CD Reviews

Southern Region in the Real DaysTHE SOUTHERN REGION IN THE REAL DAYS
Heritage Steam Archive RD 7, 28 tracks, 65' 13".

It's some nine and a half years since we reviewed the first Southern CD from Heritage Steam Archive and now the third Southern CD from that stable has been released, the seventh in the Real Days series. Unlike the previous two CDs this one consists entirely of recordings made on the Southern Region before the end of steam, and very good for their age they are too. All the tracks have, of course, been digitally remastered, but that doesn't take anything away from the obvious quality of the original analogue recordings by Mick McGlade.

The first thing to make clear about the CD is that it is recordings of trains on the Southern Region as opposed to Southern Region trains, so there are a few non-Southern engines included. Whilst there is something for the afficionado of all sections of the Southern, the majority are recordings made on the Western Section.

Engines large and small are featured, with the first two tracks of an H class on the Westerham branch. This is followed by a J50 on a cross London goods working climbing up from Snow Hill tunnel and through the old Holborn Viaduct Low Level station. The CD then moves on to Waterloo, Surbiton and Basingstoke for a variety of engine types, including a short but superb track of a West Country rushing through Basingstoke with the Royal Wessex. There is then a long track of a Bulleid taking ten coaches up the 1 in 60 to Medstead after which the action switches to the Hayling Island branch with a trio of Terriers, then to the Isle of Wight and five O2 tanks before returning to the mainland at Southampton, Lymington Junction and Upwey before heading off west for a recording of an N class climbing from Exeter St Davids to Central and, finally, an unassisted Bulleid lifting a train from Ilfracombe to the summit of Morthoe.

In all some 28 engines are featured on 28 tracks lasting from just 22 seconds to 14 minutes 28 seconds, seven of which are on-train recordings. £6.00 (incl UK p&p) will bring you your copy, or £6.50 to Europe and £7.50 to the Rest of the World. Further details are to be found on the HSA website:

PJR, 30 July 2012

Heritage Steam Archive Vol 16, 7 tracks, 56' 19".

The latest offering, and the second of Southern Steam, from Heritage Steam Archive is the seven track "Southern Comfort". As with the other CDs in this range, the reproduction is first class.

All tracks were recorded with the locomotives working on the main line, and for devotees of a hard-working locomotive there are some crackers here! Right from the start, with U class 31625 performing on Steam on the Met, the mood is set with the characteristic chuff chuff chuff as the train gets away from Rickmansworth. This is followed by 35005 Canadian Pacific working hard on foreign territory south of Sheffield. A slow start on a 1 in 100 grade, with lots of noise of escaping steam, soon builds up into an evocative crescendo of Bulleid power. This is followed by a fine performance from 30777 Sir Lamiel, with eleven on, storming Honiton Bank from Seaton Junction. There is more Bulleid power with 34027 Taw Valley working the same location, 34092 City of Wells climbing towards Fosse Road, to the accompaniment of bird song, and 34016 Bodmin in fine fettle between Mitcham Junction and Epsom Downs, with plenty of wheel squealing as the train slows through Sutton station. This track, though, has my one and only minor criticism as it has some brief picking-up of voices in the background. Back on the Salisbury-Exeter line Maunsell S15 30828 provides an atmospheric performance up the prevailing 1 in 80 from Sherborne, with ten on.

The seven tracks last from 1 min 36 secs to 13 min 15 secs, with six tracks being analogue recordings digitally edited and mastered and one all digital. This latter is a lineside recording whilst the other six are all onboard.

For those whose memories are forever of the music of a Bulleid at full chat on the West of England main line, this is the CD to have.

Very good value for money for those who like to listen to the music of a steam engine at work, just £6.00 (incl UK p&p) will bring you your copy, or £6.50 to Europe and £7.50 to the Rest of the World Further details are to be found on the HSA website:

PJR, 14 May 2004

Sounds of the SouthernSOUNDS OF THE SOUTHERN
Heritage Steam Archive Vol 3, 12 tracks, 64' 22".

Most of you will be familiar with the many photographs on the SEmG site provided for us by Alan Robinson, who was one of those far-sighted enough to spend the early 1960s capturing the dying days of steam on Britain's railways. As well as photographing steam engines, he is also good at recording them at work and already has two CDs available. Of interest to our group, though, is the latest offering which contains recordings of preserved Southern locomotives at work at many locations around England.

With recordings from the Watercress Line, the Redhill - Guildford Line and the Metropolitan Line near Chorleywood to the North York Moors and the Worth Valley Lines, Alan has captured the sound of Southern engines at work such as 30777 Sir Lamiel at Craven Arms, 34072 257 Squadron at Beckhole and S15 30841 in the Esk Valley. Each recording is remakably crisp and clear - even for the obligatory bird song heralding the arrival of the train! The twelve tracks last from a short 1 min 22 secs to a jumbo 10 min 3 secs, with the first eight being analogue recordings digitally edited and mastered whilst the final four are all digital. Five tracks are lineside recordings whilst the other seven are, naturally, on the train.

For those whose tastes stray beyond the products of Messrs. Bulleid, Drummond, Maunsell, Stroudley et al, the first volume is devoted to "The Stanier Sound" with recordings made on the main lines of England and Scotland whilst the second is devoted to 46229 Duchess of Hamilton on the Settle and Carlisle.

Very good value for money for those who like to listen to the music of a steam engine at work, £6.00 (incl UK p&p) will bring you your copy, or £6.50 to Europe and £7.50 to the Rest of the World Further details are to be found on Alan's website:

PJR, 21 January 2003



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This page was last updated 30 July 2012

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