Time to catch up with last Friday’s trip. Like Thursday last week, I was looking to get some last shots of the Southern’s Class 455 units and visiting a couple of locations for my Freedom Pass Project.

I targeted Sutton as my initial destination. It’s actually one of the simplest of termini to get to for me. I take the Northern Line down to Kentish Town and get a Thameslink train to Sutton from there. The service is operated by 8-coach Class 700 units which route to their destination either via Wimbledon or Mitcham Junction. They’re actually working around a loop in south London with Sutton as a nominal terminating point. Some start from Luton or St Albans and others from Blackfriars (more on this later). When they arrive in Sutton the service terminates on the through platform where it arrives. It then immediately becomes the next departure going outbound in the same direction of travel to the other end of its route. So, if it came down via Mitcham Junction, it will return via Wimbledon and vice versa. Here’s a Map showing the Sutton loop…

Sutton Loop

Sutton is quite an interesting station with, in addition to the Thameslink services, Southern trains going through to Epsom and to Epsom Downs from Victoria. There’s a continuous stream of trains and passengers throughout the day, justifying quite a large station building…

Sutton Station

Back on the platforms, while waiting for the next train to Epsom Downs, I was treated to a light engine movement – 73961 ‘Alison’ came off the line from West Croydon heading towards Epsom…

73961 at Sutton

…It’s a handy shot to illustrate the state of the platform canopies – there is currently a major rebuild of the station going on.

The Epsom Downs services are why I went to Sutton – they were one of the routes operated by the Southern Class 455’s and I wanted Epsom Downs as a terminus. Here’s 455804 arriving at Sutton from Victoria on its way to Epsom Downs…

455804 at Sutton

… and here’s 455818 at the Epsom Downs terminus…

455818 at Epsom Downs

…There’s very little to show at Epsom Downs, just this narrow platform πŸ™„

Back to Sutton and a shot of ‘818 in the ‘Downs branch platforms…

455818 at Sutton

Sutton has one interesting photographic opportunity – trains arriving from Mitcham Junction approach up quite a steep incline…

377609 at Sutton

…The lines on the right go to Wallington and West Croydon. Class 377 units like the ones in this photo will be taking over the 455’s duties – something made possible by the reduction in passenger numbers following the COVID pandemic. No new stock – just a redistribution of the existing units and keeping to a slightly reduced service.

Speaking of timetables, Thameslink have probably changed theirs more often than any other operator during the pandemic. When I was setting up my Freedom Pass Project I thought I had captured all the existing Thameslink termini within my area. But I was in for a surprise – My train home from Sutton was terminating at Kentish Town! Some services used to terminate here, then they didn’t, now it seems they do again – duly added to my spreadsheet and ticked off on the same day πŸ˜‚πŸ‘ Here’s 700035 terminated at Kentish Town…

700035 at Kentish Town

That was my last farewell to the 455’s trip – I didn’t go hunting for them on Saturday because there would be too many others pursuing that same objective. Instead, I went to photograph the Duchess at Alexandra Palace. I will post a final Southern 455 farewell sometime soon to share some shots that didn’t make these Freedom Pass posts.

Meanwhile, back on South Western Railway, the other 455’s remain in service…πŸ˜‰

This Midweek Madness Challenge from Cee got me thinking, what is Dark Green and what counts as Forest? Hopefully I’ve found some suitable answers in the photos I’m sharing.

Here’s an old shot from my archives of a pair of London Transport AEC Regal IV buses…

RF315 (MLL952) and RF280 (MLL817) at Leas Road Garage

…They make an interesting comparison with their slightly different shades. I believe that the lighter Green was introduced in 1960, but there were a number of variations within the fleet over the years in service. RF315 was actually a ‘Red’ central area bus for its working life while RF280 was always a country vehicle.

Here’s a different example of a green livery – Zubr beer cans…


…A Polish Lager brewed originally in Bialystok.

When I’m playing Farming Simulator, I can always dress the part with my John Deere polo shirt…

John Deere

…I bought this from the dealer in Cromer, Hertfordshire, when we were helping my Mother-in-law check out tractors for her farm. That was 18 years ago – its worn well! πŸ˜€

Having spent Thursday and Friday chasing the Southern class 455’s in their last week of service, there is an inevitability about my choice of a final shot for this week’s challenge πŸ˜‰ Here is 455837 (with 455812) approaching Kenley…

455837 at Kenley

…and passing through a veritable ‘Forest’ of green πŸ˜€

Before recounting my Friday Class 455 hunt, I thought I would offer some relief from ancient 4-coach multiple units and present something different – you may need to reach for the tea-caddy because I’ve got the kettle on πŸ˜‚

6233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ running through Alexandra Palace this morning on a tour from Norwich to Windsor and Eton Riverside.

6233 at Alexandra Palace_2
6233 at Alexandra Palace_1
6233 at Alexandra Palace_3

Now that’s a Fine Machine πŸ˜€πŸ‘