Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles

Railfan, train buff, railway enthusiast, railway buff, trainspotter, or ferroequinologist?

Watch ‘Railways for Ever’ (1970) by Sir John Betjeman
Visit the National Railway Museum in York
Find ‘Waterloo Station’ (1967) by Terence Tenison Cuneo and ‘First Class: The Meeting’ by Abraham Solomon (1855)
Snap a photo Sir John Betjeman at St Pancreas Station

My favorite railroad collectibles (in NO particular order):

(1) LGB G – 21962 – Diesel locomotive – Reihe 2095 – ÖBB – This was a gift from my dad before Burgoyne was born. LGB has since gone defunct but their garden scale locos are highly sought after.
(2) BRIO World Metro Train Set – A gift from a close friend. The subway map and tube station are brilliant miniatures.
(3) GWR Guards Whistle / First Class A5 Notebook – A memento from a trip to the National Railway Musuem in York.
(4) Playmobil 4382 – Train Platform – The first of several Playmobil entries. It featured quite prominently on
(5) Chicago Railroad Fair 1948, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad – This is the fair Walt Disney visited with Ward Kimball.
(6) Playmobil 4118v1 – Graffiti Car – This was an eBay acquisition and has a 90s vibe / pulse.
(7) Playmobil Freight Car Train 4115 – It’s the bicycle print that makes this one of my favorite freight cars.
(8) TfL’s limited edition Elizabeth Line Oyster card – Part of an unofficial social media scavenger hunt before the Elizabeth Line opened. This card came from x station.
(9) Lionel 156 Station Platform Passenger Lighted Vintage Ads O Gauge w/Extra Signs – A close friend gave me her family’s Lionel Train collection.
(10) LGB # 8036 – HUTSCHENREUTHER CHINA COFFEE SET – Coffee or team? Once upon a time LGB sold decorative China. How grand to travel first class from Paris to Berlin on a steam train in the early 1900s.
(11) Matchbox D1496-RF Shunter Locomotive Yellow Train – NOT my original. Found this one in Hereford. The original was likely from my mum or pop-pop.
(12) Desktop Departures® (UK Departure Board) – Incredible entrepreneurial company in the UK with products for train obsessed enthusiasts.

(1) Do you know where the title of the post came from?

(2) A related quote from Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler:

“Hazel George, perhaps better than anyone else including Lillian, knew that Walt was anxious and aimless, without real animations to engage him. It was she who suggested he go to a railroad fair in Chicago, even though he had returned from Hawaii only a few weeks earlier. She said he still needed to relax. Picking up on the idea, Walt mused that Ward Kimball, a railroad enthusiast himself, always seemed relaxed, so he called Kimball and asked if he wanted to accompany him. They took the Super Chief from Pasadena. At one point the president of the Santa Fe Railroad invited Walt and Kimball to ride in the engine and pull the cord to blow the whistle. Kimball said that Walt pulled long and hard. When they returned to their car, Walt ‘just sat there, staring into space, smiling and smiling,’ Kimball recalled. ‘I have never seen him look so happy.'”

Football via Rail (in the US)

The Challenge: Recreate a typical UK football weekend in the US using mass transit. The destination was Foxborough, Massachusetts for a New England Revolution versus Orlando City SC match.

The Route: Metro-Morth to Bridgeport; Amtrak to Route 128 in Massachusetts.

The Verdict: All the trains ran on or close to schedule. Amtrak is clean and the crew is friendly. The equipment is OLD and it’s the kind of old that means cleaning doesn’t really help. The passenger cars are dark, and the windows are shockingly small. It’s still pricey which means driving still represents the most affordable option (pity). My guess is Brightline has modern, well-lit cars (and stations). The stations serving Metro-North and Amtrak aren’t exactly Richmond and Waterloo but the station at Route 128 is interesting. Route 128 is at eastern tip of Dedham and Westwood in Massachusetts and therein lies the challenge. Many of these MLS stadiums are in the middle of nowhere and at mixed use facilities¹ so the last mile is a pain in the neck. I spent a king’s ransom using rideshare services to ferry between the station > hotel > and the “football” grounds. Hotel availability was also a challenge so proximity to Foxborough was also a challenge. The good news is Route 128 is close to a giant outdoor mall so food, etc. was within walking distance. And how American is a station that’s close to a giant outdoor mall versus cultural landmarks like museums and churches?

In a perfect world football venues are located within walking distance of the city centre and train terminus, but this is unrealistic (Breed idea notwithstanding) in the US. This was a good trip overall to satiate by footie craving but one I’m unlikely to try again without a hotel closer to Foxborough and/or the Brompton.

Disclaimer: I walked from Bournemouth to Poole NOT knowing local transit options SO it’s conceivable there was at least local rail options between Route 128 and Dedham.

Can We Cycle the “Last Mile”? (HT)
San Francisco Mayor London Breed floats idea of DEMOLISHING Westfield mall in crime-ridden downtown and replacing it with a sports stadium – as she brushes off city’s retail apocalypse because ‘a lot of people’ shop online (Daily Mail)

¹This is a subject for another post.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

It was tough getting flights back to JFK from São Paulo because of visibility related to the Canadian wildfires so some quick re-routing had us in Washington DC and then on an Amtrak to PA/NJ/NY/CT/MA. I’ve never been on the Acela, so this was a chance to compare it to train service in the UK. The train left on time from Union Station, and all stops in-between were on or close to schedule. The train wasn’t dirty, but the equipment is old. The Wi-Fi was great (never worked well in the UK on first-class services like GWR). The cafe car was clean, well-stocked, and the person behind the counter was friendly. The seats were comfortable too. My biggest criticism is with the age of the equipment. These cars must surely be nearing refurbishment. The Amtrak route(s) in the Northeast Corridor are profitable, but their financial house is in such shambles, that this equipment will probably remain in service well-beyond its recommended useful life. It’s probably still cheaper to fly but the advantage of trains remains station proximity to downtown metropolitan areas.

Weekend 566.0 (Black Umbrella)

(1) Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary Vinyl LP Box — Translated Yoko Shimomura Interview (KH13 · for Kingdom Hearts)

(2) Why Did It Take 13 Years To Build The Elizabeth Line? | The Trouble With Crossrail | Spark (YouTube)

(2a) London’s railway of the future is finally here (Engadget)

(2b) Elizabeth line: London’s brand new railway has finally arrived (YouTube)

(3) Notre-Dame Cathedral Will Reopen by 2024 (Smithsonian Magazine)

(4) Bermuda “Hogge Money” Coin Sold For $96,000 (Bernews)

(4a) A quote from Bermuda’s Story by Terry Tucker:

“It was at that stage, millions of years ago, when the great winds blew our little limestone hills into the shapes they are to-day: the highest is only about 260 feet above the present sea-level. The so-called coral of which the islands are formed is in reality a true aeolian (windblown) limestone, formed of wind-driven shells and sand, with a small admixture of coral materials.”

(4b) The Earl of Southampton – Shakespeare’s Patron (No Sweat Shakespeare)

(4c) A poem by Nathaniel Tucker

Beneath my bending eye, serenely neat,
Appears my ever-blest paternal seat.
Far in the front the level lawn extends,
The zephyrs play, the nodding cypress bends;
A little hillock stands on either side,
O’er spread with evergreens, the garden’s pride.
Promiscuous here appears the blushing rose,
The guava flourishes, the myrtle grows.
Upon the surface earth-born woodbines creep,
O’er the green beds the painted ‘sturtians peep.
Their arms aloft triumphant lilacs bear,
The jessamines perfume the ambient air.
The whole is from an eminence display’d
Where the brown olive lends his pensive shade.

Hotels in England

A quick list of my top five. Here’s a link to a previous post with the different cities visited during my two-years in the UK.

(1) The Midland in Morecambe – Art deco hotel with a link to the railway (and the golden age of rail). The restaurant is top notch. It makes me pine for a revitalization of domestic travel.

Limestone Archives: Midland Hotel Flickr Album

(2) The Telegraph Hotel in Coventry – Themed hotel in a space once occupied by the local rag. In terms of theming, it’s only rival is the TWA Hotel. They have done a brilliant job preserving the interior features as well and objects that once served the newspaper are marked with QR codes (clever).

Limestone Archives: Telegraph Hotel Flickr Album

(3) Moxy Southampton – The place to either celebrate or commiserate a Saints win/loss. Southampton is my second home (and maybe where I’ll retire).

(4) Cambridge Central Station – Incredible views of the station, platforms, and railyards. The lobby displays all the rail departures / arrivals so there’s always the frenetic energy of travelers going to and from.

(5) Hilton Garden Inn Stoke on Trent – Modern and well-lit and close to the canals.

Other notable hotels include The Yarrow Hotel, Hampton by Hilton York, and the DoubleTree by Hilton Bath.

British Rail Corporate Identity from 1965–1994

London Station Group (Collect ‘Em All)

There are 18 railway stations served by the National Rail network in central London. My goal is to explore and photograph each. Here’s a quick list / summary to date of those I’ve visited (and travelled to/from). My favorite station in the LSG is Euston whilst my favorite destination station (not terminal) is Harlow Town. Harlow Town (1959) was featured in British Rail Architecture 1948-97 (pgs. 76-81) by David Lawrence and was described in Architectural Review as the “first and most convincing fulfilment of the promise of better railway architecture in Britain.”

Station Destination
Victoria Canterbury East / Dover / Portsmouth & Southsea
Liverpool StreetHarlow Town, Norwich
King’s CrossBury St Edmunds / Ely / Cambridge / York / Durham / Lincoln / Sunderland, Newcastle¹
St Pancras International Paris / Ramsgate
WaterlooSouthampton / Salisbury
EustonLancaster / Hereford / Stoke / Coventry
Paddington Bournemouth / Plymouth / Oxford / Penzance / Bath Spa / Exeter

(1) The Central line to Harlow? It could happen… (Secret London)

¹Inboud rerouted after cancellation