Tornado Steam Train on Ribblehead Viaduct

A 50 year Wait – Tornado Steam Train Scheduled Service

I didn’t wait 50 years – but it was 50 years ago that the last steam train service ran over the iconic viaduct in the Dales.

It was only for a few days in February so I decided to brave the weather and head up there. I’d incorrectly assumed that every train would be steam, so had a shock when I saw about 6 normal boring ones going over the viaduct!

So I got a LOT of shots without the train on….

This is from the Ingleton side – the sun falls directly on to the arches, definitely worth a look if you’re up there

The sun was out for a while – but Whernside was properly in shadow for this one!

This was taken from the roadside as I was heading to Ingleton for some lunch

On the way back from lunch we had more sun – so thought I’d get a few shots as the shadow slowly engulfed the arches, one by one.

This is near White Scar on the side of Ingleborough

Back to the rocks, where I was for AGES

 

Really liked this crack in the limestone

Many hours later

I was stood on these rocks for nearly 3 hours – no 4G, unchanging light, tried hundreds of photos – bit of Focus Stacking practice, which is really easy with the 5D4’s new touch screen shutter.

I’d almost given up by 4ish then people started gathering in the distance, behind the Ribblehead Pub.

The Kit and Settings

So got the 24-70mm lens on, ND grad (3 stop) in place and the polariser on. With hindsight, the polariser didn’t make much different AND forced me to up the ISO to compensate for the long shutter. After all – the train is moving, i guessed I needed about 1/100th at least for it not to blur.

  • F8

  • 1/160th

  • ISO 1000

All alone on the rocks

Amazingly I was the only person on these rocks – was expecting lots of company, but I think people were more interested in the actual train over the steam patterns.

I was looking for an epic landscape with hard, cold limestone in the foreground, then the bridge in the background with a long plume of steam as the train passed over.

I got lucky – it’s exactly what happened! And the rain stopped for the moment when the train actually passed.

It goes very slowly over the viaduct, so you can fire off many compositions as it passes – I’d have got 20-50 shots I expect – you just don’t want to miss out having waited for so long.

Colour shows how grey the day was – I’ve eeked a lot of texture out of that sky in processing.

Using a different white balance, taken from the limestone, you get a cooler vibe

The train leaves the viaduct, and doesn’t stop at the station! Ingleborough in the background too.

So there you go – I’m not a trainspotter and have no knowledge of steam, other than clouds of it look really cool on viaducts in the dales!

 

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