Monday 30 July 2012

23: Sussex Semaphores and Salfords

Hello, and a warm welcome. This is blog number 23 of my more or less bi-weekly ramblings, the photo's from which can, as always, be seen under 'New Additions' bit on my Railwaymedia website.

On my final week of three weeks on night shifts, the jobs I was working coincided nicely to mean I was finished early on the Thursday morning and only had a very short amount of work to do that evening. I therefore caught the first train down to London in search of some sun. The BBC had been going on all week about how nice the weather had been; well as usual they meant down south, and in Lancashire we had barely seen an hours worth of sun all week..

I have to say that once south of the Thames I didn't see a single cloud all day! The forecast had been for it to be best in the very south-east so I went down to the Sussex Coast, an area I both know well and have photographed many times. There were a few Wetherspoons I needed to visit, and being on nights I had to do them early on, so just gone 10am found me in Chichester where there are two.

I already knew before I left Preston that the stone working to the sidings to the west of Chichester station was running, however with the sun out the light is totally wrong for it's departure time. It has a path at both 1041 and 1141. With a Great Western 158 having failed at Shoreham causing a back-log of trains, understandably the signalman wouldn't let it out early, so instead of waiting I went to the second Wetherspoons and then headed to Littlehampton, where there's another outlet.

The train I caught from Chichester, another of the class 313s draughted in a few years ago from North London, was booked into platform 1 at Littlehampton (according to 'Live Departures' on the internet), with the following London train into 3, which is the best for a picture of an arriving train with Littlehampton's semaphores included. However we went into platform 2 and the London into 1, so if you ever go there don't believe what the internet says! 40 minutes later though a late running London service did come into the correct platform!


Next it was on the train to Worthing, my old 'home' town where I lived for about 3 years. Those familiar with my blog will have noticed I have been scanning in my old bus pictures from the time I lived down that way, and after a visit to the two Wetherspoons that now exist in the town, I had half an hour taking some bus pictures on the seafront around where the depot is located.

Whilst the depot hasn't moved (it is located next to the 'Dome Cinema' on Marine Parade), the main building was demolished a few years ago. To me this was a shame as it was a fine building, matching the other two still existant at the rear of the site; it was pure Southdown in origin and featured heavily in the film 'Wish You Were Here' about a young local girl who was fairly promiscuous. The main character was quite scarily reminiscent of someone who used to hang round when I worked there!

My intention at the end of the day was to finish off at Salfords, just north of Gatwick Airport on the Brighton Main Line, to get a selection of 'stock' shots of both the Gatwick Express class 442 'Plastic Pigs' and also of the Thameslink 319's and (more importantly as I've not many) of the 377/5s.

Enoute I changed trains at Haywards Heath and Three Bridges; at the former I was caught unawares by 73207 arriving, and stabling. I had the wrong lens on for the line it appeared on. It seems it ran light engine from Tonbridge to Gatwick. Given what I saw at Salfords later it is possible that there was a class 442 failure which it was called out to assist, but then stood down as it wasn't needed. It went into the siding at the south end of the station and shut its engines down.

Any shot of a class 73 for me is a bonus-I've only got 12 in total (see them HERE), though the picture was a very heavy crop. Reaching Salfords under an hour later I had only been there 5 minutes when class 460 number 07 headed south on the 1615 London Victoria to Gatwick service. I wasn't aware any of these were still being used, though a failure of a 442 would explain both this and the calling out of the 73. They are due to be decommisioned soon as class 460s with most of the coaches reformed and even rebuilt to extend the currently 40-strong 4-car class 458's into 46x5 coach trains.


Surely this must be my last shot of one of this class in its original form! Well, my other aims of getting both 319s, 442s and 377/5s were sort of a success. Certainly I've upped my photo quota of shots of the 'new' Gatwick Express stock, the 442s, but a major act of vandalism at Bedford in the early hours of the morning (basically cable theft), meant there were hardly any Thameslink services. I managed a decent shot of one of their 377s at Haywards Heath and a class 319 at Salfords, so all wasn't lost. I certainly found the sun during the day! Up north it was still dull by the way BBC...

So it was back to work Thursday night; it was a good day out and as I wasn't 'chasing' too much in particular it was a fairly relaxing day, despite the temperature! I'll leave you with a picture of the 377 that conveyed me from Littlehampton to Worthing, not that it broke any records. Bye for now!

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