Top Ten rail photos – 2012

Well as we have just entered the new year, despite still being behind on the blog (and indeed even uploading photos), it’s time to look back at which of my rail related photos from 2012 I was happiest with. They may not be technically perfect, but they are those that tickle my fancy the most.

It has been an interesting, difficult, and in one regard a disappointing exercise – about half of the photos were certain of a place in the top ten, but the other places were much harder to fill, and after more than a week of going over them on and off, I am still not certain I have them right. As such I will explain with each, and also link to the alternatives.

The disappointment came from the fact the all but one are from the first half of the year – January and April in particular were very good to me, but then things got very busy, and a long holiday to Europe was plonked in the middle, and I don’t seem to have fully gotten back into my stride. I took a small number of rail related photos in Europe, but sadly these did not make the cut either. Interesting also is the fact the majority are in Black and White – a medium I am getting more and more comfortable with.

Anyway, let’s get on with it – I will place them in chronological order, and let you decide for yourselves which you like the most …

As usual, you can click through to Flickr for larger versions of the pictures.

Photo one – Hunter Valley Coal: (January)
The endless procession of coal trains in the Hunter Valley never ceases to amaze me – this picture was taken at Sandgate station, and captures an Xstrata empty coalie snaking it’s way through the section near the flyover, as a QR National (if I remember correctly) loaded coalie is stopped awaiting a path into port.

Photo two – Lost in the Trees: (January)
I am the first to admit this is not the perfect shot – it was rushed, and was questionable whether it deserved a spot. Whilst I got the framing of the trees, they are perhaps a little too dominant in the foreground, and the second loco is obscured by a branch. The locos being dark are also a little lost in the picture. Despite all this though, I like the country feel to it, and it makes me want to head back up that way to see what other scenes there are.

Photo three – Xploring Gunnedah: (January)
There is not much I can say about this shot, except it is not just a favourite of 2012, but of all time. I’ll let the photo tell the story …

Photo four – Parked in Parkes: (April)
Quad 48s pulled up breifly at Parkes station. This was another I wasn’t sure about – night shots are something I am still getting to grips with, and I know I pulled this one off, but can’t help wonder if the 81 in the background adds to, or interferes with the shot?

Photo five – Country Steam: (April)
On Easter Sunday, LVR’s 3237 was running shuttles between Parkes and Forbes, and I got photos at various spots along the way. I expect this may not be a popular choice, as the feedback since originally posting it has been nil. It suffers from 3237 being tender leading, and the back of the train being tucked behind the tree, but again the countryside really does it for me, and this is a personal favourite.

Photo six – Relaxing on the Aurora: (April)
April marked the 50th anniversary of the Southern Aurora, and I was at Sydney Terminal just prior to its departure. Again I will let the picture tell the tale.

Photo seven – A Sad Sight: (April)
Earlier in the year, IRA’s MZ1438 was involved in a shunting accident in Botany, which bent the impacted cab downwards. When I heard it was to be moved by truck to Braemar, I headed down there to capture some pictures before the headed off – I wound up there both the Saturday when the MZ still sat sadly alongside the track, and Sunday where it had already been loaded on the truck. Here it is on the truck already, with a chain across the distinctive headlight fitting to help secure the load.

This was a toughy, not because of anything I dislike about this picture, but that there were three contending pictures from these two days to choose from – for more pictures, see my blog post Bent, battered, and broken – MZ1438.

Photo eight – Werai Grain: (April)
This photo was always certain on a place – yes, it is at Werai (a known hack spot), but a lesser used spot at the other end of the curve, and is a not often seen (by me at least) sight of an entire CFCLA train on hire to El Zorro. This shot was also a challenge – those that know the spot will know the small bridge has extremely high walls, and I had nothing to stand on except my toes, only just being able to peek over the top.

After a morning of exceptional luck and timing, this was basically the end of my run that day as I missed every other freight I was after in the afternoon – after this shot though I didn’t mind. I also didn’t mind freezing my butt off in strong winds whilst waiting for this shot, though my wife who was in the car may have had different views on that …

Photo nine – Spoiled: (May)
Suburban spoil
As you probably know from my blog, perway equipment is a particular point of interest for me – luckily on afternoon train during trackwork on the inner west line I got the perfect lighting to get something a bit more than your standard reference shot (which most my perway equipment shots are). The one problem I do have with it though is I also took this wider angle photo in colour and it frequently changes for me as to which one I prefer – at least one deserves a spot though, so I’ll give it to the B&W …

Photo ten – Goulburn Yard: (September)
This shot was a late contender as I finalised the list – I know it’s not perfect as the scene is a little bit “busy”, but I still feel it has a nice, overall feel to it.

Well, there we have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed my pictures throughout the year, and hopefully 2013 will see many more to come …

Easter 2012 road trip


This gallery contains 1 photo.

Needless to say this post is more than a little bit late, but over the Easter long weekend the wife and I hit the road for three days, once again chasing trains. The basis of our locations was meeting some … Continue reading

Southern Highlands NSW – 25 April 2012


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On Wednesday, despite it being about 11 degrees celius there with strong winds, the wife and I went for a drive up the Southern Highlands of NSW, with the primary focus being to photograph trains. The main south line is … Continue reading