Apart from historic photographs, unless otherwise stated, all photos on this site were taken by members of my family.
Please don't republish them without my permission. Thanks.
© 2008 Mark Collins
Huge risk of appearing an anorak here!
My interest in railways was encouraged by my Uncle Nicholas, from an early age. My father bought an old O-gauge electric train set home from work when I was very small. I can remember the locomotive had a wheel missing and there was no power controller. I must have been very young, perhaps 4 or 5, for we were still living at my Grandfather's farm. The frustration got the better of me in the end and I tried to get the engine to 'go' by wiring the track up directly to the mains via a 15 amp round pin socket. Yes I am that old! Considering the hazards involved in this early experiment, I suppose I'm lucky to still be around!
During July 2003 I explored the route of the old Lynton & Barnstaple Narrow Gauge Railway, here is a summary of what I found.
Here is a picture of Cannon Street Station from London Bridge and here a picture of the well know railway viaduct at Balcombe, which are in my Photograph Album. When in Weymouth I regularly witnessed a mainline train traversing the branch along the quay. Here is a photo. I visited Horsted Keynes, on the Bluebell Railway, in January 2004 - here are some pictures of this station in the snow. There are also pictures of Uckfield and Isfield stations in my photo album, as well as the bridge over the river at Ashurst.
I have historic images of Tunbridge Wells Central and West Stations in my Postcard Album.
On our visit to Canada in 1999 we visited several famous 'railroad' landmarks, including Kicking Horse Pass with its famous winding tunnels which replaced a very steep gradient. This is a picture of one of the narrow gauge locomotives used in the construction of the tunnels.
Apparently when the work was complete the locomotive was not worth transporting away and was run off the track, wheels salvaged, and then abandoned!
You will find several pictures, including a great one of the Canadian Pacific Railroad near Banff, in the Photograph Album, 1988, Canada.
We also visited a fascinating railway museum in British Columbia where Alan took this photo of me sitting on an enormous rail mounted snow plough. The loading gauge in North America is striking.
|Towards the end of the trip we visited Toronto and visited the famous CN tower from where this wonderful view of the old Locomotive Roundhouse, now preserved, can be seen. My photograph doesn't do it justice.|
During my teenage years, I was an avid railway modeller and I still have the boxes of Horbny Lima, Jouef and Airfix equipment in the loft. One day I will build a new layout. I even buy the odd piece of rolling stock from time to time - here's hoping!
My real ambition is to build an 'OO' gauge railway in a garden building with tracks running out into the garden; however perhaps this is optimistic as our garden is very heavily planted and the falling leaves in autumn would be a problem!
Unfortunately I only have one terrible picture of my old railway layout. Here it is anyway - horribly under-exposed, it looks like a heavy fog has descended on the line! It was only my second ever 35mm film - that's my excuse!
|I remember designing and building a rather advanced train controller whilst I was undergoing my Industrial Year placement with the Atomic Energy Authority in 1979. This is also still in the loft; I wonder if it still works?!|
During June 2002 one of my suppliers at work invited me to Boston for a meeting, and we decided to spend a few days visiting the New England area, having only experienced the USA's west coast previously.
During our visit we spent an enjoyable day at the Mount Washington Cog Railway, and some pictures are available here and here and also in my Photo Album.
My local preserved line, the Bluebell Railway is a great place to go for a trip back into our railway heritage.
During July 2003 we spend a pleasant few days staying with Alan's Mum, Vera, in Barnstaple, Devon. This town used to be the terminus for the narrow gauge Lyton and Lynmouth railway which was sadly closed in 1936, long before I was born.
Photographs resulting from our explorations are accessed here.
However a dedicated group, The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Company, is committed to the vision of reopening, despite the Herculean task this would at face value appear. However they have reached a milestone (or perhaps that should be a mile post!) in that they have purchased the almost unaltered Sandy Bay Station and re-laid about 500 metres of track. A brand new steam locomotive can now be seen operating at this location - and I truly wish them well in their endeavours to open a longer section of line.
Here is that delightful locomotive, Emmet, on 12th July 2003.