I am a retired Church of England minister now living in Telford in Shropshire (UK).
When working, I was living in Manchester Diocese and was Team Rector of the Parish of the Good Shepherd, Ashton-under-Lyne (until the end of 2021). I was, at different times, Area Dean of Ashton (until 2016) and Borough Dean of Tameside (until 2021). You will find posts which relate to my ministry under the menu tab ‘Ashton-under-Lyne’.
My ministry also encompassed roles in a number of Charities, including being Chair of the Board of Trustees of Action Together and LEAP/St. Peter’s Partnerships. I was Chair of the Management Committee of Holy Trinity Church and Community Centre, and at different times a Governor at a number of Church Schools (Holy Trinity School, Hurst Knoll School, Parochial School, St. James’ School & St. Peter’s School, all in Ashton-under-lyne).
In the Autumn of 2013 my wife Jo and I were able to enjoy a 3 month sabbatical. We spent the first 3 weeks in Uganda, had a month on pilgrimage around Celtic Christian sites on the coast of Ireland and Scotland and then spent 4 weeks reading. You can follow our joint blog here: Jo and Roger’s Sabbatical Blog
Over the years I have had an interest in Honour and Shame as pivotal values in other cultures and on the effect of shame on individuals and groups in our own culture. On sabbatical I was exploring what the gospel has to say to those who experience debilitating shame – a subject that formed the basis of my MA dissertation.
As my reading continues, I hope to be able to write a substantial enhancement on the MA dissertation.
You’ll also notice in the menu an option to explore one of my other interests which is railways, model and full size. This has become a very popular part of the website and is likely to grow as I give it some attention in retirement.
Your subject interests me. Maybe you will be able to share more of your findings later. – Chris.
Thank you. I am gradually adding comments, as days go by, on the theme of Shame and Honour, the Gospel and the Cross. I have already posted a copy of my MA dissertation from College on the blog which you should be able to access and I have provided a more up-to-date bibliography as well. Gradually more bits and pieces will appear.
Rev Farnworth, we are looking into the history of St Jamess church in year 5, Can you offer us any help and information? Age of the stained glass windows, who was the very first reverend etc .
Mrs James and year 5
I think Tina is doing some research on all this for you.
hello Roger , thank you for your blog , please would you write to me
I have sent you an email.
I left you a reply a while ago. Just checking that you received it.
My family members every time say that I am killing my time here at net,
but I know I am getting familiarity every day by reading such fastidious content.
Hi Roger, it was suggested I contact you regarding the modelling of a joint friend we had in Ian Hibbert. I am the new custodian of the Macclesfield layout and wondered if you could help me with a couple of questions please? Thanks, Alek
I am not sure what I might be able to do to help, but please do ask away.
Hi Roger, When Ian sadly passed away his CAD drawings for the Macc layout were lost apart from a few snippets he gave me. I wondered if you had any he might have shared. Mark Henshaw suggested you might. Thanks very much, Alek
No, Ian did not let me have Cad drawings. Mark is remembering my own work and the work of my sadly deceased father-in-law who have sdone similar work on Hereford’s station buildings. I was always impressed with Ian’s work and would have loved to have had access to the CAd drawings.
I am sorry that I cannot help.
Ah ok thanks anyway Roger and I hope the Hereford model continues to flourish. Thanks for replying, Alek
Hi Roger. We don’t know each other but your work on the railways of Provence has just added value to my annual trip to the bay of St Tropez. My late wife and I holidayed down there for many years but when she passed away I started getting there by a different route….flying to Nice and then using public transport. It astounded me that it was so difficult to get to St Tropez without a car or boat and I felt there must have been something else because St Tropez was popular long before the arrival of Bardot. I suspected there must have been a railway link of some sort but info about it is rarer than hen’s teeth, especially in the area itself. I’m not exaggerating when I say your articles may now be the only contemporary account of the line in the world. This June I will be searching for as much physical evidence as I can find. Ironically my wife and I often walked or cycled the path between Port Grimaud and St Tropez never realising we were actually walking the site of an old railway line. Not a difficult thing to do in all honesty. Where I live, we have The Wirral Way…a 12 mile shared path on the Wirral which is identifiable as an old railway line only by it’s bridges and one old preserved station. By the way, I have no particular interest in railways per se….I just enjoy the past!
Incidentally, we do share one thing…religion in Ashton under Lyne. My maternal family were from Dukinfield. The Stanleys. My 4 x great uncle was John Stanley who got caught up with John Wroe and bankrolled the cost of building the Christian Israelite Sanctuary in Church St, Ashton. I don’t know whether it’s still there. The church as an organisation decamped to Australia after Wroe was discredited. Small world.
Many thanks for your articles.
Thank you for your message. I am glad to have been of some assistance.
The Christian Israelite Sanctuary is long gone. The only real remnants of the settlement is a building that was intended to be on of the corners of the wall that Wrote intended would surround the town.
As you can probably tell from my blog. The metre-gauge lines which used to criss-cross France real interest me. We have also loved holidaying in Provence and around Nice, usually self-catering in relatively cheap accommodation.
Best wishes for the New Year.
How Could you Come to Dromod and not even Visit us or get in Touch. By talking Pictures over the Fence. You are Making Little of us After 25 Years 2 Steam Engines Restored. And Yet you Put down No Address for The Cavan and Leitrim in Dromod. Its Typical of Your Sort to Pick and Choose what you Want To Publish.
I’d be really happy to include full details of the Preservation Society and will add this to each of the posts I produce on the line. It would be really good if you were able to say exactly what you would like me to include.
It may help if I clarify a couple of things. I have never been to Dromod.
The posts I have produced so far have come from reading books, looking at pictures and at Google Earth and Google Streetview. This is true of many of my posts.
It is a hobby which I share with others. I hope that by doing so I increase interest in the things that I look at.
I love your articles on the West Clare Railway! I am a researcher working on an Irish railway documentary for Whitworth Media. I am on the hunt for any photographs of Moyasta Junction that we might be able to use in our film, I see that you reference Roger Joanes under many of the pictures – do you have any contact details for him by any chance?
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated! I hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you for the positive feedback.
Sorry, I have no contact for Roger Joanes. His Flickr stream designates his photos as being OK for sharing in the way I have done as bit all rights are reserved.
No worries at all about details for Roger Joanes – I just thought I would check!
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and enjoy your weekend.
A friend came across your article about the railway line from Saint-Chinian to Beziers! The fact that the railway line existed is fairly common knowledge in the village, but your article is wonderfully detailed and makes fascinating reading!! The comparative pictures showing then and now are absolutely fantastic! The greenway from Saint-Chinian to Reals is just about to be finished, it’ll be great to be able to follow the trace of the old line when it gets a little cooler!
I write a blog about Saint-Chinian and area at midihideaways.wordpress.com and I wonder if you would allow me to share some or all of your content with my readers?
I’d be very happy for you to share some or all of the blog.
Thank you so much for your reply, Roger – that’s wonderful!! I’ll let you know once I publish it, I’m still on a summer break from writing 🙂
I’m wondering if you can help with these questions?
1 Do you know how many spirals there would have been between Mombasa and Kampala in the 1950s?
2 There was a token exchange system. Would this have been for all sections between stations? Or only where there were loops and spirals?
3 I think there were signals as well. How exactly would the two (tokens and signals) have interacted?
4 Do you know if it is possible to get a printable photo of the train crossing the Nile Bridge at Jinja?
5 Do you know when the lower section of the Nile Bridge was removed? (Which year?)
Thank you for your help, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your message. I don’t know the answers offhand but I might do some research into your questions when time permits.
Thank you! Please don’t go to a lot of trouble, and please ignore Q4! I’m not a railway buff — I’m just trying to clarify and write down some childhood memories and was hoping that, as you had so carefully recorded the highlights of your journey up from the coast, you might have come across these aspects. The only reference I’ve been able to find to tokens is an Australian clip on YouTube. And I’ve scanned lots of articles and reports but not one mentions exactly when the road section of the Nile Bridge was removed.
Hi VS, the token exchange system will have been used across the network to avoid accidents. The system is used on single track sections of railways across the world. All of these situations that I can think of also have signals.
Tokens give a train assurance that it will not meet another mainline train heading in the opposite direction. Signals control specific movements, for instance shunting movements across the line by another locomotive, at grade road crossings that because of traffic levels might need crossing gates. The signals will deal other traffic control matters as well, so in the block section before a train running on a particular line advance signals will be set to caution to ensure that a train driver knows that the next signal will require them to stop the train.
I hope this helps. I didn’t count the spirals but I believe that I did not miss one.
I have just read your article on the Harbour Junction in King’s Lynn of which my research was prompted by a posting on a Facebook page. Until that posting I didn’t even know about the Harbour Junction but after reading your blog and a few other sites I now realise I know almost exactly where it was. Thank you for your efforts which I intend to share in full on the original Facebook posting.
Coincidentally the name Roger Farnworth is very familiar to me. What are the chances?
Hi Gordon, I was at the Grammar School in King’s Lynn in the 1970s, leaving to go to Manchester University in 1978. It seems a very long time ago now. I cannot remember your name but then I am nearly 60 years old now!
I remember you from school. I’m sure we were in the same year but in different circles. I was usually know as Mac and was a runner and swimmer. Nothing much outstanding about me to jog your memory. A very good article by the way. Started reading the one on the docks and forgot to have breakfast. I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who research King’s Lynn history and what they find.
Thank you for your research.
Glad you enjoyed the articles.
Thank you so much for your trouble. Much appreciated. This has definitely cleared up one mystery.
I am researching for a documentary on the Uganda Railway for Whitworth Media (it looks like a colleague of mine previously commented here with a similar enquiry!) and I hoped to ask you about a couple of images I have seen here about the Tsavo Bridge construction,
There are two images on your blog showing the bridge mid-construction, one showing Colonel Patterson by the bridge. We are desperate to find the source of these photographs to use them in our programme and wondered if you had any information?
Many thanks, and thank you for your excellent blog which has been a great source of help to us during our research.
I am in hospital at the moment please could you leave this a week or so and try again.
Is this the image you mean. ……
Hi Roger, very sorry to hear you are in hospital. Please don’t put go to any trouble on my account, but yes thats the image I’m looking for. Have also contacted the writer of another blog Theeagora.com who I think may be the online source at least..
Yes, that on-line source rings a bell. I will see what further I can find once of hospital.
In reply to VS’s questions above, I believe that the road section of the Nile Bridge was removed in 1954(ish) when the Owen Falls Damn opened.
I volunteer for the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda and we have recently erected a plaque on the Nile Bridge to celebrate its key role in Uganda’s history!
I am also researching more of the history of Uganda’s railways, for a small exhibition early next year (to be displayed at the groundbreaking event for the rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu railway line), and hopefully for setting up a Railway Museum here in Uganda in the longer run. Is there any way we can get in touch with each other to talk all things Ugandan railways?
I’d also love it if VS and Simon Newton (of the comments above) could get in touch with me too, so we can compare notes!
Best wishes, and thanks in advance,
My email address is
Greetings from another Roger, this one in Kenya –
Thank you for your posting on the railway from Nairobi to Naivasha. I live in Kijabe where my wife and I teach at Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school for MKs. The railway runs along one side of the school compound and our house is within about 50 yards. Your pictures are an inspiration to get out and document more of the structures before they disappear.
Thank you Roger
Every blessing for the Christmas Season.
Dear Roger, I love your stories about the Uganda Railway!
How can I read – and link to – your series from part 1 please? Would you mind sharing a link with me?
You might enjoy my train blogs from Uganda and Kenya:
“On the right track: my first Ugandan train ride” https://www.muzungubloguganda.com/adventure/rift-valley-railways-kampala-train/
This experience led me to “Have you travelled the Lunatic Express?” https://www.muzungubloguganda.com/adventure/lunatic-express-train-nairobi-to-mombasa/
That epic journey led most recently to “Brief Encounter. Of romance & railways – Kenya’s SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) train ride” https://www.muzungubloguganda.com/adventure/brief-encounter-sgr-train-kenya/
I hope you enjoy them 🙂
With love from Uganda
Thank you for your email and the excellent links. I suggest that you try this link:
It should get you to all the relevant big posts. Please let me know if there is a problem.
Wonderful! Thank you Roger.
Just stumbled across your site because I was anxious to check some details on the central Var line at Lorgues because I’m writing a brief English history of the town. If I tell you that I grew up in Lancashire, am a keen Anglican, have a strong interest on shame and honour (I taught for eight years in Beirut) and now live ten minutes walk away from the old central Var line at Lorgues where I will be probably taking over lay leadership of the Anglican fellowship there you will see why I’m interested in establishing links. It may just be possible that we met at Peter Masseys: In which case I crave your forgiveness!
When you find time send me an email.
Good to hear from you.
You are welcome to use my email address. …….
Hello, Rev Farnworth,
You have a very interesting site and an intriguing set of hobbies!
I am a retired chemical industry professional in the States presently researching the history of numerous chemical / latex sites around the world. I’ve tried to track down some additional history on the Dow Chemical site in Kings Lynn which became operational I believe in the mid-1950’s. I came across your photographs of the area and Bentick Dock. Do you have any further insight or information on the actual timing of the site’s operations and the activities?
Thank you very much for any thoughts. Best regards.
Thank you for your comments. I live in Manchester which puts me some distance from King’s Lynn now and I have not been able to keep fully informed about developments in the town and in its industries. I am sorry, I don’t think that I can be a great deal of help to you.
OK – thank you for your response and clarification. Best regards.
Dear Revd. Farnworth. Having lived in Manchester when young (1946 to 1965) I visited Horwich Loco Works many times. I would like to learn (and re-learn!) as much as I can about the 18″-gauge locomotives there, in particular, their history, photos at work and technical & constructional details. I have read what I can find, and my request is to ask for any references or sources you might have or know of, to further my interest and research. As a practising engineer, I have restored traction engines and various stationary steam engines, and might like to consider building a replica, eg of ‘Robin’, ie without the saddle-tank. (all full size; I don’t do models!)
With grateful thanks
Thank you for your message.
I presume you have the book by MD Smith?
The only other thing I can recommend is that you join the Facebook group which has just over 200 members: Horwich Loco Works.
I hope that members of the group will be able to assist more than I can. There is some interesting stuff already posted by group members.
I am sorry that I cannot be more help. My connection is nostalgic and I don’t have a great deal of information beyond owning a copy of the book.
Dear Rev Farnworth
I am currently writing a book on the railways to Morecambe/Heysham from Lancaster on behalf of Middleton Press. While I have a great deal of information regarding the lines there are gaps in the book relative to the rail-served Trimpell Refinery and White Lund munitions factory. While I doubt there is much on the munitions factory for obvious reasons, I’m sure that there are photos articles on the refinery, although they are proving to be elusive. I’m wondering if you can assist in my request to plug at least one of the gaps.
Thanking you, I remain your truly
My apologies. All the information I discovered is in my blog. There is a Facebook group that focusses on the line and the electrics that used it. You might benefit from joining that and asking your questions there.
Dear Roger Farnworth!
Many thanks for all the great informations you provide on this site. Thanks to the the plans, i was able to design a EAR Class 61 in O scale (1/48) (http://diy.alejo.at/?page_id=3106), as soon as i am sattisfied with the design, i will upload the files on thingiverse.
Thank you for your massive inputs for the Forest of Dean, especially for the railways, mines,routes,walks,and all for the last few years.
I have been down their recently, trying to fathom out the history of the Severn & Wye Railway, which has been done admirally by Lightmoor Press series of books 1 to 5.
My liking was for to walk over these lines and mines,and although things have changed over many years, I still get the atmosphere of what went on during those times, with the walks.
I have just come back after my second exploration of the lower regions of the Severn and Wye Railway, between Lydney Harbour and Parkend (Books 1 & 5 in Lightmoor Press), but I believe they were scant on the the from Tuffs Jn to Flour Mill Colliery (Princess Royal branch). Thanks to you, I have now another reason to go out to places, that give me a great reason to carry on, despite these challenging times.
Good on you !
Thank you for taking the time to put together the web page about the Nice to Digne-les-Bains, very interesting and exactly what I have been looking for to reference regarding the rolling stock.
Is their any chance you could share a higher resolution copy of the Mallet loco drawing please to help with a model I plan to build.
Fascinating information about the line, thanks for sharing your research.
I have had a quick look on the site where I found it …… http://www.bnf.fr on 23rd February 2018 …. I cannot find it easily this time. The original file name was …. portefeuille_c3a9conomique_des_machines_de_-_bpt6k55290313.jpg.
Sorry not to be more help.
I hope you can find what you need.
I am amazed at your depth of knowledge.
I am writing a historic fiction set in 1944 in the South of France between Grasse, Vence and Cannes and I’m a stickler for detail.
I will include the Ligne du Sud which was still in operation until the Germans blew up the various bridges in their retreat in 1944. The trams (TAM) interest me, and I would like to include them in my story but they ceased operation in 1929.
I would love to describe Chateauneuf Pre du Lac where the Ligne du Sud ran through a tunnel and pre 1929 trams passed overhead..(I am going to try to get into the tunnel as it still exists although it has been blocked by debris)
Do you know when the rails were removed? Could a partial service have been in operation during WWII?
Any info on this period would be greatly appreciated
I am not sure. A lot of these lines were handed over to local authorities that then created single track roads or cycleways.
I could not locate your e mail forgive me for this enqury if not the correct medium I am selling a antique East African railway coffee pot from 1890’s is this something you would be interested in..great web site by the way
Thank you for the kind offer. I already have rather a lot of collectable items, so I am sorry that I need to pass on this one.
Good aftenoon Roger, i am editor of THE AERONIAN XP – the magazine/newsleeter of the ABERON VALLEY RAILWAY SYSTEM which usually meet in Aberayron in West Wales. However, it’s a long story but I live some 200 miles away in Swindon. The chairman and I are both Christians and I see my responsibiity as editor as an indirect way of witnessing for the Lord.
Seeing your photos on the listowel & Ballbunion Railway I would like to use some of them to enhance the article I am penning for THE AERONIAN XP. Please let me know your terms and conditions for reproduction permission.
I have just looked through the article. It is my usual practice to reference all images to the source and to check with the source that they can be used. However, I can find no evidence that I did this back at the end of 2018. If not, it has been remiss of me to include them without checking. I have just checked where they come from by doing a search on the internet and the drawings and some of the photos seem to come from the site advertising the modern version of the railway which is a heritage site in Listowel.
You have me worried that I cannot find any evidence of checking their use with the heritage organisation. I will need to recheck and if they are not happy remove them.
Dear Mr Farnworth
I was very impressed by your description of the railway Fanjeaux-St Denis. The reason is that in 2005 we bougth a house in le Deves, south of Saissac. In our yard we found a iron railway bar! Later we discovered more traces of the abandoned railway track; one year ago we cleaned up our terrains and restored the old part of the track.
Regularly I was working on the precise route by searching old maps.
I was very much pleased by your document; it greatly faclitates my own work.
My request is if you can send me a copy of the article (because I can not make a copy of it directly from your website).
Furthermore I got the impression you are a frequent visitor of this region;l if so it may be possible to meet each other in the near future.
With kind regards
Jaap van der Graaf
Thank you for your message. I am very happy to send you what you want. Is this your email address?
Dear Rev. Farnsworth,
I hope that this comment finds you well.
I am a History PhD student at the University of Cape Town. I did my Master’s degree there as well and the topic that I researched was on the post-colonial East African Railways. I am giving an online general history talk about the railways on 21 March at 19.00 CAT. This will be done to help support a friend’s online history business. Registration for the talk can be made via this link if interested: https://jyhc.co.za/product/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-east-african-railways-in-the-20th-century-a-discussion-by-patrick-whang/.
Thank you for your consideration in contacting me about your proposed talk. I am sorry that I will not be in a position to attend.
Mr Farnworth, Thank you for your excellent descriptions of the tramways around Nice where my son, Patrick, lives. I now dwell in Watlington (Magdalen Road), just south of Kings Lynn. I seek your advice. Patrick’s work involves deliveries around Cannes and he was surprised to find, in a derelict Builder’s (?) yard, a standard gauge section of railway complete with an ancient SNCF oil wagon. The location is a small road called Impasse des Fauvettes in Le Cannet and, search as we may, we can find no trace of a standard gauge line anywhere near. The tramway to Le Cannet ran a km to the east and the Cannes to Grasse SNCF railway is two kms to the west (close to the track of the old Cannes-Grasse tramway). Can you give me any indication of what this line may have been please or any advice on where to look for information? I can send photos which Patrick has taken. Thank you in anticipation
Yours, Roger Austin.
We lived just off Gaywood Road close to the the hospital – on Elvington from 1973 until I left for University in 1978. I am not sure what the standard gauge line is to which you refer but, please do send me the pictures and I will try to work things out!
Dear Reverend Farnworth
I’m currently in the final stages of completing my book for Middleton Press entitled ‘Wennington to Morecambe and Heysham via Lancaster’. In it I have mentioned the origin of the word ‘Ayre’ that someone pointed out to me in one of your blogs. With your permission, I would like to quote you and mention you in despatches – in return you get a complimentary copy of the book.
Sincerely yours, Roy
Roy, that is absolutely fine. Best wishes.
Many thanks Roger
Thanks again for your quick reply the other day. In fact I have used your blog to get the flavour of the railways around Lancaster and Morecambe; plus, of course, some information. I’d like to send you a complimentary copy of the book in which case I’ll need your address if you could oblige.
No problems Roy, the address is:
St. James Vicarage
Hi Roger, I posted to you a copy of my recently published book ‘Wennington to Morecambe and Heysham Via Lancaster (Middleton Press). You helped me on a number of issues both direct and by picking up information from your blog. So, I’m happy to send you a copy and I hope you like it. If you do, perhaps you could give it a mention on your web page. With kind regards, Roy
Thank you very much. I have received it and enjoyed reading it. I trust that it is selling well. I’d be very happy to mention it. Let me have a think about how best to do so. I think it warrants more than a footnote to blogs that I have already written.
That’s very kind of you Roger. When I first moved to Clapham (N Yorks) as a Man of Kent I knew little about the railways in that area apart from limited knowledge of the Morecambe electrics. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered how much railway history there was in such a small area. So much in fact that I had to omit the former LNWR branch to Morecambe, which I will cover in a future album (Lancaster to Oxenholme and LNWR Morecambe and Windermere branches). Middleton Press books are not huge sellers; after all it’s a niche market, but I do think people from the area will enjoy reading it and, for example, how many working at White Lund today knew what went oil there in the past. I’m living back in Kent now but I have very fond memories of that part of the country, which are driving me to do follow up albums. With kind regards, Roy
May I introduce myself as a director and trustee of the Geograph project of which I think you will be aware (as well as a Reader in the Church of England as it happens). I am currently planning a short promotional video for release on social media, to raise awareness of Geograph as an educational charity and a free resource.
As well as our Patron and some of our volunteer photographers, we want to feature short soundbites of a couple of people who use our content elsewhere. I’m contacting you because I see that you have used Geograph images in several of your blog posts.
Would you be willing to record a 30-40 second video clip for us, saying how you have used our images and associated descriptive text in your work or studies? We could caption your name and field of research, or you could remain anonymous on the video if you prefer.
If you would be interested, please call me on 0113 3530 271.
Regards, Stephen Craven
In principle, I’d be very happy to do so. Do you have a schedule of when you need videos. I am currently gradually packing up my office ready to move from Manchester (Ashton-under-Lyne) to Telford. So, I am both quite busy and packing, which has limited my capacity to write blog posts.
I have found access to the Geograph photographs a real help in compiling the railway posts.
I am real intereste in your articles can you please write to me
Hi Justus, if you want to contact me you can write here, or use my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.