All images are copyright Ian Thompson or other named photographers

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Welcome to ‘Steam Finale’, a selection of images of the steam railway in its final years across the planet. My own serious efforts at railway photography began in 1966 at the age of 15 using a Halina Paulette to capture the dying years of BR steam in the north of England. A year later, I graduated to a second hand Zenith 3M, by which time I had fallen under the spell of Colin Gifford’s inspirational portfolio ‘Decline of Steam’. Some of those I consider to be my better efforts from that period appear here.

When steam finished on BR in 1968, my interest waned and the demands of university, career and family meant that railways were but an occasional pastime. However, a dawning awareness of the impending end of steam traction elsewhere on the planet, coupled with the realization that I now had both the flexibility and resources to travel, led to a rekindled enthusiasm, something given an added impetus by turning 50. History seems to repeat itself as once again I find myself capturing the dying years of the steam railway through a lens.

Here, then, is also a selection of more recent photography, some memorably undertaken in the inhospitable winter climate of northern China, some in more amenable climes. Not all of the pictures are of trains or locomotives; people and other aspects of life also feature here and there.

From Summer 2004, I mainly used a Nikon D70. This was supplemented by a D80 in 2006. Earlier pictures were taken on 35mm film, both negatives and slides, and digitally scanned. In 2011, I finally succumbed to the charms of a pocket digital and acquired a Canon Ixus 130! This takes movies as well as stills, hence the temptation to upload a few short clips of my model railway to YOUTUBE - see “Links” for a bit more detail ....

Also featured may be pictures taken by friends of like mind - see ‘guest galleries’.

Footnote: One of my pictures won the 2005 ‘Railways Illustrated’ photographic competition in the ‘Overseas Steam’ section. See ‘Quiet Cigarette’ in the China SY Country gallery. See also ‘Receiving Orders’ in the Eritrea Gallery, winner of the same category for 2006 and published in the August 2007 edition of the magazine.

 ...... latest update: June 2013