Found Negatives - Steam Railways

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by john_seaman|2, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. A while ago I bought a little album of 35mm negatives, containing what appeared to be railway scenes, at a car boot sale. When I started to scan them I realised they were a record of the end of the steam era in the 1960's, mainly in Scotland, with enthusiasts excursions on the various lines. After completing the scans I decided to send them to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society which was where I thought they belonged. Here are a few of the best images if any PN members are interested in steam railways. The author is unknown.
  2. I've just given them numbers as I don't know the locations or much about the subjects. There was a lot of photography going on.
  3. This engine is A3 Pacific Brown Jack.
  4. I think this is at Glasgow Central.
  5. The image:
  6. The last one - Aberdeen Flier. There are lots more but mostly rather mundane scenes of the end of steam.
  7. Very nice. I wasn't aware that, when we were discussing the possibility of the first picture being a record of the earlier days of the Elder Hamish community, that these were "found."
    Of course, the grass is always greener.., but there's such a wonderful diversity to the British Empire steam locomotives that always leaves me wanting to see more, even though I'm only a very modest train buff.
    More into smaller machines, if you take my meaning.
  8. ANyone else find themselves looking at the camera held by the boy on the left edge of photo #2?
    Thanks for posting the images, I love railroad images like this.
  9. Yes, I noticed the kid and camera too...
    (sort of reminds me of the Farside cartoon "Buffy notices something interesting..."
    I can't figure out what the camera may be- anyone ?
  10. JDM well spotted, I regret I didn't make it clear that it wasn't my shot, although I've spent many hours working on these pictures. Anyway the negatives end with a series taken on preserved railways mainly in the Leicestershire (England) area where I live, probably during the 1970's, so it seems the photographer moved south at some point - and graduated on to colour - here are three more:
  11. These seem to be from the preserved Great Central line at Loughborough - complete with more photographers. The engine is the Great Central Butler Henderson.
  12. Last one - I realise there is a marginal relevance to Classic Cameras but hope you have found this interesting.
  13. I get a kick out of doing that... shooting the shooter. I love the surprised expression in this one.
  14. Those images look super sharp, i'd sure like to know what camera was used.
    Thanks for sharing!
  15. I love the old steam trains, wish we were still using them.
    The boys camera looks like a lot of folding bellows models of the time where the viewfinder was that little nub, prism, mounted over the lens.
    These sort of look like they were taken on camera club outings given the number of photographers around in many of them.
  16. The boy's camera could be almost any folder from that era, probably a low end model, perhaps a Kershaw, Coronet, Kodak Junior or whatever. Not many people in the UK especially boys could afford high end stuff in those days.
    Again just to emphasise these are not my pictures, the author is unknown.
  17. John, thank you for sharing. Those are really neat (that's a technical term). I really appreciate the chance to see them.
  18. The kids camera looks like a 6 1/2 x 9cm hand me down plate camera with a pack film adapter on the back.
  19. That camera could be a British Ensign Greyhound like mine. No way to tell from
    that angle. Thanks for posting.
  20. Looks like that is not the end of era of the steam engines but a show. The locomotives on the last two pictures look like are constructed 100 years apart.
  21. What fabulous treasures those are!
  22. Absolutely wonderful photos!
    I am soon to be 73, and I grew up across the street from a New York Central steam locomotive maintenance facility. The sound and appearance of these marvelous machines is a joy.
    Thank you so much for posting.
  23. Wow! excellent photos, what a find. the guy was no doubt a seasoned photographer. noticed how well the compositions are balanced. great work. thanks for the post
  24. No, John, you made it clear here that it wasn't yours, and I don't think it mattered on the other thread, anyway.
    I do appreciate the additional pictures, and in color too. Wow.
    There surely must be some Royal British Rail Lovers group you could send scans of these to. They might even recognize the photographer, if you were really lucky. Glad you saved them for sure.
    I tried to look up the Ensign Greyhound and some of the other Ensign possibilities. I wonder if what he is holding is a folder? The front end below the 'nub' looks solid to me, but with a projecting lens? Like some variant of the Ensign Cupid, although pretty obviously not that one.
  25. I love steam trains and I love black and white photography.
    Together they are the best.
    I think that is me in # 4 writing down the engine numbers.
    Does anyone see a little mouse in any of the pictures?
  26. I agree with Cliff that the kids camera looks like a 6.5X9 plate camera with a pack film back. I have been looking at some of these on Ebay trying to decide whether to buy or not.
  27. Here is a pic of the Greyhound:
  28. John,
    Excellent photographs of an era in transportation history which will never be repeated. Only through railway historical societies can it be re-enacted, but, however, never to the same magnitude as existed in the days when steam ruled supreme.
    I too looked for Terence Cuneo's signature icon. Old habit I suppose. The little mouse may very well be in the photographed scene.
  29. Martin,
    I too looked for Terence Cuneo's signature icon. Old habit I suppose. The little mouse may very well be in the photographed scene.​
    I wondered how long it would be for someone to pick up on that, not long I guess. You're right it is an old habit.
  30. Thanks to all for the comments and suggestions. As stated, I have sent the original negatives, with a CD of the scans, to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society at Bo'ness. The scans were mostly done by laying the film strips two at a time on the flat bed of my Epson 2450, and scanning at 1200dpi. Exposures were variable so without scanning them individually, they needed a lot of levels adjustment. I've just started the process of splitting the "contact sheet" files into individual frames, hence the PN post.
    There was nothing on the album to identify the photographer. The Preservation Society wanted to know who it was for copyright reasons, so that they could use them, but without this information they will remain just an archive.
  31. Great pictures, John! You did a really nice job scanning those old negatives. I'm a major railroad buff, and I love seeing steam trains. I volunteered at a railroad museum for a while, and they actually had a steam locomotive restored to operating condition...they ran it on special occasions. I had a chance to ride in the cab once, and it was awesome! Steam locomotives have such a unique sound and feel to them, it's hard to describe. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. One thing I remember is that with each stroke of the pistons, you could actually see and hear it drawing air through the firebox. When the locomotive first starts from a complete stop, there is a little bit of a mild jerking feeling. But then, once it picks up speed, it's amazing how smooth they actually are.
    There's a Railroad Historical Society where I live in California, and they have a restored Santa Fe Railraod steam locomotive. They run it occasionally on special events. I got to ride the train back out to Los Angeles last time. They had a computer with a GPS in one of the passenger cars, so you could see how fast we were going. We got up to about 70 MPH at one point! And they said that area of track is limited to 79 MPH by Federal law...but the locomotive is easily capable of pulling a train much faster than that!

    By they way...I think that once you own the original negatives, YOU own the copyright. I know a guy that has a huge collection of historic photos. He has the original negatives, and he has the copyright. (He tries to give credit to the orginal photographer whenever possible, but sometimes the photographer is unknown. In that case, if you have the original negative, you own the copyright.)
  32. Wonderful, John, thanks so much for posting. The images are beautifully sharp and well composed, whoever pressed the shutter release knew what he/she was doing. I'm in Oregon, USA. Whenever I get the info that a nostalgia run of a steam locomotive will take place, I'm there with a fresh roll of B&W. Doesn't happen often, but great fun when it does.
    I had a 1960 Austin Healy 3000 in the day, painted about the colour of the green engine. Data plate described it as British Racing Green. My question for you, if you know, does the colour of that engine have a particular name recognized in the UK? Seems quite a common sight, and not just on trains. I've seen it on Jaguars, Bentleys, M.G's, etc. Always loved it, very rich and stately I thought.
    A real find, thanks very much again.
  33. Patrick - British Racing Green is a colour much used for performance / luxury cars in the UK, being based on the colours used by British cars in international motor racing and perhaps intended to appeal to the "boy racer" set. As far as I know there is no direct relationship with the greens of the various locomotive liveries - the three in the images all happened to be green, many other colours were used by the old railway companies and I am not an expert at all. I think there is also some doubt about the exact colours as many of them were changed before colour photography became available.
  34. I also enjoyed looking at these images and I thank you for posting them. Even more so, I thank you for having had the realization that you should send them off to the appropriate railway preservation society, together with the scans. You must be a very fine person to do that.
    The copyright questions here are very interesting. That said, I don't know the answers.
  35. rdm


    i loved all those images.. I wish i could take pictures of steam locomotives or ride on some .. i guess i was born too late
  36. Pic number 4, of Glasgow Central, is in a narrow timeframe - the BlueTrain electric lines are up and the steam engines are on their way out - from what I recall that would have been about a two year period in the mid-60s. Come to think of it, I used to do just as that lad was doing, collect train numbers in GC, and he does look vaguely familiar - he's about the age I was then, so there's good chance I did see him there, or even knew him.
    If you notice, the far away line isn't electrified, and this pre-dates the electrification of the main intercity lines, at least in Scotland. The far away platforms were used exclusively for long-haul express services, while the nearer platforms, including the one with the lad and the near engine, were suburban and outlying areas only.
    I disctinctly recall getting a red-hot smut in my eye on a Glasgow-London express in 1966/7, through leaning out of the carriage windows. Steam engines were romantic, but they were also filthy things.
  37. Whoops, modify what I've just posted. The far-away line IS electrified, so this makes it probably on the last gasp of the steam suburban and long distance services.

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