Home / Railway Gallery / Standard Gauge Heritage Railways / East Lancashire Railway / ELR 2020 / Non-event visits to the ELR in August 2020 81

It seems and feels like an eternity since I was last at the ELR and watching and photographing steam trains in action, but I'm pleased to say that on Sunday 9th of August that was just what I was doing, and apart from a few minor changes such as temperature checks and wearing masks when appropriate, it seemed just like old times again. The only thing missing was some really crap weather, but after nearly 5 months without a whiff of steam that was the least of my worries. The service should have commenced on the previous weekend, but due to the government's last minute reimposition of some restrictions throughout East Lancashire on the evening before it was due to open, I had to wait yet another week before I could resume my usual haunts around the station at Rawtenstall once again (and yes I did pay the local Greggs shop a visit, well it would have been bad manners not to!).

Although the trains are back the service is still very restricted to allow the railway to see how well things go, so there were just 3 runs that day with a 2 hour gap in between, with the Standard 4 '80097' running services between Bury and Rawtenstall, and a DMU running between Bury and Heywood. I chose not to ride this time as I wanted to get some photographs, but I might risk a trip down the line the following weekend. Great to have the railway back once more and to see lots of old friends again, and I just hope that the continuing selfish behaviour of a few irresponsible and stupid people in our society doesn't ever see the railway and many other places put back into such an awkward and financially damaging position again in the near future.

Back again for a second visit on Sunday 16th of August, and much to my great delight the loco in service on this day was none other than the recently restored L&Y 2F '51456', which was featured in the final episode of the recent 'Steam Train Britain' series on the Yesterday TV channel (and which included a very brief 5 second cameo appearance by me, but if you didn't know me and blinked you would miss me thankfully). With a 4 coach load on it looked really impressive as it arrived, and even encouraged me to take a walk down to Townsend Fold to get a shot of it passing through on the next run. Lovely Jubbly as Del Boy would say!

My third visit on Sunday 23rd of August was in the sort of gloomy and damp conditions that I like, and that day it was the turn of the Standard 4 '80097' to haul passengers around. My final visits of the month took place on Sunday 30th and Monday 31st of August, which was the Bank Holiday Weekend, and would normally have been a 'Day Out with Thomas' event, but as that wasn't able to take place this year two of the engines 'Gothenburg' 32 and 'Douglas' 2890 double-headed on the services, though minus the silly gurning faces, but still a nice sight as we don't often see Gothenburg this far north these days. The services seemed quite busy on the days I was there, not surprising as the weather stayed fine this time. What will September bring, hopefully good things and more services, though with the colder weather and a higher spread of the virus again as people bring it back from there non-socially distanced holidays I wouldn't place money on it, and it would be sad to see another lockdown and stopping of the services once again.


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