Trains and boats and snappers


Most people will agree that the Daily Express photographers, on many occasions, have to have very quick reactions and think on their feet.

Over the years we have heard of boats that have been involved in some form of incident on the Thames. At times it's when a bridge has been in the wrong place, the water level has been too high or another tourist boat has got in the way.

One of our photographers was sent to such an accident a few years ago only to find the boat had been moored and any damage that may have been visible was on its far side. The photographer was quick to find a solution and his expenses showed he had hired a motor boat to get round the damaged vessel.

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The Picture Editor was a little concerned and pulled the photographer to one side and showed him an agency photograph taken from the bank that clearly showed our photographer, in the background, struggling to manoeuvre the smallest possible rowing boat!

The photographer was not the slightest embarrassed. He thanked the Picture Editor for pointing out that he had not put a claim in for hire of said rowing boat but in a rush to get his expenses in on time he had forgotten the smaller boat "he had hired to get out to the motor boat”. He said he would add the cost of the rowing boat to his next expenses claim. This probably proves that Press photographers can not only think quickly on their feet, they are just as astute when in deep water.


Many years ago as a regular daily commuter between Hersham and Waterloo I managed to get to the Daily Express in Fleet Street during the morning but getting home became a problem due to an unofficial rail strike during the day.


As soon as a train arrived at Waterloo station hundreds forced their way on to the train which then resembled one of the crowded carriages we see portrayed on  the Indian railways.

I, and a few other passengers, looking for a way in to the train found ourselves near the front. Just before the service left Waterloo the driver opened his door and invited about six of us to ride in the cab with him ... I am sure it was not legal but we jumped at the chance.

I was on nodding terms with one of the other passengers in the cab because we used the same Hersham station every day.

The driver was a great guy and gave us a train driving lesson as we headed South.  Approaching Hersham station I turned to my travelling companion and made some comment about "great journey, might see you tomorrow” to which his reply was ... “shh, I have been a train enthusiast since I was a child. This is my childhood dream, I am going as far as possible in this cab and will worry about getting home later”.

Every cloud etc!

PS: I know most of the Christmas cards have now been taken down but in the run up to the big day one card and envelope stood out from the rest. My cottage is called “Ramblers” so when a card arrived, addressed to Maurice Hibberd, Rambles, (on and on and on!) I knew it had to be from my friend and ex colleague, Mick Lidbury. I know I talk a lot but it's still good to know Mick has not lost his sense of humour.

More from Maurice:

Hail and farewell to a picture

Dope in search of a Pope


© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre