Those Great Steam Engines

Adventure.  Mystery.  Romance.  History.

These words are often attributed to trains in general, and steam engines in particular.


A passenger excursion train, pulled by a steam engine, rolled into Radford last weekend (see here).  The crowds came out to ride, see, and photograph the magnificent train.  We were lucky enough to get very close to the train, so I was on the tracks and practically under the train, seeking the best image.


This view of water, used to create the steam, dripping down and splashing on the stairs caught my eye.



B&W images remind us of days gone by, or days we’ve only heard of, or read about.


The next post will feature more images, but in color.

46 thoughts on “Those Great Steam Engines

  1. You are completely correct! Black and white photos capture the era precisely….. you just me conscious of something too. We have a steam engine here that regularly chugs along a certain route taking tourists into the hinterland to see some more fabulous scenery. I hear it go past, I hear the whistle and I ‘see’ it in black and white! In my mind, my usually full colour imagination, I see the train in black and white. Interesting huh? I’m going to be interested to see your colour shots now 🙂

    • I hope to post those color shots, soon. I loved hearing that whistle blow. I hear the modern train whistle on a regular basis, but the steam engine whistle was different and so nostalgic!

  2. Great series of shots and processing Laurie. All of the toned shots really add to the feeling of that golden age of rails era. Very nicely done 🙂

  3. B/W is awesome!!! Growing up, I crossed over a RR bridge going to and from school each day. Each noon (on our way back to school from lunch at home), in the winter, there would be a train that went under that bridge. We would be waiting with snowballs and try to drop them in the smokestack as it came out from under the bridge. In the summer, the women (living in homes near these tracks) would run out to get their laundry off the lines so that the flying soot/cinders wouldn’t get the clothes dirty!!!! Ahhhhh, the memories!!!!! 55-60 years ago!!!!!

      • You’re welcome! Definitely a bygone era (decades old!). It was the East Side of St. Paul (MN) that had just gone from a farmer’s field to the beginnings of a post-war neighborhood (1949). Wow! Can’t believe it’s been that long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL! Hugs………………………..

  4. Wow! LB! The water looks like fireworks exploding in the sky. What a fabulous shot and a very grand-looking train! Love the black-and-white pics but can’t wait to see it in colour, too! xoxoxoxoxoxox

    • You are right, the splash does look like fireworks! I hope to have the color ones posted in the next day or so. Today … I’m going to test ride a new bike (confessing to being a bit nervous)

  5. Fantastic photos and lovely work with black and white Laurie! My favourite is the second to last one, a close up on the steam. Really cool!

    • I so agree! I’ve only traveled by train from DC to NYC, but it was great! With passenger rail service expanding, I hope to ride the length of Virginia someday 🙂

    • Well, you just made me smile! Thanks so much!
      I’m looking forward to the day that we have passenger rail service all the way to DC from my little city. For now, we go to Lynchburg … not bad at all! But how cool to be able to go from right downtown!

    • Karen G went and said the 750 seats sold out in a couple days! She said the whole excursion was a blast, and started and ended in Bristol

    • Yes! I was suprised they let us get that close. Everyone was so fascinated … cameras everywhere!!
      I think the photos of the steam are my favorites, too.

  6. Love these, Rick & I would always go see them. So much fun to see the reaction of kids to them – in a weird way these large, smoking engines remind me of dragons.

    • I can see where you get the comparison. Everyone was so entranced with the engines. The 750 tickets to ride sold out in days and crowds gathered at each stop. A friend who rode said it was fascinating to see all the people just completely enamored.

  7. You are SUCH a talent Laurie. Every shot just takes me back. Your first photo a particularly speaking to me because I love vintage advertising on old buildings. I’ve written a couple of posts about them. I love the lettering, the rendering on the side of a building, the products advertised that are no longer around. It’s just fascinating I think. Great old clock too. What a cool town you live in!

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  10. Wonderful pictures. In my younger days I even knew how to “fire” steam locomotives like that and even run as an engineer smaller ones. And I’m only in my mid 50’s!

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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