The Bellmond Pullman (formerly Venice Simplon -Orient-Express) makes regular luxury excursions from the London area providing fine dining and an interesting day for those who can afford the tickets! Most trips with this train, with vintage 1920's and 30's 'Pullman' carriages are behind modern class 67 diesels, along with several trips each year worked by steam. Very occasionally more interesting heritage traction gets a turn on the train such as on 16th July 2015 when the Pullman was hauled by Deltic D9009 'Alycidon' on a UK railtours trip to the Severn Valley Railway. Here the train is seen near Gerrards Cross on the Chiltern Main Line heading north.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
|Autumn sees additional interest at Barnetby several days a week when class 20's working the 2S13 water cannon circuit pass.|
|GBRf's 66745 applies its sanders as it passes by the signals|
at Barnetby. The road has been set for the next move in the
|The evening light catches the semaphores controlled by Barnetby East box. All of this will be gone after Christmas 2015.|
|The sun is setting on the semaphores at Barnetby as a passing freight train streaks across my camera lens.|
Thursday, 12 November 2015
|97303 stands at Crewe having reversed on 3S71 the north Wales RHTT. Due to traversing ERTMS fitted lines this diagram|
has to be worked by the class 97's which bring some welcome growl to Crewe. 97304 is on the rear.
|43062 'John Armitt' waits to head south with the NMT.|
All this said- the station can still have interest and I was fortunate enough to have the company of no fewer than eight class 37's during a quick 2 hours stint at the station on 28 October 2015 (three of these being on the depots to the south of the station). Throw in the New Measurement Train, a few light engines and of course the regular traffic and it is certainly still possible to have a crazy few hours at Crewe!
|The first test train, 37604 and 37667 pause at Crewe on their route to Holyhead.|
|At one stage 75% of the class 97 fleet was present at Crewe as 97301 turned up to work a test train back to Derby while the|
RHTT 97's were also in the station to reverse- unfortunately they were at opposite ends of the station.
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
|The Scotrail franchise has it's own identity quite distinct from Abellio who currently operate it. 380011 in 'Saltair' colours waits at |
Glasgow Central on 9th July 2015
|Lime green was a stark contrast to pre-90's liveries. A Central|
Trains 170 approaches Ely on 4th November 2006.
More recently something seems to have changed. Several large franchises have adopted somewhat more generic liveries or decided not to re-brand at all. The first area to throw a spanner into the debate was Scotland- where many of the decisions on the railways are already devolved to Holyrood. Here the Scotish government has taken the lead and specified a livery which was first applied by First Group- the 'Saltair' livery. What happened here for the first time was the removal of the rail operators image from the franchise. First Group and now Abellio (who have run ScotRail services since April 2015) have a small logo pasted onto what is otherwise a 'national' livery. There isn't even a mention of Abellio in the company name or much of their promotional material - it is very much 'ScotRail - Scotland's Railway'- and it will stay this way for the considerable future negating the cost of re-painting vehicles which has long been lamented as a wasteful by-product of the franchise system.
|A large new 'Great Western Railway' plaque on the side of|
57605 at Paddington 23/09/2015
|The new livery de-brands franchise owner First Group from|
the new and sophisticated livery. 23/09/2015
First group has now gone on to de-brand another of their franchises- the flagship Great Western route out of London Paddington to Wales and the West country. In a bold move the 'dynamic lines' of First Great Western will be replaced by a smart (if slightly dull) dark green and silver scheme harking back to the networks Brunelian routes as the Great Western Railway. It is yet to be seen if this will be another livery which will transition with a new franchisee, and while only a handful of trains have yet been repainted the re-branding of the website and station announcements from 'First Great Western' to 'Great Western Railway' has certainly been stark.
|Despite now being part of GTR the colour scheme of|
Southern has not changed. 455824, 19 May 2013
It seems that as the franchise model matures the garish paint schemes of the not-so-distant past are becoming more subdued and also maturing. Operators are becoming more focused on service and less on having the most eye-catching paint job as their train pulls into the station. This is an attitude I would support as I have long argued that the public by and large does not care whether their train is aquamarine or pink- so long as it arrives on time and provides a safe and reliable service at a fair price. All this said it is difficult to see brand conscious operators such as the Virgin group relinquishing their red and silver scheme which is as much part of the product as the train itself.