Nearly there now

December 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Hello again


You may have noticed some change to the website over the last fortnight as I’ve just about finished adding my entire backdated photo’s from my Flickr account, this in turn caused the active railways & trains sections to be somewhat huger than I’d imagined with well over 120 galleries included, with page size and the time to upload all the thumbnails in mind, I’ve added another submenu to this category so galleries are grouped by years now, so hopefully no menu page will be overly clogged in future.

With all my active railway pictures now on the group, I will be turning my attention to adding the disused railway pictures to the site over the Christmas and early January period, some of which were taken a few year ago now with a much less capable camera than what I shoot with now, but in these cases the content overrides the quality and they are included for interests sake to see how once busy railways look today.

2013 is rapidly drawing to a close now with only one certain and another possible trip out before 2014 is upon us (where has the time gone!), save for something unexpected at short notice, traditionally January is a very quiet month until the round of gala’s late in the month so I may well take the time out to do a blog post reflecting on 2013 as a whole to keep the boredom at bay, anyway, enough waffling and time to reflect on events since the last update.

Onto the morning of the Didcot Nightshoot, and a quick trip to Bordesley Junction was taken to capture Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on her way to Ely, the sun was due up just as the train was passing the location so light was possibly going to be an issue, in the event a cold misty morning presented itself with variable light levels, not a problem with 6400ISO available if needed, but unlikely to produce a masterpiece, in the event I think the atmosphere of a cold misty morning has been captured quite well: I had to pull slightly further to the left than I had intended to include all the loco’s exhaust and accidentally included the palisade fencing I was learning over, d’oh!.

I arrived at Didcot mid afternoon having departed home an hour earlier due to the M40 being shut and a subsequent diversion through the eastern Cotswolds, to the find the Railway Centre just winding up from it’s normal open day to the public and getting ready for the nightshoot, organised by Neil Cave & Timeline Events, with 5322 and 3650 in steam, it was disappointing to see the King 6023 wasn’t in steam, but the addition of a few lit rags to the smokeboxes of a few loco’s would give the impression of them being in steam in the night pictures.

The shoot was very successful and well organised to avoid getting in each others ways, with groups split to various scenes at one time before swapping over and loco’s periodically moved to different locations for new pictures, an unexpected and welcome addition to some scenes were period dressed volunteers to help recreate scenes from a bygone era, such as preparing an express loco to leave the shed or a track gang outside Radstock signalbox, I can’t think these guys enough as their presence really added to some scenes, multiple angles and opportunities to take different photo’s were present with a few light & shadow and silhouettes being taken, the event finished with the loco’s being disposed of in front of the coal stage with the fires being thrown out, showing as an orange blur on time exposure pictures as a shovel full of glowing ash is thrown out the firebox onto the ground.

I took far too many pictures I like to link them all here, but 5 of my favourites are:



As December approached, the usual round of pre Xmas mainline workings got into full swing, a Euston – Chester Cathedrals Express had caught my eye, initially down for 70000 Britannia, this was changed for doubleheaded black fives 44871 & 45407, the Trent Valley route can be a pain for northbound morning shots at the best of times, but in winter with the low sun angle it’s even more critical to not be looking into it, I wanted something different to the usual Rugeley location and Lichfield was a non starter due to steam workings usually taking water there, The conventional shot at Grendon is usually from the east side of the line either in the field next to or from the footbridge, this too was against the light at this time, but research showed a shot from the lane on the west side of the line a few hundred yards down was possible, having arrived on the day, there were numerous gaps in the hedge along the lane, but one in a small wood on the brow of a hill proved the optimum viewpoint, and a quite decent train in the landscape shot was the result: the biggest problem proving to be getting the loco’s between the overhead wire masts, but unable to see which one came down which side of the line from that distance, luckily it all worked out well in the end.

The next day brought the annual trip to Melton Mowbray by Vintage Trains, this year headed by the pannier tanks L94 & 9600, which sadly have been rather quiet in 2013, no doubt unhelped by the short range between water stops and 45MPH limit imposed by using small tank engines, The Water Orton road bridge overlooking the station was chosen as the location, trains towards Nuneaton seemingly running wrong line on this point on the bi directional line for trains down from Tamworth and up to Nuneaton, presumably a relative of one of the Vintage Trains staff accounts for the “Tilly’s Birthday Express” headboard, but with a loco in London Transport livery in the West Midlands, authenticity was something of an irrelevance anyway, the varying shade of the tree’s rapidly shedding their leaves adding to a very colourful scene:

December 7th finally saw the much anticipated and much postponed 90MPH run of A4 4464 Bittern, as you may recall I originally wanted to see the train on the descent of Stoke Bank, made famous as the scene of Mallard’s record 126MPH, bang went that idea when Network Rail released the timings which seemed could have done with being at least an hour earlier, with everything south of Grantham pretty much certain to be in darkness, a location further north was needed, a level crossing at South Muskham, just north of Newark (which I usually call by it’s…. erm…. Anagram..) being settled on, a Few HST’s and 91’s being taken in the meantime as most of this traffic is rarely seen by me,

I had taken my prime lens just incase and combined with a high ISO, certainly proved it’s worth as many other photographers suffered with the fading light whereas my effort didn’t turn out too badly: unfortunately the train wasn’t doing the full 90MPH as had been hoped for, passing me at an estimated 75MPH, but that can be the luck of the draw, a speed of around 95MPH being the top speed hit by the train during it’s run from York to Kings Cross.

This coming weekend I’m looking at going to see D1015 Western Champion on its tour to Quainton Road (The Maybach Meanderer), specifically hoping to see it on the Cross City Line between New Street and King’s Norton as railtours along this line are pretty rare, most taking the Camp Hill line between the two locations instead and as I understand it, steam is unlikely to use this route a second time after last years panniers, so it has to be a Diesel tour or nothing, seeing Earl of Mount Edgcumbe return from York to Tyseley is also a possibility, though I haven’t decided on a location yet.

I’m still hoping to visit the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway for their post Xmas event to round the year off, but with many family commitments around that time of year, this is far from certain and in any case, is likely to consist of riding the trains than many pictures at multiple locations as the thought of standing on a bridge for hours in December is less than appealing!.

If I don’t update this blog before January (I’m undecided when or indeed if a 2013 review will take place) I’d like to wish anyone reading this a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.




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