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Thread: The Great Britain II - 1: London - Dawlish (50 p.)

  1. #1

    Default The Great Britain II - 1: London - Dawlish (50 p.)


    Welcome to the start of a fantastic roundtrip through Great Britain, booked based on the "Great Britain II"-special which would cross the island within 8 days behind a selection of steamers from Penzance to Kyle of Lochalsh. However, a friend and I didn't just want to chase the train, we also were planning to visit several museum railways and beautiful spots for regular traffic. That way the experience would be much more complete, and the photographic gain much higher.
    Sadly we missed the first day of the Great Britain II, since SkyEurope like always (with me) cancelled the morning flight to London.

    Our itinerary for this part:
    FCC = First Capital Connect
    GWR = First Great Western
    Vienna/Wien Mauer dep ~12:10 Strassenbahn 60 -> Hietzing
    Wien Preyergasse/Speising arr ~12:20
    Wien Speising dep 12:27 S2 -> Wien Meidling
    Wien Meidling arr 12:33
    Wien Meidling dep 12:42 S1 -> Gänserndorf
    Wien Südbahnhof arr 12:48
    Wien Süd (Ost) dep 13:05 ÖBB 1014.010 REX 7617 -> Bratislava Petržalka
    Bratislava Petržalka arr 14:03
    Bratislava Petržalka, Markova dep ~14:46 Bus 96 -> Letisko
    Bratislava Letisko arr ~15:20
    Bratislava Letisko dep 18:20 ~18:50 SkyEurope 126
    Luton Airport arr 19:40 ~20:00
    Luton Airport dep ~20:45 FCC Bus -> Luton Airport Parkway
    Luton Airport Parkway arr ~20:51
    Luton Airport Parkway dep 21:16 FCC 319 -> Brighton
    London St. Pancras arr 21:52
    Kings Cross St Pancras Underground Station dep ~22:10 Hammersmith & City Line
    Baker Street arr ~22:15
    Baker Street dep ~22:25 Hammersmith & City Line
    London Paddington arr ~22:30
    London Paddington dep 23:45 GWR 57 -> Penzance
    Exeter St. Davids arr 4:42
    Exeter St. Davids dep 5:35 GWR 142 -> Paignton
    Dawlish arr 5:55
    Dawlish dep 7:20 GWR 156 -> Penzance
    The video for this part:

    During that day the line from Vienna to Bratislava hl. st. via Marchegg was closed, so we took a train to Bratislava Petržalka. The shapely 1014.010 provided a good start for the trip as it brought us to the most densely populated spot of Slovakia.

    Different from the main station the airport bus stop isn't situated next to the railway station here, so we had to walk a bit through the partly modernized panel buildings of Petržalka. But soon we found the bus stop and boarded the modern line 96 behemoth to the airport. All other bus lines passing by were still served by older models, some still from communist times.
    At Bratislava airport, comparatively close to the city centre, the waiting rooms, which were undergoing renovation during my last flight in December, were already open to the public, so we had plenty of room to sit comfortably. The flight was also the same as in winter, it just left a little later. Equally familiar looked the many Sikhs we met after check in, because the only intercontinental flight of Bratislava was supposed to leave in the same timeframe, Air Slovakia to Amritsar. As main customers the whole airport was decorated Indian style with colourful cloths and photos on the walls. This time, however, they got bad news accompanied by free mineral water to swallow it down more easily: their flight was about to be 8 hours delayed, departure time: midnight.
    SkyEurope was quite on schedule in comparison, like most of the times when I am flying with them, the delay was just half an hour. Our plane proved to be an old Air Slovakia 737-300, quite different from December where the usual new SkyEurope 737-700s were flying. This seemed to be a recent development as a slip of the tongue by the crew revealed: "Welcome to the Air Slov... äh SkyEurope flight..." On a visit to the toilet I could uncover the final mystery of the plane: according to some stickers it was a second-hand (or now third-hand) plane of KLM!

    A flight towards the sun during sunset provides of course some nice moods

    At London Luton everything went smoothly, other than in December we got our luggage quickly, and soon we had our "freedom" back. From the airport to Airport Parkway railway station we took the already known articulated busses run by First, which rank high among my favourite busses as they aren't too unsimilar to trains. The interior is rather cathedral-like, the driver's cab doesn't have to fear comparison to those of modern trains. We also sighted this type of bus in York city traffic.
    At Luton Airport Parkway I still had to collect my tickets from the machine because my BritRail Consecutive Pass for 230€ was only valid for eight days, but we were here for nine (and this was the shortest day). Then we waited for the next train to London St. Pancras.

    Impression of a departing First Capital Connect class 319 local train

    Luton Airport Parkway is located at the Midland Mainline, the express services are run by newer East Midlands Class 222s and older HSTs

    Arrived at the beautifully renovated trainshed of London St. Pancras. However, by First Capital Connect train you only reach the subterranean Thameslink platforms. The only drawback to this great building: only a handful of EuroStar trains are actually stopping inside, and those are sealed off from the outside world by an, at least see-through, security barrier.

    The East Midlands Trains terminal is formed unglamorously of concrete platforms outside the trainshed. However, with the reconstruction of the Thameslink line until the Olympic year 2012 some of these trains will be crossing London towards the south instead of ending here.

    Below the shed lies the mandatory shopping arcade

    A few last customers at the champagne bar

    This statue of John Betjeman reminds of his role in keeping this station alive

    Lady in White

    After some short impressions of St. Pancras we moved on to the underground station Kings Cross - St. Pancras and took the Hammersmith & City line towards Paddington, where the Riviera Sleeper was already waiting for us.

    London Tube - pop art style

    A short photo stop at... guess where?

    The lovely rustic Baker Street station

    A train formed of "C Stock" departs with plenty of sparks flying

    On to Paddington

    Mind the gap!!

    ((((Keep Left) Keep Left) Keep Left) Keep Left)^10!!!!

    Evening at my favourite London station Paddington (not just because of the bear! )

    Steps through the night

    The last HST of the day

    After a short provisions stop at Upper Crust (which isn't bad, but it also isn't really British food...) we boarded the Riviera Sleeper pulled by First Great Western 57602 "Restormel Castle" (Class 57 is a class 47 with GM-engine) and sat down inside the reclining seat coach where we had reserved seats (two years ago it was still a normal seating coach). Soon we weren't alone anymore as a group of female teenagers was taking their places next to us. At least they let us keep our four seats, but other than that we could rejoice over choir arrangements of all the greatest hits. Especially the voices of some soloists turned out to be rather shrill. Normally, British English proves to be a quite soft language, but the south western approximation to the American doesn't bode well for the pitch of voice. Luckily, everyone gets tired at some point, so we still could spend a comfortable albeit short night in the reclining chairs.

    Early morning at Exeter depot, bustling with seemingly many more class 142 railbusses than two years ago. Some still carried a Northern-star livery.

    At least to Paignton I definitely didn't spot any 142s...

    OK, OK, I won't drink the HST coolant! ;D

    The first HST of the day is being shunted onto the platform track

    window reflections

    Now we stepped on the 142 towards Paignton to get to Dawlish. The interior still is prefectly railbus-like.

    Arrived at Dawlish after a short ride, the one-axled bogies provided a surprisingly smooth feeling. The riveted exterior of the railbus adds to the whole rustic experience.

    CrossCountry Voyager to Edinburgh approaches along the coast before sunrise

    How often do you catch a flying seagull at night? (Who can spot it?)

    On the footbridge of Dawlish station it is uncertain how much rust has gnawed off or how much sea salt has added to it

    HST Plymouth - London Paddington, stopping at 6:23 a.m. in Dawlish, with nice wave. Sadly the sunrise was blocked by a cloud bank to the east. But even like that it was a great mood!

    The next local to Paignton came with class 150 as known from earlier years

    Again a HST Plymouth - London at the next cove towards the west

    Finally the sun has worked its way up above the clouds

    And our 142s return from Paignton in sunlight

    View into the other direction with beach huts and train in the background

    The next eastbound CrossCountry Super Voyager, Fido picks up the chase

    Senseless, return!

    In full gallop back

    An appropriate good-bye picture from Dawlish with nice spray

    So, we made it to the minute to catch a train in sunlight and the 7:20 on to Totnes, together with some other waiting passengers!

    Up-to-date on Twitter: https://twitter.com/raildata_info @raildata_info
    Roni's trip reports and videos:


  2. Default

    I love the story. It takes me back to my post-college back packing trip around Europe. Often day blended into the night and night back into the day. Did you make it down to Penzance or have to cancel because of the missed flight? I was hoping to see pictures of the station in Penzance at the end of the line since I was there a couple of years ago.

  3. #3



    Thanks a lot, glad you like it!

    Sorry, no, but it was never planned to get all the way to Penzance.
    However, I took a video there in 1995:

    Up-to-date on Twitter: https://twitter.com/raildata_info @raildata_info
    Roni's trip reports and videos:


  4. #4


    More WOW images from Ronik. Bravo - more new angles and ideas for me to attempt. Very nice.
    - Rosco

    RailroadForums.com Moderator

    - Trackside-Photography.com -

    - My Railpictures.net -

  5. #5


    Wow Ronik! Great stuff. What is the equipment you use to grab these great shots?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Canyon, TX


    As usual Jaw dropping stuff from you Roni! You capture so much more than just the trains that it's simply astonishing.
    I never get tired of looking at your stuff. Thanks for sharing these with us!
    ~Nick A.

    RRF Photo Contest Coordinator

    -My Railpictures Collection-

  7. #7



    Thanks again, guys! :-)

    Currently I use a Canon 30D with Tamron 28-75 2.8, Sigma 10-20 and Sigma 70-200 2.8 lenses.

    Up-to-date on Twitter: https://twitter.com/raildata_info @raildata_info
    Roni's trip reports and videos:


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