Railway Portraits

A series of books focusing on NSWGR railway operations. While the rest of us were busy photographing trains, the Wheatley brothers focused on the unique operations and people who made the railway tick.

Railway Portraits Vol 1

Railway Portraits Vol 2

Railway Portraits Vol 3

Railway Portraits Vol 4

Railway Portraits Vol 5

About The Series

Like many of us, many years after steam ended in NSW, Rob and Bruce Wheatley were surveying their extensive black and white photographic collection, and wondering what would become of all these photos.

They had spent their time meticulously getting coverage of railway men and women doing what they do best, keeping freight moving and the trains on time. Regrettable with modernisation, many of the functions performed back then no longer exist and with huge block loads, trains are just not the same. These books leave us with a reminder of what life was like back in the 1960’s in NSW.

Back in the 1960s, mail trains spread out from Sydney in all directions carrying sleeping passengers and newspapers to all parts of the state. A huge workforce was enlisted to ensure they arrived on time, and clean and maintain the iron horses and their charges, and make sure the mail and newspapers got to their destinations.



Get an insight into life on the railways back in steam days. The books have proved very popular and enable us to share memories with future generations.

What’s inside


Volume 1

Mainly West and South of NSW


Volume 2

The North West and Sydney Suburban 


Volume 3

Inside Loco Depots


Volume 4

Further Expoloration of outer reaches of the state of NSW


Volume 5

The very latest in the series with never before seen photos from yesteryear


Save on Packages

Get 4 or 5 volumes at a reduced price

Chapter 1

The romance of railways died with the passing of the steam locomotive. It was an undeniably beautiful creature that captivated and inspired generations, its image a potent reminder of the days when fire and steam was the heart of railway operation.

Sentimentality, however, is no match for economics and the inefficiency of the steam locomotive made its demise inevitable. Replacing steam with diesels dislocated whole communities and skills honed over generations become superfluous ovrenight. The men who maintained, drove, and fired these locomotives worked in a fusion of coal, flame, grease and steam. It was a world of physical exertion, shift work and mateship. Capturing this life and the essence of the steam locomotive was our passion. Railway Portraits records the atmosphere of a steam railway before modern traction sterilised its operation. Photographs cover the years 1964 to 1979 and include special train workings that occurred after regular steam had finished.


Pages Each

Purchase individual volumes, or a combination of 4 or 5. Steam buffs old and new have added these to their collections, so if you don’t have them now is the opportunity at a great price.

Other books IN The Collection

African Steam Safari 1

African Steam Safari 2

African Steam Safari 3

Where There's Smoke

More NSW Steam Action

Upcoming book!

Magnificent steam train photos covering lines North South and West of Sydney as well as industrials. A great addition to our earlier trilogy of “Northern Exposures”, “Lenses South” and “Shooting The West”.

$5  discount on books.

Use code “superheat” at checkout and receive a $5 discount for every book ordered. Fill in the form below to get future offers from us.