Saturday, 2 December 2017
Opportunities to see class 47's on 'proper' freight trains in 2017 are few and far between- it is therefore no surprise that photographers have been out in force recently as GBRf have been using a pair of class 47's on spoil trains between Wembley and Barrington. The trains convey spoil from London which is deposited at the former Barrington Quarry site near Foxton where it is being used to restore the former chalk pits. Rail Operations Group have been contracted to supply traction to the train while there is reduced capacity in the GBRf fleet, however the heritage traction should only be a temporary measure. On 29th November 2017 47815 and 47848 pass Camden Road with the empty train, 6T02, heading back to Wembley. Class 56's have also appeared on recent workings to/from Barrington.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
|1A45 the 17:45 Leeds - Kings Cross arrives into Peterbrough behind 67010 which has dragged the service from Newark Northgate via Lincoln and Spalding due to engineering works in the Grahtham area on the ECML. 18/11/2017|
|67003 backs on to 91131 to drag the 08:48 Kings Cross - Leeds|
via Spalding and Lincoln to reach Newark Northgate.
|67022 prepares to drag 1E21 15:30 Edinburgh - Kings Cross away from |
Doncaster. This longer divert would travel by way of Gainsbrough, Lincoln
and Spalding to re-join the ECML at Peterbrough. 18/11/2017
Thursday, 9 November 2017
|Northern is one of the companies which has now joined the RMT conductors|
strike. 142025 is seen near Brough with a Hull - York service in November
2016- a train currently operated with a driver and conductor.
The latest company to be added to the ever expanding portfolio of RMT industrial action is First/MRT owned South Western Railway which took over the running of services from Waterloo from the Stagecoach South West Trains franchise in August. SWT was one of of the last operators to run all services, including inner suburban routes with a guard and many see it as unsurprising that SWR are considering changes. A new fleet of Bombadier 'Aventra' trains will enter service on the network from 2020 and SWR officials have stated that a decision has not yet been made on the method of operation of these trains. While there is no immediate threat to the role of the guard on SWR the company has failed to put in place an assurance that a second member of staff will be retained in all circumtances stating simply that any changes to current practices would be consulted in the usual way.
While the strike on SWR will bring disruption to passengers out of Waterloo this week there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel for the long suffering users of the Southern network with news that a deal has finally been accepted by ASLEF drivers bringing an end to their dispute. A generous pay deal will see Southern drivers accept an increase in DOO services with an assurance that a second member of staff, the 'On Board Supervisor' will always be provided on trains except in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances would appear to include late notice sickness - a position the RMT, representing the guards is still unhappy with and continues to dispute with Southern. It is however the drivers strike here which has been most disruptive and an end to which will be welcomed by passengers.
|Another train operator involved in the current strikes is Abellio Greater |
Anglia, which already runs 60% of services DOO. The operator expects to
run a full service using contingency guards.
My role is is not directly involved in the current strike, but how do I feel about operating the railway when my colleagues are striking? On one hand I hope that our contingency service provision runs well in the interests of our passengers and all who are working hard today to keep trains moving safely, reliably and without incident. But then there is the other side that maybe 'secretly' hopes that it will all go wrong. There could be incidents involving our contingency guards, service levels may fall below what we expect and passenger journeys may be disrupted beyond the provision set out in the emergency timetables - the impacts of the strike would be felt stronger and enhance the case which RMT guards are presenting.
One thing is certain - as I have said before, parties need to talk. As an industry we need to innovate, but we do not need to innovate purely for the sake of change. The number one priority of the rail industry must always be safety and in my view a second member of safety trained staff on board every train can only be positive in this respect. Are trains with DOO safe? Yes. Of course they are. Would they be safer with an additional member of staff who can assist passengers and is safety trained in the event of an emergency- undoubtedly. This week Londons Evening Standard newspaper totally missed the point when they their story 'On the day before rail strike over driver-only trains, RMT boss Mick Lynch travels to work... on driver-only train' featuring a picture of the RMT assistant general secretary travelling to work by train and chastising the leader for his hypocritical actions. The suggestion presumably is that it would be more acceptable for Mick Lynch to drive to work, take a helicopter or simply not travel at all rather than using the mode of transport for which his union has worked for many years to keep safe. Mick Lynch has rebuffed the comments stating that 'by holding a strike we're trying to increase safety standards on the railway. They [DOO trains] are less safe than a train with a guard'. There is no suggestion that DOO trains are not fit for use, or that it is a risk for passengers to use them. Rail remains the safest way to travel- but why not make sure it is the very safest it can be?
Now it is time to get back around the table again and find the solution to running our railway in the safest possible way with adequate staffing for the good of everyone and at a realistic cost. And let's hope that I'm not writing another of these comments in 12 months time...
All views expressed are my own and do not represent the views of my employer.
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
There is something quite magical about dilapidation. One of the best places to find this across the world can be subway systems. Even in modern prosperous cities there can be corners that seem to be forgotten about. The New York Subway is almost famous for it- beneath the metropolis you can still find gems such as Canal Street station which time, and repair seems to have forgotten.
On a recent trip to Romainia (September 2017) I discovered that the subway systems has some beautiful brutallist soviet station buildings, but in the large part very modern, clean and well looked after trains built in recent years by CAF and Bombadier- there was however one exception, Metro line 4 which time really seems to have forgotten and which soldiers on, for now, with native Astra built IVA stock constructed in Arad.
A total of 508 cars of IVA stock were built by Astra for the Bucharest metro between 1976 and 1992. Only a small number now remain in service on the short Line 4 from Gara de Nord to Straulesti and will be replaced when the signalling system is finally upgraded. Late in the evening there is certainly an eery and somewhat forgotten feel to this line. The trains are not regular, there are few people around and the stock is plastered from head to tail in graffiti. Next to marble clad columns and bright plastic chairs the IVA's slowly wind down their last few years in service almost totally ignored by the city above.
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Thursday, 12 October 2017
|078 arrives into Dublin Heuston with one of the several daily trains to be powered by the 1977 built GM 071 class. 31/03/2008|
|The GM 201 'River' class were delivered in Orange/Black and|
worked the majority of passenger trains. 31/03/2008
Days were numbered for traditional trains in Ireland with the first of the Rotem 22000 DMU's having recently entered service. Steam Heated 'Cravens' coaches had finished in 2006 and BR built Mk2's had worked their last train the morning we arrived in the country. The small GM's (classes 141 and 181) together with the single cab 121's had lost all passenger work, though small GM's could still be found working freight and on pilot duties at Dublin's Heuston station. Despite this almost all passenger services were still formed of loco's and stock at this time with the GM 201 class predominating and 071's making several daily appearances. None of the class 201 had been stored at this time and rolling stock was comfortable BR built Mk3's formed into traditional rakes with generator coaches as well as several smaller push/pull rakes which featured cab cars with a built in generator.
Today just a handful of loco-hauled trains remain, all hauled by the 210 'River' class on the Dublin - Cork main line (with Irish Mk4 stock) and on the Dublin - Belfast 'Enterprise' with De Dietrich stock.
|'Small GM' 173 is one of two station pilots at Dublin Heuston. 31/04/2008|
|087 passes 077 at Limerick Junction. the 4 wheel cement 'bubbles' are now long withdrawn. 02/04/2008|
|River class 201 approaches Portarlington with an evening peak service from Dublin. 02/04/2008|
|In the then new IE livery, 085 approaches Thurles with the 13:25 Heuston - Limerick. 02/04/2008|
Friday, 6 October 2017
|CFR's 40 0887 passes PO H.Oirza on the outskirts of Bucharest with a freight. 09/09/2017|
Sunday 3 September
With very little sleep (having finished night shifts) I made my way to Luton for my late afternoon flight to Budapest. There was never going to be time to do much with the day but I could at least get a ride into the city from Feirhegy (Airport station). Or so I thought at least. I missed a bus in the scramble to get a ticket at the airport but didn't have to wait too much longer for the local bus to from the airport to the station. The machine wouldn't take my Forints (left from a previous trip) so it ended up being a card transaction. The timetable at Feirhegy revealed that I should have just missed a train and unfortunately it looked like it would be a 25 min wait for something hauled into the city. Long before the 25 minutes was up it became apparent that all was not well. It turns out the announcement in Hungarian was a message of doom and another passenger finally tipped me off that there was a problem with the trains and 'maybe' there would be none until 21:00, I waited a little longer just to see, but with no sign of a train eventually gave up and headed back to the bus.
|MAV-Start 432 450 approaches Kobanya Kispest. 04/09/2017|
Monday 4 September
|Heritage liveried M41 2143 with a late running service from Budapest Nuygati which would terminate at Kispest 04/09/2017|
My one day in Budapest started with a trip to the bank to exchange my 'Old Forint's', which it had turned out had only expired around a month earlier. The railway target of the day was the Lajosmizse M41 turns from Budapest Nuygati which I had failed to cover on previous trips. These run hourly for most of the day with a couple of gaps which appear to be filled by Desiros. With a plan in hand I had time to explore the beautiful soviet architecture on Metro line 3 (plenty of material for a later post!). By the time the sun had come out there was a little time to spend with my camera at Kobanya-Kispest during which time I was rewarded with 3 freights, and a surprise, the Venice Simplon Orient Express (in totally the wrong place and direction for a photo). I also bumped into heritage M41 2143- noting it's diagram so that I could finally catch up with it later in the day.
|Czeck 242 451 with OBB 1116 018 in hot pursuit in|
a busy moment at Kobanya Kispest 04/09/2017
|M41 2143 at Kispest after terminating due to signalling problems.|
After picking up my bag it was time to head over to Budapest Keleti for the 22:50 to Bucharest. The refurbishment of the station is now mostly complete and it is certainly a fitting gateway to an international journey. On less of a positive I had no idea whether my train had a restaurant car and had missed the SPAR over the road to spend my last few 'New Forints' on emergency supplies. Fortunately the 24 hour alcohol shop came to the rescue as it did also sell water.
After watching the Belgrade sleeper depart, the Bucharest train arrived from Vienna with 470 003, after a quick check of our forwarding loco, Romainian 47 7689 it was time to take my position in my 4 bed compartment for the night. Unfortunately this was already occupied with 3 passengers and was a top bunk. After enjoying the fresh area at a corridor window until the outskirts of Budapest it was time to sleep and it didn't take long after a busy day.
|MAV 470 008 arrives into Budapest Keliti with the Vienna - Bucharest sleeper.|
Tuesday 5 September
|'GM' 64 1179 pauses at Sibiu where it will be removed from the Vienna - Bucharest train. 05/09/2017|
|Lunch on board the International train|
from Budapest in the restaurant car.
|A RegioTrans ex-SNCF Carvelle 67-0669 waits between duties at Brasov.|
|62 1202 shunts at Bucharest Gara de Nord. 05/09/2017|
We had made notes of the RegioTrans arrival times with more ex-SNCF BB25500's (4 diagrams a day are booked between Brasov and Bucharest) and also enjoyed a few diesels before calling it a day. It had clouded over and with an excellent forecast for the week ahead it seemed a good opportunity to have a look around the city before it got dark -seeing the city before dark- most unusual for these trips!
Wendesday 6 September
|82 0443 passes Chitila with (possibly a late running) R9112 12:00 Târgovişte - Bucureşti Nord. 06/09/2017|
|RegioTrans BB25576 arrives into Bucharest with the 07:00 from Brasov.|
|CFR's 60 1200 shares the yard at Chitilla with GFR's ex-SNCF BB25208 and BB25222 'Frenchies'. 06/09/2017|
|40 2302 the last example of its subclass at Bucharest Gara de Nord.|
|A very fresh looking 81 0422 shuts at Bucharest.|
|62 1196 pauses at Bildana with R9013 the 15:03 Bucharest - Tirgoviste.|
Thursday 7 September
|40 0850 passes eastbound from Medgidia as it heads towards Constanta. 07/09/2017|
|Constantin Grup 40 1083 heads east at Medgidia.|
|CFR 47 4011 heads east from Medgidia with a cereal train.|
|Ex-SNCF BB25109 is one of the highlights of the day pictured heading towards Medgidia. 07/09/2017|
|DB's 47 0783 heads towards Constanta with a class 651 'Ludmilla' at the rear.|
At this point the railway follows the Danube - Black Sea canal.
|60 1212 heads into the cement works at Medgidia having crossed the|
Danube - Black Sea canal.
Friday 8 September
|40 0572 brings up the rear of a long CFR coal train lead by 40 608 at Halta Porta Alba. 08/09/2017|
|63 1143 waits to depart Constanta with a through train to Mangalia.|
|47 0451 approaches the station at Medgidia.|
|Bogie 'Malaxa' 78 0785 works the 16:22 from Medgidia to Tulcea Oras. These ancient DMU's date from 1939! 08/09/2017|
|Astra Transcarpartic run a colourful daily train between Arad,|
Bucharest and Constanta. The 11:00 Bucharest - Constanta is
seen approaching Medgidia behind 40 0316. 08/09/2017
|63 0847 waiting for departure - possibly the 23:15 Bucharest - Piatra service.|
Saturday 9 September
|'Malaxa' DMU 77 0907 arrives into Rosiario with the 16:32 Rosiario Nord - Tumu Magureli. 09/09/2017|
|BB25517 works the 11:40 Bucharest - Brasov for RegioTrans.|
The run out of Bucharest behind 60 1038 was good fun and we took this to Cacaulati where we bailed onto 62 1051 heading back into Bucharest on the 06:05 from Slobozia Veche, this providing a nice out and back Sulzer run of about an hour in each direction.
|45 0364 stands at Rosiario Nord having worked the 13:50 from Bucharest.|
|472 002 'Mricea Eliade' is stabled at Buftea waiting it's next|
duty. The loco will be better known to British enthusiasts as
92001 which has been exported by DB Schenker to Romainia.
Finally reunited with James having left him on the Sulzer from Slobozia Veche some hours earlier we camped out waiting some Malaxa action. One appeared as booked for the 16:32 to Tumu Magureli- These DMU's are very ancient originally dating from 1935 and re-built in 1987- I had considered taking a ride but while the DMU's are photogenic on the outside the interior was certainly nothing special. Instead I spent the some time hanging around 60 0938 which was forming the 16:30 to Alexandria. Despite my best efforts I failed to get a cab ride from Rosario Nord to Rosario (I'm sure the secondman would have been fine with it but the driver was less keen!) so had to ride on the one coach instead.
|60 0938 prepares to haul its single coach with the 16:30 to Alexandria.|
The last activity (and last train of Romainia as it turned out) before heading 'out' was a ride on the graffiti ridden Astra IVA train sets which now exclusively work Metro line 4 in the last days of their lives. This was the only time we had really had any hassle in this country taking photos- they definitely don't like it underground.
|40 0848 passes Chitilla at speed with an express bound for Bucharest. 06/09/2017.|
|47 7871 with what must be one of the best liveries I have seen passes Chitilla.|
We encountered very few issues with photography, the only real issue being at Bucharest when to be fair we were probably somewhere where we shouldn't have been. We didn't attempt to visit any depots having been warned against it before leaving home!
|470 738 is seen heading west from Medgidia. 08/09/2017.|
As with anywhere it is great to see proper diesel loco and stock workings and there are certainly plenty to chase around Romainia even if a lot of them are quite few and far between. The Sulzers are lovely locos but one shouldn't expect much thrash out of them on trains which are often very lightly loaded and certainly don't go all that fast. It was nice also to bump into so many other British enthusiasts- five in total across our time in Bucharest. David (at Bucharest on the first day) Chris and Mike (in the IBIS) and Gruntle and Mike (at Bucharest on the last day)- I hope you all had successful trips.
Unfortunately a good week ended rather disastrously with a the flight home being a complete farce- but that, as they say, is another story!
|41 0122 has arrived into Bucharest with a set of stock as a passenger waits for his train. 08/09/2017|