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the Dorking Garden Railway

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First trains of the year About time too, I hear some say.  Well, up till now the weather hasn't been great this year, and there's always real life which conspires to get in the way of running tra

A bluebell railway Pictures from yesterday's running session.  First, the Black 5 on Foxdale Bank:     The same stretch of track, here with a Jubilee and 10 bogies:

Mick, You're very welcome.  That is just to say a big Thank You on behalf of all the contributors and visitors to this superb website which you have diligently maintained over so many years to pr

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Only one train today, and no sunshine to brighten up the photos. 

At first I thought it might be the Thames-Clyde Express, but research shows it can't be, as that had a restaurant car in the 1950s.  So this is just an anonymous express with no refreshment facilities, pulled by a very clean Jubilee.  Here it's seen passing Black Ghyll cavern, and then beyond.










There seems to have been a lineside fire on Foxdale Bank, presumbly caused by the proverbial stray spark from a locomotive.



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Posted (edited)

Just a few pics from today's 1950s running session


Nothing too unusual in the locomotive department: this Black 5 on Foxdale Bank




and here on Bamboo Curtain Straight




And a couple of shots of the 9F on a coal train at Throstlebeck





I've just noticed one of those junction signals is facing the wrong way.  Wonder how that happened!





Edited by Andrew
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   I've been requested to ask what the foilage is on the side of Foxdale Bank with the signal. The small, short leaved stuff (I use the word "stuff" as the wife has the fingers whilst I have no clue what so ever!!)




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Hello, Noel,

it's this:

Mind-your-own-business or baby’s tears, Soleirolia soleirolii (syn. Helxine soleirolii) is a creeping perennial with tiny rounded leaves. Despite looking pretty in cracks in paving, it re-grows from the smallest stem sections and can soon get out of control. It is especially difficult to control in the lawn.


But I may have let it get too dried out (or a spark from a passing train may have started a fire, as you can see if you scroll up).


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Great Western delight

What a pleasure to have the first visiting locos of the year, especially Julian's finely wrought models.  And some visiting lower quadrant signals too.


King William IV enjoying the sunshine:




Earl of Mount Edgcumbe pauses near a shunting signal:




Details of the Earl's cab and tender:




A small Prairie drifts down Bamboo Curtain Straight:




and Resolven Grange heads home with a coal train




with a glimpse of the driver, eager for supper:




The end:


Edited by Andrew
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Piling on the coal again


Here's the BR Standard 4MT waiting at Throstlebeck for departure with a coal train, alongside one of the recently arrived and very elegant ground signals which really improve the general appearance.




and later caught (from a drone) passing Black Ghyll:






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Modern railways

Goodness!  More than a month with no pictures.  So it was jolly good that Geoff and Josh came over yesterday for a suitably distanced running session and brought lots of exciting rolling stock to add new liveries to the normal DGR diet of steam age British Railways.  The photos will be posted in installments, starting with "Lady Penelope".

Lady P. is number 57307, re-engined from a Class 47 and, at the time shown, owned by Virgin Trains primarily as a rescue engine for Pendolino electric units and other trains in trouble, such rescue locos commonly being known as thunderbirds.

First we see her setting out from Throstlebeck inland port with her intermodal train:







Crossing the Northern Viaduct




On across Foxdale Bank




and then, later the same day on a different working, passing Black Ghyll




Grasshopper watching the trains go by







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South West Trains

These Siemens Desiro Class 450 units have been a mainstay of medium distance suburban services on the third rail electrified routes out of Waterloo since 2003 and are familiar to thousands of people who in days gone by were commuters.  The livery started to change after SWT lost the operating franchise in 2017.


This one is on an Up Waterloo service:




Rear view on Foxdale Bank




Rural Hampshire perhaps




Still heading for Waterloo




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Virgin Trains

When Virgin Trains used Pendolino electric units for their West Coast Main Line franchise they also had a full rake of MK3 coaches  including DVT as a standby set (known as WB64).  In 2011 Virgin Trains started hauling this set with Class 90 locomotives hired in from Freightliner, and this arrangement lasted until the operations ceased in late 2014.  More details here: http://www.class90electriclocogroup.co.uk/virgin_trains.html


This is what it looked like (you have to imagine the OHL equipment):










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Belmond British Pullman in the Surrey Hills

In normal times this luxury day excursion train is often hauled by Merchant Navy class engine "Clan Line", lovingly polished into gleaming condition.  During periods of high fire risk, most of the tractive effort is provided by a Class 67 diesel running as the train engine, with the Bulleid sauntering along as pilot with little effort.  These photos were taken near Dorking on one such trip, although no-one attached the headboard that day.


Northdown Junction




Running along the Downs








Passing a typical Surrey Hills residence (a.k.a.Palmer's Farm, the home of Anne Arden, William Shakespeare's mother)




Heading back to London Victoria with passengers well wined and dined.



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Strange Cargo at Northdown Junction

This curious object was recently seen on a Lowmac.  Is it perhaps a prototype Korean deep diving bathysphere?




Nope!  It was of course Josh's 360 degree camera ready to record full details of the DGR circuit.  On the following video you can swivel the field of view by tilting your device or using the mouse.  Quite fun to give it a try:




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11 hours ago, Andrew said:

Strange Cargo at Northdown Junction

This curious object was recently seen on a Lowmac.  Is it perhaps a prototype Korean deep diving bathysphe......

Wow! Isn't that just amazing. It gives a completely different view of your layout which looks so much more expansive than it appears on photos and standard video. I'd love one of those but unfortunately, unless you can get them smaller, I can't see it fitting through the tunnels in my shed. The 4K quality footage is stunning. Better start Googling.....

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1 hour ago, mick said:

Wow! Isn't that just amazing. It gives a completely different view of your layout which looks so much more expansive than it appears on photos and standard video. I'd love one of those but unfortunately, unless you can get them smaller, I can't see it fitting through the tunnels in my shed. The 4K quality footage is stunning. Better start Googling.....

I can only agree with Mick, the result is really great.
Like him, however, I fear that the device will not fit into the clearance profile of my railway.

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Not the Night Mail

Some old negatives recently came my way, courtesy of Julian, which look like photos from sixty years ago of the overnight mail trains that ran in both directions between Paddington and Penzance.  Presumably these are summer photos, taken when the train could be seen in daylight.

The trains had originally been known as the Great Western Up and Down TPOs and that continued after nationalisation.  The Travelling Post Office vehicles are in the striking Post Office red livery used for the new Mk 1 mail train stock (1959 onwards) until their repainting into blue and grey livery from 1970.

It's not clear whether these photos are of the Up or the Down train.  Several vehicles are fitted with mailbag exchange apparatus which would be on the nearside of the train, but they are marshalled with apparatus on both sides so that the stock would not need to be turned at final destination.

As well as the TPO coaches, there are several ex-GWR Siphon G vehicles coupled at the rear which by this time were in parcels use and would be dropped off at various points on the Down service and reattached on the Up.

Peter Johnson's book Mail by Rail gives a general introduction to this traffic.











A computer generated colour rendition(!) to show the Post Office red livery, with a view of the mailbag exchange apparatus:




And the same treatment for the first photo above:



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A new kid on the block

The 1st October celebrations in Dorking and Beijing mark an important milestone for the Fat Controller and the People's Republic of China.  The date is also the anniversary of the opening of the DGR in 2012, and for all these reasons it frequently results in new stock arriving in Dorking.  This year was no exception, seeing the DGR finally escape from the steam age with the acquisition of our first diesel (about time too, I hear Mick say) and what should be a decent train of intermodal wagons to complement it.

Getting the too-bright and shiny intermodals coupled up and running proved to be too fiddly and time-consuming for the limited time available, so the Class 66 made its proud debut towing just a modest pair of containers.  The loco is nicely weathered, so the pristine wagons will have to get theirs in due course.

A longer train should be along soon.
















And here are a couple of examples of the real thing a few years ago, also in Dorking:





Edited by Andrew
extra photo added
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