The Railway Touring Club

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  • Flitch Way

    Colonel of Truth mentioned this a while ago. I had a vague plan of riding along it over the week-end but then couldn't be bothered with trying to find the entrances in Great Dunmow. Unfortunately, the route of the Flitch Way has been disrupted there by the A120; more short-sighted road-building on what seems like a still good and (potentially future) viable railway alignment. Here's a map of the Flitch Way (PDF):

    http://www.visitparks.co.uk/media/1035/t­he-flitch-way-map.pdf

    I assume many reading this thread will be glad that the huge Brook Green development proposal that would have threatened the alignment has been dismissed:

    https://nobrookgreen.co.uk/2019/06/13/br­ook-green-appeal-dismissed/

    Here's the web-site of the Friends of the Flitch Way:

    https://www.friends-of-the-flitch-way.or­g.uk/

    On Rayne Station, apparently once a very busy station on this line:

    http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/r/ray­ne/

    And here's the web-site of the café at Rayne Station that Colonel of Truth mentioned:

    https://www.thebookinghall.co.uk/

    The Flitch Way seems to be in decent condition apart from the need for a diversion around Great Dunmow, so would probably make for a good little excursion. I would mention in passing that the map above makes public houses along the line a very prominent cartographical feature.

  • Moved to Edinburgh on Friday.

    Took the dogs out for a ramble around the local area and chanced upon Rodney Street and Scotland Street tunnels which is nice.

    I knew Edinburgh's old lines had been mostly kept as mixed use paths but didn't know there were tunnels in use as well!

    Also found an amazing bridge as the line goes over the brilliantly overgrown Warriston Cemetery

  • Finally got out on a ‘full’ railway tour in Edinburgh last night, courtesy of @cupcakes

    https://strava.app.link/KcqaPkoj72

    Started off with the Innocent Railway and then looked around five ways on nearly all of the old lines that ran out of Haymarket/the demolished Princes Street station.

    Needless to say, @Cupcakes has earned his RTC stickers and theres the promise of more railways adventures!

    Riccarton Junction has been mentioned and loads of lines left to explore in the city.


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  • Jings, This caught my eye as I was looking for a 650C tyre ....‘Railwayman’s Touring Club’!

    > However in the foreword it mentions that Martins father was in the ‘Railwayman’s Touring Club’ which sounded interesting. I have found nothing online about it, apart from pin badges on eBay, that I couldn’t resist buying for 99p.<

    My Dad worked on the railways all his life and retired as the Chief Ticket Inspector for Scotland. Most of my child hood holidays were spent on ‘Railwayman’s Touring Club’ holidays which I guess were the precursor to international package holidays back in the mid 60's.
    At that time rail workers could apply for a number of free rail passes for them selfs and families that were valid on a reciprocal basis with European Railways and the ‘Railwayman’s Touring Club’ organised set tours by rail across Europe using these passes . This made continental holidays affordable and familiar (being on trains) for working class people who would never have considered traveling across Europe, a decade before UK even joined the EEC !
    The interesting thing was that a fortnights tour might only have a night or two in a hotel every few days that had been pre booked. The rest of the time was spent on the trains utilising overnight sleepers with stops at Cities and resorts where we would change lines and carriers at main rail hubs from memory in places like Aachen and Interlaken .
    It was often a mix of palatial luxury and freight class transport.

    The thing I really remember was the camaraderie between the railmen on holiday and the railmen working on the trains and the look on the faces of the ordinary passengers as they tried to figure out what was special about our group as they were treated to meals when there was no dining car and had advance access to the coaches as they came in to the station.

    I only wish I had been a bit older to appreciate all the places I have passed through on the train !
    I remember a note being sent home to my folks after the summer holidays from school telling my parents to speak to me about making up stories about foreign travel and the delight of my dad writing back to say that I had been in Rome and Florence during the holidays as well as London and Ostend..... smug for a 7 year old does not cover it :-)
    I have boxes of Kodachrome slides and a few of the enamelled badges that won't be going Ebay....


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  • That's amazing, thanks for the information as I haven't been able to find much out about it (my googlesense is weak mind). The whole thing sounds like a great adventure and its nice to hear of the camaraderie, which I do think still exists on the Railways to a lesser extent. The part about the School thinking you were making it up is brilliant!!

    Which station was your dad based at when he was Chief Ticket Inspector, out of interest?

    You could do a Rough Stuff Archive style set up with the Kodachrome slides, I'm sure there are some incredible images in there of a largely lost world.

  • What Ecobeard said, thanks for sharing

  • This is heartening. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nice thread, have enjoyed browsing it.

    Sadly one of the useful ex-rail routes here in MCR is becoming one to avoid. There have been lots of incidents like this over the past couple of years, not just affecting cyclists.


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  • Ticked off a few more in and around Edinburgh this weekend

    Firstly I trailed out to Longniddry on the well beaten road to North Berwick. There were lots of singles out and no groups, which was good to see. Just past Longniddry station, you can turn under the current ECML (through a really cool small bridge which still has the setts under it). You then pop out into what used to be the junction and a railway cottage remains there, in good order.

    The line was a 4.8mile branch, opened in 1846 by the North British Railway, after the residents of Haddington lost their shit about the ECML not passing directly through their town. It was well used by passengers and goods until the `20's, but closed to passengers in the 1930's after the A1 proved to good a competitor. The line was closed to goods in 1968 and East Lothian Council bought the track bed in 1978.

    I didn't realise under I got on the alignment that its a climb on a 1 in 66 until the 3 mile post, its an easy grade and the past is cinders with a hint of mud, there are still mileage posts and bridges intact and in all its a really usable bit of line that gets you to Haddington quickly.

    Once you get under the A1, the path is tarmaced into the the town its self, but just past the old sidings the path stops and even though the cutting continues away under the road bridge a mile out of town, the path hasn't been carried on. There is a group, amazingly called RAGES (Rail Action Group East of Scotland), who want to reopen the line, but I'm not sure its economically viable with the terminus gone, the A1 obliterating the alignment and ECML congestion. As a bike ride though, its bloody lovely.

    After a decent tour around the East Lothian countryside, I banged it back into town, but I had planned on using a bit of the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway path that I hadnt been on yet. All tarmaced and a quick way from South Leith up to Abbeyhill.

    Edinburgh has so many old railway lines that are really useful links, its incredible, but what is then equally incredible is that the cycling provision through the city centre is utter shite.

    Next up, A bit of Pentcaitland and also some Penicuik, which has a tunnel!


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The Railway Touring Club

Posted by Avatar for Ecobeard @Ecobeard

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