Logically, travel photographs should show your means of travel, right? But, of course, they don’t. Most travel photo’s show images from the poster’s destination. Most of mine fall into that group too. But this shot is a genuine ‘travelling’ image.
When I was much younger, my train-spotting hobby took me far and wide around the UK and ultimately into Holland, Belgium and France I would book a week off work in the summer and, armed with a railrover ticket, head out for a week on the rails. There were no breaks in that week, except for one return home midweek to change clothes and get a decent night’s sleep. Washing was done in the toilet on the train and food was bought wherever it was available. Back then, in the mid 1970’s, there were trains that ran all through the night so plenty of sleeping options were available to the travelling enthusiast and it was quite normal to log close on, and sometimes over, 10000 miles in a week.
A good start to a week on the rails was to catch the first train of Saturday morning out of King’s Cross – a stopping service that departed at ten-past midnight with an ultimate destination of Newcastle. As one of the last services out of the capital on a Friday night it had more than its share of office workers heading home to the shires after an evening on the booze. Passengers quickly thinned out once the train got beyond Stevenage and by Peterborough it was only the long-distance passengers that were left. I believe the train rolled into Newcastle – and memory is not what it was – at around 0730. There was then time to grab something to eat from the station buffet before catching a train to Edinburgh.
And that is where you find me, on the train to Edinburgh as it approaches the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed…
…Times have changed – you can’t stick your head and camera out of modern trains like I could then, so this image would be very difficult to replicate now. Things were different back then and it should be noted that I understood the risks involved far better than many youngsters today. My Grandfather was a railwayman and I knew to stick just one eye out to survey the view ahead. Even the camera only ever went out as far as needed to get the lens clear of the door-frame. Even so, it’s not a practice that I would suggest everyone should partake in. Even in the recklessness of youth I was more careful than most 🙂
I love train travel and certainly admire your photos, Martin. I’m so surprised to learn that you were ever able to open windows and lean out with your camera. It calls to mind the number of buildings and bridges I once could climb and photograph the city from a high perch. Now there is so much safety rail the photo opportunity is not what it once was!
Times move on and safer practises are introduced to prevent injury, And we get a little older and wiser (?) too 🙂 The old doors on British Railways carriages had a turn handle on the outside to open them, so you had to be able to open the window to be able to open the door! Some did have a catch mechanism inside but that could be difficult to work with your thumb, expecially if it was a bit stiff. Now, you’d have to go to a preserved railway to experience such joys 🙂