Sightings from Atherstone, in Warwickshire during a nice sunny day, the main objective was to get 37601 dragging Crossrail 345034 from Crewe LNWR - Old Oak Common, also to get a few of Virgin Trains Pendolino units.
221101, 221102, 221105, 221106, 221107, 221114, 221142.
350101, 350238, 350368, 350372.
390002, 390005, 390009, 390010, 390020, 390040, 390042, 390044, 390047, 390104, 390107, 390114, 390115, 390117, 390118, 390119, 390122, 390127, 390131, 390132, 390134, 390152, 390153, 390156.
A session at an overbridge adjacent to the Daventry International Railfreight Terminal, or Barby Nortoft as it's also called, during a very pleasant and warm day.
350102, 350110, 350111, 350112, 350115, 350116, 350119, 350120, 350125, 350127, 350129, 350231, 350241, 350257, 350264, 350371, 350374, 350377.
I had come out hoping to see 350373, the sole London North Western Railway liveried Class 350, alas it didn't appear, still there's always another day right ;)
First session in quite a while seen a few hours at Nuneaton, which despite being a Monday (it's generally quiet) it turned out to be a good day to "Cop" things for the year.
170101, 170102, 170103, 170107, 170111, 170113, 170116, 170519, 170523, 170639.
221101, 221107, 221108, 221110, 221112, 221117, 221118.
350105, 350106, 350111, 350116, 350118, 350121, 350123, 350126, 350370, 350371, 350374, 350377.
390001, 390002, 390005, 390006, 390040, 390045, 390046, 390049, 390104, 390114, 390115, 390119, 390121, 390123, 390124, 390125, 390126, 390129, 390130, 390131, 390132, 390134, 390136, 390137, 390154, 390155, 390157.
Overall, it was a pleasant day, and nice to see my first ever Class 345 EMU, which will eventually be used on The Elizabeth Line on the London CrossRail network.
Monday 12th February seen a TIMELINE EVENTS photo charter take place at the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire, commencing at Loughborough Central. The loco for the day was BR Class 8F, 48624 in BR Black livery. As it was to a freight themed photo charter, GCR regulations state that no passengers are to be carried on goods trains so therefore photographers made their way to locations by road, which was easy enough.
Our first port of call was Swithland Sidings, with it's semaphore signals, passing loops and of course the junction for the small branch to Mountsorrel Quarry, it's a steam railway photographers dream recreating the halycon days of steam train travel, which of course is the main aim of Timeline Events - to recreate bygone ages whether it's railways, air, water, road or even period dressed cameo scenes. The first set of shots seen the 8F paired up with a mixed freight rake, which was parked up in one of the sidings, and seen perform quite a few run pasts, starting off at the North end where the Mountsorrel Quarry branches off and the various semaphore signals, before gradually working our way down to the Southern part of the loops.
Afterwards, the mixed freight rake was put away and the windcutter mineral wagons were brought out, of course the fast, windcutter freight services were the main stay of the Great Central Railway when it was part of the UK rail network, and provided the bread and butter of the GCR's London Extension right up until 1965 when freight services were diverted to other routes, and the rundown continued until closure in 1966 as a through route. The 8F certainly looked the part as she strutted her stuff and indeed, photographs do exist of 8F's working the windcutter services between Annesley, Nottinghamshire and Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire, although 9F's were the main loco's.
After we had our fill of Swithland Sidings, we moved a bit further up the line to another location known as Rabbit Bridge, which is just the other side of Swithland Reservoir from Swithland Sidings. Rabbit Bridge has seen a fair bit of pruning of the undergrowth of late to make the location more appealing for photographers on charters as well as lineside pass holders. Again, the 8F was faultless and it would be very easy to imagine you were back in the late 50's/early 60's and seeing an 8F on a Woodford-bound freight service.
Our next location was Kinchley Lane, probably one of the most popular spots on the Great Central Railway for photographers, and offers fantastic views of Southbound services. The 8F was once again put through her paces for a series of run pasts for photographers and the videographers (I was doing both so it was nice to get a bit of variety). Just before 2pm, bearing in mind we'd been photographing since 8am, it was decided that the loco would return to Swithland Sidings to put the windcutter rake away, return to Loughborough to get watered and for the crew to have a break, before returning to Quorn to collect the next, and final rake; the recently repainted van train. Estimating it would take an hour to an hour and a half, we set off for some lunch, coming back into Quorn, we decided to go to the Butler Henderson Cafe at Quorn & Woodhouse Station to get fed and watered, looking at the menu, the All Day Breakfast really stood out and I thought "Ooo, that'll do me nicely...".
After some time elapsed, it was noticed that the 8F had returned from Loughborough, and after passing through Quorn & Woodhouse, had set back to collect the van train from one of the sidings. Our organiser, Neil, was made aware and such we all finished off our food and drink before heading back to Kinchley Lane for the next set of run pasts with the van train. In the meantime, the train crew waited patiently for us to get into position at Kinchley Lane, before being given the go ahead that we were in position, before performing the first run past with the vans, and a lovely looking ensemble it was too, the vans are a real credit to the volunteers who have given up their spare time to repaint them, I understand that a few more are to be done over time as well to make a longer train. Sadly, as time was getting on, and with the still relatively short days at this time of year, we didn't have time to visit any more locations and before long time was called just after 5pm.
Still, it was a fantastic day of photography, and mostly in the glorious Winter sunshine too. As ever, grateful thanks to Neil Cave of Timeline Events and of course the staff at the Great Central Railway who gave up their free time to allow this charter to take place.
Wednesday, myself and my "better half" opted for a lunch out somewhere, well it's been a fair weeks since we were last out together, and as the kids were at school we thought that we might as well treat ourselves right??.
Having thought of a few options, we eventually settled on The Wentworth Arms in Elmesthorpe, a small village not too far from Hinckley and, of course, more or less next to the railway line that runs between Nuneaton and Leicester, a coincidence on my part???. Well yes maybe ;). Arriving just after 12:30pm, we located a nice little booth next to the front window of the restaurant which overlooks the main Station Road between the A47 Clickers Way and the next village of Stoney Stanton, as well as a small field, you can also get good views of the railway line too, fancy that lol. Station Road, is so called as there was once a station in Elmesthorpe until 1969, when it was closed and subsequently demolished, however the old goods shed still stands and is now in use as a private business, although sometimes proposals to reopen Elmesthorpe do reappear from time to time.
Having a guess that we'd be there for the best part of an hour or so, I had a little gander at Real Time Trains website and seen that there was a few movements booked through during the course of our stay, and so in between eating I would have a look out to see what was coming.
The Start of it.
Normally, as a rule, I refrain from having a starter course, but as I was not working today, I decided to push the boat out and indulge in a starter, better the devil you know, I went for the starter I usually have which was the Crispy Chicken Strips, lovely pieces of chicken in a Louisiana-style coating accompanied by a garnished salad and BBQ dip, needless to say they weren't on my plate for very long :P.
The Main Subject.
After having the starter, and allowing sufficient time to go down, I was presented with my main course, again, in my opinion, was a tasty dish and was the Gammon & Eggs, consisting of quite a thick piece of gammon steak, it was accompanied by thick cut gourmet chips, garden peas as well as 2 fried eggs, ideal if you want to dip your chips in the yolk, because lets face it, we've all dipped chips in an egg yolk at some point or other, you can though have either 2 pineapple rings instead or 1 egg and 1 pineapple ring, it's entirely your choice.
Whilst it's easy to go on about how good the food was, and believe me, it's very good, it's very easy to overlook another main interest of mine - The Trains!!!. During the hour or so I was there, I seen 3 freight services with loco's from GBRf, Freightliner and finally DB Cargo making appearances:
There was of course the usual diet of CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostars plying their trade between Birmingham, Leicester and East Anglia, but due to operational requirements, 6V92 Corby - Margam steel empties were cancelled, and 6M26 Eastleigh - Mountsorrel empty ballast was running a bit late, and we had to leave before it arrived.
Photting with Style!.
Apart from a very decent place to grab a bite to eat, whether you want a light snack, a big juicy steak or even just a coffee and cake, on the opposite side of the field is a stile which is also a public footpath across the railway line PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS ISN'T A GREEN LIGHT TO TRESPASS ON THE RAILWAY!!. The stile is set a fair bit back from the line and gives quite a bit of height over the overgrowth to view, and indeed photograph passing trains, although the only flip side really is the fact it isn't a particularly busy line, although from time to time, especially at certain weekends you do get diverted container freight services from East Anglia to the Midlands/North-West as well as the odd sand train that originates at Middleton Towers, near Kings Lynn, and if you're really lucky, the occasional discharged oil tank train from Bedworth going back to Immingham's Puma Energy site - usually consisted of a rake of rent-a-wrecks.
Further information about The Wentworth Arms can be found HERE.