For the 300th post here on Creative Splurges we’re returning to my recent trip to Dorset, and today we’re riding the railway. Swanage has a heritage railway operating from Swanage itself to Norden, just past Corfe Castle. The track, however, runs all the way to the national rail network near Wareham, and from next year they will be running regular trains from Swanage all the way to the mainline, making it soon to be a heritage railway line with a real purpose, unlike the majority which just seem to run up the track to Nowheresville and back again, helpfully reminding everyone why they were closed in the first place.
For now though, the most interesting thing to do on the Swanage Railway if you’re staying in Swanage is visit Corfe Castle, which is what we decided to do on one day of our holiday. The day we picked, however, is also the one in which we were meeting up with my parents at an undefined point later in the day which turned out to be a bit sooner than we expected, so we ended up just taking the train to Corfe Castle, buying breakfast and travelling back again to meet them in Swanage. Despite this, I still managed to get a healthy number of photographs on our short little journey.
These shots were taken just after we got off this very train, before we snuck off for breakfast. As I often do when editing sets of photos where I have a handful of similar shots, I tried a few different ways of editing the shots I have. In this one I desaturated it a bit to ‘age’ the image.
I also tweaked the clarity settings to enhance the smoke coming from the train.
Breakfast consisted of a bacon roll grabbed from a nearby bakery. Our turnaround was so quick that the train we’d gotten off hadn’t yet made it to Norden and back before we got back to Corfe Castle station.
In the background you can see Corfe Castle, the castle nestled in the Purbeck Hills that shares its name with Corfe Castle, the village in the castle’s shadow.
It wasn’t long before the train arrived. Due to limited turning space at Norden and to save time the steam engine itself isn’t turned around, it is just moved to the other end of the carriages and runs backwards. Wholly practical, but doesn’t look quite as photogenic.
Once the engine had passed the bridge I was standing on to take these shots the train started looking ‘normal’ again.
This is another one of those shots where I can’t quite decide if I prefer the textures of the monochrome version or the colours of the colour version.
Being the first steam train of the morning into Swanage, it was pretty packed. We ended up in the seatless luggage/buggy/wheelchair carriage, but the advantage of this was I could move around a bit easier and point my camera out both sides of the train. Out one side was a vintage set of luggage.
We soon started moving, and I started shooting. I didn’t immediately realise how slow the shutter speed was I was using, but the effect on this image of a wagon is interesting, as you can make out the unusual circular motion blur from staying centred on its centre whilst scooting past it.
I took a more traditional shot after we’d gone by.
When we stopped at Harman’s Cross, and I took a shot out of the window.
As we continued our journey I took a shot out the other side of the window.
When we got back to Swanage I took a little while to take some photos whilst the engine was disconnected and reattached to the other end of the train.
This is one of the drivers, completely looking the part if it were not for the Williams F1 lanyard.
I also took a few closeups of some of the mechanical bits of the engine, because I like that sort of thing.
And finally, for the first time this post, a decent shot of the front of the train that took us on our little tour.
Alongside the track at Swanage Station are old adverts from the days of steam.
This is actually one of my favourite images in this set. I love the textures and contrasty colours.
With the train turned around and readying to depart, we headed off to meet my parents.
Despite spending a lot of our week in Dorset driving through the Purbeck Hills, we didn’t see the steam trains again. I have long meant to find spots in the countryside to shoot the trains in a more idyllic setting. We saw some potential spots from the train, but I’m not sure I could find them so well on the road. It’s getting to the point where if I want to take pictures in Dorset, I need to be a lot more prepared for the shots I want to get, and figure out locations and times to capture the images in my head.