Monday 26 March 2018

Worth Valley Snow Day

With West Yorkshire experiencing a fair bit of snow in recent weeks, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway once again proved itself the most reliable bit of public transport for the area...  Above, a shot from a Railcar Wednesday, when the local buses had ground to a halt.  We'd planned on riding the trains, but a short-notice cancellation saw me (Ben) in hospital for a check-up so I had to do with a single line side shot.

Rather more interesting was a weekend trip to Bingley where the car was buried in the snow, so we used the railway as public transport for the first leg of the journey.

Services were top-and-tailed due to frozen points, so the class 20 got a rare outing on a passenger service.

A few shots from Keighley- we ended up with about 40 minutes to kill, as the mainline trains through Keighley were struggling, with yet another strike leading to a reduced timetable.

Standard 4MT on the head of the train.  Not a great location to shoot from, but then the end of the platform was roped-off for safety.

In the end, we had to leave the pleasant surroundings of the Worth Valley platforms for the rather more utilitarian mainline part of the station.

That evening saw us back at the station, not to get the train home but instead to see/photograph a passing steam loco.  Britannia-class pacific "Oliver Cromwell", making it's last turn on the mainline before withdrawal, was heading over to Keighley ready for their winter gala (of which more in future posts).

Only myself, father-in-law, and the Eldest Child were mad enough to go out in the snow and freezing temperatures to see it (didn't seem to bother the stoner who ended up stood with us on the platform mind, the joys of photographing on a Saturday evening), and lighting conditions were challenging to say the least... I ended up with a couple of arty shots, not least because my hands were so cold I couldn't stop the camera shaking.

The next day produced a lot of mist as the snow finally began to thaw, and after arrival home via a lift in a 4x4, I tried for one last shot of the railway... the 4MT 75078 on an Oxenhope-bound service, though not great lighting because of the atmospherics.  Still, nice to be able to use the line as public transport, and a bit of a warm up for the gala the week after...

Saturday 17 March 2018

KWVR Railbus Wednesday... Feb 2018

Early Feb saw the first "Railbus Wednesday" of 2018 on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, which is as close to a timetabled weekday commuter service as the preserved railway gets (and given the amount of housebuilding going on in the Worth Valley at the moment, might be an area they have to expand into...).  I (Ben) managed to photograph the first day of service in 2017, and thought I'd do the same this year.  In 2017 though I combined photography with actually using the train- the ongoing health issues this year meant I wasn't up to that, so ended up just snapping a few photos in a small area around Damems and Ingrow. 

Early in the morning, the lighting wasn't exactly brilliant for the first train of the day...

Taking the GP's advice of 'gentle excercise', I walked up to Damems (soon the site of yet more house building) and along the paths near the railway station.

The old road is in bad nick again, having had a bit of work done in connection with some preparing of the ground (presumably for the impending building work).

Whilst waiting for the train, I had a play with photographing some of the iced-over tree roots exposed by a failed culvert on the side of the derelict Great Northern Railway embankment alongside the old Damems Lane.

By this time the sun was a bit higher in what had become a lovely clear blue sky, though the sun was in the wrong spot for the approach shot to Damems Halt itself.  Also, the camera was so cold that it had locked-up, and wouldn't take the shot I wanted with the railbus a bit closer to the camera, nearer the signal.

The sun was in a better position for the return service though.

I really like this location; usually it is swarming with photographers (increasingly so in recent years).  On this particular cold morning I seemed to be the only photographer daft enough to be out and about, and the only other people I saw were a few dog walkers.

Once again illustrating that the KWVR might do well to set up a commuter service instead of a preserved railway, as the Waggon und Maschinenbau Railbus picks its way between the new housing at Ingrow.

I hadn't managed to get an angle I was really pleased with, but for the last shot I decided to try a new angle, and one I've only ever used for night shoots about 4 years ago.  An advantage of wearing welly boots, I waded out into the river, much to the amusement and confusion of a couple of dog walkers passing by.  Given all steam engines run tender-first here, it usually becomes a pretty redundant shot, but it works for the diesels and especially for so short a unit as this one.

A pleasant surprise in March- not only the Middleton Railbus pic getting published again, but that shot of the railbus too...

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Ressurection of the Railbus

This was something of a surprise shoot.  On the way back from the GP's a few weeks back, I (Ben) was passing the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway station at Ingrow when I spotted activity in the yard... a railbus being arranged for road transport.

Back in Feb 2016, I snapped (again, by chance) the arrival on a low-loader of a railbus, being moved for restoration at the Vintage Carriages Trust base in Ingrow Yard.  This unique vehicle, the former rail inspection unit "Olive" (for Overhead-Line-Inspection-Vehicle) usually resides at the Middleton Railway in Leeds, at which some detestable little scrotes had set it on fire.  The arson attack was spotted early enough so that the fire brigade managed to save the vehicle, though with heavy damage.  The VCT having helped restore it in the first place (sadly not long before the fire), they ended up doing the fresh bought of work on it.

Earlier this year, during a family visit to the museum at the VCT I was able to photograph the nearly-completed unit in the workshop (the VCT are doing the bodywork and mechanicals I believe, I gather the interior re-fit will be done back at Middleton).

Anyway, needing to pop into the museum to get some reference magazines for another project, I got a few snaps on the way past, the railbus being prepared for transport by low-loader lorry back to the Middleton line.  Ex-Mersey Docks and Harbour Board shunter "Huskisson" doing the honours with the shunt, which involved moving a lot of the restored vintage stock around the yard.  It was nice to see this rarely-used loco out and about as well.

The unit prepared for transport.  By this point I was starting to feel grotty again and didn't stay to watch it being winched onto the lorry trailer... in fact I'd end up back in casualty that evening, and thought I'd equally end up not being able to do anything with the pics.  But a few days later, I sent them off to the mags on the off chance.

To my surprise, the pic has been picked up by a few places, not bad for a chance snap taken in passing.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Back to the RAF Museum

The Feb half term saw us paying a return visit to an old haunt, the RAF Museum at Cosford, which is both an interesting place to visit and a handy indoor, free, museum for rainy winter days with The Childs.  We've pretty much done this place to death with many visits, so not many photographs on this visit, but there were one or two new exhibits since our last trip there.  Best for me (Ben) was the rather awesome Bolton-Paul "Defiant", looking menacing in night-fighter black.

Up on the top shelf of the Cold War hangar, impressive as always with the planes hanging from the roof like so many over sized Airfix kits.

Being as we hadn't really been planning any photography this trip, we only had phone cameras, but it did mean a bit of a play for odd, abstract angles.

I really like this view, with the lines of the roof backing up the English Electric "Lightning" interceptor.

Keeping up the habit with recent posts of having an odd-one-out shot, this was taken on the same visit but at a different location.  This is the Wyre Forrest, near Bewdley, where we will be returning later in the year with proper cameras...

Thursday 8 March 2018

Tolson Museum, Huddersfield

It's no secret that we love a traditional museum (none of this modern fashion for 'everything has to be push-button, light-up stuff to keep kids entertained nonessense' for us).  Whilst killing time in Huddersfield on a Sunday whilst Middle Child was at a birthday party, we ended up travelling to this place, the Tolson Museum, on the edge of town.

This is a 'proper' local museum, of the sort which frankly every other local council in the area (and country) seem to be mothballing or outright closing to save money.  We were only there for a quick visit for an hour or so, and only took a few pics, so these should hopefully give an impression of the place.

Inside it was very creatively laid out indeed- a particular favourite bit being this area, with fake trees providing a canopy to walk through.

There was an interesting transport section downstairs (Youngest Child loved playing at being a tram conductor, in the front-end of an old local tram in the middle of the room).

An interesting exhibit, a 'sectioned' horse.

Some nice dramatic lightning in some of the exhibitis too.

With my miniatures-enthusiast-hat on, a nice model of a mine in one of the areas.

We were really taken with this museum, which frankly-amazingly is still free to get into and a pleasant survivor in this day and age.  It reminded us of the old Dudley museum in term of contents and layout, itself shut as a cost-saving exercise recently, or Cliff Castle Museum in Keighley which local rumour would have it is also due to close (or at least be mothballed).  Even on a wet winter sunday in January it was quite busy, and the staff were welcome and friendly.  We'll certainly be returning to do this place properly later in the year.