About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. A Grand Day Out on The SVR.

At last I was ready to visit the Severn Valley Railway  and being moored in Stourport, I took the bus into Kidderminster, having been warned off mooring in that town. I did not have long to wait for the second train of the day and rode for the 16 miles route high above the banks of the Severn as far as Bridgenorth, which takes just over an hour, stopping at four stations on route, plus two request stations.The line is single track working, with passing loops at stations, so if the oncoming train is late, then so is the one that is waiting in the loop, which results in varying waiting times in that station.
The concourse at Kidderminster.
Ready for the off.
All stations are well presented.
Plenty of choice in the pub on the platform at Bridgenorth.
I didn't, but I'm working on it!
I had spotted a railway antiques hut at Arley, so stopped off for a brief look, asking the guard to give me a warning shout before the train left. While I was in the hut, I heard his whistle and answering one from the engine and before I had time to get on, the train had pulled away! Now I had an hour to kill on a rather bleak station. I crossed the line and walked down to the signal box, walked  up the steps and asked if I could take a photograph inside.

Arley signalbox.
I should say here that I have been fascinated by these boxes since I was about 8yrs old, when I was evacuated in the last war to a great uncle and aunt in Calne, Wiltshire, where my great uncle worked as a signalman on the branch line from Chippenham to Calne. I spent many happy hours in and around that box during the summer months and frequently was able to ride the tank engine that brought in the freight train and then shunted the trucks about the goods yard. On one occasion I was able to ride into Chippenham on the footplate, having to keep my head down when in the big town to avoid being seen by the supervisor. All the equipment in the signal box was familiar to me, but I was too young to understand it at the time.

I was welcomed inside.
I was welcomed into the Arley signalbox by the Scottish signalman, who answered all my questions about the same equipment and explained the intricacies of the system, which still seems complicated even now! He had just recently been passed out on that box by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, which means that he was qualified to operate that box and another two on the track, just as though he was employed in a full time paid job. Each time he did that, a four hour examination had to be passed, for which there was a lot of studying to be done. Quite and eye-opener!
The time passed quickly and I caught the next train to Highley to visit the Engine House and have a bite to eat. It was all very impressive and rather museum like; I would rather have seen the workshops, where the really interesting work goes on.

Inside the Engine house.
Beautiful engineering.
Can anyone ever know enough about STEAM?
After five hours on the SVR, it was time to head back to Stourport, but what an enjoyable day it had been.


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