Sunday, 27 September 2009

Dolphins off Seaburn

On Saturday we went for a walk along the coastal path between Roker and Souter lighthouse. On the way we passed a couple of fishermen who pointed out a bit of a commotion out at sea. In fact a small group of maybe three dolphins appeared to be tracking a shoal of fish that were heading north parallel to the coast.

This was the first time that Carol and I had seen a dolphin in the wild, so we were pretty excited about it, although I am told that they are occasionally to be seen in Roker harbour. The only telephoto lens that I had with me was a 70-200mm zoom, not nearly powerful enough to capture their antics properly unfortunately!

We followed them all of the way from Seaburn to Souter, although they were travelling rather faster than we were. They appeared to be heading towards South Shields and the Tyne when we last saw them.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Trains at Chester-le-Street

There are relatively few steam special trains that run on the east coast main line north of York, but this Saturday morning there were three! I knew from past experience that there are few good locations to take a photograph, and used Google Earth to try and find a suitable spot. The footbridge at Chester-le-Street looked like a possibility, as it would provide a natural frame for the shot, and there should be enough light from the East to at least illuminate the side of the train. A search on Flickr and Google revealed nothing, but I decided to give it a go.

60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, the locomotive named after the chief mechanical engineer of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), storms through. 60007 is a member of the same class of locomotive as Mallard, which holds the world record for speed by steam traction, at circa 126 mph.

While the LNER dominated the east coast, the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) occupied pole position on the west, and their chief engineer, Sir William Stanier, came up with this masterpiece. No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland.

The third locomotive to come along that morning was British Railways standard class pacific 70013 Oliver Cromwell, but by the time that train arrived the sun would have been pointing directly at the lens of the camera at this same location, so I abandoned ship and went elsewhere.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Tanfield Legends of Industry

The Tanfield Railway hosted a "Legends of Industry" weekend which involved a Photographers' evening on the Friday and then an expanded timetable of trains over the following two days. In addition there were visiting locomotives, steam road vehicles, and a vintage car rally. It was a very well organised affair, and I appreciated the fact that most of the railway volunteer staff wore period costume. I could have taken many more photographs, but had foolishly taken a flat spare camera battery with me, so had to draw proceedings to a premature close!

A Sentinel steam bus

Five locomotives in steam

The rarely seen "Twizell" was dragged out of the shed - it is hoped to have this locomotive running by Xmas

The ever reliable No 49 seen with the background of a coloured sky

Two tiny visiting locomotives from the Bodmin Railway haul a train of coal trucks from East Tanfield