Friday, 27 April 2012

17: A Skip, a Steam Train and a Sign

Hello once again. This is Edition 17 of my ramblings, though unfortunately I've not rambled as much as I had planned or would have liked during the last week or so, mainly due to the poor weather.

Last Friday I had to head down to Birmingham with work so decided to make a day of it. The first thing I did do was go for a shot of the DB-red liveried 67 that was working the all day Chiltern diagram. I found a good bridge near Acocks Green just north of the station. Carrying a footpath it gives a good view both directions and, more importantly, the angle of the line is just right at 1100 for the sun. Amazingly, like the day before near Warrington on what turned out again to be a mainly dull day, the sun just stayed out long enough for the shot I wanted. Currently there are loco hauled departures from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone scheduled at 0619, 0655, 1055 and 1555 with the return northbound services at 0837, 1337, 1646 and 1807. There is also an additional peak hour train, one each way, between Banbury and London.

 
 
After a bit of time doing work things, which precluded me getting a shot of the Colas Rail operated class 56 on a Cardiff to Derby train (annoyingly double headed it transpired), I ended the day along the Midland Metro route. For those that don't know, this line basically follows the former Great Western route from Birmingham Snow Hill to the outskirts of Wolverhampton, and is interesting from the point of view of its obvious pedigree in the bridges and tunnels it passes under.

An extension via the streets at Birmingham is planned, as is a new fleet of larger trams. This latter thing would appear to be certainly needed as the original Ansaldo built 2-car vehicles feel very small inside. The line operates on a nominal 8 minute frequency, though up to every 6 minutes at peak times. With a fleet of 16 trams it would appear no more than 14 are ever needed as the two original trams numbers 01 and 02 are parked outside the Wednesbury Depot, and judging by the bits missing off them they have been used to supply bits to keep other trams running for some time!

 
Well, my great plans of at least one long distance trip this week were thwarted in the end for various reasons, so the only pictures I have taken were when I discovered the 'Great Britain V' was due to leave Preston. I don't normally make the effort to go after steam hauled trains as they are well covered by everyone else, but as this marathon 9 day long tour would be passing within 5 minutes drive of my house I made the effort. Unfortunately I think I used the last of my sun rations with 67018 the week before as, whilst the previous two trains passed in full sun, this did not.

 
The next week is not looking promising either for photography due to my shift patterns. I've got a trip planned to Reading next Friday, but that is only to attend the excellent BEER FESTIVAL there, so I'm unsure when the next blog will appear. I will leave you with another in my series of Stupid Signs. This one is from Erdington Station near Birmingham, and what you unfortunately can't see in the picture is that there is actually an area of paint missing just below the sign! Bye for now.


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