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Written by Marcus Dawson - 01 Feb 2009
last update by John Patston - 09 May 2005
and by Mark Bearton - 09 Mar 2009
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Location notes
On the Midland Main Line, midway between Wellingborough and Bedford.
At this point there are two lines, the main lines are raised and have a harder gradient over Sharnbrook Summit, whilst the freight avoids the summing with a gentler line to the east.
Railway type and traffic
There are 4 East Midlands Trains services an hour, mostly operated by 222s with the odd HST. Quite often services pass in this area, so there will often be two workings in the space of a minute.
From around 12:00hrs on a good day there can be a procession of north-bound empty freights, mainly aggregate trains, as well as a couple of cement trains. There is little if any south-bound afternoon freight traffic.
Environment
A road bridge in surrounded by trees and fields.
The bridge has been declared as a week bridge and has been made into a single lane with the provision of extra barriers. This makes the location much safer to stand around for long periods as you don't need to worry about the cars behind you.
Road directions
From the A6 between Rushden and Bedford turn west off the road and follow the signs to Souldrop and Sharnbrook.

For the foot crossing location:
Continue past the bridge location and take left fork and keep forking left till you get into Back Lane. This is a very narrow single track road, so be very careful. Park your car immediately after crossing bridge, considerately so you don't block access to the driveway of the nearby property. On the left hand side of back lane there is a stile into a field, this can be very muddy in wet weather. Skirt round the edge of this filed walking in a downhill direction and after about 100yards there is a break in the hedge with another stile. Climb across this stile and after about 15 yards the pathway leads you to the line side and a public footpath across the line.

Although this is a public footpath trains pass here at full line speed (in excess of 100 m.p.h.) so be very very vigilant.

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Sharnbrook, Souldrop map co-ordinates
Parking
There is a small lay by to the north of the location with space for one or two cars.
Public transport
Stagecoach service 125 operates two hourly from Bedford and serves the villages of both Sharnbrook and Souldrop and crosses one of the bridges.
In addition Stagecoach service 'Mercury M50' operates hourly to Sharnbrook along the A6 from Bedford and Kettering.

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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.
Sharnbrook, Souldrop

Googly map
Streetmap links
Sharnbrook, Souldrop general view map
Sharnbrook, Souldrop close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Sharnbrook, Souldrop



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Midlands Gen
Photographic notes
The bridge has a reasonable low parapet so no steps are required to get a view across the top. The embankment offers a good unrestricted view of the side of train in either direction.
The early morning suits southbound shots, with the sun moving to the wrong side of the line after 11ish. Later on in the evening the sun will be better for northbound workings.

There is an occasional noise problem with loud engines at the nearby Santa Pod Race way that could interfere with sound recording.

The height of the bridge parapet makes setting up all but the tallest video tripods difficult.
Links to photographs at this location

Phanyasrail Galleries - Souldrop
Rail-net GWRB tour 2004 - Sharnbrook
Phanyasrail Galleries - More Souldrop


General views - All photographs © Marcus Dawson unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking south


Fig 1 - Looking south


Fig 2 - Looking north


Fig 2 - Looking north


Fig 3 - Looking north


Fig 3 - Looking north


Fig 4 - Looking north


Fig 4 - Looking north

A southbound ECS working on the summit avoider.

Fig 5 - Looking south



Fig 5 - Looking south

Northbound freight on the summit avoiding line.

Fig 5 - Looking south - Photo by John Patston



Fig 5 - Looking south - <i>Photo by John Patston</i>

From the foot crossing

Fig 7 - Looking north - Photo by John Patston



Fig 7 - Looking north - <i>Photo by John Patston</i>

From the foot crossing

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