GDS Railway Photography

by Gary Smith

Welcome to GDS Railway Photography … predominately a personal collection of my favourite mostly Southern UK shots from the last 55 years but also a place to record earlier historical images of our railways now long gone. Please use the arrows above to scroll through a small selection or select Favourites to see more.

Here we see National Railway Collection T9 no 30120 in a scene straight out of the 1950's yet taken in 2018, running round its train at Corfe castle on the Swanage Railway.

Driver Clive Groome awaits the right away

Driver Clive Groome

Bluebell Railway

Driver Clive Groome awaits right away before departing Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway with visiting LNER B12 No 8572 in 2016

S&DJR 7F 53809 at Sheffield Park station on a very wet 2008 evening


Bluebell Railway

S&DJR 7F 53809 lurks in the darkness at Sheffield Park station on a very wet 2008 evening

Merchant Navy class 35005 Canadian Pacific

Merchant Navy "Canadian Pacific"

Mid Hants Railway

Merchant Navy Class 35005 "Canadian Pacific" briefly pauses at Medstead & Four Marks in 2007

Snow storm at Medstead

Snow storm at Medstead

Mid Hants Railway

February 2018 sees a sudden snow storm at Medstead & Four Marks station on the Mid Hants Railway ... 5 mins later it was brilliant sunshine!

73082 Camelot running round the last train of the day

73082 Camelot

Bluebell Railway

Autumn 2016 see's Std 5 73082 Camelot running round the last train of the day as the sun sets at East Grinstead on the Bluebell Railway

Driver of LMS 2-8-0 48624

LMS 2-8-0 48624

Great Central Railway

The driver of a southbound freight awaits the right of way at Loughborough in 2018


T9 at Harmans Cross

Swanage Railway

LSWR T9 "Greyhound" 30120 pauses next to Harmans Cross Signal Box in 2018

Driver of LMS 2-8-0 48624

34072 257 Squadron

Swanage Railway

Exmouth Junction's 34072 257 Squadron approaching Harmans Cross on the Swanage Railway 2020

Driver of LMS 2-8-0 48624

34023 Blackmore Vale

Bluebell Railway

34023 Blackmore Vale catches the last rays of the autumn sun 7th October 1984, Sheffield Park on the bluebell Railway


Being passionate about UK railways and in particular the ex LSWR division of the Southern Railway, later to become British Railways Southern Region, my photographs cover the closing years of Southern steam right up to modern day heritage railways. In particular many earlier shots of stations, signal boxes, and general railway architecture were taken not only to record the fast changing scene but with future modelling projects in mind.

Sadly not many of my pre 1968 photos are worthy of a second glance but better equipment and holidays circa 1969/70 enabled the recording of quite a bit of the fast disappearing ex LSWR West Country lines by then affectionally known as the Withered Arm. Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton, Tavistock and Bere Alston although closed between Meldon Quarry and Bere Alston was still intact with the opened sections fully signalled and run much as they had been back in steam days. Ditto Ilfracombe via Barnstaple along with the freight only Torrington branch and even a small part around Wadebridge and up to Wenford Bridge was still open for freight.

Throughout the seventies and eighties whenever the opportunity arouse I continued to seek out and record the remaining pockets of the old ways in particular Signal Boxes and signals whilst enjoying the wonderful experiences increasingly being provided by the preservationists. I take my hat off to each and everyone of them.

With the amazing equipment now readily available, but little left to record and the return of mainline steam, the last 30 years have seen much emphasis on obtaining the best shot or video possible. Being a perfectionist 99% don’t even get on the first rung of the ladder, but just occasionally I think that’s not too bad and these are the ones displayed here.

Railway Modelling Photography

A few years ago, after an absence of something like 50 years, I started to drift back into OO gauge railway modelling, fascinated with all the possibilities afforded by modern technology and techniques not even dreamt about back in the day.

Starting with kit building, then kit bashing, I built a couple of diorama’s before eventually moving on to scratch building and now try to model as accurately as possible railway scenes from the past and then photograph them!

Still needing some detailing and weathering to finish, these shots show my latest project ... Okehampton Goods Shed circa 1960.