1902 film of the Wuppertal Suspended Railway in Germany

You know how I love all things railway related. Here’s a splendid 1902 film of the Wuppertal Suspended Railway in Germany. I follow railway historian Tim Dunn on twitter – twitter.com/MrTimDunn, he’s a source of information on the weird and wonderful railway related.

The original film – watch HERE – was in black and white. Now colourised and upscaled to 4K it shows a fascinating view of life in 1902.

Looking inside the largest working mechanical signal box in the world

Among the many TV programmes about railways, there a a couple that I look forward to watching, none more so that Tim Dunn’s programme The Architecture The Railways Built. It’s an hour long programme on the Yesterday Channel, in which it uncovers some fascinating architectural railway gems in the UK and in Europe.

One place that Tim Dunn promised to visit and describe is the Severn Bridge Junction Signal Box at Shrewsbury Railway Station. That visit was in yesterday evening’s episode  – Series 1, Episode 7. My fascination about the signal box is that I’ve been past in, by train, numerous times, and often wondered about it, and why it was so large.  Below the photo of Tim Dunn and the Signal Box, I’ve written a little about it’s history and list some of the sources of information about it.

From a Network Rail website article on the signal box, it states,

The grade II-listed building houses 180 levers, all dating from 1903. The box doesn’t just embody a rare tradition, it continues to perform a vital function on a modern railway. Severn Bridge Junction, which opened in 1904, will remain open for the foreseeable future.

[The origins of the box are from] two railway operating companies – the London & North Western Railway and the Great Western Railway – worked together to build five lines converging at Shrewsbury despite rivalry between them. They competed to connect South Wales’s coal and materials supplies with the industrialised regions of the Midlands and North West, and to transport passengers between Liverpool and London.

Sources of information about the signal box

Waterloo Station platform upgrades seem now to be complete

Here’s what I said in my last report on the upgrade to Waterloo Station in May this year,

Since late 2015 I’ve been taking photos of the progress of the Waterloo Station redevelpment, from the same location, which, should you be interested, I’ve written about HERE. I take my photos from the mezzazine balcony overlooking what was the Eurostar terminal, now platforms 20 to 24.

Here’s my latest photo, taken on Tuesday this week. Seems that the platform redevelopment is now complete, just the lower level retail and restaurant area to complete.

A documentary showing train travel in the 1950’s

I’m confident you’ll know of my interest in steam locomotives, and so I feel I’ll not have to apologise for posting this wonderful film of working, and travelling life in the 1950’s.

As documentary films go, this one of 1954 by British Transport Films on the Elizabethan Express – 60017 Silver Fox is a really good example. It tries to respect the roles of everyone involved in the express train service, though issues of class are evident, with an engaging narration of poetic humour.

Among the things that surprise is the dress of some of the characters, such as the fireman with in his polished brogue shoes.

Waterloo Station progress photo update

Since late 2015 I’ve been taking photos of the progress of the Waterloo Station redevelpment, from the same location, which, should you be interested, I’ve written about HERE.

I take my photos from the mezzazine balcony overlooking what was the Eurostar terminal, now platforms 20 to 24.

Here’s my latest photo, taken on Tuesday last week. As you can see, work in not yet complete on the staircases to the lower level that will eventually become a retail and restaurant area. Otherwise, it looking like the platform redevelopment is nearing completion.

Not politics, about Waterloo Station Upgrade instead

Enough about local politics, for the moment.

On our recent visit to London, I did what I always do, and that’s to take a photo, from the mezzanine balcony, of the redevelopment work at Waterloo Station.

The redevelopment has been going on for years, with my earliest photo of the work being in December 2015. Looks like the new platforms 20-24 are now in use. Looking at my photo, it appears that the pedestrian link bridge is not open at present.

There’s also much work to develop the lower level, known as the sunken Orchestra Pit, into a retail hub. Here’s my photo for you to inspect. All my previous photos and blog articles can be seen HERE.


A Waterloo Station upgrade report

The revised Waterloo South Western Railway timetable from December 2018 is predicated on the reopening of the old Eurostar International platforms – see HERE.

The work to bring those platforms into use has been part of my regular Waterloo Station photo reports of the ongoing work – see HERE for all the articles in descending date order.

My most recent article – HERE – surmised that the engineering works would not complete by December. I’ve not been to Waterloo station since. Therefore I’m relying on comments in the Back to the Future: (Re)lengthening and Shortening at Waterloo article in London Reconnections website.

These comments, the latest on December 11th, indicate that platforms 19, 20, 21, and 22 are in use, and that the new walkway is open, although there is ongoing work in the ‘orchestra pit’. My most recent photo opposite – click to expand..

Meanwhile, again reading in the superb London Reconnections website that the revised time table for additional, and longer trains will not apply before May 2019. There’ not mention of this fact in Network Rail websites that I can see. Apparently there is insufficent power to operate the trains. The situation is fully explained in A Good Spark is Getting Hard to Find: SWR and the December Timetable.

New bus service in Lightwater from 3rd September

We all know that we have Parish, Borough, and County Councillors to whom residents can address areas of concern. There are other individual in our communities who take a keen, and campaigning interest in local issues.

One such person is Windsor Rackham, the founder and coordinator of the Live Information Centre in Lightwater. The centre helps to resolve residents questions about such as, health matters, caring, volunteering, and local services. The centre aims to either get answers, or put you in touch with somebody who has them.

One of the ongoing issues the Windsor and many others have been campaigning for are route and timetable changes to local bus services. Windsor has informed me of changes to the 500 bus route.

Great news for people living along the Lightwater Road estates and the Briars in Lightwater. From Monday 3rd September the 500 bus service from Staines to Frimley Park Hospital will be making 4 diversions per day in each direction through Lightwater to serve the residents of the lower and outer parts of the Village.

It is not a perfect route yet and we hope to get it further diverted along Ambleside and All Saints Road before too long. Any concerns or comments please come into the LIVE office in Lightwater on Saturday mornings and talk it over with us between 10 am and 12 noon. The centre is based in Fredericks House Foyer, between Carsons and Simon Pestell, 39 Guildford Road, Lightwater.

In the September edition of the Roundabout, the village and parish magazine, Windsor wrote about the changes to the  500 bus route changes, in which he said the “buses will be provided by White Buses of Windsor, which are modern and environmentally-friendly.” Windsor continued writing that the bus route is a strange one, with half of its route along Red Road, such that more work is needed to get to the preferred route for residents.

Here’s the bus timetable – click on images to expand.

Mark Williams’ On The Rails Episode 2: Rocket Men

Continuing with my Friday episodes from Mark Williams Discovery TV channel programme, On The Rails, where he looks at the 200 years of Railways. In episode 2 Mark explores how the Stephenson’s, father and son, George and Robert, solved the problems with the early unreliable steam engines. Simply wonderful explanations by Mark.