Sunday, April 26, 2015

Stafford

After a period of illness i was desperate to visit somewhere, and somewhere new at that. So today i went to Stafford and very nice it is too, you can't fault somewhere that has a windmill at its town centre! Naturally the focus of my visit was railway related and that included one of the class 92s in the new Caledonian Sleeper livery for sleeper trains between London and Scotland. Very nice it looked too though not sure why it was in a siding in Stafford but i wasn't complaining. My railway photos can be seen here.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Curdworth Tunnel

Curdworth, a small village in North Warwickshire, has the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal run by it. Part of the canal (just over 50m of it) runs underground through the Curdworth Tunnel. The tunnel is about 120m north east of the centre of the village and was built along with the rest of the canal in the late 18th century, being a fairly early canal tunnel.

The tunnel has a towpath running alongside the canal as well as brick ridges which originally would have been to help prevent horses slipping while pulling the canal barges. Curdworth itself dates from the 6th century and was originally settled by Anglians. Despite being only 8 miles from Birmingham and lying near to the motorway (and one day HS2) the village retains its rural charm.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pacer

The Pacer multiple-units (classes 142/3/4) are Britain's most controversial trains these days (unless you count railway lines yet to be built like HS2) with urging at the highest levels to withdraw these ageing units from service yet they continue to serve in places like South Wales and the North of England.

The Pacer concept was a development from Britain Rail's railbus ideas of the 1970s. This paired the Leyland National bus body with a rail chassis to produce a cheap unit for rural lines which would enable these lines which were under financial pressure to remain open. The problem with the Pacer however was the chassis, this was a development of a chassis designed for high speed freight in the 1960s. Hence the Pacer units have always suffered from poor rail riding with a rough ride and excessive squealing of the wheels especially over tightly curved track and points.

The Class 142 and 143 Pacers are (probably) on borrowed time now as new accessibility regulations will make operation of them illegal past 2020 unless they receive extensive (and expensive) modifications. It is unlikely there is the will or money to do that, especially as the continued use of the Pacer has become a political hot potato. However they will be over 30 years by then and so due for retirement anyway. Some of the class 144s may survive as work is being done on an improvement package however as electrification of Britain's railway network continues other newer diesel multiple-units are being made available to be cascaded elsewhere so there may no longer be a need to keep the Pacers going beyond the end of the decade.
One Pacer that may survive is the OO scale unit i bought in the late 80s! Although it hasn't run for about 20 years i do not intend to get rid of my OO scale railway stock...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Penarth Marina

Completing my photo journey through Cardiff, my photos taken at Penarth Marina on the other side of the bay. Very nice it was too, i wish i could have explored Penarth more but by the time i got there my feet were aching!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The herb garden

Last week's herbs plus some more i bought today and some lavender have been put into my raised bed, lets hope my herb garden will be a success this year! I just need to stop being lazy during the Summer and keep on top of the weeds and grasses.

Vanguard

Project #062 is a Vickers Vanguard and is progressing nicely. Building has more or less finished and now painting will begin. I can't remember seeing many Vanguards but i remember its smaller brother the Viscount was a regular into Birmingham Airport in the 1980s. However as only 44 Vanguards were ever built (compared to 445 Viscounts) i probably did not see any!