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Why do you model BR Blue?


tractionman
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6 minutes ago, F-UnitMad said:

That is frightening!! :scared:

One of the strangest things from my perspective is people talking about 66s as though they were introduced recently - they're up to five years older than me!

In fact, the only locomotives introduced in my lifetime are the 68,70, and 88.

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15 minutes ago, DK123GWR said:

One of the strangest things from my perspective is people talking about 66s as though they were introduced recently - they're up to five years older than me!

In fact, the only locomotives introduced in my lifetime are the 68,70, and 88.

To be fair though they made them over such a long time, something like 1997 to 2015? so the newest one is less than 5 years old. I saw my first one when I was 19  but as I don't feel a day over 25 then they will also be new fangled! 

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34 minutes ago, DK123GWR said:

One of the strangest things from my perspective is people talking about 66s as though they were introduced recently - they're up to five years older than me!

In fact, the only locomotives introduced in my lifetime are the 68,70, and 88.

It’s all relative to how long you’ve lived....I was 26 when they were introduced , and remember being excited to see my first one in action , 66011 , on the binliner. But that was because we thought they would compliment other classes not eat them...

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Back in the late 1980's the boys wanted a layout. so we built one in the loft most of the loco's at the time where Lima and a few Hornby kettles they came from Grandad .  Then we moved house mid 1990's.  We took all the track up to re'use in the new house. This did not go to plan as they started to drive . So the kettles got sold and with some diesels .  Now's  the time to build my own Run down BR blue layout. Most of the old Lima loco's where sold over time replaced with Heljan/Bachmann/Vi trains and one Hornby VEP.  The only Lima model's left are 4 class 73's .  The layout is based 1970 late 1980's  southern 3rd rail on the south coast so more then a few EMU's/DEMU's . 

Edited by crompton 33
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Much like the way the GPO (Openreach nowdays) works, things keep coming around full circle and repeating. This time its not just a case of sticking blue stock onto a normally steam layout to get my fix, that layout is long gone so a new build is required. The lack of decent representative DMUs was always a sticking point for me, but the lack of high density units is well and truly over with the release of the 117. So now I can really get my teeth into what I remember without needing to hack up a disappointing running Lima class 117ish looking model to make a disappointing poorly rejigged class 116 wannabe.

 

Growing up in and around Sutton Coldfield, high density units are quite simply everything. If it wasn't a high density unit on the Cross City line, it was an engineering diversion which brought a splash of variety and sometimes a Peak. Otherwise I was truly spoiled for freight. Back then the variety and opportunity to go and watch just about every kind of train was right on my doorstep and my uncle was more than happy to take me with him on his travels around the nearby rail sites. I had the Sutton Park line or a trip to Baddesley and Birch Coppice collieries which took in Hams Hall power station and Kingsbury oil terminal. Sometimes a bit further out to Hartshill Quarry, Coventry Colliery and Daw Mill too. I have very vague recollections of the South Staffs route from Walsall to Lichfield, particularly Charringtons at Brownhills as that lasted longer, but also watching the clearing of Norton Junction and marshalling yard (known then as Bescot down empty sidings?) from the former bridge carrying the Lichfield Road. That must have been 1984. Then there was the pipe mill and oil depot at Bromford, and of course Washwood Heath within walking distance from home. Depots I had Bescot and Saltley, and the wagon works at Duddeston. Then there was the Black Country and everything the rest of the South Staffs line had to offer. Its frightening when I think that almost every single one of those places is now consigned to history and has been for decades. A good few I witnessed being lifted, and some like the Baddesley branch and the South Staffs line between Rushall and Brownhills I now use as dog walking routes. I think this is why I really can't get on with the class 66 in particular. They never ran those routes, they directly replaced those locomotives which form those memories too. Without a doubt a much needed replacement to a well and truly worn out fleet, but to me they are little more than a graphic symbol of the rot and ruin...probably in much the same way that a fair share of those who remember the end of steam look on the BR Blue period.

 

Incidentally, my first 'new' build that I actually remember seeing was a class 58 on Baddesley some time in 1985, so really the doyen of the end of BR Blue. I can guarantee that I will have seen a few brand new class 56 before then which will have been blue, but I don't remember them that early in my life. I more remember the Rats and Peaks as they were on their last legs and there was more of a fuss when they showed up.

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Good memories there. I’d like to have seen the Birmingham area in the blue era, being on WR metals , it was mainly HSTs, DMUS , with a supporting cast of 50s and the odd 31/47. Not a lot of freight .

 

I didn’t mind the EWS 66 when it came - probably as 98 was one of my best years for everything - but of course we thought the plan was To run the refurb 37s as well as 56/58 and 60s with them. But then along case other operators and it was goodbye unneeded traction as they lost contracts .

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I can look back on it now with a nostalgic mind and vague memories, but I was too young to really grasp what I was seeing a lot of the time. For someone older, it was nothing short of depressing. My uncle loved it for the trains but to this day he doesn't remember any of those sights with rose tinted glasses and usually describes most of those trips into the Black Country as going to say goodbye. Something certainly I did myself when Baddesley closed and the last clearing trains were being loaded trackside after the screens had gone, I went as far as to truant from school for that. A loaded class 58 over the viaduct at Sugar Brook was the last thing I ever saw there, and I'm really glad that by then I was old enough to appreciate what I was watching. I didn't watch the lifting, instead I went back to the bare trackbed from the buffers behind Kingsbury oil terminal to Birch Coppice and then to Baddesley about 6 months later and destroyed my bike riding along it. Angelsea sidings was a bit more difficult, it was quite hit and miss in the end and I completely missed the end of Bromford oil by rail even with it on my doorstep.

 

Industrial desolation was the best way to describe the Black Country as I remember it, especially the WR side which was utterly decimated in the late 60s and left to rot throughout the 70s and 80s. I still remember well into the 90s riding the train to Stourbridge and along the route under long swaying grass lay the remnants of yards with dumped vac fitted wagons littering all over the place. The South Staffs line was a real shadow of its former self when I first was taken there with long derelict stations, dismembered sidings and completely lifted routes and junctions everywhere you turned. Pensnett was a happy late survivor, but not far away Round Oak was literally a rusting hulk. Dudley freightliner terminal was in terminal decay. Palethorpes had long been turned into a grim council estate and the once steeply graded junction with the LNWR route was an ugly scar through the houses. Great Bridge with the remnants of the junction to Swan Village and onwards to the old GWR main between Brum and Wolverhampton with Cashmores still there. The trackbed of the OWW main line to Wolverhampton itself could tell a tale, we did go to the remains of Spring Vale, Bilston steelworks, but by then it was little more than a burned flattened wasteland and I would have been 5 at best. And then there was Wednesbury...with the dead and decaying GWR trackbed, lifted Darlaston Loop serving as a dump for industrial units and the recently lifted Princes End branch with its cuttings swiftly being filled in through to Bloomsfield as well as the carcass of Ocker Hill power station looming large amongst the wastelands which once were expansive sidings stick with me. The whole place had a particular smell to it, sort of halfway between burned oil and burned brake pads.

 

Looking back at photos and books from the time, they're kind of bittersweet in that remember so much but so vaguely. I wish I was older at the time, saw more and could remember more. I think that is the crux of why I'll always come back to BR Blue, but why I also always tend to go off it and meander into other things...Thinking back, it really wasn't a good time for the railways, or heavy industry in the Midlands at all.

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Added to interesting Black Country workings that have gone forever are the chemical trains to Albright & Wilsons at Oldbury.

They came into Langley Green Station from the Birmingham direction, and had to reverse into the yard at Rood End, then the loco ran round so that the stock was propelled a mile or so to Albrights, back through the old branch platforms at Langley Green, and round the branch that had, many years before, gone on into Oldbury town itself, but by the 1980s stopped short of Tat Bank Road. Wagons were exchanged with the Albrights private shunter (I'm not sure what that was, maybe a Sentinel diesel?), and the train would return to Rood End loco leading.

I used to have some photos I took of the operation, but have unfortunately lost; a Class 37, two old Speedlink vans as barrier wagons, and the chemical tankers which came from the Continent.

The traffic stopped when the Channel Tunnel opened; the tankers weren't allowed in the Tunnel,and the Rail Ferry stopped operating.

I bet the lorries that bring the chemicals now are allowed through the Tunnel though, on the train??!!?? How does that work???? :dontknow: :banghead:

Edited by F-UnitMad
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I got properly into railways from about 1986 when I was 13 but even before that I was aware of what was around because my father is a railway enthusiast and I used to nick his copies of Railway Magazine and Railway Modeller as soon as he’d finished with them when I was growing up.

Even though I was very young at the time some of my most cherished railway memories are from the 70s and 80s - seeing a 25 at Bideford, a Deltic on a railtour at St David’s, 50s without headlights in Cornwall, Peaks at Penzance etc etc.

 I was looking at my fleet the other day and realised that of the five locos I own I’ve only got one that’s in banger blue as the rest are in sector liveries (which is the era I started bashing in) apart from 33008 in BR green.

 

 I think it might be time to buy a couple more blue locos now lest it all becomes a bit too colourful...

 

Anyway here’s a photo of me having my nappy changed on Dawlish station in the summer of 1973.

I mean what chance did I have honestly? :rolleyes:

 

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10 hours ago, Cowley 47521 said:

Anyway here’s a photo of me having my nappy changed on Dawlish station in the summer of 1973.

I mean what chance did I have honestly? :rolleyes:

Did you get the number of the Peak? :sarcastic:

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  • 6 months later...

It's the nostalgia aspect for me. It all started as a very young child having the living daylights scared out of me by blue (or the occasional green) 25 or 40 and the sheer noise they made at the head of a rake of PHV hoppers. Add to that getting electric shocks off my Mum on Navvi Road station platform from the 25kV!

 

I then had a resurgence in my interest in the mid-eighties when the first sector liveries were being introduced and the last 40s and 25s were still running. Hence I the BR blue time is centred on the periods I remember, but with the older/newer liveries in evidence.

 

I'm currently working on a depot 'shelf' layout (actually in a couple of chests of drawers) that will represent any time through the BR blue period. 

DSC01441 (2).JPG

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As I recall the railways were still running down in the early blue period but were starting to pick up by the end of it. I can still remember catching one of the last trains into Snow Hill - a local DMU from Stourbridge. It was quite depressing to see such a grand station downgraded to just handling a few local trains. At the time we thought the tunnel to Moor Street would never open again. But the blue period was also a time when there were plenty of loco hauled trains and plenty of different diesel classes to haul them. That's what makes it interesting.

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On 02/01/2012 at 23:03, tractionman said:

I'm curious about why folks choose to model 'BR Blue', particularly since it is seen by many as a dull period of British railway history!

 

Obviously we don't see it that way, so what's the draw?

Certainly not dull.

 

Although I do not exclusively model BR Blue it would be the one period I retained if I had to disposes of most of my models. Partly it is down to nostalgia but also interest.


Firstly the nostalgia. It's not the period of my childhood but I left school in 1970 and started commuting into Liverpool Street. This re awakened my interest in railways and the income a job gave me allowed me to start exploring Great Britain. This was all by train as I did not have a car, or pass my driving test, for another 4 years. In January 1971 I purchases my first copy of the Railway Magazine and was seriously set for 50 years of interest in railways. But the Rail Blue was

one of the most interesting periods in Railway History.

 

This was the last period on the national network on mainland UK that you could travel on pre-nationalisation (designed stock)

blue003.jpg.b6aafd7f8e5cbce3f432cdc735f87a52.jpg

 

LMS designed 6 axle sleeping car on the Inverness - Glasgow route

 

blue002.JPG.6039c0cda2a537393dc42bb857efa60d.JPG

 

3 rail units at Birkenhead

 

The "failed" was still to be seen

 

blue001.JPG.37d3e65642fa52008c50db86ef3f8278.JPG

 

 

and the highly successful future was on the horizon

 

blue004.JPG.ec7b0c1061072f592938c51672477ea6.JPG

 

Added to this you has the return to steam during this period and the start of many of todays preservation schemes, not to mention Barry scrapyard.

 

Sectorisation added much more colour to the scene but for me much of the overall interest had been lost by that point. Work meant I could undertake extensive rail travel between 1985 and 2010 but by the turn of the century I found that I spent less time looking out of the window for things of interest. For example by 2000 on some trips you could travel from London on the WCML and not cop a static loco' after passing Wembley until Crewe.

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3 hours ago, MyRule1 said:

Sectorisation added much more colour to the scene but for me much of the overall interest had been lost by that point.  

 

I agree, something for me changed c.1985, I stopped buying Ian Allan vols, the railway became more a way of just getting from A to B as a late-teen, and I was determined to get my 'set of wheels' (Mini 850!)--and somehow for me the myriad of new colours on rolling stock looked messy and garish, for someone brought up on a diet of BR Blue during the '70s and early '80s...

 

Plus, of course, by '85 a lot of the more interesting DE traction was on its way out--the period though I now regret not paying more attention to is the mid to late '90s, the last hurrah of 'proper' loco haulage on BR metals.

 

So I model BR Blue because it's what I best remember and cherish.

 

all the best,

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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