Steam train / tube train

Some days you just get lucky.

I had no meetings around lunchtime that day, so I went for lunch on no particular schedule, just whenever I got hungry. I took my camera for the rather boring purpose of photographing some scaffolding.

See, there's a bunch of building work going on in Putney at the moment, including a new entrance for the Exchange shopping centre on the high street. I'd noticed some scaffolding had gone up and wanted to grab a photo. Boring, right? Well, my idea is that by following the whole process, I can end up with those nifty before/after slider images you see, timelapse movies, and fun stuff like that. But in itself, I can't really argue. A photo of scaffolding on one of the most generic high streets in London? Boring.

But as chance would have it, I'd very soon have a bunch of considerably more interesting photos.

Turning onto Oxford Road where it crosses the railway lines, I saw a gathering of half a dozen men, middle-aged, holding cameras, gazing at the tracks. Even if I hadn't worked in this place for a few years and seen it before, it doesn't take a genius to determine what might be going on. Nevertheless, taking my place on the bridge I asked the nearest "What's happening?" and he reported that a steam train was due. I barely had time to pop off my lens cap and frame up a test shot of the scene when the train approach right on cue.

Not only that, a district line tube train chose that exact moment to depart East Putney and head north toward Putney Bridge.

In a few seconds, both trains had passed and as the steam dissipated I turned off my camera. Stowing it in my bag, one of the men remarked on my astounding sense of timing.


For those interested in the history of this particular train, it's No 35028 “Clan Line”, owned and operated by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society.

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London Borough of Wandsworth