My name is Gary Ladds; I am 58 years old and live in Cambridgeshire. My interest in railways was started by my Grandad who, when I was a small child used to take me to watch steam trains pass by on the Great Northern Railway. Later I watched the BR blue Diesels pass by on the same line. This interest has stayed with me all through my life. The interest in sound recording was down to one man, Peter Handford. It was a chance purchase of an ASV Transacord vinyl LP ‘This is York’ in the local ‘Boots’ back in 1978 that sparked things off. Hi-Fi record decks were the in thing then and, armed with a good pair of Sennheiser headphones, I was transported back in time.
I collected a few other railway recordings throughout the late 1970’s including some of the superb recordings made by Brad Miller of Mobile Fidelity, before other distractions took over. In 1981 after re-visiting the records, I had an idea that I would like to be able to record the sounds of railways myself. Early ventures were mixed. The only equipment I had was a Sony Walkman and a cheap stereo microphone, but, it got me out there doing it and I tried again in 2000 with a JVC Minidisk and a slightly better mic. This was a slight improvement but I needed to invest in better gear. Move forward to 2013 and I realised I must do something about this, I was getting older and time was running out, so, armed with a lump sum from my pension I took the plunge, this is the result.
In 2013 (after reading the excellent books ‘Transacord: Sounds of Steam’ by Mark Jones and ‘British Railways on Vinyl’ by Ian McDonald) I decided to try to collect and digitize all of the UK Railway recordings produced on vinyl. Its been a long hard road but two years later I have completed my task. I have luckily managed to collect ‘all’ the Argo Transacord vinyl recordings released (apart from 2 titles) and many overseas vinyl recordings, I must be mad.
I hope you enjoy the recordings, any feedback would really be appreciated.
Please also check out my Railway photographs on Instagram and Flickr. My username is konakaboom for Instagram and kona_kaboom for Flickr.