John Austin FGRA

Gresley A3 'Donovan' on the East Coast main line in 1956

After a diversity of occupations that included creative lighting designer and pub landlord, changing circumstances gave John the opportunity to realise a lifelong ambition to become an artist specialising in the depiction of the steam railway.
A move to a cold 300 year old house on the banks of the River Severn at Bridgnorth, close to the Severn Valley Railway, provided a perfect inspirational environment.
A large canvas depicting SR Pacific Taw Valley painted on site in December 1987 was displayed in The Railwayman's Arms, at Bridgnorth Station, attracting much criticism by Severn Railway staff and volunteers. It became painfully obvious that a greater knowledge of the subject would be required so John started working as a volunteer.
At present, John's life is dominated by long hours of painting but is happy in the knowledge that a few pints of real ale in The Railwayman's Arms will be his reward at the end of the day.

Aberglaslyn Pass

The dramatic landscape of The Welsh Highland Railway - captured in this evocative oil painting by John Austin FGRA. The WHR closed in 1937:
The impossible finally became a reality in 2011 with the reopening of the railway.

Fog On The Tyne

Gresley A3 pacific 60074 'Harvester' crosses The King Edward Bridge over the Tyne.
The bridge was built in 1906 to cope with increasing rail traffic of a booming early 20th century Newcastle.

5069 At Saltash

Castle class locomotive 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel' is seen heading west with an express from Paddington in 1961.
It has just crossed the Royal Albert bridge into Cornwall as it approaches Saltash station.

Night Hawk At Morpeth

LNER Gresley pacific No. 2577 'Night Hawk' is seen north of Berwick with an express train to Edinburgh.

The Night Mail

This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb,
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.

Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from the bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in the bedroom gently shakes.

W H Auden

The Red Dragon

The Red Dragon - Paddington to Carmarthen express train is seen in the early 1960s headed by a Great Western Railway King class locomotive.
A Hall class 4-6-0 waits to follow in the loop with a van train.

Summer Along The Dart

A Great Western Railway 0-4-2 tank locomotive No. 1420 with an Auto-Train beside the River Dart.
The passenger trains on the Ashburton branch (now the preserved South Devon Railway), in common with most Great Western Railway country branch lines were serviced by Auto-Trains.

The Waverley At Ais Gill

The Waverley is seen near Ais Gill summit on the Settle Carlisle railway in 1963 haul by a Stanier 'Jubilee' class 4-6-0. Originally called the Thames–Forth Express, this express passenger train operated on the Midland Railway main line from London St. Pancras to Edinburgh Waverley. The Waverley ceased to run in 1968.

City Of Truro

Great Western Railway No. 3440 City of Truro on the south Devon coast.
Designed by George Jackson Churchward and built at the GWR Swindon Works in 1903. The first British locomotive to travel in excess of 100 miles per hour, although its maximum speed has been the subject of much debate over the years.

Deltic At Durham

British Railways Deltic diesel co-co locomotive No. 55009 'Alycidon' crosses Durham viaduct in 1975.
Alycidon entered service with British Railways in 1961 and named at Doncaster after the 1949 winner of the Ascot Gold Cup. It became a member of the legendary Finsbury Park depot of Deltics named after famous racehorses. It was renumbered from D9009 in January 1974 and was the last Deltic to record two million miles before individual mileage records for the Deltic fleet were abandoned.
55009 worked its last train in January 1982 hauling a Peterborough-Newcastle service.

Langstone Rock

Great Western Railway number 6023, King Class 4-6-0 'King Edward II' heads a down express past Langstone Rock near Dawlish in south Devon with a Paddington to Plymouth express c1961.

The Pines Express

The Pines Express headed by a Stanier Black 5 4-6-0, passes through Midford Station on the old Somerset & Dorset main line.

Honeybourne ~ The Cathedrals Express

Great Western Railway Castle class locomotive No. 7005 'Sir Edward Elgar' lifts the Cathedrals Express up Honeybourne bank in 1963.

Winter Dawn At Tamworth

Coronation class 4-6-2 No. 46225 'Duchess of Gloucester' passes Tamworth station c1964.