Monday, 18 July 2016

Dawlish Delights

Since I have been Railcamming I have got to know Simon Deane, one of the brains behind Dawlish Beach, which operate the Dawlish Cams giving viewers a stunning opportunity to see trains going past arguably the most desirable spotting location in the country. Not just for trains either but the famous Dawlish Sea Wall is also one of the most spectacular places to watch Mother Nature wreak her vengeance. When a strong South Easterly is blowing the waves crash over the wall making for some mesmerising viewing. Simon has sent me a selection of photos taken from the Dawlish cams, and I'll add one or two of mine as well. I recommend visiting and taking out a free trial. I'm sure you'll agree the modest subscription fees are well worth it, especially as if you miss something you can rewind the cameras to catch up on anything, or indeed watch something again.

Many thanks, Simon, and I simply have to get down to Dawlish at some point soon.

First up we have West Country class 34046 "Braunton", who I personally think is better looking than the Flying Scotsman. Renumbered 34052 "Lord Dowding" this year here she is in June.

Braunton passes through Dawlish
Of course Dawlish is on the Exeter - Plymouth section of the GWR, so is the domain of the Class 43 Intercity 125's, who have been gracing our mainlines for over 40 years now. Here are a couple of superb examples of how Great Western make the most of these icons. First we see 43002, repain5ed into original 1975 livery and named Sir Kenneth Grange, after the man who designed them

253001 (43002) Sir Kenneth Grange on a cloudless day in Dawlish
Secondly my personal favourite. 43172 is dedicated to the fallen, and I think this unit looks suitably majestic.

43172 dedicated to the fallen
Every Summer Saturday Great Western operate a Plymouth - Exeter return journey using coaches hauled by a Class 57 loco. Here is impressively looking 57304 gleaming in the Devon sun.

57304 on the Saturday Special
Finally from Simon's collection a little self indulgence and one for my friends North of Hadrian's Wall. Just about as far away from home as is possible Class 37 37925 "Inverness TMD" hauls a Network Rail test train. My favourite locos by a mile!

Isn't that a glorious sight? 37025 with NR test train
Now I mentioned it wasn't just trains that the Dawlish cams capture well but the weather. I've still to see my first decent lightning on the cams, but in the Winter and Spring I certainly saw some spectacular sea conditions.

A 125 in almost Turneresque conditions
It can be scary out there!
Of course it can also be extremely calm and serene in Dawlish, and I'll leave you with a moonlit scene, complete with artistically blurred 125.

Very romantic
 If this doesn't convince you to give Dawlsih Beach a try then nothing will! Not too any cams are as good in the winter as they are Summer, but with the added ingredient of the sea then dawlish is the exception.

For those of you wondering where all the bus news is, well when I can get out again to get some I'll post it! As railcams exist and buscams don't I'm rather restricted at present. Normal service should be restored in the next couple of weeks.


  1. Andrew Kleissner18 July 2016 at 23:28

    Er, no: "Braunton" is a Southern Railway (O S Bulleid) design. I think the phrase you were looking for was "West Country" class.

    By the way, I agree that they look good - but that was only after they were rebuilt by British Railways in the 50s. "Tangmere" - a preserved member of the contiguous "Battle of Britain" class - shows what they were like (more or less) when they were built.

    Thanks for the photos!

    1. Yes Andrew you're right, and I have amended - of course a Western is a big growly diesel type thingy! The only one to notice!

  2. The struggling South Wales council owned operator Newport Transport is on strike today(19th July). The support for the strike seems to be patchy at best and it looks as if they are operating over 50% of their services

  3. Cost of inquiry into Edinburgh tram project hits £3.7m

    The cost of the inquiry into the Edinburgh trams fiasco has exceeded £3.7m,

    The probe is investigating what went wrong with the £776m project which went massively over-budget and was completed five years later than planned.

    For the UK modern single deck hybrid trolleybuses are probably far more sensible option and would cost little more than a modern bus costs. In Europe Trolleybus services are expanding quite fast. A the very least we should have a trial system set up to compare how they perform compared to Trams and buses. All modern trolleybuses are single deck and are typically articulated and carry similar passenger numbers to trams. Ongoing developments as well could potentially remove the need for the overhead line

    1. Dawlish is a terrific experience. Only ended up travelling through there once (by accident) around sunset and what a wonderful surprise for someone who didn't know about it!

      Trolleybuses though, I just wonder what of our congested roads have the space, and how it copes with with our ever more complex road junctions? Cambridge have proposals to close off (well sort of, by exorbitant road pricing) the urban distributor network around the town centre during peak hours to give buses priority, but that can be done with ordinary buses. Anarchy is being predicted, already.

      Technology is usually a wonder when it works and a disaster when it doesn't. See the Cambridgeshire busway for the local-ish example of how to spend money, and more money. If something can go wrong, it will.

      Who, in Suffolk and Norfolk, or even Essex, is gonna splash the cash, to find out? I think Route 66 was the best we could manage, so far. Woodbridge Road somewhat brought that idea to a near halt, I gather! The remnants survive, as just another bus route.

      The current fashion seems to be to add rail stations, though I gather after satisfying Networks Rail's insatiable appetite for spending money (if we can, and that's dubious), there's nothing left for the buses. The only thing that makes the economic return to satisfy the bean counters (now in the ascendancy, again), seems to have London at the end of it.

    2. Modern trolleybuses are quite flexible complex junctions should not a problem and the overhead trolley can be retracted whilst the vehicles is moving if need be they can also opearate as a single car if need be. Probably limited scop for them in the East. Cambridge perhaps, Norwich & Ipswich. The overhead wires only need to cover the busy central areas thety can run on their batteries for several miles at normal speeeds. Would probably be best to have a fast charge point at the outer terminuses

    3. Just a thought. Have the latest (Euro 6? I can't keep up) engines virtually destroyed the economic case for more trams? It seems to be what Stagecoach are planning for Cambridge which is becoming the innovation centre for the east. (We need one). If not, then I wonder if the impending UK electricity crises (now nuclear is on the brink, it seems) will finish the job?

  4. Leeds faces indefinite bus strike from next Tuesday

    BUS WORKERS in Leeds today dramatically upped the stakes in a worsening pay dispute by announcing an indefinite strike from next Tuesday.

    The union Unite said 1,000 of its members employed by First West Yorkshire will walk out that day, after suspending a strike planned for last week.

    No time or date set has been set for an end to the action.

    Unite is embroiled in a series of industrial disputes involving bus workers employed by the First Group in Glasgow, Weymouth and across Yorkshire.

    Next week’s strike follows three 24-hour walkouts at First since the middle of last month, each of which caused widespread disruption for bus users in Leeds.

  5. I wondered if it starts to look like a Unite campaign against First? One, I suspect, they can't afford to lose. Maybe they've chosen a target carefully; I couldn't imagine Stagecoach HQ being as quiet as First's appear to be. Things are so complicated, that I think there must be a well of frustration to be tapped around the country.

    I'm going to make Steve very angry, but I can foresee the idea of making utility strikes illegal resurfacing, with binding arbitration. I used to be opposed, but am coming round to the idea. Govia are embroiled in a biggie with Southern too aren't they?

    1. First Bus do not have the margins to give money away. They are already in trouble in a number areas where profit is almost zero. Higher fares are not a real option as they are already to high and will drive passengers away and the councils will not pay out more for Concessionary travel or school transport so all First can do is stand their ground

    2. Agreed. But I think First Bus is like a tinderbox, ready to burn. It often looks like people within the company are barely on speaking terms, none less so than drivers and much of the management. Stagecoach or Arriva would never have allowed things to deteriorate so far. With First I fear it was inevitable; you can't just treat people as things, according to the textbook. They won't just take everything thrown at them. There seems to be no-one to extinguish the flames, and First are such a mess that no-one knows where it will end up.

      Unite seem to me to have chosen their target, and their timing, well. Whilst the country is in anarchy. The beginning of the end of the road for First Bus? A distinct possibility. It has been anticipated for long enough. The end of the road for Unite, as it stands, would be preferable. We need modern trade unions, not dinosaurs.

      I think, and they know it too, First are an easy pushover. The bosses (above, and who should be supporting, the local management) have no stomach for a fight, or simply don't exist with the loss of staff recently. Unite can pick a fight, whenever, and wherever, they choose. First have left an empty goal. This is going to get very ugly. Pity the poor staff (and the passengers) caught in the middle. Nobody cares about them.

    3. The current bus set up in most of the UK simply does not work. The bus companies are having to manage decline and that is always going to cause unrest. Strangely as well the government is prepared to subsidise rail & cycling but not buses. That can hit areas with few or no rail services hard

      There also in my view needs to be a small annul charge for the concessionary bus passes and the removal of the distance related free travel for school children this hits the more rural areas very hard as what little money councils have for bus services ends up subsidising school travel. A fairer system would be to charge them for the first 2 or 3 miles and the council just covers any actually excess cost over that distance. Cyclists should also have to pay a small annual charge to cover the investment in that. The charge could also include third party insurance cover. They should also be required to carry a rear number plate . Those measure would raise a reasonable amount of money. The government could also put more money into bus services. This could be justified on the grounds of reduced congestion and pollution maybe even say an additional tax allowance if you travel by train or bus

      The above is perhaps a bit of brain storming and needs further refinement and would work best if the bus services worked as a coordinated network . It also makes it far simpler with the subsidies as the routes would all be tendered

    4. Good ideas, but I suspect you've just upset everybody (well that matters, in Westminster). The parent and cycling (and pensioner) lobbies are very strong, and I suspect many pensioners with bus passes never use them (or hardly ever).

      It'll be interesting to watch Cambridge where devolution claims to see better (and more) buses as the answer. But will it benefit the extensive rural hinterland too? If it doesn't it won't work, which is one major reason why everyone is so skeptical. If it happens, it just might be the start of something across East Anglia. Just possibly; but it'll take the end of the world to shake Norfolk and Suffolk out of their lethargy, I fear.

  6. Ipswich buses are formally taking over most of the Carters bus services. Carters seem to have kept small operation going called Carters Heritage bus Services which seems to be operating at least one public bus service

    1. It appears Ipswich buses are operating the ex Carters services as a separate business as they have taken over the company name but changed the registered address. I assume though they will trade under the Ipswich Buses name, Whether they took over the Carters vehicles is not clear. On the last accounts Carters made a small profit of £4,800