A Railwayman’s View – Photos from Ronnie Gee

A Railwayman's View - The Photographs of Ronnie Gee by EM Johnson and Ian Simpson. Cover photograph of Rebuilt Scot 46137.
Rebuilt Scot 46137 ‘The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire) storms past Longsight Carriage Sheds on April 30th 1959 with an express for London. Copyright EM Johnson.

This magnificent view of “Rebuilt Scot” No.46137 ‘The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire)’ sees the engine “hard at it” as it storms past Longsight carriage sheds on April 30th 1959 at the head of the 12-coach 2.00 pm express to London Euston. The photograph forms the Front Cover of the first in a series of books titled “A Railwayman’s View”. This first book showcases a snippet of the fine images taken by Ronnie Gee, a railwayman for nearly 50 years in the Manchester area. His local knowledge and ear to the ground meant he captured some

A good head of steam and a hearty exhaust makes for a fine picture, though doubtless such emissions would be frowned upon by today’s environmentalists!  In its 41-year lifespan 46137 had spent three periods at Longsight (9A). The loco is into its last allocation to the Manchester shed; next year, on April 30th, it will be transferred across the city to 26A – Newton Heath. Looking closely at this scene and Longsight is changing: notice the LNWR semaphores – sturdy sentinels that stood here for so long, their place now taken by BR semaphores and they, too, will soon disappear. Just visible in the distance – an early DMU heads along towards London Road.

One cannot help but think that Ronnie “tipped the wink” to the engine crew to put on a special display for his benefit. Whatever else, this striking image of a steam locomotive hard at work with a lengthy train  – 12 carriages are strung out behind the tender – is one of Ronnie’s finest. Significantly, the year 1959 would see the beginning of the end of steam power over this route. On July 7th Ronnie was out with his camera at East Didsbury station, there to capture D217 en route to Longsight shed and the first of the Type 4s to arrive there. Thus would begin an interregnum that would see the arrival of electric traction from September the following year.

The Cover photo shown above is from the forthcoming book “A Railwayman’s View – The Photographs of Ronnie Gee” by Eddie Johnson and Ian Simpson. There are some fabulous photographs of the railway scene from Manchester London Road station (now Manchester Piccadilly) south to Wilmslow, via Stockport and the Styal lines.

The books will be available from our website, subscribe to this blog for news about this and other upcoming books.

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