Tuesday 28 August 2018

KWVR 50th Gala- Diesels

The final day of the KWVR Gala was given over to Diesel haulage.  From a photography point of view I always loved the diesel galas- because of the steep nature of the KWVR steam locomotives always work boiler-first out Keighley, which means over the course of the day, there will always be shots of trains facing backwards.  Being mostly double-ended, diesels mean roughly double the number of available angles to photograph from.  The railway was a pioneer in having diesel galas, but 4 years ago held their last one, citing rising costs.  We had other jobs to do during the day on the Sunday of the 50th Anniversary Diesel event, but I managed to nip out a few times with the Elder Childs to get some pictures.

Visiting for the day from Direct Rail Services (a current mainline loco, but running in colours from when I was little), 37401 unexpectedly heads through the woods near Keighley- due to some problem at the sheds the rostering of locomotives had gone a little squiffy.  I'd hoped to photograph this loco earlier in the day near Damems and it hadn't appeared, and I certainly wasn't expecting it here at this time, later in the morning.  A pleasant surprise then.

Prototype loco "Vulcan" with vintage stock.  It was only running between Keighley and Ingrow, where there are somewhat limited line side photo angles, and again, the lighting didn't work out too well with this one.

GBRF had sent a thoroughly modern loco, a class 66, for the gala (to be named in honour of the anniversary of the KWVR) and later in the day I went out to photograph it passing.  The spot I wanted was staked-out, so a little hopping on the stepping stones (hooray for heatwaves and low river levels) opened up an entirely new angle for me).

The last train of the day I was able to photograph, against fading light, was the 'Deltic' "Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry".  Not a great shot, though the camera coped better with the fading light than I expected.  I managed more shots than I thought I was going to during the day, and being as this was another locomotive of which I had a model as a child, it seemed a fitting way to end the gala.

So overall?  The KWVR gala was very entertaining from a photography point of view.  Apart from a few mildly irritating scheduling conflicts around the time of the school run, I had a great time photographing the trains, and riding on them on the last Saturday of the gala.  The staff and vols were friendly as ever, and the railway put on a damned good show.

I've ended on the above picture because it is one I managed to get published in a magazine.  Might not seem much after so many pics taken this week, but given as it seemed every other railway enthusiast in Northern England was out with their cameras, and realising that, I was mainly bothered about taking photographs just for my own enjoyment, I was pleasantly surprised to get something in print.

Thursday 23 August 2018

KWVR 50th Gala- Reopening Day

Friday of the KWVR 50th Gala was the biggie, the day marking the actual anniversary of the reopening special train.  In contrast to the day before, this was a day of big locomotives hammering up and down the branch, with a few on my list to photograph.  The above one is my new favourite location, shoving the camera under the gates to get as madly low-angle a shot as possible...

With the lineside path at Damems still closed off, I got the bus up to Haworth in time to get "Big Jim" near Ebor Lane.  Not the prettiest of locomotives, certainly, but it is a favourite of mine and The Childs.

Heading up towards Top Field and Oxenhope, a new angle temporarily opened up by Skipton Properties.  This is probably the only time I'll be able to use this spot, as about 40 houses are due to be built here before the next gala.

The visiting Pannier was out and about, and I got a shot at Top Field, trying for something slightly more bucolic than the standard shot of "Royal Scot" I got a couple of days before.

With the stone bridge being out because of the lighting, a little paddle nearby allowed this shot of the Pannier returning later, and a nice riverbank spot to eat a late breakfast.

Heading back to Ebor Lane, and leaning precariously over the stone wall beside the footpath, I managed a reasonable shot of 45212.

The actual reopening train, with the red Ivatt, was scheduled for late afternoon, yet another slightly irritating train scheduled right for school-run time (which seemed to have been happening a lot with this gala).  Assuming the timetable hadn't slipped too badly, I reckoned I just about had time to snap it near Damems then run like hell to get The Childs from school.

To my utter amazement, the train was bang on time.  OK so the lighting was against me, but I really didn't have anywhere else I could snap it from.

This was one I really wanted to photograph- one of my most treasured possessions from when I was a child is a railway book with this loco, in this livery, on the cover, from the time of the reopening.  I was determined I wanted to at least see it.

Chronologically out of place, but this is my favourite shot of the whole week, taken earlier in the day up near Oxenhope (by standing on the walls of the stone bridge to get a bit of elevation).  This loco, "City of Wells" used to be based on the KWVR, but a bit of a merry cock-up with the loco not long after its restoration meant it got stranded away on another line it was visiting, who subsequently bought the loco.  I'd never managed a nice shot of it when it was here, which was irritating given this class of loco is one of my favourites.  

With it returning to visit for probably the last ever time for this gala, I knew I only had this week to get a shot.  But I was away the first weekend when it worked trains, then the services it worked during the "Royal Scot" days it was always at the rear of double-headed services (it only worked solo trains at, yes, 3pm, when I was on the school run).  The one day I was free to try and photograph it, and in Haworth, it broke down.

I finally managed this shot on the Friday, made all the more special to me from a personal point of view because it is decked-out in "Golden Arrow" regalia- my first 'proper' (non-Thomas the Tank Engine) model train was a streamlined West Country Pacific with 'Golden Arrow' boards.

These two shots are not from the Friday, but were taken the next morning.  After a week of lineside shots in between working from home, with the family off on Saturday we were actually riding the trains.  I went out early for the demonstration goods however.

As it happened some problem with this goods train after it had passed me massively screwed-up the timetable, and every train ran at least 40 minutes late for the rest of the day.  With the trains busier than I have ever seen them, all we could do was stay on the train to make sure we kept a seat- enjoyable enough a day out, riding up and down with a picnic, chatting with The Childs, but no time for other photography.

The final day would be a brief bit of line siding, with the Diesel Day on Sunday...

Sunday 19 August 2018

KWVR 50th Gala- Small Engines

Thursday saw a day of services worked with vintage coaching stock, and the smaller locomotives.  And from a photographic point of view, a day of cock-ups.  After an initial shot went reasonably, down in the woods near Keighley, my plan was to go up to Damems and get a shot of the visiting Pannier Tank by the side of the river.  But when I got there, the path was closed because of a fire the night before.

I ended up racing up to Haworth via a mad dash by bus, only to find the location I had planned as a reserve was badly lit at that time of the morning.  This marked a day of ending up in locations where the lighting was constantly against me.

Hot, tired, and a bit fed up, I headed back down to Damems, and ended up on the wrong side of the level crossing when trying to keep out of the way of another photographer.  Trying to make the best of it, I went for as mad a low-angle shot as I could manage by pushing the camera under the fence, which turned out better than expected.

Still stuck the wrong side of the crossing, I got a not-brilliantly-lit couple of shots of 1054, the ex-LNWR Coal Tank.

I hung around Damems to eat my lunch, in time to get the Coal Tank going back facing right way (the pic at the header of this post).  Though my annoying day continued; a chap showed up with a drone (swanky) to get some shots, and sat by his car to get the pics.  However, the station staff -rightfully angry that his shiny toy was far too close to the running line and infrastructure- and the filming chap next to me -angry that his video was sound tracked by a noise like angry wasps in a bean tin- , both laid into ME assuming that because I was the youngest person in sight the drone must have been mine.  The fact I was holding an SLR, not a remote control, apparently counted for nowt, I must have been flying it with my Jedi skills.

Rushing to get back for the school run, I managed a passing shot (again, lit wrong) of the Pannier, the location I had wanted to be in that morning just tantalisingly the wrong side of the river...

An unexpected last shot of the day, whilst The Childs were at an engagement and we had time to kill.  Oakworth station was nearby, and had both a) cold drinks and b) cake, thus providing a nice place to kill an hour waiting for the kids to finish.  Amy wisely wandered off at this point, to avoid me embarrassing her with Railway Children quotes.

So a not altogether successful day from a photography point of view, so I decided for the next day, the actual Reopening Anniversary Day, to plan in more detail, and head for the more scenic end of the line at Haworth...

Saturday 18 August 2018

KWVR 50th Gala- Royal Scot

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway held a week-long gala to celebrate their 50th Anniversary recently, with a lot of extra trains, visiting locomotives, and so on, all of it coinciding with a week of utterly spectacular weather.  Being as I (Ben) was mainly working from home that week, I thought I'd take the opportunity to get as many pics as possible. 

The week before the gala saw the arrival, via the mainline, of "Royal Scot" (the headliner visiting steam locomotive).  Actually this was quite fortunate, the loco was still stuck at the KWVR some weeks later because of the steam-loco ban caused by the ongoing heatwave, so I had chance for a few extra shots.  A new location for me, the footpath crossing at Cononley, near Skipton (being as I was working out that way anyway that day).

I actually overtook "Royal Scot" getting home by the next service train, and managed the header shot at the top of the page when it was heading up the KWVR to the sheds at Haworth after lunch.  The above shot was taken nearby, going for a slightly arty composition with Black 5 45212 (owned by the railway, but generally used on mainline excursions up in Scotland this time of year).

As it happened, I ended up missing the first weekend of the gala due to other commitments, so I started taking pics during the weekdays...

To celebrate the 50th, the railway had turned out recently-restored Ivatt tank 41241 in the unique house-livery it wore when the KWVR first reopened (because back in 1968 British Railways wouldn't let them paint it in the then-current scheme, as they were still operating their own steam locomotives).  Frankly this loco looks utterly stunning in this colour scheme, it is a credit to the restoration team.  It was working on the rear of all the "Royal Scot" trains during the weekdays of the gala, and getting a shot of this loco became my main target of the gala...

One of 'my' locations which I've used frequently over the years, accessible again now that Skipton Properties have finished building houses.  Though the lighting only really works this time of year, the new-builds cast shadows a lot of the rest of the time.

Further up in one of the few bits of countryside Skipton Properties haven't built over...

I managed a morning up near Haworth, in the classic location of Top Field, amongst the astonishing number of other photographers staking the line out during the week.  The decent weather had drawn people out of course, and here I managed to annoy a fellow photographer who had a veritable battery of video cameras set up, and my hay fever kicked in and I started sneezing...

The old stone bridge nearby- nice location, but the lighting was a bit off.  Actually might work better on a dull day, ironically.

I hadn't actually planned to take any shots on the Wednesday, having felt I'd got enough of "Royal Scot" on Mon and Tues, but Youngest Child ended up off school due to a gas leak at the place, so we ended up on a walk out to Damems.  Not great lighting-wise, but big thanks to the station staff who kindly moved some boxes out of shot for me.

My favourite shot of "Royal Scot" from the three days- quite by chance I managed to beat a load of other photographers to the classic footpath-accessible location near Mytholmes Tunnel (given the numbers of people about, I wasn't expecting to manage this one).  With us unable to afford the lineside photographer permit to stand around in orange high-vis next to the track, finding footpaths and other legal access points lineside is becoming increasingly difficult, so it was nice to get this one.

Next, the Small Engines and Vintage Day on the Thursday...

Wednesday 8 August 2018

RAF Cosford Air Show 2018

A bit of a delayed posting this one; we took a return trip to the RAF Cosford Air Display (100th anniversary of the RAF and all that, what-what).  Happily compared to the last time we visited the weather was much nicer this time, and though the flying display was a bit limited compared to the shows I'd been to as a child -the RAF is a bit smaller these days, even in its centenary year- there was a great deal of stuff on the ground.

It was exceedingly busy on the airfield, which meant we were struggling a bit for decent angles on the more interesting exhibits (such as the Tornado in the desert camo scheme).

This was the first time I'd managed to photograph a Phantom- useful visual reference for a miniature inspired by this aircraft, which I'll be doing later in the year...

English Electric Lightning.  The sky and sunshine was marvellous.

Two of the mothballed Jaguar fleet which form part of the training resource for the base.

The Red Arrows come hammering in over the hangars...

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Compared to previous years, we were a bit limited for kit this time (as I'd lent my zoom lens to my Dad), so I thought I'd try some different compositions, with aircraft almost lost in the hazy cloud and blue sky.

Our last aircraft before we bailed off the airfield for the long drive home, the always impressive Chinook.

A good show, very enjoyable- and a chance to try a few new angles and styles of shooting, against that rather brilliant sky...