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True_British_Metal

UK 1983 Jubilee Line LU Stock, Harpur Hill HSL Buxton, June 2015

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Solo jaunt.

I'd looked at this a year back, but was too tired waiting for security to move away when stood at the fence. So having done another explore nearby earlier, I made another trek up to Harpur Hill.

I'm well known for being a huge fan of railways and trains in particular, considering this is where my roots in exploring and much of my childhood are. That said I snub stuff like DMUs/EMUs and Underground stock, simply because they don't have the same appeal as the rusting, decayed hulk of a loco. I'm sure all of you can agree. So why did I make the effort with this? Well, three things: I've photographed a lot of the withdrawn Underground stock that's being shipped to Booth's in Rotherham, so that piqued my interest a bit. Secondly, now the last of the 1983 stock has been moved after 15+ years in open storage from South Harrow to Booth's, these have become EXTREMELY rare so it's worth capturing this whilst it's around in such a photogenic state. Lastly, I may as well have a look if I'm in the area.

Comparing to pictures from a few years ago, a lot of the stock that was stored here has been moved away and presumably scrapped, leaving three driving cars: one outside, two inside. As far as I'm aware the stock is used in bomb testing of some kind, and evacuation techniques in light of the 7/7 bombings. Maybe. It's a health and safety testing site so it makes sense.

Already somewhat knackered from earlier, I dragged myself up to Harpur Hill, and all was quiet. No security, no sign of activity across the site. Get over the fences and you're in, nice and easy. So that's what I did.

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If I'm not mistaken, this is the ex-Cockfosters or Acton stock that's moved here. After years of open storage and vandalism, the carriages have been completely sabotaged inside and out, but nevertheless are chock full of photogenic features.

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To paraphrase my favourite band, I can think of no greater caption than "Welcome to the scene of the crash"...

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Despite being graffed up inside, it was interesting to see the cabs virtually intact and untouched. From experience these are often the places where (guilty as charged, I did once as a kid) people often nick stuff for souvenirs and the like. Either that or they smash them up.

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Dead end

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The bomb tunnel

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Not in service

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To conclude, it's not that interesting a site but it's worth sharing. Sadly I feel I'm clutching at straws now that en-masse withdrawals, scrapping and storage of locos that for decades were commonplace have long since ended. Long gone are the days of asking permission from the yard foreman to look round a depot to take pictures of the derelict stock left there. Long gone are the days when you can easily sneak in undetected and not have to face the wrath of a bolshy prick who you have the misfortune of being caught by, notwithstanding more CCTV, formidable fencing and most of all, the threat of a fine and prosecution by BTP. The answer is yes, a report I posted on 28 in 2011 led to BTP knocking at my door and fining me £50 for trespass. Not a lot relative to what it could have been, but still I was out of pocket all because I posted it publicly.

True, there are still some true goldmines left on the continent, the prime examples of which are Falkenberg/Elster and Istvantelek in Germany and Hungary respectively, but nothing in the UK anymore. Not unless it's covered by CCTV and forbids photographers most of the time. Life goes on though, eh?

Love and best wishes as always,

TBM x

Edited by True_British_Metal

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You're right about the decline of train graveyards, even the one at Roux in Belgium has been cleared.

There is a VERY tasty one in Pennsylvania which I hope to visit soon though.

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