Out and about again and in glorious late January sunshine on Saturday. This time, my magazine work took me to Ayrshire, and after completing the project on Friday, I stayed over one night and spent the short day light hours photographing stations on the Ayr-Line on January 31st. Usually, I do not bother with photography in January or February unless the light is particularly good. With that said, the window of useful light in January is short and that is an important factor when photographing those fast-moving ScotRail Class 380s such as No. 380005 above passing Falkland Yard near Ayr with a service for Glasgow Central. And boy, was it windy – a cold raw day!
A portrait of the impressive Class 380s, this time three-car No 380012 as it slows to call at Newton-on-Ayr on a Glasgow Central – Ayr service.
Of all the stations I visited and photographed, Troon has to be my favourite. No. 380017 pauses on a Glasgow Central – Ayr service.
The 25kV AC overhead wires just squeeze under the station canopies. The line to Ayr was electrified in 1986 and saw Class 318s introduced which dramatically improved services between Glasgow Central, Ayr, Ardrossan Harbour and Largs services. They gave way to Class 334s and eventually the current high technology Siemens Class 380s. Both Class 318s and Class 334s remain in ScotRail’s fleet, but no longer make the run down the Ayrshire Coast Line.
Freight traffic is intense at times, consisting primarily of power station coal traffic originating from (relatively) local coal loading points and Hunterston. You will also find that the oil terminal at Prestwick (Monkton) is still active and freight still runs to the Caledonian paper mill near Irvine. An example of coal traffic was caught at Troon consisting of former EWS Class 66 No. 66 156 on an Hunterston – Carlisle service with HTAs in tow.
Folk living close to the line between Saltcoats and Ardrossan South Beach will be familiar with the procession (and noise) of coal trains running to and from Hunterston. Former EWS Class 66, No. 66 250 wheels empties to the port for loading.
My presentation of a small selection of pictures from the short window of good light is concluded with another shot of a Class 380. The essentially empty yard at Falkland Junction forms the backdrop to this view of Class 380 No. 380102 bound for Ayr. The wind was strong enough to blow sea spray over the yard – it can just be made out in this picture. In all, a great day of photography despite dealing with the highly contrasting light and long shadows.