I was brought up at Egremont in west Cumberland and I came to be interested in steam trains as a result of having a railway line at the bottom of our garden. The line was built to move iron ore from the local mines to iron and steel works. It had two junctions, at Whitehaven and Sellafield, with the Furness line, which runs round the coast.
As there was more variety of traffic on the coastal Furness line, I used to cycle to a small station at Nethertown on a very regular basis, getting wet quite often, as is normal in Cumberland. It was amazing how often the wind was blowing against the direction I was riding in. At Nethertown, I became friendly with the signalmen and learned how to operate the box, including the token system, as the line was single track in both directions.
My elder brother had a similar interest and he and I travelled extensively in Britain, visiting loco sheds and places where we could see classes of engines that we were not usually able to encounter. This was helped by having relatives in strategic locations around the country. We were fortunate that steam survived for a long time in the area and Carlisle was one of the best places to see working steam locos until 1968.
My early photographs were black and white but unfortunately these have been lost when moving house at some stage. Whilst it is a disappointment that they are gone forever, I believe the quality of them was not very good.
I began taking photographs of engines using slide film in 1965. This was a challenge, as lighting was usually poor, with the subject either moving too fast or positioned in a very dimly lit shed. As film speeds improved, it became easier but by then steam was fast disappearing. However, I was able to build up a collection of photos of what are now termed heritage or vintage diesels and electric locos from around the country.
The one thing that I got right was that I sorted and catalogued my slides from the start so I now have good records of the photographs I have. It will be no surprise that I became an accountant.
My photographic interest continued but my interest in railways diminished, apart from a few visits to early preserved lines and facilities.
It was really only in 2009 that my interest was renewed whilst visiting Corfe Castle, where I saw 30053 running on the Swanage Railway. By this time I had two additional things working to my advantage – I was retired and I possessed a Pentax digital SLR. I now have a Pentax K7 which has travelled to many corners of the world with me.
I enjoy visiting steam galas on the heritage railways and looking for new photographic opportunities and locations. The major challenges are usually the weather and the “gentlemen” in high visibility jackets.
Thanks to all who voted for my photographs.
Here are a few of David's pics which have not been used on the blog previously.
No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe and No.4965 Rood Ashton Hall at Tyseley in 2011.
No.5526 pushing GWR Autocoach W178 at Quorn & Woodhouse, on the GCR in 2011.
No.34028 Eddystone, at Swanage with class 33, 33111 (D6528); Swanage Railway, 2012.
No.80080 and No.80072 at the ELR, Heywood, in 2011.
No.4464 Bittern at Bewdley on the SVR , arriving from Southall, in 2012.
No.61306 Mayflower on the ELR at Burrs Country Park in 2012.
No.80080 and No.71000 Duke of Gloucester on the ELR at Burrs C.P. in 2011.