Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime


When I’m out for the day on a photography trip lunchtime is one of those points in the day that I always aim to take. As a lot of my photography is landscapes I can just sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery whilst eating my lunch. However this trip was different.

Two weeks ago I was at Llangollen Railway station; the railway is a volunteer-run preserved railway in Denbighshire, Wales, which currently operates between Llangollen and the site of Bonwm halt; at 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long.

Off the Rails

It is currently the longest preserved standard gauge line in Wales and operates daily in Summer as well as weekends throughout the Winter months using a wide variety of steam and diesel locomotives, as well as diesel multiple units.

Platform 1

Llangollen railway station was formerly a station on the Ruabon to Barmouth line. It closed to passengers on Monday 18 January 1965 but was later re-opened in 1975 by the preserved Llangollen Railway as its eastern terminus and has been subsequently reopened in stages westward.

Further along the line is Berwyn railway station. Following flood damage in December 1964 passenger services were suspended, ahead of the official closure of the line on in January 1965. In 1986 the station was restored and reopened as an intermediate station on the Llangollen Railway.

Berwyn Railway Station

The railway was originally opened as the Ruabon to Llangollen line in 1862, as a way for passengers to travel to Llangollen Road (then the nearest railway station, later known as Whitehurst Halt). From there, passengers could board a coach to Llangollen. The line was a success and plans were put forward for a line from Llangollen to Corwen, a market town ten miles (16 km) past Llangollen. Work started shortly after the opening of the Ruabon to Llangollen line and the line accepted its first traffic on 18 May 1865.

Back at Llangollen Railway station there is a bridge over the line to platform 2. In the winter time it might be closed but if you ask in the cafe they will open the doors for you.

Over the Bridge

After the Beeching Axe, the Flint and Deeside Railway Preservation Society was founded in 1972 with the aim of preserving one of the “axed” railways. Originally the society was interested in preserving the Dyserth to Prestatyn line; however that line was deemed unsuitable because a small amount of freight traffic was still using it. Shame really as I live at Prestatyn and that line they were considering goes through some beautiful countryside with amazing views of the sea. It is now a paved walk and you can still see some of the old buildings and sidings associated with the railway.

The society refocused its attention on the Llangollen to Corwen section of the Ruabon to Barmouth line. The local council granted a lease of the Llangollen railway station building, as well as 3 miles (4.8 km) of track to the society, with the hope that the railway would improve the local economy and bring more tourists to Llangollen. The station reopened on 13 September 1975, with just 60 feet (18.3 m) of track.

On the Bridge

Crossing the bridge to platform 2 gives you a great view of the bridge which was built in about 1345 by John Trevor, of Trevor Hall, who became Bishop of St Asaph. It was extended to cross the railway in the 1860s and widened in the early 1960s. The upstream side has new masonry which blends in with the older structure.

What was the subject of this weeks challenge? Lunchtime! I haven’t really spoken about it but this is where the cafe that i mentioned earlier comes in.

Inside The Cafe

On platform 1 at Llangollen Railway station is a great little cafe. In the winter time it has a red-hot coal fire blazing away and the staff are really friendly. The fare is basic, tea, coffee, sandwiches, some hot food, but that’s all you need and that’s where I spent lunchtime when I was at Llangollen Railway.

166 comments

  1. Absolutely beautiful photography. I lingered on each one – and your story adds the benefit of an understanding to the photos. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

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  2. Thanks for checking out my blog “Eyes to Heart” and including a pingback in your post. I always love to discover new blogs and I really like your beautiful images and creative philosophy. Thanks for introducing yourself to me … Be well, Dorothy 🙂

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  3. We enjoy visiting Llangollen. The canal is a good place to visit too. We’ve also eaten in the tearooms. Maybe we’ll visit again in June when we return to N Wales.

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  4. I’m quite hooked on HDR after looking at your photos, they are excellent!
    Such an emotive subject too, I’ve spent many a day photographing old steam engines at my local heritage railway stations and the old buildings just cry out to become a photograph.

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    • Hello Vicky, first of all thank you for your comment. I have always found HDR a great tool to use and I’ve been hooked on it ever since I saw a great photograph by a guy called Peter van Allen. That must have been about 6 or 7 years ago and it just blew me away. I knew right away that I was going to have to find out how to do it and Peter was a great help in showing me how. Over the years I have constantly refined my technique, trying all the different HDR software packages as they became available. It’s only now that I feel as though I mastered HDR. Saying that there is a new technique that give a cleaner HDR look, especially good for landscapes and I have been giving it a try…

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  5. Hi, I’m looking to start travelling and would like to bring a decent camera to record it. What could you recommend that’s compact, reliable, and has a good variety of features and lenses options?

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    • Camera gear is very much a personal choice. I prefer Pentax and use the K-30 as it’s weatherproof, as are the lenses. Suits me because a lot of my photography is in the mountains or on the beaches. The problem with Pentax though is they are not a niche camera manufacturer like Canon or Nikon.

      The best I can suggest is if you have a local camera store go and have a look, see what suits, price it on the internet and then ask them if they’ll price match.

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  6. Wonderful photos, as usual, Mike. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed for your efforts!
    Unfortunately, we will have to remove your name from the ‘Never Been Freshly Pressed’ Club roster. Please hand in your locker key and parking pass at your earliest possible convenience.
    You are the third member who has been Freshly Pressed since we formed the Club! It is an alarming trend, to be sure.

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    • Thank you Lindsey, Before I went to the station I had been at Valle Crucis Abbey which is a 13th century abbey, now in ruins. It was bitterly cold with a biting wind blowing off the surrounding hills, so after two hours there I was glad to get into the cafe and have a hot drink

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  7. Beautiful – photos and countryside! We are railroad fans in Virginia and have traveled around shooting train and station photos in this part of the world. Love the glamour glow effect.

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  8. I love these images you captured – they have a dream like quality to them which is quite fitting! Great interpretation of the weekly challenge 🙂

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  9. It’s not easy to have HDR shots turn out good.. These are good.. well done and very deserving of being Freshly Pressed!!

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  10. Hi Mike, I love blogs on different places, especially places that I haven’t had the chance to visit. Love your digital photos. The clouds are so awesome in them as well. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. the photographs and narration have woven such a wonderful story. the pics are stunning…reminded me of harry potter…especally the walk way.
    kudos and thanks for sharing.

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  12. I love your photos- it stirrs the old adventurer spirit in me to go and see some place I have never been to before- thanks for sharing this!

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  13. Lovely photos – brings back great memories of taking the road from Shropshire and finding ourselves in Wales whenever we could – such a beautiful piece of countryside- and the Ladies of Llangollen were another intriguing reason to visit.

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  14. Gorgeous HDR. So glad you were Freshly Pressed so I could stumble upon your awesome site. Looking to get my first wide angle (leaning toward canon–any reviews on your sigma 10-20???)

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  15. That’s a lot of replies – good for you. I enjoyed looking at your rail pics. They remind me so much of old railroad stations in Germany where I grew up, down to the clock! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Beautiful, moody photographs that evoke the steam era of railways. We used to take family holidays in North Wales. Though there seemed hardly a sunny day I loved crawling out of a tent to be greeted by wind scudding clouds across slate grey skies. And how I remember scanning damp, mist-shrouded mountains speckled with tiny sheep, hanging precariously to granite rocks, And then to dip my feet into black,rushing streams so icy it was almost painful. Your pictures brought it all back in an instant.

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  17. Beautiful pictures! Will definitely have to go and find this railway station if I ever make it back to Wales. Nice to read a little bit of the story too (as others have also commented above!). Looking forward to reading some more of your posts and seeing some more beautiful photography!

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  18. I love the pictures ! It flashes me back to a unknown feeling. I have never been there I live in Belgium but its so nice. Also gives me a flashback of some video games or I would like it to be a video game where I can explore and walk around everything. (Not the shooting kind in this case 😉 ) Cant really explain clearly what I mean but it is very nice !

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  19. Really enjoying your work. Have family commitments on the Llyn so up there often , do you photograph in that area? I find it a strange mix of uplifting beauty and, at times, down right melancholy!

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  20. You certainly have an eye and a great perspective. Thanks for such wonderful photos and this post. I can tell that you have put a great deal of time and effort here and you should feel rewarded. It’s great. Thanks.

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  21. My favorite is the picture with the luggage in the foreground. Enjoyed these pictures, and now, I just want to move there! lol. Anyway, I posted recently about a photographer’s site I came across, really cool. It’s Galimberti’s Toy Stories if you google it (photos of children from around the world with their favorite toys or singularly, just toy). Amazing.

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  22. HI This is my 1st time to your blog – and i am loving your photography. Is it my imagination or are the pictures ‘dreamy-looking’? Do you use a special kind of lens?

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  23. Nice work, Mike, and congrats on being Pressed! You should put some of these images on your Fine Art site.

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  24. I gotta say when I saw the images at first glance I honestly thought they were form a very photo realistic games engine with HDR lighting. My god they look amazing … loved the photos … definitely need to visit wales sometimes god willing soon in the near future.

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  25. WooHoo!!!! I was about to ask which post was freshly pressed and then I noticed it was this one. Kudos! Congrats! I’m delighted for you; it’s well deserved…. Sorry, I’ve been out of the blogging loop of late. Glad to find this wonderful recognition. 🙂
    Eliz

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  26. These are just wonderful. The composition, the subject matter and the photographic skill leave me almost speechless. At least I have something new to aspire to, Thanks.

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