More on No. 207203 aka 1302.

May 29, 2016

An update on the condition of the recently damaged Class 207 preserved on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway has been published on the railway’s web site. The DTS was destroyed in a fire on May 20th as reported in an earlier post on this site. At the time of posting, little information on the condition of the DMBSO was available – presumably, the condition of it was still being assessed.

The great news from the railway is that the DMBSO is relatively unscathed and given that this is the powered vehicle of the set, returning the unit to traffic is possible.

The update can be found here alongside an appeal for funds to locate and purchase a suitable replacement vehicle for the destroyed DTS. Whilst the railway has clearly given consideration to its options, there is one that springs to my mind and that is the DTC from 2-Hap No. 4311 which is was rotting away in a field at the Coventry Railway Centre when I last saw it last Autumn. The use of former 3rd rail EMU vehicles in Thumpers has been done before and former 207203 is a fine example.

There are other vehicles on this site and elsewhere – it all depends on whether owners are willing to sell/sell at the right price/the condition of the vehicle in question – the challenges facing the Swindon & Cricklade Railway are pretty big. Otherwise, to my knowledge, there’s little in the way of spare Thumper vehicles available.

You can help by making a donation to the Class 207 appeal at

Images of 2-Hap No. 4311 at the Coventry Railway Centre in Autumn 2015 – desperately in need of restoration and covered storage.










May 22, 2016

It is with great sadness that I read of the fire that has destroyed at least one vehicle making up one of the few remaining Oxted line units or Class 207. Preserved on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, unit No. 207203 (aka 1302 and 207103) is the unit affected by the fire in which it appears to have lost its DTSO driving trailer.

207203 - Crowborough

No. 207203 (1302) photographed in mainline service at Crowborough in the Spring of 2003. The DMBSO is nearest the camera. Note the wider 4-Cep trailer being used as a centre car.

No. 207203 was one of a small fleet of three Class 207s which was reformed in later years as a ‘maggot’ unit by the insertion of a former 4-Cep trailer in the set  to make it up to a 3-car formation for Sussex Coast services. It remained in service until total withdrawal of the remaining ‘Thumper’ fleet in 2004. It also ran as a two-car set after loosing its original centre car as No. 207103 for a while.

207203 Swindon

Photo by the Swindon and Cricklade Railway.

Replacing or repairing this trailer, assuming the DMBSO is repairable (there’s little information on its actual condition), is going to be pretty difficult to do. The set could be reformed with a spare EPB, CIG or VEP driving trailer to create a hybrid set. Converting a standard Mark 1 coach into an Oxted line car is not possible because of the differences in width over the body between the two types of vehicle. One option would be to borrow the DTC from the 2-Hap at the Coventry Railway Centre which is otherwise sitting in what is a field, decaying away. I trust the Swindon & Cricklade Railway will be looking at the options, including the future of DMBSO 60138, which has suddenly become quite important. I wish them the very best in returning this unit to traffic if they can – it’s one of the few remaining Class 207s in existence.

syttende mai – Norwegian National Day – Constitution Day.

May 17, 2016

nor flag
Here’s wishing Norway a happy syttende mai – Norway’s Constitution Day.

May 17th-2

May 17th
Bergen in 2015 – start of the parade or rather several parades that snaked around the city during the day.

1S16 – with No. 43314 leading – again!

May 16, 2016

1S13 15-05-2026

Taken on Sunday 15th May – I was on my way home from the Glenrothes show after exhibiting ‘Dudley Heath‘ over the weekend. It’s just over a week since I last photographed the same power car leading the 1S16 12.00hrs Kings Cross-Inverness service.

Highland line action.

May 7, 2016

67010 Aviemore

Keeping up with goings on with the Highland line Caledonian Sleeper has been interesting to say the least. No sign of those Class 73/9s and the Inverness train is back to single Class 67 haulage. Class 67, No. 67 010 was caught on camera as it arrived at Aviemore on time with the 1S25 yesterday morning (6th May 2016).

67010 Aviemore_2

So, will we see Class 67s into the 2016 summer season? It looks very likely (and so much for my prediction last year of 2015 being the last summer of Class 67 haulage on the Sleepers).

Later in the day, when on my way home from an unrelated trip to Alloa, I stopped at a remote location called Dalnacardoch on the Highland line where it climbs up to Druimauchdar Pass. Druimauchdar is the highest point on the British railway network at 1484 feet. I grabbed a shot of the northbound Highland Chieftain (1S16) in lovely evening light as it stormed up the incline towards Dalwhinnie.

43314 Drumochter

Times are changing for traction in Scotland and those changes will affect what can be seen on the Highland line too, including the trains featured above.

43314 Drumochter_1

Traction and stock changes will not only affect the Caledonian Sleeper service (Class 73/9s are finally being used over the West Highland by this time), but the days of the iconic HST on the Highland Chieftain are also numbered – new trains are on their way. Finally, the humble Turbostar (above) will give way to cascaded FGW HST sets on internal Inter-City services in Scotland which will affect passenger workings on Inverness-Glasgow and Edinburgh services. Already Lafarge cement trains between Dunbar and Inverness are operated by Colas Rail instead of Freightliner and the Royal Scotsman, as reported earlier this year is now the domain of GB Railfreight instead of West Coast Railways…all change indeed!

Loch Dhu Distillery…

May 2, 2016

…the other side of the layout:

Loch Dhu1 OMWB_1 copy

With only four by two to play with, the operating potential of this Scottish-based distillery themed micro-layout is doubled by dividing it into two scenes – at the cost of narrower scenes. I featured a ‘mainline’ to private branch interchange in a previous post. It occupies one side of the layout – the narrower side – which is hidden from view in the picture above. The distillery yard at the end of the branch occupies the opposite side to the interchange as seen in the image above.

Loch Dhu1 OMWB_2 copy

The back drop board separating the distillery yard is angled, hence the lighting box fitted to the interchange side appears to be out of true. It’s not, honest! A hole is cut into the base of the back drop to give the loco shed spur a little more length. it will be hidden by the shed itself id due course.

Loch Dhu1 OMWB copy

The last photo of this sequence shows the relationship of the two sides and the back drop separating them. A small fiddle yard is attached to this end of the layout and that is equipped with a simple sector plate to connect one side of the layout to the other. Separate cassettes are used to introduce or remove stock from the layout when operations require it. Work has started on the distillery buildings, including a small loco shed for the distillery pug. Shunting this layout will be fun and challenging!