Archive for the ‘Trains’ Category

Bluebell Railway 2016

Posted: December 12, 2019 in Trains

Another wet day and a visit to the Steam Railway at Bodmin.

Due to geographical nature of Devon and Cornwall, the two main lines passed to the North (London and South Western Railway) and to the South of Bodmin (Great Western Railway). So it was connected by a number of branch lines, the first of which connected it to Wadebridge via Wenford in 1834, giving it access to the sea. The second joined it to the line from Plymouth to Falmouth (now the mainline) at Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway) in 1859 and a third which linked the town to Boscarne Junction in1888.

Passenger services to Bodmin Town were halted in 1967, although freight services continued until 1983. There was an immediate movement to restore the line as a heritage railway and the first open day was held in June 1986. the line to Bodmin Parkway was opened in 1990 and extended to Boscarne Junction in 1996.


Posted: September 27, 2019 in Trains


Normandy is an example of a B4 class engine. These were very powerful steam shunting engines. It was built in 1893 and worked for most of its life in Southampton Docks. When surplus to BR requirements it continued in this role working for a private company within the dockyard. When finally decommissioned it made it’s way to the Bluebell Railway in Sussex



It has rarely been used on passenger services on the Bluebell railway but up until its withdrawal from service in 2006 it was often seen on shunting duties or pulling works trains.

Originally posted in July 2013

Was great to be back at Didcot Railway Centre to see 6023 King Edward II in steam.


6023 was a king-class heavy express steam locomotive specifically designed for taking express trains over the steep gradients found on Great Western routes in south-west England. 6023 came into service in June 1930 and spent most which working life based at depots in the South West before transferring to Old Oak Common in London in August of 1956, where it worked on the London – Wolverhampton route. In September of 1960 it transferred to Canton depot in Cardiff and until its withdrawal in June 1962 working trains between London and Cardiff.

Most of the King class locos disappeared quickly after they were withdrawn from service. However, 6023 together with 6024 were kept to perform deadweight testing on bridges and subsequently sent to Woodhams in Barry, where, like many locomotives they were left to decay. In fact, 6023 stayed at Barry until 1982 when it was purchased and moved first to Brighton and then to Bristol for restoration. Unfortunately before this work could be completed the funds ran out in 1988. The locomotive was then purchased by the Great Western Society, and arrived at Didcot in March 1990, where restoration recommenced. The locomotive was finally first steamed in public at Didcot in April 2011.

Brilliant to see her in full steam, although I have to say I’m not a great fan of the blue livery, although I’m told this is authentic BR livery from the 1950s. Call me traditional but I’d much rather see her in GWR green or BR green or black. perhaps blue engines remind me too much of Thomas the Tank Engine (Not that I have anything against Thomas, you understand)

A member of the GWR Castle class, 5080 was originally named Ogmore Castle. It was built at Swindon in 1939 and was allocated to Old Oak Common depot in London. It was responsible for hauling express passenger and goods trains over the GWR network. In 1941, it was transferred to Cardiff and renamed Defiant to commemorate a type of plane which fought in the Battle of Britain. It remained in South Wales for the rest of its service life.




It was withdrawn in 1963 and initially sold for spare parts. However, eventually it was restored and ran in steam for a number of years until its certificate ran out. It is now on static display at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.

4771 Green Arrow

Posted: September 24, 2019 in Trains
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4771 Green Arrow was built is in 1936 for the London and North Eastern Railway at Doncaster. It is a V2 class engine, designed by Nigel Gresley and was designed for express freight and passenger trains. It was withdrawn from service in 1962 and restored at Doncaster immediately afterwards. it moved around a number of storage depots before being returned to working order in 1972 and finding a permanent home at Carnforth the following year.

video by steamontheweb (

It was withdrawn from service in 2008.




4468 Mallard was built at Doncaster in 1938. The A4 class was designed for the North-Eastern Railway by Sir Nigel Gresley to pull high speed express trains. Mallard remained in service until 1963 working the route between London and Edinburgh. Mallard is the holder of the record for the fastest steam train in the world at 125.88 MPH. This record was achieved on 3rd July 1938 on the Stoke bank section of the east coast line near Grantham. It was a risky business as a curve occurred in the line just beyond the Stoke bank and the engine needed to break heavily to ensure it remained on the rails, During this the engine overheated (a problem that had been foreseen) and the engine had to be removed from service for repairs. Mallard also took part in the 1948 Locomotive exchange trials when locos from different regions of the newly formed BR were trialed on routes they did not usually run. Mallard hauled a train from London Waterloo to Salisbury but failed following the run and was removed from the trial. Mallard also pulled the last Steam hailed flagship ‘Elizabethan’ express from London to Edinburgh on 8th September 1961.

In the 1980s the engine was restored to working order and after being used for a number of years for pulling railtours become part of the static collection at the National Railway Museum, firstly at York (till 2008) then at Shildon (2008-2010) and subsequently back at York.

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record





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5051 Drysllwyn Castle is an example of the GWR 4-6-0 Castle class, which was an updated version of their earlier star class and was designed by Collett from 1923. In all, 171 Castle class locomotives were built for the Great Western.

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5051 left Swindon Works in 1936, with its current name, but the following year it was renamed Earl Bathurst. it retained this name for the remainder of its active life. It was based at Swansea and worked trains from there to London and the Midlands. It was withdrawn in 1963 and sent to Woodham brothers at Barry, where it remained until 1970 when it was taken to Didcot. It was restored to mainline condition in 1980, and worked rail tours until its withdrawal in 2008.

video by 45064 (

It is currently on static display at the great Western society in Didcot

45379: Black 5

Posted: April 22, 2019 in Trains
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45379 waiting to enter Alton station

45379 waiting to enter Alton station

The Stanier Black 5’s were designed as an all purpose engine for the London Midland and Scottish Railway.


45379 was built at Newcastle in 1937 and saw service at Crewe, Rugby and Bletchley depots before being withdrawn from service in the summer of 1965. After stints at Avon Valley and Great Central railways it came to the Mid-Hants line in 2002.