TOPticl Digital Memories | Blog

August – just so many new pictures.

August 13, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I managed to finish the scanning of the RCTS Archive material I picked up in March. The total number of pictures is 8520 – still a small number to do.

All but 2000 are fully catalogued and on my website. But last week I received about 6000 prints from another source, so I have set these 2000 aside for now and started processing these prints.

The prints are from the late 80’s and into the 90’s covering the conversion from Rail Blue into sectorisation and the early privatisation – so a very colourful set of prints indeed. I am able to sell the original prints as they are in very good condition and of course I am scanning them all to ensure that the full range of formats is available for all of these excellent pictures.

Also I received my monthly copy of The Railway Observer from the RCTS and I note that they have a special membership offer. If you join now then membership is free for the rest of 2018.

Take a look here ( If you like what you see then follow the links to take up this offer. If you do I would be very interested, so please let me know ( I might get some brownie points for helping with the recruitment drive J


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.- ( )
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 - - But also included is more from Roger Hateley’’s excellent collections. The very latest are here 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