Another Class 205 DEMU at Crowborough…

July 18, 2016

205028 copy

Headcode 88: London Victoria – Uckfield via Oxted with No. 205028 leading a second Class 205. This is a three-car Class 205 DEMU ‘Thumper’ which regularly saw use on the direct London services serving Uckfield (with No. 205018 and 032), of which there were two a day in each weekday peak.

The shot was taken on a cold January night  – I love the challenges of low light photography, be it under station canopies as in the earlier shot of ‘4 Cep’ 1602 or in complete darkness as seen in the Crowborough shot above. My night imagery is not always successful – the failure rate is pretty high. Part of the problem (and challenge) of photographing railways at night is having enough time to get a couple of long time exposure shots in before the train starts to move…or someone walks in front of the camera, not realising you are in the middle of a 28 second shot or there’s too much flare from station lighting.

I will be updating ‘Brexit’ and iScotland/IndyRef2 related stuff on my Facebook page from now on:


205205 at Crowborough…

July 17, 2016

205205 copy

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.

One from the archives…

May 9, 2013


I was a student when I took this picture of 3H No. 1126 in the early 1980s. It’s a timely find in my negative collection – Kernow Model Rail Centre has not long released its exclusive ‘Thumper’ model, albeit in early green as a 2H.

Of Thumpers and Fleet Foxes

January 24, 2009

Kernow Models is working with Dapol to release a series of limited edition models of the Hampshire DEMU or Class 205 or 2H depending on your point of view. Liveries and prices are now available, as is pre-ordering for a spring 2010 delivery. Here’s the details:

Picture K2001 Dapol Class 205 2-H Unit 205 025 Network SouthEast
Picture K2002 Dapol Class 205 2-H Unit 205 012 Connex
Picture K2003 Dapol Class 205 2-H Unit 1108 BR Green
Picture K2004 Dapol Class 205 2-H Unit 1121 BR Green
Picture K2005 Dapol Class 205 2-H Unit 1120 BR Blue
Picture K2006 Dapol Class 205 2-H Unit 1119 BR Green

Be quick, like any eagerly anticipated limited edition, they won’t last! For more details and prices, visit

One of the proposed models, 205025 was a regular on the Uckfield-Oxted shuttles, often sharing the duty with 205012. I found that pair on the line many times and have been fortunate enough to get a few pictures of them both. Here’s a handful of winter shots of 205025 taken at Oxted on a chilly 30th January 2004 – four years’ ago! I have many more – I shall dig them out when I get the chance.




Fleet Foxes:
Discovery of 2009, musically speaking, is Fleet Foxes, an Alternative Rock genre band which has made a big impression on both Sarah and myself. Not since I was introduced to Porcupine Tree by a guy I respect very much for his DCC knowledge and taste in music have I found an album which deserves continual playing on the studio Hi-Fi. Fleet Foxes is a very haunting sound at times, with superb vocals and and depth to the music, many layers of intricate sound created on some interesting instruments as well as the usual guitar.

These guys can play their instruments, which is more than can be said for many today. Fleet Foxes uses small slices of silence as well as sound for a dramatic effect. The band clearly understands the importance of giving the music time to breath between vocals. Sometimes I wish some made-up,  pop stars and z-list celebrity types that win X-Factor (the producers of the kind of rubbish rammed down our throats by popular radio stations) would use silence – permanently.

So, Fleet Foxes’ album ‘Fleet Foxes’ and its EP, ‘Sun Giant’, rule the Hi-Fi at the moment.

But guess our surprise when Sarah and I looked the band up to see when its next album will become available. Fleet Foxes is from Seattle. One of my most favourite cities.  Sarah and I go there whenever we can afford it and use it as a launching off point for places like Sandpoint, Missoula, Yakima and Spokane when we are on our photting field trips. There’s a great model shop on Elliot Ave – the Seattle Train Centre, close to the railroad with easy access for safe photography. Pike Place Market is the place to go for local produce, sea food and breakfast. Top Pot Coffee for great coffee and fabulous donuts (what else –  Seattle is famous for its coffee houses) and of course, the Space Needle. Add the ‘Ducks’ to that list – a fun way to play tourist and the famous monorail. Sarah is into glass – there’s so much amazing glass-making in Seattle and down the coast to Tacoma… I could go on. We dug the pictures out once again: here’s more from our combined photo archives…

Seattle skyline from the Space Needle.


Another attraction – the Monorail.


The Monorail is one way of seeing the city – albeit pretty quickly.

Another way is to ride the ‘Ducks’, a seriously lacking in seriousness way to seeing Seattle. It’s fun, frantic and not to be missed. Ride the Ducks on your first day in Seattle – it will set you up for the rest of the visit! This picture is head first into Lake Union, a splosh which is part of the tour.  In a Duck (DUKW)


During our 2007 visit, these guys could be found everywhere around the city, dressed up in many different ways.  The event is called ‘Pigs on Parade’ and was held in 2007. Of course, there is a bronze pig at the main entrance of Pike Place Market called Rachel. Put some money in her – she’s a piggy bank for raising funds to support and restore the market. This particular little piggy is ‘Pigasso’.


‘Sounder’ trains at Seattle King Street station – an easy and accessible rail fan location. No one bothered me for the few hours I spent taking pictures. In fact everyone was very friendly. Note how clean they are…

The Empire Builder, or rather, half of it departing Seattle for Chicago in late afternoon. The other half starts at Portland and they join in Spokane.

Just looking through the pictures makes me want to return and soon, despite the low Pound against the Dollar. Thank you, Fleet Foxes,  for reminding us both of this great city.