Lockdown Reflections – 1

My hobby of photography goes back to 1954 when I began work as an apprentice Pattern Maker at the old Pressed Steel Company and was encouraged by several of my work colleagues who were keen photographers. I have always had an interest in railways, especially steam trains, so the two hobbies went together well.

Since the opening of Oxford Parkway on the Bicester Line, it has proved ideal for operating steam hauled excursions on a circular route from the capital and back. The first of these took place back in June 2017 and was hauled by non other than “Flying Scotsman”. This was the first steam train to run of this line for over 50 years. Obviously I was there to record this event as you can see from the photo. It is good to have this location on the doorstep.

The coronavirus is proving catastrophic for the Heritage railways who run these excursions all over the country and which have now been called to a halt together with closure of all Heritage railway sites. These closures mean their main opportunities to make some revenue from Open Days and special events will be lost. Running Heritage railways is very costly and most of them seem to exist on a ‘shoe string’ so it remains to be seen how many will survive. I sincerely hope they do!

The last steam excursion to run on the Banbury line through Kidlington before the ‘lock down’ was 7029 Clun Castle, back in December last year. This photo was taken at Roundham Crossing which had been freshly cleared of undergrowth.

Railways are my first love but transport of all kinds interest me and whatever the subject, looking for a good photo give me a lot of satisfaction. As you can guess I have an enormous collection of photographs!  

Brian Higgins