Saturday 23 May 2020

The problems of railway photography in a lockdown...

Well, apologies for the big gap again in blog posts.  Really productivity ought to have risen under an enforced lockdown, but with three Childs to homeschool, some magazine work, Amy as a keyworker, and the general screaming-into-the-abyssal-void the situation has been inspiring in me (Ben), I've somewhat neglected the blog.

So for this post, the last of the railway photography for the foreseeable.  

I'd been involved on the periphery of the replacement of Bridge 11; I've taken a lot of pics there over the years, and have given a number of images to the railway to use in the publicity of the operation, as well as being assigned to get some pics with the Civils team taking delivery of the new bits.  

I was asked by the chap who runs the KWVR blog to photograph the last train over the old bridge, which thankfully coincided with the last day of our self isolation (before the mandatory lockdown was bought in).  So there I was, on a blustery sunday afternoon, with 3 other photographers to watch the last service for the next fortnight (hah) cross the bridge. 78022 was doing the honours.   

As the national situation rapidly deteriorated, I kept an eye on the replacement work when I was going out to do school runs (when there were still such things) and the food shopping (again, when there were still such things, before panic buying really kicked in).  An awful lot of other people were out to watch too; cars would screech up, and a variety of elderly gentlemen would leap out, and start snapping away before speeding off again, whilst glowering at me for daring to be present, endangering their health.  I suspect most of them should have been voluntarily self-isolating, but hey-ho.

Anyway, on the morning after the Prime Minister gave his "we're doomed, mandatory lockdown, remain indoors!" speech, we were sat in the garden and surprised to hear the rumble of locomotives.

So I used my allowed daily hours worth of Boris-ercise to snap these two pics; 20031 and "Ashburnham" removing the crane and other equipment to safety, as work stopped on the bridge replacement.

And this was my last railway photograph taken; tragically, the railway were achingly close to getting the bridge replaced.  It's still in this state now.

I hadn't really realised, until I could no longer do it, just how big a part railway photography played in my mental wellbeing.  The KWVR has been playing host to a large number of Pacer trains during the lockdown, at Keighley, but I couldn't legitimately pop down there to photograph them, and I didn't dare go any further to take pics, as it just wasn't worth the risk to my health and wellbeing, or my families either, so I've stayed put.

Ironically though I have kept getting pictures in print- a shot from Eureka from earlier in the year, in a recent Railway Magazine...

...and more unexpectedly, a shot from several years ago taken on the Welsh Highland in Porthmadog (I appreciate getting published, but wading back through my old photographs of Welsh holidays for the shot just dropped me into a mess of depression, as we'd been banking on going there for Easter).  This image was used in Steam Railway.  There may be others I've had published too, but annoyingly I cannot get out there to look for them as I don't want to risk going into a newsagent, and the 'is this really essential' atmosphere in the supermarkets made me feel too awkward to buy a mag there.  I only got these because I have a subscription to the one, and ordered the other online.

Whilst the railway photography is over for the foreseeable, other photography goes on; we've a few odds and ends to put online from wildlife shoots around the house, garden, and local walks, and I've been doing some miniatures work for the likes of Garden Rail magazine.  Hopefully we'll get round to putting some of this on the blog in the next couple of weeks or so.