Steaming North

Steaming North

This is one of my favourite photos taken in 1961 at Snow Hill station, Birmingham.

The photo took me a long time to restore as the negative was badly scratched but I feel that the effort was worth it. I am always surprised at how much detail can be extracted from these old pictures and am pleased that the sky plays an important part in the success of the image.

The small boy gives the whole scene a sense of the excitement of the 60s as steam came to an end on the railways of Britain.



Steam in ’61

Steam in '61

This is a picture from my misspent youth and was taken at the wonderful Snow Hill station in Birmingham in 1961. The station had a splendid overall roof and was built as such by the GWR in 1912. Unfortunately it was closed in 1972 and then demolished along with much of inner Birmingham when the city was redeveloped. The current station on the site is more like a bus stop than the glorious edifice seen here.

Okay, I have to admit that I was a railway anorak and carried my duffle bag and notebook with pride. The scene has a strong period flavour with its smokey atmosphere and the line of train spotters with their notebooks at the ready to take down the numbers of the engines that passed through these hallowed grounds.

The loco is a Great Western Railway 5600 class 0-6-2T engine that was built in September 1925. Initially they worked mainly in South Wales but by this time quite a few were working in the Wolverhampton Division and this freight is almost certainly heading north to Wolverhampton in this view. Steam on the former Great Western ended early in 1966 before most other regions of British Rail but surprisingly more locos from the Great Western have survived into preservation than all the rest of the old companies.

In the left background is the Catholic St Chad’s Cathedral that was consecrated in 1841 and was designed in the Gothic style by the renowned Augustus Pugin.

I miss those times.