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24 Hour Time Machine

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Chorley Cake

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OK, so you have one day in time you can go back to. When would it be and where would you go to ? What time of year ? Weather conditions ?Would you travel from place to place or just stand on a platform watching ? Would you revisit your own experiences or go back further ? No mixing eras or creating an impossible day (has to have been doable). Can be visiting multiple depots in a car if you wish.
 
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30907

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OK, so you have one day in time you can go back to. When would it be and where would you go to ? What time of year ? Weather conditions ?Would you travel from place to place or just stand on a platform watching ? Would you revisit your own experiences or go back further ? No mixing eras or creating an impossible day (has to have been doable). Can be visiting multiple depots in a car if you wish.
I think I would spend a day on the Southern out of Waterloo around 1965 - my real railway regret is that by then I was into London buses (well, it was a cheap hobby....) and didn't trek over to Raynes Park on Saturdays after school.
Just an organised visit to Nine Elms, and a couple of summer holiday journeys back from the coast :(
 

Chorley Cake

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3) Reading circa 1970. Hydraulics, mixed freight, dmus etc
2) Weaver Junction 1980 (used to do this every Friday evening with my late dad) Early electrics, APT, 40s, 25s, then a trip to Reddish and Guide Bridge.

But the winner
1) Yorkshire circa 1978. Start off at Tinsley, then on to Doncaster for a Deltic afternoon followed by a trip round the works, picking up multiple loco types from across the regions.
 

yorksrob

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I would do the famous "Long Thin Drag" railtour taking a Hastings thumper up the Settle & Carlisle in 1986.

Combining two of my favourite things - classic Southern Region traction and classic Northern territory.
 

Harvester

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I would take up an offer, which at the time I declined, to go on a tour of Darlington works in August 1965. The only A4 I failed to spot 60004 was there having its last classified repair, and I regretted afterwards not going to see it.
 

306024

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Saturday 4 August 2012.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/50868762

Link is too long to quote from but gives a flavour of the atmosphere of the day, including the buzz on the train just travelling to the event. Everyone travelling were just so happy, either in anticipation of the day, or afterwards when they were astonished with the results. If only we could recapture some if that spirit today.

Only this time I’d be in the stadium instead of working on Stratford station :)
 
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GRALISTAIR

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But the winner
1) Yorkshire circa 1978. Start off at Tinsley, then on to Doncaster for a Deltic afternoon followed by a trip round the works, picking up multiple loco types from across the regions.
probably my number 2.

My number one. August 1971 beautiful late summer evening. I spent my early years in the northwest so named Brush aka D1660 to D1677 are unheard of and I had not seen. I arrive on a Northern Counties Transport Society road coach at Westbury. There are 6 of them there! To say I thought I had died and gone to heaven would be an Understatement. If I could go back in time and replicate this moment I would.

Number 3 - arriving at York for the first time and seeing my first Deltics.
 

DerekC

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I went for a summer Saturday in 1958 because that year all the timetables are available.

I would have liked to get in all the lines I would have travelled on if only I had known they were about to close, plus some of the services and locomotives I saw but never travelled behind. Absolutely impossible in less than a week, but here’s a shot a good day’s worth:

Peterborough (05:50) to King’s Lynn (06:25) via the M&GN (probably a 1st gen DMU but that’s OK)

Kings Lynn (07:04) to Liverpool Street (09:53) – (hoping for a B17 or B12 - anything but a Class 31)

Liverpool St (10:05) to Bethnal Green (10:10) – (just to ride behind an N7 again)

Hackney Downs (10:22) to Liverpool Street (10:27)

Walk quickly to Bank and then the Drain to Waterloo, just in time for the:

Waterloo (11:00) to Salisbury (12:23) – Atlantic Coast Express – (must be an MN. Don’t mind if it’s rebuilt or not.)

Salisbury (12:46) to Templecombe (13:38) - (The ACE doesn’t stop at Templecombe) (Maybe a WC/BB)

Templecombe (14:47) to Mangotsfield (16:53) via the S&D – (could be anything – BB/WC or Standard Class or even a 2P. Don’t mind what shows up.)

Mangotsfield (17:18) to Gloucester (17:54) (this is a Newquay to York train –maybe a Black 5 or would it be something GWR?)

Gloucester (18:05) to Hereford (19:27) via Ross on Wye (maybe a 43xx or so)

Hereford (20:55) to Brecon (22.33) via the HH&B (probably a PT of some sort)
 

Journeyman

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I'd go back to about 1968, and do the following:

1. Euston to Rugby on the WCML
2. Rugby to Nottingham on the last remnant of the Great Central
3. Nottingham to Sheffield
4. Sheffield to Manchester on the Woodhead line
5. Spot a bit of the last steam action in the north west, heading up to Carlisle
6. Take the Waverley line to Edinburgh
7. Swindon DMU to Glasgow
8. Quick loop around the Glasgow Subway
9. Fly back to London on a Hawker Siddeley Trident

Can that be squeezed into 24 hours?
 

61653 HTAFC

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Some time in the period that Trans-Pennine Class 124s were (a) still running; and (b) still running with the griddle cars in operation. Any day with decent weather will do!
 

30907

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I went for a summer Saturday in 1958 because that year all the timetables are available.

I would have liked to get in all the lines I would have travelled on if only I had known they were about to close, plus some of the services and locomotives I saw but never travelled behind. Absolutely impossible in less than a week, but here’s a shot a good day’s worth:

Peterborough (05:50) to King’s Lynn (06:25) via the M&GN (probably a 1st gen DMU but that’s OK)

Kings Lynn (07:04) to Liverpool Street (09:53) – (hoping for a B17 or B12 - anything but a Class 31)

Liverpool St (10:05) to Bethnal Green (10:10) – (just to ride behind an N7 again)

Hackney Downs (10:22) to Liverpool Street (10:27)

Walk quickly to Bank and then the Drain to Waterloo, just in time for the:

Waterloo (11:00) to Salisbury (12:23) – Atlantic Coast Express – (must be an MN. Don’t mind if it’s rebuilt or not.)

Salisbury (12:46) to Templecombe (13:38) - (The ACE doesn’t stop at Templecombe) (Maybe a WC/BB)

Templecombe (14:47) to Mangotsfield (16:53) via the S&D – (could be anything – BB/WC or Standard Class or even a 2P. Don’t mind what shows up.)

Mangotsfield (17:18) to Gloucester (17:54) (this is a Newquay to York train –maybe a Black 5 or would it be something GWR?)

Gloucester (18:05) to Hereford (19:27) via Ross on Wye (maybe a 43xx or so)

Hereford (20:55) to Brecon (22.33) via the HH&B (probably a PT of some sort)
What a day, but I hope 11min between stations in Gloucester works!

I think the MGN would be steam, and from Mangotsfield would be booked for a LMR loco. The 11am part of the ACE was 12.32 into Salisbury on a Saturday, so not the fastest run of the day, sadly - but at least both your trains were booked MN (according to books)
 

Sprinter107

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Think I'd like to go back to the late 1950s in the Birmingham area, and try and photograph as much railway stuff as possible, as I'd know what was going to disappear. Armed with a digital camera, spare batteries, and lots of memory cards.
 

Peter C

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I'm torn between either some of the rural Cotswold branches or similar lines in Cornwall. I'd probably go for the Cotswold one, and see what a day on the old Banbury & Cheltenham Direct would have been like. Banbury and Kingham would be the two main places to visit. Time period most likely in the late 1940s/early 1950s; long enough after the war for life in the area to be pretty recognisable and also 'mundane', if that's the right word, enough to get a really good picture of what it was like.

-Peter
 

Strathclyder

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My top 5 choices (in no particular order), Since I was born in 1996, this is more me going back to witness/experience things I wished I had actually been able to witness/experience as opposed to reliving them. With that in mind, I'd be going back to each of these periods armed with a DSLR camera, several dozen memory cards and at least 3 spare batteries (and a battery charging kit, just to be safe):

  • Burnmouth, summer of 1974. Deltics hugging the North Sea coast as they drone their way north or south, along with anything else that happens to appear. A cloudless, warm day with a light breeze would obviously be ideal for this.
  • Mossend Yard, summer of 1989 for the all the comings and goings. The main attraction (for me at least) would be the Hunterston - Ravenscraig MGRs with 3 37s up front. Warm, cloudless day with a light breeze is again preferred.
  • Glasgow, summer of 1959 for a day on both the original pre-modernization Subway and as much of the city's remaining tram network as possible. Heck, may as well throw in the trollybuses and the Maryhill/Finnieston to Rutherglen line pre-closure too. Weather obviously not a consideration for the Subway and the Maryhill to Rutherglen line, but a dull, overcast day is preferable for the trams and trollybuses.
  • Summer of 1968 on the West Highland Line for a day spent being hauled by the rebuilt NBL Type 2s (Class 29s) that were in charge of a good portion of the line's passenger services at the time (no, I'm not mad lol). Again, a warm, cloudless day with a light breeze is preferred.
  • Summer 1958 for a day spent on the Callander & Oban Railway, from Dunblane to Connell Ferry (with Glen Ogle Viaduct being the main highlight of the Dunblane to Crianlarich leg) via Crianlarich and a out and back trip on the Ballachulish branch line to round the day off. A cloudless, warm day with a light breeze is all but essential for this one.
 
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Journeyman

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My top 5 choices (in no particular order), Since I was born in 1996, this is more me going back to witness/experience things I wished I had actually been able to experience as opposed to reliving them. With that in mind, I'd be going back to each of these periods armed with a DSLR camera, several dozen memory cards and at least 3 spare batteries (and a battery charging kit, just to be safe):

  • Burnmouth, summer of 1974. Deltics hugging the North Sea coast as they drone their way north or south, along with anything else that happens to appear. A cloudless, warm day with a light breeze would obviously be ideal for this.
  • Mossend Yard, summer of 1989 for the all the comings and goings. The main attraction (for me at least) would be the Hunterston - Ravenscraig MGRs with 3 37s up front. Warm, cloudless day with a light breeze is again preferred.
  • Glasgow, summer of 1959 for a day on both the original pre-modernization Subway and as much of the city's remaining tram network as possible. Heck, may as well throw in the trollybuses and the Maryhill/Finnieston to Rutherglen line pre-closure too. Weather obviously not a consideration for the former two, but a dull, overcast day is preferable for the latter pair.
  • Summer of 1968 on the West Highland Line for a day spent being hauled by the rebuilt NBL Type 2s (Class 29s) that were in charge of a good portion of the line's passenger services at the time (no, I'm not mad lol). Again, a warm, cloudless day with a light breeze is preferred.
  • Summer 1958 for a day spent on the Callander & Oban Railway, from Dunblane to Connell Ferry (with Glen Ogle Viaduct being the main highlight of the Dunblane to Crianlarich leg) via Crianlarich and a out and back trip on the Ballachulish branch line to round the day off. A cloudless, warm day with a light breeze is all but essential for this one.
Good choices! Can I come? :)
 

DerekC

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My top 5 choices (in no particular order), Since I was born in 1996, this is more me going back to witness/experience things I wished I had actually been able to experience as opposed to reliving them. With that in mind, I'd be going back to each of these periods armed with a DSLR camera, several dozen memory cards and at least 3 spare batteries (and a battery charging kit, just to be safe):

  • Burnmouth, summer of 1974. Deltics hugging the North Sea coast as they drone their way north or south, along with anything else that happens to appear. A cloudless, warm day with a light breeze would obviously be ideal for this.
  • Mossend Yard, summer of 1989 for the all the comings and goings. The main attraction (for me at least) would be the Hunterston - Ravenscraig MGRs with 3 37s up front. Warm, cloudless day with a light breeze is again preferred.
  • Glasgow, summer of 1959 for a day on both the original pre-modernization Subway and as much of the city's remaining tram network as possible. Heck, may as well throw in the trollybuses and the Maryhill/Finnieston to Rutherglen line pre-closure too. Weather obviously not a consideration for the former two, but a dull, overcast day is preferable for the latter pair.
  • Summer of 1968 on the West Highland Line for a day spent being hauled by the rebuilt NBL Type 2s (Class 29s) that were in charge of a good portion of the line's passenger services at the time (no, I'm not mad lol). Again, a warm, cloudless day with a light breeze is preferred.
  • Summer 1958 for a day spent on the Callander & Oban Railway, from Dunblane to Connell Ferry (with Glen Ogle Viaduct being the main highlight of the Dunblane to Crianlarich leg) via Crianlarich and a out and back trip on the Ballachulish branch line to round the day off. A cloudless, warm day with a light breeze is all but essential for this one.
I like the last one especially - but hey, I was only allowed one day! I will work on Day 2.
 

Strathclyder

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Good choices! Can I come? :)
Assuming the time machine being used here is TARDIS-esque in nature (at least in terms of internal dimensions), then I don't see why not. :)

I like the last one especially - but hey, I was only allowed one day! I will work on Day 2.
If a 'Two Week Time Machine' thread pops up in the future, then maybe both could be doable. ;)
 

Journeyman

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Broad Street in the late 60s/early 70s, when it still had 31s on suburban Mark 1s to ER destinations.
 

Mag_seven

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Glasgow, summer of 1959 for a day on both the original pre-modernization Subway and as much of the city's remaining tram network as possible. Heck, may as well throw in the trollybuses and the Maryhill/Finnieston to Rutherglen line pre-closure too. Weather obviously not a consideration for the Subway and the Maryhill to Rutherglen line, but a dull, overcast day is preferable for the trams and trollybuses.

I'd choose 1950 when the tram network was at is peak. I would take a train from Euston to Glasgow to get there.
 

Cheshire Scot

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I think I would spend a day on the Southern out of Waterloo around 1965 - my real railway regret is that by then I was into London buses (well, it was a cheap hobby....) and didn't trek over to Raynes Park on Saturdays after school.
I would have loved to visit the Isle of Wight before steam ended with the loss of the line to Newport and Cowes, and south of Shanklin closing. I won't be greedy and seek to cover all of the former lines on the IoW as several had closed before I was born.
Therefore I would join you out of Waterloo if you don't mind, at least as far as Southampton before crossing to Cowes with Red Funnel and taking the train to Ryde, then to Ventnor and then back by the same route. Hopefully there would be some time to spare in my day and I would be torn between spending longer on the peaceful IoW network or putting in further miles behind Bullied Pacifics. Ideally a bit of both.
 

Strathclyder

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I'd choose 1950 when the tram network was at is peak. I would take a train from Euston to Glasgow to get there.
I think, when choosing 1959 as my date, I factored in the trollybus network as being at it's peak that year before it's gradual regression began. But 1950 is another good shout, seeing as the tram network was indeed at it's peak and the trollybuses had entered service the previous year.
 

PeterC

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Assuming the time machine being used here is TARDIS-esque in nature (at least in terms of internal dimensions), then I don't see why not. :)


If a 'Two Week Time Machine' thread pops up in the future, then maybe both could be doable. ;)
I would need at least 2 weeks with a few stops.

But to pick one day probably London about 1950 for trams and trolleybuses and freight into the docks. Take in the North Woolwich branch, East Ham or Barking to St Pancras and trains from Broad Street.

Even then I would run out of time to take in working traffic on the canals.
 

Strathclyder

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I would need at least 2 weeks with a few stops.

But to pick one day probably London about 1950 for trams and trolleybuses and freight into the docks. Take in the North Woolwich branch, East Ham or Barking to St Pancras and trains from Broad Street.

Even then I would run out of time to take in working traffic on the canals.
Given my choices are spread across several different eras, I'd need a actual fortnight (back in the present) to cover everything thoroughly. And even then I doubt I'd cover everything to my satisfaction lol
 

satisnek

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Difficult one. Is it confined to one's own lifetime? If not then I could go back 110 years to the true 'Golden Age' of railways, but it would be necessary to carefully choose the area as the speed of trains back then would preclude covering lots of ground in one day.

Otherwise, I think I would like to go back to the 1970s and explore the dereliction and decay which was pretty much unique to that period. I would start off in Leicester and have a look at the remains of the old GCR, which had been largely demolished a decade later. Then on to Sheffield and check out the old Victoria station and finally across to Manchester to explore Exchange station - which I actually did, but I was only a kid at the time with no camera.

On the subject of cameras, I'm quite sure that taking anachronistic technology with you would not be allowed! I have a Canon AE1 dating from 1980 but the model was introduced in 1976, so if I scratch out the serial numbers on camera and lens I might be able to get away with it!
I'd go back to about 1968, and do the following:

1. Euston to Rugby on the WCML
2. Rugby to Nottingham on the last remnant of the Great Central
3. Nottingham to Sheffield
4. Sheffield to Manchester on the Woodhead line
5. Spot a bit of the last steam action in the north west, heading up to Carlisle
6. Take the Waverley line to Edinburgh
7. Swindon DMU to Glasgow
8. Quick loop around the Glasgow Subway
9. Fly back to London on a Hawker Siddeley Trident

Can that be squeezed into 24 hours?
You'll need to get a taxi between the two stations in Rugby otherwise it'll be almost lunchtime before you get to (2)!
 

Journeyman

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Difficult one. Is it confined to one's own lifetime? If not then I could go back 110 years to the true 'Golden Age' of railways, but it would be necessary to carefully choose the area as the speed of trains back then would preclude covering lots of ground in one day.

Otherwise, I think I would like to go back to the 1970s and explore the dereliction and decay which was pretty much unique to that period. I would start off in Leicester and have a look at the remains of the old GCR, which had been largely demolished a decade later. Then on to Sheffield and check out the old Victoria station and finally across to Manchester to explore Exchange station - which I actually did, but I was only a kid at the time with no camera.

On the subject of cameras, I'm quite sure that taking anachronistic technology with you would not be allowed! I have a Canon AE1 dating from 1980 but the model was introduced in 1976, so if I scratch out the serial numbers on camera and lens I might be able to get away with it!

You'll need to get a taxi between the two stations in Rugby otherwise it'll be almost lunchtime before you get to (2)!
Haha, I'm fine with the cameras too, I have a 1963 Kiev 4!

Thanks for the tip about the taxi. ;)
 

SteveM70

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If I was to revisit a time and a place it’d be New Street on a summer Saturday in the early to mid 80s, except this time I’d have a few quid in my pocket and be able to afford to react to whatever turned up and travel outside the West Midlands

If it’s a “blue sky” exercise, a day on the northern ECML in about 1978 so I can sample Deltics and some Scottish action
 

47271

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No debate.

The Far North Line on a warm sunny afternoon in the summer of 1984. A Highland Rail large logo 37 snarls up the Strath of Kildonan with a mix of mk1s and mk2s.
 

Springs Branch

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As with some others, my choice would be to go back to my teenage years, which being the early 1970s was certainly not a Golden Age for BR.
This prompted me to pull out old BR and Selnec timetables for 1970 to work out an itinerary based on my own interests, which include multiple flavours of sparks around Manchester and some long-gone local lines.

1. An early start from home* on a sunny summer's morning, equipped with modern DSLR, spare batteries and plenty of memory to record proceedings.
2. Spend an hour or two at Springs Branch. Photograph the varied and characterful rail traffic on the WCML back then (which is what got me interested in railways in the first place) with a background accompaniment of the ting-ting of block bells and crash of levers from the mechanical signalboxes.
3. Corporation bus to Wigan town centre for the 09:42 Wallgate to Bolton (ex-Liverpool Exchange train, probably a Cravens 105 DMU).
4. 10:02 Bolton to Bury Knowsley St. (Bolton - Rochdale train, probably formed by the DMU from Liverpool Ex. but not shown as such in the public timetable).
5. Walk to Bury Bolton Street for the 10:30 Bury to Manchester Vic (a Class 504 1200 V DC third rail EMU).
6. Walk from Victoria station to Cannon Street for the 11:11 Selnec no. 64 bus as far as Old Trafford (probably a Mancunian bus).
7. 11:34 Warwick Road to Oxford Road EMU (1500V DC Altrincham Electric).
8. 11:50 Oxford Road to Piccadilly (short hop on a 25kV Class 304 EMU heading for Alderley Edge via Styal).
9. 12:15 Piccadilly to Dinting (1500V DC Class 506 for Glossop/Hadfield).
10. 1½ hrs at Dinting watching Woodhead electric freight - hopefully still quite frequent back in 1970. If I'd set the Time Machine dial to summer 1969, I might have seen electrically-hauled Manchester/Sheffield expresses too).
11. 14:10 Dinting to Guide Bridge (another 1500V DC Class 506).
12. 14:38 Guide Bridge to Stalybridge (Stockport/Stalybridge Paytrain, which ran regularly through the day back then. Maybe a Gloucester RCW Class 100 DMU).
13. 15:04 Stalybridge to Leeds (Class 124 Transpennine DMU to Hull)
14. Connection from Leeds to York, arriving York at 16:44.
15. 3 hrs early evening at York observing ECML & Deltic action.
16. 19:39 York to Leeds, then 20:20 Leeds to Man Vic via Standedge (Peak or Class 40 plus Mk.1 stock).
17. 1 hr at Man Vic observing late evening preparations for the abundant parcels and newspaper traffic.
18. 22:30 Man Vic to Wigan Wallgate DMU, arriving 23:10, ten minutes too late for the last bus - so a nice walk home to finish.

* - Compared to the good old days, one thing I would do differently when issued with my Time Machine 24hr Day Rover ticket is get out of bed early!
As a typical teenager, I was never in a hurry to get up in the morning, compounded by no-one in our household being "morning" people.
As a result, I never left the house before 9am, meaning not arriving at local hotspots before 9.30 or 10.00, and I'd already missed all the day's morning peak action.
 
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