POETRY: The Photographer

poetry the photographer

(A visit to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway 2016)

He is at the station early doors
At the end of platform three, and it’s not enclosed.
It is raining now, but he is not put off
Although he is not well, he has a slight cough.
He is hoping to see the class four today
It should arrive soon, it must be on its way.
He picks up the sound of a distant whistle
That is not the class four he was expecting to hear:
But to his surprise, Big Jim arrives.

It is the first train of the day with six coaches in tow
It comes to stand as the safety valve blows.
The sound of the exhaust steam is very very loud
But at the end of the platform there is a big crowd.
A quick shot he takes before it moves away
A quick blast on the whistle and then it is on its way.
After a while it moves forward again
Passing the coaches in the pouring rain
Back up through platform three it moves with ease
He photographs it, and he is well pleased.

It comes to a halt at the water tower
Just as the clock strikes the hour.
It is another chance to get a great shot
Whilst it stands in the rain, plenty of steam, the loco is hot.
After a while the whistle blows
And Big Jim moves off very slow
It crosses tracks back to the main line
Where it has to stand for a short time.

This is the time the photographer moves.
He walks up the track to get a good spot
In readiness for the departure shot.
Big Jim moves back slowly on to the stock
He waits a while for it will open its drain cock.

The photographer is there, he chose the right spot
As the steam clears away he gets his shot
A slip of the wheels as the power goes on
The distinctive sound, it is like a song
It passes him by and heads up the bank.
Its beat gets louder as it heads for the top
He has just enough time to get a going away shot.

The beat is muffled as it turns the bend at the top
Onto the G.N. straight, Ingrow West next stop.
As it turns the bend, it’s on a straight road
Still the power is on with a six-coach load.
The G.N. straight heading for Ingrow West
This is only the first part of its test.

The photographer is there, he is in the yard
Camera on tripod he is on his guard
The loco‘s in sight, a quick shot he takes.
For soon after that the power’s off and on go the brakes.
He has just enough time to roll off five or six shots
As the train rolls by and eventually stops.
He’s no time to waste, it’s only a short stop
To get to Damems his next photo spot

The smallest station on the line
The trains do not stop here every time.
He is right on this occasion too
For the train this time goes straight through
It has to slow down, it can’t go fast
Giving the photographer a chance of a short blast.
As it rolls past him and into Damems loop
The photographer turns round and begins to shoot.

The rain having stopped, the sun shines on the train
The photographer has his eye in for a fantastic shot again.
It stands in the loop in the bright sunshine
Waiting for the D.M.U. to pass on time
It bursts into life up the steep gradient to climb
Heading for Oakworth, has to get there on time.

The photographer is there just beyond the level crossing
He awaits the train’s arrival and takes a shot just as its stopping.
A few more shots as it stands in the bright sunlight
He has enough time to move around, but it is tight.
Green flag waved, engine whistle blows, power on and it begins to roll.
At first an almighty slip, shut down, restart
He rolls off a few shots right from the start.
He is in the right spot, the sun in the right place
A turn round shot, what an expression on his face.

The loco. works hard, Haworth next stop
Not very good for a photographers spot.
He heads beyond Haworth to the top of the loop
This will be an action shot he hopes to scoop.
He knows it‘s left Haworth with that distinctive sound
Just enough time to set his tripod upon solid ground.
Big Jim departs Haworth ho ho what a sight
By the time it will reach him it will be in full flight.
He has the time to fire off a few shots
As it goes under the bridge and past the box
Up through the loop with a full head of steam
For the driver and fireman it’s a dream.
As it passes the photographer a whistle blast
A wave of his arm acknowledges the pass.
A turn round shot may be possible again
But the lack of sunlight, no it looks like rain.

Along the straight it dashes away
Into the dark and a few sun rays.
It’s Oxenhope next the last stop of the day
He hopes the weather will still let him play.
If the rain stays away a few more photo’s to scoop
As the train stands at the end of the platform, at the top of the loop.

He is in the yard alongside the coach shed
Awaiting Big Jim to rear his head.
A sharp whistle blast as it comes around the bend
A second whistle blast as it nears journey’s end.
The photograph is ready a quick snap he takes
For soon after this it will shut off, and start to brake.
It rolls into the station and around the bend
Begins to brake hard now, for this is journey’s end.

It is time for the photographer to find a new spot
He walks through the station possibly for his final shot.
He passes Big Jim and by now the empty stock
As it stands in the platform awaiting its unlock.
Out of the station and through the yard
Into the picnic area, this last shot could be hard.
He is quick, but gets there just in time
For Big Jim glides forward to the end of the line.
As it halts here a few photos are taken
A sharp blast on the whistle and everybody is awakened.
The reverse gear is found and Big Jim moves away
Just got time for the last photo of the day.

Now it is time to board the train
For the return to Keighley before the rain.

By Gary Holmes

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