Steam Scenes

The painter and the paintings

Original railway scenes, by John Ellwood.

The scenes in the Gallery are based on my memories of train spotting in the early 1960s. I lived in Fleetwood, Lancashire. Fleetwood, at the end of branch line from Preston, and then Poulton, had two stations. The terminus (closed 1966) was a magnificent building that hosted Isle of Man boat trains in the summer. The station had a bar that apparently sold an excellent Bass beer. To me the station always smelt of a heady mixture of steam and sawdust.

When the boat trains didn’t run, the main attraction was the afternoon ‘Crewe Fish’ train was often graced by an ex-works Crewe engine. I was introduced to train spotting whilst at primary school by my friend Mark Ansell. At lunchtime we often cycled to the local engine shed (24F then 10C) to dash round collecting numbers. Fortunately, we were never stopped by the staff. Despite having very little pocket money, I did sometimes reach the mainline. I was just about able to cycle to Woodacre, near Scorton, or Garstang and Catteral Station (closed 1969) on my, very heavy, Raleigh bike, and would sometimes travel to Garstang via the Knott End Ferry and Ribble bus. If I had saved enough by boxing fresh fish for my dad on the dock, I would sometimes catch the 8.18 train to Preston from Fleetwood’s smaller station , Wyre Dock (closed 1970). At Poulton, the two carriages of this train would be backed onto by a Blackpool – Manchester train invariably pulled by a Black Five. On Bank Holidays a brilliant location was the cutting at Skew Bridge, a mile south of Preston Station and not far from Lostock Hall shed.

A Crab leaves Fleetwood Station with an excursion. The photo was taken by my trainspotting friend Howard Leach who collaborated with me and my brother, on our semi-autobiographical book ‘Steam Dreams’.

In the paintings, I have tried to get the locomotive dimensions as accurate as possible but have invented and embellished most of the backgrounds.

The paintings have been drawn on my iPad using an App called ArtRage. iPad painting is very relaxing and involves no mess or drying time. It is also portable.

Painting this way allows me to make each print different in some ways, and if required, to customise them to include family members, friends, pets, engine numbers etc. You can see how West Ham supporters below were amended to become Arsenal supporters…

West Ham supporters

Arsenal supporters

Contact John at for more information.

A Price Guide

The scenes can be printed in different sizes on a variety of materials such as acrylic, aluminium, cushions, towels and canvas.

For example…

A canvas (40 x 30 cm, or 15.7 x 11.8 inches) with a 2cm frame costs £40 (inclusive of UK postage).

An acrylic (30 x 20 cm) would be £50 (inclusive of postage and hanging plate).

An aluminium (30 x 20 cm) would be £50 (inclusive of postage and hanging plate)

Other prices / sizes available on request

Please email if you wish to order. Customised canvases of this size are available for £50. Delivery usually within one week

10% DISCOUNT for multiple purchases

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