Saturday 31 August 2019

Spa Valley Railway

So when I went to Crowborough on Thursday I noticed something interesting at the previous station Eridge: a preserved railway! This turned out to be the Spa Valley Railway and I travelled along the line behind a lovely NSE liveries Class 73 to Tunbridge Wells in Kent. My journey back to Eridge was hauled by a steam locomotive! The perfect way to end an amazing rail adventure. You can see my Spa Valley Railway photos here.

Continuing onto Crowborough

After Oxted I continued along the line to Crowborough, picking the destination as it sounded the most interesting! Crowborough is a town in East Sussex, the first time I have been to this county for a long time. You can see my photos here. In going to Crowborough I also passed through Eridge and noticed something really interesting I had to go back and check out, more on that later!

Friday 30 August 2019

Opening at Oxted

Yesterday, as part of a trip to London, i headed down to Oxted in Surrey. It is a lovely little village (or town) with a church which dates from just after the Norman conquest. Visiting Oxted was part of a rail adventure into Surrey, Sussex and eventually travelling on a steam train into Kent but more on that later on. You can see my Oxted photos here.

Thursday 29 August 2019

BGLR : The Cube

The latest item to arrive on the BGLR is a Polaroid Cube. Now this isn't part of the actual layout but a camera which is small enough to be hauled or propelled on a wagon. Hopefully we will be able to get some interesting driver eye footage of operation along the line... once the MicroSD card which is needed for it to work arrives anyway!

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Cardiff castle et cetera

When I last visited Cardiff a few years ago I didn't get around to exploring the rather fine castle properly. I rectified this on the latest visit, the castle is very well preserved especially the former apartments. You can see my photos of the castle (and a few others of Cardiff) here. Naturally I also took a few railway photos at Cardiff's stations, and you can see these here.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Buckinghamshire Places (5) : Chesham

Chesham is a town in the Chiltern hills South East of Aylesbury. Although Chesham is listed in the Domesday Book the area has been inhabited for thousands of years with flint tools from the Mesolithic having being found, followed by Neolithic farms, Iron Age and then Roman settlements in the area.

In the Domesday Book Chesham is listed as three manors which were later collectively known as Great Chesham. The oldest buildings in the current town of Chesham, apart from the parish church of St Mary, date from the fifteenth century. Parts of the church date from the twelth century though most of the surviving church dates from later centuries.

Chesham was known for boot and brush manufacture as well as brewing though these days the population work in local small medium enterprises and in London. Chesham tube station is the furthest point on the tube map from Central London and the most Western and Northern tube station.

Penarth Marina

Penarth is on the opposite side of Cardiff Bay to the capital city itself and has a marina which opens out onto the bay, and also close to the bay barrier. You can see my photos of Penarth Marina here.

Monday 26 August 2019

Lineside at Hatton

A great spot to see trains near Hatton where the footpath runs alongside the track for a short distance (then crosses over the bridge you can see in the background).

Sunday 25 August 2019

Return to Cardiff Bay

This weekend I returned to Cardiff, its been a few years since my last trip but the centrepiece was the same: a visit to Cardiff Bay and walking around the bay to Penarth Marina. You can see my photos from the bay here. The weather was better this time than my last visit and the waters looked wonderful.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Buckinghamshire Places (4) : Beaconsfield

Beaconsfield is a market town in South Buckinghamshire close to High Wycombe and Amersham. The earliest record of Beaconsfield dates from the late twelfth century where it was known as Bekensfeld (Beeches Field). In the mid-thirteenth century the town received it's charter allowing it to have a yearly market (on May 10th) which the town continues to have to the current day. In latter years Beaconsfield was a stop for stagecoaches travelling between London and Oxford. Nowadays Beaconsfield is very affluent, indeed it was named Britain's richest town in 2008!

Beaconsfield consists of the Old Town and the New Town which was a result of the railways reaching the town at the start of the twentieth century with new settlement being built up around Beaconsfield railway station. An example of one of the buildings of the New Town is the Church of St Michael and All Angels.

A notable attraction of the town is Bekonscot, the first model village in the world. The town also has film studios with the town often appearing in films and TV productions such as Thunderball and Inspector Morse.

Monday 19 August 2019

BGLR : Plymouth 2.0

Apart from some running the BGLR has been quiet this week. Plymouth will return to the workshop soon to complete it's makeover. There will, at the start of September, be a bit of a stock cascade as the Railcar goes into the reserve fleet (to be replaced by the push-pull coach), some wagons will also be changed and finally Maggie will be replaced in the active fleet by Black Beauty.

Sunday 18 August 2019


As the railway franchise East Midlands Trains ended this weekend (to be replaced by East Midlands Railway), yesterday I headed into the East Midlands to have one last trip on EMT's trains.

I visited Loughborough in Leicestershire for the first time, having a walk along the Grand Union Canal there as well as a brief visit to the heritage Great Central Railway's station at Loughborough. I must visit the town again one day as both canal and preserved railway will require a lot more exploration! You can see my photos here.

Thursday 15 August 2019

RNLB City of Sheffield

One of the exhibits at the excellent National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield is a retired Tyne class lifeboat which carries the city's name.

Lifeboat 1131 City of Sheffield was built in 1988 at Wright/Souter and served at Whitby, Ramsgate, Hartlepool, Relief and Poole lifeboat stations [1]. It served at Poole for the longest, saving over six hundred and fifty people in fifteen years service before being retired in 2016 [2].

[1] Nicholas Leach and Tony Denton, Lifeboat Directory (Ships in Focus, 2013) p. 105
[2] "RNLI City of Sheffield: Lifeboat which saved 650 people retired" <>

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Buckinghamshire Places (3) : Haddenham

Haddenham is a Buckinghamshire village close to the Oxfordshire border and the village of Thame which is about three kilometres away. The village was recorded in the Domesday Book as Hedreham and may have been founded by members of the Anglo-Saxon Hadding tribe from Haddenham, Cambridgeshire.

For a few years (1294-1301) Haddenham had a charter to be a market town but lost it due to the proximity of Thame which objected to the competition. Agriculture was the main occupation of Haddenham's inhabitants, the village was known for duck and poultry breeding [1]. The village also had a brick works.

The village has a rather unusual plan, stretching over one and half kilometres. The village was devastated by two fires in the eighteenth century which destroyed a large number of buildings, especially near the church [2].

The parish church, situated on the green, is dedicated to St. Mary and dates back to before the thirteenth century at least and maybe even has remnants from Saxon times. The chancel is thirteenth century with other additions in later centuries. The church was rebuilt in Victorian times [3].

The village is served by Haddenham & Thame Parkway railway station.

[1] "Parishes: Haddenham." A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 2. Ed. William Page. London: Victoria County History, 1908. 281-286. British History Online. Web. 16 February 2019.
[2]" Haddenham." An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1912. 176-184. British History Online. Web. 16 February 2019.
[3] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 149

Monday 12 August 2019

BGLR : Freight video

Maggie hauls a freight train through Birches Green. Stand back from the platform edge, the approaching train does not stop at this station.

Saturday 10 August 2019

Hanging out in Hagley

I stayed fairly local this week for the rail adventure, i went to Hagley which is just over the West Midlands - Worcestershire border. I had a walk around Hagley which is quite spread out like a number of villages are these days as later developments have moved the centre of the village from it's original core. You can see my photos here.