Author photo

By Pat Doody
staff writer 

Rail authority Colin Marsden brings new exhibit to museum

Friends of the Tehachapi Depot


December 31, 2022

Pat Doody.

Colin Marsden with his collection of Commemorative U.K. Railroad Neckties.

British photographer and noted authority on railroad operations around the world, Colin Marsden of Dawlish, Devon, England, has been coming to Tehachapi for over 50 years to write about and photograph the trains that travel the Loop and other lines throughout Southern California. On this trip, Marsden will be staying with friends in Tehachapi until early January. He has a new book, "Railways of Southern California," that is now available at the Depot Museum gift shop.

Marsden has also brought part of his collection of Commemorative U.K. Railroad neckties. They are now on display upstairs at the Depot Museum. Marsden, who has been collecting the ties for over 30 years, said, "In the U.K. it is a tradition to issue specially designed neckties to commemorate special rail events like opening or closing of a rail line, introducing new trains or promoting business or services. In the past, lady's scarves were also made of the same material." As men's neckties seem to have fallen out of fashion, except for more formal occasions, they are now more of a collectors item. One tie in Marsden's display is given only to those who have had the opportunity to work on the Royal Train. Marsden is one of those so honored.

Marsden worked for BritRail for many years, working his way up from fireman to assistant engineer to engineer, a position he held for eight years. For many years he worked for BritRail out of the Waterloo Station in London. Among his many positions, he has been an instructor and also spent time testing new equipment for the railroad. He has been consulted on locomotive cab and control design, crew training, accident investigation and technical advances. He is not only a consultant, but is also a full-time publisher. He has published over 170 railway publications. As a photographer, he has taken thousands of rail photographs from all over the world and now uses a drone for many of his photographs.

As his last trip to Tehachapi was in 2020, Marsden has been spending much of his time down at the Loop, camera at the ready. When viewing his photographs, it is obvious that Marsden has an affinity for locomotives and there is no better place to see them than the Tehachapi Loop.

The Tehachapi Depot Museum is located at 101 W. Tehachapi Blvd. It is open Friday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The new Loop Overlook is on Woodford-Tehachapi Rd.


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