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My first visit to the ELR in September 2019 was a short one on Friday 6th of September, mainly just to get a few shots of the Midweek Dining Train arriving and have a bit more practise with my new camera, which I am still learning to drive. According to my list there weren't due to be any Steam Driving Experience runs on this day, but clearly I should have checked before leaving the house because there was one running in the spare path, and though I missed it arriving I did manage to get a few shots before it departed. The Dining Train was hauled by '2890', but with 8 coaches on it also had support from D5054, so the train was topped and tailed and that meant no run-around shots this time. It also had a coach full of evacuees as well, so it was well loaded, and needed the extra motive power. It was an enjoyable if short visit, but if I'd done my homework better I could easily have had a full day there, but with a newly bought bag full of frozen goodies that was not an option this time, and I had to be satisfied with a few shots of just these two runs before leaving. I'll be sure to double check the next time! :-)

My second visit was on Sunday 8th of September, though this time I was riding down to Bury for the Classic Car Event which was taking place at the Bury Transport Museum. After that I caught the train up to Ramsbottom to get a few shots of the annual World Black Pudding Throwing Championships which were taking place that day (these are in the 'Visits to Ramsbottom' gallery), before finally returning back to Rawtenstall for a few final shots of the service trains arriving and departing.

Having been busy with Heritage and Bus events on the previous weekends, my next visit was just a short midweek one on Thursday 19th of September, and the loco in service that day was Standard 4 '80080', which arrived at 1335 with a 10 coach train consisting of the 5 coaches of the Midweek Diner and 5 coaches of the service train, and these contained a coach party and another bunch of school herberts doing an 'evacuee' train. What really made things interesting though was the Permanent Way Gang who were busy fettling the tracks and assembling the new platform roof, which is made up of the remnants of the old roof that was taken from Oldham Mumps Station before it was demolished - you can find a photo of this when it was still in use elsewhere in this photogallery. The new roof is coming on well and was being assembled up off the end of the platform near to the water tower, this will probably not be raised into place until the Midweek services finish at the end of the month. The only downside on this day was that bloody awful sunshine, good news for the P-Way gang but not so good for a Crap Weather Photographer! :-)

Thursday 26th of September, the penultimate day of this year's Midweek Low Season Timetable (with the exception of a few days in late October around Halloween), and the weather forecast was for light showers, though as Jim Royle would have said "Light showers my arse!". It was dry and fine when I arrived, but I could see the rainclouds gathering over Musbury Tor as the train approached, a sure sign that rain is on the way. If I'd had any sense I would have put my waterproofs on there and then, but I was too busy taking photos, and so I ended getting a good soaking (again), well at least my new camera finally got a proper christening at long last and came through with flying colours. I'm sure that many of the passengers on the 'Afternoon Tea' special must have thought that I was crackers, obviously they've never seen a 'Crap Weather Photographer' at work before, and must have wondered why I was standing on the platform getting soaked instead of running for cover as any normal person would do. I would also like to point out that there is no truth in the rumour that I was doing it in the hope that they would feel sorry for me and chuck me a few cakes, after all, I had a Greggs pasty in my pocket that had already gone cold because I was far too busy taking photographs to get around to eating it (not for the first time I might add!). The poor old Permanent Way team were getting a good soaking too, I'm sure they must have thought that I'd brought the rain with me, as it was fine and dry until I arrived.

My final visit of September 2019 took place on Sunday 29th in what was some of the worst conditions I've experienced, even by my normally high standards, the rain was relentless and came down solidly for around 12 hours before finally taking a break to get its breath back. Even with waterproof clothing and a weatherproof camera it was hard going, the constantly swirling rain was getting onto my lens and after an hour or so my camera cleaning cloth was so damp that I had to nip into Home Bargains and buy a small towel and some lens cleaning wipes. I was even forced to retreat to the platform shelter for a while, and any thoughts of me heading down to Townsend Fold were thwarted due to the footpath looking like a stream, and passable only with wellies (or waders). Judging by the number of people who told me I must be crackers to be out in such conditions I'm seriously beginning to think they may be right, and I might even be forced to overcome my aversion to umbrellas if it's ever that bad again. The fact that I didn't see another photographer all day and the platform was largely deserted other than when the trains were in probably says it all, and not even a single diner was brave enough to get of the nice dry Dining Train for a shot on this occasion (and anyway, they were far too busy having a laugh at some crackpot standing out there doing impressions of a sponge!):-)

Well September was nothing if not interesting and variable, what will October bring I wonder?

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