Home Open Account Help 277 users online

European Railroad Discussion > South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown


Date: 07/21/20 14:50
South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

The Welsh Government's stay local policy changed on Monday July 6th from which time we've been allowed to travel as far as we like, although using public transport is still supposedly only if absolutely necessary and wearing an appropriate face covering (in England and Scotland face coverings on public transport are mandatory, in Wales its just strongly advised). So things are slowly getting back to a semblance of normality, although social distancing is still the norm, and pubs and restaurants in Wales are only allowed to open if they have outside seating areas. It's definitely a new normal, and may stay that way for many months, even years if a vaccine isn't available. But it's nice to be able to get away from the immediate vicinity of home.

1: On Tuesday July 7th I drove down to Severn Tunnel Junction as DCR (one of the minor Freight Operating Companies once controlled by Iowa Pacific Holdings) was running a train from Cardiff to Acton of scrap carrying JRA wagons behind 56103 
2: The following day I strapped the bike on the back of the car and drove over to Caerphilly to cycle on some of the trails which were once part of the spiders web of railways which served the South Wales coalfields. As well as lifting the stay local rule on Monday 4th Transport for Wales also started running an enhanced passenger service. Not a full service but with more and longer trains to ensure social distancing. This is the 10:44 Barry Island to Pontypridd, on the right is the sole retaining pier of the former Barry Railway's Walnut Tree Viaduct, which carried the Barry's Rhymney Extension over the valley of the River Taff.
3: Further down the Taff towards Radyr and on the once four track mainline of the Taff Vale Railway a Pontypridd to Barry island service led by a 142 Pacer railbus. On the hillside on the right is Castell Coch, built by the fabulously wealthy 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 19th Century. Bute's money came from the leases his trustees sold to mining companies, and the Cardiff Docks which they ran, at the time he was one of the richest men in the world, which enabled him to indulge his passion for faux medieval architecture, ably assisted by architect William Burges.








Date: 07/21/20 15:02
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

4: July 8th was damp and muggy, I pottered about the house for most of the day but ventured out for the afternoon steel train which I shot climbing 1.2% Llanvihangel Bank. The cloud cover was low over the surrounding hills and mountains. The train is approaching the footpath crossing about halfway up the bank.
5: July 10th was a much better day, I went down to the South Wales Mainline (SWML) at Magor and Severn Tunnel Junction, one of Great Western's Castle class HSTs on a Cardiff to Taunton service passing Magor
6: My main reason for choosing the SWML was for the 6V32, a GBRf service which returns empty vans (box cars) from Tilbury on the Thames east of London to the steelworks at Trostre in Llanelli in West Wales. The flow runs two or three times a week conveying tinplate to Tilbury for export. The climb out of the tunnel is accentuated by the use of a 300 mm lens.








Date: 07/21/20 15:11
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

7: On Saturday July 11th I took my partner to a Scything Course on the English / Welsh border about 15 miles from Bromfield on the Marches mainline. I took my bike with me and did a couple of circuits of the South Shropshire Hills interrupted by the rare Saturday running of the 6V75 steel empties from the works at Shotton on Deeside in NE Wales to the Margam Yard in South Wales. It had been brought to a stand at the down home signal, a passenger train was in the block between Bromfield and the next signal box south, Woofferton, and was just starting up after the signal had cleared
8: The following day there were two trains through Abergavenny almost simultaneously in the early evening; the 6V41 loaded cement from Penyffordd to Avonmouth running early behind 66709 Sorrento...
9: ...followed a couple of minutes later by a re-timed 6M75 which carries empty limestone containers from the steelworks at Port Talbot to the quarry at Hardendale near Shap in the English Lake District. It normally runs much later, but for some reason was re-timed in daylight hours.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/20 15:13 by 86235.








Date: 07/21/20 15:22
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

10: On July 14th 66077 Benjamin Gimbert GC on the 6M86 weekday afternoon loaded steel from Margam Yard to Dee Marsh (for Shotton Steelworks) passsing Penperlleni, the Buddleia is getting completely out of control.
11: The following day I was down on the SWML again, this time at Bishton between Magor and Newport, this is 88426 on the daily Tesco Express from Daventry to the Wentloog intermodal yard outside Cardiff
12: Despite the fact that the SWML has been completely rebuilt with new signalling and electrification the signal box at Bishton survives. Ok it has no actual signalling function, it's used by the operator who controls the gates for traffic that is over 5'6" high, that's the height of the underpass, anything other than a saloon car and small or medium SUV has to use the crossing



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/20 00:25 by 86235.








Date: 07/21/20 15:53
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: King_Coal

Thanks for sharing these. I sure do like the look of those GWR HSTs like in photo 5. Very..... well British!



Date: 07/21/20 17:41
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: dwatry

Nick - nice shots! 

Any idea why they are making those OCS supports so obtrusive?  They seem to be much heavier in all dimensions than most other systems being installed these days. 



Date: 07/21/20 22:31
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: krm152

A seies of excellent photos; all are well done and great scenes.
Most especially like the Class 66 photos.
Thanks for another great posting.
ALLEN   



Date: 07/22/20 00:19
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

dwatry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any idea why they are making those OCS supports so
> obtrusive?  They seem to be much heavier in all
> dimensions than most other systems being installed
> these days. 

Yep, the new design OHLE is incredibly intrusive. Network Rail went to a Swiss company, Furrer & Frey for a new 'standard' design for the GWML electrification. Part of the issue is that most of the in-house experience designing and building electrification schemes was lost when Railtrack was privatised 25 years ago. The last major scheme pre-GWML was the ECML in the late 1980s, that is significantly less intrusive but it has been prone to failures, which Network Rail wanted to eliminate. Many informed commentators have suggested that Network Rail learnt the wrong lessons from the ECML, that the failures have been down to bad maintenance, not bad design. There have been some other fill in schemes (the Goblin for instance) which has used a variant of the previous BR design incorporating some of the Furrer & Frey features which make it more robust, still pretty hideous though.

King_Coal Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for sharing these. I sure do like the look
> of those GWR HSTs like in photo 5. Very..... well
> British!

krm152 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A seies of excellent photos; all are well done and
> great scenes.
> Most especially like the Class 66 photos.
> Thanks for another great posting.
> ALLEN   

Thanks.
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/20 00:21 by 86235.



Date: 07/22/20 01:50
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: pennengineer

86235 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> dwatry Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Any idea why they are making those OCS supports
> so
> > obtrusive?  They seem to be much heavier in
> all
> > dimensions than most other systems being
> installed
> > these days. 
>
> Yep, the new design OHLE is incredibly intrusive.
> Network Rail went to a Swiss company, Furrer &
> Frey for a new 'standard' design for the GWML
> electrification. Part of the issue is that most of
> the in-house experience designing and building
> electrification schemes was lost when Railtrack
> was privatised 25 years ago. The last major scheme
> pre-GWML was the ECML in the late 1980s, that is
> significantly less intrusive but it has been prone
> to failures, which Network Rail wanted to
> eliminate. Many informed commentators have
> suggested that Network Rail learnt the wrong
> lessons from the ECML, that the failures have been
> down to bad maintenance, not bad design. There
> have been some other fill in schemes (the Goblin
> for instance) which has used a variant of the
> previous BR design incorporating some of the
> Furrer & Frey features which make it more robust,
> still pretty hideous though.
>
> King_Coal Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Thanks for sharing these. I sure do like the
> look
> > of those GWR HSTs like in photo 5. Very.....
> well
> > British!
>
> krm152 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > A seies of excellent photos; all are well done
> and
> > great scenes.
> > Most especially like the Class 66 photos.
> > Thanks for another great posting.
> > ALLEN   
>
> Thanks.
>  

I'm no catenary expert, but the Swiss have plenty of experience and I don't recall seeing anything similar to this in my travels there, although I have no idea where Furrer & Frey have done installations in their domestic market. Or perhaps they just save the really pretty stuff for export?



Date: 07/22/20 04:17
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: exhaustED

Much British infrastructure design in the last 20 years (at least) has been utterly abysmal. The catenary support looks like a joke and the prison-like lineside fencing is utterly hideous. Why does every other civilised country on the planet manage to get these things right? And don't get me started on English road surfaces...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/20 04:20 by exhaustED.



Date: 07/22/20 05:04
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

pennengineer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> I'm no catenary expert, but the Swiss have plenty
> of experience and I don't recall seeing anything
> similar to this in my travels there, although I
> have no idea where Furrer & Frey have done
> installations in their domestic market. Or perhaps
> they just save the really pretty stuff for export?

Furrer and Frey designed to a Network Rail specification, that's why you've not seen it anywhere else.



Date: 07/22/20 05:47
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: briancdn

Wonderful photos! I didn't realise there were Class 56's still in operation; my favourite British locomotive. I've only visited the UK a few times and have never seen one.

Nice to see HST's still in service as well, as their days are numbered. Thanks for posting these great shots!

Brian N.



Date: 07/22/20 05:51
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: exhaustED

briancdn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wonderful photos! I didn't realise there were
> Class 56's still in operation; my favourite
> British locomotive. I've only visited the UK a few
> times and have never seen one.
>
> Nice to see HST's still in service as well, as
> their days are numbered. Thanks for posting these
> great shots!
>
> Brian N.

Yep, a good few 56s still in operation. Also GBRf are rebuilding a number of them with EMD 710 engines as we speak.



Date: 07/22/20 10:49
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: 86235

briancdn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice to see HST's still in service as well, as
> their days are numbered. Thanks for posting these
> great shots!
>
> Brian N.
My pleasure. Incidentally HST days are not numbered I'm pleased to say, Great Western, ScotRail and Cross Country all have rebuilt sets, four car in the case of Great Western, four and five car on ScotRail and full-size on XC which should be in service when they hit half a century in 2026.



Date: 07/24/20 18:45
Re: South Wales and the Marches since Lockdown
Author: gaspeamtrak

As usual fabulous descriptions and pictures !!!
Thank you for sharing these with us and be safe out there...:):):)



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.114 seconds