Steam Traction Engines by Karen Brammer

The nostalgia of the Steam Traction Engine

I have for many years taken photos of many different vintage vehicles but nothing brings the nostalgia and memories amongst people like Steam Traction Engines do. I don’t know if it’s the noise of the engines or the rollers and wheels as they roll on the road, the blackened dirtied faces of the drivers, the smell of the steam, soot and coal or the lavish and exuberant colours painted on the machines themselves. People still have this undying love and fondness for these incredible machines.

I took this photo in Shefford along Bedford Road during the annual Bedfordshire Steam Engine Road Run, this particular Engine is made by Clayton and Shuttleworth Ltd of Lincoln, Lincolnshire. It has the nickname of “The Gaffer”. I love the racing green colour of the main body of the Steam Engine, the bright red wheels but most of all the little Jack Russell dog sat bolt upright taking in the local scenery. This image went on to win a National Award with the Guild of Photographers and hangs proudly on my wall at home.

An example of a Steam Roller

The term Traction Engine is a generic one used for all road going steam engines. However, there are agricultural traction engines which as the term implies are used mainly on agricultural duties. Road locomotives are used as road haulage engines. Showman’s engines are used for hauling the fairground rides from town to town and then used to power the rides via a belt driven generator. Steam rollers are used for rolling in hardcore and packing and then tarmac for road building. Steam tractors tend to be small engines designed for one person operation. There are also steam wagons or lorries.

Taken by Karen Brammer at Stotfold Steam Fair, 2015

This photo was taken at the Stotfold Steam Fair in 2015, I reduced the saturation on this image and created a sepia contrast to make it more atmospheric with the steam in the background and the beautiful vintage Showman’s carriage next to it as well. This engine was based down in Sussex in Horsham, and area that I know well as my family lived in Slinfold a village on the outskirts of the town. This photo went on again to win a national photography award with the Guild of Photographers.

These photos were taken during the Bedfordshire Steam Engine and Vintage Road Run, again taken in Shefford, Central Bedfordshire. These are always a popular and welcome sight in Shefford, they pass along Bedford Road, often coming from Michael Parrish’s Hardwick Farm, onto Northbridge Street where often the Steam Engine stop on the bridge and take on more water from the River Flit before the drivers of the Steam Engines take on much needed fluids in the local Brewery Tap Pub.

There are full size Steam Traction Engines and then there are the smaller ones as well. The smaller ones tend to be toy versions of their larger counterparts, just as capable, need as much skill to drive and maintain but can be stored easier and transported more easily on a trailer if needed.

Examples of some of the smaller toy Steam Traction Engines.

If you do go to a Steam Traction Engine Fair not only will there be a variety of toy and full size Steam Traction Engines but there will also be Vintage Vehicles, Agricultural Tractors, Steam Driven Fairground rides and Organs, Showman Wagons and Carriages, Horses, Stationary Engines and so much more.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this insight into the world of Steam traction Engines and enjoyed some of the images that I have shared with you. If you would like to buy a print of any of the images that you have seen, then please contact me to discuss sizes, finishes and prices.

Many thanks


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