In the process of scanning so many old negatives, I come across shots that I had no idea I had taken. When I still shot film, I would not go nuts taking shots but I was certainly willing to take a shot of anything that I found interesting at the time. Since I had no idea that I was going to have a career in rail, I didn’t think trains would be very important. However, I am an engineer at heart and any big mechanical items catch my interest. It isn’t surprising that I found a few photos of trains. Some of my old colleagues will find these of interest. Others may just like them because they like trains. My sister will probably like the Class 50 just because she used to commute to work behind them for a number of years!
As a small boy, the new thing in British trains was the Intercity 125. Known in the industry as the HST, this was a step forward in fast train travel for the UK. When I started working in the rail industry many years later, the HSTs were a big part of our fleet. They had been in service a long time by then but were still the backbone of certain corridors and were getting further investment. Move on another 20 years and now the fleet is finally disappearing.
Some are still being reconfigured for a future on new routes, but the majority of the fleet is being replaced by a new generation of trains and it is a surprise just how long it has taken to find their successors. The HSTs have been a solid fleet with strong performance, a level of redundancy and a ride quality that was impressive. I figured I would through in a couple of shots I have of them. I have very few, sadly. One is an old one in British Rail colors from the 80s and the others are from the days of GNER. What a shame I don’t have more. Given the amount of time I spent traveling on them or inspecting them at depots and overhaul facilities, I should have tons. Oh to have had had phones in our cameras then!
I have posted a variety of pictures of the Tokaido Shinkansen system from my visits to Japan. Tokyo Station is the end of the line for JR Central. However, it isn’t the only Shinkansen service from this station. JR East Shinkansen services also serve the station. They head north out of the station while JRC heads south. The lines are not connected so this is a terminus for both companies. However, when you look down on the station, you can see both operators. I took these pictures from our office window looking down on the station and you can see a variety of Shinkansen equipment on the JR East Platforms as well as a JRC train passing underneath.
The Tokaido Shinkansen service requires regular inspection of the track to ensure it is up to the high standards required of high speed service. JRC operates an inspection train called Doctor Yellow. It is a highly instrumented version of the current trains. I have seen the current Doctor Yellow when I was at one of JRC’s maintenance facilities. However, the original Doctor Yellow was based on the Series 0 trains. It is now preserved in the SC Maglev museum in Nagoya along with many of the other Shinkansen designs.
Nagoya is home to a museum of Japanese rolling stock. The museum name focuses on Maglev technology and there is a Maglev prototype in the museum. However, the exhibits are really a cross section of the Japanese rail industry over the years. I will probably post some more from the museum as there were quite a few interesting exhibits. Most of it was inside – most welcome on such a hot day – but the N700 prototype was outside. I did have a look at that briefly along with an old steam locomotive but I was soon driven back inside by the temperatures.
When I first got there, you are directed into a hall with three significant exhibits. It was so dark, I was wondering whether there would be any decent photo opportunities. However, this was just the initial introduction and there were periodic videos and light shows to allow you to see these exhibits more clearly. A little patience was required. The main hall had the majority of the exhibits and they were lit normally. There were plenty of people in the museum taking pictures with small children that didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as the parents would have liked! Maybe they wanted to be at Legoland across the street?
There are a few readers of the blog that like trains so this is a quick view of some UK passenger trains. We stayed in Chichester for a while and were very close to the station. We had to walk past it in to the town. There were tons of trains running along this coast route so I saw several as we were finding out where things were. Here are two of the trains. They are both EMUs, one of which is relatively recent while the other is a pretty old vintage of train that I didn’t even realize operated in this part of the world.
Chicago was a stop off on a work trip. We were on final approach to O’Hare and I was looking out of the window at the industrial areas that surround the airport. There are rail tracks scattered throughout these areas so seeing trains is not a surprise. However, I was a little caught out by what appeared to be some old Metra commuter cars parked up in one space. They have clearly been out of use for a while. If anyone knows who they belong to, please let me know.
The weather was not great for a portion of the holiday period so, when the sun came out, we took a trip to Shoreline to walk along the beach. A couple of freight trains passed by while we were there. One of them was just a set of locomotives on a light move while the other was a train of tank cars. The curves along the shore provide a bit more context to just how long a full sized freight train can be with the line of cars snaking off into the distance.
Preserved locomotives seem to appear in a lot of towns in Washington and Newhalem was no exception. This old steam locomotive seemed to be particularly well preserved given the rugged location it lives in for a good chunk of the year. I assume Seattle City Light has enough cash to keep it looking good for the many visitors to the town. Indeed, getting a shot of it without someone climbing all over it took a bit of patience!
The number of train routes in Tokyo is substantial and the lines run through many of the neighborhoods. Having been there for a long time, the towns have grown up around them. Roads cross them on back streets and there are footpaths that cross the tracks too. As I walked up to Shinjuku, I cross the tracks at one of these crossings.
Making the crossing was not a problem but you did need to pay attention. The track was double and the trains came every couple of minutes. When the alert sounded, a sign accompanied it with an arrow showing the direction the train was going. This was very helpful in ensuring you didn’t think the train had gone and you could start to cross only to find a train coming the other way. I actually had to wait for three trains as, by the time the second train had passed, a third was coming from the original direction. They really do come that often. Looking up to the station, I could see a train in the platform with another one slowing as it approached the station. Trains really are the dominant form of transportation in Tokyo from what I saw.