Hi, Welcome to my blog. It will contain my latest sightings, links to my latest photos and info pages and any relevant news updates. It will be updated when possible.
I decided to make the most of an extended weekend off and fly to Gatwick then on to Brighton for a final day out on the Class 313s on the Southern Coastway routes.
With the flight arriving early, I was soon on board a class 700 heading into Brighton and passing Lover's Walk, 313209, 313216, 313208 & 313201 were stabled outside the sheds, the latter pair having already been withdrawn with 201 out of hours and 208 with camshaft issues.
On arrival at Brighton, I discovered that the West Coastway services were disrupted due to a broken rail beyond Barnham with all services terminating at Barnham or Bognor Regis. 313205 was waiting to depart with a Bognor service so I managed to get a few photos of it. I then caught a service out to Hove, where I photographed 313203 & 313206 stabled in the sidings there, then caught the shuttle back to Brighton. I was left kicking myself as if I'd waited a further 30 mins, I would have seen 201& 208 move there with 203 & 206 returning to Lovers Walk.
After heading back to Brighton, I decided to stick to the East Coastway line to Seaford due to the disruption out west. East Coastway out to Seaford featured 3 class 313s in service: 313215, 313219 & 313220. I caught 313215 out to Bishopstone, which is a lovely station and location, photoing 313215 departing eastward to Seaford then when it returned, departing westward, with the classic shot looking westwards towards Newhaven. 313219 was next up the branch and I decided to head down the entrance ramp to the station to photo it approaching the station on the embankment. I caught 313219 on it's return journey and got off at Lewes for some lunch and to photo some of the passing units. I then got back on 313215 and headed to Moulsecoombe for some more photos, then caught 313219 back to Brighton, where I spent the final hour photoing more units before heading back to Gatwick for the flight back to Edinburgh.
The status of the class 313s at this point was:
Available for service: 313203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 215, 216, 219 & 220
Withdrawn: 313201 & 313208
Stored at Eastleigh awaiting scrapping: 313202, 214, & 217
Saturday 20th May
I had booked to go back to Brighton on 20th May as it was initially supposed to be the final day in service for the class 313s, however due to strike action during the previous week and a ban on overtime working leading to a vastly reduced and curtailed timetable, the 313s were withdrawn a day early. Photos from the day of the 313s were limited to 313213 & 313219 stabled outside Lover's Walk and 313204, 205, 207, 209, 211, 215, 216 & 220 stabled in 2 lines of 4 at Hove.
More photos from Brighton and the Class 313s can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p86303780
One of the most interesting bus operators in Central Scotland at the moment is McGill Scotland East. McGill took over operation of the Former First Scotland East franchise in September 2022, inheriting 257 buses in the process. By purchasing the Scotland East Franchise, McGill extended their reach as they already own McGills Scotland West, which is mainly based in the Inverclyde and Renfrewshire and Xplore Dundee, which covers the Dundee City area.
Routes and Depots
McGill Scotland East is split into 2 areas: Midland Bluebird and Eastern Scottish, both reviving heritage names and heritage liveries. Midland Bluebird is based at 3 depots: Larbert, Bannockburn and Balfron with Eastern Scottish being based at Livingston.
Livingston depot covers routes in West Lothian and Edinburgh, heading to places such as Shotts (North Lanarkshire), Fauldhouse, Whitburn, Blackridge, Armadale, Bathgate, Linlithgow, Balerno, Queensferry, Kirkliston and Deans
Larbert depot mainly covers routes around the Falkirk area to destinations such as Maddiston, Dunnipace, Bo'ness, Larbert, Grangemouth, Fankerton, Hallglen, Langlees, Forth Valley Hospital, Camelon, Denny, Slamannan, Edinburgh and Glasgow (via Cumbernauld).
Balfron depot mainly covers routes between Stirling and Glasgow via Balfron and Kippen or via Aberfoyle and Milngavie.
Bannockburn depot mainly covers routes around the Stirling area to destinations such as Cambusbarron, Callander, Alloa, Clackmannan, Cowie, Stirling University, St Ninnians, Raploch and Glasgow via Cumbernauld.
As mentioned before, McGill inherited 257 buses of various types from First, including the Bright Bus tours operation in Edinburgh. On taking over, McGills had to withdraw 120 of the inherited fleet as they were deemed unsuitable for service. Some of the fleet were returned to service after repairs, however a number of them were replaced by buses from the reserve and withdrawn fleets from the West of Scotland and Xplore Dundee operations.
The current fleet includes:
With it being early days in the new franchise and with buses having to be transferred in from other areas, there are a real mix of liveries on the fleet at the moment including
There are also various buses with route branding on them.
With the many bus types and liveries, McGills Scotland East are an interesting company to follow and ride on at the moment! It is best to take the opportunity to do this just now before the inevitable newer, more uniform buses come along and more of the new livery is seen!
Some examples of the current liveries are shown below, more can be found at: https://scottishtrains.zenfolio.com/p1057977495
As part of my trip to the South Coast, I wanted to combine my trip to see / ride on a class 315 with a day out on the London Underground network, having not been on it since 2016.
Arriving at London Waterloo at 9.15am, my first port of call was to buy an all zones day ticket, before making my way down to the Waterloo and City station for the short journey to Bank on board the 92 stock. As there was already a train in the station, I didn't get the opportunity to photo one in the turnback siding and another in depot.
At Bank, I found my way via the many cavenous passageways and escalators to finally make it to the Central Line platforms, where I caught an Eastbound Epping service as far as Woodford. I'd wanted to catch the 1962 stock Central line Rail Adhesive Train (or RAT for short), however unfortunately it did not run. After spending some time photing the comings and goings of the 92 stock at Woodford, I caught another 1992 stock train up to Epping, where I walked down to the bottom end of the car park for a look at the former London Underground Shunting Loco L11, which was built by joining the cab ends from 1931 built standard stock cars 3080 and 3109 together. It is part of the Epping Museum, who are also restoring the former Epping signal cabin, which is located next to L11. More info about Epping Museum can be found at: https://www.eppingmuseum.com/home
Next I returned to Epping station but before I got on the train, I had a lovely roll and sausage from the van outside! I'd thoroughly reccomend it! I then got back on the train, and had planned on going to Holborn to change to the Picadilly Line, however on arrival at Stratford, our train was held due to a signalling issue further up the line, so I got off there for some air and spotted a pair of class 315s working an ECS movement. I caught a class 345 Elizabeth line train to Liverpool Street and resumed my Central line journey from there to Holborn. There I changed onto the Picadilly line and some 1973 stock for the short 3 stop journey to Piccadilly Circus.
My impressions of the 92 stock were that they were rather tired inside, with worn moquette, grafitti all over the interiors and generally in need of a deep clean and a refurb. The 73 stock in comparison was in excellent condition, very clean looking and had real character.
At Picadilly Circus, I changed over to the Bakerloo line to sample some 72 stock. Heading westbound, I travelled out to Queen's Park, where the Bakerloo line goes from deep tube up to above ground and runs alongside the Overground lines out to Watford Junction as far as Harrow and Wealdstone and the WCML.
Queens Park is a decent place to catch the 72 stock, with its overall roof, the steep incline out of the tunnel at the East End and the uniqueness of the main lines and turnback sidings actually passing through and doubling as part of the depot! I spent about 45 minutes here photoing the 1972 stock, which although it looks quite shabby and in need of a repaint and overhaul, like most older stock it has alot of character both inside and out (a blog post about the Bakerloo 72 stock will be coming soon).
After I left Queen's Park, I headed back via 72 stock to Waterloo, where I changed from the Bakerloo to the Jubilee line. I then headed east on the 1996 stock to Stratford, where after a few photos I headed off to catch the peak class 315 working at Shenfield. After riding on the 315s I headed back to Stratford, where after more photos, I caught a Central line train to Bank, then changed for the Waterloo and City line back to Waterloo for the train back to my hotel at Eastleigh.
As part of my trip to the South Coast in October, I decided to return to the Isle of Wight so on Thursday 13th October, I made my way from my hotel in Eastleigh by train to Portsmouth and Southsea, where due to a slight delay on my train, I'd unfortunately missed the bus to the Hoverport by 2 minutes. After a very quick taxi ride to the Hoverport at Southsea, I joined the queue for the crossing over to the island.
The journey by Hovercraft over the Solent to Ryde was very swift and comfortable, reaching Ryde in 7 minutes and luckily, Loganair had a 30% off voucher code when booking flight tickets so the journey was a good deal cheaper than normal. On arrival at Ryde, I made my way to Ryde Esplanade station to catch the Island Line train out to the IOW steam railway. Unfortunately due to a bridge strike, the trains were cancelled for at least an hour, however there was a replacement mini bus running.
I took the mini bus up to Ryde St Johns and visited the Bus Museum. The bus museum was interesting to see with plenty of different types of bus and plenty of historical displays showing the history of Southern Vectis on the island and is less than 5 minutes walk from Ryde St Johns and is on some of the bus routes.
After I had visited the museum, I walked back to Ryde St Johns and by this time, they were getting ready to resume the train service, with 484001 arriving from the Shankin direction, 002 was stabled in platform 3, 004 and 005 were stabled in the yard and 003 was in the maintenance sheds. 001 was then reversed back out of platform 1, crossed over and entered platform 2 where the service was resumed heading towards Shanklin. I got off at Smallbrook Junction and crossed over to the IOW Steam Railway. Smallbrook Junction is a small halt that is only accessible by rail and as such is only open with the steam railway is open. It only has basic facilities but that does include a waiting room, so with around 30 minutes to wait on the steam train coming, I sat and read my Kindle so the time passed quite fast!
All too soon, British Railways Black liveried Ivatt 2MT 41298 arrived with a rake of beautifully restored Southern 4 wheeler compartment stock. The interior of the carriages was of an excellent quality with the period notices and adverts really adding to the experience as did the very comfy deep sprung seating in the compartment. It is a lovely scenic journey through the Wight countryside up to Wooton with the train passing through Havenstreet non stop heading up the line. After a 10 minute turn around at Wooton, the train returned eastwards to Havenstreet, the main hub of the railway.
Having a bit more time to spend at Havenstreet this time (only had 10 -15 minutes last time), spent some time looking round the shop, the carriage workshops where there were a couple of 4 wheeler coaches in for restoration, then up to Train Story, where I spent an hour wandering round taking photos. Of particular interest to me were the old Ryde Pier trams and Island line liveried 483007, which I had a good look around! I then went back outside to watch British Railways Green with wasp stripe ends liveried D2059 'Edward' shunting Southern liveried 'O2' class W24 'Calbourne' into a different siding in the yard. I then went over to the cafe at the other side of the line to have some lunch. At this point the sun came out and despite it being October, it was actually really warm so I sat out in the sun while I waited on the train back to Havenstreet.
Once at Havenstreet, again having travelled back there onboard 41298, I boarded 484001 and headed up to Shanklin, then on the next working back to Ryde Esplanade. I then walked along the Pier to photo 484001 heading back towards the Esplanade then walked round to the footbridge to photo 484002 arriving with the peak time working from Shanklin, then walking round to the tunnel mouth to catch 002 departing again.
I then decided to catch a bus to see a bit more of the island so I caught the service 3 bus out as far as Ventnor, which was definately worthwhile for the absolutely stunning views of the coastline south of Shanklin! Unfortunately due to timing, I had to get off one bus and catch another straight back but this time I got off at Brading and walked back to the station to photo it and to catch the cross over of the 2 units there. I caught 001 out to the Pier Head for some final photos there before it closes for refurbishment, then back to Esplanade. Finally in the darkness, I caught some photos of 002 at Esplande station from the footbridge as I made my way back for the 7pm hovercraft back to Southsea, then the Hoverbus back to Portsmouth Harbour for my return journey back to the hotel in Eastleigh!
As part of my trip to the South Coast during the October Holidays, I decided to spend the day in London. Most of the trip was spent exploring the Underground, (more about this in a future blog post), however I also took the advantage of the opportunity to sample a ride on a class 315 for the first and probably the last time.
The class 315 is the newest of the PEP family, having been brought into service in 1980. Being powered by the OHLE, the 315 is essentially a four car version of the much missed 1979 build class 314 which ran on the Argyle lines and laterly the Cathcart Circle, Newton and Neilston lines. With a seating capacity of 309 (plus 7 tip up seats), the 315 is formed of 2 outer DMSO vehicles, containing the motors and drivers cabs, with a PTSO, containing the Pantograph and TSO (trailer) in the centre. In their heyday, they could be formed up into 12 car formation, but now they are formed into 8 car formation from 2 sets. Originally 61 sets were built, however now only 6 remain (315837, 315838, 315847, 315853, 315856 and 315857) with the rest having been scrapped.
With the full opening of the Elizabeth Line having now happened and the 315s not being compatible with the signalling or platform doors, their days are numbered. At the time of my visit they were combined to a couple of peak time diagrams between Shenfield and Liverpool Street. Since my visit their route has been further cut back to Gidea Park - Liverpool Street with only 2 morning and evening peak diagrams.
Interestingly, it was announced today (1st December 2022) that 315856 has been purchased for preservation by the Class 315 Preservation Society and will be moving to the Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway in Wales, where it will be restored to original livery, original interior spec and will be converted to be able to carry passengers on preserved lines with the unit being loco hauled.
Following an unexpected delay at Stratford as the Central Line 92 stock train I was travelling on was delayed due to a signalling issue around 12.15 ish, I decided to get off and get some fresh air. I'm glad I did, as 315847+315856 passed through the next platform with 5C91 the ECS working from Aldersbrook up CHS to London Liverpool Street, which I luckily managed to get a photo of.
Later in the afternoon, I made my way up to Shenfield onboard an Elizabeth Line class 345 to catch the 15.38 class 315 hauled working to Liverpool Street. As 315837+315857 arrived into the platform, I was struck by how clean and well cared for that both units were and also the fact they had modern LED head and tail lights as well as the electronic destination screen. On stepping onboard the rear carriage of 315857 that opinion was confirmed as not only were they spotless inside but they also looked bright and modern, especially with the LED lighting, CCTV, passenger operated doors and Passenger Information System. Despite it retaining the low back seating, that was standard on the class 314, it did not give the impression of being a 42 year old unit with only weeks left before withdrawal and probable scrapping.
The journey was smooth with both units showing great accelleration and performed well, keeping to time the whole way. The sounds of the motors brought back memories of many journeys onboard the class 314s. At Liverpool Street, after a few quick photos, I decided to get back on again for a ride on board back to Stratford.
The ride back to Stratford was swift, with both sets managing to keep up with an Anglia liveried 745 that left Liverpool Street around the same time as us for most of the journey! Unfortunately due to time constraints as my train back to Eastleigh was at 6pm and I'd still to find my way back to Waterloo via an extremely packed Central Line train and connection via an equally busy Waterloo and City line, I had to leave the train at Stratford.
I was extremely impressed by the Class 315s and it will be sad to see them go, especially considering their excellent condition, compared to the Southern Class 313 and Merseyrail 507 & 508s which are clearly being run down with withdrawal and replacement in the next year / 2 years on the cards for them. Having now travelled on all the PEP fleets, I'd definately say that the class 315 is the best of the lot!
Fleet list of the remaining units
|315837||TfL White with blue solebars and doors||64533+71317+71425+64534||In Service|
|315838||TfL White with blue solebars and doors||64535+71318+71426+64536||In Service|
|315847||TfL White with blue solebars and doors||64553+71327+71435+64554||In Service|
|315853||TfL White with blue solebars and doors||64565+71333+71441+64566||In Service|
|315856||TfL White with blue solebars and doors||64571+71336+71444+64572||In Service|
|315857||TfL White with blue solebars and doors||64573+71337+71445+64574||In Service|
The Class 313s are rumoured for withdrawal during 2023 so I decided that I had to make sure I sampled them and photoed as many as possible! As part of a week long trip to the South Coast, I enjoyed a couple of days travelling on some 313s
The Class 313 is part of the PEP family of units and were built in 1976 / 77 as dual voltage stock. The remaining examples in passenger service are now 3rd rail only and have had their pantograph removed. 19 sets (313201 - 313217, 313219-313220) of the once 64 strong fleet remain, with 17 of them being in passenger service with 313214 and 313217 having already been withdrawn from service.
313221 remains in sporadic use as a dual voltage test train for Network Rail. The class 313s are now one of the oldest main line passenger trains left on the network with only the 1972 Bakerloo line stock and 1973 Piccadilly line stock on the London Underground older.
The Class 313s currently operate on the following services:
Arriving from Eastleigh by 377 on the 11th October, I photoed 313208, which was working on the Hove Shuttle. I then went over to the far end of the station to catch 313204 out to Lewes.
It was very clear from seeing 313204 that the class 313s are in their final months of service, with the exterior condition of the train being poor, with missing, worn out and peeling external vynals and the interior looking very tired and not the cleanest, however, despite this 313204 performed well on the 15 minute journey out to Lewes.
Lewes was a lovely, well kept station, with a nice view at the east end looking towards the old signal box, which gave a nice shot in full sunshine. I spent 90 minutes here and in that time managed to catch the other pair of 313s on the Seaford circuit, 313207 and 313215. As well as the 313s, there was 377s, 387s, 700s, a stone working from Newhaven featuring 59001 and the RHTT top and tailed with 73107 and 73201.
I then headed back into Brighton onboard 313215. After a walk down to Churchill Square for some bus photography, I headed back to the station, where I had time for some more photography while I waited on my train. As well as 313208 shuttling between Brighton and Hove, 313216 had also arrived and was switched off in Platform 2, whilst in the sidings at Lover's Walk, 313203+313205 were coupled up and awaiting use later that night on a football shuttle service. Shortly before 4pm, 313209 arrived from Portsmouth and would form the 4pm train back to Portsmouth and Southsea, which I caught. As I waited for my train back to the hotel in Eastleigh, 313211 arrived from Littlehampton, then soon departed, heading back there.
After a day out at the Isle of Wight, I returned to Portsmouth and Southsea for the train back to Eastleigh to return to the hotel. As I had time to kill, I caught 313213, which was working on the 19.57 service to Littlehampton to Fratton, where I got off and caught my own train back to Eastleigh.
I caught a 377 from Eastleigh to Barnham, where I got off and waited for the shuttle to Bognor Regis. 313213 duly arrived from Bognor to operate the return journey, however before getting on the shuttle, I managed to catch a photo of 313212 arriving from Brighton, heading to Portsmouth and Southsea and 313201 'Big Blue' heading to Littlehampton. I then caught the shuttle to Bognor, where I had a wander about then caught 313201 to Littlehampton.
Of all the 313s that I travelled on, 313201, complete with modified BR Blue/Grey retro livery was in by far the best interior and exterior condition of all the 313s that I travelled on, the rest being pretty much run down and tired looking, which is quite understandable given that they will all be withdrawn pretty soon.
At Littlehampton, I caught a pair of 377s to Hove and changed over to 313202 on the Hove Shuttle into Brighton. The sidings at Brighton were reasonably busy with no fewer than 3 x class 313s stabled there, 313211, 313207 and 313220. Unfortunately, I was on a very tight schedule so I didn't have time to catch any of the Seaford workings so I caught the next working back out of Brighton, which was the 2pm service to Portsmouth Harbour with 313215 as the unit of choice and was my final PEP for this trip.
Over the course of this trip and my previous trip down that way in July, I managed to catch / photo 16 of the 20 remaining class in the twilight of their working lives, whether or not they are still in service on my next trip down that way is anyone's guess.
|313201||BR Blue / Grey||62529+71213+62593||In Service|
|313202||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62530+71214+62594||In Service|
|313203||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62531+71215+62595||In Service|
|313204||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62532+71216+62596||In Service|
|313205||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62533+71217+62597||In Service|
|313206||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62534+71218+62598||In Service|
|313207||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62535+71219+62599||In Service|
|313208||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62536+71220+62600||In Service|
|313209||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62537+71221+62601||In Service|
|313210||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62538+71222+62602||In Service|
|313211||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62539+71223+62603||In Service|
|313212||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62540+71224+62604||In Service|
|313213||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62541+71225+62605||In Service|
|313214||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62542+71226+62606||Withdrawn|
|313215||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62543+71227+62607||In Service|
|313216||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62544+71228+62608||In Service|
|313217||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62545+71229+62609||Withdrawn|
|313219||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62547+71231+62611||In Service|
|313220||Southern Dark Green, light green, white and grey||62548+71232+62612||In Service|
|313221||Network Rail Yellow||62549+71233+62613||In Service|
Glasgow Subway's latest vynal wrap sees a 3 car set consisting of Metro Cammell Power Car 132, Barclay Trailer 204 and Metro Cammell Power Car 104 outshopped in a new design advertising SPT's commitment to achieving Net Zero.
the three car set are seen paused at St Enoch working diagram 11 on the Inner Circle on 10.9.22
Arcola Energy's Scottish Hydrogen Train, 614209 (former Scotrail Class 314 PEP unit 314209) was out today at Bo'ness operating demonstration runs for some invited guests during the day, between Bo'ness and Kinneil Halt. 614209 was run both on battery and on hydrogen mode on different runs with the mile long run out in each direction giving the invited guests the chance to sample both tractions from this bi-mode unit.
It was great to finally see 209 out on the tracks and good to note that the distinctive compressor sounds remain from 209's days as a class 314 emu as does the sounds of the motors when accelerating in battery mode
I photoed 614209 at Bo'ness station (from the footbridge), Bo'ness foreshore and the area around Kinneil Halt, here are some of my efforts:
Returning from only its 2nd visit to Scotland, Swift Express Freight's 321334, which has been converted to carry up to 12 tonnes of parcels, approaches Holytown with 5Z84 Mossend - Doncaster ECS working 26.8.22
Most of my Photographs and sightings are from my favourite locations in the Lanarkshire area, including
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