For this Photographing Public Art Challenge, which is hosted by Marsha, I thought I would go with some Italian design. Not Ferrari’s and not clothes from Milan, although that city will be part of the post. We’re going to look at railway design and architecture šŸ™‚

I was trying to think of how to sequence the images in a meaningful way. In the end, I’m going to work backwards in time, so lets start with the Pendolino. Pendolino’s are tilting trains built by Fiat Ferroviaria using technology that was first pioneered in the UK with the Advanced Passenger Train. The idea is to use the tilting technology to allow faster speeds on lines that cannot be made more straight due to terrain. Here are two RABe 503 trains operated by Cisalpino from Zurich and Geneva to Milano, seen in Milano Centrale station…

…These trains entered service from 2008.

A somewhat older example of Italian design were the Settebello trains. These luxury high speed electric units featured observation lounges at both ends of the train. They were built for the Milano to Roma services with stops at Bologna and Firenze. They entered service in 1953 and were finally phased out in 1984. I was lucky to photograph the sole preserved example in Santa Maria Novella station, Firenze, back in 2009…

…Its 1950’s elegance contrasting with the angular modern unit on the left.

Santa Maria Novella station in Firenze is a classic example of Italian Modernism, designed by the Gruppo Toscano. After approval from Benito Mussolini, construction began in 1932 and the station opened in 1934. Here is a view of the main concourse…

Returning to Milano Centrale – the foundation block of this station was laid in 1906 but full construction rights were not awarded to architect Ulisse Stacchini until 1912! – his design resembling Washington Union Station. The Italian financial crisis during the First World War combined with many design changes stalled its construction. Work recommenced in 1925 and the station officially opened in 1931. Here is a shot of the concourse…

…In the modern world, it now seems cramped with the volume of passengers using the station and it’s interesting to compare with open spaces of Firenze S.M.N completed just 3 years later!

This week it’s Cee’s turn to host the PPAC so you may want to visit and take a look at her chosen images.

I have a couple of shots from St Pancras Station, the first of which is a piece of public art by Tracey Emin CBE, RA. ‘I want my time with you’ is a call for travellers to stop and take a moment…

…It’s certainly worth stopping to take a look at Barlow’s magnificent trainshed. It was refurbished as part of the rebuilding of St.Pancras station for international services through the channel tunnel, which completed in 2007. Included in the rebuild was restoration of the clock, which had been absent for many years. Here’s a shot showing more of Barlow’s trainshed as it was in the 1980’s…

Away from the railway, but another example of a public work of art hung high above where people walk. The John Lewis store on Oxford Street has this abstract sculpture…

…Titled ‘Winged Figure’, it is the work of Dame Barbara Hepworth and is made of aluminium with steel rods.

Finally, back to the railway and an example of mobile art…

…Graffiti on a passing hopper wagon at Ealing Broadway. Graffiti will probably feature in quite a few posts for this challenge šŸ˜‰

Trying to push Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge a little earlier into my week to make room for the PPAC challenge that started last week. I decided to pick a single subject and work around it for my entry…

I have chosen to show images of Paddington Station – two ‘I’s in there…

Paddington is the London Terminus of the Great Western Railway – sometimes jokingly referred to as the Great Way Round or God’s Wonderful Railway. Although the GWR as was became part of British Railways in 1948, rail privatisation in the 1990’s saw the GWR name resurrected for this franchise. Here’s a shot of some trains and some empty platforms at Paddington…

Paddington has often appeared in movies and stories – The Hound of the Baskervilles comes to mind as an older example, but more recently in films depicting the adventures of Paddington Bear. Like most kids in the UK I remember the tales of Paddington Bear by Michael Bond very well. Paddington is well represented on the station with a statue…

…and with a plaque and a special seat…

…But very close by is a memorial to the employees of the Great Western Railway who lost their lives in the 1st World War. A single Soldier serves to remind us of the tragic loss…

…Finally, there is a reminder of the Victorian era and the man who built the Great Western Railway. Seated comfortably on a chair we find Isambard Kingdom Brunel…

…and behind we see one of the current Hitachi built class 800 units that provide services to Bristol and beyond.