Tim's One Photograph a Day

60163 Tornado – Steam Train through Thatcham.

Steam Train.

Steam Train: Peppercorn Class A1 - 60163 Tornado Steaming through Thatcham.

Peppercorn Class A1 – 60163 Tornado Steaming through Thatcham.

The subject of this morning’s photograph was decided very early on! It was also totally unplanned. It all started with a chance conversation.

My wife noticed a post on Facebook. Something about the Flying Scotsman due in Bath. Knowing I am something of a steam train fanatic, she asked what was so special about this particular engine.

I was more interested in seeing it. If it was going to Bath, there was a chance it would be coming past us! I looked on my usual online listing. Sure enough, there was a steam train running from Paddington. No timings, though. I also then noted it was “Tornado”, not the “Flying Scotsman”.

A quick post on a relevant Facebook Group, and someone quickly came back to tell me it would be passing Thatcham at 9am. It was now 8.50am! Thankfully, our boat is literally just across the road from the station. I got there just in time, although didn’t the best location, as I couldn’t cross over to the other platform.

However, I took several shots of this famous steam train, and this is the one I am happiest with. It was a grey day, and the engine was coasting at this point, so the original images weren’t over-dramatic.

60163 Tornado is not quite all it would at first appear to be. It is not actually an historic locomotive in the normal sense of the word. Designed by Arthur Peppercorn, the A1 Class consisted of 49 locomotives, built in 1948-1949 for the LNER.

Although very successful, just 15 years later, the class was redundant. Unfortunately, all were scrapped. None survived. But, that is not the end of the story. In 1990, a group of enthusiasts got together with a dream to build a brand new one, based on the original drawings. In 2008, the dream was finally realised, as 60163 Tornado was steamed for the first time. The loco incorporates several modern features that would not have been available when the originals were built, which make it very suitable for today’s modern railway.

My main aim was to get the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion. It may have been better with the angle the shot was taken at to decrease the shutter speed and increase the aperture to improve the focal length. The next shot I took, with the engine almost filling the frame, is slightly soft in focus at the front of the engine. However, bearing in mind I only had moments to get myself set up, I am very pleased with the results.

Photograph Details:

  • Taken: 29 May 2017
  • Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 MkII
  • Lens: Olympus 14-42 1:3.5-5.6
  • Focal Length 33mm
  • F/5.6
  • 1/320 Sec
  • ISO 200

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