“Why the fascination with trains?” I am sometimes asked …“Fascination” being the polite word used, rather than the more derogatory “obsession” or “this rather unhealthy interest” which is what is really being asked, and seems to demand some sort of apology.
None of these attributions are accurate or fair. In my case I have been involved with railways all of my life. My father and grandfather were engine drivers, both of whom simply loved what they did, and this ensured that I would regard the railways as “a good thing”. The sound of the railway working through the night, seeing and hearing passing trains with that characteristic smell of hot oil, smoke and steam were always part of the background of my growing up. Such things still attract my attention.
As someone who has refused to set foot on an aeroplane since 1973 and is not particularly fond of driving, trains, and where necessary ferries, are the obvious way to get around. There is nowhere in Europe or Asia that cannot be reached by train and ferry. Such a more pleasant, civilised, and nowadays lets not forget green, way to travel!
I do not share the general slightly patronising disdain felt towards train spotters who are after all, completely harmless. I stopped collecting engine numbers aged thirteen, about the same time as I began to notice girls, but trains were always and continue to be wonderful subjects for photography. This was particularly true of steam trains – a clear frosty day, lots of smoke and steam with a low sun…I am still looking for that shot..
I have divided up my trains images into the following: