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Written by Richard Allen - 25 Feb 2010
last update by Mark Bearton - 29 Aug 2011
and by Mark Clothier - 08 Sep 2014
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Location notes
B4055 road bridge over the main Bristol - South Wales line in Pilning village, about half way between Pilning Station and the Severn Tunnel east portal. Great views in both directions of a variety of traffic accelerating up the gradient from the tunnel or slowing to enter it.
Looking west, the M4 'new' Severn Crossing offers an interesting backdrop to pictures.
Railway type and traffic
FGW HSTs working express passenger services between London and Cardiff / Swansea. Class 143, 150, 158 and 180 DMUs work cross country services mainly between South Wales, Taunton, Southampton and Portsmouth.
Freight services are a mix of stone, oil, coal and departmental trains. DBS provide 59s, 66s, and 60s for it's trains, Freightliner coal trains can also been seen-one is now booked for class 70 haulage.
There are loops in both directions for holding freight trains.
Down trains are often checked here awaiting a path through the Tunnel.
This is also a popular railtour route, so summer specials provide a variety of steam and preserved diesel types.
Occasional diversions bring North/South cross-country Voyagers and freight.
Link to Real Time Trains
RTT Link Pilning village
This link should be close to the location, but may not be the actual location so please check the page. This link will take you to what is happening 'around now'. Dates and times can be changed at the top of the page.
The bridge here carries a 'B' class road which is busy but traffic is not incessant.
On the southerly side of the bridge is a pavement, the northerly side has a kerb and room to stand safely off the road. You have a high vantage point over looking four regularly used lines which descend into a shallow cutting. The location is surrounded by open countryside on three sides. It is bordered by a low escarpment to the east, and the M4 Severn Bridge dominates the skyline to the WSW. The road bends on either side of the bridge so care should be taken when crossing the carriageway.
Road directions
From the M5, Junction 17:
head north, down the hill through the village of Easter Compton, on the B4055 towards Pilning.Continue past a Y-shaped junction on the right and follow the road round until it rises up and over the railway.

Alternatively, leave the M48 at Junction 1 and head south on the A403 to Avonmouth. At Pilning (after about 2 miles), turn left onto the B4064 to Pilning village, then about 1/4 mile beyond, when the B4064 turns left, go straight on and the bridge is about 1/2 mile beyond.

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Pilning village map co-ordinates
There is space for about two or three cars by the access gate, but do not block it.
The bridge is next to houses and the area is safe for parking.
Public transport
The location is on the Wessex Connect 625 bus route from Severn Beach to Bristol (2-hourly) or about a 1 1/2 mile walk from Severn Beach station. Pilning station only has two stopping services per week (!) so don't rely on the rail service to get you out there. .

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There is nothing at the location. There is a pub and a general store a few minutes' walk away in the village.
Plenty in the Bristol area.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Pilning village

Googly map
Streetmap links
Pilning village general view map
Pilning village close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Pilning village

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Railway Gen Group
Wiltshire and Avon Gen
South West Rail Gen
Photographic notes
The line runs North West - South East, so up trains can be photographed up to late afternoon, after which they become back-lit. Down trains are backlit in the morning but from about 12:00, they can be photographed for the rest of the day. The line is in a cutting, so shadows may be a problem in winter. There is a signal gantry that makes photography of up trains awkward and a good zoom lens is recommended.
Road noise means that video is probably not a good idea here.

General views - All photographs © Richard Allen unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking west

Fig 1 - Looking west

Fig 2 - Looking North West - Image Mark Clothier

Fig 2 - Looking North West - <i>Image  Mark Clothier</i>

Fig 3 - Looking east

Fig 3 - Looking east

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