Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

One of the main visiting attractions to one of Britains new(ish) hertiage railways in July is ex Lancashire & Yorkshire 3F No. 52322. Recently repainted into early unlined BR Black livery came a bit of a surprise to Stuart upon arrival at Duffield Station. I was not expecting the repaint to take place until after the loco’s visit to Derby. However, really pleased to see this livery. Many thanks to Andy Booth (Loco Owner).

The one disadvantage to the recent heatwave is the lack of steam produced from engines for photographic purposes. The first weekend saw temperatures drop slightly which gave whisps of white stuff occasionally. As the selection of images below show.

Heading for Alderwasley

Heading for Alderwasley

Departing Duffield Station heading towards the tunnel under King Street.

Departing Duffield Station heading towards the tunnel under King Street.

Windley Lane, Hazelwood

Windley Lane, Hazelwood

Arrival at Worksworth

Arrival at Worksworth


Austin 10 Car Rally 2013

The weekend 20/21st July saw the Austin 10 Drivers Club meet in the Midlands for their annual rally. With Matlock Rugby Club hosting the group on their grounds at Cromford Meadows, Derbyshire. Saturday was perfect weather for the amble drive around the Derbyshire countryside. Sunday all the cars gathered at the club on public display.

Photos below of the Sunday.












The Great Gathering

On 3rd July 2013, marked the 75th Anniversary for the World Speed record held by a Steam Locomotive. Sir Nigel Gresleys A4 Pacific 4498 ‘Mallard’ hauled a test train in 1938 down Stoke Bank near Grantham at 126mph. To mark the occasion. The National Railway Museam in York held talks with the Canadian and American railroad museams owners of two surviving members of the A4 class. The plan was to repatriate them back to the UK for a 2 year loan period. During which time they would receive cosmetic restoration.

60008 - Dwight D Eisenhower

60008 – Dwight D Eisenhower

Landing back on home soil after 46 years in Liverpool in 2012 both locomotives 60008 ‘Dwight D Eisenhower’ & 60010 ‘Dominion of Canada’ went on display at NRM Shildon for a short period.

60010 - Dominion of Canada

60010 – Dominion of Canada

The four surviving UK members of the A4 class including the NRM’s world record holder ‘Mallard’ gathered together at York to bring all 6 members together for the first time on 3rd July 2013. The National Railway Museam held a two week event, which included high speed railtours by one survivor 60019 ‘Bittern’.

The panorama shows all 6 engines side by side around the turntable in the former York roundhouse 50A North Shed.


The day I visited there was a railtour from Kings Cross in London to York. Featuring the new steam loco completed in 2008, A1 60163 ‘Tornado’. Sporting it’s current livery BR Experimental Blue. This livery really does suit the engine.

60163 - Tornado

60163 – Tornado

New Book Published


I have recently published my first 70 page book of my photos on British Preserved Steam Locomotives.  This volume showcases my work from the digital age.  Using only images taken on my Canon Digital SLR’s. Dating from 2005 to the present day and covering the UK from Scotland to Cornwall.

The book comes in three formats.  Softcover £22.50.  Hardback with Dust Jacket £30.  Hardback printed image £34.50.

The book can be previewed in full and ordered online.  Use the following link to go direct to the Blurb site.

Steam on Shap

With the recent overhaul of 46233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ and painted in BR Brunswick Green, the loco was booked to haul a railtour from Crewe to Carlisle.  The opportunity to see a green duchess on home turf tackling the steep gradients of Tebay / Shap recreating early 1950’s era was tempting.  There was another steam hauled railtour booked up Shap that day too.  The mighty beast – 5043 ‘Earl of Mount Edgcumbe’ was heading up from Birmingham to do a short tour of Scotland.  This made the trip out worth while.

Heading up over A66 to Kirkby Stephen, passing Stainmore Summit allowed a brief glance at the newly erected replica summit sign back in the original position.  After stopping off at a cafe in Kirkby.  Dad and I called in to Kirkby Stephen East to see how they are getting on.  Made for a nice break from driving.  We then made our way over to Shap Wells in plenty of time for the duchess.  Following a quick lunch break I decided to head on round to Greenholme, another classic location to photograph the castle.

5043 ‘Earl of Mount Edgcumbe’ at Greenholme. 26th May 2012.

Here I met up with Henry Elliott, who kindly kept us informed that the Castle was running late due to pathing problems at Carnforth.  When the loco eventually came the engine was opened up for the run at the bank.  During this and due to recent spell of hot dry weather the gorse / lineside vegetation caught alight.Dad decided we should head on over to Little Strickland for the return of the duchess.  Upon arrival we found out that no southbound trains had come through for an hour or so.  This was due to a loco hauled freight breaking down.  The Duchess’s booked path ended up an hour behind schedule.  Not that I minded as this allowed the sun to come round further making the resulting photo worth the effort of the 12 hour day.

46233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ in BR Green on home turf at Little Strickland. 26th May 2012.

Coal Tank Charter

Coal Tank Photocharter

*                                                                                      Following on from the KWVR steam gala, I paid another visit to the railway on 20th February for a charter organised by Don.  Last year Don and Geoff had been in negotiations with the railway officials and the Bahamas Loco Society (BLS) about arranging a set of charters using the LNWR Coal Tank once it had been overhauled and returned to steam.  With agreements put in place to contribute some of the proceeds from these charters towards the BLS next project returning ex LMS Jubilee 45596 ‘Bahamas’ to steam.  Geoff had arranged to personally transform the engine from its unlined LNWR livery as no.1054 into its British Railways guise as no.58926.  Invites were sent out and according to Don his two days of charters were fully booked in 10 hours!  I could only make the Monday due to work commitments.

Arriving at Howarth Station for an 8am start, the excellent weather from Sunday had morphed into a dull cloudy day. After a safety briefing and being advised the 1888 built engine wasn’t great at stopping we walked down past the depot to the occupation bridge for a series of run pasts.

This was followed by travelling on board down the line to Oakworth (the station used in The Railway Children – 1970’s), where we got a few station pictures.  Walking down the line to the mound to get the departing shot. The weather brightened up a touch here.

Next we headed to Keighley to take on water and get some nice period images with the station signs followed by turning the loco to face south for the afternoon. Breaking for lunch the sun strugged with the damp rain to shine.

After lunch we went up to Oxenhope. 

By this time the rain had started to set in for the afternoon.  With a nightshoot also planned, hopes were fading fast as electric flood lights and water don’t mix.  I decided to remain on the coaching stock for most of the afternoon, keeping warm and dry and enjoy the sounds of the loco working.

* Photo by John Hillier of the newly completed engine in its LNWR Livery as 1054

KWVR Steam Gala

The return of the 1888 Crewe built LNWR ‘Coal Tank’ was an attractive proposition for dad and I on Saturday 11th February.  With the snow still on the ground we made our way up to Bronte country and arrived at Howarth.  I gingerly made my way up to top field via the icy footpath.  Even Caterpiller grips on the boots was no match for the ice, my legs going in all different directions.  Dad took it in his stride having fitted ice grippers to his boots. (I am so going to get a set!)

Eventually joining Dad, Matt Allen and Phil Neale in the field, the 4F appeared no long after with the Suburbans.  A true BR Midland branch line feel.  Making our way round to the other side of the line at Top Field, next up was the re-numbered Super-D on a Mk1 maroon rake.  At the request of Pete Waterman, the national collection loco had been re-numbered 49442 for the day only. (I believe it was one of Pete’s favourites he used to see on a regular basis).  The photo could easily be from the Tissington trail Ashbourne to Buxton line.

Following the Super-D was the Ivatt 2 tank and 4F pairing. The leading coach has been recently completed following a mammoth 12 year restoration.  The L&Y saloon was withdrawn in 1951 and taken to Derby works, where it was seperated from the underframe and the body taken to Borrowash, Derby to be used as a cricket pavillion.  Mum remembers seeing it in the field when she was growing up.  The body was rescued and taken to KWVR in 1993.

Finally the last photo at this location after almost freezing my toes off was the one everyone by now had gathered for….  the two Webb designed LNWR engines, Coal Tank and Super-D. Three days previously the coal tank had been working a special for the BLS members in its original LNWR guise as No. 1054. 

 A brilliant transformation, including a BR style smokebox dart and shed plate, BR Numbers and tank crests and now we have a BR Coal Tank.  I am aware of a few charters lined up so expect to see plenty of images in forthcoming magazines!!!

Finally, I must congratulate the Keithley and Worth Valley Railway for an excellent gala.  Not trying to cram in too much into the day.  Authentic looking goods and passenger / loco combinations. Not all engines were used.  The Standard 4 tank made a late appearance on the Saturday but no sign of the Dub-Dee, which was great.  That has its own place and this particular gala wasn’t it.  Just wish some other railways would take note and not try to do too much.

Great Central Winter Gala 2012


I could not get down to the railway for the annual end of January Winter Gala on either the Friday or Saturday this year due to other committments.  So I arrived early on the Sunday morning to see which way round everything was.  The weather wasn’t great but exactly as forecast.  Photography wise the weather conditions wasn’t great hence why I have only included the two best from the day.

Pure BR Era Great Western – GWR Hall 4953 ‘Pitchford Hall’ hauling the Cornishman passes Great Western allocated LMS Ivatt Mogul 46521 on a fitted freight.

Only the GCR can re-create the passing scene, which was once common place on the railway network 50+ years ago.

However, I do wish the GCR would practice its motto more often. (Re-creating the experience). When in the days of British Railways did you see a King Arthur piloting a tender first Standard 2???  Or a Sunshine M7 on a mail drop??  With a little bit of fore thought the right combinations and making use of the turntable appropriately (ie its not a new toy…) a damm fine enthusiast gala could be put on.

Sunshine M7 – I could not go without including a photo of my beloved M7.  The loco sounded and performed like I have come to expect from the engine.

Duchess Returns to Steam


A quick visit to West Shed, Butterley on 27th November to visit progress on the rebuild of Duchess of Sutherland, took me by surprise.  The engine was in light steam!!  The PRCLT engineers were checking over the engine for steam leaks and gently warming the firebox up prior to a week of running in.

The engine was taken out of traffic a year ago in December 2010. It has undergone a complete rebuild with several new parts manufactured to replace worn out items.

You can get an idea how the engine will look in its coat of BR Brunswick Green as 46228, oops 46233.