurch

The Church of St Laurence is the parish church of Alvechurch in Worcestershire. A church has been on the site since Saxon times and a priest is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The earliest parts of the church however date from the thirteenth century, a dedication to St Laurence dates from 1239. Parts of the chancel and North aisle may be original parts of the church.

Other parts of the church including the tower date may from the fifteenth century, it was repaired following storm damage in 1676. The church was restored and rebuilt between 1858-60.

Alvechurch was an important religious location in medieval times. The Bishop of Worcester had a palace nearby and held court here.

Monday 8 July 2019

BGLR : Technical issues

Last year during the heat wave there was some track buckling, as a precaution this year following hot spells Growler runs light engine before the BGLR has a running session to make sure the track is ok. Unfortunately while the track is ok Percy seems to have begun having the same motor (or PCB perhaps) issues that eventually killed Maria. As a precaution Percy has been taken out of service and Tango has taken it's place. The BGLR is now concerned there is a design flaw in the type of loco Maria and Percy belong to, Ruby (currently in reserve) also is of this type!

Sunday 7 July 2019

Mersey rails back in time

Yesterday I headed up to Liverpool for the first time this year, my aim was to visit some of the oldest railways still in operation and I achieved just that. First off Rainhill the site of the famous Rainhill trials one hundred and ninty years ago where Stephenson's Rocket won and set the template for locomotives until the mid-twentieth century. Then along to Broad Green, the third station ever in the world to open and the oldest station still open (though a remarkably unhistoric spot).

A lot newer was Wavertree Technology Park, I wanted to visit this as my Dad was born nearby in Wavertree. Finally I headed across to the Wirral and West Kirby and Hoylake, a rather lovely art deco station. You can see my photos here.

Broad Green

Wavertree Technology Park

West Kirby