Dutch in the Desert

Dutch F-16AMs J-0010 (ex 88-0010) and J-366 (ex 84-1366) of the 148th FS based at Tucson Arizona fly in close formation over the desert on 6th December 2017.

Dutch F-16AMs J-0010 (ex 88-0010) and J-366 (ex 84-1366) of the 148th FS based at Tucson Arizona fly in close formation over the desert on 6th December 2017.

Dutch Air Force F-16s train all year round in the US Desert

In November 2017, our aviation photographer John Stiles visited the West Coast of the United States with a COAP (Centre of Aviation Photography) visit to a number of airfields and aviation sites. A few days were spent with Dutch pilots who train with the 148th Fighter Squadron based in Tucson, Arizona.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force aren’t blessed with the best climate to train their pilots, so it has relied on partnerships with other air forces to provide a base suitable for training pilots all-year round. The most obvious place is the desert areas of the United States; and so, the current training partner is the Arizona Air National Guard’s (AZ ANG) 162nd Fighter Wing based opposite the commercial terminal at Tucson International Airport. Tuscon lies in the Sonoran Desert and is surrounded by a number of mountain ranges that provide an environment perfect for training pilots in various combat scenarios that mimic their most likely theatre of combat operations.

The 148th Fighter Squadron currently hosts the traininee F-16 pilots from the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The 148th FS flies ten F-16 aircraft; five F-16AM single-seat fighters and five F-16BM twin-seat fighters all owned and operated by the Dutch Air Force. All aircraft within the training wing are identical to those aircraft flown by the 306 and 322 Squardrons back in Holland, and any modifcations are immediately made to the US-based aircraft so that pilots do not need to undergo any further training when they move to an opeartional squadron back home.

We are slowly making photographs from John’s trip available to buy, and the photographs from John’s trip to Tucson as well as a visit to the ‘Top Gun’ school at NAS Fallon can be found here.

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Night-time Lancaster

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster, PA474 'City of Lincoln', at RAF Coningsby at a night shoot on 21st September 2012.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster, PA474 ‘City of Lincoln’, at RAF Coningsby at a night shoot on 21st September 2012. © John Stiles, ellybelly Pictures.

As we revealed in our last post we are pleased to showcase photographs from the renowned railway photographer, John Stiles; but at least initially we will be concentrating on John’s renewed passion for military aviation and vintage transport. Our first featured photograph is of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Avro Lancaster PA474 ‘City of Lincoln’. This fabulous night-time shot was taken at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire in 2012.

The photograph re-lives the routine that Lancasters and other aircraft of Bomber Command would go through during the Second World War when night-time raids on Germany were a regular occurance. As it happens, PA474 never took part in any bombing raids as it was built after VE day, rolling off the production line at Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory at Hawarden Airfield, Chester on 31 May 1945. It was being prepared to be shipped to Japan when the war ended in the Far East too!

After use in photo reconnaissance work in South Africa, and various roles in experimental aerofoil designs the aircraft was reprieved from being used as a static exhibit by Wing Commander D’Arcy, the Commanding Officer of 44 Squadron (then flying Vulcans at RAF Waddington) in 1965. Having been flown to Waddington it was found that the aircraft was in sound condition and over the following eight years the aircraft was restored back to it’s original condition, joining the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1973. (For more information please visit the BBMF website.)

The photograph is now available to buy as either an A4 or A3 print, or as a Digital Download. We do offer Wall Mounted products too, contact us through the Form below for further details, and we will see how we can help meet your requirements.

Express to Clacton 70s style

Class 309 Clacton EMU 309 607 sways over point-work as it makes it's way out of London and on to the Essex coast some time in the 1970s.

Class 309 Clacton EMU 309 607 sways over point-work as it makes it’s way out of London and on to the Essex coast some time in the 1970s.

The Clacton Express Class 309s

Originally known as AM9 electrics, the Class 309s were built by British Rail at their York factory between 1962 and 1963. They worked exclusively between London Liverpool Street and  Clacton/Walton-on-Naze until 1989, when Class 312 units were introduced on some services. They were used on some services to Harwich and Ipswich after 1985, but were transferred to the North West for use on services from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe and as far as London Euston for First North Western trains.

I always remember these units as comfortable and fast, probably because they were based on Mk.1 coaching stock and Commonwealth bogies. They lasted until 2000, having been refurbished in the mid-1980s

Little has changed in the way that stock is cascaded through the railways it seems. New stock is provided for the London commuter, and the older stock is then sent for use on other lines. This happening right now with the cascade of 30-year old Class 319s for use on the North West electrification scheme. The brand new Class 323 EMUs were supposed to have been sent to the West Midlands by now, but acceleration of the Class 319s is so poor they cannot keep to schedules between Manchester and Stoke/Crewe….

The photograph was taken by Peter Collins and will form part of a collection showing trains in the London suburbs soon to be available at the Lineside Photographics website. We will be including steam, as well as electrics and diesels, so hopefully there will be something for everyone!

Now if it was me waiting for my train at Clacton and I was offered a Class 309 or a Class 360, I think I’d vote every time for the 309 and its Mk.1 carriages..

The day after Offord, Doncaster on 8th September 1962

A yet un-named English Electric Deltic D9010 emits the trademark blue exhaust as it accelerates through Doncaster station with the 1A47 13:30 Edinburgh to King’s Cross service; the ‘Heart of Midlothian’. The locomotive was named ‘The King’s Own Scottish Borderer’ on 8th May 1965 at Dumfries, and withdrawn on 24th December 1981.

The Offord Derailment, 7th September 1962.

In the evening of 7th September 1962, Peppercorn A1 60123 ‘H.A. Ivatt’ derailed at Offord whilst in charge of a northbound freight. For the next two days, whilst the accident was cleared, trains were diverted between Hitchin and Peterborough via Cambridge and Ely. The collection of photographs now available shows a number of trains as they passed through Doncaster station on the 8th September; including a couple of surprises…

A York based Raven B16 on a GN passenger train from the south is the highlight of the workings photographed on the 8th September. A host of spotters spilling off the platforms captures the train-spotting hobby during this transition period from steam to diesel on the GN/ECML. We have more images to add to this collection in the New Year.

The southbound standby loco (an A1) is seen just above the first coach. The evening light captures the graceful lines of the Deltic locomotive, shown off by the two-tone green livery. Today, this scene is a mass of overhead wires, rationalised track-work and the Doncaster Power Signal Box.

This photograph was taken nearly 55 years ago when the railway was undergoing major changes in locomotive power. The 22 Deltics replaced some 55 steam locomotives; indeed the day after this photograph was taken was the first day when all 22 Deltic locomotives were in operational use. When seeing images like this I cannot help but think what a ‘soulless’ place the railway has become….

 

A day out at ‘The Factory’ in 1970

Old Oak Common shed in 1970 ('The Factory'), and a variety of Diesel Electric and Diesel Hydraulic locomotives await their next duty.

‘The Factory’ some time in 1970. The Repair Shop of Old Oak Common shed was called ‘The Factory’, and this view of the turntable captures the variety of Diesel Hydraulic and Diesel Electric traction used on the BR Western Region at the time. Whilst not all the locos are known, the line up includes (clockwise from top-right): 1071 ‘Western Renown’, 2 Unidentified Class 31s, an unidentified Hymek, 1038 ‘Western Sovereign’, an unidentified Western, Class 47 D1639, an unidentifed Western, Class 31 5535, Hymeks D7033 and 7025, Warship 821 ‘Greyhound’, Hymek D7049, Class 47 D1747 and two further Class 47s. Spotters would have got 16 locomotives in one location, just like in steam days!

A Day at Old Oak Common (‘The Factory’)

Our first new collection of photographs were taken by Peter Collins some time in the Summer of 1970; and what an evocative collection they are too! The Repair shop at Old Oak Common was known as ‘The Factory’, and this can be seen in the background of the photograph. There is a variety of locomotive types situated around the shed turntable, in what is a busy scene for 4pm in the afternoon. One can only guess that this is a Sunday!

The Diesel Hydraulics outnumber the Diesel Electrics (just), although all the locomotives are in a fairy grimy state. The use of the Diesel Hydraulic power was taken unilaterally by the Western Region, within British Railways. The experiment was soon to be over though as Warships started to be withdrawn en-mass  during 1971, and all the Westerns were gone by 1977.

We are fortunate to have a number of photographs of Warships, Hymeks and Westerns in Peter Collins’ collection, and we will making these available soon.

The full collection can be found at the Lineside Photographics website, and are available to buy in a variety of formats.

Watch out for more collections in the coming weeks, with images across the London suburbs and further afield too.