West Midlands Ranging
A short day out
Back Contact Geoff
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2016
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
14 December 2016
There’s no avoiding the limited hours of daylight - it was still getting light as I drove to Wellington, for the 9.00am train, and the sun was setting as we trundled back towards Snow Hill, on the 3.26pm from Stratford. Within those limits - and just outside them - we’ll experience considerable variety, in the form of operators, rolling stock and stations. We’re travelling on a West Midlands Day Ranger - £25, or £16.55 with a railcard. I’m joining a friend who’s travelling from Crewe (the northern end of the range), and if we meet at Stoke, I can travel over the new flyover at Norton Bridge. So that’s a London Midland cl 170 from Wellington, a CrossCountry “Voyager” (glad I’m not going far on that one!) and an LM 350/1 from Stoke to Rugeley. There’s a big hand on Stoke station platform - and in its palm, a little statue of Chronos. Presumably it’s to ensure the trains are all waved away on time. We’ve time to kill at Rugeley - so there’s opportunity for a few photos- a couple of southbound frieghts and innumerable Virgin Pendolinos and Voyagers - before heading for New Street via Cannock Chase. It was freight only not so many years ago, but is now being electrified - apparently. We saw few signs of progress
- has it become a power cut? From New Street, it’s a quick march to Moor Street, where a cl 68-propelled Chilterns Trains service to Marylebone is waiting. This is a real train! Comfortable, spacious, clean, neat if understated interior decor, and seats in bays which line up properly with the windows... It’s a shame to have to get off it at Leamington, but that’s the limit of the ticket. We’re heading now for Stratford (a Chiltern cl 165), and it’s time for refreshments. Duly refreshed, we’re back to Stratford station, and the sun’s low in the sky as our LM cl 172 pulls out. It’s set by the time we’ve arrived at Snow Hill (what a shame the old station was demolished - and how fortunate we are to still have Moor Street). There’s time to record a couple of trams in Stephenson Street, before squeezing into the 5.05pm train back to Wellington. There’s a supermoon low in the sky as I drive home (yes, the weather’s been unxpectedly good too) - Wensleydale, is it? It’s certainly been a grand day out!
Sunny Stoke Give us a hand! 70-hauled container train, Rugeley 66-hauled container train, Rugeley Northbound 350, Rugeley 170 513 - train for New Street via Cannock Chase Southbound Pendolino, Rugeley Rugeley Voyager 68011 at Moor Street - a proper train in a proper station! Tilting to the curve at Rugeley 68011 heads (or tails) for Marylebone, at Leamington Chiltern 165 at Stratford LM 172 leaves Stratford Towards the end of the afternoon, Stratford Late afternoon at Stratford Car 31 has arrived at Stephenson Street... ...and has reversed ready for the return trip Trams 32 and 31, Stephenson Street