10 Pictures: Dafydd Whyles
A master of atmospheric and somewhat moody railway photography, our 10 Pictures feature this month comes from the lens of photographer and railway signaller Dafydd Whyles. Dafydd’s chosen images illustrate that you don’t always need trains to produce eye-catching and distinctive railway photography.
For this issue we bring you a selection of evocative and atmospheric railway photographs taken by railwayman and occasional Railways Illustrated contributor Dafydd Whyles.
Dafydd has been interested in railways for as long as he can remember.
Throughout his childhood, his time was split between South Wales and North Derbyshire.
Spending time travelling between the two areas, he started writing down the carriage numbers his family travelled in, also making sure to note the locomotive that had hauled them during their journeys. These early trainspotting exploits soon mushroomed into writing everything down and then going out specifically to get more numbers, as his interest in railways and the trains grew.
Dafydd started taking photographs in the late 1970s, initially just as records of interesting locomotives he had seen while out and about on the railway.
However, he soon started looking for more interesting views, as he sought to improve his photography and find different angles and aspects of capturing the railway in photographs.
These days, he says he is more interested in capturing the atmosphere of the railways, with poor weather conditions and dramatic light being particularly of interest – something that many photographers shy away from. In terms of locomotives, Dafydd says that he is a huge fan of the Class 31s and spent much of the 1980s chasing the 31s all over the country, trying to get as many as possible for haulage.
In the last few years, when a small number of Class 31s were employed on Network Rail test trains, Dafydd was often known to dash off across the country to capture the workings on film.
The reign of the Class 31s on the main line is now virtually over, and there is only one solitary main lineregistered Class 31 still in occasional use at the present time – in the shape of Nemesis Rail’s 31128, although Hanson & Hall Rail Solutions are working on the revival of 31106 for main line use (Railways Illustrated, issue 230).
His passion for the railways is shared by his partner Dorothy, and Dafydd says she has developed a soft spot for Class 37s, so the couple spend a lot of time chasing the various Class 37 workings these days. Although Dafydd has always wanted to work on the railways, he started out with photography and moved into working in the newspaper industry via a scheme run by the London Evening Standard. However, his ambition of a career on the railway was realised when Dorothy saw an advert for signallers in the newspaper.
Dafydd applied and was successful in this application, making the leap onto the railway – something which, 25 years later, he is still doing, working as a signaller in a traditional lever frame signalbox.
Dorothy followed him into the rail industry as a signaller, but she retired when the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line was resignalled. These are Dayfdd Whyles’ 10 Pictures.