Marcus' Model Railway Journey

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27th January 2023


Network Rail and Great Western Railway ‘Light the Darkness’ to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Region & Route: Wales & Western: Western | Wales & Western

Paddington station will be bathed in purple light by Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) this Friday, in a moment of remembrance for Holocaust Memorial Day.


As part of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s campaign to ‘Light the Darkness’, the London station, along with those at Reading and Bristol Temple Meads, will be illuminated at 4:00pm to allow rail travellers and colleagues the opportunity to share in the national moment of quiet reflection.

The illuminated stations will join dozens of other landmarks across the country, including The London Eye, Magdalen College Tower in Oxford, Exeter Guildhall and Cardiff Castle.

GWR will also display the official Holocaust Memorial Day candle on the following station screens across the Great Western network:
  • Bristol Parkway
  • Didcot Parkway
  • Exeter St Davids
  • Gloucester
  • Maidenhead
  • Oxford
  • Plymouth
  • Reading
  • Slough
  • Swindon
  • Taunton
  • Westbury
Households have been encouraged to light candles and safely put them in their windows to remember those who were murdered for who they were and stand against prejudice and hatred today.

This year, the moment is being marked at 4:00pm rather than 8:00pm to ensure the Jewish community can also observe Shabbat, the Jewish Day of Rest.

Holocaust Memorial Day is marked each year on 27 January.

It is the international day to remember the six million Jewish people murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and during more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

People can become part of the conversation about ‘Light the Darkness’ online by sharing a photo of their candle and tagging Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on Twitter (@HMD_UK), Facebook (HMD.UK) or Instagram (@holocaustmemorialdaytrust), and by using the hashtags #HolocaustMemorialDay and #LightTheDarkness.

Network Rail’s head of passenger strategy, Susan Evans said:

“We’ve worked with GWR and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust to support this year’s national day of reflection and hope that our purple lights will help people take a quiet moment to remember the millions of victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides around the world.

“It’s important to mark this day, which serves as both a memorial to those who lost their lives and a warning of where inaction in the face of persecution can lead.”

GWR’s head of stations, James Adeshiyan said:

“GWR is proud to work with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and Network Rail to allow customers and colleagues across our network to take part in this national moment of reflection at 4pm on Friday.

“We hope that by having our stations and screens illuminated in this way, it allows people travelling and working with us to have a quiet moment to remember those who have lost their lives and been impacted by prejudice and hatred.”

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chief executive, Olivia Marks-Woldman OBE said:

“We are delighted that Great Western Railway and Network Rail are taking part in the national 'Light the Darkness' moment for Holocaust Memorial Day. They are joining tens of thousands of others - businesses, schools, places of worship, landmarks and ordinary households - across the UK to remember and to learn from genocide for a better future.”

About Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is the charity established and funded by the UK Government to promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in the UK.
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27th January 2023


Going with the FLOW: Innovative ‘first-of-its-kind' railway footbridge opens to the public replacing dangerous level crossing

Region & Route: Wales & Western: Wales & Borders | Wales & Western


FLOW opening event community on bridge​

A Shropshire village has had a major safety boost with the installation of a Network Rail designed eye-catching ‘FLOW’ bridge - a low carbon, lightweight and affordable safety solution.

Designed and funded by Network Rail’s Research and Development (R&D) team, alongside leading industry specialists, the bridge aims to provide a faster, more sustainable, and affordable option to assist with the closure of dangerous railway foot crossings around the UK.

The first location to benefit from the prototype is a rural crossing, just north of Craven Arms, in the Shropshire hills, with the footbridge officially opening to the public at a community event on Friday 27 January.

The footbridge replaces an extremely high-risk level crossing that closed a number of years ago after it was deemed unsafe for use.

This was due to the position of the loop – the layby to the side of the main track – at this location, which prevented pedestrians from having clear visibility of oncoming trains.

FLOW stands for fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP), lower cost, optimised design, working bridge, but the name also underpins its striking and modular design.
Affordable 'Flow' bridge to replace level crossings

This is the Flow footbridge - expected to be 40% cheaper compared to a traditional bridge.

And we believe we can install it in just two weeks.

It’s made from a strong but lightweight material used to manufacture aircraft and cars, and, because it comes in parts like a model kit it’s much quicker to build and easier to transport.

Our future plans include designing a ramped version and adding lifts to support wider access.

Whilst also developing sustainable procurement and construction methods.

FLOW drone shot Dec 2022

The 21m long bridge, has been designed to save time and money - costing around 40 per cent less than traditional steel structures.

No concrete is used in the foundations, reducing its carbon footprint, and it weighs half of a traditional steel bridge, meaning lower transportation and installation costs.

With the majority of construction taking place off site, installation is able to take place without disruption to passenger services.

The bridge is equipped with a real-time structural health monitoring system (SHM) which records how it performs, allowing future improvements to the design and more efficient maintenance, as well as tracking its use.

Andy Cross, programme manager at Network Rail Wales and Borders, played a key role in designing the bridge.

“The flow bridge was designed, first and foremost, as a safety solution but our teams have also gone above and beyond to create a quicker and more sustainable option for the future of the railway”,

"Its versatile design means we have already started looking at fully accessible versions, with lifts and ramps, for other locations where that would be a suitable option.”

Walking to FLOW bridge 27/01/2023 opening event

Nick Millington, interim route director at Network Rail Wales and Borders said:

“We want to close as many dangerous level crossings as possible, and this new footbridge shows it can be done while saving tax-payers money and without the need to disrupt passengers' journeys during installation.

“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed their time and effort to this innovative project.

“This prototype has the potential to transform railway crossings, making them safer, more affordable and fit for the future.”

Owen Thomas, R&D project manager at Network Rail said:

“Thanks to the hard work of our research and development team at Network Rail, we’ve managed to create a prototype that demonstrates the versatility of composite materials in construction on the railway.

Not only is FLOW durable and efficient but the design is also aesthetically pleasing which, I am glad to say, is the feedback we’ve had from the local community in Craven Arms.”

79-year-old Michael Starr, a local rambler, is one of many who will benefit from the new footbridge, as it forms part of a popular walking route in the village.

Michael said:

“I think the bridge is a fantastic addition to the community, providing connectivity, once again, to our beautiful local countryside.

We used to have to detour around a mile on this walking route, after the level crossing was closed, so this really makes a difference.

“Network Rail has really listened to the community and showcased something for the future while maintaining safety on the railway."
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27th January 2023

West Midlands Metro depot being extended to accommodate new trams​


Inside the Metro Depot Workshop

To accommodate an increase in the number of trams running on the West Midlands Metro, its depot at Wednesbury is being increased in size.

The network requires more trams to serve the new Westside extensions in Birmingham that opened last summer, an extension in Wolverhampton city centre that is nearing completion, and a new line to Dudley town centre that is currently under construction.

Embankment being built for the new Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill

In 2019 the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) ordered 21 new CAF Urbos 3 trams, which doubled the size of the fleet.

Eleven have already been delivered, and the rest are due to arrive later this year before the extension between Wednesbury and Dudley is completed in 2024.

Extra capacity is needed to store and maintain these trams and regional transport bosses have approved a £43 million redevelopment of its depot in Potters Lane in Wednesbury which will more than double its capacity and provide space to manoeuvre around the yard.

Construction of the depot extensions is now underway, and space has already been cleared to expand the yard and construct track to provide a direct link to the new Dudley extension.

Included in the works are extensions and improvements to the workshop and maintenance facilities, a tram wash, a new operations centre, and staff facilities to accommodate the increasing size of the workforce.

It is estimated that expansion of the network and depot will create 150 new jobs.

Development is being led by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority which owns the Metro system, and construction is being carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance, which is responsible for delivering all West Midlands Metro infrastructure.

Funding is being provided by the City Region Sustainable Funding Settlement that was awarded to the West Midlands last year.

Next to the depot, work is well advanced on constructing a junction to link the existing line between Birmingham and Wolverhampton with the new line to Dudley town centre, including constructing an incline so the new track can join the existing raised line next to the depot.

The new Dudley line includes nine stops and is scheduled to open next year, and there are plans to eventually extend the line to Brierley Hill.
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Visit to the depot works with from left: Sophie Allison (West Midlands Metro), Cllr Patrick Harley (leader of Dudley Council), Cllr Peter Hughes (Sandwell Council), Andy Street Mayor of the West Midlands, Cllr Liz Clements (Birmingham City Council), Cllr Carol Hyatt (City of Wolverhampton Council) and Lee Allen (Midland Metro Alliance).

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and West Midlands Combined Authority Chair, said:

“We need more room to accommodate even more trams so this depot extension is very welcome news.

“Construction crews are hard at work right across our region expanding our Metro network in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Sandwell, and Dudley and this depot extension helps us to meet the consequent uptick in demand that will result from the new extended network.

“Once complete, even more local residents and businesses – especially those in Dudley – will be able to benefit from a rapid, convenient and affordable alternative to the car for their journeys around the West Midlands.”

Cllr Peter Hughes, representative for Wednesbury North and cabinet member for regeneration and growth with Sandwell Council, said:

“The current and future development of the West Midlands Metro network is playing an integral role to the regeneration of Sandwell, and its six towns, providing increased access for workers, shoppers, and visitors to the region.

“With Wednesbury as the major hub to this network, it is pleasing to see the significant investment in the Metro Depot, and I am particularly pleased that the investment will create new employment opportunities. The first phase of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill line is now taking shape, with both the Wolverhampton and Birmingham extensions coming to fruition, and providing more opportunities for people to leave their car at home and help reduce carbon emissions.”

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley council, said:

“The expansion of the depot will allow us to store a bigger fleet of trams, and in turn offer more frequent services coming in and out of Dudley and Brierley Hill when the extension is completed.

“It will allow borough residents to easily get to Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. Equally importantly, it will make it much more easier for people from outside the borough to get to us and to see what we have to offer, with the economic benefits that will bring.

“I have always said it – the Metro extension is a real game changer for our borough. It will create more opportunities for people in terms of jobs, training and connectivity and today marks another important step in the right direction for the project.”

Cllr Liz Clements, cabinet member for transport at Birmingham City Council, said:

“This investment is needed because the Metro network is growing and will have benefits across the West Midlands.

“We are already benefiting from that investment through the new extension to Edgbaston Village which, having opened last year, is already proving popular with those travelling to and from Broad Street and Brindleyplace – encouraging even more people to leave their cars at home when visiting Birmingham.”

Cllr Carol Hyatt, City of Wolverhampton Council representative on the West Midlands Combined Authority’s transport delivery committee, said:

“Evidence tells us that a transport hub results in more people being able to use public transport more easily. I am proud that in Wolverhampton we have invested in our public transport creating a transport hub where train, bus and soon Metro will all be available in the same place so people can go from one to the other with ease.

“It’s great to see the work going on behind the scenes at this new depot to support Metro services with space for even more trams and better facilities for staff to keep the network moving.”
28th January 2023

Road Vehicle Ordered and Stored for ETHNON RAIL Layout Project :)

On a railway layout there are more vehicles involved apart from locomotives and rolling stock.........

These have been purchased for the layout project but are held in storage with the vendor.

ManufacturerProduct codeTitleScaleDate added to trunkQty in trunk
Atlas EditionsJB03Bedford OB - "Wallace Arnold"OO Gauge (1:76 Scale)16/12/20221

28th January 2023

Changes to services from next week to speed up Class 777 rollout on Merseyrail’s Kirkby line​


Class 777 and a Class 508

From next Monday, 30th January, changes are being made to the timetable for trains on Merseyrail’s Kirkby line to help speed-up the introduction of new Class 777 trains onto this part of the network.

For the foreseeable future, some services on weekdays, Monday to Saturday, will be cancelled.

The new trains will be in service from 06:13 until 19:35, and from 07:00 there will be three trains per hour until the normal half-hourly evening schedule starts, which runs from 19:13 to the end of service.

New Class 777 in service with Merseyrail

Until driver training has completed on this part of the network, the Kirkby line will be served by both old and new trains in the fleet, although at the moment the Class 777s will not yet be used on Sundays.

Full details of the changes and an updated timetable of trains on the Kirby line between Kirkby and Liverpool Central are available online on the Merseyrail website at
Merseyrail’s first Class 777 in operational use ran on 23rd January 2023.

They are fully electric but also have small batteries for shunting in non-electrified sidings.

A Class 777/1 variant is also electric but has a larger battery suitable for using the train in passenger service on longer-distance non-electrified lines.

Merseyrail Class 777s - First Day In Service (4K)​


Merseyrail invited RailAdvent to the first day of services for the long-awaited Class 777s

Footage on this video is from the first and second services to be operated the new trains.

We hope you enjoy!
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View from the driver’s cab of a Merseyrail Class 777

Zoe Hands, Chief Operating Officer at Merseyrail, said:

“We have been delighted with the successful launch of the new trains on the Kirkby line this week and the overwhelmingly positive reaction from our passengers.

“However, we want to crack on with the rollout to get as many new trains into passenger service as soon as possible. To do this our driver training programme will ramp up across the coming weeks.

“This does mean a reduction in the frequency of services on the Kirkby line while this happens, but we will ensure that a full timetable can be restored as soon as possible.

“Merseyrail apologises for any inconvenience that this temporary reduction in frequency will cause passengers.”
28th January 2023

Underwater surveys protect Cumbrian viaducts from river erosion​


Eden viaduct with Transpennine Express passing over the top

Train services on two major routes in Cumbria are now running faster and more reliably after the completion of work to protect three viaducts from the effects of river erosion.

The underwater foundations of the following viaducts were being gradually washed away by strong currents in the River Eden:
  • a 1940s-built concrete structure that carries goods lines on the West Coast main line in Carlisle;
  • an adjacent viaduct dating back to the Victorian-era that passenger trains use;
  • Long Meg viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle line.

Rock armour and river bank protection work at River Eden in Carlisle

Since the summer of 2021, Network Rail has invested £5.1m to protect the viaducts and has used detailed hydrographic surveys of the riverbed to plan essential maintenance.

These surveys showed the extent to which water has ‘scoured’ away the viaduct supports over time.

Recently, the rate of scouring has been accelerating alarmingly because of heavier rainfall as a result of climate change.

As a precaution trains, a reduced speed limit of 20mph was imposed on trains crossing the structures.

Repairs made to flood defences on Long Meg viaduct

The hydrographic survey used a lightweight remote-controlled boat to send GPS or echo sounders between it and the riverbed to measure the distance.

These were recorded to build a three-dimensional underwater map of the terrain which was then converted into a computer model to enable calculations to be made of exactly how much material was needed to secure the viaducts’ underwater foundations.

These procedures for riverbed surveys have now been adopted as standard for investigating other cases of significant river scour on railway structures.

River Eden LIDAR (laser imaging, detection, and ranging) scan

Because much of the work involved working in the river, Network Rail worked closely with the Environment Agency and Natural England to ensure the work had minimal impact on wildlife.

Among the measures was the development of a special mix of environmentally safe ‘non leach’ concrete that professional divers pumped into gaps in the structures that were underwater.

Work took place in two stages, with temporary repairs carried out in the summer of 2021 and final repairs last summer and autumn.

At each viaduct, huge boulders known as ‘rock armour’ were placed in the water to divert the river around the viaduct supports.

During the most recent phase of work last year, 1,850m3 or 4,000 tonnes of special setting concrete was poured, 5,000 tonnes of boulders or ‘rock armour’ were positioned in the river, and 16,800 hours of work took place.

In recent weeks, engineers have monitored the water flows at each site, and found that the upgrades are working exactly as intended.

As a result, all speed restrictions have been removed and the full line speed of up to 100mph reinstated, meaning faster journeys for passengers and freight operators.

Rob Stephens, Network Rail principal route engineer, said:

“Now the winter rains are once again swelling the River Eden our vital work to protect the three railway viaducts is being put to its first big test, and it’s great to see our improvements protecting rail passengers and freight trains.

“These projects have been challenging and have blended technological and engineering innovations alongside traditional techniques. Using new technology will be crucial as we make the railway more resilient from severe weather and our changing climate in future.”
29th January 2023

Storytime with Marcus

When I was a child I used to read these amazing stories, by the the good Rev. Audrey and the colourful illustrations by C. Reginald Dalby, which fuelled my imagination about trains.

My son is grown up now, so he doesn't appreciate my stories anymore. :lol:

But I still like to look back at them with fond memories.

Written by Awdry in 1943 to entertain his son, Christopher, who was suffering from measles at the time, this was the first book in what was to become The Railway Series.

The book tells the stories of kind Edward, pompous Gordon and foolish Henry.

So now I hereby present to you 'Edward's Day Out' the first story from the first book in The Railway Series.

I hope you enjoy it. :)


Dear friends when the three railway engines was first published in May 1945 a foreword was probably not considered.

Within six months however it became clear that the book wasn't going to be the slight affair that had perhaps been expected.

Twenty-five books were to follow, all of them with four words in a sequence that became known as the railway series and yet despite numerous reprinting, the little book which started the wheels turning, remained without a preface.

Now for this new edition, more than fifty years later, a foreword is thought appropriate.

I feel very privileged not only to have been asked to write it, but to have the chance to dedicate the books stories to the memory of my father, their creator.

~Christopher Audrey, the author's son

The book opens with Edward being given the chance to go out of his shed again after some time, much to the outrage of the others in his shed.

Following trouble with a guard who’s late, Edward has a wonderful time running through the countryside, and earns the chance to do it again the following day.
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Once upon a time, there was a little engine called Edward.

He lived in a shed with five other engines.

They were all bigger than Edward, and boasted about it.

They said:

The driver won't choose you again. He wants big strong engines like us.

Edward hadn't been out for a long time, and he began to feel sad​
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Just then, the driver and fireman came along to start work.

The driver looked at Edward and said:

What's the matter? Are you feeling sad, hmm? Would you like to come out today, hmm?

And Edward said:

Oh yes, please!

So the fireman lit the fire, and made a nice lot of steam.​

Then, the driver pulled the lever, and Edward puffed away.

Peep, peep he whistled. Look at me now

The other engines were very cross at being left behind.

Away went Edward to get some coaches.​

At last, Edward found the coaches, and they said:

Oh, please be careful, Edward. Don't bump and bang us like the other engines though.

So Edward came up to the coaches very, very gently.

And the shunter fastened the coupling.

The coaches were very pleased.

Thank you, Edward. Said the coaches That was kind. We are glad you're taking us today.

Then they went to the station where the people were waiting.

Peep, peep whistled Edward. Get in quickly please!

So the people got in quickly, and Edward waited happily for the guard to blow his whistle and wave his green flag.​

He waited, and waited, and there was no whistle, and no green flag.

Edward was getting anxious.

Peep, peep, peep, peep! Where is that guard?!

The driver and fireman asked the stationmaster. Um, have you seen the guard, hmm?

The Stationmaster said: No.

They asked the porter. Uh, have you seen the guard?

The Porter said: Uh, yes. Last night.

Edward began to get cross. Are we ever going to start?!

Just then a little boy shouted: Here he comes!

And there, the guard was running down the hill, with his flags in one hand, and a sandwich in the other.​
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He ran onto the platform, blew his whistle and jumped into his van.

Edward puffed off.

He did have a happy day.

All the children ran to wave as he went past, and he met old friends at all the stations.

He worked so hard, that the driver promised to take him out again next day.

And he told the other engines in the shed that night.

I'm going out again tomorrow. What do you think of that. hmm?

But he didn't hear what they thought, for he was so tired and happy, that he fell asleep at once.​
29th January 2023

Strikes set to disrupt Greater Anglia services on 1 and 3 February​


A 10 carriage train on the Hertford East line

Strikes by Greater Anglia employees who are members of the train drivers’ union ASLEF and train drivers who are members of the RMT union will severely disrupt train services in East Anglia on some days next week.

The unions have called for strikes to be held next Wednesday, 1st, and Friday, 3rd February.

Passengers intending to travel on those days are advised to avoid travelling if possible, if they do need to make a rail journey they should check before they travel.
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