If like me you were ever six years old in the late 1980s and loved trains then chances are the Class 37 diesel locomotive has a special place in your heart. Sure it was as common on British lines as pigeon-poo on a city centre statue and yet compared to the Class 47s and 56s it had a lot of character.

Sadly, the days where every third train is a 37 are long gone so when one appears on the line today it is something of an event. Yesterday, the line beside my house was graced with two Colas Rail 37s hauling a Network Rail measurement train. Armed with my new (well…new-er) phone I managed to snap a pic of 37175 which at the time was bringing up the rear of the train.

But, not being content with just a simple pic I went to work on it hence the picture above. I went for a brooding tone to reflect my own thoughts on the 37 in 2017. It also exacerbates the dirty look of the loco. I also imposed a blurry vignette to emphasize the details of the locomotive.

Here is the original. As you can see I cropped it quite a bit to create the final image. Thanks for dropping by.

British Rail BR Class 37 Colas Rail 37175 Network Rail measurement train portskewett sudbrook



HST through Portskewett, Monmouthshire


The closure of the Severn Tunnel between September and October 2016 meant that First Great Western began running their High Speed Trains on the Caldicot-Chepstow-Gloucester line. Normally, it is an exceptionally rare sight to see them on this rural set of tracks. Freight traffic has also noticeably increased.

Having injured my foot recently I haven’t been out of the house very much except for essential reasons but today I felt OK enough to walk up to a nearby bridge with the camera and have a look at what was coming through at about lunchtime. The bridge is all that remains of Portskewett station and while it has looked better it is still a sturdy structure. The above train was one of the visitors through the village while I was there.

While waiting for something of interest to come through I was treated to a brief fly-by of Network Rail’s Aerospatiale AS355F2 Ecureuil II G-NTWK helicopter.


Fire in the sky over Sudbrook

Severn bridge sunset sudbrook pumping station monmouthshire

This was a picture I took one evening in December 2013 while walking along the beach near Sudbrook where I live in Monmouthshire. The bridge is the new M4 Severn Bridge connecting Wales with England over the Severn Estuary. The large building in the middle is the Sudbrook pumping station that helps empty surface water from the Severn Tunnel railway line that runs under the estuary.

34067 Tangmere at Rogiet, Gwent in 2013

Here are a series of pictures I took in Rogiet, Gwent on May 4th 2013 of 34067 Tangmere, an SR Battle of Britain Class 4-6-2 steam locomotive as it stopped to take on water. This was actually the first time I ever got to see a steam locomotive up close. I was sat at home when my wife’s uncle called me to tell me it was on its way so we bolted down there to see it and I wasn’t disappointed.

I felt like I was 5 again.

Freightliner Class 70 70018

Class 70 70018 Freightliner

I took this at the side of the road in Llanwern, between Newport and Chepstow, on September 7th 2015. I do like the Class 70 as it reminds me of the old Class 58s I used to watch as a child running coal trains through Bridgend. I do understand why a lot of people think they are ugly but at least they are more interesting than the Class 66.

Twilight Planespotting at Heathrow Airport

For those of you that follow Defence of the Realm and have been wondering why the site has been quite quiet over the past few days the answer is that it was my daughter’s 5th birthday this week and we spent it in London. We stayed at the Premier Inn at Heathrow again which meant I had the opportunity to do a bit of late evening planespotting in the car park while our hotel room echoed with the sound of… (shudder)…X-factor.

With the low light and deep shadows there were some spectacular sights. Here are just a handful. Normal services on DotR will resume later today.