INTO THE BLUE
From the Author Tony Wright
As an unashamed trainspotter of the ‘urchin’ generation of the 1950s/1960s, as my steam favourites disappeared my life became a natural progression to other activities. Any shabby railway photographs of that time, taken with poor equipment and inadequate expertise, were confined to shoe boxes or discarded. By the time a decent camera was acquired, all but the fag end of steam presented itself, and just a handful of green or maroon diesel pictures were the result. Then, after pursuing the End of Steam ‘15 Guinea Specials’ (around Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumberland, in a Ford Zodiac, would you believe?) no more railway pictures were taken. That is until the early 1970s, when after my mother’s untimely death and my distraught father’s return to his Yorkshire roots, as part of his recovery he and I went back to the places he’d taken my brother and me to watch trains; but this time I did the driving. By then I’d acquired a reasonable 35mm camera (a Pentax K1000 – the best ‘budget’ camera in my opinion) and I decided to take some ‘decent’ railway pictures. But I was astonished at how relatively little the railway infrastructure had changed. Though the flat crossing and South signalbox had gone, Retford still had a forest of semaphore signals, the level crossing gates at Botany Bay were still hand-operated and Black Carr Junction still looked exactly as it had done nearly two decades before. Thus was reborn my interest in photographing railways.
More distant horizons were contemplated and, over the next fifteen years or so I sought out more and more subjects. Though not geographically comprehensive by any means, much of the subject matter was concerned with the steam-age infrastructure and the classes of locos coming to the end of their lives. Teaching as a career allowed me the freedom of extended holiday periods to pursue my interest. My wife accompanied me on ‘holiday’ visits (say, a week in Southern Scotland) as did my two sons as small boys when we holidayed together as a family. Singular days out were in the company of like-minded friends, where four of us would pool petrol and take turns in our cars to visit our chosen locations. When the Pentax finally gave out, a second-hand Nikon F with a photomic head was acquired. Film was originally Kodachrome but then my preference changed to the faster Fujichrome. All the pictures presented here were taken with the Pentax or the Nikon, though later still I graduated to a Pentax 6X7 – surely the finest film camera for taking railway pictures ever produced, but that is another story.
There will be a little overlap in the chapters and readers will be able to deduce which pictures were taken on the same day, but the various themes are appropriate. Sadly, but entirely in keeping with my indolence and lack of foresight, the taking of any contemporary notes with the taking of the pictures was non-existent, so the captions are written entirely from memory. Thus, if there are mistakes then the responsibility for those is entirely mine.
80 Pages lavishly illustrated. SOFTBACK