Michael L. Roach.
Railway enthusiasts have been taking three-quarter front views of steam locomotives ever since the camera was invented a few years after the steam railway engine was invented; but what does three-quarter front mean ? Does it mean any angle from say 10 degrees to 80 degrees off the centreline or axis of the loco and tender, or an angle around 45 degrees (i.e three-quarters from the back). Is there an angle which gives more pleasing result than others ?
The Great Western built a prototype of its 2800-class 2-8-0 heavy freight locomotive in 1903 and a production series from 1905. They were the first 2-8-0 locos in Britain and would soon be copied by all the major railways of Britain. They would remain the standard freight engine until the arrival of the 9F 2-10-0s in the 1950s, and they would still be hauling heavy freight trains right through the nineteen fifties. On the Great Western the 2800s would haul up to 100 wagons from South Wales to London. The last 2800 was withdrawn in 1965. Laira Shed usually had two of the class which was not a lot when one considers that in the late 1940s there were twenty freight trains coming down the line from Newton Abbot each and every day Monday to Saturday, but that meant lots of 2-8-0s and other mixed traffic locos arriving which could be used on freight trains back up the line.
The attached photos show 3849 on the coaling line loop at Laira Shed late on the morning of Saturday 12 May 1962. The loco was only at Laira for just three months from April to July that year, and appears to be in ex-works condition. The photos wre taken at approximately minute intervals while a freight train was passing and stopped on the main line behind. The freight train is likely to be the 5.50am Penzance to Tavistock Junction. At this stage in the rundown of steam clean engines were becoming quite rare so I would often take more than one view of the engine when one turned up at Laira. Not exactly sure why but often one view would turn out to be more pleasing than the others.
MLR / 12 April 2023