Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Isolated Objects

Isolated – Alone – Solitary…

For Cee’s Challenge this week I’m going with a shot taken in Barry Scrapyard. The shot is of D601 Ark Royal awaiting the cutters torch surrounded by steam locomotives. Barry was where many locomotives came to meet their doom at the end of steam and some early diesel locomotives ended up there too. Woodham Brothers had a policy of not scrapping locomotives until they had run out of other items to cut up for reuse. Many of the steam locomotives we see on preserved railways today came from Barry scrapyard (which is why there is a bit of a predominance of GWR types).

D601 was a member of a small group of diesel-hydraulic locomotives built to test that form of transmission against diesel-electric propulsion. The idea was based on the perceived success of such designs in service in Germany and was driven by the Western Region (which probably wanted to keep the GWR record of individualism alive). The policy of the British Transport Commission at the time was that the way forward was diesel-electric. With designs already on the drawing board, to match the diesel electric designs, the experimental Warships were required to have a weight built in to achieve similar route availability and tractive effort to their diesel-electric counterparts. They entered service in 1958.

Subsequently the BRB caved in to the Western Region’s request to go diesel-hydraulic and a new version of the ‘Warship’ closely resembling the much lighter Deutsche Bahn V200 class. The Western Class followed and for 20 years diesel-hydraulic power was the way things were done on the Western Region. It was the last throw of the GWR individualism dice. By the start of the 1970’s all the diesel-hydraulic classes were being phased out – the board had decided and the future was diesel-electric. This isn’t a post about which choice was right – I can see the pluses and minuses of both systems. It’s the hidden things that are most tragic.

When the contracts for the new Hydraulic locomotives were tendered the North British Locomotive Company, which already had a license agreement with Voith for hydraulic transmissions, sought a similar agreement with MAN for their engines. It seemed like the way forward for the Scottish company but it was the beginning of the end. There were lots of manufacturing issues and additionally, the first D600 class Warships required a great deal of manual work to complete the superstructure. North British got the quotes wrong and also seem to have done the same on the later D800 production versions. It took the company over the edge and North British folded with major job losses in Glasgow.

If you go to most ex-British Empire countries and visit a transport museum you will invariably see diesel-electric locomotives from English Electric and Steam Locomotives from Beyer Peacock and North British. All of these companies have vanished, often as a result of government interference (leading to take overs by foreign companies that see an opportunity when it’s presented) and management failure to move with the times – never due to the quality of the product. The NBL Warships were beautifully over-engineered to meet a very silly specification.

A different tragedy is this locomotive, sat there unloved until she was cut up. In the 1970’s the death of steam was still too near for the UK’s preservation movement to ever consider preserving a diesel even one as important as to be a relic of the once proud North British Loco. It is a serious loss to ours and future generations that this example of history was cut up 😦

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Blue and Yellow

In May 1982, brand new HST power car 43191 stands in Crewe Works after a proving run – hence the flies on the fresh paint 😉 Originally destined for the Eastern Region, it bears set number 254033. But it actually went to the Western Region so the set number had to be changed to 253055 before it actually entered service! Set numbers slowly became obsolete as the realities of changing power cars around for maintenance took effect.

The Blue used on British Railways locomotives was called Rail Blue but was also known as Monastral Blue and used the synthetic pigment Phthalocyanine Blue BN. It was chosen for its light fastness, tinting strength, covering power and resistance to the effects of alkalis and acids – information from Wikipedia.

Blue vs Yellow – Rob Laney and Mark Kirby clash during a recent match between Wingate & Finchley and Haringey Borough…

Catch up with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Here.

Soldiering On

Last year was a bit of a disaster in terms of my transport photography. Apart from some good opportunities whilst on holiday in Scotland, I really didn’t get to do as much train spotting as I had intended. This was partly due to physical issues with my knee which impacted my walking early in the year. Equally, the high number of football matches that I had to photograph also absorbed a lot of my time. It’s funny how you seem to have less time to do things when you’ve retired than you seemed to have when you were working! Anyway, today I set out on a short local trip up to Hadley Wood to catch up with what’s been happening on the Great Northern main line. I should add that the choice of Hadley Wood was the first step of a new project – I am going to visit all of the stations at the furthest locations that my ‘Over 60’ Oyster Card permits me to visit around London.

I was expecting to see some new Class 717 units on the local services through Hadley Wood – they were supposed to be entering service from around September last year to replace the elderly Class 313 units. Not a single one did I see. The Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City services were still exclusively in the hands of the 313’s. They’re over 40 years old now and badly showing their age with fading paint from the previous operator showing through many layers of lime-washed graffiti. Although the ride in the trailer cars is very smooth the motor carriage can start with a bit of a jerk and the seats are an early example of minimalism when it comes to comfort. As for the Class 717’s, I understand that their introduction has been delayed by issues with the trip-cock mechanism required for operation through the tunnels to Moorgate. Siemens are testing new versions of the design to rectify the problems.

On a different note, the 365 units have all but disappeared – replaced by the Class 700 units. Some of them have found a temporary new home in Scotland while issues with the new Class 385 units up there are resolved – that lease currently terminates in May. I wonder if the 365’s will find another owner in the future but for the time being these units, that have yet to reach their 25th birthday, are being stored at Papworth Sidings near Ely. The other units to take over their work was Class 387, which are a Bombardier design. Here are some photos from today at Hadley Wood.

313050 arriving at Hadley Wood with a Welwyn Garden City – Moorgate service…
700140 running 4 minutes late with the 10:54 Peterborough to Horsham service…
And 700016 on the 10:44 Cambridge North to Kings Cross service running 3 minutes late…
Northbound, here is 387117 running to time and catching the sun on the 12:12 London Kings Cross to Ely service…

At New Barnet, here is 387107 heading to Kings Cross with the 10:44 service from Kings Lynn and 8 minutes down on the schedule…
And finally, 313029 arrives at New Barnet on time with the 12:47 service to Moorgate from Welwyn G.C. …