A while ago Amey Rail asked me to go and photograph their railway track maintenance equipment. The first was somewhere between Newbury and Theale, and at three o'clock in the morning. "But it'll be dark" I said to my client. "Yes, I suppose it might be" she yawned. This was a giant piece of kit that moved along a previously surveyed section of track marked out with aerosoled flashes on the sleepers. It bodily lifted up the rails, and shoved exactly the right quantity of ballast underneath, and then dropped the rails back again. It was the most noisy, bone-shaking thing I'd ever been on, and I felt whatever the landlubber equivalent is of being sea-sick. I was so relieved to get off at a moment's respite in order to take this shot. The workmen looked down on me like a bomber crew, giving thumbs-up like they would to ground staff. It was called a Stoneblower, and of course was made in Germany. The second commission couldn't have been more different. A sunny day out on the Dart Valley Railway in Devon with tamper 'Eddie King'. Amey train their bomber crews on the line, a good deal for the preserved railway because they get their track sorted out for nothing. An incredible night and day on the wrong side of the tracks.
Alan Aldridge: Tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
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