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Modern railways


Been a bit quiet for over a month, so it was good that Geoff and Josh came over yesterday for a suitably distanced running session and brought lots of exciting rolling stock to add new liveries to the normal DGR diet of steam age British Railways.  The photos will be posted in installments, starting with "Lady Penelope".


Lady P. is number 57307, re-engined from a Class 47 and, at the time shown, owned by Virgin Trains primarily as a rescue engine for Pendolino electric units and other trains in trouble, such rescue locos commonly being known as thunderbirds.


First we see her setting out from Throstlebeck inland port with her intermodal train:









Crossing the Northern Viaduct






On across Foxdale Bank






and then, later the same day on a different working, passing below Black Ghyll






Grasshopper watching the trains




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2 hours ago, Dorkingian said:


Saw them with an electric jig saw.  Then the offcuts are cut into long wedges and bashed into the ground to fix the straight sections of trackbed to.  Now all about 8 years old.


That must have been some sheet it was cut from!! They look like they're 18mm thick

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South West Trains


These Siemens Desiro Class 450 units have been a mainstay of medium distance suburban services on the third rail electrified routes out of Waterloo since 2003 and are familiar to thousands of people who in days gone by were commuters.  The livery started to change after SWT lost the operating franchise in 2017.


This one is on an Up Waterloo service:






Rear view on Foxdale Bank






Rural Hampshire perhaps






Still heading for Waterloo




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Virgin Trains

When Virgin Trains used Pendolino electric units for their West Coast Main Line franchise they also had a full rake of MK3 coaches  including DVT as a standby set (known as WB64).  In 2011 Virgin Trains started hauling this set with Class 90 locomotives hired in from Freightliner, and this arrangement lasted until the operations ceased in late 2014.  More details here:



This is what it looked like (but you have to imagine the OHL equipment):











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Belmond British Pullman in the Surrey Hills


In normal times this luxury day excursion train is usually hauled by Merchant Navy class "Clan Line", lovingly polished into gleaming condition.  During periods of high fire risk, most of the tractive effort is provided by a Class 67 diesel running as the train engine, with the Bulleid sauntering along as pilot doing minimal work.  These photos were taken near Dorking on one such trip; no-one had attached the headboard that day.



Northdown Junction






Drifting along the North Downs line














Passing a typical Surrey Hills residence (a.k.a.Palmer's Farm, the home of Anne Arden, William Shakespeare's mother)






Heading back to London Victoria with passengers well wined and dined.






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Strange Cargo at Northdown Junction


This curious object was recently seen on a Lowmac.  Is it perhaps a prototype Korean deep diving bathysphere?






Nope!  It was of course Josh's 360 degree camera ready to record full details of the DGR circuit.  On the following video you can swivel the field of view by tilting your device or using the mouse.  Quite fun to give it a try:




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Not the Night Mail


Some old negatives recently came my way, courtesy of Julian, which look like photos from sixty years ago of the overnight mail trains that ran in both directions between Paddington and Penzance.  Presumably these are summer photos, taken when the train could be seen in daylight.

The trains had originally been known as the Great Western Up and Down TPOs and that continued after nationalisation.  The Travelling Post Office vehicles are in the striking Post Office red livery used for the new Mk 1 mail train stock (1959 onwards) until their repainting into blue and grey livery from 1970.

It's not clear whether these photos are of the Up or the Down train.  Several vehicles are fitted with mailbag exchange apparatus which would be on the nearside of the train, but they are marshalled with apparatus on both sides so that the stock would not need to be turned at final destination.

As well as the TPO coaches, there are several ex-GWR Siphon G vehicles coupled at the rear which by this time were in parcels use and would be dropped off at various points on the Down service and reattached on the Up.

Peter Johnson's book Mail by Rail gives a general introduction to this traffic.















A computer generated colour rendition(!) to show the Post Office red livery, with a view of the mailbag exchange apparatus:






And the same treatment for the first photo above:





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New kid on the block


The 1st October celebrations in Dorking and Beijing mark an important milestone for the Fat Controller and the People's Republic of China.  The date is also the anniversary of the opening of the DGR in 2012, and for all these reasons it frequently results in new stock arriving in Dorking.  This year was no exception, seeing the DGR finally escape from the steam age with the acquisition of our first diesel (about time too, I hear some say) and what should be a decent train of intermodal wagons to complement it.


Getting the too-bright and shiny intermodals coupled up and running proved to be too fiddly and time-consuming for the limited time available, so the Class 66 made its proud debut towing just a modest pair of containers.  The loco is nicely weathered, so the pristine wagons will have to get theirs in due course.


A longer train should be along soon.



















And here are a couple of the real things, also in Dorking:



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DGR does globalisation: first run of the intermodal train


Class 66 waiting for work





Bringing home a train of containers - literally all the way from China

























Then it was time to form up another rake at Northdown container terminal:





Before heading off again










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  • 1 month later...

Autumn Interlude


Having waited a while for some decent weather, yesterday I decided to go for a running session despite it being overcast in order to get some autumn leaves photos.  Polishing up the track seemed to take a bit longer than normal, as it hadn't been used for such a long time.


The new Class 66 was keen to stretch her legs again, and there was a new intermodal wagon set to add to the rake.  I hope the pictures convey that autumn feeling (and yes, it was a bit cold standing by the lineside).


A video may be along later.
































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  • 4 weeks later...

Thomas and the snow


Annie and Clarabel were delighted to see the snow, but Thomas wasn't so sure.  "I don't think we'll be able to get out of the carriage sidings" he said.






Even when they turned round to face the other way, the enormous depth of snow defeated them:






"If we try to move from here, we'll just get stuck!" said Thomas.






Annie and Clarabel were very sad.  "Isn't there anything you can do, Thomas?" they said.

So Thomas jumped everyone across to another track, but still the snow was too deep to risk.






"It's no good" said Thomas.  "There's too much snow today.  We'll just have to stay at home."  So he blew hot steam into Annie and Clarabel's pipes to keep them warm and cheer them up.






The Fat Controller told Thomas that the whole line was completely snowed-in, and even the girder bridge was impassable.  But as he said, things like that don't happen very often in Dorking, so we hope the trains will be running again soon.



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Posted (edited)

Spring Greens


After a month of cold and then wet, our weather hasn't been great until very recently.  So I needed to seize the moment in yesterday's sunshine and decided it felt like a day for running Southern Region branch line trains, using the N Class and the BR Standard 2-6-4 tank.  Here are some of my many photos.











































Edited by Dorkingian
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  • 4 weeks later...

An exciting day (part 1)


Yesterday, which was to feature the first visiting locomotives this year, began with a sort of "Escape from Suez" commemorative intermodal train with the Class 66 and the slowly lengthening rake of container flats:
















And then the first of our exciting visitors appeared:




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An exciting day (part 2)


This was starting to look like a fantasy diesel gala:





Then "Western Harrier" took to the road:

















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An exciting day (part 3)


We end with a couple of shots of Castle Class "Earl of St Germans" seen hauling a portion of a long distance express from the West:







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  • 2 weeks later...

Take three girls...



...yesterday in the sunshine:






First we'll follow Bessie the Black 5:











and then Julie the Jubilee (with three types of ex-LMS coaches):











and then Stella the BR Standard 4MT, here with ground signals:






I couldn't resist another take of 'el classico':







Rounding off with another view of the girls together:





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  • 2 weeks later...

Southern Visitors

Several Southern visitors arrived one day last week with David, but we couldn't persuade all of them to run well or pose for the camera.  But here are some that did both of those things.


First it's King Arthur Class "Sir Meliagrance".  He was a rather disreputable knight who had a crush on King Arthur's queen Guinevere and kidnapped her, before meeting a very sticky end from the sword of Sir Launcelot.  But the loco runs well.











Here showing the Drummond tender with which the Eastleigh Arthurs began their careers:






Merchant Navy Class "Holland-Afrika Line":










This member of the home team seems to get in everywhere:









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