Well today was a big day – I got to walk through the Thames Tunnel. It’s the first tunnel ever to be constructed under water and was done so by Marc Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. You may of heard of him.
After the mess that was trying to get tickets over the phone and the website, I got a ticket for this afternoon. But not before getting the wrong ticket type and being charged three times.
There’s been lots written about these tours by other Londony types here, here and here. So rather than re-hashing what they have already said I’ll just link to my photo set over on Flickr.
Had something happen tonight that was a first for me. It has happened to lots of other people like me. I’ve attended get togethers that oppose this sort of thing happening. I’ve been lucky in not experiencing it thus far, until tonight.
I’ve taken loads of photos in and out of rail stations and various other public places in London. It’s kind of my hobby as most have probably figured out. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been hassled about taking photos anywhere. I few odd ‘weirdo’ looks from staff members, like when I spent about an hour photographing the inside of Paddington Station a while back (that I don’t believe I’ve posted yet). But I was never troubled.
Enter my tripod. It makes all the difference. That and what side of the street you are standing on.
I set up my tripod and camera across the street from the Liverpool Street entrance of the station with the same name and was snapping away happily, moving around a bit with just the odd funny person dancing about in shot (I started to laugh, he apologised). ‘ I’d like to get a closer shot of the turrets’ I think to myself. Pick up the tripod, walk across the street and set down along the fencing as to not get in any one’s way. Start lining up my shot and I see a chap in a Network Rail jacket making his way over to me. Oh crap, how is this going to play out? There’s been lots of horror stories about these confrontations.
‘Hiya!’ I say. ‘You’re not supposed to take pictures here’ he says back. ‘Oh really?’. Yeah, no photos on the station is the answer. ‘Oh that’s a shame’ I say, while chuckling a bit. He told me that he nearly didn’t see me. I’m not sure what that was supposed to mean. The guy sort of shrugs and walks away after I turn my camera off.
That wasn’t too painful, but still was just so silly. I know there’s the angle of him just doing his job and whatnots. But what is it about the tripod that made taking photos so bad? Is it that threatening that I just want a nice crisp shot of an architectural feature of the station?
I thought I’d get some possible flack when taking shots of Tower 42 or when I was stood in the middle of the Charles I statue roundabout at Trafalgar Square taking shots of Whitehall. Nope, nodda. Will be interesting to see if I run into the issue at any more stations. If I do, it could put a real damper on a project that I want to work on this year.
At least I can be thankful of one thing, he didn’t come right out with the excuse of it being anti-terrorism.
That headline will work so much better in four years time, but never-mind. One of my favourite London rail stations, Liverpool Street, was opened 136 years ago today. As I already made mention of King’s Cross birthday last year it’s only fair I do the same for Liverpool Street as I use both to travel to the capital.
The station that opened in 1874 was very different to the one that serves North East London and East Anglia now. Originally it was laid out in an L shape, with a long entrance way just off Liverpool Street, running along what what is now (was it then?) Sun Street Passage.
There’s been a few chances to see stream trains going about their business in London in the last few weeks, and it always worked out that it happened when I wasn’t there.
This morning I was off to London to finish present shopping and was getting the 11:32 to Liverpool Street. I got to Cambridge Station a bit early (before the train did) so I had some time to mill around. In doing so I noticed that we now have a service that goes to Stratford. I also noticed that everything was in a bit of a disarray. Train platforms kept getting swapped. There was a Stanstead train parked at platform one, which was causing all the King’s Cross trains to be moved about. Hmm what were they tying up platform 1 for?
After a while the Stanstead train cleared off and then there was an announcement that the delayed 11:07 special service to King’s Cross will be arriving at platform 1. Special service eh? Hmm it didn’t take much to work out what was about to happen, so I dig out my camera from my bag and grabbed a spot along the platform.
Off in the distance, I could see a hulk of an engine with a puff of black smoke coming out the top. Yes! Finally a steam train! But drat, it’s now 11:29 – my train leaves in 3 minutes.
It was the Sir Nigel Gresley, which has been busy lately. I got to snap a few shots of the train approaching and the above video of it going by me before having to run to catch my train. I contemplated missing mine for a chance of a better photo, but it would chew up too much of my afternoon. When I got onto my train, I headed for the front carriage so I could at least get a look as we pulled away. I got a few blurry shots…
… to go along with the few I got from the platform: