Gloomy Ealing

One of the ‘benefits’ of being told to get more active is – going trainspotting 🙂 I had originally intended to be doing a lot of my old hobby when I retired but a number of other things got in the way, including games and personal things. It actually feels good to get back out on the rails again!

On Friday last week I left home in freezing fog to walk down to the station and make my way to Ealing Broadway. It’s been at least 3 years since I last travelled out that way and there have been a lot of changes – hopefully I can talk about some of them with the photos in this post. Lets start with an unusual working and an amusing brief chat with a fellow enthusiast. It’s a fact of life that modern enthusiasts have it made when it comes to knowing what is coming through due to apps like Real Time Trains on their mobile phones. Maybe I should treat myself to a new phone so I can access that info while I’m out and about? But, there’s a part of me that still loves the thrill of something unexpected turning up when I go out spotting. So my fellow enthusiast with a camera says “The twenties should be through soon, they’ve just got the road from Plassers – an hour late!” To which my only possible response was “OK” My spotter speak is still pretty current so, to translate for those not in the loop, there’s a pair of class 20 locomotives that have been waiting in the Plasser & Theurer works sidings at West Ealing and are now cleared to enter the running lines and proceed east. And a couple of minutes later, here they are……working as the 0Z20 and running back to Leicester (almost 1 hour behind schedule). My colleague had made the trip to Ealing purely to catch these locomotives and having got his photo was off elsewhere. I was staying for as long as my fingers could handle the cold!

Ealing Broadway is served by Great Western Railway (GWR) and Transport for London (TfL) – the latter operate the London Underground services on the District and Central lines that clatter in and out in a sporadic fashion (compared with Barking which I visited a couple of weeks ago where the trains seem to to operate on a regular pattern). Here’s an arriving District Line service made up of S7 stock…

Since my last visit to the Great Western, electrification of the route has progressed to the point where almost all services are in the hands of class 387 electric units – ousting all but a few of the class 165 diesel units for service elsewhere. I’ll eschew showing a photo of one of the 387 electrostar’s as we’ll probably be looking at them or one of their cousin’s in another post. Instead, here’s a class 360 unit, 360204……and an example of a change of operator. This unit is running on the Heathrow – Paddington stopping service. The service was called Heathrow Connect and jointly operated by Heathrow express and GWR. Last year it was absorbed into TfL as part of the preparations for the opening of the crossrail link as the Elizabeth Line. That was supposed to happen this Autumn… Ahem! Originally planned for 2018, 2021 now looks to be the likely completion date! However, the units destined to run the services along the route have been coming on line. Designated Class 345, a pair of them pass at Ealing working services between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington……There are also members of the class operating suburban services in and out of Liverpool Street as they wait for the tunnel through the middle of London to open.

Another change and a slightly sad one has been the demise of the HST units that have served on the Western since 1976. These have been replaced by a fleet of Hitachi built electric and bi-mode (diesel and electric) units. Known on GWR as IET’s they are also taking over services on the routes operated by LNER out of Kings Cross where they are known as Azuma’s. Here’s one of the GWR’s Class 800 units – 800035 – running through on the fast lines…

There’s always a steady flow of freight through Ealing Broadway, making for Acton TC or continuing over the North London Line to destinations to the north, south or east of the capital. Here is Freightliner 66502 heading the 4M58 Southampton – Garston intermodal service……Container and Stone traffic form the bulk of freight operations through Ealing Broadway. Here’s 59104 ‘Village of Great Elm’ with a load of graded stone from the Mendip Hills……That’s the 7A09 from Merehead Quarry running nearly an hour late – next stop Acton TC where it will terminate.

Maintenance of the railway is important and usually happens overnight but some engineers services run during the day. Here is a stone-blower running from Woking to West Ealing……presumably it’s due some maintenance.

After around 2 hours at Ealing Broadway, my fingers were feeling the cold – time to head home…


    1. Hi Philip, thanks for dropping by 🙂 I’ve seen similar complaints levelled at the new units on the Thameslink and Great Northern suburban services but, like you, I find them very comfortable. Perhaps the ironing board style seat suits us non-teen’s with achy backs better 😉

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