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Photo Gallery 37 - Page 2

"Main Line Steam"

The Rail Scene in the UK by Adrian Brodie

One of my favourite photos. Riddles prototype class 8P Pacific 71000 "Duke of Gloucester" takes water at Appleby Station on 15 October 2006. This is the only point on the whole UK rail network with a watering facility for steam locomotives. We had a phenomenal run up the West Coast Main Line that day.

As a steam enthusiast, I get to enjoy this passion in a number of ways. I guess, the favourite way has to be steam on the main line. Either photographing steam locomotives as they rush past, or through a station, or, as mentioned on the main page, being steam hauled on the main line. Along with my wife, we have now been to many parts of the UK behind steam power on the main line. It always remains a joy. We have had some breath-taking runs behind many of the main line certified locomotives; occasionally hitting the (forbidden!) speed of 80 mph. Long runs in the mid 70s, especially on the East Coast Main Line are always special.


click on thumbnails to enlarge

One problem with being steam hauled, is that as the journey continues, I am constantly looking out and noticing good vantage points flash by, and my mind immediately wishes I could have an out of body experience, (with camera...) to photograph the train I'm on... The phrase, "you can't have your cake and eat it too" was never more true! 

Another problem with being steam hauled on the main line, is that at stations, usually at either end of the journey, although, sometimes used as a water stop during the journey, up to 500 other photographers can disgorge from the train, to get in the way. Plus the usual crowds of enthusiasts... Especially around the locomotive. Thus, a good working knowledge of the station helps. I always try to be off the train as soon as possible, and if possible head for the platform opposite, where there will not be people between the train and myself!

Of course, having achieved a good vantage point on an opposite platform, you then find the sun is "straight down the barrel"! So then, try to move accordingly to remove that dazzling sun from the shot. 

The final problem with main line steam, in terms of photography, is that frequently, in many areas, there are overhead catenary wires and stanchions, supports or gantries which not only get in the way, but, they also detract from the authenticity of any photo, as, for the greater part, steam locomotives were not generally seen under wires. Though, there were exceptions, during the final five years of steam; especially around Crewe on the London Midland Region (Formerly LMS). 

But, ultimately, it all adds up to the challenge of trying to take that one really good photo of a steam locomotive; that almost living, breathing machine.

Gresley A4 class Pacific 60007 "Union of South Africa" stands under the wonderful curvature of York Station, on 23 September 2006. A lot of effort went into getting this shot, as the train was headed to Darlington, and I had dashed off the train, up the platform, and then back again very quickly, as it was a brief set down stop.


Stanier Coronation Princess Pacific 6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" powers through Pewsey Station on 20 August 2008 on a London to Exeter (and return) excursion. Pewsey Station is my local station, two miles away. Wait long enough, and all the main line certified steam locomotives come through... eventually!

Bulleid Merchant Navy class Pacific 35028 "Clan Line" powers through Pewsey Station on 10 June 2009, on the return journey of a VSOE excursion from London to Bristol.

New Peppercorn A1 class Pacific 60163 "Tornado" takes water at Appleby Station on 3 October 2009; Tornado's first attack of the famous Settle & Carlisle Line.


New Peppercorn A1 Pacific 60163 "Tornado" stands at York Station on 3 October 2009, after its first attack at the famous Settle & Carlisle Line. I'm quite pleased with this shot, as it was literally, a final throw-away shot, as we walked back to the car park. The camera was held above a six feet high fence, using the rear screen to view, and the flash was turned off.

Britannia class Pacific 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" stands after arrival at Norwich Station on 23 August 2009, after a run from London King's Cross Station.


click on thumbnails to enlarge

Britannia class Pacific 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" brings the stock into Bristol Temple Meads Station, for the return journey back to London, on 11 September 2008.

Stanier Princess Royal class Pacific 6201 "Princess Elizabeth" stands at Shrewsbury Station, on 13 October 2007, ready for the return journey to Bristol.


Lord Nelson class 4-6-0 850 "Lord Nelson" stands at Canterbury West Station on 28 July 2007. I like this photo because of the gantry signal tower. There are very few of these left now; and I fear this one will soon face the axe, as there is a re-signaling scheme scheduled for Canterbury. Hopefully, it will make its way to a Heritage railway.

King class 4-6-0 6024 "King Edward 1" and Bulleid Battle of Britain class Pacific 34067 "Tangmere" await departure from Bristol Temple Meads Station on 24 August 2007, with "The Eden Limited", an excursion from Bristol to Par, in Cornwall and back. That was a lot of power, which gave rise to some superb running during the day.



Bulleid Battle of Britain class Pacific 34067 "Tangmere" powers through Grateley Station on 7 August 2008.


Bulleid Battle of Britain class Pacific 34067 "Tangmere" stands at (London) Paddington Station on 29 November 2008, following a run from Chester.

King class 4-6-0 6024 King Edward I runs light engine with support car, to its next main line appointment, through Pewsey station on 15 July 2010. The following five images are at the same location, during 2010.


Stanier Black 5 4-6-0 44932 powers towards Swindon, at Stratton St Margaret on 12 August 2010.



page 1 > Introduction

page 2 > Main Line Steam

page 3 > Heritage Railways 1

page 4 > Heritage Railways 2

page 5 > Heritage Railways 3

page 6 > Museums & Engine Houses

page 7 > Sheds and Workshops




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