Stories From The Age Of Steam

Watch the video for the adventure behind “The Holy Grail Of Steam”

eastern turkey steam trainWelcome To Our Archive Of World Steam Train Stories. This web site is a dynamic collection of experiences of many people who had the privilege of experiencing and photographing regular steam trains. Only paid subscribers can contribute stories, however, right now, all content is freely available to read.

You can get a copy of my grand adventure, the steam train adventure of a lifetime, by either subscribing for a small monthly fee, or purchasing outright. To purchase click on the ad on the right hand sidebar. In my travels, I have found it strange that people seem to understand the concept of handing over money for a photograph or book, as I have been operating in the virtual world for many years. Feel free to take in the free stuff and then join for a mere $3 a month to access everything. Members are able to leave their stories too!

For your interest, here are a couple of teasers as to what is to come!

I am anticipating many people, possibly including yourself, will contribute their stories to this site. However, I can assure you that I have some great ones collected during my time travelling the world in search of steam. Here are a few that will appear.

Southern Africa

I spent nearly 3 years in South Africa, living in Johannesburg, and spending every available minute photographing steam. This was from August 1974 to May 1976. Included in this section are some great photos and stories such as driving a hire car over the edge of a 30 feet embankment. landing in a creek and towing it out with a truck only to drive our pretty well destroyed car back hundreds of kms to the hire car company!

Europe

Four months including time in Eastern Europe where we wrestled with the East German Police, Polish Authorities and traversed Czechoslovakia. We even stayed with a couple of people smugglers in Munich! We photographed German Pacifics at speed, visited the incredible Duro Valley in Portugal and took some great photos in Austria and other European destinations.

Mozambique

An adventure Indiana Jones would be proud of in Mozambique. This epic 120 page plus book will be given to everyone who joins the site. It is perhaps my most dramatic story and includes rare photographs of steam on 6 different Mozambique Rail systems. If you have any sense of adventure you will love this story!

South America

The South American Diaries including the highest railway station on earth. Spectacular photos in Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. We ventured there just 6 weeks after the military coupe in Argentina in 1976.

Turkey

Journey to Kurdistan. We venture past the Military base signifying the border between the main part of Turkey and Kurdistan. We venture beyond Erzerum towards Kars. This is at the extremity of Eastern Turkey where snow abounded and we got some fabulous shots. Our car was stoned along the way! We visited many other parts of Turkey and recorded the steam during this 2 week tour.

China

Behind the Bamboo Curtain. A journey of some 7736 kms by train in China, one third of it steam hauled. In December 1984, I was one of the first people to obtain an individual Visa to enter China.  It includes photographing at many places, and includes some rare photos of locomotives such as Russian Build FDs and American built KD7s! I went beyond where I was allowed on this trip, resulting in some very interesting experiences! This China you cannot see today!

I have some other special guests lined up already and there is much more to come, including many memories from my early days in NSW Australia in the 1960s.

Why not join us and come along for the ride.

There was a time not so long ago, when the mighty steam locomotive ruled the railway world. Majestic in nature, these hissing, puffing monsters invoke images of a romantic time when life was slower. I was fortunate enough to be consumed by the sounds and sights of steam in my early years, a passion that has never left me, despite the demise of the steam around the world.

NSWGR 3801 climbs Hawkmount in 1970
Like many avid rail fans, I spent a good part of my earlier years photographing steam in Australia and then overseas. Fortunate enough to do an individual tour in China in 1984, my main claim to fame was being captured by terrorists in Mozambique and detained for over 6 weeks. For some reason I kept my photographic equipment, meaning I have

some rare live steam shots from that country.

My photos have been featured in 6 books, and on a recent trip with many of the hierarchy of Australian rail fans, I was pleasantly surprised that most of them know of me and my exploits.

The above photo was taken from the famous “Hawkmount Tree” near the now demolished Mandalay Road bridge on the NSW Central Coast. The locomotive is 3801, one of 30 Pacifics of which only 5 were streamlined, and is now being rebuilt and fitted with a new boiler. Taken in December, 1970, a number of steam engines were released for a few days to handle extra passengers expected to travel to Sydney to see Pope Paul VI. We had a blast for those few days. This was one of the rare occasions the jolly green giant, a we affectionately called her, powered a local train. Usually, she was kept for the famous Newcastle Flyer.

For your information, the tree was over 80 feet tall, and only a few knew about this closely guarded secret. Furthermore to climb it, you had to climb a smaller tree, then swing across to the higher branches, not something everyone can accomplish. From the top, we could see smoke from the trains climbing up the grade from Adamstown, some 20 miles away! Alas, the tree is now gone!

What This Site Is About

Most of those who remember the steam days have a story to tell, and every picture tells a story. There are books of railway folklore and many picture albums published by various photographers. For me, the story behind the picture, video, audio makes the difference and gives each piece meaning.

With that in mind, we are bringing to life those pictures and other railway rarities by adding a story. I will share many unpublished shots and some of my antics, and as we move forward you will see contributions from the giants of the Steam world. I also invite members to contribute their own pics and stories for consideration. Each month we will have a poll of members to see which story from the last month is the best, and that story will feature in the following month. At the end of the year, A calendar will detail the stories of the month and be available for download.

A Members Forum Too!

The forum enables members to share stories about the good old days and connect with friends long forgotten.

For me, it is a chance to relive old memories, and learn of the exploits of others. The contribution is a miserable $3 a month to maintain the site, and when you join, you will have access to my Mozambique book. It reads like a thriller, although no one was killed – fortunately for me! My wish is that you be entertained, and perhaps learn something from a time when rail travel was king.

Please click on the subscribe button below and for just $3 a month you can have full access to all the resources listed here.

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