The Severn Valley Railway (SVR) is a heritage railway in Shropshire and Worcestershire, England. The 16-mile heritage line runs along the Severn Valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster is a railroad I have been on on a visit to Blighty. I haven’t been on the lighted train alas.
Steam in lights or the train of lights is a big hit on the heritage railway scene and thankfully steam services have once again have returned to the SVR after the ending of Lockdown #2 ! Fortunately for the railway they’ve been placed into tier two restrictions post lockdown so they’re now available to run public services and right at the crucial time as the Hol;oday Season is huge for Preserved Railways, though we do have to spare a thought for the other preserved railways who find themselves in highest tier of Covid restrictions and have had to close. The steam in lights train is aimed at families and offers an hour round trip from Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade, the brightly lit train is computer controlled from the carriage directly behind the steam engine and also plays music throughout the train, due to the short distance between stations and being a 60 minute ride the train runs very slowly. Shades of the Skunk Train.
Early on in the pandemic I read three books about the occupation of India by the British. The British rule, to say the least, was extremely unkind. I put on my list of vids to find one about trains that crossed the border between India and Pakistan.
On 15 August 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan (later Islamic Republic of Pakistan), with Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the governor-general; and the Dominion of India, (later Republic of India) with Jawaharlal Nehru as the prime minister, and the viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, staying on as its first governor-general came into being.
The great majority of Indians remained in place with independence, but in border areas millions of people (Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu) relocated across the newly drawn borders. In Punjab, where the new border lines divided the Sikh regions in half, there was much bloodshed; in Bengal and Bihar, where Gandhi’s presence assuaged communal tempers, the violence was more limited. In all, somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 people on both sides of the new borders, among both the refugee and resident populations of the three faiths, died in the violence. Other estimates of the number of deaths are as high as 1,500,000.
This vid is not so much about a train ride but an exploration of the impact of the partition of India and Pakistan. The vid lasts 59 minutes
Whilst located in Montreal I was assigned to work three times in Geneve, Switzerland – each time for about six weeks. The Swiss believe in their weekends. Friday afternoon at 5 pm the safe, the doors are locked and that’s yer lot till Monday at 8 am. My auditing group couldn’t use the peace and quiet of the weekends to get some serious ticking and bopping in. So, we went on trips. In my case railroad trips.
In these ghastly times I have been roaming the world riding railroads on the internet. Early on in the pandemic I re-visited the two cog and rack railroads in the USA and the one in Wales. I think I covered all the cog and rack/rack and pinion railroads except this one. I think I didn’t pursue it ‘cos it used a steam loco and I wanted to save the best till last.
Furka Pass, with an elevation of 7,969 ft. is a high mountain pass in the Swiss Alps connecting Gletsch, Valais with Realp, Uri. The Furka Pass was used as a location in the James Bond film Goldfinger. One curve on the east side of the pass is even named “James Bond Strasse”. Where is it in relation to Geneve? Here’s a map to help orient you:
Map showing location of Frka Pass in relation to Geneve
Here are a few pics to whet your appetite!!
Crossing one of the many bridges
Snow plow on the line
The loco that does all the work
So, are you ready to take a ride?
I enjoyed the ride. Did you?
Alas, I didn’t ride the real thing – I was in Geneve at the end of the winter.
I only know about this from a heads up by Basil Casabona one of our club members.
Ukiah isn’t very far from where we live in Fort Bragg – 34 miles to be more or less exact. In Ukiah is the Vectorr train – a new affordable high-speed rail technology.
Flight Rail Corporation has built an elevated high-speed rail system propelled by air pressure within a sealed power tube underneath the train. Power is supplied by stationary vacuum power systems located along the line, as far as 50 miles apart. The patented system is projected to operate at speeds in excess of 200 mph and to climb grades as steep as 10%, more than three times steeper than a conventional train can climb. Flight Rail has built a 1/6 scale working prototype of the train to demonstrate their technology in practice. They call it VECTORRTM, and it is currently operating on a 2,095 foot (638 m) outdoor test guideway in Ukiah Mendocino County, California.
We drink a lot of tea. We don’t drink American tea – ghastly stuff. We drink teas that originate in England. Much of English tea originates in Ceylon. So, I thought to myself see if you can visit by train – And you can!!!!
I arrived in North America in 1968 and immediately went to work in Ottawa, Canada. Once the “busy season” was over I was asked to move to Montreal. I had been there for a couple of days when I was asked if I would go “down east” to Halifax to help in the office there = “No prob.” Winter was approaching so i opted to leave my new Beetle in Montreal. I heard some horrifica stories (no doubt meant to scare me) of flying an egg beater (DC3) which popped rivets from the wings (they said). So train it was.
When I got to the Montreal Station for a 5 pm kick off I was horrified to find that my sleeper was in a battered coach. Two engineers were working on the heating piped from the steam loco. The service was nice (albeit) in Joual – the name (I found out) for working class french. The loco and consist rattled through the night juddering to a stop several times. The breakfast was an enormous plate of pommes frites, oeufs and jambon. Somebody obviously felt I was hungry. The day part of the trip – what I saw of it through the sleeting rain – along the side of the St. Lawrence gave me a notion of the vastness of Canada.
I have never been to Iran. Never had any real interest in going absent going to 3,000 year old ruins. I do have Iranian relatives so when this vid came up on the radar I decided I could spend 42 minutes of my waning years visiting Iran – provided I could sit at my desk and go and I could go by train. So, here is the next installment of my around the world visits to places/railroads that I don’t think I’ll ever get to go to see.
In my last blog I regaled you poor souls with one of the places I “visited” on my internet world tour of trains. Here’s another one – Uyuni, Bolivia.
Just outside the city of Uyuni, in southwestern Bolivia, dozens of abandoned steam trains are scattered around as if a giant child dropped them there. The “cemetery” marked only by a small sign that explains very little, has become a minor attraction for tourists visiting the nearby Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. The trains have been buffeted by wind for decades. The salt laden wind, in part, emanates from flowing over an enormous natural stockpile of salt. They’re rusted out, long ago stripped for useful parts. Covered in graffiti—some of it pretty good—they’re strangely beautiful relics of an industry left behind.