My first really vivid recollection of the steam locomotive was on one of my childhood visits to Canada when I was 7 years old; I can recall the two large mountain engines coupling to the Trans-Canadian train at Calgary ready for the gruelling climb over the Rockies to Vancouver in 1950. Equally I can remember a return visit in 1953 when the train was hauled by diesel locomotives. Now some 15 years later the same transition has taken place in the United Kingdom, and for the last few years of steam traction I have recorded the British steam scene with my camera. My interest in railways started, like many other enthusiasts, by locospotting and even in my part of the country we had a variety of interesting trains - the through services between the West Country and Brighton and the varied freight services in an otherwise all-electric area.
Inevitably I travelled around the country to see what other lines had to offer; all the London terminus stations had their attractions and so too did the many sheds and works. However I lost interest in railways for some years and it was not until the mid-1960s that I suddenly realised that steam locomotives were disappearing fast. Only three years ago I was so disappointed with the results taken on a box camera that I was determined to have better equipment. Since then I have used various 35mm rangefinder and single lens reflex cameras and eventually graduated to an optically superb twin lens reflex, now a 3.5f Planar Rollieflex. I have also made great use of telephoto lenses, although not necessarily for their own sake. Naturally there has been a sense of urgency in recording the passing scene, the transition from steam to more modern forms of power and, of course, the run down of the BR system with line closures. But fortunately I have many memories of the steam scene on film, from the sunny days on the Isle of Wight to the last B1 leaving Bradford or Lord Faringdon climbing through Dunblane. Although the end of the steam era has come in my 26th year, for me it will not be the end of my railway interest and I will continue to wield my camera on the modern forms of traction.
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