Friday, 7 October 2011

S&C to Buxton & Trouts!

Had to dash to Buxton library this morning in the face of a potential fine for not returning a book. The tome was on the subject of model railway layout design by the respected author Iain Rice. Realistic Railway Modelling (Haynes) is a good read with lots of great ideas and I’d renewed it up to my limit over the past few months. In fact, I liked it so much that I’ve decided to order myself a copy from Amazon!

An amusing feature of the train journey was the fact that the Class 156 was adorned with vinyls advertising my beloved Settle-Carlisle line and the tabletops inside featured illustrated maps of the route! While I love the ride to Buxton, especially the section between New Mills and Dove Holes, it did make me long for a ride up to Dent or Garsdale.

While the S&C services have been ‘upgraded’ to Class 158 traction, I’ve missed the 156s on that route. They may be noisy but at least you can open the windows and I find that the sealed, air-conditioned(!) 158s somehow insulate you from the surroundings. Indeed, last time I was up in the Fells, the train I caught back from Dent had a 153 attached to the 158 unit, so I opted for a seat in the rickety single car.

There was only a few young blokes for company and I initially assumed that all the other passengers had opted for the relative comfort of the 158 cars, until I realized that said group of youngsters were getting tanked-up noisily on super-strength cider. But no matter, they turned out to be a quite pleasant and witty group of Leeds Utd fans and was a pleasant alternative to the ‘blue rinse’ brigade listening to the on-train guide in the ‘posh seats’.

I don’t mean to sound like a miserable old so and so, but as a regular S&C traveller, the tourist nature of many of the trains is a bit tiresome. I’d rather it was treated like a proper train service. But I suppose it’s more important to get bums on seats, even if many of them are being transferred from a coach at Settle to another one at Appleby or wherever; many of them not ever considering train travel for any other purpose than a novelty trip. Once you’ve overheard the same story about Ribblehead for the hundredth time, all you want to do is plug in your Ipod and turn AC/DC up to full volume!!

Anyway, I arrived home to find a parcel from Model Rail HQ in the hall, containing a few of the brand new Hornby 'Trout' ballast hoppers. They're real beauties and I'll be putting them under the microscope for a full review in the magazine ASAP. I love the olive green version (also received a 3-set of weathered wagons), although the S&C theme continues with the NE branded hopper that has some delightful lettering proclaiming "EMPTY TO APPLEBY SLAG HEAP".


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