Category Archives: railway photography

The Pits

kentdub

A once common place scene, pit head winding gear and a smoking industrial locomotive with a rake of mineral empties. However, today, in our modern, coal free age, this scene has to be lovingly recreated, which it is here, at the Foxfield Railway in Staffordshire. What was, once, Dilhorne colliery, is now a mining museum and the British coal mining industry is all but a museum piece too, with all, or nearly all, deep mines now closed and capped. The locomotive, Kent Electric No.2, is beginning the climb of ‘Dilhorne bank’ a short stretch of which is at the fearsome gradient of 1in19.

Lost in all the smoke, behind the mineral wagons, is another fairly unique little industrial locomotive  – a Dubs crane tank, acting as a banker. This is, essentially, a crane mounted on top of a tank engine – and it looks as odd as it sounds. Built by Dubs & Co. of Glasgow, in 1901, for the Shelton Iron & Steel works, No.4101 remained in service until 1968. Kent Electric No.2, (Bagnall 2842), was built in 1946 for the Kent Electric Power Co. and worked first at Dartford and then, in the mid-1950s, moved to Croyden. She was purchased, privately, for preservation in 1972 and had several homes before arriving at the Foxfield Railway in 2003.

I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read  Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase:  “Brilliant and interesting book”

By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.

‘treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’

‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’

‘I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’. 

‘I was given what I believe to be your book called “Gricing” the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!

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This isn’t the night mail

4953tpo

This isn’t, ‘the night mail crossing the border bringing the cheque and the postal order’, (whatever happened to postal orders?), this is the legendary  ‘mail drop’ working on the Great Central Railway. This train recreates the old, line side, drop-off and pick-up of mail bags which was, ‘once upon a time’, such a feature of the railways in Britain. The traveling post office, (TPO),  began almost as soon as the railways went somewhere, and the line side drops and pick-ups began in 1866, on the GWR. The Great Western and the Southern Railway, to all intents and purposes, raced against each other bringing the trans-Atlantic mail from Plymouth to London

In our ‘modern age’ the railway no longer run specialised mail trains and the linside drops and collections have long gone too. The Royal Mail is now a private business and the ‘daily post’ is pejoratively referred to as ‘snail mail’. This, we are told, is in the name of efficiency and progress, I’m not convinced.

The loco in the photograph, Ex-GWR  49xx Hall Class, No. 4953 Pitchford Hall is a member of a class first introduced in 1928 which went on to become the ‘maids of all work’ on the GWR. No.4953 Pitchford Hall was built in 1929 and ended her working days in May 1963. Restored to full main line working order in 2004, she is now retired from service and awaiting her  turn for a 10 year overhaul at the Epping & Ongar Railway.

I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read  Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase:  “Brilliant and interesting book”

By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.

‘treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’

‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’

‘I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’. 

‘I was given what I believe to be your book called “Gricing” the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!

 

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Tanfield & Joem in Black & White

69023blkwht

Sometimes I like to see what a photo looks like if it is turned to monochrome – every now and then it seems to work, as with this photo of 69023. 69023 , despite its rather dated appearance, was actually built after nationalisation, 1949 to be precise. The original design dates back to  1898, in the days of the North Eastern Railway and was designed Wilson Worsdell. Worsdell’s successor, Sir Vincent Raven had a further batch built in 1914  and Sir Nigel Gresley add to their numbers in 1925.

The photograph was taken at East Tanfield and the train is heading towards Causey Arch station. Causey arch is the oldest known arched railway bridge, dating back to 1725, though it is no longer used for rail traffic it is maintained as a site of industrial heritage, which it undoubtedly is.

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A full head of steam

Just south of Montrose is a deserted fishing village, Fishtown of Usan, the signal box in the left background is Usan Box, unlike the village, which still stands, Usan Box has, now, been demolished. Just north of Montrose is, or rather was, Kinnaber Junction, which played such an important role in the Railway Races to the North of 1895, when trains from London Kings Cross and London Euston raced each other to Aberdeen, via the East and West coast routes respectively. Kinnaber Junction was where the two routes met and which ever Box, Hillside or Dubton offered Kinnaber Junction Box the train first would, effectively, be on the winning side.The double-headed Black 5s in the photograph would have been a more common sight on the Caledonian / West Coast route from Aberdeen to Perth, now, like Usan Box, demolished. The former North British route which is now the only route to Aberdeen from the south was the domain of the LNER and their A1,2,3,and 4 class Pacific’s or the maids of all work the V2s. The V2s were regular performers on the Aberdeen fish trains, these trains were smartly timed and often heavily loaded a duty ideally suited to the V2s.

via A full head of steam.

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A field in England

November

Steam railway photography is the sort of hobby where you spend a lot of time standing in fields; with very little happening between the passage of trains, there’s plenty of time to indulge in metaphysics. Speculating on the nature of life, the universe, and everything can be as enjoyable a pastime as taking photographs of steam engines – combining the two, even better.

This particular field is between Oakworth and Crossroads, in the Worth valley. In the distance behind the train is Keighley and it’s suburbs. I’ve been visiting Keighley since I was a schoolboy – I once won the jackpot on a fruit machine in a working mens club right alongside Keighley Railway Station. The club was for dyers and weaving,  spinning,  along with many other occupations in the cloth trade was a major source of employment in the town. During a brief spell in my own railway career I  worked at Holbeck MPD, and as a result worked trains through Keighley en route to Morecambe via Skipton, Settle Jct, Gargrave, Bentham, and Wennington.  So I guess you could say that ‘me and Keighley have some history’.

The locomotive in the photograph, and its coaches, have some history too. The engine was designed by F W Webb in 1881 and built by the London North Western Railway in 1888.  To generations of railwaymen these engines became known as ‘Coal Tanks’ because they were ‘tank’ versions of Webb’s standard 17″ ‘coal engines’ – an 0-6-0 designed for ‘slow’ goods work. The coach behind the engine was to a design by OVS Bulleid though this example was built in 1950 by British Railway Southern Region. Behind the Bulleid coach is a ‘matchbox’ brake third built to a design for the SECR. However, this particular coach was built in 1924 and became part of the stock of the newly formed Southern Railway.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of railway topics.  They are all still available to read in the ‘Archive’ section. I am writing this to let you all know that when the existing webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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A full head of steam

45407gbIIusan

Just south of Montrose is a deserted fishing village, Fishtown of Usan, the signal box in the left background is Usan Box, unlike the village, which still stands, Usan Box has, now, been demolished. Just north of Montrose is, or rather was, Kinnaber Junction, which played such an important role in the Railway Races to the North of 1895, when trains from London Kings Cross and London Euston raced each other to Aberdeen, via the East and West coast routes respectively. Kinnaber Junction was where the two routes met and which ever Box, Hillside or Dubton offered Kinnaber Junction Box the train first would, effectively, be on the winning side.

The double-headed Black 5s in the photograph would have been a more common sight on the Caledonian / West Coast route from Aberdeen to Perth, now, like Usan Box, demolished. The former North British route which is now the only route to Aberdeen from the south was the domain of the LNER and their A1,2,3,and 4 class Pacific’s or the maids of all work the V2s. The V2s were regular performers on the Aberdeen fish trains, these trains were smartly timed and often heavily loaded a duty ideally suited to the V2s.

I wrote about the Railway Races to the North in my book ‘Racing Trains’ – my latest book ‘Gricing the real story of the Railway Children’ is available as an ebook, from Amazon. the link is attached below.

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

 

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The joy of telephoto

63601tunnelshot

The light at the end of the tunnel, tunnel vision, or some similar cliche too predictable to be droll. In the light at the far end of the tunnel we see No.63601 a 2-8-0 goods engine, an engine with its origins in WWI, an event we are currently remembering. We often hear about light at the end of the tunnel in times of war or crisis – but that’s another story.

No.63601, a Robinson designed locomotive, built for the Great Central Railway in 1911 is a member of the select band of locomotives which form ‘the National collection’. To many Gricers these engines are known as RODs, short for Railway Operating Division, a division of the Royal Engineers who ran the wartime railways during the period from 1915. However, in the case of 63601 she wasn’t a ROD but one of the GCR original O4 class. A batch of the O4s were turned out for the ROD, who had designated the O4s as their standard freight engine. Built in 1917, these engines became class O4/3s, it is these engines which led to the class, as a whole, being nick-named RODs.

The location here is Mytholmes tunnel on the K&WVR Railway and the engine, No.63601, was a guest for the gala weekend a year or two ago now.

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The Little Things

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Sometimes it’s not the big dramatic action shots which please it’s the ones filled with little vignettes. The driver oblivious to the photographers behind him, the pile of suitcases, baskets, and boxes on the porter’s barrow, the dappled light on the cobbled path leading to the platform, the station sign ‘ Andrews House’ neatly fitted between dome and chimney.

The tiny Wainwright P class 0-6-0 , built for the South Eastern & Chatham Railway in 1910, seems quite at home in the setting, despite the fact that it’s at the Tanfield Railway in North East England. There’s a timeless quality in the pose of the engine and driver, and a moment of frozen action provided by the photographers with their camera’s, ready to shoot, the  old station lamp, and the pile of luggage dividing the two scenes.

For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. “Gricing” 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs.

The following are totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing: ‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’ – ‘ I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’. – and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

 

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