Share Your Desktop – March 2021

It’s time once again to join in with Clare’s Share Your Desktop Challenge. I’m currently using a real world photo rather than a virtual one. We’re still under lockdown conditions here so I’ve put up a shot taken 4 years ago when steam specials were running on our rails.

This is possibly the most famous locomotive in the world – Flying Scotsman – though I personally don’t understand why. It doesn’t hold the world speed record – that belongs to Mallard. I don’t think it’s the finest looking engine out there – I prefer the looks of the Royal Scot class and there are others of the GWR persuasion who would sneer at the lack of copper cap on the chimney 😉 However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. In fact, I have every reason to appreciate its lines as my Grandfather once drove for the LNER – the company that built this locomotive.

Unfortunately, ‘Scotsman carries some baggage around with her. Probably because of the excess hype around every trip she makes, crowds come out to take photos and some misguided persons trespass on the railway causing delays to services. Although the press talk about railway enthusiasts when they report this, many of those causing issues are just normal members of the public who only come out because they’ve heard of Flying Scotsman.

On the day I took this photo, ‘Scotsman was routed away from a more obvious route probably in a move to reduce the risk of people going onto the tracks. I checked out the working timetable and realised that there would be a photo opportunity as the special – The Cathedrals Express – passed through Willesden Junction. I expected there to be other enthusiasts on the bridge at Old Oak Common Lane but found I had it all to myself!

So here is Flying Scotsman with The Cathedrals Express drifting round the curve of South West Sidings at Willesden Junction…

…It’s early summer and there is still a freshness to the green of the trees. Hopefully I can get back to photographing trains by the time summer comes this year 🙂


  1. Thank you for impressing me with the realization that you planned for this photo! I think sometimes I forget that is so often a very necessary step in capturing a very specific image! I rely entirely too often on “luck,” which frankly doesn’t often work very well! LOL! Great photo, Martin.

    1. Hi Debra – I plan a lot of my freight train and steam special photographs. Before going out for a day’s enthusing, I make a note of what trains other than the regular passenger services are supposed to run according to the working timetable, and at what times. However, with freight trains there is still an element of luck as they may not run if they’re not required on that particular day and they don’t always run in their time slot – sometimes they can be early or late because the signalmen will fit them in between scheduled passenger services as best possible. The ideal is that they run to the timetable but sometimes that isn’t possible with the huge amount of traffic in the London area. So, you see that there is still an element of luck involved! Steam specials are more like normal passenger trains and usually adhere to their time slot 🙂

      1. Your strategies and planning really do impress me, Martin. I understand the “luck factor” but you sure do improve your odds! 🙂

  2. Sometimes the objects of our minds meet a legendary status without us knowing why? I was wondering if it was haunted. Great that you got the shot without a bunch of paparazzi. 🙂 I love trains. Hopped on one once when it was moving. 🙂

    1. Haunted – probably not 😉 The efforts to preserve the locomotive by an individual and to be able to run it on the mainline railway were much publicised in the 1970’s and I think that’s why the name has stuck in the public conciousness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.