Excellent evening with TimeLine Events, London Camera Exchange and Sony UK at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse, the last surviving railway roundhouse in the United Kingdom with an operational turntable. Built in 1870, it was threatened with demolition in 1991 when the site was closed by British Rail. It was saved by a group of volunteers who have transformed it into a railway museum and events venue.
Home to a collection of both steam and diesel locomotives and rolling stock, it also has an operational signal box, the Roundhouse Halt platform and Springwell Branch running line. A highlight of the visit was spotting 60163 ‘Tornado’ outside undergoing minor repairs and annual re-certification. This A1 Pacific ‘Peppercorn’ locomotive was built in 2008, the first steam engine built in the UK since 1960. It’s a magnificent piece of engineering!
Plenty of opportunities to take photos of the locos on display, and there were a group of re-enactors posing in period costume.
With the temperature outside around -5℃, it wasn’t much warmer inside the roundhouse, so glad of the opportunity to use the café between photos! A chance to try some different Sony lenses, but thankfully nothing I can’t live without… A few more photos from the evening, all taken with the SonyA7iii and either 24-105mm f4 or 55mm f1.8 lens…
Thanks to those kind people at Olympus and London Camera Exchange, I spent a very enjoyable day last week at the Llangollen Railway. Even though I don’t presently have an Olympus camera, that was no barrier, and it was good to spend a day with like-minded ‘togs exploring the photo opportunities around this lovely heritage railway.
Not only did we get to travel the length of the line through the beautiful Dee Valley in a superb steam hauled train, but also had access to one of the still-working signal boxes and a tour of the railway workshops. Remarkable what this largely volunteer supported railway charity has achieved – not only bringing back to life a section of railway that closed to passengers in 1965, but recreating many of the original buildings and structures that had been demolished. The line now runs for around 10 miles from the beautiful station at Llangollen, via Berwyn and Carrog to Corwen. Not only have the railway workshops rebuilt and maintained locomotives and rolling stock for the railway, but they are building new locomotives for their own use and on behalf of other heritage railways around the UK.
In addition to a year-round regular timetable, they run special events such as Santa Specials, and even host weddings – a wedding party were using the train for a reception when we visited.
Rather than be weighed down by my full photo kit, I traveled fairly light with just my Sony A7iii camera body, and 35mm and 55mm lenses. The lack of zoom flexibility was more than repaid by the opportunity to take some wide-aperture shallow depth of field shots. I’ve a few shots I’m very pleased with, and will definitely be returning! Here are a few more photos from the day – all suitably ‘retro’ processed to reflect the ambience of this delightful venue…