Railway Photography by Phil Trotter

“Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it.”

Paul Theroux
The Great Railway Bazaar

Who Operates What?
Barry Doe's 2015 Great Britain TOCs map

Spotted Elsewhere
An occasional series...

FEW cities can boast a railway line for the dead. The London Necropolis Railway station was constructed by the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company, specifically to serve their Brookwood Cemetery, 25 miles away in Woking, Surrey.

The station opened on 13 November 1854, just outside London's Waterloo station on the London and South Western Railway. Trains took coffins and mourners from the ‘Necropolis station’ — located between York Street (now Leake Street) and Westminster Bridge Road — directly to platforms within the cemetery. By 1874, 64,000 people had made the journey from the Necropolis station and been buried at Brookwood.

In class-conscious Britain, even funeral trains were divided according to class, and this applied to both the living and the dead passengers – although of course these only needed a one-way ticket. Indeed, the trains had carriages reserved for different classes (First, Second and Third) as well as for Anglicans or Nonconformists. At Brookwood there were even two stations, one for Anglicans and the other for Nonconformists. Each station was also provided with its own licensed bar.

Prior to 1900 there was a daily funeral express, down to Brookwood and back. To make way for an expansion of the mainline station, a new Necropolis station, designed by Cyril Bazett Tubbs, was built at 121 Westminster Bridge Road from 1900 to 1902. By the mid-1930s, trains were only running twice each week, much of their business having moved onto the roads.

On 16 April 1941 the station was hit by bombs during an air raid, damaging the lines. It was never rebuilt or re-opened and future funeral parties were dispatched from Waterloo. However, the entrance to the station used by First Class ticket holders still stands in Westminster Bridge Road, a permanent reminder of a very different London.

THIS collection has its origins in the erstwhile 'Fotopic' setup which became insolvent during 2011. Since then, all the rail and tramway photos from that site have been (re)uploaded here, with many new additions. The pre-digital era photographs have been scanned from transparencies, negatives or prints and colour corrected using Photoshop.

Recent improvements in scanning technology mean that many BR era pictures which had been rejected on quality grounds have now been scanned again and are included for the first time. Over 25,000 rail, tram and bus photographs are now included and the number continues to grow steadily; latest additions are listed in the right hand column.

More photos are continually being added - hardly a week goes by when this doesn't happen - so remember to visit again soon. Meanwhile, why not add this site to your favourites.

For a better view, try pressing F11 on your keyboard; the right and left arrow keys also can be used to move through each gallery. Note that keywords now have been added to all modern rail photos, making it easier to find photos by locomotive class, running number, location or operator/livery. A full listing of keywords (and numbers) can be found on the Keyword page which is accessible through the navigation above.

Thanks are due to all the 'gen' providers who regularly supply information about what is happening and when; without their help very few of the more interesting rail pictures would have been possible. Thanks too, to those hardy and dedicated souls who often engage in (largely meaningless - !) conversation on platform ends and remote bridges around the country in all weathers, sometimes at unearthly hours; a touch of Last of the Summer Wine perhaps?
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EARLY film cameras included a Kodak Brownie Six-20 Model E (which boasted such refinements as an imitation pigskin covered metal body, built-in yellow and close-up filters, 'I/B' function, a shutter lock switch and flash contacts), a 1950s Kodak Duaflex II (above) which made a very satisfying 'ker-lunk' when you pressed the shutter and from which you could get just 12 exposures from a roll of 620 film - almost unbelievable today!

This was followed by the photographic equivalent of the Mini, an Instamatic 56X (yes, I know, but I was a student at the time...), an early '60s Brownie 44B, a neat little Agfa Optima 335, a secondhand Pentina E which had been made in Dresden, an Agfa Sillette and, from 1982 until digital cameras became available, two Canon AE-1Ps which proved to be remarkably reliable workhorses and which still are capable of many years service. I covered many miles recording tramways and railways in Europe with these two, normally using one for transparencies, the other for black and white film; I still miss using them, but film became too expensive and scarce.

For me the digital age dawned when I obtained a little Fuji FinePix A403 'free' with a PC. Enthused by the possibilities of digital photography, this was followed with a Canon EOS 350D and more recently a 550D. A little Canon A580 is kept as a backup pocket camera. Examples of the cameras previously used are still owned - together with other vintage models which have been collected - so perhaps one day there may be an opportunity to indulge in some 'heritage' photography!

MOST images can be made available for use by publishers at competitive rates upon request.
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All images are available for purchase as prints and other products via the 'Buy Now' button. Except where indicated, all images are the copyright of Phil Trotter and should not be reproduced in any format by an individual or organisation without prior permission.


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On the Blog...

VISIT the Blog site for additional historical articles and miscellaneous bits which don't fit here.
From the Archive

Even photographs taken during the early days of preservation can be a source of nostalgia!

The pioneer GWR 'King' class 4-6-0 no. 6000 'King George V' had the distinction of becoming the locomotive which heralded the return to main line steam in the autumn of 1971.

The locomotive was photographed at an open day at the erstwhile Bulmer Railway Centre, Hereford in 1974. BRC was a significant player in the preservation movement when many of today's heritage lines were in their infancy.

The centre closed in 1993 to make way for additional factory space.

SR Light Pacific 4-6-2 no. 34067 'Tangmere' passes Severn Tunnel Junction with The Railway Touring Club's 1Z82, 0635 Poole to Cardiff Central, 'The Welshman' on 20th June 2015.

Looking good in the sunshine, one of the new DRS Vossloh Class 68s, 68009 'Titan' passes Stafford with 6Z96, Crewe Basford Hall to Bescot and Toton on 16th October 2014.

Looking good in the sunshine, one of the new DRS Vossloh Class 68s, 68009 'Titan' passes Stafford with 6Z96, Crewe Basford Hall to Bescot and Toton on 16th October 2014.

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