Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sunday 1 December - Travel London to Ottawa

The Underground was not available to get us to Paddington on a Sunday so we took a taxi. Heathrow Express got us to the airport although it must have taken ten minutes longer than usual because of low speeds on the down main.
The Fullers restaurant at Heathrow provided an English breakfast along with a good pint.
It looked like Air Canada would depart on time but the Captain decided the plane should be de-iced so we were about 30 minutes late.

Mozart's Overture to the Marriage of Figaro put me in the right frame of mind for the take off.  The flight was uneventful with few crying babies.

Karen picked us up and brought me home in good order.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday 30 November - St. Mary Cray and Orpington

To get to St. Mary Cray we had to take Thameslink from St. Pancras and change at Blackfriars.  We just missed the train at Blackfriars and had to wait half an hour for the next one whch stopped at all stations and took about 45 minutes.  We walked through Cray to find the model shop which was stacked to the roof but with very little order.

It had been foggy first thing and cold and this persisted on and off during the day. We walked back to Orpington passing the Anglesea Arms which seems not to be a pub any more.  The houses along the bank at Court Rad do not seem to have changed much. There is now a funeral director's office in Carleton Parade.

We walked through the Priory which is overrun with geese and I was surprised to find that the Wetherspoon pub is now a furniture store so there are now no decent pubs in Orpington (discounting the White Hart and The Maxwell.
This reads a bit like the Monty Python Spam sketch. 
"You can have anything you like providing it contains eggs and bacon"
We escaped Orpington on a fast train first stop London Bridge than Waterloo. The Ian Allan book store was interesting but contained little of modelling interest.

We decided to walk to Borough Market which was very crowded but we managed to find Melton Mowbray pork pies for lunch and then walked along the embankment to Tower Bridge where the Anchor pub was its normal quiet and the publican was almost smiling.

We fought the crowds back to Tower Hill then on the Underground back to Kings Cross.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Friday 29 November - Eltham College Class of 1960 Get Together

At the Skinners Arms, Judd Street, London.
On left, John Palmer and Colin Churcher

Peter Gregory and Mike Fulford

John Bingham and John Boyd

Dai Rhys-Tyler

Mike Fulford

Charles Smith

Peter Gregory

Dai Bamford
Colin's son, Paul Churcher, left, joined us for a few minutes at the start (John Palmer photo)

Friday 29 November - Post Office Underground Railway and Museum

We arrived at the Postal Museum a few minutes before opening which turned out very well because we had the first train entirely to ourselves.  The two foot gauge railway was opened in 1927 and closed in 2003. It was originally a three rail electric operation although now it is battery powered for tourists.

The cars are very small and completely enclosed. The doors and roof sections are kept in place magnetically and will stop the train if opened en route.  The current route is pretty complicated and was only over a small part of the entire network.

There was a good commentary and there were stops along the way to explain specific features. The network of tunnels was a little confusing especially when we arrived back at the starting point. The trains are driven now although in former days they were automatically controlled through supply to the third rail.

After the ride we took a look at the museum which was well set up for children and adults of all interests.    It included an extensive discussion of the Great Mail Train Robbery

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thursday 28 November - York to London via Shildon

We took an early train to Darlington - earlier than planned so that we could travel LNER rather than cramped Crosscountry,  A two car puddle jumper took us to Shildon.  The display is good and the equipment is well protected from the weather which was the usual rain.
The Beattie well tank 30587 was a pleasant surprise. I last saw one while youth hostelling in Cornwall in 1960
Sans pareil - original on the right

Battle of Britain class "Sir Winston Churchill".  The finish was so glossy that it did not photo well   

From Shildon we went back to the station and decided to catch the train outwards to Bishops Auckland rather than wait for the same train to return. That way we were able to sit in the dry rather than wait on the platform.

We next went to Darlington North Road to visit the Head of Steam exhibit in the original Stockton and Darlington railway station. This is a small exhibit but very well done. It took the approach that this was where the railway was born and this set the stage for the industrial revolution.  The highlight for me was Locomotion, the original Stockton and Darlington locomotive of 1825.

There was a school party. The kids hung their coats on the railing

Passing the Hitachi plant, where the Azumas are built, we went back to Darlington and wandered ot in search of whatever at Darlington.  It seems a bit of a dead hole although we managed to find a couple of places for a pint.

Railhead Treatment Train at Darlington

A newAzuma at Darlington

The LNER train to London Kings Cross was fast but the trucks needed some attention and gave a very unpleasant ride. It wasn't unsafe but it was very, very poor indeed.

Click here to see all pictures taken this day

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday 27 November - York

Bit of a surprise first thing when we found the place we had planned to go to for breakfast was closed. We walked into town and found a good breakfast anyway.

The beautiful metalwork at the station is filthy - this is the cleanest one I could find

We spent the morning and part of the afternoon in the Railway Museum. It was good to see 2500 on which I worked (as 42500) at Shoeburyness as well as SECR 737 which I saw many times in my train spotting days.

The original Rocket

SECR 737

Horse hauled train. Third class was outside at front and back

It has been raining lightly all day. We went to the Jorvik Exhibit and had a pint of Timothy Taylors at the Red LIon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday 26 November - Manchester then York

Piccadilly Square

It alternated between rain and drizzle this morning.  We walked over to the Museum of Science and Industry along the main tramline through the city centre. The trams were all busy even though all of the routes converge in the short centre section.

The Museum was a complete disappointment.  Much if it is spread out over several floors and is aimed at young kids. The 1830 Station was just a few bare empty rooms with a few pictures which gave no indication of the way in which it was used.  The one platform was not even mentioned as the platform from which the trains ran.  The big warehouse which stores all of the railway exhibits was under renovation and will not be reopened until 2022.  Virtually all of the site is surrounded by scaffolding.
Liverpool and Manchester Railway Platform
Manchester Victoria Booking Hall

We decided to cut our losses and leave for York early.  The piddly little train provided did not have enough seats for everybody with the result that people had to stand for over an hour.  Just about every train we saw needed one additional carriage.

We spent the afternoon at the York Railway Museum which I will cover tomorrow.

Click here to see all pictures taken at Manchester