How I Miss BR Rail Blue (and the use of Rail Alphabet on All Station Signs)

Why, oh why, does our rail franchisees insist on liveries inspired by 1990s football strips?

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Dignified: the BR Rail Blue scheme seen on a Class 304 bound for Stoke-on-Trent in 1992. Photograph by Hugh Llewellyn (Creative Commons License – Attribution-Share Alike).

Call me old (well, I’m almost 37 years old for goodness sake anyway), but I hanker for the smooth, smart, yet strikingly modern liveries of the British Rail era. I hanker for their discipline and adherence to the Rail Alphabet typeface, and other wonders from the Design Research Unit. I miss seeing the yellow text on red signage of the BR Travellers’ Fare outlets and the design language, used on all railway stations from Abererch to Yeovil Pen Mill. Continue reading “How I Miss BR Rail Blue (and the use of Rail Alphabet on All Station Signs)”

Slam Door Trains We Have Known and Loved: The Not So Perfect Ten

A good excuse to reminisce about pre-privatisation diesel and electric multiple units

Alongside today’s Pacers and Sprinters, our first generation EMUs and DMUs were known in the late 1980s as Heritage Units. The bulk of which being slam-door trains. Continue reading “Slam Door Trains We Have Known and Loved: The Not So Perfect Ten”

Making the Going Easy from Stalybridge: Comparisons Between 1972 and 2012 Rail Services

How Stalybridge’s rail services have changed over the space of 40 years

Stalybridge Trains 1972 and 2012

Forty years ago, we would have been watching On The Buses, Magpie or Dad’s Army, experiencing a three day week or listening to T-Rex on our transistor radios. The 11 and 11A would take a great many residents to Ashton-under-Lyne from Tame Valley or the Albion Hotel. Orange and white buses began to dominate what would become Greater Manchester in two years time. Continue reading “Making the Going Easy from Stalybridge: Comparisons Between 1972 and 2012 Rail Services”

Lost Railway Services of Greater Manchester: The European

The story of Manchester’s former Boat Train service to Harwich Parkeston Quay

The European (Glasgow Central - Harwich Parkeston Quay) map

Since the Edwardian times, Manchester Victoria station’s canopy and tiled map proudly advertised the fact it was possible to travel from there to Leeds and the Hook of Holland. Its ticket office windows also reflect the scale of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway’s ambitions. Today, the railway station is a shadow of its former self, with only six platforms (down from 17) and a leaky roof. Alas, it is almost impossible to get to the Hook of Holland from Victoria without changing at Leeds.

Continue reading “Lost Railway Services of Greater Manchester: The European”