Railway Photography Blog

Some highlights of my railway photography


Arriva Trains Wales class 158 bound for Pwllheli crossing Barmouth BridgeOnce under threat of closure because it was being eaten by worms, Barmouth Bridge is still here 35 years later.

Here’s a Birmingham to Pwllheli train crossing the bridge back in March. Travelling up and down the Cambrian lines in the days following HRH Prog bought back a flood of memories. First from family holidays the mid-70s when the trains were in the hands of a motley assortment of class 101, 103 and 108 DMUs, with the Chester-based 103 Park Royal sets signature trains of the line. There was still a daily freight working up the coast in those days too; a diminutive Sulzer engined class 24 with an assortment of 16-ton coal wagons, vanfits, and the distinctive gunpowder vans carrying explosives from the Nobel factory at Penrhyndeudraeth.

Then there was another visit in 1990, when there were still locomotive-hauled trains on Summer Saturdays, and I travelled from Porthmadog to Shrewsbury on one of the last loco-hauled trains of the season. The sound of the class 37 struggling up Tareddig bank on a dirty night with nine coaches in tow and reduced to walking pace by the summit won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Even that was a quarter of a century ago now. Where has the time gone?

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70 Through The Trees

Freightliner's 70019 passes Reading on a diverted Southampton-bound freightliner.

A photo that can’t be taken later in the year, for more than one reason. Freightliner’s 70019 rounds the curve between Reading and Reading West with a Southampton bound container train, diverted from its usual route due to the landslip at Harbury.

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Old and New

Trams 12 and 19 side-by-side at Priestfields, between Bilston and Wolverhampton

Old and new West Midlands Metro trams side-by-side at Priestfields, Wolverhampton. Thanks to the driver who saw me taking the photo and stopped the tram with two vehicles side-by-side.

It’s a sign than the renaissance of urban light rail has come of age when we’re now seeing the first generation of trams being replaced, even though their age is a fraction of the 30+ year economic life expected from heavy rail rolling stock. No idea whether then 1999-built AnsaldoBreda T69s will be offered for sale or scrapped.

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Porthmadog Again

Ffestiniog Railway's double-Fairlie A few more photos from norh Wales, starting with 1979-built double Fairlie “David Lloyd George” at Blaenau Ffestiniog, having just arrived on the morning train from Porthmadog. It’s still running in grey livery following an overhaul. Despite being one of the “new” locomotives build since preservation, it’s now 35 years old.
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The NMT Comes to York

The Network Rail Measurement Train at York on 29th June 2014

Network Rail’s High Speed Measurement Train pauses at York on June 28th.

This train is a familiar sight for regular train travellers throughout the country. Converted from a High Speed Train a few years back, it records the state of the track, criss-crossing the country, covering each line every couple of months.

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Ayrshire 380s

First Scotrail class 380 arrives at Ayr with a service from Glasgow

A few photos of the recently-delivered class 380 EMUs running on the South Clyde network. Here’s four-car 380 111 arriving at Ayr. It’s notable that the interiors of this outer suburban stock are more spacious and comfortable that those of Virgin Trains’ Pendolinos.

First Scotrail 380 crossing the river at Ayr.

The fleet is a mix of three and four-car sets, which often form six or seven car trains at peak times. Here three-car 380 018 crosses the river bridge just outside of Ayr station.

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The folding gangways on these units are near-unique, extending outwards when two units are coupled, and certainly present a strange appearance.

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The Return of the Night Riviera


The very first “Night Riviera” to run following the repairs to the breach at the sea wall at Dawlish, with 57605 “Totnes Castle” at the head of the train. It’s the last remaining locomotive-hauled passenger train on the West of England main line.

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Porthmadog Harbour rebuilt

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Over the winter the Ffestiniog Railway has been rebuilding Porthmadog Harbour station which had become a serious operational bottleneck since the Welsh Highland Railway finally reached Porthmadog. The works are now almost complete, and the station was open for business for the first time on the weekend of 22nd and 23rd March.

Here WHR 138 is running round having arrived with a WHR train from Caernarfon. The locomotive is running on what was originally the single platform road shared by both lines, now part of the WHR side of the station. The nearer of the two tracks is the new platform road. Trains no longer have to reverse in and out of the station as they were doing last summer.

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The Ffestiniog side of the new station. At first glance it doesn’t look that different from how it was before, but the whole layout has been shifted across the now-widened cob to make room for the new WHR platform and run-round loop.

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Slewing the tracks has made room for a new beer garden for Spooners Bar, which will be the ideal place to sup one of the region’s rather splendid ales on a summer evening after a trip up the line.

While this isn’t a construction project on quite the scale of Network Rail’s massive rebuilding of Reading Station, it’s nevertheless another example of railway infrastructure being rebuilt and enhanced to meet the needs of the 21st century.

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WHR 138 at Porthmadog

WHR Garratt No 138 at the newly-rebuilt Porthmadog Harbour having just arrived with the morning service from Caernarfon.

Welsh Highland Railway’s ex-SAR Garratt No 138 just after arrival at Porthmadog Harbour station on March 23rd after arrival on the morning service from Caernarfon. This was the first weekend of operation in the 2014 season using the newly-rebuilt station.

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Vintage Traction at Spiez

SBB Em3/3 and Ae6/6 at Spiez

Some photos from a visit to Switzerland back in 2003. It was a time when I was working on an N-gauge layout based on the Bern Lötchberg Simplon line, and took a lot of photos detailing train formations, rolling stock and structures as research.

I used the town of Spiez as a base. It’s both a major rail hub with lines leading off in four directions, and a lakeside resort that’s quieter than tourist traps like Interlaken.

A few of these were on my long-dead Fotopic site, but never got migrated over to my replacement site. This was my last year of using film before I went digital; these are taken from CD-Roms scanned at the same time as the films were processed.

Veteran SBB Ae6/6 on a local freight at Speiz

Here we have a veteran SBB Ae6/6 arriving at Speiz on a local freight made up largely of cement tankers, which I think originated from the Interlaken branch. These locos, dating from 1952, were once the principle power on the trans-Alpine main lines, especially the Gotthard line. By 2003 these fifty year old machines had been relegated to much humbler duties such as this one.

BLS Ae4/4  no 258 arrives at Speiz with a train from the Simmental line.

This BLS Ae4/4, seen here coming off the Simmental line with a train from Zweisimmen, is even older, dating from 1941. These locomotives are hugely significant historically, as the first modern-style bogie locomotives; prior to their introduction all electric locomotives were rigid-framed or articulated designs.

SBB Em3/3 arrives at Speiz with a trip freight.

An SBB Em3/3 arrives with a short local freight, which I believe came off the Simmental line. With the entire network electrified and small shunting tractors available at many stations, diesel locomotives aren’t particularly common in Switzerland. They’re largely restricted to short-distance trip workings such as this one.

Ae6/6 at Spiez with

The sun doesn’t always shine in Switzerland, and here’s another venerable Ae6/6 on the cement run. This is one of the so-called “Kantonsloks”, fitted with chrome trim and names after the Swiss cantons.

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