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With the decline of the textile industry this complex was taken over by FW Woolworths who used rail for distribution widely well into the 1960s.Note the pregrouping LYR subsignal protecting the exit from the private sidings.Their impressive lines suggest great power, speed and efficiency without the spiky or slabsided shapes as on some other classes and the Belpaire firebox breaks up the otherwise overlong boiler barrel.The West Coast Main Line from Crewe to Carlisle was a magnet for North-West spotters as well as more serious steam locomotive admirers.Many of my early colour photographs have rarely been seen, perhaps one or two have been projected occasionally, but on the whole they have been stored away in boxes; it is only with the advent of scanners and the ability to copy to disc or upload them to the web that has spurred me on to rediscover these 50 year-old colour images. The signal towards the left of the shot is off for an empty stock movement from the Carriage Sidings into Platform 4 heads non-stop through Castleton station with the 9.5am Liverpool Exchange to Rochdale semi-fast on 3rd March 1962; this service provided a connection for the 10.15am Manchester Victoria-York express.This shot of a WD 2-8-0 No 90470 in the snow at Castleton station has a wealth of detail.
Fast-forward to the present day and Richard's fifty-odd year old photos of BR's steam days can now be enjoyed by millions on the Internet. Even odder still, railway photography - a natural adjunct to spotting - didn't come cheap either, yet it became one of the fastest growing pursuits for boys - and hallelujah for that! The talent to which I am referring are gentlemen born and raised during the 1940s and 1950s, who spent the best part of their youth dashing around the country in the pursuit of loco numbers or taking photographs of trains just for the fun of it. I'm talking about that quintessentially British 1950s curiosity called train spotting; a hobby demanding such high levels of commitment and pricey long-distance train travel, that it's surprising it ever got off the ground in the first place, especially during the penny-pinching post-war years.This performed very well until superseded by a zoom lens model by Bolex which in my opinion was a very indifferent performer in poor light.The Agfa camera suffered a series of breakages of the main spring and each repair shortened the time that one 'wind' lasted and eventually it had to be retired. As mentioned above, the first camera I purchased in 1951 was an Ensign Ful Vue box camera but only a handful of images remain, including this shot of Class D49/1 62701 Derbyshire at Seamer in August 1952 and this shot (below) shows an unidentified WD journeying along the up main line under clear signals at Rochdale in 1953. The starting signal for the down main line is at clear but the Rochdale Goods Yard Box distant is at caution.
The lens was a 3 element example and its performance fell off at wide apertures, but I bought one and the Sportsman was relegated to colour work.