So, here we go again! There were many pictures we wanted to include in the last edition which we simply couldn’t find room for, and I remember saying to Ken “we could do a book with the alternative shots alone” please note I didn’t say rejects!
Volume 2 starts with those halcyon days back in the mid 60s again pretty much like we did in volume 1 visiting the usual haunts of Preston and Manchester etc, we have tried to create the real atmosphere of the decay that was to engulf what was left of the steam railway with some highly unusual shots in and around Manchester Victoria and Exchange, looking back why we took these pictures is a mystery! But I am so glad we did.
Ken has another wander round Holbeck and Canklow MPD’s and has included some more accounts of his days on the footplate and the colourful characters he had the privilege of working with. Whilst I recall some of the more purile antics we got up to!!
The above, accounts for about the first 50% of the book content, we then take our story a stage further from where volume 1 left off.
With steam now banned from the main line apart from “Flying Scotsman” things were a little bleak and we entered what were to become the “Wilderness Years” of steam photography. In 1969 it became obvious steam would never return to the main line and we would have to go much further afield to get the pictures we craved. The preservation scene was at this stage in its infancy with unrealistic liveries, lines of un-restored rolling stock and locomotives and rampant weed strewn tracks. But masses of enthusiasm as we were all at the bottom of the learning curve to becoming professional preservationists.
Ken and I discovered a whole new world barely 26 miles across the channel! France still had abundant amounts of steam as we discovered at Boulogne and Paris, true, it wasn’t Oldham or Bolton, but it was main line steam in a different setting, and who could fail to be impressed with the magnificent 141Rs.
But the real gem was to be found a little further afield in Central Austria, with the help of who is now a very good friend of mine, Richard Wheeler of NELPG who produce a very useful set of guides to where there was active steam in Europe, I happened by chance to be going to Austria on holiday and found myself in Steam heaven!! Deep in the central alps there were double headed 2-10-0s on 1,200 ton Iron Ore trains, blasting up 1 in 50 gradients, 0-12-0 standard gauge rack locomotives, 4-8-4 express tanks, 2-8-2 tanks of several classes with no overhead wires and snow capped mountains as a backdrop.
Back in the UK we capture a little of what was left of the atmosphere in the now dwindling coal industry in Co Durham and Northumberland, where steam still survived shunting around the collieries of South Hetton, Shotton, Backworth , and Derwenthough etc,
The finale to the book is the long awaited return to steam over the “Long Drag”, in 1978 we finally got what we had waited for, just over 10 years since the “15 guinea special” ran in 1968, steam returned to the “Settle & Carlisle” and this opened the Floodgates to many more lines in the North of England. Now using Hassleblad Cameras, this increased the output quality no end, but it’s what is in the picture that counts! Many of the scenes depicted are now unrecognisable today apart from the more remote settings of Ribblehead etc.
We hope you enjoy this second offering of our tastes in photography and anecdotes we acquired along the way, its all in glorious Black and White again, and one thing is for sure it can never be repeated, but please will someone invent a “Time Machine”.