Unlike Wallace and Grommit I didn’t take a trip to the moon but somewhere much closer to home on a glorious spring day. I had taken the day off from work as I had to use up some remaining leave before the new financial year on 1st of April. The sun was streaming through my office window from very early on and I decided that a day out photographing freight trains was in order – all I had to decide was where. I know, I could have gone shopping or visiting museums or many other things but I find that watching/photographing trains is very relaxing in that it engages the mind without applying any requirements that are stressful. I had an idea based on a recent visit to Cricklewood – I’d aim to get a photograph of the bin-liner train at Dudding Hill Junction! Getting there is simple from Finchley – a 460 Bus takes you to Cricklewood and it’s a 15 minute walk from there through an area where the roads are named after trees. And that’s quite fitting as I’m heading to Gladstone Park 🙂

I arrived there a little after 10:00 with the intention of staying until around 11:30 before trying my luck elsewhere. The preferred vantage point for rail enthusiasts is a bridge across the the line at Dudding Hill Junction on the eastern side of Gladstone Park. The line itself is referred to as the Dudding Hill loop line. This is a corruption of the local area name Dudden Hill, which in turn is taken from a Saxon settler named Dodda. Wikipedia tells me that the name Dodynghill was recorded in 1544 – so it’s not just a railwayman’s mis-naming!

Normally standing on the bridge is quite a lonely vigil although the occasional local walking their dog or pushing a buggy will pass the time of day with you. On this occasion though a guy with a backpack arrived shortly after me and it soon became apparent that he too was a railway enthusiast. We got to chatting whilst waiting for traffic. He’s much more organised than me – using a smart phone to keep up with movements of freight via the Realtime Trains website. I usually take a quick look at home before venturing out but after that I just go with the flow – there’s something nice about not being certain what you are going to see.

Anyway, the upshot was that we planned around what was running according to Realtime Trains and decided to spend the day in the calm of Gladstone park (apart from a quick walk over to Cricklewood and back to catch a loco that he needed to photograph). In the gaps between the trains we spent the time enjoying the birds singing and watching them preparing for this year’s breeding season. And we caught the rays as the temperature crept up to 20 degrees Celcius – warm for March. I finally had to leave at 15:30 after one long relaxing day out. It’s funny how the simplest of things can bring so much pleasure! 🙂

Some freight photos from the day…

If you have any questions about what freight the trains were shifting, just ask 🙂

For last week’s challenge I chose a photo of the Inside of Bath Abbey… So I won’t re-use that one!

313049 at Highbury & Islington

You can’t get much more ‘Inside’ than the London underground, or indeed any other deep level metro or subway system – interred might be a more appropriate word! Here is an image of First Capital Connect’s Class 313, 313049 at Highbury & Islington on the old Northern City Line branch from Finsbury Park to Moorgate. The line was originally proposed as the Great Northern & City Railway with 16ft bore tunnels to allow Great Northern Railway trains to use the route. It opened in 1904 – although by that time the GNR had lost interest and opposed the scheme, so the line terminated in tunnels beneath Finsbury Park station instead of at ground level. In 1913 it was bought by the Metropolitan Railway. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Board was formed and the Metropolitan Railway was absorbed into London Underground along with all London’s other underground railways. In a major review of London’s transport system in 1935 the LPTB proposed making the GNR’s Northern Heights branch from Finsbury Park to High Barnet and Edgware part of the Northern Line and connecting the Northern City line through to the rest of the network at Finsbury Park to allow direct services from Moorgate to High Barnet, Alexandra Palace and Edgware. The Highgate Branch of the Edgware – Morden line which became the Northern Line in 1937 would be extended to connect with this network of lines at East Finchley. The advent of war in 1939 brought a halt to the scheme and the Northern City Line remained an isolated railway separate from the rest of the network. In the 1960’s the construction of the Victoria Line saw the Northern City Line being cut back to Drayton Park and its platforms at Finsbury Park being reused by the Victoria and Piccadilly lines to form a new interchange. There were doubts for several years about its future then in 1971 the by now renamed Northern line (Highbury Branch) line was handed over to British Railways and finally it would be connected to the mainline railway at Finsbury Park. The last London Underground services ran on the route in October 1975 and the first British Railways services began in August 1976. Trains now run from Moorgate to Hertford North and connect with outer suburban services to places as far afield as Peterborough and Cambridge – fulfilling the original builders intentions some 70 years later!

I’m aware that some of you may be claustrophobic so here is a light and airy ‘Inside’…

Hay's Wharf

Hay’s Wharf was originally a brewhouse on the south bank of the Thames just downstream from where Tower Bridge crosses the river today. It was purchased by the merchant Alexander Hay in 1651. In the 1840’s John Humphrey jnr acquired a lease on the property and asked William Cubitt to convert it to a wharf – an enclosed dock in the heart of the Pool of London as it then was. It became ‘Hay’s Wharf’ in 1856. The importance of the Wharf in this period can be summed up by saying ‘it was the chief delivery point for Tea’! At one point over 80% of dry produce incoming to London passed through Hay’s Wharf. The Wharf was rebuilt after the Great Fire of Southwark in 1861 and again following bombing in the Second World War. Containerisation in the 1960’s killed the Pool of London as a shipping port and the Wharf became largely derelict. It was redeveloped as Hay’s Galleria in the 1980’s. The open piazza in the view was originally the location of the dock where vessels would unload.

Read about the Weekly Photo Challenge at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/weekly-photo-challenge-inside-2/

Information from Wikipedia and London’s Local Railways by Alan A Jackson.