Tag Archives: railway

Steaming down the mainline

The main railway line to Plymouth and Penzance from Bristol passes relatively close to my house and as a result we often venture down to the line when interesting trains pass by. I think living by the trainline has cultured my boys’ interest in trains and as a result I often find myself dragged to Bristol Temple Meads for a “train ride” or to the STEAM Museum in Swindon.

Over the last few weeks the mainline has been awash with steam engines thundering down the railway track. It’s quite amazing and nostagic to see these beautiful pieces of engineering move along the railway track at speed. If you have ever been to a heritage railway the trains move relatively slowly (about 30mph) whereas the steam trains I have seen on the mainline are going significantly faster at about 70mph. They certainly make a difference to the regular HST and Voyager trains we usually see on that line.

At the end of July, there were trains on the Saturday and the Sunday, and this week there were two steam trains within 15 minutes on the Sunday.

The first train had two engines, the 71000 Duke of Gloucester and 60163 Tornado.

71000 Duke of Gloucester and 60163 Tornado.

The Duke was built in 1954 and withdrawn just eight years later in 1962. Just over ten years later and with most of her important parts “missing” she was saved from scrapping and restored to become a regular on the mainline steaming tours. The second engine probably couldn’t be more different, similar in size, Tornado though is just a youngster completed in 2008. A completely new engine though built to a 1940s design (with many modern improvements). They were moving at some speed with steam and smoke billowing from their funnels and pistons.

On the Sunday, it was the turn of 70013 Oliver Cromwell to steam down the line.

BR standard class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell

This engine was completed in 1951 and retired in 1968.

There is something about these historical engineering marvels and watching them steam down the railway track. I am sure back in the 1950s and before when there was lots of them, they weren’t exactly seen in the same light. I am glad that not only are they still around, but that they still have the fires lit underneath their boilers and allowed to steam at speed through the countryside.

Harbouring it in Bristol

Bristol Harbour Festival 2012

This weekend was the annual Bristol Harbour Festival. This well entrenched event in the calendar was lucky this year as the weather was gorgeous, so as a result huge crowds. You needed to be slightly aware it was happening, as it was a week earlier than usual due to some sporting event happening in London next weekend!

Bristol Harbour Festival 2012

There is lots to see and do, but for me the key thing is just soaking in the atmosphere as lots of Bristolians get together, and just do stuff, watch stuff and enjoy stuff.

Bristol Harbour Festival 2012

In the water itself there are lots of boats to see and a fair few that you can get on and explore. Moving around the harbour are a fair few boat displays. I was impressed with the stamina of the racing Gigs from the Bristol Gig Club. They raced around the harbour for what seemed like ages and at a fair pace too.

Bristol Gig Club

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The Finishing Line

I watched this film by British Transport when I was a young lad and I struggled to sleep that night as it freaked me out.

Warning, this 1970s information film does contain graphic and disturbing scenes and was shown to persuade children not to play games on the railway network.

If I remember rightly I saw it on Nationwide, however what I do remember is the film disturbed me out so much that I couldn’t sleep that night. I should also point out that I also never played on the railway either!

Torbay Express