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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bus to Barnetby

On Wednesday, I braved the supposed travel chaos and used the rail replacement bus between Doncaster and Scunthorpe (click here to see why the train isn't running) to reach the small Lincolnshire town of Barnetby, a mecca for freight photography.  My trip was handsomely rewarded with a wide variety of trains, including two class 60 locomotives within the space of 10 minutes.  I met several other railway enthusiasts too, making for a very enjoyable afternoon.  It was also a chance to push my "BWT".

Barnetby East signal box as seen from the station footbridge

"BWT", or Bad Weather Threshold, is the required weather conditions before a railway photographer gives up and goes home.  When I booked my trip to Barnetby, the forecast was calling for sun and 10 degrees.  By the time the trip actually rolled around, I awoke to rain and 1 degree.  I decided to go anyway and managed just over four hours of standing on a platform in rain, damp and snow before heading back to Doncaster for another hour before I really hit my "BWT" for the day.

60019 at Barnetby

There are many reasons to visit Barnetby.  By my reckoning, there are usually at least 6 freights per hour and enough fellow enthusiasts around to tell you what to expect.  The town is quiet, as is the station, so it is possible to spend a peaceful afternoon, only punctuated by the sound of diesel locomotives.  Barnetby is also one of the few locations left in the UK with working semaphore signals, and the signal boxes to go with them!  This is especially interesting as you get plenty of warning of oncoming trains as the signals will be set as much as five minutes before the train arrives.  The whole area is being modernised at the moment, but I am told that the semaphores will survive until 2016.  Make your pilgrimage while you can!

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