Saturday 15 August 2015

Saturday Ramble

I had an hour or so to spare yesterday so snuck into the Bluebell to take some photos. I don't know quite what it is - can't put my finger on it, but the line doesn't sing to me like other preserved lines do. It's no more commercial that the KESR, but feels it somehow. Anyway lots of interesting stuff that the hoi-poloi will miss whilst they rush through on their 'steam train ride'. The carriage works are doing some fantastic stuff. Of particular interest was the Stroudley 4wheel brake which is coming along in leaps and bounds.

 I quietly ignored the sign-age and wandered amongst the dump sidings at Horsted Keynes. Probably not officially allowed, but that is where all the fun stuff is. Below is a loco that I photographed on the line probably 30 years ago. It's been repainted at some point from green to blue, but is tucked away out of sight just rotting. This is criminal really, but I supposed it has no commercial use. All the spotters want to see Blackmore Vale which is parked in full view in the sunshine, but who wants to see an 1877 Manning Wardle? Me...

Finally: today sees the 50th birthday of a dear old mate, one who comments on here regularly. One of the nicest blokes you are likely to meet.
Happy Birthday Si.


  1. Never been to the "Bluebell"... always assumed it would be a bit "national trust" for me, but it looks interesting. That is indeed criminal to leave that 1877 MW out there like that! You would have thought that they would have at least put a cover on the chimney rather than make the job of restoring it that much more expensive!

  2. I wandered around the carriage shed recently and the restoration work is superb. Transport was in a birdgafe set that was a joy if you like high-quality woodwork.

    The Bluebell has got the atmosphere of a railway, far better than some tidly branch lines. Horstead Keynes station is very nice. Possibly like all preserved lines, it's a little over-restored but not too much.

    The MW ought to be brough back to life but I can understand it not being top of the list. For a start, you don't really want a slow industrial loco as much as something that should be working the sort of branch the Bluebell is. The MW ought to be in dirt and moving trucks. I'd still chose to ride behind it though over a "proper" loco but then I'm weird like that.

  3. Si was at Pewsey today, popped in on his motorbike en-route to camping for a week in N. Wales. He was in good form and enjoyed his birthday! (But still hasn't had his hair cut)


  4. Hi Chris, I know what you mean about some preserved lines (not just the Bluebell) having a more commercial "feel" to them than others (I've heard the same said, for example, of Ffestiniog/WHR as opposed to Talyllyn). Perhaps that feeling at the Bluebell is even more so now that it has a main line connection, or is it just because it's that much more established?
    I've also got a different vibe from the same railway by visiting at a different an example, I'd not visited the Talyllyn since the late 1990s; we briefly dropped in at Abergynolwyn whilst on holiday but I don't recall having ridden on the train. Now I don't know whether things had all just been repainted or whatever but for some reason I went away with a bit of an impression of slightly overdone tweeness.......everything seemed a bit too polished, and I don't just mean with Brasso!
    Fast forward 17 or 18 years.......I've just got back from a rather more leisurely visit; arrived last Sunday via a quick trip on the Corris, camped at Tynllwyn which is right next door to Rhdyronen Station and had three pretty full days out and about on the line plus another trip to Corris (with visits to the homes of Messrs. Benedetto and Rushby as well). Despite the trains being pretty busy on some days, I never felt the atmosphere to be anything other than friendly and, somehow........old fashioned I guess?
    This was perhaps strengthened by the train stopping at Hendy to pick up a farmer and his wife whose car was off the road and needed to get in to Tywyn for their shopping.......ok, so Wharf is rather more modern and commercial but then I suppose it has to be.
    Coming back to the Bluebell, I guess that all that slick commercial stuff helps to pay for the preservation of the stuff we're REALLY interested in, such as the Stroudley carriage.
    Just a thought regarding the old MW......who actually owns it? A number of railways have the problem that they've got items which belong to other individuals or organisations which cannot or will not do anything with their property and are thus stuck with something that is just taking up space as far as they are concerned. It does seem a pity that at least this loco couldn't be better stored though.
    Many thanks for the birthday greetings, and Mick......I have had my hair cut, would have been about 2008 or so which is quite often enough!

  5. Looking at the stock list is appears that the MW IS privately owned, which sort of makes it worse. I can sort of understand a corporation not having the time to sort a small project, but if you owned this???