Flying Fox

…was the first A3 I “saw”, too many years ago. There are no A3s at Foxfield (which is probably a good thing), but lots of retired industrial steam locomotives, fighting-fit and ready for action. Sadly, it’s not the best of days, but at least it’s stopped raining (mostly…), and we’ve time for a quick look. Visit Foxfield – a flying visit on Geoff’s Rail Diaries – now!

Statfold; 1 megapost

Saturday 10 June: the latter is nothing to do with the former. This just happens to be the 1,000th post on this blog (which started life just over 11 years ago, on Blogspot*). What better way to celebrate (given that I noticed quite by chance that no. 1,000 was approaching) than a coincidental trip to the Statfold Barn Railway, for the June open day. It was a lazier day that usual – not good weather for photography (though the rain held off), and the increasing numbers attending make photography more and more difficult too, in more ways than one. It’s still a great day out though!

Statfold Barn Railway

*I moved the posts across to WordPress

Staffordshire Centenarians

100 years old: Stanhope

Sun. 14 May – a birthday celebration in Staffordshire. Stanhope and Diana are both 100 this year; their friends Joffre and no 9, also actively attending, are 101 years old. Roger will be 100 next year – and his little friend Jennie is just 12 years old… Yes, it’s the Apedale “Stanhope” gala weekend. For more pictures, and (a little) more on the day’s events, visit “More Birthdays at Apedale” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

Shugborough snaps

A first visit to the Staffordshire estate, former residence of a certain late well-known photographer. I’d better do my best today, but they’re only snapshots of a brief visit. There’s too much to see in a single afternoon – we’d better come again, perhaps mid-week when it might be quieter…

Shugborough Estate NT

Silver birches

Thursday 5 Jan: We have to be in Wolverhampton briefly, late morning. It’s a perfect January morning – quite the wrong kind for being in Wolverhampton, so we’ll continue on to Cannock Chase, for a snack lunch in the visitor centre, followed by a walk to make the most of the weather. To do that, we’ll need to drive away again (it’s fairly densely forested there), to a more open part of the Chase, where scattered silver birches predominate, their trunks really catching the light. It’s pleasant by the Sher Brook too – in places, the water is mirror-like, the reflections perfect. We could have walked further, but that would take us into the forest, so we’ll head back to the car as the shadows lengthen.

map

View OS map in Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=398430&Y=317641&A=Y&Z=120&ax=367365&ay=301641

To Fairoak Pools

Early November in Staffordshire: it’s cold but it’s sunny, and there’s little wind – Cannock Chase could be good, we can have bacon rolls* for lunch at the visitor centre… We’re ringing the changes slightly – starting from one of our usual spots, we’re taking in a detour to Fairoak Pools – they look good on the map, and we can loop around them. They’re man-made – dammed, in other words – but they’re very attractive in the sunshine, the autumn leaves of birches and oaks contrasting with the dark pine forests beyond. After lunch, tall beeches glow beside the track as we head back towards the car; in the last half-mile, we look out past silver birch trunks to the grassy plateau beyond. “There could be lions” says my wife, just as the word “savanna” pops into my mind.

* We were too late. They don’t serve breakfast items after 1pm. (Have they been raided by the diet police?) The wraps and rolls, it has to be said, were pretty good, but not the same…

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=399385&Y=316326&A=Y&Z=120

Teddy’s 75th birthday

TeddyNo, not a bear – this Teddy is a Peckett 0-4-0ST, one of the smallest conventional standard gauge steam locomotives ever built.  He was bought, many years ago, by the late Rev. ER Boston, better known as “Teddy” Boston (who, as a friend of the Rev. W Awdry, appears in the “Thomas the Tank Engine” series as one of the two vicars – the fat one…). The Rev. Teddy died some 30 years ago, but his Peckett (inter alia) lives on. Now residing at Chasewater, Teddy Peckett is clearly in fine fettle – a very fit 75-year-old, celebrating his birthday today in great style. For more on the day’s fun, visit “Teddy’s birthday” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

Summer sunshine at Foxfield

DSC_0828…and despite the warmth, there’s plenty of visible steam*. It’s the weekend of the annual summer gala, and the weather forecast suggested Sunday would be the best day. It was – an excellent day out. Visit “Foxfield summer gala” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries for more photos and a short video clip (remember to turn up the volume!)

*I know – steam is invisible. The fluffy white stuff coming from the chimney is water droplets, suspended in the air, which don’t always form on warm days…

Ancient internal combustion

DSC_0748It’s Burton Brewery Locomotives day at Chasewater – three interesting old diesels are in action, the oldest built 87 years ago – and there’s a visiting steam locomotive on the passenger service – Rosyth No 1, from Blaenavon. We’d better have a day out! For more pictures and info on the event, visit “Brewery diesels” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

Chasewater Railway

100 years later

Motor Rails galoreApedale again – for Tracks to the Trenches: six fine steam locomotives in action, mostly dating from WW1, and an uncountable (they won’t stay still for long enough) number of Motor Rails of similar vintage. The first TTTT was in September 2014 – the icon of the event proved to be the Motor Rail in the shell crater. There it was again! Has it been there since the last event, poor thing? If it has, Joffre at Apedale Roadit’s turned itself round in the intervening period. An excellent afternoon – well done, once again, the Moseley Railway Trust. There will be a “Rail Diaries” page in a day or two, in the meantime, here are a couple of tasters.

Apedale Valley Railway

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