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British Rail
 British Rail Before Privatization

In many ways Britain has been a second home. Many friends and trips. Having decided that one puts one's life in danger driving on the wrong side of the road the hard way, I've pretty much stuck to the rails. That, of course, is something made easy by the fact that despite massive cutbacks in the 1960s, trains go almost everywhere in the UK, and more so today than in many, many years.  I was fortunate to travel on British Rail a great deal in the 1980s, prior to it's 'privatization' into independent chartered operating companies and the Railtrack infrastructure company in 1994. 

Here are but a few of many photos taken and mementos gathered in those years.



The first three photos were taken in and around Paddington Station, the gateway to the West and Southwest of England, including Penzance, Bath, Bristol, Oxford, and South Wales. The trains in the first two are High Speed Trains (HST's), or, in popular parlance, '125's' because of their capacity to run at 125mph. They entered service in 1976 and remain the backbone of high speed service on non-electrified lines in many parts of the country. On long routes in the 1980s they included coaches, a buffet car and a restaurant.


The photo on the left is of a train arriving at Euston Station, which primarily served the West Coast Main Line to Liverpool, Scotland,  and North Wales, as well as Manchester. Note we say 'served'. Today, it is possible to go to many parts of Britain from all the mainline stations in London.


Here is a  night exposure at Paddington.

Below are views of Kings Cross, which served the East Coast Main Line to Scotland, Hull, and Yorkshire, and Euston.


The next two photos were taken at Liverpool Street Station, which served trains to Colchester, Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich, Harwich, King's Lynn and local stations in a very beautiful part of the country.

Below are shots taken, I believe, at Clapham Junction, which serves much of the South of England and is reportedly the busiest rail junction in the UK.

On the left is St. Pancras Station, which served the Midlands -- if you look carefully you can see Kings Cross int he background. The 1980s saw moves to privatize and spruce up food services at many stations.


The picture on the left below is the Great Northern Hotel, located between Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations. Opened in 1854 to serve railway travelers (it had equivalents at all the mainline stations), it was something of a Victorian throwback when I stayed there. Today it has been refurbished and is part of the Best Western chain. The next four photos below were taken on the line that served Colchester, Cambridge, Ely, Ipswich, Norwich, and Kings Lynn out of Liverpool Street.

On the left below is the Milton Keynes station, opened in the 1980s to serve one of Britain's 'new towns' in the Midlands.
The next three photos were taken in and near Crew, a main railway junction and shops city on the West Coast Main Line. Here trains split off to Manchester. The third of these pictures shows the abandoned Advanced Passenger Train, a failed effort begun in 1967 to produce a 155mph train that would maximize existing infrastructure as an alternative to building entirely new high speed lines, as in France. Over 20 years later one can still see the increasingly deteriorted symbol of failure from the train.

On the left is a train serving Wigan and Manchester from Southport, and on the right a Merseyrail commuter train, pulling into the Hillside Station in Southport on its run to Liverpool Lime Street. Today, trains run from Southport through Manchester to its airport and Merseyrail system has been privatized. When I last rode the line, in 2002, the old dmu's on the left were still in service for some runs.

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