Monday, 28 July 2014

Services to Birkenhead Woodside in Steam Days

On Saturday, 8th February 2014, I travelled from Chester to Birkenhead on the line which now forms part of the electrified Merseyrail service. This trip, with some historical background, is described in a group of posts starting at Birkenhead and New Brighton by train (Part 1), which has links to parts 2 and 3.

Until 1967, the Chester to Birkenhead line terminated at Birkenhead Woodside station.

Birkenhead Woodside station in 1961 (Photo: Ben Brooksbank under Creative Commons License).

For more details of Woodside station, before and after closure, refer to the excellent Disused Stations site - their article on Birkenhead Woodside is here.

A correspondent started me thinking about the services in the past so I found the 1961 Working Timetable for June to September that year and produced the simplified list (below) of passenger trains on weekdays (Monday - Saturday) between Chester and Birkenhead (Woodside). I've only shown Down trains (towards Birkenhead) from the Chester and Helsby lines which converged at Hooton. For more detail, refer to my scans of the Working Timetable pages here.

In 1961, diesel Multiple Units (DMU) were in use for many of the local services but steam locomotives were still in widespread use.

Four character headcodes had been introduced for important services so, for instance, '1M03' meant a Class 1 (express), inter-regional but terminating on Midland region. The last two digits identified a particular train. For stopping services, trains are just shown with a class letter 'B' or, for DMU which could show 2-character headcodes, B1 or B2 according to route.

British Railways had not then embraced the 24-hour clock, leading, no doubt, to no end of confusion between a.m. and p.m. timings. I have adopted the convention often used in railway circulars at the time: hours and minutes are separated by a '.' for times before noon and by a '/' for times after noon.

Origin Time Destination Time Notes
Chester 5.55 Birkenhead (W) 6.39 3D08 Parcels
Helsby 6.8 Birkenhead (W) 6.47 DMU
Chester 6.26 Birkenhead (W) 6.57 DMU
Ditton Jn. 6.10 Birkenhead (W) 7.19 via Helsby
Chester 7.8 Birkenhead (W) 7.46 DMU
Paddington 12.5 Birkenhead (W) 7.57 1M00 (Note 1)
Helsby 7.32 Birkenhead (W) 8.13 DMU
Hooton 8.0 Rock Ferry 8.14 DMU
Chester 7.50 Birkenhead (W) 8.28 DMU
Helsby 7.59 Birkenhead (W) 8.40 DMU
Chester 8.15 Birkenhead (W) 8.44 DMU
Helsby 8.12 Rock Ferry 8.47 DMU
Llandudno 7.8 Birkenhead (W) 9.4 1D96
Wrexham 7.30 Birkenhead (W) 9.10 B
Helsby 8.45 Birkenhead (W) 9.26 DMU
Chester 9. 8 Birkenhead (W) 9.37 DMU (SX)
Wellington 7.12 Birkenhead (W) 9.42 B (SO)
Helsby 9.8 Birkenhead (W) 9.49 DMU
Bala 7.12 Birkenhead (W) 10.0 B
Chester 10. 8 Birkenhead (W) 10.37 DMU
Helsby 10. 8 Birkenhead (W) 10.49 DMU
Greenford (SX) 8/30 Birkenhead (W) 11.25 3M10 (MX)
Birmingham 8.10 Birkenhead (W) 11.25 1M03 (SO)
Chester 11. 8 Birkenhead (W) 11.37 DMU
Helsby 11. 8 Birkenhead (W) 11.49 DMU
Leamington Spa 7.45 Birkenhead (W) 11.56 1M04
Chester 12/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 12/37 DMU
Helsby 12/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 12/49 DMU
Chester 12/40 Birkenhead (W) 1/18 DMU
Chester 1/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 1/37 DMU
Helsby 1/13 Birkenhead (W) 1/54 DMU
Barmouth 10.20 Birkenhead (W) 2/5 1M07 (Note 2)
Chester 2/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 2/37 DMU
Helsby 2/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 2/49 DMU
Paddington 9.10 Birkenhead (W) 3/8 1M09
Chester 3/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 3/37 DMU
Helsby 3/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 3/49 DMU
Pokesdown 8.47 Birkenhead (W) 4/10 1M10 (SO)
Paddington 11.10 Birkenhead (W) 4/38 1M11 (SO arr 4/48)
Helsby 4/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 4/49 DMU (SX)
Ince & Elton 4/ 6 Rock Ferry (SO) 4/44 B Unadvertised
Helsby 4/15 Birkenhead (W) 4/56 DMU (SO)
Chester 4/26 Birkenhead (W) 5/4 DMU
Helsby 4/50 Rock Ferry (SX) 5/27 B Unadvertised
Chester 5/ 8 Birkenhead (W) 5/42 B (DMU SO)
Stanlow 5/18 Birkenhead (W) 5/47 B (Note 3)
Bournmouth West 9.33 Birkenhead (W) 5/52 1M13 (Note 4)
Helsby 5/15 Birkenhead (W) 5/56 DMU (SO)
Chester 5/39 Birkenhead (W) 6/11> B Note 5
Ince & Elston 5/38 Rock Ferry 6/11 B (SX)
Hooton 6/ 0 Rock Ferry 6/23 DMU
Barmouth 2/36 Birkenhead (W) 6/48 B (Note 6)
Helsby 6/12 Birkenhead (W) 6/54 DMU
Paddington 1/10 Birkenhead (W) 6/58 1M16
Crewe 5/58 Birkenhead (W) 7/5 1D54
Helsby 6/38 Birkenhead (W) 7/19 DMU
Chester 7/8 Birkenhead (W) 7/37 DMU
Helsby 7/8 Birkenhead (W) 7/49 DMU
Paddington 2/10 Birkenhead (W) 7/53 1M18
Chester 8/8 Birkenhead (W) 8/41 DMU (SO)
Helsby 8/8 Birkenhead (W) 8/49 DMU (SO)
Llandudno 7/20 Birkenhead (W) 8/53 1D98 (Note 7)
Chester 8/38 Birkenhead (W) 9/10 DMU (SX)
Helsby 8/45 Birkenhead (W) 9/26 DMU (SX)
Chester 9/8 Birkenhead (W) 9/37 DMU
Helsby 9/8 Birkenhead (W) 9/49 DMU
Paddington 4/10 Birkenhead (W) 10/4 1M20
Chester 9/40 Birkenhead (W) 10/14 DMU (Note 8)
Chester 10/8 Birkenhead (W) 10/36 DMU
Helsby 10/8 Birkenhead (W) 10/49 DMU
Chester 11/15 Birkenhead (W) 11/43 DMU (Note 9)
Paddington 6/10 Birkenhead (W) 11/50 1M21
Helsby 11/20 Little Sutton 11/33 DMU (SO)

Note 1: Makes unadvertised stops at Chester and Hooton.
Note 2: On Saturdays, starts from Pwllheli at 8.45.
Note 3: Rock Ferry some days. Times vary.
Note 4: Time varies on Saturday.
Note 5: Unadvertised stop at Capenhurst Mon-Fri.
Note 6: On Saturdays, starts from Pwllheli at 12/45.
Note 7: SO: Dep 7/0 via Chester Cutting.
Note 8: Adv. from Hooton.
Note 9: Additional stops SO.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Brewood Music Festival 2014

Every two years, Brewood holds its own Music Festival. In 2014, it was held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10th to 13th July, at various venues around the village. The Festival has its own website here with links to Facebook and Twitter.

On Sunday, a temporary stage was set up in the Market Place (involving temporary closure of a number of roads) for a free concert featuring mainly local acts. The weather was kind, so I went to have a look. There were hundreds of people in the square, served by a number of commercial stalls. There had been some problems with the electric generator, I understood, so the concert was rather late starting but nobody seemed to mind too much.

The running order had been changed and the concert started with a couple of songs from the Brewood Music Festival 'Scratch Choir'. I'm afraid the sound system wasn't terribly effective so they weren't heard to best effect. The 'Jeremiah Johnson and the Disciples' band followed.

'Jeremiah Johnson and the Disciples' at the Free Concert.

Their set included a number of blues standards which I knew from The Blues Brothers but I'd have enjoyed their performance more if the vocals had been more audible. Next, Dennis Cornes followed at the keyboard, supported by two trumpeters.

Dennis Cornes performing at the Free Concert.

'The Mess' restaurant was open with reasonable views of the stage so I joined my friend John there, where I enjoyed a leisurely soft drink. Everybody appeared to be enjoying themselves as I returned home.

More pictures

Brewood Music Festival Free Concert.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Diesel Traction in Burma


Myanma Railways use diesel traction. A handful of steam locomotives were kept serviceable until a few years ago, but I'm not sure whether any remain in use.

This is a very informal listing of types of diesel traction I've come across. Since first publishing this article, I have received additional information from a correspondent who was involved in the delivery and commissioning of the DD.1500 class. I've incorporated this information, with thanks. He is the author of an excellent article published in the August 2013 edition of 'Railway Gazette International' titled 'MR eyes a 10 000 km network' and is currently completing a much-anticipated book on the history of railways in Myanmar.


When diesel locomotives replaced steam in Myanmar, they were sourced from Europe. Japan supplied a number of smaller diesel locomotives. Following the military takeover, for many years, Myanmar was regarded a pariah state so even obtaining spares for their existing diesel locomotives became problematic. Relations with China developed during this period and there are a number of Chinese diesel locomotives. Second-hand diesel locomotives from India were also acquired.


Japan supplied a number of railcars - see my post Diesel Railcars in Burma for more details. Myanmar managed to build some single-cab Very-Lightweight Diesel Railcars incorporating bus parts.

Running numbers


Running numbers for locomotives comprise two letters followed by three or four digits (sometimes with a suffix digit). The first letter is 'D', presumably for 'Diesel'. No distinction is made between diesel electric, diesel hydraulic and mechanical transmission. The second letter indicates number of axles - 'B' and 'C' for 2- and 3-axle locomotives but I've not seen examples. I've seen 'D' (4-axle) and 'F' (6-axle) locomotives. On six-axle machines, no distinction is made between locomotives carried on two 6-wheel bogies and those carried on three 4-wheel bogies. The first one or two digits of the running number indicate the nominal horsepower (in units of 100 h.p.). The last two digits identify a particular locomotive. 1200 h.p. locomotives built in Insein Works carry a suffix digit. Within each horsepower class, there may be sub-classes which are not separately identified. Locomotives can have 'chopper' or 'buckeye' couplings and be fitted with vacuum brakes or air brakes (or both) to provide a train brake and, again, this is not separately identified.


Railcar numbers comprise three letters followed usually by three or four digits to identify the class member. The first letter is 'R' (railcar) followed by 'B' (bogie). Although there are certainly 4-wheel railcars, I've not found a classification letter for that arrangement. The third letter is 'E' (engine - a powered car) or 'T' (trailer - an unpowered car). Recently-introduced railcars appear to have the class member represented by a 'P' followed by four digits.



Locomotives have a wide range of liveries. Some may indicate the manufacturer.

A common livery is cream (upper body) and brown (lower body) with a blue waistline. Since many coaches share this livery, I think of it as the 'standard'. Locomotives often have a grey solebar.

500 h.p. locomotives are light blue (upper body) dark blue (lower body) with a white waistline.

900 h.p. locomotives around Yangon are in a striking livery: cream (upper body) narrow orange (lower body) with broad blue and narrow red waistlines. Elsewhere, the 'standard' cream and brown livery is adopted.

1100 h.p. locomotives are either blue with a white waistline and cream solebar or green with a partial white waistline and white solebar.

1200 h.p. locomotives can be orange (upper body) and brown (lower body) with a white waistline or cream (upper body), light blue (lower body) with a red waistline or 'standard' cream and brown.

1300 h.p. locomotives are usually in 'standard' livery with grey solebars.

1500 h.p. locomotives I've seen have also been in the 'standard' livery but with black 'solebars' (actually, black lower body, below the brown).

1600 h.p. locomotives I've seen have been orange (upper body), brown (lower body) with a white waistline and grey solebars.

2000 h.p. locomotives appear in red (upper body) and Blue (lower body and solebar) with a white waistline, cream (upper body) and blue (lower body and solebars) with a red waistline and in 'standard' cream and brown with a blue waistline, but with orange solebars.

There's a lot more variability in detail between locomotives than the above suggests, particularly in the treatment of the ends of locomotives. Paint shades vary: 'cream' sometimes appears almost white and 'brown' can be 'maroon'. I don't know whether this is intentional or the effect of aging or other cause.


Until recently, I'd only seen bogie railcars in cream (top) and red (bottom) but recently-introduced railcars carry full-colour advertising. The Very-Lightweight Diesel Railcar I've seen had a white body with grey near the bottom and a red waistline. The roof was yellow (extending downwards over the driving end) with a red roof-line.


Some locomotives have received an uprated engine. Details are signwritten on the bodywork for easy identification. Uprated engines are either CAT from the U.S.A., MGO or Chinese. The DD15 class received MTU engines.

Locomotive Classes

500 h.p.

All locomotives are single-cab diesel-hydraulic carried on two 4-wheel bogies (B-B). They are from various manufacturers in Japan. There's a nice model of Kawasaki-built DD.506 in Myanma Railway Museum, Naypyidaw, although cab design differs from those I've seen. The data given is:-

Type Diesel Hydraulic
Maker Kawasaki
Wheel Arrangement B-B
Manufactured 1978
Rated Horsepower 500
Overall Length 11390mm (37'4.5")
Overall Width 2810mm (9'2.5")
Overall Height 3840mm (11'5")
Weight in working order 37.6 tons
Axle Load 9.4 tons
Maximum Speed 40 km/h (25 m.p.h.)
Diesel Engine 6V396TC11 MTU, Germany
Hydraulic Transmission L4r2U2 Fuji-Voith
Bogie 4-wheel Rigid Bolster Type
Brake System Air, Hydrodynamic, Hand Brake

DD.517 at Yangon Central Station in the rain.

500 h.p. Photographs.

900 h.p.

All locomotives are single-cab carried on two 4-wheel bogies (Bo-Bo). There are sub-classes.

900 h.p. locomotives around Yangon are in the cream and orange livery with a plain nose at the 'front', cab at 'back'. But they normally run on the Circle Line cab-leading. I don't know whether this is for visibility or ventilation (the centre cab door is usually left open). At least one has been re-engined - DD.931 carries the marking CAT3512 (642kW)(860 h.p.), together with the information 'Weight 48t Length 39'10 1/2" '. There's data on the CAT3512B Generating Sets here.

Elsewhere, 900 h.p. models have a radiator in the flat nose and a short hood at the cab end. They normally carry the 'standard' brown and cream livery.

I'm told the class is divided into four types:-
901-906 Krupp DH (1969)
907-913 KSK DH (1971)
914-942 Alsthom DE (1975)
943-969 Krupp DH (1978-1987)
It's believed only two of the Alsthom DE are still in service (I spotted DD934 and DD940 in April 2014).

DD.931 running round its Circle Line train at Pa Ywet Seit Gone.

900 h.p. Photographs

1100 h.p.

All locomotives are single-cab carried on two 4-wheel bogies (Bo-Bo) and are assumed diesel-electric. Believed to be Chinese - certainly, DD.1145 carries a 1983 worksplate from the Sifang Loco and Rolling Stock Works in the P.R.C. Some cabs are flat ended but others have a bulge, like a vestigial low hood. There are two paint schemes - blue and green.

DD.1145 about to depart eastbound from Yangon Central station with a local passenger train.

1100 h.p. Photographs

1200 h.p.

All locomotives are diesel-electric carried on three 4-wheel bogies (Bo-Bo-Bo) but there are a number of sub-classes.

Early units from Alsthom are dual-cab with slightly rounded ends with vertical windscreens. Some are marked 'Length: 49'10-9/16" Weight 71 tons." Later units from Alstom have rounded ends but with sloping windscreens. Chinese examples are dual cab, with a very angular body and sloping windscreens. DF.1267 (in cream and pale blue livery carries a 1995 worksplate from the Sifang Loco and Rolling Stock Works in the P.R.C. Some locomotives were built in Insein Works and carry a suffix digit. They use the CAT3508B marine engine, coupled to a Chinese generator. There is at least one single cab locomotive (DF.1202), which looks rather odd.

There's a nice model of Insein-built DF.1200-08 with 'CAT' prime mover in the Myanma Railway Museum, Naypyidaw. The data given for the Insein Locomotives is:-

Type Diesel Electric
Maker Insein Locomotive Workshop, Myanmar
Axle Arrangement Bo-Bo-Bo
Constructed 2010
Rated Horsepower 1200
Overall Length 15204mm (49'10.5")
Overall Width 2816mm (9'3")
Overall Height 3450mm (11'3.75")
Weight in working order 68 tons
Axle Load 11.33 tons
Maximum Speed 90 km/h (56 m.p.h.)
Gear Ratio 92:19
Diesel Engine CAT3508B (Electronic), USA
Main Generator JF205F, Yongji, China
Auxiliary Generator JGL405, Yongji, China
Traction Motor ZD110, Yongji, China
Bogie R109 Alstom, France
Brake System Air

I've travelled in the cab of DD.1263 around the Circle Line in Yangon. That's described in the post Cab Ride around the Circle Line, with notes about the Driving Controls and links to pictures showing the cab layout.

DF.1248 in brown & cream livery awaiting signal R56 at Yangon Central before commencing another clockwise circuit.

1200 h.p. Photographs

1300 h.p.

All locomotives are single-cab diesel-electric carried on two 6-wheel bogies (Co-Co) and are refurbished 'YDM4' locomotives from India, which had a large fleet, originally supplied by Alco (their type DL535A) but later built in India. The excellent Indian Railways Fan Club website gives more information of the YDM4 class here and here.

My picture of YDM4 6466 at Delhi Junction, Northern Railways, India taken in 1992.

Ten refurbished YDM4 were supplied to Myanmar in 2000, with a further 20 in 2011. An article in 'The Hindu' here shows three locomotives (including DF.1344) setting off from the Golden Rock Railway Workshop for Myanmar.

DF.1352 1300 h.p. Co-Co in Yangon Central Station.

At least one of the refurbished locomotives (DF.1307) has been marked 'YDM4' on the 'buffer' beam.

1300 h.p. Photographs

1500 h.p.

The class comprises 28 locomotives DD1501 to DD1528 supplied in 1964. They were built by Fried Krupp Maschinenfabriken in Essen but were supplied under the 'brand name' Krauss-Maffei. All locomotives are dual-cab diesel-hydraulic carried on two 4-wheel bogies (B-B). They are very similar to types supplied to Thailand. DD.1521 is marked "Length: 42' 7-7/16" Weight: 49 tons."

In 2010 I travelled in the cab of DD.1527 from Katha to Naba and back. There's a post on the outward journey here with links to a post on the return journeys and to my photographs (including pictures showing cab layout). In 2012 a repeated the trip (not in the cab) as described here, with links to my pictures.

DD.1521 at Katha with a 'Road to Mandalay' special train to Naba.

1500 h.p. Photographs

1600 h.p.

These locomotives are dual-cab diesel-electric carried on three 4-wheel bogies (Bo-Bo-Bo) and appear to be an uprated version of the 1200 h.p. locomotives. From the rounded corners and vertical cab windows they were supplied by Alstom. Some have been re-engined. For instance, DF.1631 and DF.1627 carry the marking 'A8V190ZL' together with the information 'Weight 73t Length 49'10 9/16" '. The diesel engine is Chinese, from Jinan Diesel Engine Co. Ltd, intended as part of a generating set and there's more data here. The solebar of the DF.1631 carries the marking "REPOWER.ISN.9.2009", indicating the work was done at the Insein Workshops. DF.1627 is marked "REPOWER.ISN.6.2009". DF.1637 has been uprated to 2000 h.p. with the fitting of an MOD6V170 (?) engine.

DF.1610 at Pazundaung heading towards Mahlwagon with a train of bogie tanks.

1600 h.p. Photographs

2000 h.p.

These are the most powerful locomotives I've seen in Myanmar and appear to be a 'stretch' of the 1600 h.p. locomotives (which themselves 'stretched' the earlier 1200 h.p. design). They are dual-cab diesel-electric carried on three 4-wheel bogies. Yunnan Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co.,Ltd (YMEC) first supplied the type in 1991, receiving an order for 20 off in 2007. There's a brief report on their website here. The Chinese CNR Corporation delivered 22 of their CKD7 locomotives to Myanmar from their Dalian Works since 1993 in 3 batches. Their report here describes 20 locomotives (including DF.2047) in red/blue livery being despatched in December 2008. The CKD7 design is described here. The CKD7 uses the CAT3516A described here with AC/DC transmission. Union Resources and Engineering Co. Ltd. also took credit for the despatch of these locomotives.

2000 h.p. Photographs

Book Illustrations

Various locomotive types are illustrated in a book (in Burmese) my friend showed me. I believe the title translates as '100 years of Burma Railways 1877 - 1977':-

The page on the right possibly shows a 1300 h.p. locomotive.

Top left: Possibly a 900 h.p. Bo-Bo. Bottom left: Alstom 1200 h.p. Bo-Bo-Bo. Top right: Three-axle jackshaft drive shunter. Bottom right: Alstom Bo-Bo-Bo.

Top left: 1500 h.p. Krauss Maffei B-B. Bottom left: Unidentified 4-axle Loco. Top right: Unidentified 4-axle Loco. Bottom right: Diesel Railcar (believed withdrawn).

Top left: Unidentified 4-axle Loco. Bottom left: Diesel Railcar (believed withdrawn). Right: Unidentified 4-axle Loco.

[Revised 1-Jan-2015 to incorporate additional information.]

Monday, 7 July 2014

Brewood Vintage Garden Party 2014

The Second Vintage Garden Party was held at Brewood Hall on Saturday, 5th July 2014. This was just a year after the first such event described in the post Brewood Vintage Garden Party 2013.

Brewood Vintage Garden Party 2014.

Once again, the event was organised jointly by the Parish Church of St. Mary and St. John and Brewood Scouts. In 2014, planning started some months ahead of the event and a series of organising committee meetings was held at Brewood Hall. The first event in 2013 had enjoyed glorious weather and was deemed a great success - everybody hoped that we could measure-up to that standard in 2014. The weather is such an important element in outdoor functions so the tented covered space provided in 2014 was increased to three modern tents and one traditional marquee, in case the weather on the day was unhelpful.

The auguries were not, initially, very promising. After a few days of warm weather, heavy rain started on the day before the Garden Party, later turning to a heavy drizzle. This was the day allocated for setting-up so the group of volunteers involved became somewhat bedragged. In the evening, reinforcements arrived in the form of the young Scouts. By late evening, three tents were erected and the marquee was put-up but for the side sheets.

Erecting the marquee in the rain on the evening before the Garden Party.

It continued to rain in the night and the day of the Garden Party dawned with drizzle still coming down. At nine o'clock, volunteers started to arrive to complete the work and set-up the various stalls and then, mirabile dictu, the drizzle stopped and the sun came out. By the time the Garden Party opened to the public at 1.00 p.m., things had dried out remarkably well and it turned into a warm, bright afternoon.

Jan (in Victorian dress) welcomes visitors. In the rear, the large Tea Tent is ready for visitors.

The modest admission fee included tea, coffee or squashes with a remarkable selection of home-made cakes which were generously dispensed by the hard-working volunteers in the large Tea Tent. Nearby, on the lawn, Strawberries and Cream were on offer. In addition to the tables and chairs provided inside the Tea Tent, there were more tables and chairs outside for people to take their ease and let the location work its usual 'magic' on well over 300 guests.

Left: Marquee with various stalls, rear: Spectators at the Coconut Shy, right: The large Tea Tent, foreground: Visitors relaxing in the sun.

The Public Address system played vintage music of various periods during the afternoon. There was a range of stalls including White Elephant, Plants, Books, Jewellery, Handicrafts, the P.D.S.A., Confectionery, Tombola. Various games were provided like 'Hook-a-Duck', 'Splat the Rat' and 'Beat the Buzzer'. Wet Sponge Throwing (at a human target) and the Coconut Shy were kept busy all afternoon. Some youngsters sported Face Painting and a few grown-ups attended in vintage clothing of the period of their choice (which ranged from around 1600 to 1980).

Ann (P.D.S.A. stall) and Dean (Sealed Knot).

Other attractions included the competition for the Best Home Bake and a demonstration of tent-pitching by the Scouts.

The erected tent can sleep 8 - 12 persons.

Raffle winners were drawn before the Garden Party closed at 5.00 p.m. The event gave a boost to the funds of both the Church and the Scouts but, of equal importance, quite a few visitors took the trouble to say how much they'd enjoyed the afternoon which made the hard work of all those involved worthwhile.

My Pictures

The Event.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cab Ride around the Circle Line

In the earlier post Exploring Yangon's railways I briefly described my visit to Yangon's Power Signal Box and a Cab Ride on the Circle Line on Friday 25th April 2014. This post gives a little more technical information about my Cab Ride.

My fascination with Myanmar's railways was kindled during my first visit to the country in 2008 when I first travelled on the Circle Line. That journey is described in the post The Circle Line, Yangon and I made a startling discovery:-
At each of the frequent stops, the rear coach in which I was riding kept oscillating back and forth on the slack in the 'chopper' couplings. I couldn't understand why the driver didn't lightly hold the brake on the train for the safety of people getting on and off. Eventually, I found the answer. Although the coaches were originally vacuum-fitted (as evidenced by the partial rigging and the steel pipework remaining), vacuum hoses, vacuum cylinders, most of the rigging and the brakeblocks had been removed. The train was unbraked, relying upon the locomotive brake!
The situation was the same on my cab ride in 2014 on the 13:00 clockwise Circle Line train, scheduled to complete the 32-mile round trip in 3 hours! I was made welcome in the cab by the friendly Driver, the Second Man and a third member of crew I took to be a mechanic.

The Locomotive

The locomotive was one of the Alsthom Bo-Bo-Bo diesel electrics, running number DF.1263.

The very smartly turned out Driver of the 13:00 Clockwise Circle Line Train. The Driver's right hand rests on the (unused) Vacuum Brake Application Valve. The 'stalk' to the left of the driver's right hand (as you view the picture) is the Straight Air Brake which was used for all braking.

Although trains use left-hand running on double track, the driving position is on the right of the cab. The picture below shows the control panel and most of the driving controls.

The control panel of DF.1263.

Driving the Alsthom diesel-electrics

Burma operates both vacuum-braked and air-braked trains. DF.1263 is arranged for working vacuum-braked trains and there is a Straight Air Brake operative on the locomotive. Since the Circle Line trains still run without an automatic brake, all the braking was performed using the locomotive Air Brake.

Master Selector

A 5-position Master Selector switch is mounted on the left of the Control Panel. It is operated by a specially-shaped removeable key carried by the driver. The third position of the switch is 'Off'. Moving clockwise from 'Off', the positions are 'Start Idling' and then 'Forward Traction'. Moving anti-clockwise from 'Off', the positions are 'Start Idling' and then 'Reverse Traction'. During normal running, the Mater Selector is left in the 'Forward Traction' position.

The Master Selector.

Power Controller

Power control is by 'notching-up' and 'notching down' using a moulded 3-spoke 'steering wheel' which also has an inset semi-circular wire handle. The 'steering wheel' has seven positions. From the extreme anti-clockwise position, the positions are marked:-
Rapid Deceleration
Decelerate Notch by Notch
Accelerate Notch by Notch
Rapid Acceleration
When stationary, the Power Controller is normally in the 'Stabilise' position. To apply power, the Driver applies 'First Notch' by moving the 'steering wheel' one position anti-clockwise to 'Accelerate Notch by Notch' and then immediately back to 'Stabilise'. The Driver uses his judgement to determine when to move onto 'Second Notch', which is achieved by again moving the 'steering wheel' to 'Accelerate Notch by Notch' and then immediately back to 'Stabilise'. Subsequent 'notching-up' is carried out, as required, to produce the appropriate line speed. Reducing power is achieved by 'notching-down' using the 'Decelerate Notch by Notch' position on the 'steering wheel'.

L: Master Selector, R: Power Controller,

Straight Air Brake

The 'stalk' rising up from the fascia below the window on the right of the cab controls the air to the brake cylinders on each of the three bogies. Normally, the three-position 'stalk' is vertical, in the 'lapping' position. To apply the brake, the driver moves the stalk towards his body, admitting air from the reservoir to the brake cylinders. This moves the brake pistons against the return springs and the movement of the piston is communicated by the brake rigging so as to pull the cast iron brake blocks against the wheel tyres. The Driver must admit air judiciously to avoid locking up the wheels.

The Driver applying the Straight Air Brake.

The level of braking can be judged by checking the duplex brake gauge. The one pointer shows the air reservoir pressure (normally 5 Bar), the other shows the pressure which has been fed to the brake cylinders. However, most drivers will judge the correct level of braking pressure simply by the 'feel' of the train. When the appropriate pressure has been fed to the brake cylinders, the driver moves the brake 'stalk' back to the 'lapping' position, maintaining that air pressure in the brake cylinders and that level of brake force. To release the brake again, the Driver moves the brake 'stalk' to the third position, away from his body, which vents the air from the brake cylinders (producing a loud 'hiss' in the cab), allowing the return springs in the brake cylinders to move the pistons back to the 'released' position with the brake blocks clear of the wheel tyres.

Locomotive Horn

An air horn is mounted on top of the roof of the cab. This is controlled by a simple Air Valve mounted on the vertical panel of the control desk below the Vacuum Brake Valve.

Speed Recorder

From previous visits, I knew that Speed Recorders were fitted to Myanma Railways locomotives. In 2010, I'd managed a cab ride from Katha to Naba and back, described here (with links to pictures) showing Hasler Speed Recorders fitted in the cabs. In 2012, I'd travelled from Katha to Naba described here (with links to pictures). I didn't manage a cab ride on the 2012 trip but I did take some cab pictures, again showing Hasler Speed Recorders fitted. The Speed Recorders were rather battered and apparently unreliable.

In 2014, locomotive DF.1263 was similarly battered but, to my surprise, was fitted with a new recorder, made in 2013 by the Indian company Medha Servo Drives Pvt. Ltd. The manufacturer's technical information on the MRT918 Speed Recorder is here.

List of stations on the Circle Line

Stations are listed in a clockwise direction, starting at Yangon Central. Burmese words can be Anglicised in various ways, so alternative spellings of at least some of names may be found.

Route Map of Yangon Division (from Myanmar Railways)
Pha Yar Lan
Pyay Road
Shan Road
Ahlone Road
Pan I Daing (or Pann Hlaing)
Kyee Myin Daing
Thin Myaing
Ywa Ma
Phi Taw Thar
Phaw Khan
Aung San
Da Nyn Gone (#2) Golf Course
Kyait Ka Lei
Mingalardon Market
Wai Bar Gi
North Okkalapa
Pa Ywet Seit Gone
Kyauk Yae Twin
Bauk Hlaw
Myittar Nyuni
Mahlwagone (#1)

#1: Before Mahlwagone the line from the north and east converges with the Circle Line.
#2: Beyond Da Nyn Gone the line to the west diverges from the Circle Line to Golf Course.
The Journey

Before we left, the Driver tested the horn. Air could be heard escaping up on the cab roof, but there was no horn sound. Helped by the Second Man, the Mechanic scrambled onto the cab roof, carrying a roll of some sort of tape. Within seconds, he'd made things airtight and we had a working audible warning. The Driver gave a long blast as a final warning, engaged first notch and we slowly moved through the pointwork onto the Up Line.

On my first trip on the Circle Line back in 2008, I was quite rude about the condition of the permanent way. I'm pleased to confirm that, since then, a lot of work has been done - large numbers of concrete sleepers have been fitted and an awful lot of ballast has been added. There remain some areas, particularly around points and crossings, that are rather scary and the effect is more noticeable when you are travelling in the cab. So I was not surprised that we didn't exceed 20 k.p.h. anywhere.

The Circle Line is more-or-less flat so the braking technique was similar at each of the 38 stops. As we ran-in, the Driver would judge where on the platform to remove power then he would apply a fairly modest level of braking, leaving that brake force applied almost until we'd stopped, then releasing the brake so as to stop without a jerk. At a few stops, the brake was applied, released and applied a second time. In the cab, all the stops were very gentle.

All the signals were 2- or 3-aspect colour light (the majority 3-aspect automatic) and were normally showing yellow or green as we approached. In the very bright sunlight, I didn't find these colour lights too easy to 'read' from a distance. Just after leaving Pyay Road station, we passed a passenger train heading in the opposite direction. Within six minutes, we passed another Yangon-bound passenger train. The stations are usually less than a mile apart. Most have two platforms, flanking the two running lines but a few (like Pann Hlaing) have an island platform.

The next stop was Kyee Myin Daing, which the British called 'Kemmendine'. Here, we passed another Down train. Kyee Myin Daing is interesting for various reasons. It was, I believe, the first station in Yangon when the line ran from here to Prome. It has a more elaborate station building (on the Down side) and an island platform on the Up side to serve a passenger loop. There are also a number of sidings on the Up side which don't seem much used nowadays. The station is served by two manual signal boxes, one each end of the station. 2- or 3-aspect colour light signals are provided on the main lines but points are still mechanically operated from the two signal boxes and are provided with facing point locks and locking bars. The sidings retain some glorious semaphore signals, some with subsidiary arms. An unresolved puzzle is that in the section 'Equipment supplied by Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company' of post Yangon Area Railways, I report a Power Frame being ordered for 'Kemmendine'. It certainly hasn't been used here, so where is it?

A mixture of semaphore and colour light signals at Kyee Myin Daing.

We passed yet another train heading towards Yangon. There are a number of road overbridges on the route and most stations have fabricated steel footbridges but there are also road level crossings. On major roads, rolling barriers (rather than a hinging gate) are often used. An elaborate red-and-white painted steel framework is carried on a short length of railway track allowing the gatekeeper to push it into place to obstruct the road. All level crossings are 'half-barrier', that is, a barrier is only provided against oncoming traffic. Whilst Myanmar originally followed the British practice of driving on the left, in 1970, General Ne Win decreed that Myanmar would drive on the right. Unfortunately, the majority of vehicles in Myanmar remain right-hand drive.

A level crossing featuring rolling half-barriers.

We came to a 2-aspect colour light showing yellow with a theatre-type route indicator above reading '5'. We were approaching Insein but I remain puzzled by the signal identification plate marked 'IR'. We were slowing down, I thought in response to a lineside speed restriction sign and the tangle of pointwork ahead. The Driver said "Heat" and it was a few seconds before I realised we were still slowing because the diesel engine had quit. We rolled to a quiet standstill and the Mechanic and Second Man scurried into the Engine Room behind the cab. After a short pause, the engine 'fired-up' again and caused no further problem. The Driver gently drew the train into Insein's platform 5, where a fair crowd awaited us.

Platform 5 at Insein station.

We were soon under way again, making frequent station stops. A 3-aspect colour light beckoned us on with a 'yellow'. The signal had an unlit 'line-of-lights' route indicator angled to the left. Just as well it was unlit - if lit, that would have put us on the Prome line, for this was the junction at Da Nyn Gone, where there are always lots of people, either waiting to board or trying to sell produce to the passengers.

Da Nyn Gone junction station.

We'd now passed the halfway point on our journey. At a stretch of line built on a low embankment, it looked as if they were building it up with quite large stone. We came to an automatic signal showing 'red' which declined to change. Automatic signals are often arranged on a 'Stop and Proceed' basis to keep traffic moving. I was told afterwards that the Rules require a one minute pause before proceeding in the day and a two minute pause at night. Well, we stopped for what seemed quite a short minute and then carried on. The most likely cause was a track circuit failure but I never confirmed that.

During my visit to Yangon Power Signal Box, I had been told there was now some sort of signalling facility at Mingalardon. Two crossovers had been put in, driven by point machines, and there were a number of 2-aspect colour light signals. It all looked fairly new and mimicked the facilities I'd previously seen at Pa Ywet Seit Gone (see post The Circle Line Revisited and pictures Circle Line Revisited).

Mingalardon Stion, looking south, showing crossover and colour light signals.

More later ...

Related posts in this blog

Exploring Yangon's railways.
Railway Signalling in Burma - Part 2: Colour Light Signals & Motor Points.
The Circle Line Revisited (2012).
The Circle Line, Yangon (2008).
All my Myanma Railways posts.

My Pictures

Cab Ride on the Circle Line (2014).
The Circle Line, Yangon (2013).
Circle Line Revisited (2012).
The Circle Line, Yangon, Myanmar (2009).
Railways in Myanmar (2008).
All my Myanma Railways Pictures.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Pierced Steel Planking

Just before the outbreak of World War II, the United States developed a sectional steel 'mat' which could be used for the rapid construction of temporary aircraft landing strips. It was originally called 'Marsden Matting' (after the first location of manufacture) but it's also known as 'PSP', short for 'Pierced' (or 'Perforated') 'Steel Planking' or 'Landing Mat'. There's a description in Wikipedia here.

Large quantities were produced during the war and there was a later aluminium version which, of course, was a lot lighter. Whilst some of this useful material is still retained by the military, large amounts became 'Army Surplus'. Calumet Industries currently offer PSP on their website.

Pierced Steel Plank (Photo: Calumet Industries).

I've spotted 'PSP' finding a secondary use in a number of places, particularly in the far East. The most common use is for fencing, where 'PSP' can form the horizontal rails joining brick pillars, like the example below from a private house in Yangon, Myanmar.

Yangon (2013).

The boundary fence at Thandwe Airport in Myanmar seems to be entirely made from 'PSP' horizontal rails fastened to concrete posts, as below.

Thandwe Airport (2014).

Perhaps the oddest use I've spotted was during a visit to Sittwe, in Myanmar. I visited a former Merchant's House (described in the section 'Merchant's House' of my post Sittwe, Myanmar) where 'PSP', enamel painted white, is used to panel-in the staircase.

Air conditioned-cladding for the staircase in the Merchant's House.

There are more pictures of the Merchant's House here.

I'm confident that there must be more outlandish uses for 'PSP' out there - I just haven't noticed them. Can anybody help?

Airedale Foundry Luncheon (1989)

This post is adapted from an article I wrote for the Summer 1989 edition of 'Lionsheart' - the newsletter of the Old Locomotive Committee (OLCO) which is the supporters group for the locomotive 'Lion'.

Locomotive building in the early days was restricted to a handful of locations. Everybody knows the importance of Tyneside, but Leeds was early into the game. ‘Lion’, of course, was built in 1838 by the partnership of Todd, Kitson and Laird in Leeds. But, shortly afterwards, the partnership was dissolved and Charles Todd joined with John Shepherd trading from the Railway Foundry in Leeds. This enterprise survived until 1858. Meanwhile, James Kitson and David Laird set up the Airedale Foundry which opened on 13th May 1839. This enterprise ultimately becoming Kitson and Company Limited and contined a proud record of locomotive building into the 1930s.

Mr. E. F. Clark, one of the founder members of OLCO, is a descendent of James Kitson and he suggested that the sesquicentenary of the opening of the Airedale Foundry should be marked by a luncheon on 13th May 1989, exactly 150 years later. Initially, the Kitson College of Technology in Leeds was chosen as the venue but, at short notice, this had to be changed to Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills which made us very welcome. At the time, I was secretary of OLCO so I was involved in the organisation of the event.

The ‘flyer’ which advertised the event
(Click on image for larger view).

On the day, forty or so Guests attended the Luncheon. In 'Lionsheart' at the time I reported:-
"The weather, venue, food and, most importantly, the guests combined to produce a most happy and enjoyable occasion. Various memorabilia from the Airedale Foundry were on display. Mr. E. F. Clark appropriately described the event as 'an extended family occasion'. Later in the afternoon the Assistant Curator of the Museum, Mr. Ron Fitzgerald, gave guests a private tour of the Museum".
Some years later, in 2004, Mr. E. F. Clark donated ephemera from the Airedale Foundry Luncheon to the OLCO Archives. I remember the occasion as being very enjoyable. There was an excellent meal and plenty of good conversation (not quite all about railways). The guests were able to tour the galleries - the Museum has a wide range of displays relating to the area's industrial, mining and railway past. I particularly enjoyed a preview of a new mining gallery featuring mine locomotives which was just being readied for public exhibition.

Jan Ford and the much-missed Mike Satow (he passed away in 1993) during the lunch.
(Click on image for larger view).

Mike Satow was one of the guests at the Airedale Foundry Luncheon. He made a major contribution to the study of early locomotives and left us with a series of full-size, working replicas, such as 'Locomotion' and 'Sans Pareil'. He developed an unobtrusive emergency air brake system for the 'Locomotion' project which has been used on a number of replicas and formed the basis of the emergency braking system used on ‘Lion’ to allow her to give public rides. He was also closely-involved in the setting up of New Delhi Railway Museum. I made my first visit to this museum in 1992 (there's a brief description in my post My First Trip to India (continued) and an album of pictures here. I made another visit to the museum in February 2006 (in a hectic trip described in a long post here) which produced a second set of pictures here.

Photograph of Mike Satow displayed in New Delhi Railway Museum.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Furness and the Cumbrian Coast (Part 2)

Events of Saturday 21st June 2014

In Furness and the Cumbrian Coast (Part 1), I described my travels as far as Whitehaven Bransty on what's now marketed as the Cumbrian Coast Line. There's a Wikipedia article here.


I arrived at Whitehaven Bransty around 12:39 with the weather still hot. This was a modern station with one through platform which I'd just arrived on and one empty Bay platform. I left the station and looked down the hill. A short walk would take me to the harbour but I could see that it had been modernised into a boat marina. On my right sat a large Tesco store. Knowing that there was a train north at 12:54, I decided to defer my exploration of Whitehaven to another trip and returned to study the station.

The driver of the 2-car diesel multiple unit I'd arrived on was 'changing ends' prior to forming the 12:54 back to Lancaster. The driver had unlocked a Token Cupboard on the platform and was working the electric token machine whilst talking to the signalman on the telephone. After he'd extracted the token which authorised him to travel on the single line back to St. Bees, the signalman cleared the 2-aspect modern colour-light signal from red to green.

Whitehaven through platform, looking south towards the tunnel mouth. The driver is extracting the single line token.

There were a number of passengers waiting in the sun so it was clear that another train was due and, after a few minutes, a Class 156 2-car diesel multiple unit appeared from the north and rolled into the bay platform. After the arriving passengers had left the train, the waiting passengers clambered in. The step-up from platform to train on the bay platform was quite large and there was a yellow-painted set of wooden steps on the platform to assist. There were four doors on the side of the train and only one set of steps so most people just had to manage the large step-up. Although there were at least two railway staff manning the modern booking office, I noticed that there was no member of staff on the platform to assist boarding passengers.

Passengers boarding the Carlisle train at Whitehaven.

On to Workington

We departed on time, passed the remaining signal box (formerly 'Whitehaven Bransty No. 2', now just labelled 'Bransty') and entered the double-track line which ran along the sea wall to our first station stop at Parton. Looking back, I could see the jetty at the approach to Whitehaven Harbour and, beyond, St. Bees Head.

View of Whitehaven and St. Bees head from Parton.

About 700 yards beyond Parton, the line singled. We continued for about 1400 yards on the single line, hugging the sea wall and then double track resumed. The track changes appeared fairly recent and the necessary points and signals seemed to be remotely controlled from Bransty. I assumed the alteration had been made because of problems with the 'shelf' on which the track is laid, squeezed between sea wall on our left and low cliffs on our right. We made a brief stop at Harrington then Workington was just two and a half miles away.

The line was still running close to the beach and I noticed a long row of vaguely pyramidal objects dotted along the head of the beach - dozens and dozens of them. They reminded me of the sort of concrete objects deployed on beaches in WWII to hamper invasion. The colour was too dark for concrete but then I realised - they were lumps of solidified steel-making slag and the shape was that of the slag ladle car which had transported the slag from the steelworks. Then, I was able to see the trackbed of what appeared to be a single siding running parallel to the beach. There were even a couple of small stone underbridges where the siding crossed footpaths.

I knew that steelmaking had ceased in Workington but, on my previous visit to Workington in the 1990s, I'd been impressed with the scale of the remaining rolling mills which specialised in the manufacture of railway rails. But, in 2014, little remains here except the double track main line. There's a most useful site which gives a good idea of Workington's industrial history here. Tata Steel Projects still have a presence in Workington (described on their website here) but, as recently as December 2013, another 75 jobs were lost locally.

The tangle of sidings and additional running lines has gone and signal boxes at Moss Bay Iron Works, Derwent Haematite Works, and Workington Main No. 1 have been abolished. Workington Main No. 2 signal box remains, heavily modified externally like virtually all the dwindling number of signal boxes remaining on Network Rail, as does Workington Main No. 3 signal box at the north end of the station.

The long pedestrian footbridge shows where the sidings were: the bare yard shows where the mills once stood.

Workington Main station retains its two long platforms with quite nicely restored ranges of buildings on both platforms. With a service of only about one train an hour each way, I only saw one member of staff and he was in the booking office. But I was cheered that it at least looked like a railway station rather than a bus shelter.

Workington: Station buildings on the Up Platform.

I'd a little under an hour to explore before there was another train northwards. Leaving the station, I decided to walk towards the sea. The River Derwent reaches its estuary in two channels. I followed the narrower one - a muddy creek with stone-built houses along the Town Quay with dozens of small boats waiting for the returning tide.

The Town Quay at Workington.

The Port of Workington is a more modern enclosed dock (the Prince of Wales Dock) on the opposite side of the river. I took I different route to backtrack to the station, noting that part of the old steelworks site had been converted into a series of modern factory units. I then made my way towards the town centre along Station Street., with the Parish Church of St. Michael on my left.

St. Michael's slumbers in the heat of the afternoon. One of the two women on the left enjoying the sun has donned a swimsuit!

I passed a variety of shops and was tempted by a fish and chip shop, enjoying an excellent portion of chips served in a cardboard box, like a small pizza box. One detached stone building is now a sports injury clinic, but what caught my eye was the carefully-preserved signwriting on the end wall proclaiming 'OXFORD HOTEL TEMPERANCE LUNCHES AND TEAS'. I think the last line may have been the name of the proprietor, but I couldn't make it out. When I reached the small bus station, I retraced my route back to the station, in plenty of time to catch the 14:08 northbound service. Workington has a population of about 25,000 and I'd found the place far more appealing than I expected but the loss of jobs must have created ongoing problems. There's a Wikipedia article on the town here.


I decided I'd make a stop at the smaller town of Maryport (population around 12,000) which I'd visited before and has always been something of a tourist destination. The 14:08 train from Workington took only eight minutes to reach Maryport. Although the line is double track, there's only one platform at Maryport (I think this was always so). I remembered the L.M.S. standard composite signal box from my earlier visit (now heavily modified, of course) but signals are now colour light and points are power operated. The station 'building' is a very upmarket bus shelter in wood and glass. For some reason, it looked Japanese to me.

Maryport Station, viewed from the car park.

I set off for the harbour, knowing I had a little over an hour before there was a train onwards to Carlisle. The inevitable Station Street led me across the River Ellen and Curzon Street, busy with traffic. Then I walked through Mill Street car park and took an attractive footpath which led me to Senhouse Street - a main shopping street sloping down to the harbour. A fairly elaborate brick and stone frontage still proclaimed 'Empire Theatre' and, in a laurel wreath, the build date (1911, I think).The building has now been converted into two shops. Another shop building (currently empty) still had the signwriting "Ogni's Ices" on the end wall - I assumed the Ognis were Italians for Italians were widely involved in popularising ice cream in England.

I passed the 'White Star Pub'. I discovered that Thomas Henry Ismay (1837 - 1899) was born in a cottage at Maryport and went on to run the White Star Line. His son Joseph Bruce Ismay (1862 - 1937) is known for surviving the maiden voyage of the 'Titanic'.

I found the harbour area very attractive. Having purchased an ice cream, I walked around the nearer harbour, used by a number of fishing boats. I didn't go to the further harbour, which appeared to be another marina for pleasure craft. There were certainly tourists about but it wasn't crowded. I decided it was time to return to the station (I was certainly getting tired with all the walking).

Maryport Harbour.

Returning up Senhouse Street, I noticed a residential side street temporarily closed to traffic because of excavations in the road. One of the houses in the street had brought folding chairs out onto the pavement and a family of eleven, including children, were having a picnic and soaking up the sun!

An unusual venue for a picnic in Maryport.

On to Carlisle

Back at Maryport station, I boarded a stopping train for Carlisle. When we stopped at Wigton station, I spotted a marvellous old photograph of the original stone station building, complete with its row of Ionic Order columns on the platform side.

A marvellous photograph of the original Wigton Station Building, displayed on today's more modest station.

Whilst railway architects have often provided impressive facades on the road approach side, the railway side is usually simpler and often hidden under platform roofing arrangements. I was reminded of the rather grand elevation on the railway side of the station at Delyatin, in Ukraine, which similarly featured Ionic Order columns.

Not Cumbria, but Delyatin station in Ukraine.

Approaching Carlisle we were routed into Bay 2 of this important station. I joined the throng of passengers and crossed the broad footbridge to the main Up Platform to study the possibilities for onward travel.

Carlisle Station, viewed from platform 3 showing the footbridge and overall roof.

Virgin operate a frequent service of 'Pendolino' trains between Glasgow/Edinburgh and London Euston. Some of these trains take the Trent Valley Line from Stafford to Rugby, others take the Stour Valley Line through Wolverhampton (my destination) and Birmingham New Street (offering a host of connections, particularly to the south-west). I decided to catch the next southbound service (which would take the Trent Valley Line) as far as Wigan where I would change to the following train which would deliver me to Wolverhampton.

This allowed time for a brief walk around Carlisle, with its population of around 72,000. The local government district is the City of Carlisle, bringing the population up to around 100,000. After a brief foray into the city, I was quite tired and quite happy to return to return to the station for my chosen train.

The Journey Home

I didn't pay the usual attention as the 'Pendolino' sped south on the West Coast Main Line. We stopped at Penrith, Lancaster, Preston before I alighted at Wigan (North Western) to await the following train. I often pass through Wigan by train but don't often actually get off - this is why I'd chosen to change here. I mustered sufficient energy to leave the station and walk up the hill as far as the second station - Wigan (Wallgate). Back at Wigan (North Western), I explored a little but my camera battery finally gave up (I'd omitted to bring a spare) so I quietly waited for my train. Fortunately, the journey was uneventful so I arrived back home very tired but pleased with what I'd managed to fit in.

My pictures

General pictures
Cumbrian Coast Scenes.
Maryport, Cumbria

Railway pictures
Cumbrian Coast Line.
Whitehaven railways.
Workington Main station.
Maryport & Carlisle Railway.
Carlisle's Railways.