View Full Version : Manchester misshap !! W.I.P.

08-23-2012, 05:24 PM
as a lad of 16-18 i worked in a very old historic british railways signal box !
its location was very close to Manchester town centre so we got our share of mixed traffic inc freight and express trains this painting is going to be a representation of an extremely unusual and out of the ordinary event

a representation because details will have probably been lost over time so accuracy isn't a wholey important factor so much as the intrest of the event

so it was around 81/82 i'd not long since started a summer afternoons shift all was quiet and the glasgow express was heading out of manchester i was sat quietly with a workmate when i spotted two odd dots on the horizon ( very low ) i had a rough idea of what was about to go down but my work colleague was obliviously puffing on his pipe and drinking tea as usual

then all hell broke loose the signal box cat departed through the door after leaving many departure marks on my work colleague , noise like never before rumbled through the signal box , my work colleague nearly choked on pipe smoke and spat his tea shortly afterwards yelling " JESUS ******* CHRIST WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ???" "starfighters 2 of west german beautifully low !" i replied

also amusing was the traincrews faces looking for all the world as if theye'd pondered how to swerve to avoid an accident !!

at first i thaught nobody would believe me , my father certainly didn't !!

then he arrived home from work the day after with the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS ! and said , there.s a small article in there about two west german pilots getting lost on a uk excercise , following railway lines for bearings , apparently they are in heaps of trouble for a fast low pass over manchester city centre !!

winsor bridge no3 box the other 2 had been demolished by the time i worked there hence the blank space at the end of the nameplate where No3 had been removed so it was just windsor bridge signal box !!


charlie the box cat


glasgow express headed by a class 47


view in the opposite direction

german starfighter


08-24-2012, 04:16 AM
Can't wait!!

08-24-2012, 09:17 AM
This is going to ge good. Your signal box photo brings back memories, there was one just up the road from our house as a kid.


08-24-2012, 10:46 AM
Oh Yes!! I remember that day well. I was working in an office block, about 6 floors up, at Old Trafford when an unusual racket caught my attention .
Could scarce believe my eyes as I looked across at two Starfighters as they rocketed past a few hundred feet away not far off the roof tops !
What a blast it was to see them. They were low and must have crossed the whole of Manchester North to South .
That signal box looks kind of familiar - not the one just outside Man Vic on the way North by any chance?

08-24-2012, 11:40 AM
yep niel coming out of man vic you had west junction , deal street , then this box windsor no3 that was sited where salford crescent station is now !!

09-02-2012, 06:10 AM
well after looking at many refrences ( none of wich was anything like what i wanted !! ) i've decided to do a rarity and go freehand with no refrences working mainly from memmories of working there

it would at first seem to be a railway painting wich indeed it is as that is the main perspective from where i observed the incident but it will indeed have the starfighters over and inbetween the locomotive and box or maybe over a bit banking to follow the curve of the line

i am going to be doing this in atelier interactive acrylics :thumbsup:


09-02-2012, 06:57 AM
Going to be fun this one!
Did you happen to catch the two German Starfighters that blitzed the Barton Airshow back in the eighties ?
The announcer advised that they were just lifting off from Manchester AP -due with us shortly .
About two minutes later they burst into view , coming fast and low over the black Hangar behind the crowd. What a memory! I think they were the German Navy display pair well known throughout Europe .

09-02-2012, 07:59 AM
missed them neil !! pitty as i used to go to the barton show sporadicly , even if skint i went fishing on the bridgewater canal close by and caught some of the show , baton and woodford shows are greatly missed !!

11-08-2013, 04:20 AM
long break from this one !! mainly because there was lots bugging me about layout , painting other commissions and work commitments

I sprayed primer over the offending areas to obliterate the pen marks ( the whole train went ! )

sketched in the trains new position last night

then started laying colour down this morning


11-08-2013, 05:47 AM
:) Very nice,looking forward to seeing it.
Working from the front end of the trains we used to be used as target practice by the A10's on the route to Peterborough.Proper trains,signalling and planes ,happy memories.
As a P.S have you seen this if you are on F/B https://www.facebook.com/groups/113082092048275/ :wave:

11-08-2013, 06:48 AM
cheers for the link trumper !! yeah a few years ago pretty sure a couple of apachees were using my van for target practice passing Leeming on the A1

11-08-2013, 10:24 AM
a little more colour blocking in done


11-09-2013, 05:48 AM
not wholey happy with the right side ( even though it was exactly as in the photo reference ) I don't think it was transferring well to the painting so altered it a little

I felt it was domineering a little too much , maybe a trick of the lens I remember I took the photo around 1982 and it was on a zenith e camera with standard lens so it could well have been lens distortion as it was to the side of the photo

11-09-2013, 12:22 PM
Should be an interesting painting, shadwell. Looking forward to the completed painting.

11-12-2013, 11:25 AM
the signal boxes position wasn't working for me !! it was incorrectly positioned leading my eye at least to view the ground as being a downhill slope towards the building ( witch is incorrect !) so spent time altering that

it is enjoyable breaking away from my normal approach to the same subject and discovering new methods

usually I work in a very engineered fashion and approach but i'm finding working in a more loose fashion can also give good results

also I'm using paints in much thinner washes than I once would have approached acrylics with witch is paying dividends building up many layers


11-12-2013, 05:25 PM
I tend to start fairly loosely and not too thick with Acrylics . They give you the freedom to be a bit rough and ready in the initial filling in of the canvas - then steadily tighten up on the details as you work over it. Keeping a tracing of the original drawing helps with finding any lost lines or detail as you progress . It's quite surprising sometimes to find how far off the true lines you drift once into "eyeballing in " parts as you paint.

11-13-2013, 03:05 AM
it is a big bit of practice Neil , normaly i'm very tech drawing at it but this time I have worked everything freehand not because I doubt my way of working normaly but because I wish to challenge myself as you say working in very thinned acrylics makes working and reworking in acrylics a very friendly experience:thumbsup:

11-13-2013, 10:07 AM
most main elements are in now and i'm more or less happy with layout so at the point to start the long hard work of detailing up


11-14-2013, 10:33 AM
a little further on ( actualy quite a bit ) when time is taken on the ballast

my inspiration comes from the works of Phillip D H awkins


11-14-2013, 12:32 PM
You got me intrigued http://www.philipdhawkins.co.uk/

11-14-2013, 02:53 PM
cheers for the link trumper, I have his book "tracks on canvas" he's a superb railway artist odd though I don't normaly like southern railway subjects as i'm in Lancashire and Yorkshire , LMS country but "morning rush" and "into the night" are stunning !!

11-14-2013, 04:34 PM
I have a superb soft cover book titled "British Steam" full of various railway artists work like the examples you show above. I get flashbacks to my childhood in the fifties - hot Summer day heading South and the double header train we were on stopped somewhere in the Pass of Killiekrankie - one of those mysterious hold ups that seem to drag on. I can still see , hear and smell the engines visible ahead on the curving line as they patiently steamed away waiting for the green.Sun gleaming d own through the trees - deep gorge with river below - magic!

11-15-2013, 01:36 PM
the odd thing is Neil at the time I had no interest in trains I was into photography yet photographed very little of the box or trains even though I was in the best position to get loads of good shots , we had black 5s and sir Nigel gresly past that I didn't shoot

my interest was shooting the kestrels nesting across the way in the derelict building etc

you bang your head !! because of my access I could have had a superb gallery worth a small fortune now :lol:

11-15-2013, 01:42 PM
Same here, I lived next to a busy LNER line in the 1950's and saw the transition from steam to electricity and have not one photograph. :crying:

In those days the family had a box brownie.


11-17-2013, 08:51 AM
Yeah - I spent five years on two front line RAF Stations in the sixties and never took a photo - Doh!

11-21-2013, 03:33 PM
some detailing added and a little alteration to rework signal box steps


11-22-2013, 12:00 PM
I like where you're going with this, Shadwell.

11-22-2013, 03:07 PM
cheers gray ! there's still quite a bit to go in yet and that is even before buying a 1/72 model to photograph to work out good positioning's for the aircraft , will probably involve one in a turn following the line with the chase aircraft just about to follow , the rail in the background curved round to the left that took them directly over Manchester city centre :thumbsup:

12-16-2013, 01:49 PM
little bit further on and starting to build some details resorted to using some atelier interactives and the difference between them and normal acrylic is chalk and cheese

my aim is to paint till my old acrylics run out and my whole acrylic set is atelier interactives


12-16-2013, 02:15 PM
This is a nice work in progress. Just waiting to see it finished!

12-21-2013, 11:55 AM
probably heading to the 3/4 through area now , I have made the 1/72 kit that I will use to photograph in differing positions to get a suitable position for both aircraft within the painting


12-21-2013, 12:17 PM
Really starting to come together now, shadwell.

12-21-2013, 01:47 PM
:) That is quite a jump in progress ,well done :) Oh i used to drive them :)

Chas McHugh
12-21-2013, 03:57 PM
This painting has so much potential ~ looking forwards to its progress.

12-22-2013, 06:26 AM
trumper ..as a brat I covered many miles in class 47 , 40 , 25 , 08 , etc cabs as a young lad even visiting both cabs of the great train robbery class 40 before it was cut up in private at crewe to stop souvenir hunters even got to drive a DMU once all be it sat with the driver from wigan to southport

all highly against regs obviously but the 70's were a more carefree time and ducking at signal boxes and stations saw you through

thanks chas much appreciated !

12-22-2013, 01:39 PM
Looking very good . The railway in particular is most convincing.

12-23-2013, 07:12 AM
more added detail and glazings and starting to come together box is taking shape only requiring small details as is the rest loco and train requires more details and glazing and as well as the aircraft a figure may turn up


12-23-2013, 12:38 PM
That is a really good leap forward ,you can almost hear that loco..A bit of smoke from the exhausts and a P Way bod :)

Rails are singing.I am intrigued as to where the plane is going?

12-23-2013, 01:23 PM
funny you should say that but added sheri the shunter who used to walk past each day , he'd walk up to the local scrap yard to see how many empty wagons had to go to the yard for the day after and how many needed to be taken away that evening as they had an evening scrap metals train consisting of an 08 shunter and around 3-7 mineral wagons each day to cox and danks scrap metals yard !

hence the siding line

12-23-2013, 01:26 PM
Rails are singing.I am intrigued as to where the plane is going?

two aircraft are going in the area above the carriages once desired positions are worked out

12-24-2013, 05:33 AM
two aircraft are going in the area above the carriages once desired positions are worked out

All i ask is be careful that the planes don't take over what is an excellent piece of work on it's own account,i know you won't but don't get blinkered into thinking the planes HAVE to be added.:thumbsup:

12-24-2013, 08:32 AM
the planes were only ever going to be a small part of the story as that is how I saw them in the situation trumper, there was very little time where they were actualy large in the scene being a small aircraft moving fast and low the biggest percentage of the time they were only a small element of the scene:thumbsup:

12-28-2013, 08:16 AM
getting there with ground details and other details , still quite a few to add but now it is time to decide and mess with the sky and aircraft


12-28-2013, 02:31 PM
This is looking really good.

01-04-2014, 05:54 AM
some extra work on adding more detail and more glazes , it looks better to the naked eye as the camera is struggling to expose correctly as there are a lot of contrasts to make it lifelike when viewed . most detail is now in there so it is now time to start adding aircraft and thinking about clouds ( if indeed I decide to add them but more work is required to remove the brush stroke clouds , but at least an end is in sight to free my easel up for my next painting as I have 2 in the pipeline


Chas McHugh
01-04-2014, 02:28 PM
It is looking fantastic. An observation from me is that carriages three and four look too long and I suspect that over the same area of canvas, I would have had three carriages. This is based on seat-of-the-pants observation rather then anything technical. It is a very good painting and you can almost hear the rails whistling in anticipation of the train thundering through - V Nice.

01-04-2014, 03:07 PM
you may well have a valid point chas , I went off the fact the train is on a curve that would in effect make carriages more side onto you thus longer but distance may not have been worked out well as they would have been shorter thus about the same size

in the end it was something I thought wouldn't take too much away from the painting so it was left alone

worked out some aircraft positions and clouds


01-04-2014, 04:25 PM
:thumbsup: That is looking really really good.What caught my eye was the old stencil type speed boards ,all part of history now with the hi vis types in use now.
Really enjoying this W I P.:thumbsup:

01-04-2014, 05:51 PM
What caught my eye was the old stencil type speed boards

they were originaly an L.N.E.R. design that got standardised into the B.R. network on the L.N.E.R . the numbers were originaly white but B.R. nationalisation saw them turn to yellow to aid better visibility during snow conditions .

01-04-2014, 06:29 PM
Some comments

I do realise it is to late but the two sets of track appear to be of differing width

Man on track to large, all British loco's & rolling stock are (12 ft 5 in) (rail to roof)

A/c in wrong place....way to much going on on far right of painting

But......................I like......it's different :cat:

01-10-2014, 07:37 AM
calling this one done ( thanks for comments Gollum ) it never was intended to be precise or artistically correct but more something to suit me with all the ingredients from a special day where I worked as a teenager ! ( Charlie the cat nearly made it on as did my motorcycle )

but it suits me well and is a big improvement over the photograph it was taken from

and it includes the actual event of the low flying aircraft to boot !


01-10-2014, 04:29 PM
Good one Shadwell - I remember that day well. Not often do you see foreign front liners rocket past your city office window!

01-10-2014, 04:48 PM
yeah and the buggers didn't stop for our signals that were on danger either !!:lol:

01-10-2014, 05:01 PM
yeah and the buggers didn't stop for our signals that were on danger either !!:lol:

Bet you couldn't give them a form 1 :) Very nicely done ,well done. :thumbsup:

01-11-2014, 05:53 AM
the old "please explain " had a few of those when I worked on the railways !!:lol: usualy for semi open door handles we missed as the train trundled past at 30MPH

01-11-2014, 11:56 AM
Came out well, Shadwell. I think you should paint more train art after seeing this one.