Home / Railway Gallery / Standard Gauge Heritage Railways / East Lancashire Railway / ELR 2018 / 20th of January 2018 Visit [28]

My first visit to the ELR in 2018 turned out to be a very strange one, and what had started out as a plan to spend an hour at Rawtenstall getting a shot of the south facing Black 5 departing in the snow, turned in to something else entirely. For some reason I ended up in Bury instead of my intended location, but I then decided to catch the Class 33 (33109 Captain Bill) from there up to Rawtenstall, but little did I know just what I was in for when I eventually boarded the train, which was running 30 minutes late when it arrived.

After departing for the north end of the line in the rear carriage of the train, which was empty apart from myself, all went well until we departed from Summerseat Station, which is about a couple of miles north of Bury. About 200 yards north of the station platform the train suddenly ground to a halt, and there we stayed for the next hour. Had the loco failed, no, it had run out of fuel would you believe. You might wonder how that could have happened, but it appears that the fuel gauge had gone faulty, and although it was showing about 250 gallons, it was practically empty. That meant that the single track line was completely blocked, and the Black 5, which had been up at the north end of the line, could do nothing other than run shuttles between Rawtenstall and Ramsbottom until the obstruction was cleared. Word went around that a rescue loco was on its way from Bury, and word must also have gone out on the 'Basher' grapevine too, as pretty soon I was surrounded by them, and they were very excited that they would be in for a few additional miles being hauled by none other than Class 45 45106 'Atlantic Conveyor' - what a bonus. Not so great for me though, as it meant that I had now spent an extra couple of hours out and I had places to be, but I had little choice other than to make the best of things and get a few shots of our rescue vehicle as it attached and hauled us back to where we had started at Bury.

On arrival back at Bury word quickly went out that the failed 33 would be removed, and a Class 09 shunter arrived to take it away, and then we heard that the Class 45 would be taking the train on to Heywood before returning to Bury for another attempt at reaching Rawtenstall, but that wasn't much use to me as I only had a one-way ticket for the trip from Bury to Rawtenstall, and I would have had to wait there for another 40 minutes before it even arrived. As I was already very wet and very cold (no train heating after the loco had failed), I decided it would probably be quicker to catch the bus, which was exactly what I did, so I never did get to see that Black 5, in the snow or otherwise! :-) Well my planned hour at Rawtenstall turned into around 5 hours at the railway, but at least I got a few 'bonus' shots that I could never have forseen, and it made for quite an interesting and unusual day after all that. Before anyone asks, no I didn't ask for my ticket money back, as I figured that I had probably had a lot more photographic opportunities than I could ever image, and a potentially more interesting day, so I think I had my money's worth anyway. At least the bus trip was free, which is one of the few benefits of being an old dodderer! :-)

You really couldn't make this stuff up, but that is exactly how it happened, and you can see the results of this unexpected adventure below:


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