WELCOME TO DAVID HEY'S COLLECTION
This website is full of memories from a gentler, more innocent age when the post-war baby-boom was at its height and kids climbed trees, played hopscotch in the street and rode bikes without brakes, all of which is a far cry from today's mamby-pamby society. Life back then was something of a 'Boy's Own' adventure, if you like...but how time flies! Fast-forward 50-odd years and my doddering generation is now well past its prime, yet the ageing process does have its advantages - it gives us a chance to draw on feelings that we were unable to express as small boys.
That's why this website is pitched in a light-hearted fashion. After all, the hobby cuts no ice in today's hard-nosed society and this is especially the case at the parties I'm invited, where the people I meet are constantly looking over my shoulder in case someone more interesting enters the room.
Their behavioural tic becomes more frantic when I do my favourite party trick, a tongue-twister...it works best if you pinch your nose and speak in a high-pitched train announcer's voice; it adds pathos to the drama!
'The train now standing at platform four is the five o' four for Forfar, calling at Fife. The first four coaches are for Forfar...the far five coaches for Fife. The first four coaches reach Forfar at four fifty-four and the far five reach Fife at five forty-five!
Okay, you're probably thinking there's a village missing an idiot somewhere so I'll stop larking around. After all, there is a serious side to this site too. It is the growing sense that if we lose sight of our past then we may as well say goodbye to the future. Indeed if I had to choose a photo that embraces everything that this website stands for...Derek Cross's superb shot of Dillicar Troughs (below) in the Lune Valley fits the bill perfectly!
For many spotters the end of steam overshadowed everything, but locking away one's feelings will not dispose of them, rather it evokes a lot more feelings besides. Once you start unearthing childhood memories long lost in the mists of time a much bigger story starts to unfold; you begin to develop an extraordinary affection for old red telephone boxes, Dinky Toys, Hornby Dublo trains, Vespa scooters, frog-eyed Sprites, old bangers with running boards and starting handles - even women PCs in stockings and suspenders. Indeed much of what has disappeared during the past fifty years means something special to someone in one form or other, especially BR steam in everyday service.
Today countless thousands of ex-spotters still bear the emotional scars of abandoning their allegiance to steam during the 1960s. Many abstained from the hobby as a matter of principle, others in reluctant surrender, but whatever the reason the overall feeling was that as steam had outlived its usefulness, then so had our interest in trains - a view in which we managed to persist until the bitter finale came in August 1968, and just five steam locomotives were left: 3 Black 5s Nos 44781, 44871, 45110; a solitary 8F No 48448 and the last working 'Britannia' No 70013 Olver Cromwell.
Sadly, after the '15 Guinea Special' ran on August 11th 1968 it was all over and train spotting would never be the same again...the huge crowds gathered by the lineside to watch BR's last steam-hauled train was quite extraordinary; indeed when you start to delve into the psyche of the spotting fraternity it is difficult to differentiate between out-and-out dedication and mental illness...
This reminds me of the story about a steam enthusiast who bought two tickets for the special train. As he settled into his seat by the window, another man asked if anyone was sitting in the seat opposite him.
'No', he replied, 'the seat is empty….'
'Really!' said the man surprised, 'Who in their right mind would buy a 15 guinea ticket and not use it?'
'Well, actually the seat belongs to me. My wife was meant to be here, but she passed away.'
'Oh, I'm sorry to hear that...I guess you couldn't find someone else, such as a friend or relative to take the seat?'
'No, they're all at the funeral,' he replied.
(Below) We start off with yet another update to Rail Cameraman, Simon Lathlane's page; one of the few enthusiasts I know who has the knack of finding jewels of photos where nobody thinks to look; his collection of old glass plate negatives are especially interesting as they reveal a standard of railway photography from fifty-odd years ago that few of us can hope to rival - and let's be honest about this, considering what's on offer in today's high-tech digital age that's saying something!
Having recently posted some wonderful period shots of GWR Dean Bogie Single locomotives taken at Paddington station, the Maestro has done it again! But I'll let Simon take up the story...
'Hi David, I thought you might like to see this recent purchase of a glass plate negative which measures 12cm x 16cm. It was taken at Kings Cross and the envelope has the date 1924 written on the front along with the engine number 2580. When I developed the image sadly it was very over exposed, but with some work I'm sure it can be rescued and enjoyed by many.
It shows LNER A1 Class No 2580 Shotover at Kings Cross with the headboard 'Flying Scotsman' - and, as I'm sure you know, this engine took part in the inaugural non-stop run of the Anglo-Scottish express, with 4472 Flying Scotsman hauling the northbound train from Kings Cross on the same day. No 2580 departed Edinburgh Waverley at 10am and arrived at Kings Cross two and half minutes inside the scheduled time.
From a search in Google it would appear that this image was published in the book 'The Steel Highway' by Cecil J Allen, however I don't have a copy so I cannot confirm this. The image shows the engine with the Westinghouse brakes seen on the outside mounted near the rear coupled wheel. They were removed from the fifteen A1s between 1933 and 1935. By all means please display it on your site. Best wishes, Simon...'
Yes, absolutely! I'm delighted to post it on your page, and thank you for sharing it with us...indeed there is also a lovely new photo of LNER B1 Class 4-6-0 No 1016 'Inyala' at York in 1949....superb! So, thanks again, Simon...click HERE to visit Simon's updated page 73
Having started this site back in 2007, I have been greatly encouraged by the extraordinary level of support I've received from contributors; it has just grown and grown over the years. However, in an odd sort of way this wonderful generosity has led to some confusion; the domain name, 'David Hey's Collection' is now something of a misnomer. It implies that all the photographs on these pages belong to me...
Worse still, because my name is at the top of every page I risk delivering a snub to everyone involved by seemingly claiming it as my own work. IT ISN'T and I'M NOT! This worried me so much that I decided to change the site name, but an IT friend advised against it. It would be like starting all over again; there are thousands of links to consider. You'll end up making so many changes you'll lose your marbles, he said.
In that case I'll stick to the way things are. I'd rather keep my marbles thank you very much, especially now I'm getting older; it's a wee-bit like my friend who has a bad back and can't bend down for toffee; when he dropped his wallet in the street his first thought was 'Do I really need that?'
There's a message in there somewhere, though I'm not sure what!
(Right) Announcing a new page of spotting memories from the 1950s and 1960s featuring the spectacular railway photographs from Mike Claxton's superb website www.railpictorial.com - a site dedicated to the memory of his brother Paul, who sadly passed away in April, 2009. Paul began train spotting at a very early age, and like most young boys during the late 1950s he started taking railway photographs, a natural adjunct to train spotting. To give credit where it is due, Mike has worked hard in creating this website for the simple reason that it gives enthusiasts a chance to enjoy his late brother's photographic collection online...and what a collection it is! Rarely have I see such quality and in such high numbers on one website - 7,500 images and counting! This is a private glimpse into Paul's negatives of steam days as he saw it during the 1960s. Needless to say, I am a big fan and a visit to Mike's site is highly recommended. Click on photo-link (right) to visit the new page...
(Right-Below) Following the success of Richard Greenwood's 'Up North in Colour' on page 53, I am pleased to announce a follow-up page appropriately named 'Down South in Colour' on page 87. Richard first encountered Southern steam at London Victoria during a school trip to Switzerland in 1953 when he saw Bulleid Light Pacifics and, on one occasion, the up Night Ferry.
In 1961, Richard attended the old Gibson and Weldon cramming college at Guildford in readiness for sitting the Law Society finals examinations. The course lasted from 31 May until the end of October, which gave Richard his first chance to photograph BR Southern Region steam in colour. From his digs he passed the station and shed en route to lectures and every Wednesday afternoon plus weekends were free. During this time he took well over 500 black and white photographs and some 150 colour slides, including this shot below of H class 31521 on a motor train for Tunbridge Wells and Oxted. Perutz had just introduced their new colour slide film which was faster than others available. It yielded pleasant images and although the pictures have suffered from colour-degrading over fifty years, auto colour correction in Photoshop has brought them back to their original quality... The results are well worth a visit. We begin the page with photos taken in May 1961 through to October, but we are only halfway through! Still to come - 1962! Watch this space for further updates...superb! Click here to visit Richard's new page....
(Above-Right) Meanwhile Geoff Burch's page has been updated courtesy of Rae Woodford (a fellow fireman at Guildford shed) who has kindly allowed Geoff to publish some classic SR photos from his collection, including this one (above) of 'N' Class 31862 at Ash Junction in May 1960.
The photographer is railwayman, E.C Griffith, who was based at Farnham. Click here to visit Geoff's updated page 32.
Also I must mention some of the new pages on this site, starting with Roy Lambeth's 'Steam on Shed' and 'BR Railtour' stories which can now be found on three 'Rail Camerman' pages 61-63.
Similarly, John Stoddart's witty anecdotes in his 'Lines Through a Life' and 'Steam Heaven, Scotland 1964' have been added to pages 71-72; indeed all twenty two Rail Cameramen are now featured together on pages 52-74.
Mention must also be made of Fred Wagstaff's rum stories from the footplate and his railing against authority - 'they-don't-like-it-up-em, you know!'
His tale begins during steam days at South Blyth Shed through dieselisation to ECML electrification; all are now grouped together on five pages 76-80, whilst Phil Hodgett's superb 'Cowpen & Blyth' page and Ed Orwin's 'Blyth Station' model railway project can now be found on pages 83-85.
Other recently updated pages include 'Barry Hilton's BR Railway Roundabout 1' on page 86 plus the 'Train Spotting 2' page 5 features pages from Jim Oakley's spotting notebook showing the locos he spotted during visits with the Nothern Railfans Club to the ScR. The tour began with a visit to Motherwell (66B) followed by Hamilton (66C); Kipps (65E); Parkhead (65C); St Rollox (65B); Polmadie (66A); Eastfield (65A); Dawsholme (65D); Yoker (65G); Cockerhill (67A) and Greenock (66D) ...indeed, this trip produced the most 'cops' he'd ever had in one day - 663 in all! Jim's notebook is a veritable snapshot in time.
(Above-Below) The 'Doncaster' Page 7 and 'Tebay, Lune Valley & Shap' Page 13 have been updated with excerpts from Mike Claxton's www.railpictorial.com, a superb website dedicated to the memory of his brother Paul, who sadly passed away in April, 2009. Mike has created the 'Paul Claxton Collection' so that enthusiasts can enjoy his late brother's extensive range of railway photographs online - and what a collection it is! Rarely have I see such quality and in such high numbers on one website - currently standing at 7,800 images and counting!
Needless to say, I am a big fan and a visit is highly recommended. However, Mike is aware that all images displayed can be downloaded by one means or another, and so with this in mind, he has made it easier for enthusiasts to download any of Paul's photographs - there is a button on each photo page to download. All images have a resolution of 300 dpi and therefore suitable for producing a respectable A4 print. However, should you download copies of any of Paul's photographs then it would be appreciated if you would make a donation to the Trinity House Hospice, Blackpool who cared for Paul in his fight against cancer. A click-on link is available on Mike's site...it only takes a couple of minutes! Click here to visit the Tebay page and Cclick here to visit the Doncaster page.
(Right) Trevor Ermel's Rail Cameraman page 70 - 'Life after BR Steam' - now features German steam plus stunning colour shots of BR Rail Blue diesels on Tyneside and the West Country. One of Trevor's latest updates is a 'behind the scenes' look at the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway..here.
(Below) Being a die-hard steam fan I make no secret of the fact that I never liked the Rail Blue era…until now! As Trevor Ermel comments - 'Looking back it is difficult not to get nostalgic about the eye-catching blue and yellow livery as originally carried by the HSTs…'
I couldn't agree more! I have to say, though - the launch of BR's Rail Blue era left me stone cold back in the Seventies!
The Corporate Identity Scheme effectively removed all last traces of any individual character such as the two-tone liveries of locos and BR's distinctive Regional colours on station totems. Odd then, that some forty-years on, I should find 1970s photos of Rail Blue diesels strangely appealing, especially in colour! You'll find over forty new colour shots on Trevor's page, the latest update featuring the East Coast Main Line out of Kings Cross during the 1970s.
Trevor photographed this scene (below) of passengers alighting from a Bishop Auckland DMU at the north end of Darlington station, whilst Class 55 No 55017 departs with a northbound express on 16th August 1975. Trevor's reconnaissance with a camera includes more than thirty stunning colour photos of the ECML, including plenty of Deltics - a visit is a definite must here for enthusiasts of all ages.
(Above) Four before-after photos have been added to the 'BR Rail Photo Workshop page 75. I mention it here because image manipulation - or, as I prefer to call it, photo enhancement - is often frowned upon by the old school. One of the biggest concerns is the way it is misused by such as the fashion industry; it raises the issue of ethics and how far you can push the boundaries of digital image manipulation (tweaking a pencil-thin model's boobs, removing an unsightly spot) and still maintain an acceptable level of integrity. For example, photo manipulation creates an illusion, which, by its very nature is a deception, yet Adobe Photoshop is a wonderful graphics programme - a veritable computer darkroom - which supplies all the tools you need to work on a picture...and this includes repairing old photographs too. Click here to find out more...
(Below) The success of Derek Dean's remarkable in-depth study of the BR 'Britannia' Class 7s on page 90 has warranted an additional page 91...this time Derek is really pulling out all the stops by compiling a history of every 'Britannia' class loco from No 70000 to 70054. This splendid image (below) by Rod Blencowe is just one of the many photos to appear on Derek's page. It shows the crew of 70054 Dornoch Firth awaiting signals at Leeds Wellington Street station before backing out of the platform for Holbeck shed on 8th May 1959. All Anglo-Scottish expresses on the former MR route reversed at the Leeds terminus; in the background a 'Jubilee' class is awaiting the arrival of another train. Click here to visit Derek's page...
(Above-Below) All in all, the pages on this site are very much 'work in progress...including daily updates, plus several new pages have been added or are currently in the planning stage. Where will it all end? Well, just as long as you keep on visiting we'll keep on updating...this includes another recent update of Richard Greenwood's 'Up North in Colour' on page 53.
Richard's photo of Rochdale Station (above) would not look out of place at the Lowry Art Gallery in Manchester. LS Lowry is famous for his paintings of industrial landscapes usually milling with human figures often referred to as 'matchstick men'.
In wintry weather, Richard took this shot of signalman Cyril 'Tater' Jones walking home after arriving by train at Rochdale from his place of work at Smithy Bridge Level Crossing. Out of picture on the right, an empty wagon train rumbles through the station bound for Healey Mills in Yorkshire…the full image can be seen on Richard's 'Rail Cameraman' page 53, which now contains over 140 colour shots of steam days up north.
(Below) Richard's page has again been updated, this time with a selection of 'Mogul' colour photos. On taking charge of the LMS loco design office in 1933 William Stanier built Moguls of similar power to the Crabs with all his refinements of taper boilers and high pressure boilers. Only 40 were built and they were mostly allocated to ex-LNWR sheds. Works repairs to the Stanier 2-6-0s were carried out at Horwich, and so the sight this class at Rochdale on running-in turns was not unusual. On 16 September 1963 a polar air stream allowed the brilliant sunshine to last right up to sunset and highlight every detail on number 42982 recently outshopped after a General Repair. It has arrived in Rochdale at 7.37pm on the 5.40pm stopper from Liverpool Exchange. Having uncoupled from the train the Mogul has run forward, switched over to the up main line and is heading to Castleton where it will turn on the triangle and then return to Rochdale. Eventually it will return to Bolton on the 10.45pm stopper. Sunset that day was at 8.12pm.
(Above-Below) The Doncaster Page 7 has been updated, and includes this evocative image from the NRM's archives of the Erecting shop at Doncaster 'Plant' on 8th April 1957. The National Railway Museum in York has a collection of 1¾ million photos covering the history of Britain's railways from 1850 to the present day. The NRM's archives are currently being digitalised to make them available to a wider audience and preserve them for the future - more images like these can be found on the NRM's 'Doncaster Photos' page here - a visit is highly recommended…(Below) Footplate Cameraman Jim Carter's study of both red and green Duchesses in residence at Edge Hill shed evokes memories of how things were. Click here to visit the first of three JR Carter's Rail Cameraman pages 66-68
And so it was wonderful news to hear that two expatriate Class A4s Nos 60008 and 60010 have found their way back to Britain to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their sister, 60022 Mallard, which secured the world speed crown in 1938. (Above) A4 Pacific 60008 'Dwight D Eisenhower' at Kings Cross on 15th June 1962. You can read more about the repatriated A4s on the 'Rail Centre - York' page. (Below) Full marks to the NRM, for it is due to the sterling efforts of the staff at the National Railway Museum at York that the A4 duo are now back on home soil. The museum not only houses the largest collection of railway objects in the world, but admission is absolutely free - a good excuse to take the Missus and kids for a brilliant day out! Click here to visit the excellent NRM website.
(Above-Below) Railway photographers are creatures of habit, invariably taking the traditional three-quarter shot a train to the exclusion of almost everything else in the surroundings. However, this ER Morten shot of Johnson Midland Class 3F 0-6-0 No 43612 at Gowhole Sidings with a heavy goods train on 21 April 1951 is refreshingly different since it shows the hustle and bustle of a busy railway yard chock-a-block with various loose-coupled freights. With a tractive effort of just 21,010lbs and weighing no more 43 tons, the Class 3F will require the help of a banker and the provision of four brake vans to assist the engine crew over the steeply-graded Peak Forest route to Rowsley. (Below) With the onset of dieselisation some 10-odd years later, the new generation of rail cameramen faced the task of making their pictures more interesting - photos of diesels on their own are nowhere near as photogenic as those of steam - hence the inclination to embrace more of the railway infrastructure or surrounding scenery as shown in this shot of the upper Aire Valley line at Steeton between Keighley and Skipton in the 1960s. Whatever the difference in photo-technique, however, the results are exactly the same - it records the railway scene for posterity.
NEW SILVER SURFER TO THE INTERNET? HERE'S A FEW TIPS...
(Left-Right) A warm welcome to the growing band of 'Silver Surfers' new to the Internet. You're never too old to learn. Harking back to the old days before the world wide web (www) was launched in 1989, there was nothing I liked better than browsing through the pages of old issues of 'Railway Magazine' and 'Trains Illustrated'.
Odd then, that it took me so long to surf one of the largest railway archives in the world on the Internet. I didn't start until 2007 - and although I found the 'drag and click mouse' jargon a bit baffling at first, once I got going it was great to log on and search through the thousands of railway sites.
Trouble is, surfing the 'communications super highway' is a daunting task unless you know what you're doing. Over the years, the world wide web has become a victim of its own success, and the information overload - the sheer volume of material it contains - can take a lot of digesting.
For the first-time 'Silver Surfer', the World Wide Web is a fantastic communications tool that allows people from all over the world to keep in touch via the miracle of electronic maill; it provides a wonderful opportunity to meet some really interesting people online…
I say meet, you don't actually meet anyone in person, of course, we exist only in one another's hermitically-sealed world of cyberspace and exchange greetings on a keyboard.
Indeed there is something liberating about being online, particularly for the elderly whose mental agility might be impaired by advancing years. As you get older the mind can play the daftest tricks and often when I'm in a deep meaningful conversation with someone my mind is like a waste paper bin overflowing with unfinished sentences because I've forgotten a particular name or word and can't remember what I am about to say next!
In the most severe cases this missing word may take days, even weeks before I can retrieve it, but by then it's too late - I have no use for a word like 'Steam Cock' when I'm queuing in a supermarket.
However, this lapse in concentration never happens to me online, but even if it did I still have the aid of a spell checker and thesaurus. Plus the 'save-draft' option is very useful as it allows me to take as long as I like to communicate via an email without lulling the recipient into a comatose state because my mind is a total blank.
Mind you I rarely get the chance to meet up personally, as David Platt and I did recently at Birch Services on the M62 - just a pair of old geezers gassing about trains, a subject very close to both our hearts.
Between infuriating long pauses, I was thinking about something quite different at the time; I was trying to remember if I'd left the immersion heater on at home - it turns out that David is something of an expert on railway jigsaw puzzles and has created a new website dedicated to the subject - click here for link. The site includes an illustration of a painting I did (left) for the Rocket 150 Celebrations at Rainhill in 1980, which was reproduced as a jigsaw puzzle along with 'Lion at Rainhill' (below). David is also the author of a book - 'Steam Trains and Jigsaw Puzzles'.
(Below) Whilst on the subject of railway art, I have recently been contacted by 76 year-old Alan Shillum, an ex-Daily Mirror reporter, news editor, finally managing editor, who since retirement on Mersea Island in Essex, has taken up art as a hobby in a variety of mediums and subjects.
This superb pencil drawing 'Good Companions' was inspired by a Jim Carter photo that Alan found on this website. Measuring 18"x12" the drawing was done in 2b,3b,4b pencils on white picture mount card.
Harking back to his childhood days as a train spotter, Alan writes - 'I am still learning (art) and have a go at steam locomotives from time to time because to me they are aesthetically the perfect marriage of form and function. They are also a great challenge...'
....and very worthwhile, I must say...creative work takes a long time and a great deal of patience, but the results are very rewarding; indeed if anyone else is creating pictures of British trains and railways in oils, water colours, pen line, pencil or charcoal etc - I will be delighted to post them on this site for the whole world to see. My email address is at the bottom of the page...
(Below) Don Fogg is another artist to make contact; he writes...
'Hi David, I have spent many happy nostalgic hours perusing your site, I was a train spotter from about 1958 at Edge Hill (8A) in Liverpool before moving to aviation in the Sixties but remain besotted by steam locos, ships and old aeroplanes. We have lived in Adelaide South Australia since 1983. I'm a teacher of Art and Special Ed. I enjoy the tantalising glimpses of your artwork - you should display more. I have been doing some pencil drawings of locos lately and have been using the web for reference. I am therefore asking you if you mind me using your pics as reference for my drawings. I'm not sure what I'll do with them but I have to get it out of my system (you probably know that feeling). I'm working on a fairly small format at present so I can scan them if you would like a look. I love the grimy Black 5s and workhorses (even Jinties) especially in tunnels or stations, very atmospheric. It takes me back to cycling from my home in Wavertree to Exchange station to see if the Glasgow arrival was hauled by a 'Brit'. I wish I'd had a camera! Happy Days! Keep up the fabulous work. Regards, Don Fogg...'
Well, true to his word Don has sent two drawings: 'Edge Hill Tunnels' and 'Sheds', both pencil with gouache highlights on tinted paper measuring 21cm square....
Are there any more artists out there?
I'll be pleased to post your railway art here...
(Below) I do get one or two complaints from older visitors who've 'clicked-on' a link to this collection and find that it takes a long time to download.
The reason why some pages are slow is because of their huge size.
For example, if you 'click-on' a webpage containing text only it is much easier to load than a webpage of photos since it takes much longer to transmit. Many websites avoid this is by limiting the number of images. However, this website is primarily a collection of photographs and so what you are actually opening are pages full of images of steam days…
So please be patient! You'll find it well worth the wait…
Indeed if you like these pages then why not bookmark them? Or if you're using Internet Explorer add them to your favourite list…I'm sure it will make your next visit a whole lot easier. Happy surfing!
I received an email recently from a 70 year-old ex-railwayman seeking advice on caption writing; he was planning on self-publishing his memoirs (one of the advantages of today's digital age is that it offers plenty of opprtunities to produce a short print run and a lot of people are jotting down their memories with a view to publishing a private family album). He said that writing down his memories was the easiest part, but he was struggling with captions. Well, writing interesting photo captions is not a simple task; the content of a photo is usually all about the loco, which is fair enough. A locomotive is invariably an integral part of the composition, hence a simple formula for captions usually goes something like - engine-train-location-date - which is fine, but hardly what you would call attention-grabbing.
Trouble is the subject of trains and railways is almost impossible to delineate because there are millions of enthusiasts out there, each with their own diverse interests - and all with varying levels of expertise. This makes it doubly difficult to write something to suit everyone. The trick is to describe something that is not actually in the photo, which may require a wee bit of background research...
This brings me to the wonder of the World Wide Web. Now there has been a lot of bad press lately concerning the harmful effects of the Internet. I'm talking about the rise in cyber crime and bullying trolls, and in particular there is a lot of criticism about the way the Internet provides access to evil child pornography and other online extremism. This was brought to a head recently when Sir James Mulby, the country's most senior family law judge, commented...
'The Internet allows anyone, effectively at the click of a mouse, to publish whatever they wish. The consequence is that the Internet is awash with material couched in the most exaggerated, extreme, offensive and often defamatory terms, much of which has only tenuous connection with objectively verifiable truth.'
Strong words indeed, but he does have a point.
However we must not forget that there is also a fantastic amount of good things to be found on the Internet. It gives the everyone super-quick access to every subject under the sun, which, for serious railway enthusiasts is a real boon, and for those writing their memoirs for the grandchildren it provides a wealth of information that will help authenticate even the fuzziest facts and figures.
Of course, this new-fangled 'click' and search technique is completely alien to the first-time silver surfer, who've probably spent their whole lives traipsing back and forth to the public library scouring for books and think the Internet is far too complicated for them to master. But master it they will...stick with it.
SITE UPDATES! (Left-Below) Having recently purchased a Zennox Negative Scanner from a mail order catalogue (for less than fifty quid!) I'm making a start on trying to resuscitate some 50 year-old negatives which have never been printed and are like ghosts from the past crying out to be exhumed (digitalized).
Over the years the 35mm negative strips have been kept in their original sleeves and are as good as new, though quite a few seem to have been 'got at' by a mysterious fungus, including this one of an unidentified EE Type 4 at Connonley between Skipton and Keighley in March 1961.
This image was taken just a few weeks before the introduction of Type 4 diesels on the Anglo-Scottish expresses north of Leeds; it records a brief period of our railway history therefore it must be worth saving if only for old time's sake. Back in the spring of 1961, BR introduced a crew training programme involving footplate staff at Leeds Holbeck and using 'Peak' class locos between Leeds and Appleby, but on occasions EE Co Type 4s were employed.
Now it has to be said that uploading an inferior photo onto the front page is hardly a ringing endorsement of the quality to be found on the rest of ther site, but it does illustrate the effort that goes into reviving old photos in a digital format (see Page 75 here) which otherwise wouldn't get a look in on the web.
(Below) The marvel of the Internet! Whilst the World Wide Web allows you to wallow in unashamed nostalgia for the old days, it also brings you bang up to date with current goings-on...for example (below) even before the Railway Touring Company's 07-12 Crewe-Scarborough (1Z64) 'Scarborough Flyer' had reached its destination on September 3rd 2010, pictures of the train were already winging their way around the world. In the midst of delightful Pennine scenery at Diggle, Phil Spencer captures the scene of No 6233 Duchess of Sutherland seeking refuge in the goods loop beside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The driver is awaiting the passage of a First TransPennine Express (FTPE) before rejoining the main line a few yards short of Standedge Tunnel.
LINKS TO BRITISH RAILWAYS REGIONS
Click photos below to visit the relevant web page.
Click on photo-links (below) for NOSTALGIA FOR THE OLD DAYS
A Silver Surfer's trip down memory lane...
THE FIRST GENERATION DIESELS
BR's Modernisation Plan didn't effect everyone. The 1960's spotting community was made up of countless thousands of youngsters, who, by virtue of their youth had no way of knowing what had gone before, so with the introduction of charismatic diesels like the 'Peaks', 'Deltics', 'Warships' and 'Westerns', the end of steam mattered little to them - and, if truth be told, even die-hard steam enthusiasts had to admire the performances of the new diesels. At the same time, BRs decision to name diesel locomotives was a commendable policy. The fitting of bodyside nameplates and, in some cases ornamental regimental crests, upheld a tradition going back donkey's years which added a certain panache to the new diesel fleet.
THE SECOND GENERATION DIESELS
By 1965, BR's diesel fleet entered the much-maligned era of the 'Corporate Identity Programme' and the newly-formed British Rail Board (BRB) decreed that everything had to conform to a given standard. The BRB's design panel advised British Rail on the best means of attaining a high level of appearance by introducing a new livery for diesel and electric locomotives, passenger coaches, freightliner rolling stock and ships, along with the use of a new barbed wire logo, based upon the idea of two-way traffic movement. The diesel fleet's unimaginative colour scheme (devoid of a two-tone livery and bodyside lining) wasn't helped by the BRB's strict policy forbidding any concession to livery changes, which deprived depot staff of any incentive to take a pride in their particular traction, and it wasn't until the late 1980's that the BRB finally adopted a more enlightening approach for its newly-launched Regional Services and Sectors.
AROUND THE REGIONS - STEAM DAYS
LOST AND FOUND! This site receives a lot of requests for photos and enquiries from visitors seeking information on trains and railway, but since I can't deal with them all myself I've launched a new 'Help' facility to help broaden your own search to a worldwide audience. Over the years, more and more visitors to this site are using the 'Guest Book' page in their search for information, and I am happy to oblige. If you are seeking assistance in your own search then visit the Guest Book page, but please include your email address in the message and deal with it yourself. I am not in the business of brokering any deals, nor am I an Estate Agent...some wag recently posted a house for sale - cheeky! But the facility has produced a result! Regular visitors to this site might recall Adam Parker contacting the Guest Book Page seeking information on a number of railway photos that he unwittingly became the custodian of. In fact, had it not been for Adam taking them under his wing the whole lot would have ended up on a bonfire! It was a most interesting story, and one I was happy to feature on the 'BR London Midland Region' page. Click here for link to 'Adam Parker's Album of Found Photos'. Since the appeal went out on the LMR page Adam has been contacted by the photographer, Richard Courtney and the material has been returned to the rightful owner...the wonder of the Internet - and ten out of ten to Adam for successfully tracking Richard down. It reaffirms one's faith in human nature...
Being a relatively newcomer to the web (better late than never, they say) the whole point of the collection is to try and build the best website possible and give something back to the community. At the same time I was keen to learn something about digitally enhancing old photos, such as 'burning' and 'dodging', sharpening, improving brightness and contrast, and removing spots or other unsightly blemishes. I began by practising in Adobe Photoshop; a powerful graphics tool that is used by cutting-edge designers who work at the sharp point in a studio, but since I have only modest ability, it is more like a computer darkroom that contains all the tools needed to work on old photographs - and, rather like a small boy rummaging in a toy cupboard, it allows me to zoom-in to a single pixel. I'm bound to get up close and personal with all photographers' work!
If you would like to contribute to the website I'll be pleased to include your spotting reminiscences from steam days, but be warned - the seasoned spotter can spot a 'porky' a mile off, so embellishing your story with fictional flourishes is hardly convincing.
That's because train spotting captured the hearts of thousands of boys during the less-worldly Fifties, and although most of us are well past our prime (and forgotten what we did two minutes ago) the ageing process is surprisingly kind in another way. In the glow of memory we only remember the good stuff, so our spotting memories are bound to be mired in sentimentality.
On the other hand, critics would argue that writing a personal account of 'bunking' sheds and chasing 'cops' is seldom illuminating or remarkable because all you are doing is regurgitating old anecdotes, which, by the very nature of the hobby, are exactly the same as everyone else's...RUBBISH! Call me an old-fashioned day dreamer, but any memory of bygone days is better than none. Just send me a favourite old photo accompanied by a meaningful caption and it will give visitors to this site a chance of escaping the grim reality of today's modern world...
On a final note, the most popular idols back in the Fifties were the comic 'cape crusaders' Spiderman, Batman or Superman, together with the Hollywood cowboy stars: Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. However, the idols I worshipped above all others did not come from your usual ruck of pop singers, soccer players or film stars - and, unless you were a train spotter, none were household names. They were the railway photographers whose pictures appeared in the 1950-60s monthly magazines - the unsung heroes who helped shape my perception of the railway scene. So when I bumped into Jim Carter in the mid-Eighties, the fear of causing him even the slightest embarrassment deterred me from asking for his autograph. We met on the embankment overlooking Marsden's reverse curves at the Yorkshire end of Standedge Tunnel, a line he regularly worked during his days on the footplate. Mindful of those romantic tales about steam, I asked him - Did he really fry eggs and bacon on a shovel across the firebox? Jim left me in no doubt about his feelings - "Yon shovel is for feeding t'engine, not your gob!" So there you have it - straight from the horse's mouth. This shot of a Class 8F and WD on snow clearing duties at Diggle at the Lancashire end of Standedge Tunnel is a classic. Few photographs - or photographers, for that matter - can leave such a lasting impression. Thanks Jim, this site will always be dedicated to you...
PLEASE NOTE - IMAGES FROM THIS SITE SHOULD NOT BE PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF THE RIGHTFUL COPYRIGHT OWNERS. IF YOU WISH TO USE A PICTURE ON THE WEB THEN YOU MUST ASK FIRST. A GOOD FIRST STEP IS TO MAKE CONTACT VIA THE E-MAIL ADDRESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. YOU ONLY HAVE TO ASK...PERMISSION IS RARELY REFUSED, A RECIPROCAL LINK TO THIS SITE IS USUALLY THE CASE.
All text and photographs are protected by copyright and reproduction is prohibited without permission from the © owners. If you wish to discuss the contents of this site the email address is below. Please note - this is not a 'clickable' mail-to link via Outlook Express; you will have to mail manually.