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 2016 Great Britain TOCs map

Spotted Elsewhere
An occasional series...

gower-map copy
In 1895 H.F. Stephens put forward proposals for a light railway to serve the Gower Peninsular to the west of Swansea Bay, which included a take over bid for part of the famous Swansea & Mumbles Railway.

It was not until nearly 30 years later that the plans were finally abandoned.

The proposals had three parts. The first was to be a new line from Port Eynon running through Knelston, Frog Moor, Cillibion and Three Crosses to a connection with the L.N.W.R. at Killay. From here the second part proposed running powers over a derelict mineral line, the Clyne Valley Tramway, and thence over the disused Clyne Valley goods branch of the Swansea & Mumbles Railway to its junction with the Swansea & Mumbles main line at Mumbles Road.

Since both of the Clyne Valley lines were out of use there was little serious objection to the proposed running powers though the Light Railway Commissioners considered it very unusual for one railway to propose the rebuilding and maintenance of another railway company's track.

After many years of negotiation and unsuccessfully attempting to raise the finance to back the scheme, in November 1922 the Ministry of Transport confirmed that the Light Railway might qualify for support as a means of alleviating unemployment though a firm undertaking by the L.M.S. to work the line would be needed. Such an agreement was reached in March 1923 only to see the scheme dashed by the withdrawal of £7,000 promised by a local colliery owner who had hoped to develop a mine along the route of the railway but now saw the market for coal collapsing. Gower R.D.C. abandoned hope of the line being built and withdrew its promise of £35,000.

It was Stephens who made a last effort to save the scheme. Under the 1921 Railways Act it was possible to build the line if, instead of directly investing in it, local authorities were prepared to guarantee interest on the capital. Stephens attempted to persuade Gower R.D.C. and Swansea to guarantee £22,000 each and Glamorgan County Council to guarantee £10,000. Gower R.D.C. approached both Swansea and Glamorgan in January 1924 but failed to obtain their support. So ended the hopes of the Gower Peninsula Light Railway.

The coming of the motorcar, lorry and bus meant that the Gower no longer needed a light railway. Stephens' dogged perseverance with the scheme is remarkable - up until the end he was showing the Gower on general letter headings as being a line under his control!

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

The two-day 'Cornishman' railtour of 25th-26th January 1985 was an elaborate affair, originating at St. Pancras and using a variety of motive power, including 40012 'Aureol' on the Birmingham/Leicester to Bristol and return section.

This was the final weekend of normal class 40 passenger operation.

Here, 40012 'raises steam' for the return leg at Bristol Bath Road on 26th January. The loco has been preserved at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley.

Colas 70805 passes Llandevenny with 6C24, 0959 Bescot to Severn Tunnel Junction via East Usk on 28th August 2016.

37025 'Inverness TMD' passes Coedkernew with 4B20, 0837 Barry to Barry via Briton Ferry and Bristol Parkway driver training run on 30th January 2016. 37025 is owned by the Scottish Class 37 Preservation Group and is normally based at the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. It is currently on hire to Colas Rail.

37025 'Inverness TMD' passes Coedkernew with 4B20, 0837 Barry to Barry via Briton Ferry and Bristol Parkway driver training run on 30th January 2016. 37025 is owned by the Scottish Class 37 Preservation Group and is normally based at the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. It is currently on hire to Colas Rail.

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