Home / Railway Gallery / Standard Gauge Heritage Railways / East Lancashire Railway / ELR 2019 / Non-event visits to the ELR in August 2019 227

I hadn't planned to visit the ELR on Thursday 1st of August, but I had to come up to Rawtenstall to get some shots of the old bus station demolition, and so it seemed like a good idea to catch the 1345 steam service arriving while I was in the area. I ventured along to the end of the platform and was surprised when I saw that it had 9 coaches on, but quickly realised that four of the coaches were filled with snotgobblers and other little horrors and it was one of the popular and occasional 'Wizard Express' trains. Not wanting to hang around there if the platform was full of little herbets (well you never know, I might be tempted to clip and ear or two), so I decided to beat a hasty retreat and get a few shots of the locos instead. Standard 4 '80080' was doing the honours on this day, and even the regular coaches were well filled, a major contrast to the previous day when the heavy rains seemed to have put many people off (pansies!):-).

It was back again on Sunday 4th of August, but this was a brief visit as I was dashing backwards and forwards between Rawtenstall's Railway Station and Fire Station which are only about a hundred yards apart, and that meant I was able to enjoy the Fire Station Open Day and catch the service trains arriving as well. Although the weather forecast had said it might rain after 2pm there wasn't so much as a spit or a spot, but I didn't mind this time, as with a number of open days taking place (three of which I'd attended that day), I was glad they didn't suffer a loss of visitors due to bad weather, and I was happy to settle form fine but a bit gloomy in this instance (hopefully I will get another deluge on the midweeks again the next week as compensation!). It was actually a Thomas weekend, but as that event really just takes place at Bury and Ramsbottom these days it was mostly just a normal day but with different arrival and departure times, so I decided the few images I took would be better off in this gallery.

I had a few more damp visits on Wednesday 7th and Friday 9th of August, followed by a slightly less damp one on Sunday 11th, but the following week I was back again for my third 'Wet Wednesday' of the month, though this time decided that it might be nice to have a ride down to Heywood and back on the DMU and get soaked there for a change, but typically not a raindrop in sight at the other end of the line. Thankfully no such problems at the northern end, and by the time we'd arrived back in Rawtenstall it was fairly bucketing it down again. After 18 months of unsually dry and warm weather, August 2019 has been bordering on Monsoon like at times, and I've probably had more soakings in the past few weeks than I have in the previous 18 months put together.

After some very grey, wet and miserable days I was back again on Friday 16th of August, but this was only meant to be for a short visit, as I was actually visiting the Screwfix store that is close to the railway and had just timed my visit so that I could get a couple of shots of D5054 as it arrived with the service train (the DMU runs on Wednesday and Thursday, the big diesels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday). By then it was raining hard and the temptation to get a few more crap weather shots won out and I ended up staying not just for the following steam train, but for the next few services as well. By then the rain had got much heavier and had been going almost continually for the entire day, and although I've had some fair old soakings in my time, this rain was relentless and even with my waterproofs on it was getting through and I was getting wetter and wetter. If I'd had any sense I would have called it a day then and squelched my way home to dry out, but then again I never did have much of that, and I wouldn't be much of a Crap Weather Photographer if I gave up that easily. When I did eventually quit it was more down to bad light than rain and it would have been impossible for me to get any wetter by that time. I really need to start looking for some scuba gear on eBay I think, clearly waterproofs just aren't up to the task! :-) Even my Lowepro camera bag was soaked, even with its rain cover on, and I had to literally pour the rainwater out of it, lucky my camera is weatherproof, but I draw the line at storing it in a bag with water in it. I think I've just about dried everything out by now, and I've heard that the station staff are planning to nominate me as the official station madman after enduring over 4 hours of that! :-)

Another short visit on Wednesday 21st, I was in the area for other reasons, but of course arranged it so I could catch a few shots of two of the services. Standard 4 '80080' was on the steam diagram and arrived with the Midweek Dining Train on the end of the service train, some 10 coaches in all, so the loco was almost out of the platform by the time it had run around and re-coupled up again. As in previous weeks the two-car DMU was on the diesel diagram. Sadly I didn't get my fourth 'Wet Wednesday' on the trot, but there was a light shower just after the DMU arrived, so it wasn't a total loss.

Well it just shows how weird the weather is these days, at one time you could have put money on it tipping it down on a Bank Holiday Weekend, but this year the August Bank Holiday was a real scorcher, not what I wanted at all. Thankfully things didn't stay that way for long and just a couple of days later we had our fourth very 'Wet Wednesday' in the past five weeks, and it's just a pity that my visit on the 28th of August would be the last one with the High Season midweek timetable for this year. Locos out this day were the DMU 104 on the diesel diagram and Standard 4 '80080' on the steam diagram, which included the Dining Train on one of the runs as well. It was sad to see a makeshift headboard on the Standard 4 with the words 'RIP Bury FC' on it, clearly the folks down at Bury are very unhappy at the way their local footy club has been treated, and who can blame them.

Friday 31st of Augsut saw me at the ELR yet again for the final days of the 2019 Midweek Summer Timetable, I will miss this as it has given me some very wet Wednesdays this year. My main reason for the extra visit though was to try out and learn to drive a new camera, better to do this on a quiet day that at an event somewhere. Locos in service were Standard 4 '80080' on the steam diagram, and Class 37 '37109' on the diesel digram. It could have been coincidence, but I couldn't help noticing that some of the steam and diesel department seemed to have been having a job swap that day, or maybe they were just trying to make me think I'm going bananas (don't need any help with that thanks, I'm managing to do it on my own quite nicely!) :-)


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