Sunday, 15 January 2017

Review of the Year 2016

A year older but, I suspect, no wiser, with a generous collection of new memories and a clear understanding of how fortunate I've been.


I fitted in three overseas trips in 2016, outlined below. For lists of most previous travels see:-
Jan Ford's Travels (2001 onwards).
Jan Ford's Travels - The early trips (before 2001).
Jan Ford's Travels: Around the World in pictures (alphabetic list with links to pictures).
South Atlantic Voyage

This was an Expedition Cruise on the ship 'Silversea Explorer' which Silversea call 'Cape to Cape' (Cape Horn to Cape of Good Hope). I embarked in Ushuaia, sailed to the Falkland Islands, then South Georgia, then the isolated islands of Tristan da Cunhaa before finishing our crossing of the Atlantic at Cape Town.

I was pleased to visit remote Tristan da Cunha, even when it rained (Photo: Laurent Derame).

You can find all the posts here or go to the first post in the series here and follow links to subsequent posts on the trip.

Trip to Burma

My visits to Myanmar, as Burma is now named, have become an annual affair. This years visit was especially varied including getting wet at the annual water festival, witnessing the new year at the amazing Shwedagon temple, visiting Drop In Centres in Mon State, observing the work of the Bagan Medical Clinic, visiting schools around Bagan, travelling by train up the 'Zig-Zag' line to Kalaw (where I visited various temples and attempted but failed to milk a cow at my hotel, Kalaw Hill Lodge), tried out the 'new' electric tram line in Yangon, travelled on the railway around Yangon with a visit to a railway signal box and spent six days on a yacht cruising in the Mergui Archipelago.

Yacht 'Meta IV' at anchor at Ba Wel.

All the posts on the trip in 2016 are here or go to the first post in the series here and follow links to subsequent posts on the trip.

Chilean Fjords and Antarctic Peninsula

November saw me starting another trip on 'Silver Explorer', this time seeing the Chilean Fjords and making my second trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. I flew to Santiago via Paris and, after one night in Santiago, travelled to the improbable, facinating city of Valpasraiso where I boarded the ship. Unusually, before we finally left Chile, we were able to make a landing at Cape Horn.

Cape Horn: The Albatross Memorial to drowned sailors.

After visiting the Antarctic Peninsula, the cruise finished at Ushuaia, Argentina, from where I flew to the capital, Buenos Aires (finding time to ride around on their metro system called 'Subte') before flying to Iguassu Falls (which straddles the border between Argentina and Brazil) and spending two nights at the luxurious Hotel das Cataratas on the Brazilan side. I had time for a comprehensive tour of the falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian side, together with a visit to the most productive hydro-electric station in the world, Itapu, before returning home.

Part of Iguassu Falls - viewed from Brazilian side.

You can find all the posts here or go to the first post in the series here and follow links to subsequent posts on the trip.


During the year I made a few trips (mainly by rail) to various destinations, some of which have blog posts.

By Train to Surrey
Grand Central and Birmingham New Street Station
Return to Llandudno
Return to Blackpool and Fleetwood (part 1)
By Rail to Nottingham
Return to Manchester
Return to Merseyside (Part 1)

Nottingham station: View from platform 3.


During 2015, I continued to support the Old Locomotive Committee and remained an active volunteer at The Battlefield Line and Peak Rail.

The Old Locomotive Committee

On Saturday, 7th May 2016 the 31st Annual General Meeting of the Old Locomotive Committee was held in the Old Pilotage Building adjacent to the Museum of Liverpool. Although I remain secretary, I wasn't able to attend in 2016 because of a conflict with my trip to Burma (see above). However, I did attend the 'Lionsmeet' event on Saturday, 27th August 2016 which was hosted by Nottingham Society of Model and Experimental Engineers Limited at Ruddington, near Nottingham. My report is here.

Lionsmeet 2016, Nottingham: Jon Swindlehurst prepares his 'Lion' with another 'Lion' being steamed in the background.

You can find all my posts about OLCO here and there's more information on the Old Locomotive Committee's website (and becoming a member) here.

The Battlefield Line

I had a number of driving turns during the year, some of which are described in blog posts:-

Sunday at Shackerstone
Teddy Bears' Picnic
'Operation: Market Bosworth' - The Battlefield Line 1940s Weekend 2016
'Operation: Market Bosworth' - On the Footplate
Shackerstone Santa Specials

Battlefield Line 1940s Weekend 2016: Passengers at Market Bosworth.

You can find all my posts about the Battlefield Line here.

Peak Rail

I regularly drove steam during the year and there are some blog posts:-

Peak Rail Winter Season
'Peak Forester', 2016
Peak Rail 1940s Weekend, 2016
Peak Rail Santa Specials

Visiting locomotive 'Ring Haw' at Peak Rail.

You can find all my posts about Peak Rail here.

Myanma Railways

During my 'Trip to Burma' (see above) I again spent some time studying the railway system, resulting in a number of blog posts:-

Trams Return to Rangoon
Thazi Railway Station and Diesel Locomotive Depot
Kyee Myin Daing Railway Station
Around the Circle Line in 2016
Thazi - Kalaw (part 2)
Insein Railway Station

Around the Circle Line in 2016.

You can find all my posts about Myanma Railways here.


The Brewood Garden Party was held at Brewood Hall for the fourth time on Saturday, 16th July 2016. Once again, we were lucky with the weather. There's a report here.

Brewood Garden Party 2016.

You can find all my posts about Brewood Hall here.


For a number of years, I've supported the charitable initiatives operated under the above name in Burma. When I visit Burma, I try to see as much as possible of the work in hand. The charity provides Educational Support to a range of schools and orphanages (including the Orphans & Vulnerable Children Project in Mon State) and Medical Treatment to all ages (centred on the wonderful Bagan Medical Clinic).

Hlaing D.I.C. in Mawlamyine.

You can find my posts on Educational Support here and those on Medical Support here.


This review covers trips and events during the year but doesn't include other types of post including:-
technical or historical articles, mainly about railways
recollections of past events