This photograph from one of my lantern slides was taken in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England, probably around the turn of the 19th century.
At first sight, it’s just another photo of a steam locomotive. However, the hand-written label says ‘picking up water at full speed’. You can see the trough between the rails and the engine is scooping up water as it moves forward. Imagine what a time saving innovation this must have been, as it avoided the need for the engine to refill at a water tower. Even more interesting is the fact that the locomotive is pin sharp and the bridge is blurred. I don’t know much about photography but it suggests to me that the photographer was travelling at the same speed as his subject. How? Was he on the back of a train in front of this one, perhaps with a tripod and plate camera?
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