Thursday, 11 November 2010

Wansford and the Nene Valley Railway

Wansford Railway station, GJC_IMG_0064

Wansford station is the headquarters for the Nene Valley railway and is situated about 7 miles (11 km) west of Peterborough near the terminus.

I booked a train ticket with East Coast trains to Peterborough a few months earlier while the prices were low for todays ( 2nd October ) Diesel Gala event.

Class 37 37275 GJC_IMG_0110

Readers of this blog will know that I occasionally follow the Class 37 locomotive for nostalgia and travel variety purposes. I didn't know whether the 'on loan' class 37 was going to operate as the locomotive roster was not available at the time of booking, so I was prepared for a day out in Peterborough (afternoon trip - blog post part 2 ). It so happened that the locomotive in question was elsewhere on other duties but the railway managed to invite another one for the event the Severn Valley railway in Shropshire / Worcestershire. It has since moved to pastures new in Devon.

Tracks GJC_IMG_0092
Track Artwork

Class 37 906 GJC_IMG_0093

Door and Window GJC_IMG_0021

The small country village of Wansford although a little picturesque in parts, is not that significant with a church and a few hotels. As I was on a tight schedule, I apologise that I didn't have time to walk into the village from the station to photographically document it for you (Google images may satisfy your curiosity on that one). There were however a few nearby houses of interest.

Wansford country car park GJC_IMG_0016

The delightful peaceful scene of relaxation above..... 'dreaming' ..........   about living in a house in the country is matched by........turning my camera 90 degrees to the right and observing the temporary NVR car park !! .....

James Bond connection GJC_IMG_9980 - Version 2

 The NVR is an ideal location for the production of films involving railway scenes and it's most famous moment, as I was reminded in the booking office, was the making of the James Bond film Golden Eye.

Signal box GJC_IMG_0048

Signal Gantry, GJC_IMG_0066

 The section of railway that the NVR now owns was originally opened in 1845. Wansford station grew in importance towards the latter half of the 19th century when more railway lines were constructed nearby and it became a significant railway junction.

Signal Box GJC_IMG_0015_edited-1 (1)

Consequently the signal box and station buildings are in various stages of preservation.

Cycle GJC_IMG_0026

Station windows, GJC_IMG_0065

Some parts of the building are in good condition whilst others seem to require the services of a structural engineer....

Door GJC_IMG_0046 - Version 2
"Leaning door of Wansford"

Unfortunately as with most country railways in Great Britain, the line closed to passenger traffic in 1964 and was one of the last railways to be closed by the infamous government assistant "anti train / pro car" Dr Beeching. Freight services continued up to 1972 when the railway was finally closed.
It didn't take long before plans were in place to purchase the railway in 1974 and it took another three years hard work to re-establish a passenger train.

Door and Cycle GJC_IMG_0044

There was initially a problem with purchasing suitable locomotives and coaches, so the railway took an unusual step of using something a bit more continental and the first train was operated by a French and Swedish engine.

Red coach and bucket GJC_IMG_0030

As the railway expanded, the scene became a little confused with a mixture of everything European which in a sense became a blessing in disguise as the railway is often chosen for appropriate TV and film dramas such as the remake of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. The railway finally reached Peterborough in the east during 1986 with a short extension west of Wansford to Yarwell in 2007.

Locomotive ShedGJC_IMG_0050

I found the morning in Wansford quite photographically interesting as I showed extreme patience in waiting for the specific locomotive on the left to come out of the engine shed and work a train.

Class 37 37906 GJC_IMG_0067 (2)

Wansford Cafe, GJC_IMG_0060

Meanwhile, It was an ideal opportunity to get an early lunch and make sure that I spoke nicely to the cook in the station restaurant.

Cafe, GJC_IMG_0057

On days like this, I often share my journey with unusual and bizarre passengers but as fate would have it, I was more worried that my destination was not going to be Peterborough !! ...

Euro coach GJC_IMG_0036

part 2 Peterborough..... coming soon.....


  1. In the early 70s, I used to go train spotting at Toton sidings (it was a huge marshalling yard with constant activity), near Nottingham and there were lots of class 37s, I think I nearly saw them all. Your pictures brought back memories, like seeing my first "Western" at Reading station. After leaving school I first worked at the Brush, Loughborough, and they were still building locos for the overseas market. I remember seeing the Falcon a couple of times. My favourites were the Deltics and I saw them all a number of times.

  2. Another education for me as I never knew it existed. You couldn't have had a better day for photographs.

  3. such wonderful pictures with a great accompanying post. hope your week is going well.

  4. P.S. I checked your London report and I envy you for having a far much better weather than mine for watching the Millenium Bridge :)

  5. Sorry, it seems my first comment didn't show up. I wrote that I like the leaning door and the yellow one, with the red ivy. Everything has such a nostalgic air.

  6. These photos are so charming. I love the yellow door and I must say that the car parking is crazy!

  7. Very good photo report! I like the pictures very much.
    It is a good place :-)

  8. Many beautiful buildings here.
    Have a nice weekend:)
    Greetings, Berit.

  9. Interesting post and great pictures.Greetings Andrzej.

  10. Great pics... Loved the track artwork and the yellow door!!
    Have a nice day:)

  11. Nostalgic pictures.. I haven't seen a train for
    thousand years, ha.
    Greetings from Athens.

  12. Interesting post! The Wansford train station is beautiful.

  13. Hi Jay. Thanks so much for stopping by this morning and leaving such a nice compliment.

    Wow, I love your work too! These are all fabulous and very interesting shots.

    I am here to grab your link as you were the very 1st to leave a comment. Also I want to add you to my blogroll so I can keep up with you!!

    Beautiful shots all of them!!
    Happy weekend,

  14. What a beautiful railway station! And I love the cottage (but not its view!)

    A most interesting post.

  15. So I see now that we were only 37 miles from the railway station when we were in Cambridge. Sigh. There is SO much to see in England (and so much to miss). I could watch trains all day, and would love the sight of all those trains at the engine shed. What beautiful photos!

    Re. your comment on the Edmund Fitzgerald, yes, Lake Superior is huge. And actually England and Wisconsin are about the same size. After the hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, a friend of mine from England asked about us. I reminded her that we were as far from New Orleans as they were from Gibraltar. No kidding.

    Thanks for the great train post!

  16. Very good pictures and a great blog!!!
    Thanks for youre visit, see you!

  17. Thanks for the nice comment on my last post.
    I like trains and everything around them.

  18. beautiful images...i like the train station

  19. Although Japan is advanced in railways we never have such a charming station. I wish to travel in Europe.

  20. Delightful post. I, too, liked the leaning door and the yellow one, but I really enjoyed the off-beat "passenger!"
    Thanks for the visit!

  21. You live on the edge taking some of those Photo's! I take it the train was not moving or have you a very long zoom?
    If the SVR doesn't get the votes, I can see us taking a visit some time.
    The tracks do make for interesting photos.
    Thanks for the trip.

  22. i love train rides, somehow i feel like a kid going on an adventure. choo choo!!!!

    am i will be going one (hopefully it happens), called THE GHAN in OZ outback.

  23. I really enjoyed this post, especially the background on the railway. It's wonderful that they found a way to keep it alive.

  24. Seems like a wonderful trip! How could it not be while riding through the countryside on a train!! I just love your picturs of the architecture also.
    Have a fabulous day!

  25. Oh. And I happen to love doors and windows and architectural detail...and trains. Thanks for your comment on my unpredictable 'smoking' post. It was just something I heard that day that really irritated me and I was compelled to write about it. Re. health, exercise, food, etc: I wish more people knew that the great American plan funded by the US Department of Agriculture to get people to eat more grains also caused an increase in obesity, for everyone thought they could eat all the carbohydrates they wanted. I am always amazed at how uneducated people are re. the food they eat. They're so afraid to eat eggs and other foods with fats, yet they need fats to make their brains work (explains a lot, huh). They cut way back on protein and load up with carbs. No wonder when I was returning to the U.S. from London, I noticed a remarkable difference when I reached our gate at the airport. It's where all the fat people were sitting!

    Anyway, whenever our government comes up with a 'health plan' for Americans, you can always follow the money. Trustworthy advice I once got from Miss Marple! :-)

  26. Oh. Regarding smoking, my husband just reminded me that 'if there were any other single product that caused over 400,000 premature deaths a year in the U.S., you better believe the government would call it a 'deadly poison' and ban it. However, the federal, state, and local governments collect billions of dollars in tax revenue from tobacco sales. So we take it with a grain of salt that the government would like people to stop smoking.' (Kevin wanted to get his 2 cents worth in here). :-) Like I said before, 'follow the money!'

  27. Bonjour!
    Your pictures are excellent!I specially love that composition picture with the bike!Amazing!
    Have a nice Sunday and thanks so much for your kind visit and comment in Bonjour Luxembourg.

  28. Well, I have no enough space here to write about your trains and your journey...and my trains...
    Always was thinking that I live like on a platform...
    Life itself is a transit state between birth and death ... a platform where struggling to occupy a seat in a train ... we 're happy that we got a place in 1s class or at the window ... another is upset that he remained standing in the aisle ... Others fail to catch any of stairs, remain on the platform to wait for the next train ... And each forgets, perhaps, one thing ... that these trains are going nowhere ... who occupied a window seat is not known, the equal standing at the aisle until the next train coming ... eventually we will all meet somewhere in the desert, where even the self is transformed into sand ...
    Eh, sorry...train always make me think...ha ha
    Next week I will sleep in a railway station (maybe in 7th or 8th photo...)
    See you soon!

  29. I liked this text, I find very interesting and your photos are beautiful, it's of better in better !
    I have some preferences but they are all beautiful and some very original ! bravo J !!

    Bye :))

  30. Colin Griffiths... Thanks, pleased I jogged your memory. My affiliation started with the class 37s when i was a child and they used to go past the local park playground hauling coal trains. We used to run to the fence and see them as the noise was so great that we heard them 1/4 mile away before they were seen. When I left school, a lot of us travelled to Durham to catch them working summer timetabled trains from Blackpool and Scarborough, it was a natural progression as a tourist, walker and traveller to try and cover most of the Scottish network on a rover ticket as they worked regular passenger trains there. Sadly, in my opinion only "buses" work on the tracks now. I was too young to remember Westerns and only saw them later at events like this way outside the zone they were plying their trade in.

    Adrian... Thanks, this is only the second time I have been here and I was pleased that I had more time. The weather clouded over during the afternoon but didn't affect this set thankfully.

    Life Ramblings... thanks, pleased you liked the pictures and text, nice to see you here. I've currently saved you on RSS feed for the moment and watching your pages.

    Travelling Hawk... Thanks, I'm sorry I didn't put more London pictures on around the bridge but I visited a lot of areas that day and enjoyed doing my story during the later part of the day. It is difficult to believe that the leaning door and yellow door are so close to each other.

    Farmchick... I did like the yellow door too and I was shocked to see the cars parked all the way up the road and in both directions in such a quiet country place.

    Mr Paparazzo... Thanks, I've added you to my RSS feed for the moment, so I am watching your blog.

    Berit... Thanks for stopping by and your comments, have a great week.

    Pietrzyk... Thanks, pleased you liked them, you work is better though.

    Arti... Thanks for visiting, we share the interest in photographing doors!!

    Bitch... Thanks, Hope it brings back some memories for you all those years ago!!

    Diane AZ... Thanks, Wansford station was like stepping back in time into a train set with model buildings that you would buy from a model shop.

    Shinade... Thanks for stopping by and signing up, I'm now watching you in RSS for the moment. I can't remember or worked out how I logged into your page.

    Vicki Lane... Thanks, yes, everything nice except the view.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, It's impossible to see everything in the UK, In a sense I don't set out to be a bit different by choosing unusual places to visit, I had loosely planned to go to them all anyway and is more a documentary diary of my travels. I share your interest in architectural detail then &... there's not a gram of flesh on Miss Marple !

    Andras... Thanks and nice to see you here, catch you again soon.

    DUTA... Thanks, as you may have guessed from an earlier reply that i have grown up with trains.

    Cimpoaca Laurentiu... thanks, hope my photography was relaxing and pleasing to the eye in this post for you.

    Masa... I'm sure your country could teach us a lot about how to run a railway. This one that you saw here seems to be more of a hobby / interest for some.

    Dimple... Thanks, I couldn't believe my luck when I saw the off beat passenger, it worked a treat.

  31. George the Lad... Thanks, I didn't want to bore people with pictures of trains as everyone was taking them today and wanted something a little different. The tracks were a good excuse to take two of them. The first one was taken at the Peterborough end of the line as I was leaving and the engine shed was from behind a level crossing gate... I liked the idea of crouching low for the shot to give more atmosphere.

    Lily Riani... Thanks, adventure ... yes i agree. Hope your train trip to Oz goes well. I remember watching a DVD of a trip across Australia, it was very ethereal and days. I can't quite take the scale of that in living here in the UK.

    JoLynne Lyon... Thanks, there always seems to be something of interest hidden in most places, I suppose it's a question of digging it out. I've always known about it being a European style train film set with the production of James Bond's Golden Eye and Octopussy (train scenes only) but I didn't know the background of the railway station.

    Debbie Smith... thanks, pleased you enjoyed the ride although the journey wasn't as long as the one you took.

    Cezar and Leia... Thanks for popping over, I liked the one of the bike too. I tried several angles, straight on from the other side of the platform etc , but this one seemed to work better.

    Wind... Thats very deep Wind, I like your style... but like a tennis player striking a serve, I have been told before about being too cryptic (deep)...and so I return the ball back over the net....
    I think I am fortunate to take my place on the train in 2nd class, I'm not sure if I have a window seat or not but it is somewhere in between hard and comfortable but not certainly not luxury. Unfortunately my ticket is not facing the front and it has been a bumpy ride recently. At the moment, although there is nothing wrong with the train, it has stopped at a red light. I have a view of some nice flat fields although not a lot in them. There are a few trees in the background but it's difficult to make out which ones they are from where I am sitting.
    Hey, your destination doesn't seem great, maybe you should change trains at the next station !! Maybe look for the one that might not be that well advertised in the timetable laeving from the platform at the back of the station, not many people see.... a mystery tour but a great ending....
    Hey, I'd thought I would say... that's not me in the last photo by the way !!!!

    Mahon... Thanks Mahon, I always have you in mind when I put the final edit on here. As you know, depending on the type of travel day that I'm on, sometimes it is either easier or more difficult to insert interesting pictures.

  32. Very beautiful photos of the trains (I like trains), and the one of the yellow door (plenty of light), the las one with the teddy bear and train is funny

  33. Felisa... Thanks for your comment, I had great fun editing this post. I never dreamt that there would be such variety from this ... or to even have a post from here at all. Before arriving, I thought that there was only going to to be enough material for a Peterborough post. I'm pleased that you enjoyed it.


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