Accueil / Railway Gallery / Standard Gauge Heritage Railways / East Lancashire Railway / ELR 2020 / Non-event visits to the ELR in September 2020 73

The ELR is still on the special restricted timetable yet with just 3 services a day, but at least Sunday 6th of September at least saw a return of the Sunday 'Lancastrian Lunch' Dining Train, so that meant that there was no longer an almost 3 hour wait between arrivals, and will allow me to walk down the Irwell to a few other locations next time. The service train was hauled by Standard 4 '80097' again, and the Dining Train was hauled by L&Y 2890. The weather varied between sunshine and showers, and though not quite as busy as the Bank Holiday Weekend, loadings were still quite reasonable.

Back to the ELR again for a sunny Sunday 13th of September, and this time for a train ride to Heywood, which amazingly, apart from occasionally crossing the deserted moorland boundary on some of my lockdown walks, was my first venture out of Rossendale since mid-March. Now normally I wouldn't dream of riding on such a warm and sunny day as I'd rather be out in the fresh air walking, but I'd made my mind up so that was that, and I must admit that it was nice to see a few of the other stations for the first time in nearly 6 months. The trains were well cleaned and the staff operating a track & trace system, and keeping passengers well space out, though it was fairly quiet and I had a coach pretty much to myself on the way down so that wasn't a problem. Normally I would be constantly sticking my head out of the window taking photographs at the stations, but I decided that in the current situation I should handle the doors and windows as little as possible, and so just sat and enjoyed the view out of the window instead. At the moment there are no direct service along the full line, with just a steam service operating from Bury to Rawtenstall and back, and a DMU service running from Ramsbottom to Heywood, though these leave a reasonable gap at Bury to allow for extra cleaning of the coaches. If anyone has any worries about travelling on the railway at the moment I would like to allay them, as I felt well cared for throughout my entire trip and was well impressed with how the staff were handling things. Locos in service that day were Standard 4 '80097' on the steam diagram, the DMU (which shame on me I forgot to photograph the number) on the Rammy - Heywood route, and the L7Y '2890' on the Dining Train. Next week's plans are not yet finalised and will depend a lot on the weather, but hopefully might involved a ride down to Summerseat and a few shots from that location just for a change.

Sunday 20th of September started off well, at least it was very overcast which would have been ideal for my plan to nip down to Summerseat and get some shots of the Dining Train passing through the cutting, but of course it couldn't last, and by the time I got to the station the clouds began to part and out came the bright Sun with that big silly and annoying grin on its smirking face, which scuppered that plan. With the Sun to the south all you end up with is a silhouette or burned out sky, which is why I usually prefer crappier weather, which avoids a lot of these problems. Anyway, instead I just chose to hang around the Rawtenstall area and get some shots of the Standard 4 '80097' on the steam service, and '2890' hauling the Dining Train. Since the railway re-opened I've been very careful to avoid doing any rain dances as they need all the passengers and visitors they can get coming out, but I was beginning to feel that Sun was really extracting the urine, and so I shall resume my Navajo Rain Dances again this week - that will wipe the smirk off its face. Watch out next week for something a little more watery, that is if the railway hasn't been locked down again thanks to all the irresponsible idiots in the area spreading this damn virus all over the place again. Don't think I could stand another 5 months without trains again, so let's hope that the useless gits in the government don't leave things too late again this time like they did back in February and March.

Sunday 27th should have been a special day, with the legendary Flying Scotsman hauling the Dining Train, but due to circumstances this had to be cancelled, and that meant another very long gap between afternoon services and only 3 runs that day. Sadly, I wasn't aware that the newly repainted diesel D832 was going to be doing two runs up to Rawtenstall on the 26th or I'd probably have been there for its arrival, I just hope we don't have to wait too long to see it out again, I'm getting withdrawal symptoms due to lack of big diesel action. The service train during my visit was Standard 4 '80097' on what was a fairly quiet day. The forecast for next Sunday is some heavy rain at last, but have the useless gits at the Met Office got it right this time, and will I get a decent soaking to start off October and finally get to behave like a proper 'Crap Weather Photographer' again at long last? We shall see.....

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