© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 It's good to have a few days off work before Christmas - provided the shops can be avoided. So when my friend suggested a short excursion to Birmingham ("we might see one or two Peaks, or maybe a 50 or two") I didn't need too much persuading. I really can't remember much about the trip. We travelled down the pre-electrification Bristol line as far as Northfield, using the cross-city suburban service, then in the hands of the old Derby units. The anticipated "Peak" hauled service passed through, in the hands of 45 126. We then worked our way back, stopping first at Kings Norton, and finally at the then new University station, before returning to New Street and our train (or probably trains - there weren't many through trains from Birmingham to Shropshire in 1986) - and to my companion's delight, there was a class 50, no. 035 "Ark Royal" in the somewhat garish NSE livery. And that was it - a breath of fresh air (by comparison with the shops, anyway) but perhaps not too much excitement (the weather and the light weren't too exciting either). But once again, how things have changed in the intervening period.  Cross-city DMU, Northfield 47 on passenger, Northfield 47-hauled passenger, Northfield 45 126, Northfield Yet another 47, on freight at Kings Norton 47 on passenger, Kings Norton 47 on passenger, University 47 and DMU, University 50 035 "Ark Royal", New Street