Chris Kempster Photography: Blog en-us (C) Chris Kempster (Chris Kempster Photography) Sat, 03 Oct 2015 15:27:00 GMT Sat, 03 Oct 2015 15:27:00 GMT Chris Kempster Photography: Blog 120 80 Sometimes you just get lucky! Many would have you believe that the art of photography is a difficult game, one that requires skill, knowledge and can only be improved by experience. The reality is that while it can indeed be all of those things, the modern digital camera can make a shot that most people would be proud of. No longer is it about the skill of getting every setting on the camera absolutely right for the conditions. Most cameras have auto settings that will adjust extremely well to the light levels. Equally its not about the developing of the film in a dark room, a process that takes extreme patience and skill. These days the most basic editing software will be able to adjust your photo to take out any imperfections in camera settings and make your photo that much better. You can, if you want, go down the route of getting every setting perfect and using the best editing software but it's only as hard as you want it to be.


All the above said you still have to have an eye for a shot. Sometimes you also will have to have a few goes at a particular shot to get it how you want it. This is where you seperate those would be photographers from the people with a passion for it. In my case of photographing steam engines I will quite often attend so called 'Steam Galas' at various railways around the country, but most often in the North of England. I will quite often have, but not always, acquired the published timetable for the day, and plan a route on foot or with car or train assistance to get various shots from different locations thorughout the day. I don't like taking the same angle more than once because quite simply, I like variety. Whilst I publish these shots online for everyone to see the first reason I take them is because I enjoy it. I'm in this for the challenge and because I get entertainment from it. Both in the taking of the shot and looking back over them.


Now, over the day I can cover quite a few miles. Depending on the railway you can cover up to 10 miles on foot, as well as using other transport, and you will double back on yourself and cover the same terrain more than once. This is just due to prefering the Sun behind me when shooting, and the way tracks tend to curve.


Im babbling now. The point I'm really trying to get to is that if I don't get a particular shot how I want it, I very rarely try again that day. I want variety, not loads of the same angle. Also if you have one failure you risk doing the same thing again if the problem has been caused by something out of your control. The most comman issue is lighting levels. even with all the modern wonders we have, a bit of Sun goes a long way, as you will shortly see!


There is one particular shot I have been trying, off and on for a few years now. It's never really worked for me how it wanted it to, mostly due to lighting but also a few of my own mishaps. This particular shot involves balancing very close to a large river. The ground underneath of full of high weeds and if you get too close becomes very slippery. You are basically risking falling in. Perhaps a bit dramatic but in order to get the shot without loads of weeds creeping into it, you have to be very close to the edge. At the very least you are risking wet feet!


Mishaps over the years include slipping whilst taking the shot, a bird flying out as the train came, light levels disappearing on me at the last second (making my photo look like i'd taken it in the dark) and finally last year another photographer standing up directly in front of me as I took my shot. Frustrating but it does happen. 


If I recall correctly I've only previously published two of my many attempts at this, which proves how annoyed I've been at the others. This year though I got it as good I could. All three of the published attempts are below. The location is Wansford bridge at the Nene Valley Railway. The River is the Nene, and the engines in order are Britannia and City of Peterborough from two points of 2013 (as you can tell by the different vegetation). My personal favourite is the bottom one, my success of the year so far. Not only did I finally get some light, but I got it with Tornado! What a difference the Sun makes!


'Britannia' crossing the River Nene (Feb 2013)


City of Peterborough crossing the River Nene at Wansford (Sept 2013)


]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) nene valley railway nvr tornado wansford Sat, 03 Oct 2015 15:26:48 GMT
The Home Fleet Having just returned from the annual Winter Gala at the Worth Valley Railway, I feel the need to talk about the magnificence of the current Worth Valley home fleet.

Most preserved railways in the current era will hold events throughout each year where, for the purposes of attracting new visitors, they will hire in a headline engine, or two or three. This will most often help bring in enough people to make the event profitable, but brings with it the added risk of over investment. This can especially be the case if the weather turns and puts people off attending. The money has already been spent, so must be recouped!

For a railway not be bring in any engines is now incredibly out of the so called norm for these massive events. For one to put an event on with more than five engines, you would expect some to be visitors. The lines that tend to have the sheer amount of engines available for this sort of service tend to have a high mileage that needs covering. For a railway of a meer 4.5 miles to hold an event with no less than eight home based engines in full steam is nothing short of magnificent.

Below are a few shots taken from the Friday of the Winter Gala. I think you'll agree the volunteers at both Haworth and Ingrow have done an amazing job turning these engines out! Find the full gallery here!



]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) Sat, 28 Feb 2015 10:50:59 GMT
Great Western Spectacular's Over the last few weeks there have been a few small events on on the Western side of the country. As Winter turns to Spring and more of the railways get their seasons underway, events to mark the new season are set up to to show off what the respective railways love to do best. 

While I myself am from the East Coast, a fan of all things Gresley, you would be misguided to think that the Great Western, as it was, and as it now is in preserved form, doesn't offer something a little special. With the 'Great Way Round' built by Brunel, the beautiful engines built by Swindon and designed to be at and look at home in the gorgeous countryside of Western England, you'd have to be  blind (and in most cases deaf) to not appreciate what was created here.

Here is the best of the two events I managed to get to:



Ful galleries available at


Coming Soon - The North Yorkshire Moors Spring Gala!

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) Sun, 13 Apr 2014 07:44:27 GMT
A funny story..... I left you all last time with plans laid out to get to two galas in one weekend. Oh if only it were that simple. Everything started really well. I reached the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough early on after a long drive from West Yorkshire. The morning Sun was just shining through creating what can only be described as perfect morning light.

As the morning went on I grabbed a train to Ferry Meadows for some shots around that area. Most of my recent shots on this railway are from around Wansford and I wanted to try something else. 

As you may guess from the photo above this event marked the last steaming before overhaul of the railways flagship engine 'The City of Peterborough'.

Anyway, back to the story. After I had finished at Ferry Meadows I got the train back to Wansford. This is where the trouble starts. Forgetting for a moment that I'm now a grown man I did what every 10 year old on a steam train does and stuck my head out of the window. No sooner had I done this than a lump of soot wedged itself firmly in my eye. This created a lot of pain as i struggled to get it out. Upon reaching Wansford, still struggling, I washed out my eye with a bottle of water. Still no luck!

After failing miserably for around 10 minutes I took one last photo of the departing 'City of Peterborough' before I gave up!

Not the best photo I've ever taken but not bad for a half blind man!

Luckily for me my Mum doesn't live to far away from Peterborough so I called in for a better way of getting soot out of my eye, cursing my luck I'd had to cut my day so short (it was only around midday). Unfortunately, whilst she possessed proper eye wash, three attempts at this still wasn't getting it out!

So that was that! I drove home that afternoon, before it got dark, still in pain and not really able to see out of my left eye. It wasn't until the next morning I managed to get the soot out, with of all things, a dampened cotton bud (kids, don't try this at home).

Whilst I did attend the East Lancs Gala the Sunday of this weekend the combination of bad weather and a sore eye meant I didn't take any photos worth uploading!

Thankfully though, I've just written this blog whilst waiting for photos from the Worth Valley Winter Gala to upload. They can now be found here (Worth Valley Winter Gala). You'll be pleased to know my eye is better and the weather is much improved!

Till next time...................

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) city of peterborough nene valley railway soot in eye wansford Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:40:30 GMT
Welcome to 2014 Here is the end of what seems to have been a long break. This Winter I have used to have almost a toal break form my photography. Before February I hadn't picked up my camera in three months. Well, I'm glad to say that's behind me now.

At the start of this month we took a trip to Scotland for a quick getaway after the Christmas and New Year rush was finished with. This has originally been planned to get some proper snowy landscapes but alas, we missed the snow. Both the week before and week after we were there they had a deluge of it. But while we stayed across the border all we found was rain.

Despite the dampness of it all we found some quite spectacular views. They can be found in my 'Hints of Fairytales!' gallery. Here is just a small taste.....


This is the spectacular Inveraray Castle. More of this can be found here!


Anyway, most of you will be wondering about my plans with the railways. I'm pleased to be able to say that after the drought that I've put myself through recently we have a lot of Winter gala's on the horizon. Starting this coming weekend I intend visiting both the Nene Valley and the East Lancs Railways for their respective gala's, before two weeks later the Worth Valley get their season underway.

All three events promise a lot of action. Lets just hope for some sunshine and drier weather than we've had so far!

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 2014 castle inveraray scotland Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:09:17 GMT
Autumn Gala Season comes to an end! The last month and a half has been the busiest I can remember. Between a railway event every week and the upload of this websites new 'skin' I haven't stopped. Thats before you take into account the 'real world' interruptions that include preparing for Christmas.

My original idea of this update was to take you through my September and October showing you the railways and events I have visited over the last few weeks. That would, however be nothing short of an epic blog post that would take you a day to read. Instead, lets keep it a bit more simple. I've taken a lot of photo's recenty, hopefully most of you have already seen the majority. For those that have missed some though, here are my favourites!


In reverse order here are my top 5....


5. In the loop on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway waiting for the Goods to pass.

Waiting in the loop (Oct 2013)


4. Time stands still at Wansford MPD as the engines are warmed up

3. My first glimpse since overhaul of returning 9F 92214 on the NYMR. 




2. A 'Tornado' is let loose departing Grosmont

A Tornado powers out of Grosmont (Oct 2013)


1. Luck or meant to be? Without knowing about the impending lineup I climb to the photographers area above Grosmont shed for a better view of Tornado under the coalstage. This is what happened!

A Pacific Lineup - Tornado and Sir Nigel Gresley at Grosmont (Oct 2013)


So thats my top 5 for this Gala season. Its fair to say there hasn't been a lot of Sun over the period. Do you agree with my choices? The full galleries can all be found here.

Time to start planning next year!

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 60163 9f 92214 autumn gala embsay & bolton abbey railway nene valley railway north yorkshire moors railway nymr sir nigel gresley steam gala tornado wansford Sun, 27 Oct 2013 16:03:10 GMT
A quiet year....about to get busy! Its fair to say that this year hasn't been exactly what I planned. I aimed by now to have been to a lot more railways and a lot more events than I've managed. I can recount many reasons for all of this. Not being able to get off my road in the heavy snows at the start of the year meant a slow start. Then the fantastic Summer that we all enjoyed meant that other jobs got some priority as I caught up with things I meant to do last year.

Now though, its my turn. Gala season is back, and so am I. With the steam drought I have endured now firmly behind me the camera is packed, the car is ready and the timetables are printed (well the first of them anyway). Starting at the Nene Valley Railway on the weekend of the 14th I have seven events over the next two months on the plan to cover. Stay tuned for updates.

Upcoming galleries:

Nene Valley Railway Standard Class Gala

North Yorkshire Moors 40th Anniversary Autumn Gala

North Yorkshire Moors LNER Weekend

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Best Of The West Gala

East Lancs Railway Autumn Gala

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Beer & Music Festival

A Winter Tornado (Nene Valley Railway)


]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) Wed, 11 Sep 2013 14:39:12 GMT
Time for an update Wow! I've just looked at how long its been since my last blog entry and realised that I've left it quite a while. I'm not one to just put entries up for the sake of it but its nearly the end of June already and I haven't typed anything on here since April!


Since that last post you'll be pleased to hear that I've been kept busy. Not only have we uploaded a few more photos but I've also moved a lot of our products over to a new photo lab. With the need for competitive pricing and a quality service ever more apparent in the current climate, I have decided to make use of the brilliant company that is 'Photobox'. Being Europe's largest print lab they can help me achieve lower prices than I've previously been able to offer, whilst still maintaining that excellent quality you would expect from us.


Anyway, you don't want to hear about all of the 'boring' stuff. You want photos. Last month saw us visit the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the first time this year. The event was their 40th Anniversary Gala. Up to this point they had been suffering from a lack of steam. With the highest requirement of engines in the country to go with the busiest timetables, the home fleet had been suffering with diesel replacements.



Whilst the odd day saw a diesel in use the main event saw no less than eleven steam engines in service during the 12 day extravaganza. Everyday had a different lineup and there was no shortage of action.


For those that haven't seen it yet the full gallery is here: North Yorkshire Moors Spring Gala


More recently we spent a quick weekend in Wales. Whilst there we spent a day exploring North West Coast including the magnificent Penrhyn Castle. This amazing structure gives the impression of a Norman stronghold but the surprising fact is that it even built in its current form until the early 1800's. This of course means that it has never seen any battles and is entirely intact. To see that gallery click here: Penrhyn Castle




One more thing of note since my last update. Right at the end of April I spent a weekend with some family members on a green laning adventure through the Yorkshire Dales. Guided by Paul Blackburn of 'OneLife Adventure' we explored tracks and unmade roads unpassable by your average family car using two Land Rovers for exactly what they were designed for.



With the assistance of my sister many photos were taken and a select few have been uploaded to give you something a bit different to look through. We all had a fantastic weekend and hope to repeat the event next year.


For the full gallery click here: UK Explorer - Yorkshire Dales



Well thats it for this update. The next few weeks see one or two events on the calender that I hope to get to. Until then, enjoy!

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) green laning land rover medieval norman north yorkshire moors railway penrhyn castle steam gala Sun, 23 Jun 2013 10:35:06 GMT
Remembering the classics Once in a while it’s good to go back through the shots of yesteryear. There are many reasons for this. It might be to review what you have done, so as to improve you technique. It could be about saving some memory space. It might just be that you feel the need for a tidy up and get rid of some clutter.



2011 was a big year for me. A lot happened in a very short space of time. This was the year that I started to really think about taking photography seriously. This was also the year that we moved up to West Yorkshire. These two events combined meant that the quantity of photo's I was taking multiplied.


As I was only just really getting into the art I took photos of just about everything. I was learning the basics of technique and gaining knowledge all the time. I like to think that at this point every time I went out I was taking better photos than I had last time.




Looking back now, there is a colossal quality difference between then and now. Some of this is down to equipment. Most is down to technique and knowledge. Whatever the reason though most of what I took then I wouldn’t upload if I had taken them today.


Despite this though there are still a few shots that stand out. I would like to say some of these were purely down to luck. A lot about photography is simply being in the right place at the right time.




Whilst digging through the photos of 2011 I found some 'Classics'. This collection is simply the shots that I couldn't yet delete. Some are simply memorable. The odd one was a 'first'. A couple of these also found their way on to my walls as I tested different printing labs!


Have a look and see what you think. See if you can tell where I upgraded to my current equipment.


Classics 2011 - Full gallery




]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) keighley & worth valley railway kwvr nene valley railway nvr photography wansford Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:21:38 GMT
Back to Earth with a bump This short story starts at the end of last Summer. Summer is used loosely in this case as last year barely had any of what you would expect from the hottest season of the year. Anyway, at the said time I looked through the forthcoming railway events with a view of booking a holiday to one of our favourite holiday areas, West Somerset.


Conveniently the West Somerset Railway had just published the dates for their Spring Gala so I started to look at holiday cottages around the Minehead area. My wife and I have a deal with holidays in that we both choose one each per year within certain budgets. This would be mine. I would entice her with Somerset and get to spend a couple of days on the West Somerset Railway.



For those that haven't yet made it to the West Somerset Railway I have to recommend it as one of the best heritage railways I have ever been to. Everything you see is painstakingly restored to better than original condition and anyone who has any love of the Great Western would feel at home straight away. The sheer length of the line (Britains longest preserved line at just shy of 23 miles) also means that a high number of active engines are required to maintain regular timetables.


The pressures of any Gala on a preserved railway these days include the limited number of paths that are available. For instance, on a short branch line with only one passing loop, you can only normally run two trains at a time. By contrast, the West Somerset have plenty of length and no less than three passing loops, thus increasing the amount of traffic allowed. Now add in the fact that they wanted almost all engines facing in the right direction this required even more engines to allow turning time. With a turntable at Minehead and a triangle of track at Norton Fitzwarren this challenge was possible, but costly for time.



Well, all I can say was a lot of engines is exactly what was provided. Despite one or two issues, nine engines (including Steam Railmotor) were in steam during our visit. Between the four main trains, Dunster shuttles and the freight I'm surprised anybody knew were to look. This once quiet branchline burst into life!



Alas though, after a few days the time came to start thinking about getting back to our home in West Yorkshire. Weather forcasts ensured that we had to leave a day early or risk not getting back at all. We left the warm climate of Somerset (a tropical 8 degrees) and gradually felt the cold as we moved North. By Birmingham it was already down to just two degrees. By Halifax we encountered blizzards. Our fantastic holiday had came to the end with a great thud. Whilst it was made clear that the decision to come home early was the right one (an hour to get the car up the drive, then overnight a five foot snow drift blocked the path), a part of me wishes that we had got stuck in the Somerset area.


A big thank you must go to everyone we met on our small adventure for making it such a great one. Lets hope its not another three years before we get back.


For the full collection from the West Somerset Railway's Spring Gala please see the following links:

West Somerset Railway Spring Gala - Part One

West Somerset Railway Spring Gala - Part Two


As for the rest of our holiday, keep you eyes peeled for Dunster Castle and Porlock Weir that will hopefully be up soon.




]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) minehead steam gala west somerset railway wsr Sat, 23 Mar 2013 17:12:18 GMT
How its done! The first day of the Worth Valley's Winter Gala is now complete. The weather was dull and cold, but the Worth Valley guys sure know how to put on a show. They use a simple formula:

Step 1. Figure out exactly how many engines you have that you can run

Step 2. Run all of them!

Between the three carriage sets and the goods this didn't leave enough trains for engines. Solution, double head them!

This meant that there were no less than four double headers, and thats just counting the ones 'facing the right way'.


This was the last gala for the resident Standard 4 tank before overhaul. Over the time I've been in the area it has been a stalwart of the Worth Valley fleet. I hope its not out of service for too long, but in these days of long overhaul queues I'm glad I've got plenty of shots of it. Not least this one form last autumn, one of my favourites!

The Sun came out at just the right time for this shot. I had waited for around 20 minutes in dull cloud before some light literally came through as 80002 came around the corner. There was no such luck today however!


Despite today's gloomy weather there were plenty of people out, both on the trains and lineside. Unfortunately due to other commitments I can't attend the remaining two days. However I must say a big thanks to the team at the KWVR for simply 'running everything'. It was great to finally grab a shot of the WD out of the shed!


The full gallery is here:

Here is a small sample.

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 43924 4f 78019 80002 90733 haworth keighley & worth valley railway kwvr l&y lancashire & yorkshire oxenhope Sat, 02 Mar 2013 10:21:49 GMT
Choices This past weekend was a cluttered one for railway events. I had no less than four good options for where to go. Originally, when all the railways posted their event dates, I knew exactly what I was going to do. This was going to be at least my third gala of the year so far and I was going to the Nene Valley Railway for their first ever Winter Steam Gala.

British weather had something to say about that though didn't it? With my first two gala appearances of the year cancelled due to being stuck at home in the snow I started to wonder where I should go for the weekend. The four options in no particular order were as follows:


1. The East Lancs were hosting their second gala of the year so far. I hadn't even contemplated attending this one before as I was going to the January event. That one already missed however, and the late visitor announcements of both the K1 and K4 down from the Jacobite services made it a very interesting proposition. This was also the closest to me geographically so logic would say this was where I should go.


2. The Churnet Valley also had a gala on featuring two engines that I haven't yet seen yet. Southern 31806 and its newly overhauled S160 were both in action. This railway had been on my radar for a while but I've had yet to make it. Could this be a better offer?


3. Having missed the Great Central's Winter Gala through the same old weather problems, seeing that they were having a 'mini-event' featuring the 'King' grabbed my attention. I saw the King (King Edward II) in question being overhauled at Didcot and had yet to see it in steam. I've missed a couple of opportunities now. Was this my chance?


4. The original plan. The Nene Valley Winter Gala featuring the homecoming of 'Brittania'. I've been waiting a long time to see her back on NVR metals. This was where she was based while I was growing up (and living 25 short miles away) and in all that time I never saw her steam. This was due to her moving on for pastures new just as I got back into the addiction. She wasn't going to be there for long. If I wanted to see here there this was the weekend!



For anyone that has already looked through my latest gallery you already know the answer. In the end I went for the Nene Valley, my old 'home' railway and the one I always love to get back to. I had a great weekend, and in spite of some 'operational issues' the NVR team did well to put a great show on. Some of the results are below. Let me know what you think.


The rest of the gallery can be found here


Next week - The Keighley and Worth Valley Winter Gala

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 44422 4f 70000 brittania chris kempster nene valley railway nvr orton mere wansford winter gala Wed, 27 Feb 2013 18:38:22 GMT
The 'not to plan' start to 2013 Well I hope everybody had a good Christmas and New Year. Can you believe that we are nearly at the end of January already?


As the title says this years plans so far have been mostly thrown into disarray with the weather so far. By only the 26th January my first three events have all gone unattended by myself due to the snow. From the forum posts and video/photo uploads I've seen they have been a mixed bag so far with the weather and other things coming into play.


Today though I'm missing the Great Central's first gala of the season starring the Great Western Society's 'Blue King'. I have to say that I am a little sorry not to be there.


For every set back though there is a pick me up. Whilst the heavy snow has stopped me getting to Loughborough this weekend, it has provided some fantastic photography without having to travel anywhere. With the current forecast saying that this will all be gone by tomorrow, this morning was a good chance to get some landscapes in.



As always, let me know what you think. The full gallery is at

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) calderdale landscape mixenden snow winter Sat, 26 Jan 2013 16:52:37 GMT
Another season draws to an end! So thats it now. The steam galas are all but over. After months of planning, engines arranged, schedules drawn up, rosters issued, all of the galas and come and gone in the space of a few short weeks.

Reading back over my last couple of entries it doesn't seem long ago I was making my own plans on which galas I was going to attend. This list this year was substantially longer than what I managed last year. Thankfully I have a very forgiving wife who puts up with, if not quite understands my need to spend so many days at railways.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the last few weeks. I'll let you judge whether her patience is justified or not.



I have just returned from yet another event, the Keighley and Worth Valley Beer & Music festival, for which pictures will hopefully be up by the end of the week.

With the end of the main steam season I am also given some time to have a bit of a website 'clear-up' In the time I've had this current site I've spend many hours getting it how I want it and adding photos as I have taken them. Never have I gone back through the old ones though and deleted the 'rubbish'. I have learnt so much in the last 18 months, a lot of the photos I took back when I started I wouldn't even consider uploading now.

You may notice, as you look through, some 'Golden Oldies' galleries appearing. These are where the shots I save will be put as I clear out the old galleries.

All of the recent event gallerys can be found at

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) flying pig haworth keighley & worth valley railway kwvr nene valley railway nvr nymr steam gala Sun, 28 Oct 2012 16:22:54 GMT
Wow! What a weekend! Let me start by saying this. This past weekend was long, tiring and at times painful. But it was also one of the best weekends I can remember!

A week before the weekend even started things started looking gloomy. One of the special guests of the Nene Valley Gala I was attending, 71000 'Duke of Gloucester', cancelled due to problems. This left a huge gap that needed to be urgently filled. Whilst there had been rumours for a couple of weeks that this might happen, until this point there was always a bit of hope.

Whilst in this industry problems like this inevitably do happen from time to time, never have I seen such speed in sorting it out. Within hours of the original announcement of the cancellation, a replacement had been found. The covering engine wasn't exactly a slouch either. Replacing the one of the biggest and most powerful steam engines this country ever produced was none other than the sister engine of the steam record holder. 4464 'Bittern'!




Fastforward to Saturday morning at 4am. This was when my extremely loud alarm went off. If I was to get to Wansford sheds before the engines started moving I had to be about early. Leaving the house shortly before 5am I made it to the NVR just after 7. When I arrived the Sun has just come up and was leaving a lovely shades across the yard. Whilst the contruction of the new pit (see previous blog entry) had hampered the engine lineup somewhat there were still some good opportunities while the engines were still.





As Wansford grew busier I decided to move on. Shortly after the first departure I started the long hike to Ferry Meadows. Using the path alongside the  line I managed to get some great shots as the trains kept up a busy schedule.





Due to a busy Summer doing other things this was my first visit to a line since the back end of July. I wanted to make the most of this event and so stayed in the area overnight. It has to be said, when this decision was made it was long before any weather forcasts were published, and its fair to say Sunday was a complete contrast to Saturday. Where the latter was sunny and at times very hot, Sunday started cold, gloomy and a little bit damp. As the day went on it only got worse. 

Nevertheless, before the main rains came some decent photography was to be had.





The Nene Valley Railway as a whole has made some rapid progress over the last couple of years. As some of my previous entries have told you, things are about to get a whole lot busier. I'm eager to see what they can pull out of the bag for next years events!


For the rest of my shots from the weekend please go to: Nene Valley Railway Autumn Gala


My thanks to all the staff and volunteers at the Nene Valley for a truly memorable weekend.



]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 22 3844 44422 4464 4f 60163 73050 autumn gala bittern br british railways chris kempster city of peterborough ferry meadows j94 lner london north eastern railway nene valley railway nvr orton mere tornado united steel wansford Wed, 26 Sep 2012 10:03:51 GMT
Gala season almost here! During recent years I have been to many railways around the country and found many different things to offer. The one I always want to go back to though, the one I dream of spending lottery winnings on (if I ever get that lucky!) is back at my old home.

The railway I'm talking about is the Nene Valley. This is a railway that can't depend on tourists such as say, the Yorkshire Moors or West Somerset lines. It hasn't got the rolling mountain scenery that Llangollen has and whilst having a well established mainline link it doesn't share a mainline station like the Keighley & Worth Valley does.

But whilst you could be forgiven for thinking it had a lot going against it you would be wrong. Through years of dedication and passion from volunteers has sprung a giant. The Nene Valley, through some quick thinking back at the beginning, is the only railway in the country that can run continental engines and stock. The preservation era has also seen new stations built at the country park of Ferry Meadows, Orton Mere and the terminus at Peterborough. 7.5 miles of track carry passengers from the bustling city to the idyllic countryside at Yarwell. Prime walking country from the railways most recently built station, Yarwell Junction.

The main line link though, has so far not yet made use of its full potential. Whilst being used to bring the odd engines in for galas, it’s now been realised that there is bigger business to be done.

Being perfectly placed 75 miles out of London, and linked to, of all lines, the East Coast Main Line, the NVR is putting itself forward as the ideal servicing depot for main line steam engines. With the building of a new servicing pit which is already underway, already complete with turntable, workshops and heavy lifting gear, the NVR's base at Wansford will now have everything the main line teams could need.

So all these facilities, 75 miles outside of the capital, and an increasingly congested area out of London, is this the future for the Nene Valley?

After the visit of Tornado at Easter there isn't any doubt about the appetite for the big visitors in the area. This isn't an area of the country that is bustling with other lines, the Great Central at Loughborough being the closest over an hour away. So if these big engines are going to be seen by the Cambridgeshire area, it’s going to be here.

Anyway, back to the title, gala season is almost here.

The first in my busy weekends of this period will be back at my favourite line on the 22nd and 23rd of September. With the railway now on the map for main line engines, visiting the line for their second appearances will be 'Tornado' and the 'Duke of Gloucester'. Using two rakes of carriages and freight there will be plenty of action to see.


In steam will also be the railway's own 'City of Peterborough' next to current residents 4F 44422 and industrial tank No22. It’s fair to say that anticipation is high for this gala. With the stepping stones laid last year with their 'East Meets West' gala this year sees the next step in the progression that will take this line forward over the coming years.

For anybody looking for some evidence of whats going to be on offer here, please see my previous galleries taken at the NVR:

Nene Valley Railway


]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 22 44422 4f 60163 71000 73050 british railways city of peterborough duke of gloucester ferry meadows industrial tank nene vallay railway tornado wansford yarwell junction Sat, 18 Aug 2012 22:18:47 GMT
That elusive shot! For a few years now I have been trying to get a photo or two of a particular engine on the Yorkshire Moors. That engine happens to be what many regard as the flagship of the NYMR, 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley'.

Being one of the stalwarts of the NYMR fleet you would think that as it is a feature of every gala and event it wouldn't be to hard to get some photos of it in action. How wrong you would be.

Over the last couple of years I have had no less than five attempts at getting this engine in steam, only to find it failed, the schedules changed or, in one instance, the engine not even on the Moors having been moved for a mainline excursion at short notice.



These two photos are from the Spring Gala where, whilst she did indeed steam, its was only on the second weekend when I could only make the first.






This week saw the iconic engine back in steam following some extensive repairs. After having a full weekend the engine failed on Monday, but was again in steam on Tuesday. Seizing my chance I headed over to the Moors to catch her on Wednesday in the Sun.




Now Wednesday did not start well. Having had a tiring evening playing football with some of the lads from work I overslept in the morning. I then arose to reports of a big accident on the M62. Setting off around half an hour later than planned I followed a diverted route avoiding the stricken motorway but not avoiding the chaos that the accident had caused along all other routes. Finally getting to the vicinity of the Moors I arrived quite a bit later than was ideal.

As a result of this I change my plans. Originally I had intended heading towards Grosmont and getting the morning shed shots with hopefully one of the engines coaling up. Due to my tardiness I decided to head straight to Goathland and try a shot from Darnholme. I haven't managed to get to this spot before so took the opportunity to get there first thing whilst all was still quiet.

Some of you may have felt the sinking feeling that you can get when you suddenly realise that all your efforts have been in vain. For me it happened when echoing off the valley sides was not the roar of a steam engine in full cry, but the engine of a Class 37 diesel. On the teaks no less!



Sure enough, when I got back to Goathland I learned that 'Sir Nige' had been failed for the day due to a reoccurance of its problems. Another wasted journey! Well you be the judge. Although 'Sir Nige' wasn't in steam I took the chance to try some new spots and get a few shots of the Std 4 tank in action.


The full days efforts can all be found here:

NYMR Holiday Trains

Let me know what you think!


]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 60007 80072 north yorkshire moors railway nymr sir nigel gresley standard 4 tank Sat, 28 Jul 2012 05:59:08 GMT
Vintage Trains Finally just when I needed it there was Sun!

Whilst all the time inside has enabled me to get caught up, this Sunday I had plans. At the Worth Valley they were running the newly restored 'Coal Tank' in its new LNWR livery for the first time since overhaul and right on cue the weather forecast gave a good prediction.

The result was that we got to see a proper Edwardian scene 'The Railway Children' would have been proud of!


This particular visit also gave me time to get to Keighley and get some shots of the tough climb out of the town. A shot I've not previously managed to get.


DSC_3218 Also in action during this visit was the Worth Valleys current flagship engine, 4F 43924. Please find the full gallery at KWVR Vintage Trains.

On another note, as previously mentioned the bad weather up to this date has enabled me to get properly caught up. This means that the 'Isle of Skye' gallery is now finally up!

That completes the Scotland galleries for the time being.  With the fond memories we now have of the country I don't think it will be too long before we venture that way again. The full collection can be found at 'Scotland'.

Please remember that any photo you see on this website can be bought in many different formats, from prints to mugs, from canvas's to mousemats. All for very competitive prices, and this is the only place you will find them!

I'd also be glad to hear your thoughts and feedback about the website so far. Its over a year since since this particular site was born, ideas for the future are welcome.


]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) coal tank isle of skye keighley & worth valley railway kwvr lnwr scotland vintage trains Mon, 16 Jul 2012 17:02:25 GMT
Dampening weather What a year for weather its been so far. Rain, rain and more rain. You wouldn't believe that only a month ago half the country was on a hose pipe ban!

Here are some shots taken from near to home. Whilst most of the time this weather is anything but helpful, sometimes it can be of use.


All the rain has kept me inside a lot more than I would like. This has however given me some time to get caught up with photos taken in Scotland last month. With only one more gallery to upload heres some of whats gone up so far.

All photos featured here can be found at:


Mixenden Weather


Look out for the Isle of Skye gallery, coming soon.....

]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) castle loch mixenden ness rainbow reservoir scotland weather Mon, 09 Jul 2012 20:43:38 GMT
Busy, busy, busy, with a holiday at the end! Wow! What a few weeks! Its feels like its been non-stop recently. Thankfully though, amongst all of the bus-y-ness, I have managed to get some R&R in.

Over the last few weeks, in amongst the usual chores I have had a weekend away off-roading and a week in the fantastically stunning Scottish Highlands.

First, let me tell you about the 4 wheel drive adventure. Taking a Landrover Discovery with a group of like-minded individuals, we conveyed through the Yorkshire Dales, along tracks and routes that are quite honestly, mostly impassable by your average family car. This was a brilliant weekend that, although a challenge at times in terms of my off-roading ability, was nothing but amazing fun.


The Discovery also survived the challenge a little better than the last time we tried this, with no repair stops required for us this time. Unfortunately others were not quite so lucky! I must thank Steve for an awesome weekend that I hope we can repeat again soon.


After such a busy schedule around the galas recently, and squeezing in the off-road weekend, it was about time we got away for a holiday. This year, rather than going abroad, we decided to save a few very much needed pennies and stay in Britain. After a bit of searching around various places we settled on Fort Augustus at the base of the legendary Loch Ness in Scotland. I have never visited the area before, so camera in hand, we ventured on the 350 mile journey North.



Well what a place! What a beautiful, attractive and unpredictably sunny place! We must have caught this at its very best!




From our chosen base at the Highland Club we managed to visit many of the places around the Highlands. Keep your eyes peeled for updates as I get some time to get photos uploaded. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed finding them.


Full galleries can be found at:


Onelife Adventure - Yorkshire Dales


]]> (Chris Kempster Photography) 4x4 adventure dales fort augustus highlands holiday loch ness off-road onelife scotland yorkshire Sun, 03 Jun 2012 17:37:46 GMT