Just a few days ago I returned home from a trip to London and Switzerland. My friend Michael of macfilos.com fame, who lives in London, had convinced me to do a rail tour of the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland with him. This tour was organized by The Railway Touring Company of Kings Lynn in the UK. Michael and myself had done several of their one day steam excursions in the UK and a week long trip exploring the railroads around the southern German city of Augsburg in 2013. Usually I am not much for "packaged" tours, but this one had enough free time and flexibilty built in to make it attractive. Besides, considering the costs of things in Switzerland, the price seemed to be right.
Since the Switzerland adventure would have it's start from London's St. Pancras rail station, I decided to appear at Michael's door step a few days early. Michael is not really into railways per se. So what is the railroad/trains connection, you might rightfully ask? Well, it's photography! Michael is really into cameras and photography, particularly anything having to do with Leica, the famous German camera manufacturer. And of course railroads offer great opportunities for fascinating shots.
Michael is the better and more knowlegable photographer. On the other hand I tend to just sort of dabble in the subject, mostly train photography at that. My camera was a Sony RX-10. It served me well for over a year. Then, about two months ago while in Norway, I managed to drop it. There was great anxiety on my part, but the camera seemed to continue to function during the remainder of the Norway trip. However two weeks before the Switzerland adventure was to start, the RX-10 gave up the ghost. Sony wanted over $600 for a possible repair, which I was not prepared to fork over. So the hunt for a new camera was on. Michael suggested that I should really try a "full frame" digital camera to get better pictures. Eventually I decided on the Sony a7 Mark II.
Of course I had to try out the new toy. Moreover, Michael had just unwrapped his new Leica Monochrom M246 camera, which he was eager to put to the test. So off we went to the Great Cockcrow Railway in Surrey, a leisurely Sunday drive from London.
The Great Cockcrow Railway is a live steam miniature railway, running on 7 1/4 inch wide track. Apparently it is one of the largest of it's kind in existance.
I was quite impressed with my new camera. There was a huge picture quality difference between my previous Sony RX-10 and it's 1 inch sensor and the new Sony a7II, sporting a full frame sensor. But I will let Michael give you a report on our visit to the Great Cockcrow Railway, via a link to his own blog at www.macfilos.com
To read his impressions of that day, please click here.
All photographs in black and white are shot with Michael's Leica Monochrom M246, while the color pictures are mine, done with the Sony a7 Mark II.
A few more photographs of the miniature railway:
And now something totally unrelated:
A South West Trains 3rd rail Electric Multiple Unit (Class 450 HC) crossing the River Thames on Barnes Bridge in Greater London: