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Now and Then.

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  • 1 month later...

Last week I travelled through Exeter and took the opportunity to try and recreate some more photos from the 1980s.



33016 passes through Exeter Central with 7V80 Salisbury to Meldon Quarry, 17/7/85




A view of Exeter Central, note the brick tower for the passenger lift on the down platform not present in the 1985 view,   14/12/2016





Class 118 DMUs meet at Exeter Central, set P465 heads towards Exeter St Davids as set P468 is on a working to Exmouth, 17/7/85



Exeter Central seen between trains, 14/12/2016




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Someone having a photoshop laugh with the last pic!

True there is not that much change to be seen, by 1985 the down through road and semaphore signalling had gone, 

it was quite different a year or two earlier.


Here are two more views that show some of the changes to the goods yard which is now covered by housing.

First a pair of photos taken from Northernhay Gardens that overlooks the station.


33019 at Exeter Central is working the 12.28 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo service, 15/5/79.



The Blue Circle cement terminal seen in the background of the previous shot has been long gone, 14/12/2016


The second pair of photos were taken from the station footbridge which in the 1980s was a concrete footbridge manufactured at the nearby Exmouth Junction Concrete Works. The 2016 view was taken from the replacement footbridge and I have not quite got the angle right.


50003 Temeraire departs Exeter Central with the 09.38 Exeter St Davids to Waterloo service, 11/3/83



Class 159 sets have replaced class 50s on the Waterloo - Exeter service and set 159007 is working the 10.25 Exeter St Davids - Waterloo, 14/12/2016



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  • 4 months later...

Here is another photo that I tried to recreate last week, one where there has been a big change.



The 17.38 Bristol Temple Meads to Weston-super-Mare service arrives at Weston behind 33019, this train was formed off

a Portsmouth to Bristol service which was a common arrangement for a couple of years.

The Down Ground Frame in the fore ground gave access to the Gasworks Sidings which head off to the right.

The town gasworks was located alongside the original branch line into Weston which crossed this scene from right to left,

and terminated at the towns first station the site of which is now occupied by a traffic island and a floral clock. 13/5/80



37 years later and Hildesheim Bridge now dominates the scene, this carries the Link Road from the motorway into the heart of the town.

The bridge was erected in about 1991 and is named for Hildeshem in Germany which is twinned with Weston. The Gasworks sidings have been removed some years ago, 19/4/2017



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Why is it that some many railway locations now have f****g great road bridges over them - or is that just my grumpy chip kicking in 

Yes, they just keep building roads! Maybe a similar reason that many great canal locations have f***g great railway bridges over them now. On the plus side, with a step ladder, it might be a better viewpoint for photos.

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Why is it that some many railway locations now have f****g great road bridges over them - or is that just my grumpy chip kicking in ?


Handy for concealing baseboard hinges and/or shortened platforms though :D.

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Yes, they just keep building roads! Maybe a similar reason that many great canal locations have f***g great railway bridges over them now. On the plus side, with a step ladder, it might be a better viewpoint for photos.

Taking up your suggestion, with a day off and the sun shining, I have been up on the bridge today, no step ladder required.

You are correct that once again in this instance a road has been built on the route of a former railway line, Winterstoke Road which leads

onto Hildesheim Bridge follows the route of the original Bristol and Exeter Railway branch line into Weston.


Here is the view looking away from the station towards Bristol


Set 150129  arrives at Weston-super-Mare with a local service from Bristol Parkway, 26/4/2017


Here is the view looking back towards the station.


On the right of the photo the stone built building was the Bristol And Exeter Railway signal box dating from 1866 when the second station opened in Weston-super-Mare.  We can see from the position of the old signal box that the alignment of the original branch line into Weston-super-Mare crossed the angle of the current Weston loop line, the loop line dates from 1884 when the stone built signal box was abolished and the second station became the towns goods depot, 26/4/2017



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Now moving up to Drove Road Bridge seen in the background of previous posts here is the view then and now.



A HST is departing Weston-super-Mare towards Bristol probably a Cross Country service, and a class 33 waits in platform 1 to follow it.

We can see the Gas Works sidings on the left and the 1866 stone built signal box on the right above the first coach of the HST,

the 1866 station was located off to the right of the view, only 3 carriage sidings added at a later date remain, 15/4/86.



The view from Drove Road Bridge today, the two platform lines remain, as does the up bay siding which is occasionally used by tamping machines, 26/4/2017



A closer view from Drove Road Bridge


45149 departs from Weston-super-Mare with the 10.28 Taunton to Birmingham New Street service,

think the 1866 station site can be identified by the brown outline on the yellow wall of the Odeon Cinema above the first coach.

Locking Road excursion station (1914-1964) was located beside it above 45149, 5/4/80.


Now the Cross Country version in 2017.


An unidentified class 220 set departs Weston-super-Mare on the 14.04 Paignton to Manchester Piccadilly, 26/4/2017



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you mean that stone building just to the right, infront of the car park?, a very nice looking signal box

Yes that is the one, a very rare survivor of a Bristol and Exeter Railway signal box, opened in 1866 and abolished in 1884,

it has been extended at some point in its life, I have taken pictures of it before if you are interested?



A view of the box taken in 2011, you can see the different styles of window, and the chamfered corner on the right hand where there must have been a clearance issue..



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Looking the other way, towards Bristol, from Drove Road Bridge we have these two views separated by 37 years,



46046 runs into Weston-super-Mare with a west bound service 27/3/80.

On the left the two sidings were where loco hauled sets from Paddington were able to run-round, though in recent years

only the siding next to the running line has been used merely to enable access into the up bay siding for tamping machines.



Class 150 set 150202 in the new Great Western livery approaches working the 14.00 Cardiff Central to Taunton service, 26/4/2017

The one remaining siding on the left has only just been refurbished including spot-resleepering,




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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is another pair of photos, this time from Paignton.



47138 has the road, and departs from Paignton on the 12.20 service to Manchester Piccadilly, 31/7/82




Class 143 set 143613 and an unidentified class 150 set wait at Paignton to form the 17.49 service to Exmouth, 7/5/2017



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  • 2 months later...

I have changed trains at Exeter St Davids a few times recently and tried to recreate a couple more pictures from the 1980s.



50044 Exeter at Exeter is working the 06.35 Bristol Temple Meads to Plymouth on a dull morning in 1983, 31/10/83



Set 150123 arrives in platform 1 on a dull morning in 2017, 17/5/2017



50017 Royal Oak has just arrived at St Davids with the 06.41 service from Salisbury, 31260 is just attaching an empty news van to the Plymouth to Old Oak Common empty news van train, 9/7/85



The Exeter area re-signalling has long since been completed, and the NCL shed burnt down in this 2017 view,

159010 is the lead unit of a pair just arrived on the 07.06 service from Salisbury, 16/7/2017



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  • 3 weeks later...
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Although in a lot of these comparisons there are numerous obvious differences I occasionally wonder how much of the change of the look and feel is also down to the camera and the high quality pictures it's easy to take nowdays. It would be interesting to see if there's some sort of Photoshop filter that would render digital pictures to the same quality as old film and thus remove that difference (a pity that doing the opposite isn't really possible).

It's not easy to replicate old photos taken 30-40 yrs ago. For a start, the railway and the surrounding area, in some cases, has changed so much, it's really difficult to get your bearings. Sometimes the same view just isn't possible, due to a building being there when it wasn't 30 yrs ago, or a spot being fenced off & inaccesscible now.

To really get a true "then & now" comparison, you need to use the same camera, with the same lens and ideally the same film in it. Modern compact digital cameras & phone cameras are usually designed for fairly close up, protrait shots, so tend to be quite wide angle, compared to a 50mm standard SLR lens. Of course, if you have a DSLR, you can very often put a lens off a film camera on to it, but even then, unless the ccd area is the same as the film frame area, it won't be the same.

Plus of course, different weather conditions can make two photos look totally different, even if you do use the same film, lens etc. But when all said and done, in this moist, windswept isle of ours, even two photos taken 15 min apart can have a totally different look and feel to them!

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We have just returned from an enjoyable week on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and while walking around Bradford on Avon the chance passing of an engineers train enabled me to try to recreate another photo from the 1980s.



33022 departs Bradford on Avon with the 06.56 Portsmouth Harbour to Bristol Temple Meads, 23/8/83



66075 crosses the River Avon in the other direction heading towards Westbury, 6/8/2017



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