Over the years I have taken many railway photographs. I’d like to share a selection of railway photographs which mean something special to me. It might be the locomotives, rolling stock or location that is important. I hope you enjoy my ‘Top of the Spots’.
Old Stevenage Station
The first railway photograph was taken at the old Stevenage station. Of course this was where, on the platform furthest from the camera, I sat in my push chair as a small child and watched a Class A4 Pacific come from the North under the bridge in the distance. It scared me half to death according to my Dad. He said that from that moment onwards I was interested in railways.
Many years later I spent happy hours here with friends watching the trains go by: Deltics, Class 31’s and the infamous Craven DMUs or class 105’s as they became known. There are only three Cravens DMU vehicles left – A driving trailer on the Llangollen Railway and a 2 car set at the East Lancashire Railway where it is the subject of a major restoration.
Although there is no train in this picture, there are lots of interesting little details: The red barrows used by Royal Mail on the far right hand side, the fire buckets on the outside of the goods shed, the former siding with just the remaining ‘buffer stops’ in the foreground and semaphore signals on the East Coast Main Line. Sadly there is not a trace of this station remaining today. A new station South of this location replaced the old one in the early 1970s. I’m glad to say though that I’m still in touch with a number of friends who used to accompany me here all these years later.
Metro Cammell Pullman train
The second picture is of a Metro Cammell Pullman train, the fore-runner of the high-speed train it could be said. These train’s worked between Paddington and South Wales although initially there were also sets used on services to Birmingham Snow Hill and from St Pancras to Manchester over the Peak rail route. The best place to observe trains into and out of Paddington was at Royal Oak tube station just outside the terminus. It also had the advantage of being located opposite stabling sidings at Ranelagh Bridge where you could observe all manner of locomotives. In this particular picture you can just make out a Class 52 Western. The sidings were closed in 1980.
The Pullman trains disappeared in May 1973 and this photograph was taken in the Spring of that year. When the weather was fine, we used to sit outside of the canopied area. We would watch the variety of motive power in and out of Paddington including the fore mentioned Westerns, Warships, Hymex, Class 47s, and a variety of DMU types. I remember taking my haversack with cheese and pickle sandwiches and having great banter with mates.
The station is still here today but the motive power in and out of Paddington is not quite so exciting. You might disagree!
Deltic at Kings Cross
During the reign of the Deltics on the East Coast Main Line, Kings Cross was a fascinating place to be. It not only had these magnificent machines arriving and departing but also had interesting locomotives stabled in the sidings just outside. There were also the lines down to Moorgate from York Road and the far Western platform at King’s Cross which is no longer in use. These services were worked by mainly Class 31’s in the latter days and had non-corridored suburban type Mark 1 stock. Notice in this picture there is a complete absence of overhead catenary wire. I must have taken this picture around 1974 as the Deltic has a TOPS number but yet retains its head code. In this case indicating a destination in the North East possibly Newcastle. If it had been heading for Scotland, the second character would have been an S.
View from a sleeper
This is picture was taken from my bed on a Mark 1 sleeper in the Scottish Highlands. Note that the curtain is open and the window is half way down. I used to love catching the sleeper from Euston to Fort William in the 1970’s. On these old Mark 1 sleepers, when you are woke in the morning, you could do exactly as I described. Just lie in bed and breathe the lovely Highland air coming through the window. Not something you can do on the Mark 3 sleepers which are effectively hermetically sealed. I remember the sound of the Class 25 or 26 Sulzer engines hauling our train echoing off the hillsides. How cheering was the knock at the door as the steward came with morning tea and biscuits! I never tired of travelling in this manner.
This final picture represents what surely must be the top spot for any railway enthusiast and that is heritage railways. This photo is taken at Bewdley station which in itself is a super place to visit and is very nostalgic. In this slide we see an Ivatt Class 2 tender loco on a freight train. Our heritage railways certainly deserve to be supported. Heritage railways are my favourite places to view trains these days.
Let me know your ‘Top Spots’ on Facebook or Twitter and look out for my Top of the Spots (part 2)