July - back from the sun - to the sun

July 11, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Just returned from 19 days in Crete to find that England has been experiencing similar temperatures. But of course it is not the same. For a start there is no pool to dip into if you get too hot, plus there is all the necessary activities of just living and working which were mainly forgotten whilst on holiday.

Anyway "back to the grind" as they say.

Whilst I was away my apprentice continued the scanning process and I now have over 4000 pictures waiting in the wings.

As these are all slides from the RCTS Archive I will load them here over the coming weeks so keep checking as this collection will grow as I finish the cataloguing process.

This batch of slides will mean that I have over 33,000 pictures on this site. Most are keyed with the subject (e.g.loco number) and location so use the search (magnifying glass top right hand corner - sometimes a bit fiddly to find) to look for something of particular interest.


May – bit of a disappointment.

May 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


If you have been keeping up with events here, you will know that I collected an estimated 14000 slides from the RCTS storage facility with the aim of scanning and presenting them for display and sale on my website.

So far I have processed about 3300 images to the state where they can be presented on my website.

They are mainly here (slides as well as prints available) ; here (BR Loco Collection) ; here (BR Units Collection) as well as some rescued from a really bad batch. (not great compositions – but some interesting historic shots from the late 60’s, including Manchester DC units, North and South)

And that was the disappointment. I have to admit that my camera skills are limited – fortunately those of my contributors aren’t and there are some truly great pictures on my site.

But a large part of the 14000 slides came from one, or possibly a few, individuals who seemed to delight in taking pictures whilst hanging out of train windows, or through several panes of glass at the front of DMUs. Even worse the subject matter was extremely nondescript – one might even say boring. So using my discretion I have consigned about 7000 slides back to storage and will return them to the RCTS who will send them to an auction house.

For the rest (guessing about 3500) I have scanned about 1000 and my scanners is permanently on whilst I do other things (like write this). Over the coming weeks I will get these up on the website – so keep checking back.

If you have any general queries or want to contribute any images then get in touch.


April - "bending time"

May 01, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The arrival of 14000 pictures from the RCTS Archive has really given me a lot to do. So how do I do it? I “bend” time that’s how:-
Just look at an average day with TOPticl.- ( www.TOPticl.com )
I spend about 7 hours in bed. I have a "regular" job and I must spend seven and a half hours there, with an additional hour and a half commute. A couple of hours eating relaxing, watching TV and other family time. Then I spend about 12 hours doing TOPticl stuff - scanning and cataloguing pictures, preparing photos for sale and printing and packaging items sold as well as all the website and admin associated with a total stock of 35,000 pictures (growing all the time). Do the maths that's 30 hours a day.
Einstein was wrong - you can stretch time here on Earth
Even in my expanded time zone I still have a long way to go. The first 2000 of the “new” RCTS pictures are here - http://topticl.zenfolio.com/p511997458 - But also included is more from Roger Hateley’’s excellent collections. The very latest are here http://topticl.zenfolio.com/p172054988 and keep checking for more in the Latest Additions pages.


March - The Beast from the East

April 30, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

On Thursday 1st March the Beast from the East was blanketing Northern England and Scotland in ice and snow, Storm Emma was doing the same to South West and Southern England.
The weather map showed most of the country covered by yellow and red weather warnings, except for a corridor from Merseyside to southern East Anglia.
So I set off to the RCTS storage facility in Northampton and returned safely with a boot full of assorted boxes, binders and cases.
Many of the containers had not even had a rough count performed, so my first task was to give the RCTS a rough estimate of numbers.
My “guess” is that I now have about 14000 pictures, and my task is to scan and catalogue them.
The pictures have been initially designated into two categories. One category is for pictures which will be assessed for inclusion in the main RCTS Archive. The other category is called “for disposal”.
I have an issue with the term “disposal” – but that is a semantic discussion I will have one day with the RCTS Committee.
However I am taking them at their word and all of these will be given my “treatment” and offered for sale through the outlets I control.
I have already put 9000 similar pictures through my process. I think you may be interested in the next 14000 – or some of them at least.
So here is what I am doing:-
Each picture is scanned to a very high resolution. The scan is briefly examined and adjusted to ensure it is viewable. The details of the subject matter, from visual inspection and my knowledge, along with any accompanying details (writing on the slide holder) are all entered in my database. Various tweaks and adjustments are made to allow upload to my websites etc. For one picture this only takes a few minutes, but when we are talking about 14000 then the months ahead will be filled with this activity.
I am going to start a scheme whereby I upload details of these slides as I process batches of them.
They will appear here RCTS Slides on this page you will be able to buy the original slide or a copy of the picture in various formats. If you want a different size or format just let me know.
This page currently has 760 images, maybe more by the time you read this but it will be regularly updated – so keep checking back.
These are in addition to the 23000+ images already on the website – have a browse and see what you can find


February - dark and dismal

February 14, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I dislike winters - particularly the damp and dismal ones like we are currently experiencing.

Back in 1969-70 I spent 4 months on a training course in the Stoke-on-Trent area. We were picked up by a mini-bus and ferried to the course and taken back to our digs each evening. Throughout the time I don't think I ever saw real daylight as it was always dark when we were in transit and the course location had few windows. Still working for the same company - but at least I sit next to a window here :-)

Anyway this was the first morning that I have arrived at work in daylight - so summer ca't be far away.

But to keep me cheerful - here is the February email I have been sending out.


Now over 23,000 railway, and other transport pictures on-line on the TOPticl website
I have recently processed about 8000 slides from the RCTS Archive. Very few details were provided. A few had details written on the slide holder and many (but by no means all) had the processing date etched on the slide. I have managed to categorise 90% of these slides, and they appear at appropriate places on 
my site. However the last 10% (750 slides) are yet to be sorted. I am putting them up in the Latest Additions section until I get more information and more time to look at each picture in detail. So look there for some surprises and maybe help with some identification. Prints or digital downloads, and remastered slides are available as standard. But I still have the original slides of most of these - so if that is what interests you then please get in contact.
Having reached this stage with the RCTS slides I will have a bit of time on my hands so why not look at my 
Restoration pages and send me some of your photos for “the treatment”. Remember my prices are stupidly cheap and you may even get most of your money back if you let me sell copies on my site.