BNSF has a large maintenance yard in Seattle in the Interbay area. My bike ride took me past the yard and then up and over the tracks. On my return leg, I stopped to have a look at the facility. There is a space where a round house used to be which you can see on Google Maps. A couple of trains were on the lines and there were a bunch of locos elsewhere in the yard.
Here are some old Japanese rail vehicles. These are part of the SCMaglev museum in Nagoya that I visited when I was in Japan last summer. The museum has a great selection of Shinkansen equipment across the generations but it also has a lot of other rail vehicles from long ago. The vehicles clearly look old from the outside but the interiors are really an interesting comparison with what you see these days. The amount of wood in the paneling and the materials of the seating are definitely of their time. I was quite amused by the fans mounted on the ceiling. Obviously pre-air conditioning days with these cars and so a bit of air circulation was all you could hope for. Knowing how incredibly hot it gets in Japan during the summer, they would not have done much for the riders I would have thought. I wonder whether it was as crowded in those days as it is now. If it was even close, that would have been brutal.
I have put some previous posts together of Japanese trains from my travels. This is an update to that (although a very late update given that these were taken nearly a year ago!). I got to see some different trains while I was in Nagoya for the day and then there is the variety of trains that you get around the Tokyo area. There was also a small line that ran through the Kamakura area which we crossed paths with as we were walking to the beach from the giant Buddha statue that I wrote about in this post. A few more photos to amuse those of you that like different trains.
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!
The Victorians built railways across the UK in a serious way. Geography was not a barrier and tunnels would get you through hills and viaducts would address valleys. They also liked them to look pretty cool. There are numerous viaducts across the UK – some of which are well known and others of which are rather anonymous. One of the more famous viaducts is the Ribblehead. It is part of the Settle to Carlisle line which was once lined up for closure but now seems to be secure.
The main shot here was taken from my friend, Mark’s, Ercoupe as we had a flight from Blackpool and up over Yorkshire and Cumbria. We were flying after work so the evening light was setting in and the shadows of the viaduct were very nice. Since this was the days of film, there aren’t lots of shots to choose from. However, this one worked out well enough. Nancy and I visited the area from the ground when we lived up that way and here are a couple of additional shots of the viaduct from the ground.
The Japanese Shinkansen trains introduced in the 1960s became known around the world as bullet trains. The shape of them was well known, often photographed with Mt Fuji in the background. While other countries developed high speed rail, the Japanese bullet train was often the first one people would associate with the topic. These first trains are known as the Series 0. There have been several iterations of design since. However, the Series 0 is still very recognizable to me and probably others of my generation.
I had seen a Series 0 vehicle once before. I visited the Nippon Sharyo factory is Toyokawa many years ago and they have a cab vehicle on display by the main gate. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a photograph of that then. Seeing an example at the SC Maglev museum was my second opportunity. It was displayed alongside a number of the more recent iterations of the Shinkansen but, judging by the number of people taking photos of it, it still has a strong level of recognition.
I briefly saw Tokyo Station last time I was in Japan. This time I wanted to take a better look. While the station has been significantly redeveloped over the years, the west frontage that looks towards the Imperial Palace has retained the brick structure designed and built over 100 years ago (although some rebuilding was necessary over the years). I think it is an interesting looking building and an interesting contrast with the high-rise developments around it or even the old buildings that can still be found in the city.
I got there in mid-morning and my brain was obviously not firing on all cylinders. The front was in shade with the sun quite high in the sky and I thought for some reason I had left it too late. I ended up taking a bunch of pictures of the building, none of which I was terribly happy with given the shadow on the front and the bright overall conditions. I did shoot some of the details around the hallways and overhangs which were fine.
It was only later when I returned from the Palace grounds that I realized which way the building was facing and that the sun had now come around to the front of the station, not retreated. Consequently, things were a lot more brightly illuminated. Let’s not kid ourselves. Midday sun is not the greatest thing for shooting but, for getting snapshots for the trip, this was a significant improvement. With such a wide and low structure, a panorama was obviously going to be tried!
The east side of Lake Washington used to have a lot more train traffic. A line ran up that side of the lake but the railroad closed it down and then the interstate was rebuilt and went over the previous right of way. In Bellevue, the tracks crossed a valley on a large trestle bridge, the Wilburton Trestle. This wooden structure was modified at some point to allow an expansion of the road that ran underneath it but, once the railroad was closed, it fell out of use.
For the longest time, I didn’t even notice it. While it is close to the interstate, it is off to one side at a time when you don’t have much time to look around. When I finally noticed it, I was amazed I had driven by so many times. Even then, I never got a chance to take pictures. I was hoping for better weather but winter has not really helped in that regard so, one afternoon, as I was heading back from Bellevue, I stopped off to check it out.
Wooden trestle structures are a curious thing and very typical of old American railroads. The dull light may not have helped emphasis the structure much but it does reduce the contrast you can get with something so sheltered underneath. Even so I used HDR a bit to help manage the exposure range. Supposedly, the future for the trestle will be as part of the expanding trail network for the eastside. It is suggested that it will reopen to trail users by 2020. I think I shall ride down to it at that point to check the view out. I imagine it is pretty good from up there.
If you are looking for a place with a great sounding name, it is hard to beat Skykomish. What a fun sounding name. The town is a railroad town heading in to (or out of) the Stevens Pass and it provides space for trains to pass when traveling in opposite directions. It supports the train theme for visitors too. The old depot building is kept in good condition and next to it is a miniature railway that is available for public rides. While we were there, a lot of the volunteers were around but not much in the way of customers, so we didn’t see it in action. A miniature BNSF diesel loco was set up on the train waiting for customers while the volunteers also seemed to be working on some steam locos. Hopefully, as the day wore on, they got more visitors. (It was close to Halloween if you are wondering about the giant spider!)
There are plenty of historic railways in the UK but most of them are a tourist attraction and operate at limited speed to allow people to experience something from days gone by. However, there is a slightly more unusual railway on the Kent coast. The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway runs along the Kent coast from Hythe down to Dungeness. It is a narrow gauge railway that, while popular with tourist, does provide a year round service. It is even contracted by the council to take kids to a local school.
The railway has been in operation for decades. In the Second World War they even had an armored train for coastal defense. The service was restored after the war. Most of the locomotives date from before the war and are outstanding scale steam locos. These are a few shots I got of the trains from a crossing in Hythe about ten years ago.